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Latest by G. Torbet

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.
This illustration of the large Quetzalpetlatl Corona located in Venus’ southern hemisphere depicts active volcanism and a subduction zone, where the foreground crust plunges into the planet’s interior. A new study suggests coronae reveal locations where active geology is shaping Venus’ surface.

Venus’ volcanic activity has left it with a squishy outer shell

Researchers have dug through data from a decades-old NASA mission to learn about the strange geological processes which renew Venus' surface.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, with the Dragon Endurance spacecraft atop, lifts off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A in Florida on Oct. 5, 2022, on the agency’s SpaceX Crew-5 launch. Inside Endurance are NASA astronauts Nicole Mann, commander; Josh Cassada, pilot; and Mission Specialists Koichi Wakata, of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina. The crew is heading to the International Space Station for a science expedition mission as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Liftoff occurred at noon EDT.

How to watch the SpaceX Crew-6 mission launch this week

A crew of four astronauts is about to launch for the International Space Station. Here's how to watch the early stages of the mission live.
Astronomers estimate 50,000 sources of near-infrared light are represented in this image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Their light has travelled through varying distances to reach the telescope’s detectors, representing the vastness of space in a single image. A foreground star in our own galaxy, to the right of the image center, displays Webb’s distinctive diffraction spikes. Bright white sources surrounded by a hazy glow are the galaxies of Pandora’s Cluster, a conglomeration of already-massive clusters of galaxies coming together to form a megacluster.

Webb uses a galactic megacluster as an enormous magnifying lens

To look at some of the most distant galaxies, astronomers take advantage of a phenomenon called gravitational lensing.
The ISS Progress 82 cargo craft is pictured shortly after docking to the space station in October of 2022.

Russian replacement Soyuz scheduled for February 24 launch

Russia's space agency has announced it plans to launch a replacement Soyuz to bring home ISS crew members later this month.
A spectacular trio of merging galaxies in the constellation Boötes takes center stage in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. These three galaxies are set on a collision course and will eventually merge into a single larger galaxy, distorting one another’s spiral structure through mutual gravitational interaction in the process. An unrelated foreground galaxy appears to float serenely near this scene, and the smudged shapes of much more distant galaxies are visible in the background.

Three galaxies are in the process of merging in this Hubble image

This week's image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a dramatic collision of three different galaxies.
The Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft was moved into the Hazardous Processing Area at the company’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Feb. 8, 2023, in advance of power up and fueling operations.

NASA and Boeing set date for first crewed test flight of Starliner

The launch of the first crewed flight of the Boeing Starliner is scheduled for April this year.
Scientists are getting their first look with the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope’s powerful resolution at how the formation of young stars influences the evolution of nearby galaxies. The spiral arms of NGC 7496, one of a total of 19 galaxies targeted for study by the Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby Galaxies (PHANGS) collaboration, are filled with cavernous bubbles and shells overlapping one another in this image from Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). These filaments and hollow cavities are evidence of young stars releasing energy and, in some cases, blowing out the gas and dust of the interstellar medium they plough into.

James Webb captures swirls of dust and gas in nearby galaxies

The James Webb Space Telescope is helping astronomers to peer into nearby galaxies and see elaborate structures of dust and gas.
This collage shows six planetary radar observations of 2011 AG5 a day after the asteroid made its close approach to Earth on Feb. 3. With dimensions comparable to the Empire State Building, 2011 AG5 is one of the most elongated asteroids to be observed by planetary radar to date.

Look at this weird-shaped asteroid NASA just spotted

NASA recently observed an asteroid that is roughly the same dimensions as the Empire State Building.
Artist’s rendition of oxygen, sodium, and potassium aurorae as Io enters Jupiter’s shadow.

Aurorae light up the skies over Jupiter’s four largest moons

One of the great natural wonders of the world are the Northern Lights, but aurorae aren't just limited to Earth -- they are on other planets and moons as well.
This image of the floor of Jezero Crater was taken by one of the Navcam imagers aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover on Feb. 5, the 698th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

It’s been 2 years since the Perseverance rover landed on Mars

In that time the rover has collected samples, made audio recordings, created oxygen, deployed a helicopter, taken thousands of images, and much more.
The ISS Progress 82 cargo craft is pictured shortly after docking to the space station in October of 2022.

Another coolant leak affects cargo spacecraft docked to ISS

For the second time in recent months, a Russian spacecraft docked at the International Space Station has leaked coolant. The crew are not in any danger.
Right in the middle of this image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, nestled among a smattering of distant stars and even more distant galaxies, lies the newly discovered dwarf galaxy known as Donatiello II. If you can’t quite discern Donatiello II’s clump of faint stars in this image, then you are in good company. Donatiello II is one of three newly discovered galaxies. All three were missed by an algorithm designed to search astronomical data for potential galaxy candidates. Even the best algorithms have their limitations when it comes to distinguishing very faint galaxies from individual stars and background noise. In such challenging situations, identification must be done the old-fashioned way – by a dedicated human trawling through the data themselves.

Amateur astronomer spots dwarf galaxy that computers missed

There are some tasks that humans are still better at than machines. In this case, we're referring to spotting a dwarf galaxy.
This image shows an artist impression of our Milky Way galaxy in its youth. Five small satellite galaxies, of various types and sizes, are in the process of being accreted into the Milky Way. These satellite galaxies also contribute globular star clusters to the larger galaxy. The Sparkler galaxy provides a snap-shot of an infant Milky Way as it accretes mass over cosmic time.

James Webb Telescope catches a glimpse of young version of the Milky Way

The James Webb Space Telescope has got a glimpse into what our galaxy was like in its formative years by observing a distant galaxy called The Sparkler.
An asteroid roughly the size of Rome’s Colosseum — between 300 to 650 feet (100 to 200 meters) in length — has been detected by an international team of European astronomers using NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. They used data from the calibration of the MIRI instrument, in which the team serendipitously detected an interloping asteroid. The object is likely the smallest observed to date by Webb and may be an example of an object measuring under 1 kilometer in length within the main asteroid belt, located between Mars and Jupiter. More observations are needed to better characterize this object’s nature and properties.

A failed Webb telescope calibration leads to the discovery of this tiny asteroid

Data from a failed calibration of Webb's MIRI instrument has been used to spot a tiny asteroid that measures just a few hundred feet across.
This illustration shows NASA’s Lunar Flashlight carrying out a trajectory correction maneuver with the Moon and Earth in the background. Powered by the small satellite’s four thrusters, the maneuver is needed to reach lunar orbit.

NASA’s Lunar Flashlight satellite won’t make it to its planned orbit

NASA's Lunar Flashlight mission, intended to search the south pole of the moon for water ice, has been hindered by a problem with its thrusters.
Curiosity Rover

Mars Curiosity rover finds evidence of water where it was expected to be dry

Recently, the Curiosity rover has made an intriguing discovery suggesting that water was once present in an area that scientists had thought would be dry.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has observation time devoted to Saturn each year, thanks to the Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy (OPAL) program, and the dynamic gas giant planet always shows us something new. This latest image heralds the start of Saturn's "spoke season" with the appearance of two smudgy spokes in the B ring, on the left in the image.

Hubble is investigating mysterious ‘spokes’ in Saturn’s rings

Saturn is famous for its beautiful rings, but these rings have a strange feature: spokes that appear intermittently. Now Hubble is on the case.
Artist's illustration of CAPSTONE approaching the moon.

NASA’s CAPSTONE satellite suffered another wobble but is now working again

NASA's CAPSTONE satellite, in an experimental orbit around the moon, has been experiencing communications problems but is now back and running as it should be.
An artist’s impression of the dwarf planet Quaoar and its ring. Quaoar’s moon Weywot is shown on the left.

Tiny dwarf planet Quaoar has a mysterious ring

The European Space Agency's CHEOPS telescope recently discovered a large ring around the dwarf planet Quaoar which has researchers intrigued.
The Ingenuity helicopter is pictured on the surface of Mars.

Ingenuity helicopter helps researchers learn about dust on Mars

One challenge of Mars exploration is something very small: dust. Now, researchers have used data from Ingenuity to understand more about how dust moves on Mars.
A snapshot of the Tarantula Nebula (also known as 30 Doradus) is featured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The Tarantula Nebula is a large star-forming region of ionized hydrogen gas that lies 161,000 light-years from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud, and its turbulent clouds of gas and dust appear to swirl between the region’s bright, newly formed stars.

The Tarantula Nebula glows brightly in this week’s Hubble image

This week's Hubble image captures the huge, bright cloud of dust and gas known as the Tarantula Nebula.
The Blanco Telescope dome at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, where the Dark Energy Camera used for the recently completed Dark Energy Survey was housed.

Astronomers create most accurate map yet of all the matter in the universe

Recent research has produced the most accurate map to date of how both matter and dark matter are spread across the universe.