The astronomer whose work helped kick Pluto out of the pantheon of planets says he has good reason to believe there's an undiscovered planet bigger than Earth lurking in the distant reaches of our solar system.

Clockwise from top left: Astronauts Alan Bean, Jim Lovell, Thomas Stafford, and Buzz Aldrin gather at the Oklahoma History Center Wednesday to remember Stafford's Gemini 6A mission 50 years ago Tuesday.
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

It's an elite club, traveling to the moon. And four members of that exclusive group gathered in Oklahoma on Wednesday to celebrate 50 years since they completed an earlier mission critical to the eventual success of landing humans on the lunar surface.

Garbage Is A Growing Problem In Space

Jul 20, 2015

To make a decent movie about space, you’ve got to start with a decent premise: big asteroids barreling down, or humanity suddenly in need of a new planet.

The 2013 hit “Gravity” figured out a good recipe. In the opening sequence, astronauts played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney face a barrage of space debris, which throws a wrench in their mission. Debris from a missile strike caused a chain reaction, hitting other satellites and creating new debris, traveling faster than a high-speed bullet toward the astronauts.

Oklahoma native Gen. Thomas Stafford (foreground) and Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov shake hands as they open the hatch between the Apollo command module and the Soyuz 19 spacecraft in July, 1975.

The two commanders of an historic 1975 space flight that helped improve U.S.-Soviet relations during the Cold War gathered in Oklahoma Monday to mark the 40th anniversary of the mission.

Northwest Indian College Aims For The Stars

May 11, 2015

In and around Seattle, tech billionaires and aerospace engineers are fomenting a local aerospace revolution. Aeronautics programs are taking off in schools, introducing kids to this growing industry. But opportunities don’t always trickle out to the poorest parts of the state. Now, one program on the Lummi Indian Reservation outside Bellingham, Washington is trying to change that. It’s the Northwest Indian College Space Center.

25 Years Later, What's Next For Hubble?

Apr 24, 2015

It was 25 years ago that Hubble Space Telescope launched into space. The 44-foot orbiting telescope has made 1.2 million observations of celestial bodies far into the reaches of the universe. It has helped change the understanding of space, and it’s made nebulae and black holes the thing of elementary school classrooms.

Mark Kelly and his twin brother Scott were both NASA astronauts. Scott is scheduled to embark on a year-long mission to the International Space Station later this month.

Mark retired from NASA to spend more time with his wife, Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was shot at a public appearance in 2011.

A New Dawn: NASA Spacecraft Reaches Ceres

Mar 6, 2015

After eight years and 3 billion miles, NASA’s “Dawn” spacecraft finally slipped into orbit around Ceres, a dwarf planet between Mars and Jupiter. The big moment happened at 7:39 a.m. Eastern time and it’s a historic mission on many levels.

Dawn is the world’s first attempt at a double encounter in space; the vessel first traveled to Vesta, one of the largest asteroids in the Solar System, and after 14 months, started its journey to Ceres.

There are many invisible realities that lie hidden from us. Some things happen too fast for us to see. Some things are too small to see. Some things are too far away. Some things, however, are right in front of us, but we are just in the wrong position to get a clear view.


Discussions have begun to potentially start a Space Flight Participant Training Program, according to Dr. Stephen McKeever, Oklahoma's Secretary of Science and Technology at an Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority (OSIDA) meeting Wednesday.

Jon Morse, former astrophysics division director at NASA, can remember the exact moment he knew things had to change.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson for a wide-ranging conversation about the past and future of NASA’s effort to explore the universe.

Bolden discusses the future of the International Space Station and U.S. cooperation with Russia, and he weighs the chances that NASA will discover life in the Milky Way galaxy.

Bolden says that the U.S. will be able to send astronauts to space again by 2017, with the help of American private industry.

Rosetta Space Probe Reaches Distant Comet

Aug 6, 2014

It’s been a very long journey — 10 years, five months and four days.

The European Space Agency announced this morning that the Rosetta space probe has finally arrived at its destination: a comet 450 million miles away, called 67P or Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Rosetta is now closely following the comet, and the agency hopes it will soon execute the first-ever gentle landing on a comet.

Spacewalking astronauts have successfully replaced a failed coolant pump on the International Space Station.

NPR's Joe Palca reports that American spacewalkers Michael Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio had to bolt the massive pump in place (on the ground, it weighs 780 pounds), connect four ammonia lines and plug in five electrical cables. The ammonia is a refrigerant used in the station's two-part cooling system, which is necessary to dissipate heat from the onboard electrical equipment.

More than a ton of advanced electronics, including an ion engine and sensors that help detect variations in gravity, crashed into Earth's atmosphere Sunday night, when the European GOCE satellite ended its four-year mission. Most of the 2,425-pound craft disintegrated when it re-entered the atmosphere over the South Atlantic Ocean; about 25 percent did not.