Needless to say, it’s a big day for space travel. With the planned launch of two American astronauts to the International Space Station, a space policy expert explains how the U.S. came to rely on private space companies. And if you’d like to ponder the cosmos more, I recommend reading how scientists used the latest telescope technology to find the “missing matter” in the universe.

Also in this week’s science and research newsletter: some bright ideas on how to greatly lower energy use in buildings and a reality check on the latest headline-producing vaccine trial.

Martin La Monica

Deputy Editor

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is raised into a vertical position on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A. NASA/Bill Ingalls

SpaceX reaches for milestone in spaceflight – a private company launches astronauts into orbit

Wendy Whitman Cobb, US Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies

SpaceX's launch of astronauts to the International Space Station will make it the first private company to launch humans to space. The effort has ramifications for NASA and spaceflight in general.

Diligence, technological progress and a little luck have together solved a 20 year mystery of the cosmos. CSIRO/Alex Cherney

Half the matter in the universe was missing – we found it hiding in the cosmos

J. Xavier Prochaska, University of California, Santa Cruz; Jean-Pierre Macquart, Curtin University

Cosmologists had only been able to find half the matter that should exist in the universe. With the discovery of a new astronomical phenomenon and new telescopes, researchers just found the rest.

Lyme disease patients hold a rally outside the Irish Parliament. Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Chronic Lyme disease – does it exist?

John Nathaniel Aucott, Johns Hopkins University

Many patients without a diagnosis of Lyme disease report a constellation of symptoms, sometimes for years. Does chronic Lyme disease exist?

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