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Latest by G. Torbet

Voyager’s high-gain antenna, seen at the center of this illustration of the NASA spacecraft, is one component controlled by the attitude articulation and control system (AACS).

Glitch fixed on Voyager 1 probe, but underlying cause still a mystery

Engineers have fixed an issue with the Voyager 1 probe, one of the two most distant manmade objects in the universe.
A vision of a future Moon settlement assembled from semi-buried inflatable habitats. Sited beside the lunar poles in regions of near-perpetual solar illumination, mirrors positioned above each habitat would reflect sunlight into greenhouses within the doughnut-shaped habitats.

Inflatable lunar habitat could keep future moon explorers cozy

The European Space Agency has shared a concept for a future moon habitat made up of inflatable structures.
NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop a mobile launcher.

NASA’s Artemis I launch postponed following fuel leak issue

Following two failed launch attempts of its new Space Launch System rocket, NASA will not be making another launch attempt in the next few days.
NASA’s Juno spacecraft observed the complex colors and structure of Jupiter’s clouds as it completed its 43rd close flyby of the giant planet on July 5, 2022. Citizen scientist Björn Jónsson created these two images using raw data from the JunoCam instrument aboard the spacecraft. At the time the raw image was taken, Juno was about 3,300 miles (5,300 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops, at a latitude of about 50 degrees. North is up. At that moment, the spacecraft was traveling at about 130,000 mph (209,000 kilometers per hour) relative to the planet.

Citizen scientist shares stunning image of Jupiter’s atmosphere

See data from NASA's Juno spacecraft, which has been processed into two beautiful images by a citizen scientist.
NASA's Space Launch System rocket on the launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, September 3.

NASA scrubs the launch of its Space Launch System rocket due to fuel leak

NASA has called off today's planned launch of its new Space Launch System rocket due to a liquid hydrogen leak.
This landscape of “mountains” and “valleys” speckled with glittering stars is actually the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula. Captured in infrared light by NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals for the first time previously invisible areas of star birth.

Listen to the sounds of space with these James Webb sonifications

NASA released a series of sonifications of the famous first images from the James Webb Space Telescope, including the sounds of two nebulae and an exoplanet.
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James Webb snapped a picture of an exoplanet for the first time

The James Webb Space Telescope has snapped an image an exoplanet for the first time.
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Liquid hydrogen leak interrupts Artemis I launch preparations

NASA's preparations for the launch of its Space Launch System (SLS) rocket today, Saturday September 3, have been interrupted by a hydrogen leak issue.
This artist's concept depicts Kepler-186f, the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone.

What exactly makes an exoplanet ‘habitable’?

Astronomers have been on the hunt for habitable planets outside of our own solar system for decades -- but what exactly counts as habitable?
Data from ESA's Mars Express and NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have been used to create the first detailed global map of hydrated mineral deposits on Mars. Click here for an annotated version with mineral types and abundances.

Water map of Mars could help choose locations for future missions

The European Space Agency has shared a water map of Mars that traces the planet's history and points to potential resources for future missions.
The galaxy featured in this Picture of the Week has a shape unlike many of the galaxies familiar to Hubble. Its thousands of bright stars evoke a spiral galaxy, but it lacks the characteristic ‘winding’ structure. The shining red blossoms stand out as well, twisted by clouds of dust — these are the locations of intense star formation. Yet it also radiates a diffuse glow, much like an elliptical galaxy and its core of older, redder stars. This galactic marvel is known to astronomers as NGC 1156.

Hubble revisits a funky irregular dwarf galaxy

This week's Hubble image shows an unusual, chaotic dwarf galaxy which defies categorization.
Illustration of NASA’s DART spacecraft and the Italian Space Agency’s (ASI) LICIACube prior to impact at the Didymos binary system.

Here’s the asteroid NASA is going to crash a spacecraft into

What could we do if we spotted a dangerous asteroid on a collision course with our planet? NASA has an idea that it's testing out.

Lightning strikes Artemis I launchpad ahead of Monday launch

As NASA prepares for the first launch of its new Space Launch System rocket on Monday, lightning has struck the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center.
SpaceX rocket launch

How to watch SpaceX’s nighttime Starlink launch tonight

Tonight SpaceX will launch another batch of Starlink satellites in a nighttime launch using one of its Falcon 9 rockets. Here's how to watch.
Artistic rendition of the exoplanet TOI-1452 b, a small planet that may be entirely covered in a deep ocean.

Intriguing exoplanet could be entirely covered in ocean

Astronomers have discovered an intriguing exoplanet which could be entirely covered in water.
NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop a mobile launcher at Launch Pad 39B, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, after being rolled out to the launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s Artemis I mission is the first integrated test of the agency’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, SLS rocket, and supporting ground systems. Launch of the uncrewed flight test is targeted for no earlier than Aug. 29.

Countdown for the first launch of NASA’s brand new rocket begins

NASA has begun the countdown for the launch of its brand new mega moon rocket, which will begin the uncrewed Artemis I mission to the moon.
The Perseverance Mars rover took this selfie on Sept. 10, 2021 — sol 198 of the mission – in Jezero Crater after coring into a rock called ‘Rochette.’ Rock core samples from the floor of the crater will be brought back to Earth and analyzed to characterize the planet’s geology and past climate.

Perseverance rover uncovers clues to the history of Mars

The Perseverance rover has been exploring Mars's Jezero crater and now scientists have used its data in a batch of new research on Mars's history and geology.
This is an illustration (artist’s impression) showing what the exoplanet WASP-39 b could look like, based on current understanding of the planet.

James Webb spots carbon dioxide in exoplanet atmosphere for first time

Researchers using the James Webb Space Telescope have detected carbon dioxide in an exoplanet atmosphere for the first time.
This scintillating image showcases the globular cluster NGC 6540 in the constellation Sagittarius, which was captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys. These two instruments have slightly different fields of view — which determines how large an area of sky each instrument captures. This composite image shows the star-studded area of sky that was captured in both instruments’ field of view.

Thousands of stars press close together in stunning Hubble image

This week's Hubble image shows a dazzling globular cluster by the name of NCG 6540.
This image, from a patch of sky near the handle of the Big Dipper, is part of a larger mosaic taken with the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) on the James Webb Space Telescope. This is one of the first images obtained by the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science Survey (CEERS) collaboration.

See distant galaxies sparkling in James Webb’s biggest image yet

The wonders of the universe are on full display once again thanks to the James Webb Space Telescope.
This image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope features the spiral galaxy Mrk (Markarian) 1337, which is roughly 120 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Virgo.

NASA announces four new astrophysics mission proposals

NASA has announced it is considering four new mission proposals to study topics in astrophysics, with two to be built for launches in 2027 and 2028.
The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft backs away from the space station moments after undocking from the Harmony module’s forward port during an orbital sunrise.

SpaceX Dragon containing spacesuit parts from ISS returns to Earth

An uncrewed SpaceX Dragon has splashed down off the Florida coast, returning from the International Space Station with scientific experiments on board.
The galaxy NGC 7727 was born from the merger of two galaxies that started around a billion years ago. The cosmic dance of the two galaxies has resulted in the spectacular wispy shape of NGC 7727. At the heart of the galaxy, two supermassive black holes are spiralling closer to each other, expected to merge within 250 million years, the blink of an eye in astronomical time. This image of NGC 7727 was captured by the FOcal Reducer and low dispersion Spectrograph 2 (FORS2) instrument at ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT).

Merged galaxy gives a glimpse at the future of the Milky Way

An image from the Very Large Telescope shows a merged galaxy with the closest known pair of supermassive black holes.
Ingenuity at Airfield D: This image of NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter was taken by the Mastcam-Z instrument of the Perseverance rover on June 15, 2021, the 114th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

Brave little Mars helicopter Ingenuity battles the cold to get back in the air

Good news for the hardy little Mars helicopter Ingenuity, which has braved the Martian winter thus far and will soon be getting back into the air.
The European robotic arm extends out from the Nauka module

Problem with spacesuit forces early end to Russian spacewalk

A spacewalk from the International Space Station had to be cut short this week when a problem developed with the spacesuit worn by cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev.
Illustration of Rocket Lab's mission to Venus.

Rocket Lab plans to send the first private mission to Venus

New Zealand-based company Rocket Lab plans to send the first private mission to Venus in 2023.
Shown here is a rendering of 13 candidate landing regions for Artemis III. Each region is approximately 9.3 by 9.3 miles (15 by 15 kilometers). A landing site is a location within those regions with an approximate 328-foot (100-meter) radius.

NASA announces candidate sites for future crewed moon landing

As excitement mounts for NASA's first Artemis mission later this month, the agency has revealed more about its plans for future crewed moon missions.
A full Moon in view on June 14, 2022 behind the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft atop the mobile launcher at Launch Complex 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The rocket and spacecraft are undergoing final preparations for launch.

How to watch the rollout ahead of NASA’s biggest launch of the year

NASA is gearing up for its biggest launch of the year: The Artemis I mission. Here's how to watch the new rocket being rolled out to the launch pad.
This celestial cloudscape from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captures the colorful region in the Orion Nebula surrounding the Herbig-Haro object HH 505. Herbig-Haro objects are luminous regions surrounding newborn stars that form when stellar winds or jets of gas spew from these infant stars creating shockwaves that collide with nearby gas and dust at high speeds. In the case of HH 505, these outflows originate from the star IX Ori, which lies on the outskirts of the Orion Nebula around 1,000 light-years from Earth. The outflows themselves are visible as gracefully curving structures at the top and bottom of this image. Their interaction with the large-scale flow of gas and dust from the core of the nebula distorts them into sinuous curves.

This colorful Hubble dreamscape is sculpted by newborn stars

The image from the Hubble Space Telescope this week is particularly dreamy and stunning, showing the bright colors and soft shapes of a Herbig-Haro object.
The first of six SunRISE SmallSats is shown here at a Utah State University Space Dynamics Laboratory clean room being worked on by engineers. Pointed toward the camera is the SmallSat’s Sun-facing side, including its fully deployed solar arrays.

Six tiny satellites will form a huge virtual telescope to study space weather

NASA has plans to study hazardous space weather events in more detail than ever before, using a group of six small satellites in a project called SunRISE.
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Plotting the death of our sun using data from Gaia

Recent research using data from the European Space Agency's Gaia satellite has shed light on the eventual fate of our sun.
This image from the Gemini North telescope in Hawai‘i reveals a pair of interacting spiral galaxies — NGC 4568 (bottom) and NGC 4567 (top) — as they begin to clash and merge. The galaxies will eventually form a single elliptical galaxy in around 500 million years.

Two galaxies collide in epic image from Gemini North telescope

Hard as it is to imagine, out in the depths of space entire galaxies can collide. One such merger has been captured by NOIRLab's Gemini North telescope.
Illustration of changes in the brightness of the red supergiant star Betelgeuse.

Betelgeuse blew its top, leaving an interior jiggling like jelly

The huge red supergiant star Betelgeuse blew off a huge chunk of its mass in 2019, creating a cloud of dust which obscured its light and caused it to dim.
A shower of Perseid meteors lights up the sky in 2009 in this NASA time-lapse image.

How to watch the Perseids Meteor Shower this weekend

This weekend is the peak of the yearly Perseids meteor shower, and if you're lucky you might be able to spot a flurry of shooting stars overhead.