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Latest by G. Torbet

Listening to the Amazon: Tracking Deforestation Through Sound

Listening to the Amazon rainforest to understand deforestation

Forests are complex ecosystems, so a loss of trees can have wide-reaching implications for biodiversity -- a topic that is now being studied using sound.
The International Space Station captured from the Crew Dragon.

Making oxygen in space more efficiently using magnets

A group of researchers proposes a new way of making oxygen in space using magnets, which could help astronauts explore further in the future.
This star-studded image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the heart of the globular cluster NGC 6638 in the constellation Sagittarius. The star-strewn observation highlights the density of stars at the heart of globular clusters, which are stable, tightly bound clusters of tens of thousands to millions of stars. To capture the data in this image, Hubble used two of its cutting-edge astronomical instruments: Wide Field Camera 3 and the Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Thousands of stars sparkle in this week’s Hubble image

A sky full of stars is on glorious display in this week's image from the Hubble Space Telescope.
This image is part of a larger mosaic taken with the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) on the James Webb Space Telescope. It’s from a patch of sky near the handle of the Big Dipper. This is one of the first images obtained by the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science Survey (CEERS) collaboration.

Looking back on some of the universe’s oldest galaxies with James Webb

The James Webb Space Telescope continues to astonish, with early data providing a tantalizing glimpse at some extremely distant and extremely old galaxies.
ISRO's Small Satellite Launch Vehicle launches for the first time from Sriharikota, India on Sunday, August 7.

India successfully launches new rocket but fails to deploy satellites into stable orbit

The Indian space agency launched its new SSLV rocket, but its two satellite payloads were placed into an incorrect orbit and have since been destroyed.
Earth as seen by NOAA's GOES-18 weather satellite.

No one is quite sure how long a day on Earth lasts, it turns out

Days on Earth are getting shorter. Or maybe they're getting longer? It's complicated.
This week, we feature an image of the spiral galaxy NGC 4303, also known as Messier 61, which is one of the largest galactic members of the Virgo Cluster. Being a so-called starburst galaxy, it has an unusually high amount of stars being born, and has been used by astronomers as a laboratory to better understand the fascinating phenomena of star formation.

See elements as colors in this galaxy where stars are being born

A stunning image of the starburst galaxy NGC 4303 shows different elements in different colors, giving a peek into how stars form.
A poster produced by NASA to celebrate the Curiosity Mars rover’s tenth anniversary on the Red Planet.

Wish a very happy 10th landing anniversary to Mars rover Curiosity

Today NASA's Curiosity rover celebrates 10 years on the red planet, and it's still going strong.
A view of Moonikin “Campos” secured in a seat inside the Artemis I Orion crew module atop the Space Launch System rocket in High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Aug. 3, 2022.

NASA gets ready for Artemis lunar launch later this month

NASA is getting ready for a new era of lunar exploration with the upcoming Artemis I mission launch. Now, teams are working on final testing and preparations.
At 24 feet (7.3 meters) across each, Lucy’s two solar panels underwent initial deployment tests in January 2021. In this photo, a technician at Lockheed Martin Space in Denver, Colorado, inspects one of Lucy’s arrays during its first deployment. These massive solar arrays will power the Lucy spacecraft throughout its entire 4-billion-mile, 12-year journey through space as it heads out to explore Jupiter’s elusive Trojan asteroids

How engineers fixed Lucy spacecraft’s solar array issue as it whizzed through space

NASA's Lucy spacecraft had a troubled start to its mission, with a deployment issue affecting its solar power system. Here's how they fixed it.
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Light it up like dynamite: South Korea launches first lunar mission

South Korea began its first mission to the moon this week with the launch of its Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO) mission from Florida.
This luminescent image features multiple galaxies, perhaps most noticeably LEDA 58109, the lone galaxy in the upper right. LEDA 58109 is flanked by two further galactic objects to its lower left — an active galactic nucleus (AGN) called SDSS J162558.14+435746.4 that partially obscures the galaxy SDSS J162557.25+435743.5, which appears to poke out to the right behind the AGN.

Hubble captures a diverse trio of galactic objects

Researchers share stunning images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope every week, and this image shows a trio of galactic objects of varying different types.
This is a spectacular high-Sun view of the Mare Tranquillitatis pit crater revealing boulders on an otherwise smooth floor. This image from LRO's Narrow Angle Camera is 400 meters (1,312 feet) wide, north is up.

Future moon explorers could stay cozy in lunar pits

Future moon explorers could make a cozy home base away from the alternately freezing and hot conditions of the lunar surface by sheltering in lunar pits.
Artist impression of ESA's EnVision mission.

How ESA is getting its spacecraft ready to explore hellish conditions of Venus

Recently the European Space Agency revealed information about how it will test and prepare its EnVision craft for Venus's hellish conditions.
A Chinese Long March-5B rocket launches from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in Hainan province, carrying the space station module Wentian on July 24, 2022.

NASA condemns Chinese space debris’ free fall to Earth

Debris from a Chinese rocket has made an uncontrolled re-entry into Earth's atmosphere over Southeast Asia.
This image shows the first measurements taken by EMIT on July 27, 2022, as it passed over Western Australia. The image at the front of the cube shows a mix of materials in Western Australia, including exposed soil (brown), vegetation (dark green), agricultural fields (light green), a small river, and clouds. The rainbow colors extending through the main part of the cube are the spectral fingerprints from corresponding spots in the front image. The graph on the right shows spectral fingerprints for a sample of soil, vegetation, and a river from the image cube.

Space-based dust monitoring instrument takes its first measurements

NASA has a new tool for monitoring Earth's climate, with the EMIT instrument on board the International  Space Station taking its first measurements this week.
The VIPER engineering team observe the rover prototype's ability to navigate the fluffy lunar soil simulant in the SLOPE lab at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

See NASA’s VIPER rover navigate a lunar obstacle course

The moon is no easy place for a little rover to explore -- from its sharp, glass-like dust o the pockmarks and craters, it's a challenging place to move around.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of a solar flare – as seen in the bright flash towards the middle of the Sun – on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. The image shows a subset of extreme ultraviolet light that highlights the extremely hot material in flares and which is colorized in teal.

The sun is even more active than expected right now

The sun goes through a regular 11-year cycle of activity. But so far in this cycle, the sun is even more active than predicted.
This eight-image mosaic was acquired by Pathfinder July 5, 1997, the second Martian day, or sol, of the mission. The newly deployed Sojourner rover – the first of its kind on the Red Planet – sits on the Martian surface after driving down Pathfinder’s ramp.

It’s been 25 years since the first NASA rover landed on Mars

This month saw a very special martian aniversary, as NASA celebrated 25 years since the Pathfinder mission touched down on Mars.
The potential supernova spotted by the James Webb Space Telescope.

James Webb Space Telescope may have spotted its first supernova

The James Webb firsts keep coming, with the new space telescope having recently spotted its first supernova.
This intriguing observation from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a gravitationally lensed galaxy with the long-winded identification SGAS J143845+145407. Gravitational lensing has resulted in a mirror image of the galaxy near the center of this image, creating a captivating centerpiece. A third distorted image of the galaxy appears as a bridge between them.

Hubble shows a galaxy’s mirror image due to phenomenon of gravitational lensing

The Hubble Space Telescope is a constant source of pictures of the wonders of space, and this week's image shows a phenomenon called gravitational lensing.
A Chinese Long March-5B rocket launches from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in Hainan province, carrying the space station module Wentian on July 24, 2022.

China launches second module of its new space station

China has launched another module to its space station in progress, Tiangong.
One of the first tests of ESA’s EarthCARE satellite involved the deployment of the satellite’s 11 metre solar wing from its folded stowed configuration, which allows it to fit in the rocket fairing, to its fully deployed configuration as it will be in orbit around Earth. The photograph shows the wing fully deployed.

See the enormous solar panels of this Earth-monitoring satellite unfurled

ESA and JAXA are preparing to launch a new Earth-monitoring satellite called EarthCARE, and it recently flexed its huge solar wing for the first time.
First images of the sun captured by GOES-18's SUVI Instrument on July 10, 2022, showing a coronal mass ejection at different wavelengths.

The sun’s activity is ramping up with more solar flares expected

The sun has been particularly active recently, and this weekend the Earth could experience effects of a solar storm.
The nearby spiral galaxy M74 (NGC 628) observed by JWST on July 17, 2022. The color image is a composite of three monochromatic images from the MIRI instrument at wavelengths 7.7, 10, and 11 µm. The striking purple filamentary structures are emission from interstellar dust and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules.

Amazing James Webb image looks like a wormhole to another dimension

Enterprising astronomers are already digging through James Webb data to perform their own analyses, and have created some amazing visuals.
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How to watch SpaceX’s next Starlink launch tomorrow

SpaceX is having a busy few days -- having just beat its record for number of launches per year, the company is performing yet another launch tomorrow.
Artist rendering of Jupiter with rings that rival Saturn's.

Why doesn’t Jupiter have big, beautiful rings like Saturn does?

Jupiter does have rings, but they are so faint they are often invisible. Now researchers have a theory about why.
This image from ESA’s Mars Express shows Ius and Tithonium Chasmata, which form part of Mars’ Valles Marineris canyon structure. This image comprises data gathered by Mars Express’ High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on 21 April 2022.

Mars Express orbiter snaps an image of Mars’s ‘Grand Canyon’

The sights of Mars are many and marvelous, and the Mars Express orbiter recently captured one of the planet's wonders: the Valles Marineris canyon system.
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SpaceX breaks its record for number of launches per year

SpaceX hit an impressive milestone with its 32nd mission of 2022, which broke its record for launches achieved in one calendar year.
The James Webb Space Telescope.

James Webb might have spotted the most distant galaxy ever observed

The James Webb Space Telescope has another feather in its cap - the potential discovery of the most distant galaxy ever observed.
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.

Here’s what the James Webb Space Telescope will set its sights on next

Now that the James Webb Space Telescope has sent back its first images of deep space, you might be wondering what's coming next. Here's the scoop!
The globular cluster Terzan 2 in the constellation Scorpio is featured in this observation from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Globular clusters are stable, tightly gravitationally bound clusters of tens of thousands to millions of stars found in a wide variety of galaxies. The intense gravitational attraction between the closely packed stars gives globular clusters a regular, spherical shape. As this image of Terzan 2 illustrates, the hearts of globular clusters are crowded with a multitude of glittering stars.

Hubble captures a glittering, glorious globular cluster

The Hubble image this week shows a globular cluster called Terzan 2, with a blanket of sparkling stars visible by the thousand over the blackness of the sky.
This simulation of a supermassive black hole shows how it distorts the starry background and captures light, producing a black hole silhouettes.

Astronomers want your help to spot hidden black holes

A citizen science project is inviting members of the public to help search for hidden black holes.
A powerful X-ray burst erupts from a magnetar - a supermagnetized version of a stellar remnant known as a neutron star - in this illustration.

Astronomers detect weird ‘heartbeat’ pulse of radio waves

Astronomers have discovered a weird periodic fast radio burst coming from billions of light-years away.