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Space

19 articles
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The Next Giant Leap

“You are reading this because you have no idea what NASA is doing. And NASA, tongue-tied by jargon, can’t figure out how to tell you. But the agency is engaged in work that can be more enduring and far-reaching than anything else this country is paying for.”

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The Trans-Everything CEO

A profile of the highest-paid female executive in America, who was born male.

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We're Coming For Them

A study in building spaceships.

"Mostly, the spaceship builders did not come out of their trailers or houses, though our local guides claimed they didn't mind the occasional tour. They were so serious they could not see that others might laugh. Some of their grounds looked measured and neat; some were spilling over or scraped to dust. Most were single, a few married, some widowed or divorced. The married ones interested us most—what sorts of agreements had they come to? were the ships built for two?"

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The Urashima Effect

In deep space, a physicist tries to cope with his isolation.

"He read several classic novels and philosophical texts to pass the next few days and exercised on the stringy, wiry contraption collapsed into one wall. The long hibernation had melted the muscle from him and congealed the quick currents of his mind, but he had to be alert, intelligent, and at his peak physical condition when he arrived. He was supposed to be disciplined. He was not supposed to replay his wife’s voice over and over, with longing and anxiousness. So he selected his parents’ recordings."

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The Moon Landing

Experiencing the first moon walk with a wide range of New Yorkers.

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They All Looked Like Nails

A genetic engineer concocts a plan to transform a Galilean moon.

"Jonas is the conductor of a symphony, and must be familiar with each part, every section. He must keep them working in tandem, so he flits from group to group, giving encouragement. Visitors to the University wonder at the man skidding on the marble floors, running from A to E wing and back again. He reviews twenty sequences a day, though he is pleased to find few errors. His team works late. He works later. The key genes are reserved for his eyes alone, and when he sits back to watch the simulations play out he pictures the Watchmaker."

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The Watchers

A startup’s plan to launch a fleet of cheap, small, ultra-efficient imaging satellites and revolutionize data collection.

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Welcome to the Real Space Age

The era of personal space travel finally arrives.

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Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit

How technological progress slowed from its 20th-century peak, why we’ve shifted from changing reality to simply simulating reality, and whether capitalism is the true culprit.

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In Google’s Moon Race, Teams Face a Reckoning

Competing teams, some powered by billionaires and some by open-sourced code and volunteers, race to land a robot on the surface and claim a massive prize from Google.

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Earth Station: The Afterlife of Technology at the End of the World

A visit to the newly on-the-market Jamesburg Earth Station, a massive satellite receiver that played a key role in communications with space, and its neighbors in an adjacent trailer park.

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King of the Cosmos

A profile of celebrity astrophysicist Neil Tyson.

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The Theory of Everything

At work with the scientists standing on the precipice of a grand unified theory of the universe. Or failure.

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Stumbling into Space

On why routinizing space travel has failed.

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A Comet's Tale

An investigation into The End.

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Space Stasis

What the twentieth century history of rocketry can tell us about innovation.

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Lost in Space

How two Italian teenagers hacked the Soviet space program and may have heard the dying breaths of a lost cosmonaut.

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Home

After the explosion of the Columbia shuttle in 2003, two American astronauts aboard the International Space Station suddenly found themselves with no ride home.

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5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 … Goodbye, Columbia

The Columbia shuttle was to be a revolution for NASA. But a year before its first launch, the shuttle was several years behind schedule, had cost $1 billion, and wasn’t guaranteed to ever get off the ground.