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Latest by G. Torbet

Some exoplanets have one side permanently facing their star while the other side is in perpetual darkness. The ring-shaped border between these permanent day and night regions is called a “terminator zone.” In a new paper in The Astrophysical Journal, physics and astronomy researchers at UC Irvine say this area has the potential to support extraterrestrial life.

Tidally locked exoplanets could be habitable in the ‘terminator zone’

There are exoplanets where one side is always in sunlight and the other is always dark. But a particular region of these planets could be habitable.
This image shows just a portion of M55, the cluster as a whole appears spherical because the stars’ intense gravitational attraction pulls them together. Hubble’s clear view above Earth’s atmosphere resolves individual stars in this cluster. Ground-based telescopes can also resolve individual stars in M55, but fewer stars are visible.

A sparkling field of stars cluster together in Hubble image

A Hubble image of the galaxy Messier 55 shows a stunning sea of stars in an enormous group called a globular cluster.
Using observations from different NASA missions, this map shows where the Moon’s shadow will cross the U.S. during the 2023 annular solar eclipse and 2024 total solar eclipse. The map was developed by NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio (SVS) in collaboration with the NASA Heliophysics Activation Team (NASA HEAT), part of NASA’s Science Activation portfolio.

NASA map shows where you can see a solar eclipse across the U.S.

NASA has created a map of the U.S. showing when and where you can see a solar eclipse in 2023 and 2024.
The SpaceX Dragon Endeavour crew ship is pictured docked to the Harmony module's space-facing international docking adapter. Endeavour carried four Axiom Mission 1 astronauts, Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria, Pilot Larry Connor, and Mission Specialists Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy, to the International Space Station for several days of research, education, and commercial activities.

Axiom Space to send third private mission to the International Space Station

Axiom Space will send a third private mission to the International Space Station, scheduled for November this year.
UGCA 307 hangs against an irregular backdrop of distant galaxies in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The small galaxy consists of a diffuse band of stars containing red bubbles of gas that mark regions of recent star formation, and lies roughly 26 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Corvus. Appearing as just a small patch of stars, UGCA 307 is a diminutive dwarf galaxy without a defined structure — resembling nothing more than a hazy patch of passing cloud.

A small, fuzzy dwarf galaxy in our neighborhood captured by Hubble

This week's image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a galaxy in our backyard, cosmically speaking, taken as part of a project to image nearby galaxies.
Rendering of Firefly’s Blue Ghost lunar lander delivering NASA’s LuSEE-Night radio telescope to the far side of the Moon.

NASA picks a commercial partner to visit the far side of the moon

NASA has contracted Firefly Aerospace to deliver payloads including a radio telescope to the far side of the moon, which minimizes radio noise coming from Earth.
ESA’s Rosalind Franklin twin rover is back on its wheels and drilled down 1.7 metres into a martian-like ground in Italy – about 25 times deeper than any other rover has ever attempted on Mars. The test rover, known as Amalia, also collected samples for analysis under the watchful eye of European science teams.

How Europe’s ExoMars rover plans to get to Mars without Russia

ExoMars was supposed to be a joint Europe-Russia mission. But the rover will now be sent to Mars using a European lander instead.
This illustration shows NASA’s Dragonfly rotorcraft-lander approaching a site on Saturn’s exotic moon, Titan. Taking advantage of Titan’s dense atmosphere and low gravity, Dragonfly will explore dozens of locations across the icy world, sampling and measuring the compositions of Titan's organic surface materials to characterize the habitability of Titan’s environment and investigate the progression of prebiotic chemistry.

How NASA’s Dragonfly mission will assess Titan for habitability

NASA's robotic rotorcraft Dragonfly will explore Saturn's moon Titan -- a location that is intriguing because it is thought to be potentially habitable.
NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter is depicted in this illustration. The mission team spent most of 2021 assessing how much propellant is left on the orbiter, concluding it has enough to stay active through at least 2025.

How much fuel is left in this 20-year-old Mars orbiter?

Figuring out how much fuel remains in the Mars Odyssey spacecraft turned out to be more complicated than NASA engineers were expecting.
A bright white trail is in view after the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon capsule lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 14, 2022, on the company’s 25th Commercial Resupply Services mission for the agency to the International Space Station. Liftoff was at 8:44 p.m. EDT. Dragon will deliver more than 5,800 pounds of cargo, including a variety of NASA investigations, to the space station. The spacecraft is expected to spend about a month attached to the orbiting outpost before it returns to Earth with research and return cargo, splashing down off the coast of Florida.

How to watch the SpaceX resupply launch to the ISS this week

This week, a SpaceX Cargo Dragon will blast off from Florida carrying scientific equipment and supplies to the International Space Station. Here's how to watch.
Images of four example galaxies selected from the first epoch of COSMOS-Web NIRCam observations, highlighting the range of structures that can be seen. In the upper left is a barred spiral galaxy; in the upper right is an example of a gravitational lens, where the mass of the central galaxy is causing the light from a distant galaxy to be stretched into arcs; on the lower left is nearby galaxy displaying shells of material, suggesting it merged with another galaxy in its past; on the lower right is a barred spiral galaxy with several clumps of active star formation.

Astronomers share early images from James Webb’s galaxy survey

The snapshot of the sky captured by James Webb shows 25,000 galaxies -- and it's just a taste of what is to come.
This artist’s impression shows the planet-forming disc around the star V883 Orionis. In the outermost part of the disc water is frozen out as ice and therefore can’t be easily detected. An outburst of energy from the star heats the inner disc to a temperature where water is gaseous, enabling astronomers to detect it. The inset image shows the two kinds of water molecules studied in this disc: normal water, with one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms, and a heavier version where one hydrogen atom is replaced with deuterium, a heavy isotope of hydrogen.

Water was present in our solar system before the sun formed

Astronomers are looking to a distant star system still in the planet-forming phase to understand how water came to be on Earth.
Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, left, NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata, right, are seen inside the SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft onboard the SpaceX recovery ship Shannon shortly after having landed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa, Florida, Saturday, March 11, 2023. Mann, Cassada, Wakata, and Kikina are returning after 157 days in space as part of Expedition 68 aboard the International Space Station.

Four Crew-5 astronauts return home safe from International Space Station

A crew of four astronauts has returned safely to Earth from the International Space Station, splashing down  in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.
The irregular spiral galaxy NGC 5486 hangs against a background of dim, distant galaxies in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The tenuous disk of the galaxy is threaded through with pink wisps of star formation, which stand out from the diffuse glow of the galaxy’s bright core.

Hubble captures a messy irregular galaxy which hosted a supernova

This week's image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a spiral galaxy called NGC 5486, shot through with wisps of pink where new stars are being born.
Researchers are getting their first glimpses inside distant spiral galaxies to see how stars formed and how they change over time, thanks to the James Webb Space Telescope’s ability to pierce the veil of dust and gas clouds.

How James Webb is peering into galaxies to see stars being born

Researchers are using the James Webb Space Telescope to study galaxies similar to our Milky Way to understand how they grow and evolve.
NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter acquired this image using its high-resolution color camera. This camera is mounted in the helicopter's fuselage and pointed approximately 22 degrees below the horizon. This image was acquired on Feb. 22, 2023 (Sol 714 of the Perseverance rover mission).

See the Ingenuity helicopter’s stunning image of a Martian sunset

The tiny helicopter Ingenuity is still continuing to explore Mars, gearing up for its 47th flight. Recently it snapped an image of an otherworldly sunset.
The SpaceX Crew-5 members are seated inside the Dragon Endurance crew ship atop the Falcon 9 rocket before launching to the International Space Station from the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A in Florida. From left are, Mission Specialist Anna Kikina from Roscosmos; Pilot Josh Cassada and Commander Nicole Mann, both NASA astronauts; and Mission Specialist Koichi Wakata from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

How to watch the Crew-5 mission splash down tonight

A crew of four astronauts has left the International Space Station and is due to splashdown into the ocean later tonight. Here's how to watch.
A jellyfish galaxy with trailing tentacles of stars hangs in inky blackness in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. As Jellyfish galaxies move through intergalactic space they are slowly stripped of gas, which trails behind the galaxy in tendrils illuminated by clumps of star formation. These blue tendrils are visible drifting below the core of this galaxy, and give it its jellyfish-like appearance. This particular jellyfish galaxy — known as JO201 — lies in the constellation Cetus, which is named after a sea monster from ancient Greek mythology. This sea-monster-themed constellation adds to the nautical theme of this image.

Hubble captures a cosmic sea monster with this image of a jellyfish galaxy

This Hubble image shows a jellyfish galaxy, a galaxy type named for its larger main body with tendrils that float along after it like the sea creature.
A salad created to provide nutrition for astronauts based on foods which can be grown in space.

Researchers design a ‘space salad’ to keep astronauts healthy and happy

Researchers have come up with an astronaut salad, that meets the nutritional needs of astronauts and features foods that could be grown in space.
NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope

Roman Space Telescope will survey the sky 1,000 times faster than Hubble

The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, set to launch in 2027, will look at vast areas of space to help cosmologists understand the universe on a large scale.
Vega-C launches on its inaugural mission VV21 on 13 July 2022.

Faulty nozzle caused the loss of European Vega-C rocket last year

Last year, Europe's Vega-C rocket failed on its second mission. Now, a commission had found that the problem was due to a faulty engine part.
This observation from the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope features the massive galaxy cluster RX J2129. Due to Gravitational lensing, this observation contains three different images of the same supernova-hosting galaxy, which you can see in closer detail here. Gravitational lensing occurs when a massive celestial body causes a sufficient curvature of spacetime to bend the path of light travelling past or through it, almost like a vast lens. In this case, the lens is the galaxy cluster RX J2129, located around 3.2 billion light-years from Earth in the constellation Aquarius. Gravitational lensing can cause background objects to appear strangely distorted, as can be seen by the concentric arcs of light in the upper right of this image.

James Webb captures an extremely distant triple-lensed supernova

Webb imaged a huge galaxy cluster located 3.2 billion light-years away, which is acting like a magnifying glass and showing a far-off supernova in triplicate.
The curving light streak created by an artificial satellite mars an image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Satellites like SpaceX’s Starlink are disrupting Hubble observations

Only a few Hubble observations are affected for now, but the problem is going to get much, much worse.
In this artist's impression of the breadcrumb scenario, autonomous rovers can be seen exploring a lava tube after being deployed by a mother rover that remains at the entrance to maintain contact with an orbiter or a blimp.

Rovers could explore lava tubes on Mars or the moon using breadcrumbs

Engineers propose using robots to scout out lava tubes for use as human habitats with a method inspired by Hansel and Gretel.
The tattered shell of the first-ever recorded supernova was captured by the US Department of Energy-fabricated Dark Energy Camera, which is mounted on the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab. A ring of glowing debris is all that remains of a white dwarf star that exploded more than 1800 years ago when it was recorded by Chinese astronomers as a ‘guest star’. This special image, which covers an impressive 45 arcminutes on the sky, gives a rare view of the entirety of this supernova remnant.

Telescope captures the remnants of a supernova first seen 2,000 years ago

Astronomers recently captured a remnant called RCW 86, which is the result of a supernova which was observed by Chinese astronomers in the year 185 C.E.
These three panels capture the breakup of the asteroid Dimorphos when it was deliberately hit by NASA's 1,200-pound Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission spacecraft on September 26, 2022. Hubble Space Telescope had a ringside view of the space demolition derby.

Hubble sees the dramatic collision of NASA’s DART spacecraft and an asteroid

NASA says the test has shown it is possible to deflect an asteroid if one were threatening Earth -- but only if it is spotted in time.
earth mantle drill crust

Scientists find a solid metallic ball within the Earth’s core

The innermost inner core of the planet is thought to be a solid metallic ball around 400 miles across, according to seismologists.
From left, NASA astronauts Warren “Woody” Hoburg and Stephen Bowen, along with Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev and UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, prepare to depart the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at Kennedy Space Center in Florida during a dress rehearsal for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission launch on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023.

NASA and SpaceX Crew-6 mission ready for launch tonight

NASA is ready to launch four astronauts to the International Space Station, with preparations underway and launch scheduled for late tonight.
A massive galaxy cluster in the constellation Cetus dominates the centre of this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. This image is populated with a serene collection of elliptical and spiral galaxies, but galaxies surrounding the central cluster — which is named SPT-CL J0019-2026 — appear stretched into bright arcs, as if distorted by a gargantuan magnifying glass. This cosmic contortion is called gravitational lensing, and it occurs when a massive object like a galaxy cluster has a sufficiently powerful gravitational field to distort and magnify the light from background objects.

An enormous galaxy cluster warps spacetime in this Hubble image

Much of the universe is too far away for even powerful telescopes to observe -- so researchers make use of a natural occurrence called gravitational lensing.
The Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft is seen approaching the Poisk module of the space station prior to docking at 7:58 p.m. EST as the space station was flying 260 miles above northern Mongolia.

New Russian Soyuz craft arrives at space station to replace leaky one

A Russian Soyuz spacecraft has docked at the International Space Station, ready to carry astronauts as a replacement for another Soyuz that leaked last year.
In the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at Johnson Space Center, NASA astronaut Victor Glover tests collection methods for ISS External Microorganisms, which examines microbes released from the space station to help limit contamination on future exploration missions.

The science experiments that the Crew-6 astronauts will be performing on the ISS

Four astronauts will soon launch to the ISS where they'll perform scientific research, working on a wide variety of experiments.
Images of six candidate massive galaxies, seen 500-700 million years after the Big Bang. One of the sources (bottom left) could contain as many stars as our present-day Milky Way, according to researchers, but it is 30 times more compact.

James Webb spots ‘universe-breaking’ massive early galaxies

The James Webb Space Telescope continues to throw up surprises, and recently it has been used to spot some very old galaxies which have astonished astronomers.
Artist's conception of a large gas giant planet orbiting a small red dwarf star called TOI-5205.

Weirdly large ‘forbidden’ exoplanet orbits a relatively tiny star

Astronomers have discovered a forbidden planet that appears to be far larger than should be possible given its circumstances.
This is an image centered on a relatively nearby galaxy cluster dubbed Abell 3158; light from these galaxies had a redshift value of 0.059, meaning that it traveled approximately 825 million years on its journey to Earth. The image is a small part of the DESI Legacy Imaging Surveys — a monumental six-year survey covering nearly half the sky.

Astronomers create epic map of more than 1 billion galaxies

A data release from the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) Legacy Imaging Survey shared the results from six years of scanning almost half of the sky.