Solar Orbiter blasts off on mission to reveal the sun's secrets
Solar Orbiter blasts off on mission to reveal the sun's secretsThe US-European Solar Orbiter probe launched Sunday night from Florida on a voyage to deepen our understanding of the Sun and how it shapes the space weather that impacts technology back on Earth.
© Artur Debat / Jackal Pan / Getty / The Atlantic
The pro -Mars camp has even included, at least for a time, Trump himself, when, in an uncomfortable rebuke of his own administration’s policy, he tweeted last summer, “For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon. We did that 50 years ago.”
ZERO pros for pissing away millions of dollars to a place that we have never been before. On the Apollo lunar missions, was the docking of the CSM & LM, the correction burns on the way to the Moon and the breaking burn to enter lunar orbit, able to be completely computer controlled in case the crew
Last week, NASA put out a call for applications for its next class of astronauts. In recent years, when the agency has asked for résumés, the job was shuttling back and forth between Earth and the International Space Station (ISS). But for the first time in nearly 50 years, some of the aspiring space travelers might be training for a mission to the moon.
President Donald Trump wants NASA to fly American astronauts to the lunar surface and beyond. Congress, the president said during his recent State of the Union address, should fund his administration’s new program “to ensure that the next man and the first woman on the moon will be American astronauts.” This effort, he said, would serve as “a launching pad to ensure that America is the first nation to plant its flag on Mars.”
Why SpaceX Wants a Tiny Texas Neighborhood So Badly
The residents of Boca Chica didn’t ask Elon Musk to move in, but now his company is taking over.McConnaughey and her husband had planned to drive into town that day in late November, but when they pulled out onto the street, they noticed a roadblock, a clear sign that SpaceX technicians were preparing to test hardware. She didn’t want to miss anything, so she turned toward the launchpad, parked her car at the end of a nearby street, and got her camera ready.
The Lunar Roving Vehicle was included on the last three Apollo missions and enabled the astronauts [+] to travel greater distances and explore more diverse regions of the Moon than they were able to on foot alone. The tracks of these vehicles are still present today
Quarantine: Pros and Cons .. Sαɾαԋ Je vois la vie en rose. But getting to the point of this article, I wanted to talk about all the pros and cons of being in quarantine, because I think we're all living this situation differently, depending on our personality, our habits and our feelings.
But what if NASA didn’t stop at the moon first? What if, instead of pouring time, effort, and money into reaching the lunar surface again, the space agency embarked on an unprecedented journey straight to the red planet?
The moon-versus-Mars question is older than the Trump administration’s space ambitions. It has been debated since the last men departed from the moon in the 1970s, when NASA, having achieved a seemingly impossible feat, started pondering what to try next. The conditions that fueled the space program half a century ago—when less than a decade passed between John F. Kennedy’s vow to send a man to the moon and the Apollo moon landing—no longer exist (and unless you wanted to risk war, it wouldn’t be wise to replicate them). Neither does the budget that made it happen. So the country’s next chapter in exploring other worlds may be more open-ended than ever.
A radio signal is coming from space every 16 days. What the hell is it?
Scientists don’t know what to make of fast radio bursts. Some think they come from aliens.Until recently, that’s about all scientists could tell you about fast radio bursts, or FRBs. Our radio telescopes — which pick up noise rather than light — first detected them in 2007, and since then we’ve recorded a few dozen more, but not enough to be able to put together a compelling theory of what causes them.
© Getty A Mars day is similar to a day on Earth, while a day on the Moon is the equivalent to an Earth month.
Here are the top pros and cons to think about and discuss. We can see changes in the environment, for example, on a macro-scale instead of a micro-scale. Scientists have been able to study ozone depletion concerns, global warming concerns, and weather patterns thanks to space exploration.
The Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP; Chinese: 中国探月; pinyin: Zhōngguó Tànyuè), also known as the Chang'e Project (Chinese: 嫦娥工程; pinyin: Cháng'é Gōngchéng)
Scientists have their own arguments for the most compelling celestial destinations and what humankind could learn from them. These arguments are, of course, subject to the whims of presidents, who have their own ideas about the nation’s space policy, a circumstance that has ended up swinging NASA priorities from one part of the solar system to another every eight years. In the most recent administrations, George W. Bush wanted to go back to the moon, Barack Obama didn’t, and Trump very much does. Presidents’ dreams are limited by others’ whims, too: Congress ultimately decides how much money NASA gets and for what.
When Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s administrator, talks about the agency’s Artemis program for lunar exploration—named for Apollo’s sister in Greek mythology—he describes the moon as a “proving ground” for Mars. If something went wrong there, astronauts could make it home in a matter of days instead of months. And while NASA’s newest moon rocket is currently behind schedule and over budget, at least the space agency knows how to build one already.
China Tries 3,000-Year-Old Traditional Remedy on Virus Patients
China is administering its centuries-old traditional medicine on patients affected by the coronavirus disease, a top health official said. Treatment in Wuhan hospitals combine Traditional Chinese Medicine, popularly known as TCM, and western medicines, said Wang Hesheng, the new health commission head in Hubei, the province at the center of the virus outbreak. He said TCM was applied on more than half of confirmed cases in Hubei.“Our efforts have shown some good result,” Wang said at a press conference on Saturday, without elaborating. Top TCM experts have been sent to Hubei for “research and treatment,” he said.
Pros : 1. Highly portable: Laptops are highly portable which means they can easily be carried from one place to another and can be used anywhere. Cons : 1. Frequent upgrades: Laptops are designed with inbuilt CPU and every other component. This makes them vulnerable to crushes every time.
I tend to define camping by either car camping, or backpacking. They are definitely different ways of doing, so I’ll try to keep things general. Pros * Allows you to stay places you might not otherwise be able to visit in a single day.
“We need to crawl before we walk, much less run,” says James Rice, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute who spent 15 years working on Mars rover missions. “Say you’ve got a bunch of new camping equipment. If you’re smart, you’re going to learn how to use that in your backyard. You’re not going to go, say, out to Mount Everest and try to figure out how to work this stuff.”
Supporters of a Mars-direct mission argue that, in fact, the moon is terrible practice for Mars. On the moon, astronauts don’t have to worry about surviving a plunge through an atmosphere; on Mars, they will. The tug of gravity is weaker on the lunar surface than on Mars. The moon is extremely cold, and a single day there lasts nearly an Earth month. By contrast, a Mars day is nearly equal in length to an Earth day, and a summer day on the red planet, near the equator, could feel as pleasant as a spring day on our own.
In pictures: Famous milestones in space
June 20, 1944: First man-made object in space
The MW 18014, a V-2 guided ballistic missile, was launched from the Peenemünde Army Research Center in Nazi Germany. It reached an altitude of 109 miles (176 kilometers) above the Earth’s surface.
The Ugly History of Blaming Ethnic Groups for Outbreaks
Turning coronavirus into a “Chinese” disease will only aid and abet its spread. As the coronavirus outbreak grows in scale and scope, a nasty side effect spreads: discrimination. Inside China, people from Wuhan have been treated like lepers. Outside, we’re seeing numerous reports of verbal and physical abuse aimed at ethnic Chinese, and an aversion to Chinese restaurants and other places associated with the country.
The Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 plus are 2 of the finest phones that you can buy right now in the market. But as it's with anything, there are pros and cons
Pros : Intense feeling of freedom. Truly a sense of being one-with-the-machine. Instant responsiveness. You can’t get the immediate response from a car like you can from a bike. Its size allows for far more flexibility as to where you can go on you
Oct. 4, 1957: First artificial satellite in space
Weighing 184 pounds (84 kilograms), Sputnik 1, a metal sphere with a diameter of 23 inches (58 centimeters), was launched by the Soviet Union into an elliptical low-Earth orbit, giving the Russians a first ‘win’ in the Space Race. The spacecraft completed an Earth orbit every 96.2 minutes and transmitted a series of beeps that could be monitored around the world.
(Pictured) Replica of Sputnik 1.
Nov. 3, 1957: First animal to orbit the Earth
Laika, a three-year-old stray dog from the streets of Moscow, Russia, was sent up to space in Sputnik 2. Scientists believed animals could help understand the effect of space flight on humans. However, since they hadn’t yet, at the time, figured out the technology to de-orbit, it was a one-way flight. Laika died soon after her flight, possibly from overheating caused by a malfunctioning spacecraft.
Aug. 14, 1959: First photo of Earth from space
American satellite Explorer 6 transmitted crude pictures of a sunlit area of the Central Pacific Ocean and its cloud cover while it was crossing Mexico.
German Man Finds Rock From Early Solar System in His Front Yard
Scientists have released their initial analysis of a meteorite that fell over Europe last September. They report that the rock, the remnant of a daytime bolide that impacted Earth with an energy of 0.48 kilotons of TNT (around this much), is a carbonaceous chondrite—the kind of meteor that contains material from the earliest epoch of the solar system. On September 12, 2019, more than 500 people across the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, and the UK reported seeing a flash of light across the sky in broad daylight. The next day, a man named Erik Due-Hansen in Flensburg, Germany stumbled upon a smooth, black, 24.
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Oct. 7, 1959: First photos of another space object
Although no human has ever stood on the far side of the moon, Soviet-era space probe Luna 3 was the first to take photographs of the area. The probe took 29 images; they were of low-resolution but many features could still be identified, such as the Mare Moscoviense (the dark spot in the upper right corner).
March 11, 1960: First solar probe is launched
NASA launched the Pioneer 5 space probe, via a Thor-Able 4 rocket, to investigate the interplanetary space between Earth and Venus. The probe was designed to provide information on solar flares, radiation and interplanetary magnetic fields.
April 12, 1961: First man in space
Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin completed an orbit of the Earth on the Vostok 1. This was Gagarin’s first and only spaceflight. The flight lasted 108 minutes and Gagarin parachuted out of the capsule when it was 4.3 miles (seven kilometers) from the planet’s surface. However, he didn’t man the mission – it was controlled either by an auto-pilot mechanism or from the ground.
May 5, 1961: First completed manned spaceflight
American astronaut Alan Shepard piloted the Mercury-Redstone 3 (also called Freedom 7) to demonstrate humans could withstand the high gravitational forces of launch and landing. He completed a 15-minute suborbital flight before landing in the North Atlantic, off the coast of the Bahamas.
Iran official running anti-coronavirus task force has virus
Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour confirmed Harirchi had the virus. (Pictured) A man wearing a face mask rides an escalator at the Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station in China, on Feb. 18.
June 16, 1963: First woman in space
Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova completed 48 orbits of the Earth in three days. She was awarded the title of “Hero of the Soviet Union” on return and the United Nations Gold Medal of Peace.
March 18, 1965: First spacewalk
Voskhod 2 pilot Alexey Leonov completed a 12-minute spacewalk when he left the craft to attach a camera to the end of the airlock. An endeavor to mark a space milestone, it could have cost Leonov his life since his suit was over-pressurized and he almost suffered a heatstroke. Fortunately, all ended well and the cosmonaut was recorded floating in space before safely re-entering the spacecraft.
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July 15, 1965: First close-up photographs of another planet
NASA's Mariner 4 became the first man-made object to successfully fly by Mars. It transmitted 21 images of the Martian surface, which showed deep craters (like those on the surface of the moon) and no signs of life.
Feb. 3, 1966: First soft landing on another celestial body
Russia's Luna 9 accomplished a lunar landing by deploying a landing bag to survive the impact. The unmanned spacecraft landed undamaged near the Oceanus Procellarum and the on-board television camera system took photographs of the surface. This was the first time photos were transmitted to Earth from the surface of another celestial object.
Dec. 25, 1968: First manned mission escapes Earth's orbit
Apollo 8 departed from Earth's orbit at 6:10:17 UTC, going into lunar orbit and circling it 10 times. Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders marked a list of firsts that include: first humans to see the Earth as a whole, enter the gravitational force of another celestial object, to photograph Earth from space, see the far side of the moon and see an Earthrise.
Mars is humming. Scientists aren’t sure why.
NASA’s latest robotic geologist is starting to reveal the red planet’s pulse.This Martian hum is just one in a slew of fresh mysteries and discoveries detected by NASA’s InSight lander. The work, described in a suite of five studies published today in Nature Geoscience and Nature Communications, provides a peek at the surprising activity above and below the red planet’s surface.
July 20, 1969: First man on the moon
Apollo 11 Mission Commander Neil Armstrong made history when he set foot on the moon. Along with astronaut Buzz Aldrin (pictured), Armstrong landed the lunar module at 20:18 UTC and, six hours later, stepped outside. He was joined by Aldrin some 20 minutes later. Armstrong and Aldrin also became the first humans to take pictures on and off the moon.
Nov. 17, 1970: First lunar rover lands
Lunokhod 1 was the first of two unmanned rovers launched by the Soviet Union. Weighing 1,667 pounds (756 kilograms), it landed in the Mare Imbrium (also called Sea of Showers or Sea of Rains).
April 19, 1971: First space station
The Soviets launched the first space station of any kind, the Salyut 1 (R), to conduct tests and scientific research in low-Earth orbit. An accident on Soyuz 11 forced the Soviets to halt their space missions as their capsules had to be redesigned. This took too long and it was decided to terminate the Salyut 1 after 175 days.
(Pictured) Artist's rendering of a Soyuz space craft docking with Salyut 1.
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July 15, 1972: First mission to leave the inner Solar System
The Pioneer 10, launched on March 2, 1972, became the first spacecraft to enter the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It would become the first to fly by Jupiter in December 1973.
(Pictured) Artist's rendering of Pioneer 10 moving away from the sun.
July 15, 1975: First international manned mission launches
The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project's aim was the first joint U.S.-Soviet spaceflight. With a mission to develop space rescue capability, the American unnumbered Apollo module and Soviet Soyuz 19 docked with each other in space on July 17, 1975, marking the first such link-up of spacecraft from the two nations. The mission also marked the end of the Space Race.
Oct. 22, 1975: First photos from the surface of another planet
The Venera 9 unmanned Soviet mission, that launched in June 8, 1975, became the first spacecraft to orbit Venus. The craft landed near the Beta Regio area on the planet and took images of the Venusian surface that were transmitted to the Earth.
April 12, 1981: First reusable shuttle launches
NASA’s maiden orbiter, Space Shuttle Columbia, was launched with two crew members – John W. Young and Robert L. Crippen. The mission was called STS-1 and Columbia orbited the Earth 37 times before landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California, U.S., on April 14, 1981, becoming the first reusable, manned spacecraft.
Feb. 7, 1984: First untethered spacewalk
American astronaut Bruce McCandless II used the Manned Maneuvering Unit (an astronaut rocket pack) to venture 98 meters (320 feet) from Space Shuttle Challenger.
July 25, 1984: First woman to walk in space
Cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya conducted an extravehicular activity (EVA) for over three hours, cutting and welding metal outside the Salyut 7 space station. She is, to date, the only Soviet woman to walk in space.
Jan. 28, 1986: Challenger explosion
Space Shuttle Challenger started breaking up 73 seconds after lift-off. It exploded shortly after, killing all seven crew members on-board, including school teacher Christa McAuliffe; she was a civilian selected from thousands of applications for the NASA Teacher in Space Project.
(Pictured, clockwise from L) Ellison Onizuka, McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Francis "Dick" Scobee and Michael J. Smith
Feb. 19, 1986: First long-term space station
Mir’s Base Block was launched into orbit by a Soviet Proton launcher, becoming the world’s first modular space station – assembled over the 10 years it was orbiting Earth. During its 15 years of service, it remained the largest artificial satellite in orbit.
Feb. 14, 1990: First photograph of the whole solar system
The Voyager 1, launched in 1977, took the first ever "family portrait" of the solar system. It was a mosaic of 60 images that only showed six planets since Mercury was too close to the sun to be seen, Mars could not be detected by the camera and Pluto was too small. The sun was seen in the center as just a point of light.
March 22, 1995: Longest human space flight
Cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov lived aboard Mir Space Station for just over 437 days continuously. His combined space time, over multiple missions, is more than 22 months. His residency was helpful for scientists to study biomedical effects of long-term spaceflight.
July 4, 1997: First operational rover on another planet
Mars Pathfinder took four minutes to enter the Martian atmosphere and land in the Ares Vallis region. It deployed the Sojourner Rover soon after, which conducted experiments to analyze the atmosphere, climate and geology of the planet.
Nov. 20, 1998: Largest man-made object in space
The first module of the International Space Station (ISS) was launched by a Russian Proton rocket. The world's first multinational space station would continue to grow over subsequent missions until it became the largest man-made object in Earth's orbit and the largest satellite of Earth. The station has also been continuously occupied for more than 16 years, making it the longest continuous human presence in space.
March 6, 2009: First space telescope
A Delta II rocket carried Kepler, NASA’s first planet-hunting spacecraft, on its mission to look for Earth-like exoplanets. It would orbit the Sun every 372 days, observing an area and selecting stars for further study.
(Pictured) Artist's rendering of Kepler spacecraft.
April 28, 2001: First space tourist
American millionaire and engineer Dennis Tito flew to the ISS on the Soyuz TM-32. He is believed to have paid $20 million and returned safely after an eight-day trip.
Feb. 12, 2001: First landing on an asteroid
The NEAR-Shoemaker space probe's mission to Asteroid 433 Eros started in 1996 and ended with the probe landing on its surface. It collected data on the asteroid's composition and magnetic field, with the last data signal being received by NASA on Feb. 28, 2001.
(Pictured) Visualization of 433 Eros.
May 22, 2012: First private company in space
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 delivered the unmanned Dragon cargo spacecraft into orbit so that it could rendezvous with the International Space Station. The Dragon was also the first American vehicle to visit the International Space Station since the end of the space shuttle program.
(Pictured) The Dragon craft is grappled by ISS' robotic arm.
Nov. 12, 2014: First comet landing
The European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe reached the orbit of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on Aug. 6, 2014, and its lander module Philae successfully landed on the comet’s surface.
July 14, 2015: Last encounter with one of nine original planets
New Horizons space probe, launched in 2006, performed its closest flyby of Pluto, becoming the first interplanetary space probe to reach and observe the dwarf planet.
Aug. 10, 2015: Fresh food is harvested in space
After decades of eating Earth-packed food, NASA astronauts aboard the ISS managed to grow, harvest and eat red romaine lettuce in space. They cleaned the greens with citric acid-based wipes before eating them.
March 2, 2016: First ISS year-long mission ends
Russian astronaut Mikhail Kornienko (R) and American Scott Kelly recorded the longest time in space for ISS crew members after their 340-day mission. They were part of a program to study the health effects of long-term spaceflight.
Feb. 15, 2017: 104 satellites launched at once
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) blasted off 101 smaller nano satellites and three Indian satellites in one go. The combined payload of 3,040 lbs (1,380 kgs) was aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
March 30, 2017: First reusable orbital rocket launched and landed
SpaceX sent a previously used Falcon 9 into space, carrying communication satellites. The first stage of the rocket had been used in an April 2016 NASA mission. It successfully returned to Earth and landed on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
Feb. 6, 2018: SpaceX tests the most powerful launch vehicle in operation
The private space company successfully completed the flight of the Falcon Heavy that can lift up to 141,000 pounds (64 metric tons) – a mass greater than a 737 fully-loaded jetliner. During its demo flight, the huge rocket launched Elon Musk’s cherry-red Tesla Roadster and its dummy astronaut, "Starman" (pictured), into orbit around the sun.
Oct. 29, 2018: Closest man-made object to the Sun
The Parker Solar Probe became the closest ever man-made object to the sun. The record of 26.55 million miles (42.73 million kilometers) was previously held by the Helios 2 spacecraft, which was launched jointly by NASA and Germany’s DFVLR. The Parker probe is expected to approach within 4.3 million miles (6.9 million kilometers) from the center of the sun and the mission goals include understanding the flow of energy around the corona (outer layer of the sun’s atmosphere).
(Pictured) United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launching Parker Solar Probe at Cape Canaveral in Florida, U.S. on Aug. 12, 2018.
Jan. 1, 2019: NASA explores furthest point in space
NASA spacecraft New Horizons traveled to Ultima Thule, a trans-Neptunian object located four billion miles (6.5 billion kilometers) from Earth. The journey, which was made in six hours and eight minutes, marks the furthest point in space humanity has explored to date. Photographs sent back from the flyby – the space craft was 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) away – show two sphere-like objects fused together. The largest is believed to be 21 miles (33 kilometers) long.
(Pictured) This image made available by NASA on Jan. 2, 2019, shows the size and shape of the object Ultima Thule.
Jan. 3, 2019: China lands probe on far side of the moon
On this day, the Chinese government claimed to have successfully landed a space probe on the far side of the moon. The probe – Chang’e-4 – landed in the South Pole-Aitken Basin, according to a statement issued by country's space agency. The event now means China is one of only three countries in the world to have made soft-landings on the moon – the other two are the U.S. and the former Soviet Union.
On Jan. 15, 2019, China National Space Administration revealed that seeds taken up to the moon by Chang'e-4 have sprouted, marking the first time any biological matter has grown there. "Learning about these plants' growth in a low-gravity environment would allow us to lay the foundation for our future establishment of space base," said Professor Xie Gengxin, the experiment's chief designer.
(Pictured) This photo, provided on Jan. 3, 2019, by China National Space Administration, shows the Chang'e-4 probe during its landing process.
April 10, 2019: First ever black hole image captured
The black hole was found in the distant galaxy M87, which is located in the Virgo galaxy cluster. Captured by the Event Horizon telescope, the image marks a first in space imaging technology. The Event Horizon telescope was built specifically to capture images of black holes, via a network of eight linked telescopes around the world.
Oct. 18, 2019: NASA astronauts conduct first all-female spacewalk
NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir made history as they completed the first-ever spacewalk by an all-woman team. The spacewalk was guided by veteran NASA astronaut and capsule communicator Stephanie Wilson on ground and astronauts Luca Parmitano and Andrew Morgan on the International Space Station. It lasted for seven hours and 17 minutes, and the team's job was to fix a broken part of the station’s solar power network.
(Pictured) Koch and Meir with Morgan at the International Space Station on Oct. 18, 2019.
Feb. 6, 2020: Longest-ever female spaceflight
NASA astronaut Christina Koch spent 328 days orbiting Earth on the International Space Station, returning on the Russian Soyuz craft that landed in Kazakhstan on Feb. 6. Her time spent on one continuous space journey exceeds the previously held record of 289 days set by fellow American Peggy Whitson in December 2019, and is shy of the all-time U.S. record of 340 days held by Scott Kelly.
(Pictured) Koch reacts after the landing of the Russian Soyuz MS-13 space capsule in a remote area southeast of Zhezkazgan in the Karaganda region of Kazakhstan on Feb. 6, 2020.
Even the dust on the two planets is different. Lunar dust is a fine powder of tiny particles with jagged edges, and, as the Apollo astronauts learned, nearly impossible to brush off spacesuits and equipment. Martian dust is more like that found on Earth, and less likely to shred human lungs if it’s accidentally breathed in. “If we had done lunar sample return prior to sending Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the surface, I’m convinced it would have been decades before we sent people to the moon,” says John Grunsfeld, a retired NASA astronaut and a former associate administrator of the agency’s science division. “The medical community would have gotten those samples back, looked at them in the microscope, and gone, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s broken glass at the micron scale. The astronauts will inhale it, hemorrhage, and die on the moon.’”
One of the most promising discoveries on both Mars and the moon is water, but how that water is situated varies between the two. Spacecraft and samples from the Apollo missions have shown that the moon has potentially massive amounts of water frozen as hard as granite in deposits deep at its poles, which future astronauts could mine for their life-support systems. But the icy water on Mars may be more evenly distributed just beneath the surface. The technology that future astronauts would use to extract water from ice on the moon could be overkill on the red planet.
In pictures: Spectacular images from space
Nature’s grand design
This eye-catching galaxy is known as NGC 5364. Unmistakably a spiral, NGC 5364 is also something known as a grand design spiral galaxy — a descriptive name deserved by only one-tenth of spirals. While all spirals have a structure that is broadly similar, there is quite a bit of variation amongst individual galaxies; some have patchy, oddly-shaped arms, some have bars of stars cutting through their core, some are colossal and radiant, and others are dim and diminutive.
Grand designs like NGC 5364 are in many ways the archetype of a spiral galaxy. They are characterised by their prominent, well-defined arms, which circle outwards from a clear core.
Here comes the Sun
At this very moment, a spacecraft is headed toward the brightly burning Sun, photographed here on an Antarctic summer day. Solar Orbiter is ESA’s latest mission to study the Sun up close. Launched in the early hours of Feb. 10 from Cape Canaveral, Fla., the spacecraft is due to arrive at its fiery destination in approximately two years.
The Solar Orbiter spacecraft, built for NASA and the European Space Agency, lifts off from pad 41 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket as the full moon is seen above at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla. on Feb. 9.
Massive galaxy cluster
Astronomers have made the most detailed study yet of an extremely massive young galaxy cluster using three of NASA's Great Observatories. This multi-wavelength image shows this galaxy cluster, called IDCS J1426.5+3508 (IDCS 1426 for short), in X-rays recorded by the Chandra X-ray Observatory in blue, visible light observed by the Hubble Space Telescope in green, and infrared light detected by the Spitzer Space Telescope in red. This rare galaxy cluster, which is located 10 billion light-years from Earth, is almost as massive as 500 trillion suns.
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Mars mission in progress
This illustration shows a concept of what a rover fetching rock and soil samples on Mars for return to Earth could look like. The sample tube in this image would have been left on the surface by a previous mission, NASA's Mars 2020 rover. NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are solidifying concepts for a Mars sample return mission to return Mars 2020 samples to Earth for scientific investigation.
Pale Blue Dot
For the 30th anniversary of one of the most iconic views from the Voyager mission, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. is publishing a new version of the image known as the "Pale Blue Dot." The updated image uses modern image-processing software and techniques while respecting the intent of those who planned the image. Like the original, the new color view shows Planet Earth as a single, bright blue pixel in the vastness of space. Rays of sunlight scattered within the camera optics stretch across the scene, one of which happens to have intersected dramatically with Earth.
The view was obtained on Feb. 14, 1990, just minutes before Voyager 1's cameras were intentionally powered off to conserve power and because the probe — along with its sibling, Voyager 2 — would not make close flybys of any other objects during their lifetimes. Shutting down instruments and other systems on the two Voyager spacecraft has been a gradual and ongoing process that has helped enable their longevity.
An undated handout image made available by ESA shows an illustration of European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter spacecraft against the backdrop of an image of the Sun. Solar Orbiter will capture the very first images of the Sun's polar regions.
Image of HD 70843, the star chosen as the first target for Cheops, ESA’s Characterizing ExOPlanet Satellite. The star, located around 150 light years away in the constellation of Cancer, is visible at the center of the image, surrounded by fainter stars in the background.
Fast radio burst
Observations with the 8-meter Gemini North telescope, a program of the NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, have allowed astronomers to pinpoint the location of a Fast Radio Burst in a nearby galaxy — making it the closest known example to Earth and only the second repeating burst source to have its location pinpointed in the sky. The source of this burst of radio waves is located in an environment radically different from that seen in previous studies. This discovery challenges researchers’ assumptions on the origin of these already enigmatic extragalactic events.
Christina Koch sets new space record
In this handout image supplied by NASA, astronaut Christina Koch is helped out of the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft just minutes after she, Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, and ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan on Feb. 6, in Kazakhstan. Koch returned to Earth after logging 328 days in space --- the longest spaceflight in history by a woman --- as a member of Expeditions 59-60-61 on the International Space Station.
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Mars Rover captures Murray Buttes
This view from the Curiosity Mars rover's Mast Camera (Mastcam) shows an outcrop with finely-layered rocks within the "Murray Buttes" region on lower Mount Sharp. The buttes and mesas rising above the surface in this area are eroded remnants of ancient sandstone that originated when winds deposited sand after lower Mount Sharp had formed. Curiosity closely examined that layer -- called the "Stimson formation" -- during the first half of 2016, while crossing a feature called "Naukluft Plateau" between two exposures of the Murray formation. The layering within the sandstone is called "cross-bedding" and indicates that the sandstone was deposited by wind as migrating sand dunes.
Bars and baby stars
The galaxy depicted in this picture is a barred spiral known as NGC 7541, seen here as viewed by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, in the constellation of Pisces (The Fishes). A barred spiral is a galaxy with whirling, pinwheeling, spiral arms, and a bright center that is intersected by a bar of gas and stars. This bar cuts directly through the galaxy’s central region, and is thought to invigorate the region somewhat, sparking activity and fueling myriad processes that may otherwise have never occurred or have previously ground to a halt (star formation and active galactic nuclei being key examples).
NGC 7541 is actually observed to have a higher-than-usual star formation rate, adding weight to the theory that spiral bars act as stellar nurseries, corralling and funneling inwards the material and fuel needed to create and nurture new baby stars. Along with its nearby companion NGC 7537, the galaxy makes up a pair of galaxies located about 110 million light-years away from us.
ALMA image of HD101584
This new ALMA image shows the outcome of a stellar fight: a complex and stunning gas environment surrounding the binary HD101584. The colors represent speed, going from blue — gas moving the fastest towards us — to red — gas moving the fastest away from us.
3D-printed block of moondust
The hollow cell structure of this 1.5 ton block, 3D printed from simulated lunar dust, combines strength with low weight, like bird bones. The building block is on display in the laboratory corridor of ESA’s ESTEC technical center in the Netherlands, visited during public tours from neighboring Space Expo.
Cygnus space freighter moments after its release
The Cygnus space freighter from Northrop Grumman is pictured moments after its release from the Canadarm2 robotic arm as the International Space Station orbited over the South Pacific just off the West Coast of Chile. Cygnus had completed an 88-day stay attached to the Unity module after delivering nearly 8,200 pounds of research and supplies to the space station on Nov. 4, 2019.
During its 24th close flyby of Jupiter, NASA's Juno spacecraft captured this view of a chaotic, stormy area of the planet's northern hemisphere known as a folded filamentary region. Jupiter has no solid surface in the same way Earth does. Data collected by Juno indicate that some of the giant planet's winds run deeper and last longer than similar atmospheric processes on Earth.
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ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano (middle) and NASA astronaut Drew Morgan (left) work on get-ahead tasks during the fourth spacewalk to service the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS). Saturday’s spacewalk, which lasted five hours and 55 minutes, was the last in a four-part series to extend the life of the particle physics detector that was not designed to be maintained in space. On this final spacewalk, where Drew held the lead role of EV1, the pair set out to check the tubes that connect the cooling system to the larger instrument for any leaks.
Tarantula Nebula Spitzer
This image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the Tarantula Nebula in three wavelengths of infrared light, each represented by a different color.
The magenta-colored regions are dust composed of molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are also found in ash from coal, wood and oil fires on Earth. PAHs emit in multiple wavelengths. The PAHs emit in multiple wavelengths, so the magenta color is a combination of red (corresponding to an infrared wavelength of 8 micrometers) and blue (3.6 micrometers). The green color in this image shows the presence of particularly hot gas emitting infrared light at a wavelength of 4.5 micrometers. The stars in the image are mostly a combination of green and blue. White hues indicate regions that radiate in all three wavelengths.
Dwarf Nova System
This illustration shows a newly discovered dwarf nova system, in which a white dwarf star is pulling material off a brown dwarf companion. The material collects into an accretion disk until reaching a tipping point, causing it to suddenly increase in brightness. Using archival Kepler data, a team observed a previously unseen, and unexplained, gradual intensification followed by a super-outburst in which the system brightened by a factor of 1,600 over less than a day.
Out with a bang
On 21 January, a foreign body crashed to Earth causing a cascade of bright light to trail through the sky. The fleeting flash was a fireball, defined as a meteor brighter than the planet Venus. Such bright meteors are caused as small asteroids strike the atmosphere, entirely or almost entirely burning up due to friction, sometimes suddenly exploding.
International Space Station commander Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan work on the spacesuits they will wear during the fourth and final #SpacewalkForAMS scheduled for 25 January. During this spacewalk, the duo will finalise thermal repairs on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, an astrophysics device searching for evidence of dark matter and antimatter on the International Space Station's Starboard-3 truss structure.
This new multiwavelength image of the Crab Nebula combines X-ray light from the Chandra X-ray Observatory (in blue) with visible light from the Hubble Space Telescope (in yellow) and infrared light seen by the Spitzer Space Telescope (in red). This particular combination of light from across the electromagnetic spectrum highlights the nested structure of the pulsar wind nebula.
Two Moon rovers are better than one
ESA has signed a deal with space engineering company COMEX in France to develop an innovative double-rover architecture for lunar surface exploration, based on a tractor and trailer concept. TRAILER is a two-year project to test a novel architecture of robotic cooperation based on a tandem of two rovers for lunar surface exploration missions.
This peculiar galaxy, beautifully streaked with tendrils of reddish dust, is known as NGC 1022, and is officially classified as a barred spiral galaxy. You can just about make out the bar of stars in the centre of the galaxy in this image, with swirling arms emerging from its ends. This bar is much less prominent than in some of the galaxy’s barred cousins and gives the galaxy a rather squat appearance; but the lanes of dust that swirl throughout its disc ensure it is no less beautiful.
Tour the Skies
In this photograph, a slice of fiery colour streaks along the horizon near Paranal Observatory in northern Chile, bathing the four Unit Telescopes of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in a soft, peachy glow.
The Milky Way appears to soar directly up from one of the Unit Telescopes, bounded on either side by a spectacular array of stars — including Sirius, which dazzles at the top of the image. Part of Canis Major (The Greater Dog), Sirius is the brightest star in the sky and is actually a binary system, consisting of a main-sequence star (Sirius A, a star in stable “adulthood” that is burning nuclear fuel) and a white dwarf (Sirius B, the dense corpse of a star that ran out of fuel long ago).
Changing the Face of Unmanned Aircraft
On the underbelly of a Twin Otter research aircraft, a laser communication device stares out into the open skies over Cleveland. It’s not a camera taking images, but rather has eyes only for particular optical communication frequencies forming the foundation to a quantum key distribution (QKD) system being tested at NASA Glenn Research Center for use on unmanned aircraft (UA). The number of UA in the national airspace is growing and their ability to communicate with ground operators and each other is critical to a safe environment. But the increase in traffic is leading to an increase in communications disruptions because too many vehicles are trying to use the same limited number of frequencies.
QKD, the device pictured above, uses specialized laser and photon detector technology to enable UA to exchange encryption keys to communicate on extremely secure radio frequency channels. In addition, an optical channel provides a high data rate communication link for high bandwidth applications. The QTech (Quantum Technologies) project, a partnership of Glenn and NASA’s Ames Research Center, along with New York’s Air Force Research Laboratory and IJK Controls LLC, is attempting to harness the power of quantum technologies to ensure communication availability and address potential cybersecurity challenges.
In 2014, NASA's Swift mission detected a record-setting series of X-ray flares unleashed by DG CVn, a nearby binary consisting of two red dwarf stars, illustrated here. At its peak, the initial flare was brighter in X-rays than the combined light from both stars at all wavelengths under normal conditions.
Cluster of Galaxies
Astronomers using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes have put together a detailed map of a rare collision between four galaxy clusters. Eventually all four clusters — each with a mass of at least several hundred trillion times that of the Sun — will merge to form one of the most massive objects in the universe.
Galaxy clusters are the largest structures in the cosmos that are held together by gravity. Clusters consist of hundreds or even thousands of galaxies embedded in hot gas, and contain an even larger amount of invisible dark matter. Sometimes two galaxy clusters collide, as in the case of the Bullet Cluster, and occasionally more than two will collide at the same time.
This bright, blob-like galaxy named NGC 1803, is about 200 million light-years away, in the southern constellation of Pictor (The Painter’s Easel). NGC 1803 was discovered in 1834 by astronomer John Herschel. Herschel is a big name in astronomy; John, his father William, and his aunt Caroline all made huge contributions to the field, and their legacies remain today. William systematically catalogued many of the objects he viewed in the night sky, named many moons in the Solar System, discovered infrared radiation, and more. John took this aforementioned catalogue of night-sky objects and reworked and expanded it into his General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars. This was the basis for the cataloguing system still used today by astronomers. This galaxy is one of a galactic pair. It was described by Dreyer as being “faint, small, [and] round”, and located near to a very bright star to the southeast.
Aurora blankets the Earth
An aurora blankets the Earth beneath a celestial night sky as the International Space Station orbits 261 miles above the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of North America.
Extravehicular activity in space
NASA astronaut Christina Koch is tethered to the International Space Station's Port-6 truss structure during a spacewalk to finalize upgrading power systems on the truss structure.
The Milky Way contains many regions of starbirth — areas where new stars are springing to life within collapsing clumps of gas and dust. One such region, named Gum 26, is shown here as imaged by the FORS instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. Gum 26 is located roughly 20,000 light-years away in the southern constellation of Vela (The Sails). It is something known as an HII region or emission nebula, where the intense ultraviolet radiation streaming from newly-formed stars ionises the surrounding hydrogen gas, causing it to emit a faint pinkish glow.
Liftoff of SpaceX
A Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket lifts off from pad 39A during a test flight to demonstrate the capsule's emergency escape system at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Jan. 19.
Close encounter with Jupiter
A multitude of swirling clouds in Jupiter's dynamic North North Temperate Belt is captured in this image from NASA's Juno spacecraft. Appearing in the scene are several bright-white “pop-up” clouds as well as an anticyclonic storm, known as a white oval. This color-enhanced image was taken at 4:58 p.m. EDT on Oct. 29, 2018, as the spacecraft performed its 16th close flyby of Jupiter. At the time, Juno was about 4,400 miles from the planet's cloud tops, at a latitude of approximately 40 degrees north.
Artist's impression of the fairing encapsulating Solar Orbiter being released following launch on an Atlas V 411. Solar Orbiter is a space mission of international collaboration between ESA and NASA. Its mission is to perform unprecedented close-up observations of the Sun and from high latitudes, providing the first images of the uncharted polar regions of the Sun, and investigating the Sun-Earth connection.
Spitzer Space Telescope
In this artist's rendering of NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope in space, the background is shown in infrared light. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.
Microbial wipe down
NASA astronaut Jack Fisher is seen here using a wet wipe on the surfaces of the European Cupola module of the International Space Station. Doubling as both Station maintenance and science experiment, Jack collected microbes living on the surfaces of his orbital home for ESA’s Extremophiles experiment. Headed by Dr. Christine-Moissl Eichinger from the Medical University of Graz, Austria, the experiment studies how microbes settle into the harsh environment of space.
Ariane 5 liftoff
On Jan. 16, Ariane 5 flight VA251 lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana and delivered two telecom satellites, Konnect and GSAT-30, into their planned orbits.
Second all-woman spacewalk
In this image taken from NASA video NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch work to finish upgrades to the International Space Station's power grid, on Jan. 15. It was the second pairing of Meir and Koch outside the orbiting lab.
This satellite photo provided by Maxar Technologies shows wildfires spreading in the area south of Eden and Twofold Bay, shown in black, in New South Wales state of Australia, on Jan. 12.
Space through lens
Image taken by ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano from outside the International Space Station on the first spacewalk to service the cosmic ray detecting Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02). The image shows the Japanese Kibo module left and the solar arrays in the distance over Earth.
Luca and his spacewalking partner NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan were on the first of several spacewalks in the complex series to maintain AMS-02 on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. It was the first time a European astronaut has held the leading role in a spacewalk known as EV1. The spacewalk went so well that the pair even managed to complete some tasks scheduled for the next spacewalk in the series. The image released on Jan. 10.
View of the star-forming region
This ALMA image shows a detailed view of the star-forming region AFGL 5142. A bright, massive star in its infancy is visible at the centre of the image. The flows of gas from this star have opened up a cavity in the region, and it is in the walls of this cavity, shown in colour, that phosphorus-bearing molecules like phosphorus monoxide are formed. The different colours represent material moving at different speeds.
Stormy activity at Mars’ icy north pole
This image shows part of the ice cap sitting at Mars’ north pole, complete with bright swathes of ice, dark troughs and depressions, and signs of strong winds and stormy activity. The landscape here is a rippled mix of color. Dark red and ochre-hued troughs appear to cut through the icy white of the polar cap; these form part of a wider system of depressions that spiral outwards from the very centre of the pole. Visible to the left of the frame are a few extended streams of clouds, aligned perpendicularly to a couple of the troughs.
These are thought to be caused by small local storms that kick up dust into the martian atmosphere, eroding scarps and slopes as they do so and slowly changing the appearance of the troughs over time. This image comprises data gathered on Nov. 16, 2006 during orbit 3670. The ground resolution is approximately 15 m/pixel and the images are centred at about 244°E/85°N. This image was created using data from the nadir and colour channels of the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC). The nadir channel is aligned perpendicular to the surface of Mars, as if looking straight down at the surface. North is to the upper right. The image released on Jan. 13.
The Perseus galaxy cluster
This image shows the Perseus galaxy cluster, one of the most massive known objects in the Universe – in X-ray and optical light, as seen by XMM-Newton’s European Photon Imaging Camera (EPIC) and the Digitized Sky Survey II, respectively. Using XMM-Newton to study Perseus, astronomers spotted the first signs of this hot gas splashing and sloshing around – a behavior that, while predicted, had never been seen before.
Taal volcano from the top
In this Jan. 12, 2020, image made available by Himawari-8 IR satellite via the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shows the eruption of Taal volcano, south of Manila, Philippines. The small volcano near the Philippine capital that draws tourists for its picturesque setting in a lake erupted with a massive plume of ash and steam Sunday, prompting the evacuation of tens of thousands of people and forcing Manila's international airport to shut down.
Imposter or the real deal?
This Picture of the Week, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows a close-up view of a galaxy named NGC 2770. NGC 2770 is intriguing, as over time it has hosted four different observed supernovae (not visible here). Supernovae form in a few different ways, but always involve a dying star. These stars become unbalanced, lose control, and explode violently, briefly shining as brightly as an entire galaxy before slowly fading away.
One of the four supernovae observed within this galaxy, SN 2015bh, is especially interesting. This particular supernova initially had its identity called into question. When it was first discovered in 2015, astronomers classified SN 2015bh as a supernova imposter, believing it to be not an exploding star but simply an unpredictable outburst from a massive star in its final phase of life. Thankfully, astronomers eventually discovered the truth and the object was given its correct classification as a Type II supernova, resulting from the death of a star between eight and 50 times the mass of the Sun.
ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano snapped this image of snowy field and mountain. When he shared on social media, he captioned it "Natural symmetries, human geometries." Luca was launched to the International Space Station for his second mission, Beyond, on July 20, 2019. He will spend six months living and working on the orbital outpost where he will support more than 50 European experiments and more than 200 international experiments in space. Follow Luca and his Beyond mission on social media on his website and on his blog. Image released on Jan. 10.
Close Encounter with Jupiter
A multitude of swirling clouds in Jupiter's dynamic North North Temperate Belt is captured in this image from NASA's Juno spacecraft. Appearing in the scene are several bright-white “pop-up” clouds as well as an anticyclonic storm, known as a white oval. This color-enhanced image was taken at 4:58 p.m. EDT on Oct. 29, 2018, as the spacecraft performed its 16th close flyby of Jupiter. At the time, Juno was about 4,400 miles from the planet's cloud tops, at a latitude of approximately 40 degrees north. Citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran created this image using data from the spacecraft's JunoCam imager. The image released on Jan. 15.
Quasars' Multiple Images Shed Light on Tiny Dark Matter Clumps
Each of these Hubble Space Telescope snapshots reveals four distorted images of a background quasar (an extremely bright region in the center of some distant galaxies) and its host galaxy surrounding the core of a foreground massive galaxy. The gravity of the massive foreground galaxy acts like a magnifying glass by warping the quasar's light in an effect called gravitational lensing. Quasars are extremely distant cosmic "streetlights" produced by active black holes. Such quadruple images of quasars are rare because of the nearly exact alignment needed between the foreground galaxy and background quasar.
These images come from a study in which astronomers used the gravitational lensing effect to detect the smallest clumps of dark matter ever found. The clumps are located along the telescope's line of sight to the quasars as well as in and around the foreground lensing galaxies. The presence of the dark matter concentrations alters the apparent brightness and position of each distorted quasar image. Astronomers compared these measurements with predictions of how the quasar images would look without the influence of the dark matter clumps. The researchers used these measurements to calculate the masses of the tiny dark matter concentrations. Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 captured the near-infrared light from each quasar and dispersed it into its component colors for study with spectroscopy. The images were taken between 2015 and 2018. The combined image released on Jan. 8.
Up in smoke
Another pair of eyes provides a sobering perspective on the fires ravaging Australia. ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano took images such as this one on Jan. 12, from his vantage point of the International Space Station. From satellite imagery tracing smoke and pollution, to images from the ground depicting apocalyptic red skies, there is no denying the fires’ devastating effect. Starting in New South Wales and extending into Victoria, the ferocious bushfires have been raging since September and are fueled by record-breaking temperatures.
Communication technology experiment satellite is launched
A new communication technology experiment satellite is launched by a Long March-3B carrier rocket at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Xichang, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Jan. 7. The satellite will be used in communication, radio, television and data transmission, as well as high throughput technology test.
This sequence of four images from NASA's Juno spacecraft reveals the first views of the north polar region of Jupiter's moon Ganymede. Juno is the first mission to directly image this part of Ganymede, which is the largest moon in the solar system, larger even than the planet Mercury. Ganymede is also the only known moon with its own magnetic field. Scientists have even found evidence for an underground ocean of liquid water beneath its icy surface. Citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt created this image using data from the JunoCam camera.
The images were acquired on Dec. 25, 2019, between 6:10 and 7:00 p.m. PST (9:10 and 10 p.m. EST), during Juno's inbound approach of its 24th close flyby of Jupiter. The images were taken when Ganymede was at a range of 60,695 - 68,002 miles (97,680 - 109,439 kilometers) from the spacecraft as it flew by. The image released on Jan. 9.
The wide-field view
This wide-field view shows the region of the sky, in the constellation of Auriga, where the star-forming region AFGL 5142 is located. This view was created from images forming part of the Digitized Sky Survey 2.
Black hole has jet pushing cosmic speed limit
Using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have seen that the famous giant black hole in Messier 87 is propelling particles at speeds greater than 99% of the speed of light.
In this composite image of the Omega Nebula, SOFIA detected the blue areas (20 microns) near the center, revealing gas as it's heated by massive stars located at the center, near the bend, and the green areas (37 microns) that trace dust as it's warmed both by massive stars and nearby newborn stars. The nine never-before-seen protostars were found primarily in the southern areas.
Hubble surveys gigantic galaxy
Galaxy UGC 2885 may be the largest one in the local universe. It is 2.5 times wider than our Milky Way and contains 10 times as many stars. This galaxy is 232 million light-years away, located in the northern constellation of Perseus.
TOI 700, a planetary system 100 light-years away in the constellation Dorado, is home to TOI 700 d, the first Earth-size habitable-zone planet discovered by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.
Ripples and Shells
Compared to their more intricate spiral cousins, elliptical galaxies resemble soft, hazy clouds. These galaxies have smooth, undefined boundaries, and bright cores surrounded by a fuzzy, diffuse glow. However, looks can be deceiving. At least 10% of ellipticals extend much further out into the cosmos than you might expect, and possess a range of far finer structures than first meets the eye — features such as loops and shells. Located around 100 million light-years away in the constellation of Pisces (The Fish), the galaxy to the upper-left of this image is named NGC 474.
The International Space Station was orbiting 260 miles above northeastern Syria at the time this photograph of Baghdad, Iraq was taken on Jan. 7.
Smoke from bushfires blankets the southeast coastline of Australia as the International Space Station orbited 269 miles above the above the Tasman Sea on Jan. 4.
What happens when planets collide
This artist’s concept illustrates a catastrophic collision between two rocky exoplanets, turning both into dusty debris.
A waxing crescent moon
A waxing crescent moon is pictured as the International Space Station orbited 260 miles above the north African country of Algeria on Jan. 1.
Smoke seen from space
This satellite image made available by NASA Worldview shows smoke originating from bushfires in Australia (top left) drifting over New Zealand on Jan. 1. Smoke from bushfires in the Australian states of Victoria and New South Wales has created a haze across New Zealand, thousands of miles away.
Earth's atmospheric glow
Stars glitter in the night sky above an atmospheric glow blanketing city lights in northern Iran, as the International Space Station crossed over the Caspian Sea.
A galaxy about 23 million light years away is the site of impressive, ongoing fireworks. Rather than paper, powder and fire, this galactic light show involves a giant black hole, shock waves and vast reservoirs of gas. This galactic fireworks display is taking place in NGC 4258, also known as M106, a spiral galaxy like our own Milky Way.
Astronaut Christina Koch makes history again
NASA astronaut Christina Koch makes observations from the International space Station's cupola. In October 2019, she was part of the first all-female spacewalk and now she has made history again. On Dec. 28, she broke the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, when she surpasses former Station Commander Peggy Whitson's record.
Bright lights, big cities
The bright city lights of Long Island, New York City and the New Jersey area contrast the dark waters of Sandy Hook Bay, the Upper and Lower Bays, the Hudson and East Rivers and Long Island Sound.
'Reality beats imagination'
ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano captured this image of our planet from the International Space Station and shared it on his social media channels saying: "My first picture from Cupola, since I’ve been back. Reality beats imagination, and once again my words can’t contain the emotion of admiring my planet from orbit... greeted by the Tierra del Fuego."
'Ring of Fire'
The moon totally covers the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse as seen from the south Indian city of Dindigul in Tamil Nadu state on Dec. 26.
Starliner spacecraft lifts off
The Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, atop an ULA Atlas V rocket, lifts off on an uncrewed Orbital Flight Test to the International Space Station from launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Dec. 20.
Norway from above
With Christmas almost here, the red and white of this Copernicus Sentinel-2 image bring a festive feel to this week’s image featuring Tromsø – the largest city in northern Norway.
The Anti-Atlas Mountains of Morocco formed as a result of the collision of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates about 80 million years ago. This collision destroyed the Tethys Ocean. The limestone, sandstone, clay-stone and gypsum layers that formed the ocean bed were folded and crumpled to create the Anti-Atlas Mountains. In this image of southwest Morocco, visible, near infrared and short wavelength infrared bands are combined to dramatically highlight the different rock types, and illustrate the complex folding. The image was acquired on November 5, 2007, by the ASTER instrument on the Terra satellite.
Terra launched 20 years ago in December 1999, beginning a new era in the study of Earth. Terra, flagship of the agency’s Earth Observing System, was built to last for six years and 30,000 orbits. But, 20 years later Terra and its five on board instruments continue on a mission of discovery, providing data about the planet we call home.
The sun's glint beams over the Philippine Sea
The International Space Station orbits 267 miles above the Earth as the sun's glint beams over the Philippine Sea highlighting the clouds and their shadows during an orbital sunrise.
An active center
This swirling mass of celestial gas, dust, and stars is a moderately luminous spiral galaxy named ESO 021-G004, located just under 130 million light-years away. This galaxy has something known as an active galactic nucleus which means that astronomers measure a lot of radiation at all wavelengths coming from the center of the galaxy.
After half a dozen landings that supplied hundreds of pounds of lunar samples that have been carefully studied for decades, the moon may feel pretty familiar to us. But it still has its mysteries, and scientists are eager to probe them. Mars has its mysteries, too, including one that might answer one of humankind’s most existential questions. While the moon is generally understood to be lifeless, on Mars “you can actually go look for signs of existing life on the surface,” says Briony Horgan, a planetary-science professor at Purdue University who works on NASA’s Mars missions, including a rover that is scheduled to launch toward the planet in July. “We can do that with robots, but it’s hard.” (Take it from the little Mars spacecraft that landed last year, ready to drill into the soil to measure seismic activity, and became stuck almost immediately.)
Grunsfeld, the former astronaut, believes that NASA has already shown it doesn’t need the moon to go to Mars. The agency has proved it can keep astronauts healthy for long stretches in space; Christina Koch just came home after nearly a year on the International Space Station, a record for a woman. A journey to Mars would expose astronauts to more cosmic radiation than they experience on the ISS, though, which could increase their lifetime risk of getting cancer. When I asked Grunsfeld about that, he launched into a list of dangers so harrowing, it would be difficult to fault aspiring astronauts for quietly rescinding their applications: “How does that compare to the risk of blowing up on the launchpad or on ascent; getting hit by a meteor, asteroid, debris, some kind of space junk on the way there; burning up in the Mars atmosphere; burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere on the way back; or missing the Earth? You add up all those risks, and the [risk of radiation exposure] is kind of just another one.” © Getty Donald Trump makes the Space Force the sixth branch of the US Armed Forces.
Even Apollo astronauts think it’s time to shoot for Mars. Michael Collins has said that he sees “more moon missions as delaying Mars, which is a much more interesting place to go.” Buzz Aldrin has been writing op-eds for a decade urging the nation to focus on Mars. Outside NASA, Elon Musk’s SpaceX is currently developing a spaceship and rocket powerful enough to head right to Mars. The pro-Mars camp has even included, at least for a time, Trump himself, when, in an uncomfortable rebuke of his own administration’s policy, he tweeted last summer, “For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon. We did that 50 years ago.”
Money, however, is decidedly one of the limiting factors. “If we went all in—if we had an Apollo-like budget—we could probably get to Mars without going to the moon within 10 years,” says Chris Carberry, the CEO of Explore Mars, an industry group that advocates for sending people to Mars by the 2030s. (With that kind of budget, Carberry says, NASA might not even have to choose between the two worlds.)
A Mars journey would still be difficult, of course. There are some engineering problems that money alone can’t solve. NASA has a better success rate of landing on Mars than any other space agency in the world, but the missions that have touched down were small rovers, not spaceships full of astronauts. And no agency has ever launched anything back off Mars, an important detail if you want any of those astronauts to come home.
While Carberry believes that NASA technically could mount a Mars-direct mission, a pit stop on the moon would help. But it would have to be short: An extended stay on the lunar surface, or even outpost-construction projects, could leave less room (and cash) for a journey to Mars, he says.
Gallery: A record-breaking crew is about to return from the space station - these are their photos (Business Insider)
For now, the Trump administration is moving ahead with its goal to land the next man and the first woman at the lunar south pole in 2024. Last week, the White House presented Congress with its budget request for NASA for the next fiscal year, which seeks a 12 percent increase over current funding. NASA’s Mars goal remains the same as it has been for the past decade: Astronauts would make a few orbits around the planet and back in 2033, followed by a second mission that would touch down.
NASA has presented these journeys as inevitable, but they grow more nebulous with time. For some perspective: The world is now closer to 2033 than it is to Y2K. And if Musk gets to Mars first, the federal government might have trouble convincing the public that it needs taxpayer money to fund something a rich guy is already doing on his company’s dime. And how, in the coming years, might the government convince Americans that exploring another planet is worth it as climate change transforms their own?
Rice, the moon fan, says that if and when NASA goes to Mars, whether or not it stops on the moon along the way, astronauts should land rather than just loop around. Otherwise, he says, the trip would be infuriatingly anticlimactic: “It’s akin to flying across the Atlantic, going to Paris, pressing your nose up against a French bakery, looking at the pastry, and then coming home.”
Mars is humming. Scientists aren’t sure why. .
NASA’s latest robotic geologist is starting to reveal the red planet’s pulse.This Martian hum is just one in a slew of fresh mysteries and discoveries detected by NASA’s InSight lander. The work, described in a suite of five studies published today in Nature Geoscience and Nature Communications, provides a peek at the surprising activity above and below the red planet’s surface.