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Latest by G. Torbet

May 20, 2022: International Space Station Configuration. Six spaceships are parked at the space station including Boweing's Starliner crew ship and the SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom; the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter; and Russia's Soyuz MS-21 crew ship and the Progress 79 and 80 resupply ships.

Arrival of Starliner makes 5 types of spacecraft docked with ISS

The docking of Boeing's Starliner crew capsule means the International Space Station is hosting an unusually wide variety of spacecraft.
The James Webb Space Telescope.

James Webb will investigate targets in our cosmic backyard

Included in the objects James Webb will be studying, as well as distant galaxies and far-off stars, are targets right here in our own solar system,
Engineers at an Airbus Defence and Space facility in Toulouse, France, oversee the final integration and testing of the Juice spacecraft.

The Juice mission is almost ready to explore Jupiter’s icy moons

The European Space Agency's Juice spacecraft is getting ready for its mission to Jupiter to see if its icy moons could potentially host life.
An artists concept of DAVINCI+ on its way to Venus's surface.

How NASA’s DAVINCI probe will withstand the hellish conditions of Venus

Venus's acidic, high-pressure atmosphere is one of the most inhospitable places in our solar system -- and NASA is building a probe that can withstand it
NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft, shown in this illustration, has been exploring our solar system since 1977, along with its twin, Voyager 2.

Something strange is up with 45-year-old spacecraft Voyager 1

Voyager 1's altitude articulation and control system (AACS) is sending back some strange readings, and engineers are puzzled.
Solar activity captured by Solar Orbiter.

Observing wild activity on the sun could help predict space weather

See the incredible data captured by the Solar Orbiter spacecraft on its recent close pass of the sun.
This collection of 36 images from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope features galaxies that are all hosts to both Cepheid variables and supernovae. These two celestial phenomena are both crucial tools used by astronomers to determine astronomical distance, and have been used to refine our measurement of the Hubble constant, the expansion rate of the universe.

How fast is the universe expanding? It’s complicated, Hubble shows

Researchers using data from the Hubble Space Telescope have come up with the most precise measurement to date of the expansion of the universe.
This illustration shows the Lucy spacecraft passing one of the Trojan Asteroids near Jupiter.

NASA’s Lucy spacecraft captured this week’s lunar eclipse from space

This week's lunar eclipse wasn't only observed from the ground - it was also observed from 64 million miles away from Earth by the Lucy spacecraft.
Boeing’s Starliner crew ship is seen moments after docking to the International Space Station’s forward port on the Harmony module.

With only small hiccups, Boeing’s Starliner capsule docks successfully with ISS

Following a nail-biting launch on Thursday May 19, Boeing's new crew capsule Starliner has successfully docked with the International Space Station.
A telescopic visualization of the total lunar eclipse, happening May 15-16, 2022.

How to watch tonight’s lunar eclipse, online or in person

There's a chance to observe a special astronomical event this weekend, as the night of May 15/16 will see a total lunar eclipse.
The biological photovoltaic cell uses Synechocystis algae to harvest energy from the sun.

Going green with an algae-powered microprocessor computer

Researchers from the University of Cambridge, U.K., have created a computer system that is powered by algae that harvests energy from the sun.
The EHT Collaboration created a flurry of images of Sagittarius A*, using ray tracing, a technique that visualizes the properties of the black hole based on data collected with the radio telescope array and predictions made by Einstein's theory of general relativity. The images shown here were created by UArizona's Chi-kwan Chan.

Black holes all look like donuts, regardless of their size

The image of the black hole at the center of our galaxy isn't only an incredible scientific achievement - it also agrees precisely with predictions.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has allowed astronomers to view galaxies of all shapes and sizes from nearly every angle. When a galaxy is seen edge-on, the mesmerizing perspective reveals a dazzling slice of the universe. The “Little Sombrero,” also known as NGC 7814 or Caldwell 43, is one such galaxy.

Hubble captures one of a pair of hat-shaped galaxies, the Little Sombrero

This week's image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the delightfully named Little Sombrero galaxy, reminiscent of the shape of the traditional Mexican hat.
This image from ESA’s Mars Express shows part of a large fault system on Mars known as Tantalus Fossae. This image comprises data gathered by Mars Express’ High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on 19 July 2021. It was created using data from the nadir channel, the field of view aligned perpendicular to the surface of Mars, and the colour channels of the HRSC. It is a ‘true colour’ image, reflecting what would be seen by the human eye if looking at this region of Mars.

How researchers use impact craters on Mars to date geological events

Observing Mars from orbit can help us understand the history of the planet, as recent Mars Express images of an impact crater show.
This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the tattered remnant of a supernova — a titanic explosion marking the end of the life of a dying star. This object — known as DEM L249 — is thought to have been created by a Type 1a supernova during the death throes of a white dwarf. While white dwarfs are usually stable, they can slowly accrue matter if they are part of a binary star system. This accretion of matter continues until the white dwarf reaches a critical mass and undergoes a catastrophic supernova explosion, ejecting a vast amount of material into space in the process.

Hubble captures the beautiful aftermath of a supernova explosion

Supernovas might spell the end for the star they happen to, but they aren't only destructive. Hubble has captured a beautiful remnant created by a supernova.
The James Webb Space Telescope.

All of the modes James Webb instruments will use to study the universe

With the James Webb Space Telescope fully aligned, NASA has shared an update about the 17 different modes that will be possible using Webb's four instruments,
NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop a mobile launcher.

NASA working to fix ‘nuisance’ problems with Space Launch System rocket

NASA has shared more information about its ongoing work on its new Space Launch System rocket, and the issues that arose in three previous tests.
starlink mega constellation satellite network spacex mission 4

How to watch SpaceX launch its second batch of satellites in 24 hours

SpaceX will be launching a batch of 53 Starlink satellites today, Saturday May 14, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
This is the first image of Sagittarius A* (or Sgr A* for short), the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy. It’s the first direct visual evidence of the presence of this black hole. It was captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), an array which linked together eight existing radio observatories across the planet to form a single “Earth-sized” virtual telescope. The telescope is named after the “event horizon”, the boundary of the black hole beyond which no light can escape.

See first-ever image of monstrous black hole at the heart of the Milky Way

The Event Horizon Telescope project, which captured the first-ever image of a black hole, has captured an image of the black hole at the center of our galaxy.
NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop a mobile launcher at Launch Complex 39B, Monday, April 4, 2022.

NASA won’t try testing its Space Launch System rocket again until June

NASA will attempt another test of its new Space Launch System rocket next month, officials from the agency confirmed this week.
The magnificent spiral galaxy M99 fills the frame in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. M99 – which lies roughly 42 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Coma Berenices – is a “grand design” spiral galaxy, so-called because of the well-defined, prominent spiral arms visible in this image. Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 captured M99 on two separate occasions, helping astronomers study two entirely different astronomical phenomena. The image above includes data from both sets of observations.

See the ‘grand design’ of spiral galaxy M99 in this Hubble image

The swirling spiral of the elegant galaxy M99 is on display in this week's image from the Hubble Space Telescope.
An artist's rendering of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite.

This is how NASA measures rising sea levels from space

NASA has been monitoring Earth's sea levels from orbit for over 30 years. Here's why measuring from space is actually easier than doing it terrestrially.
The International Space Station captured from the Crew Dragon.

Time spent in space changes the structure of astronauts’ brains

Researchers have found changes to the brains of astronauts who visited the ISS, with parts of the brain called perivascular spaces expanding.
NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using its Left Mastcam-Z camera. Mastcam-Z is a pair of cameras located high on the rover's mast.

Dust threatens the future of Mars helicopter Ingenuity

The helicopter has re-established a link with the rover after communications were lost this week. But for how long can the plucky helicopter keep going?
This image shows the warped view of a larger supermassive black hole (red) when it passes almost directly behind a companion black hole (blue) with half its mass. The gravity of the foreground black hole transforms its partner into a surreal collection of arcs.

See NASA’s visualizations of black holes for Black Hole Week

NASA has shared a selection of some of the best visualizations of black holes, so you can get an idea of what these mind-bending phenomena are like.
The interacting galaxy pair NGC 1512 and NGC 1510 take center stage in this image from the Dark Energy Camera, a state-of-the art wide-field imager on the Víctor M. Blanco 4-meter Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab. NGC 1512 has been in the process of merging with its smaller galactic neighbor for 400 million years, and this drawn-out interaction has ignited waves of star formation and warped both galaxies.

See two galaxies in the process of merging in this Dark Energy Camera image

A beautiful image showing two interacting galaxies has been captured by a camera originally designed to study dark energy.
The Psyche spacecraft sits in the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA’s Psyche spacecraft almost ready for launch to weird metal asteroid

To learn more about an unusual metal asteroid, NASA will be launching the Psyche mission to visit it later this summer.
James Webb Space Telescope illustration.

How engineers will calibrate James Webb’s 4 instruments

With its mirrors and instruments all fully aligned, Webb is undertaking the next big step in getting ready for science: Commissioning the instruments.
From left to right, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthais Maurer, NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron, are seen inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft onboard the SpaceX Shannon recovery ship shortly after having landed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa, Florida, Friday, May 6, 2022. Maurer, Marshburn, Chari, and Barron are returning after 177 days in space as part of Expeditions 66 and 67 aboard the International Space Station.

Crew-3 astronauts splash down safely following 6-month ISS mission

The four astronauts of the Crew-3 mission have returned safely to Earth from the International Space Station, splashing down in their SpaceX Crew Dragon.
These three mosaics of Titan were composed with data from Cassini’s visual and infrared mapping spectrometer taken during the last three Titan flybys, on Oct. 28, 2005 (left), Dec. 26, 2005 (middle), and Jan. 15, 2006 (right). In a new study, researchers have shown how Titan’s distinct dunes, plains, and labyrinth terrains could be formed.

Saturn’s moon Titan may be more Earth-like than we thought

New research suggests that Titan's seasonal cycle could be responsible for forming features like sand dunes and plains.
The ultra-diffuse galaxy GAMA 526784 appears as a tenuous patch of light in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. This wispy object resides in the constellation Hydra, roughly four billion light-years from Earth. Ultra-diffuse galaxies such as GAMA 526784 have a number of peculiarities. For example, they can have either very low or high amounts of dark matter, the invisible substance thought to make up the majority of matter in the universe. Observations of ultra-diffuse galaxies found some with an almost complete lack of dark matter, whereas others consist of almost nothing but dark matter. Another oddity of this class of galaxies is their unusual abundance of bright globular clusters, something not observed in other types of galaxies.

Hubble Space Telescope images exceptionally fluffy galaxy

In this week's image from the Hubble Space Telescope, you can see an unusual type of galaxy called an ultra-diffuse galaxy.
The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).

NASA’s observatory on a plane, SOFIA, will fly no more

NASA has announced it will end operations of its observatory on a plane, SOFIA or the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy.
Perseverance looks towards the Delta on Sol 419, capturing this image with its Right Navigation Camera.

Perseverance rover begins exploration of ancient river delta on Mars

The Perseverance rover has begun exploring one of the most exciting areas of Mars: The delta in the Jezero crater.
Archival observations of 25 hot Jupiters by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Hubble spies on 25 hot Jupiters to learn about their atmospheres

The Hubble Space Telescope have investigated 25 exoplanets to find out about how the composition of their atmospheres.