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Latest by G. Torbet

Wildflowers frame a view of the Artemis I Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft on Launch Pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA’s huge moon rocket is heading off launchpad next week

NASA is getting ready to rehouse its Space Launch System rocket following three attempts to complete wet dress rehearsal testing.
The spiral galaxy M91 fills the frame of this Wide Field Camera 3 observation from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. M91 lies approximately 55 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Coma Berenices and – as is evident in this image – is a barred spiral galaxy. While M91’s prominent bar makes for a spectacular galactic portrait, it also hides an astronomical monstrosity. Like our own galaxy, M91 contains a supermassive black hole at its center. A 2009 study using archival Hubble data found that this central black hole weighs somewhere between 9.6 and 38 million times as much as the Sun.

Hubble captures a serene-looking galaxy with a monster at its heart

This week's image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the galaxy M91, a barred spiral galaxy in constellation of Coma Berenices.
The 11-person crew aboard the ISS.

How to watch Axiom-1 space tourists return from the ISS on Saturday

With the first fully private space tourism mission to the International Space Station drawing to a close, the Axiom-1 crew will soon be heading back to Earth.
Artwork of the binary star system RS Ophiuchi: Matter flows from the red giant onto the white dwarf.

Hungry white dwarf feeding on red giant creates epic nova explosion

Astronomers using a pair of ground-based MAGIC telescopes have observed a huge nova explosion created by a pair of stars called RS Ophiuchi.
Mars Perseverance Sol 388 - Right Mastcam-Z Camera: NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using its Right Mastcam-Z camera. Mastcam-Z is a pair of cameras located high on the rover's mast. This image was acquired on March 24, 2022 (Sol 388) at the local mean solar time of 08:08:28.

What the Perseverance rover is hoping to find in the Jezero delta

A NASA scientist has explained how studying Jezero delta could help understand the history of Mars or find evidence if there was ever life on the planet.
COSMO-SkyMed mission ready for launch.

How to watch SpaceX launch a U.S. spy satellite today

SpaceX will shortly be launching a spy satellite for the U.S. in a mission called NROL-85. Here's how to watch.
This artist’s conception shows the fully unfolded James Webb Space Telescope in space.

James Webb researcher on how telescope will investigate exoplanet atmospheres

A researcher who will be using the James Webb Space Telescope shares how they will investigate exoplanet atmospheres.
The faintest visible stars in this raw L’LORRI image are roughly 17th magnitude, 50,000 times fainter than the unaided human eye can see. Image brightness levels have been adjusted to enhance visibility of faint stars. The exposure time was 10 seconds. Keen observers will notice that the stars are slightly elongated in this relatively unprocessed image; the Lucy team has techniques to mitigate this effect, and the optical quality is sufficient for accomplishing the science goals of the mission.

NASA’s asteroid investigator Lucy tests out its four cameras

NASA's Lucy mission launched last year on its trip to the Trojan asteroids, located in the orbit of Jupiter, and now NASA has shared some of its first images.
SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts.

Launch for Crew-4 mission to ISS confirmed for next weekend

A new batch of astronauts are getting ready to head to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the Crew-4 mission.
Chinese astronauts Zhai Zhigang (C), Wang Yaping (R) and Ye Guangfu will carry out the Shenzhou-13 spaceflight mission, and Zhai will be the commander, announced the China Manned Space Agency at a press conference on Oct. 14, 2021.

Chinese astronaut trio return to Earth after six-month mission

Three Chinese astronauts have returned safely to Earth following a six-month mission on China's new space station.
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 still struggling to fuel its Space Launch System rocket

NASA had to call off its third attempt at a test of fueling its new moon rocket due to a liquid hydrogen leak.
Artist's conception of the James Webb Space Telescope

One of James Webb’s first targets is Jupiter. Here’s why

The James Webb Space Telescope is often called the successor to Hubble, and is built to peer into deep space -- so why is NASA aiming it at Jupiter?
Composite showing thermal images of Neptune taken between 2006 and 2020.

Neptune’s temperatures are fluctuating, and no one knows why

Something strange is happening on Neptune: Researchers have found surprising swings in the planet's temperatures which they can't explain.
The lazily winding spiral arms of the galaxy NGC 5921 snake across this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. This galaxy lies approximately 80 million light-years from Earth, and much like our own galaxy, the Milky Way, contains a prominent bar – a central linear band of stars. Roughly half of all spiral galaxies may contain bars. These bars affect their parent galaxies by fueling star formation and influencing the motion of stars and interstellar gas.

Hubble captures a snake-like spiral galaxy in the constellation of Serpens

The image from the Hubble Space Telescope shared this week shows a serpentine galaxy with winding, snake-like spiral arms.
This is an artist's illustration of the planet KELT-20b which orbits a blue-white star. The giant planet is so close to its star (5 million miles) the torrent of ultraviolet radiation from the star heats the planet's atmosphere to over 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

This extreme exoplanet’s atmosphere is being sunburned by its host star

Some of the most extreme exoplanets we've found are a type called hot Jupiters, where high temperatures lead to some weird and wonderful effects.
Unusual ridge networks on Mars may provide clues about the history of the Red Planet.

Citizen scientists are helping to map Mars’s strange ridge features

Members of the public are helping to map unusual ridge features in the Jezero crater on Mars, near to the area where the Perseverance rover is exploring.
A zoom-in image of galaxy HD1.

This galaxy is a mind-bending 13.5 billion light-years away

An international team of astronomers has identified the most distant astronomical object ever observed: A galaxy 13.5 billion light-years away,
NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover used its Mast Camera, or Mastcam, to survey these wind-sharpened rocks, called ventifacts, on March 15, 2022, the 3,415th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. The team has informally described these patches of ventifacts as “gator-back” rocks because of their scaly appearance.

Curiosity rover nopes out of region of sharp Mars rocks

The Curiosity rover has come across a challenge on Mars: The densest region of sharp rocks that the rover's NASA drivers have ever seen.
The Moon is pictured (bottom left) as the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour approaches the station with four Axiom Mission 1 astronauts.

First space tourism mission arrives at International Space Station

The first fully private space tourism mission has arrived at the International Space Station.
NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop a mobile launcher.

NASA pushes its mega moon rocket test back to next week

After two false starts, NASA is hoping that third time will be the charm for the wet dress rehearsal of its Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.
MIRI is inspected in the giant clean room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, in 2012.

James Webb’s MIRI instrument about to face most daunting challenge yet

NASA has shared an update on the process of getting James Webb's MIRI instrument down to temperature and ready for alignment.
The SuperBIT balloon in flight.

Telescopes on balloons could be a game-changer for astronomy

Rather than relying on expensive rockets to lift telescopes into orbit, a few innovative astronomers are now exploring a new option: High altitude balloons.
NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop a mobile launcher.

NASA scrubs Space Launch System test due to fan issue

NASA has had to scrub the wet dress rehearsal of its mega moon rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS).
Tendrils of dark dust threading across the heart of the spiral galaxy NGC 7172.

Hubble captures a dusty galaxy that holds a luminous secret

The image from the Hubble Space Telescope this week shows the dusty galaxy NGC 7172, which might look typical but in fact it holds a secret.
The back of the Perseverance rover and its wheel tracks.

How Perseverance is moving faster than any previous Mars rover

Moving fast across Mars isn't just about single day distance records -- it's about consistency.
Tthe 800-kilogram Euclic payload module being lifted by a crane with workers gathered around.

Two modules of dark matter spacecraft Euclid are joined

Europe's dark matter investigation spacecraft, Euclid, has reached a milestone with the joining of two of its major components.
exoplanet haul transits2 on starfield editable 02 20x30

Astronomers discover ‘Jupiter’s identical twin’ exoplanet

Recently, astronomers used data from the now-retired Kepler space telescope to identify a new planet which is remarkably similar to Jupiter.
Tthe light of a star that existed within the first billion years after the Universe’s birth in the Big Bang (at a redshift of 6.2), captured by Hubble.

Hubble smashes record for most distant star ever seen

The Hubble Space Telescope has smashed a record, identifying its most distant star ever.
The two microphones of the Perseverance Mars Rover are labeled.

What Perseverance rover recordings tell us about sound on Mars

Scientists have analyzed audio recordings from Perseverance to learn about how sound propagates on Mars and found that the speed of sound isn't constant there.
Space Launch System ready for wet dress rehearsal, a sunrise in the background.

NASA’s test of its massive moon rocket is underway today

NASA is conducting one of the last major tests of its new Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft before its first uncrewed mission to the moon.
The Utopia Planitia, a plain that fills one of three major basins in the northern hemisphere of Mars.

See ridged ‘brain terrain’ crater captured by Mars Express

The Mars Express orbiter has captured a series of images showing a stunning view of impact craters in the Utopia Planitia region of Mars.
This artist’s conception shows the fully unfolded James Webb Space Telescope in space.

Three of James Webb’s four instruments are now aligned

The long process of getting the James Webb Space Telescope ready to begin collecting science data continues, and the Webb team has met another goal.
Still image from a Thesan simulation showing the universe 251 million years after the Big Bang. The orange halos represent the burst of radiation, or light, outpouring from early galaxies.

Astronomers simulate the early universe and the birth of the first galaxies

An international collaboration of astronomers has created the most detailed simulation yet of the early stages of the universe.
A stunning view of the spiral galaxy NGC 4571.

Hubble captures an elegant spiral galaxy 60 million light-years away

This week's image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the spiral galaxy NGC 4571, located 60 million light-years away in the constellation of Coma Berenices.