History was made in the exact same week for two spaceships called “Falcon.”

On Tuesday, SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon Heavy rocket into space, proving its viability as a reliable space transportation system for the future. And just 24 hours prior to the launch, the trailers for Solo: A Star Wars Story revealed what the starship the Millennium Falcon looked like before it appeared in the first Star Wars movie. But, which of these two space falcons is heavier? The real-life Falcon Heavy or the fictional Millennium Falcon? It depends on how you look at it.

Back in December 2017, Star Wars: The Last Jedi ended with over a dozen people hanging out on the Millennium Falcon, which didn’t prevent it from lifting off from the salt-covered, red planet Crait planet Crait. And that’s because it can carry quite a big load, a load that is perhaps slightly more than what the SpaceX Heavy Falcon can lift.

According to the SpaceX website, the Heavy Falcon can carry up to 64 metric tons, which is about 141,000 pounds; “A mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage, and fuel.” The Falcon Heavy is 70 meters tall (or long) which makes it twice the size of the Millennium Falcon, which is only 34.5 meters. But, even though its like half the size, the Millennium Falcon can probably carry more than the Falcon Heavy.

According to current Star Wars canon, the Millennium Falcon is a modified YT-1300f Correllian Light Freighter, and it has a cargo capacity of 25-100 metric tons. Why the big range? Well, presumably, the “special modifications” Han Solo made prior to the first Star Wars movie gave him extra storage space. The “factory settings” for the YT-1300f are probably 25 metric tons, but after Han does his custom job on the ship, the “heaviness” of his Falcon increases.

LEFT: The Millennium Falcon as it appears in the upcoming 'Solo' movie. RIGHT: SpaceX's Falcon Heavy

What this means is that the slicker, newer Millennium Falcon in Solo probably has the smaller weight capacity, meaning, the next version of the famous fictional spaceship seen in Solo won’t be near as heavy as the SpaceX Falcon Heavy. But, the more recognizable Millennium Falcon in the classic Star Wars trilogy, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi is totally heavier than the Falcon Heavy.

So, now the question is this: how is Millennium Falcon capable of carrying so much weight despite being half the size of the Falcon Heavy? Presumably, Elon Musk’s people at SpaceX are working on that.


Photos via Lucasfilm/SpaceX, SpaceX/Lucasfilm

Google celebrated the life of Mary G. Ross on Thursday, with a commemorative doodle on what would have been the pioneer aerospace scientist’s 110th birthday. Ross, a Native American female engineer, helped develop some of the first concepts for flyby missions past Venus and Mars, paving the way for humans to explore the stars and visit other planets. Ross proudly described some of her most important moments this way: “I was the pencil pusher, doing a lot of research. My state of the art tools were a slide rule and a Frieden computer.”

Mars is kind of a bummer: That place is a hotbed of dynamic dust storms that got so big in recent months that they encircled the entire planet. Those conditions, sure to be a challenge for future Mars colonies, are a buzzkill for NASA’s Opportunity Rover right now: A dust storm forced the droid, which has been roaming Mars for 14 years, to shut down in June, and it’s still turned off today.

The first four NASA astronauts set to enter space in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule met the team behind the pod at the factory on Monday. The meeting comes ahead of the first launch, an historic moment for travel as the first American astronauts on board a commercial spacecraft.

The four men visited the company’s Hawthorne, California headquarters in a visit captured on the SpaceX Instagram page. The visit comes less than two weeks after NASA announced the first crew members for the SpaceX capsule and Boeing’s competing CST-100 Starliner pod. The missions will ferry people to and from the International Space Station after the agency’s contract expires with the Russian Soyuz craft in November 2019. As well as the first American commercial astronauts, the launches will mark the first time an American spacecraft has launched from U.S. soil since the shuttle program was retired in 2011.

Thank heavens the Parker Solar Probe isn’t made of wax, because its about to fly closer to the sun than even Icarus dared. On August 11, NASA is launching the probe into a part of the sun’s outer atmosphere known as the Alfvén point. If it manages to get past it, we can officially say a human-made object has touched the sun.

SpaceX has brought a Dragon capsule back to Earth, after successfully completing a second month-long stint at the International Space Station. The company shared an image Sunday of the craft after its return to terra firma, two days after its departure from the space station, before its planned handover to NASA to retrieve the cargo inside.