Factor issue 3: Mars missions, interstellar travel and an interview with an astronaut

Issue 3 of Factor magazine, our digital-only science and tech monthly, is out now on iPad and the web with a bumper issue about space travel.

After a searching look into the future of our everyday lives last month, we’re looking to the final frontier to find out what lies ahead in space exploration.

It’s an exciting time for space travel, with an array of ambitious missions and long-term plans to further our reaches into the stars.

We speak to pioneering astronaut Dr Mae Jemison about her involvement in furthering travel between the stars and find out how interstellar space travel could actually be realised.

Apollo 11 landed on the moon 45 years ago in July. In an exclusive video we look at the significance of the lunar landing and how NASA is using its anniversary highlight future missions.

We also profile the race to send a manned mission to Mars, and find out what needs to happen for space elevators to become a reality.

Here on Earth NASA’s inventions have made their mark, so we look at the space technologies that can be found in our homes. We also find out about the remarkable new audio technology that lets you decipher conversations from vibrations in video footage.

As well as all this there’s the latest news, reviews and much more in the completely free edition of Factor Magazine.

Get Factor Magazine for iPad today by downloading the app or read it online with any modern desktop or laptop browser.

In Pictures: Rosetta captures comet after ten year chase

After ten lonely years of chasing a comet through space, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta has become the first spacecraft ever to interact with a comet.

Yesterday, the final thrusts to get the craft moving at the same trajectory as the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko were successfully completed.

Rosetta is the closest it has been to the comet at any point, at 62 miles from the comet’s surface, and is currently around 252 million miles from earth.

In the next few months Roseta will be prepared to land on the surface of the comet, where it will be able to conduct tests.

The European Space Agency’s Ddirector general, Jean-Jacques Dordain, said:”After 10 years, five months and four days travelling towards our destination, looping around the sun five times and clocking up 6.4 billion kilometers, we are delighted to announce finally we are here.”


This image was taken 177 miles from the comet on Rosetta’s narrow-angle camera.

Image courtesy of: Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA


The smooth region on the ‘base’ of the ‘body’ section of the comet can be seen from a distance of just 80 miles here.

Image courtesy of: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team


On August 4 this image of the comet was taken on as Rosetta was making its approach – it was taken from about 234km away.

Image courtesy of: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM


This image of the coma of the comet covers an area of around 90 miles across and was also taken on the approach to the comet.



The view captured here shows the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimernko from a distance of 1,210 miles and was taken in July this year.

Image courtesy of: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA