After a monthlong stay at the space station, Dragon capsule returns to Earth

Dragon
SpaceX
A SpaceX Dragon capsule loaded with two tons of cargo splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday. It was the second trip to outer space for the capsule, and the second time SpaceX had reused a Dragon for a supply mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The capsule showed a little wear and tear from the reentry, but all the cargo (including a bunch of mice) was retrieved successfully by SpaceX. The capsule was loaded with the results of various scientific experiments, including an attempt to 3D print optical fiber in space. The mice had been treated with various medications that may help alleviate muscle loss during extended stays in a weightless environment.

The Dragon capsule was launched from Cape Canaveral on December 15, and it marked the first time that both a Falcon 9 rocket and a Dragon capsule had been reused. The capsule had previously visited the ISS in 2015 for a resupply mission. This was the 13th mission for SpaceX under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.

“Good splashdown of Dragon confirmed, completing the second resupply mission to and from the @Space_Station with a flight-proven commercial spacecraft,” SpaceX announced on Twitter.

Cargo missions using reusable rockets and capsules are now becoming routine for SpaceX. Elon Musk, the company founder, has said he wants to make the entire rocket, including the Falcon 9 upper stage, completely reusable by the end of this year.

At a teleconference with reporters in March, Musk said there’s no reason not to make the attempt. “We didn’t originally intend for Falcon 9 to have a reusable upper stage, but it might be fun to try like a Hail Mary. What’s the worst that could happen — it blows up?” he asked rhetorically. “It blows up anyway.”

“Rapid and complete reusability of rockets is really the key to opening up space and becoming a spacefaring civilization, a multiplanet species, and having the future be something that’s incredibly exciting and inspiring that we’ll all look forward to,” he added.

The next hurdle for SpaceX is a big one — the Falcon Heavy rocket, to be exact. The 27-engine behemoth will go through a test-fire this month, before a planned launch later this year. And Musk’s very own Tesla Roadster will go along for the ride.

Emerging Tech

Ford’s bipedal delivery robot can walk straight up to your doorstep

Autonomous wheeled delivery robots are seemingly everywhere in 2019. Agility Robotics' Digit robot takes a different approach: It promises to carry out its deliveries while walking on two legs.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX joins internet-from-space race with launch of 60 Starlink satellites

SpaceX has launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying its first batch of Starlink satellites for its ambitious internet-from-space project. The payload, SpaceX's heaviest to date, successfully deployed an hour after liftoff.
Emerging Tech

Watch live as SpaceX tries, for the third time, to launch 60 Starlink satellites

SpaceX is having another go at launching the first 60 satellites for its ultra-ambitious Starlink internet constellation. Here's how you can tune in live to watch it all go down today.
Emerging Tech

Friendly cube robot Bumble passes its first hardware test aboard the ISS

There are some unexpected guests aboard the International Space Station (ISS): cute cube robots called Astrobees. Now the first Astrobee robot has undergone hardware tests to check whether its subsystems are working correctly.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Emerging Tech

This guy managed to squeeze an entire game console into a Game Boy cartridge

Popular YouTuber 3DSage has managed to compress an entire mobile games console inside a single original Game Boy cartridge. Check it out in all in its impressively miniaturized glory.
Emerging Tech

I mainlined a bag of liquid vitamins — for science

Healthy people are signing up for treatments that are typically saved for patients stuck in hospital beds. Known as nutrient IV therapy, the treatment entails pumping vitamins, minerals, and fluids directly into the bloodstream, bypassing…
Emerging Tech

Scientists use an X-ray laser to create the loudest possible underwater sound

Researchers from Stanford University and the Department of Energy have produced the loudest sound possible to make under water. Here's how they managed to create it — and why they did it.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Huawei updates, Starlink launch, and Pac-Man’s birthday

On this episode of DT Live, we discuss the ongoing Huawei saga, Amazon’s social games for workers, Ford's partnership with a robotics company, the Starlink satellite launch, Pac-Man’s birthday, and more.
Emerging Tech

Las Vegas officials bet big on Elon Musk’s Boring Company

Elon Musk’s Boring Company has just been awarded a $48.6 million contract by Las Vegas to build a high-speed transportation system beneath the city’s enormous convention center, and it could be ready by early 2020.
Emerging Tech

Airbus shows off the futuristic interior of its autonomous flying taxi

Airbus has given us the first look inside its single-seat flying taxi. The absence of controls in the Vahana electric aircraft is a reflection of its autonomous capabilities, so you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Emerging Tech

Future smart clothes promise to keep you the perfect temperature at all times

Regulating your body temperature can sometimes be tough. Engineers from UC San Diego have developed heating and cooling wearable tech which could be embedded into future smart clothing.
Emerging Tech

Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 aborts marker drop mission

The Hayabusa 2 spacecraft's mission to drop a reflective marker on the surface of asteroid Ryugu has been aborted. The Japanese team was considering a second touchdown on the asteroid to collect more materials, but this now seems unlikely.
Emerging Tech

Whose name should we etch on the Mars 2020 rover? NASA wants a vote

Dream of making it to Mars? NASA has opened up a new public outreach program to let people send their names to the Red Planet, as an engraving on a silicon chip launched with the Mars 2020 rover.