NASA

To the Moon and Beyond

Everything you ever wanted to know about Artemis, the lunar gateway and other lunar plans - and then some: https://www.bbc.co.uk/…/e…/nkzysaP3pB/to-the-moon-and-beyond.

I do feel like the article minimizes the near-certain role SpaceX and/or Blue Origin rockets and modules are going to play, in favor of presenting the official NASA line (Orion, SLS). But otherwise it's an informative, wide-ranging article (without getting into the nitty-gritty technical details).

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Originally posted on Facebook and Twitter.

Map of 4,000+ Exoplanets

NASA has dropped an insane map of 4,000 planets outside our solar system: https://www.cnet.com/…/nasa-drops-insane-map-of-4000-plane…/

The video is absolutely worth watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=8&v=aiFD_LBx2nM. It's only a minute long and is a great visualization of how exoplanet discovery just exploded in the last decade (go Kepler!📡✨).

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Originally posted on Facebook and Twitter.

New Lease on Life for the Voyagers

Voyagers 1 and 2 have the distinction of being in space for 42 years and still operating. And even though they’re 18 billion km (11 billion miles) from the Sun, they’re still valuable scientifically. But they’re running out of energy, and NASA has been working on how to stretch their remaining power for as long as possible.

https://www.universetoday.com/142802/nasa-has-figured-out-how-to-extend-the-lives-of-the-voyagers-even-longer/

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Originally posted on Twitter.

Dragonfly is Headed to Titan

NASA has announced its next big "New Frontiers" mission: DRAGONFLY, a nuclear-powered drone/rotorcraft lander, will visit Titan, the only moon in the solar system with a dense atmosphere rich in nitrogen and carbon (and one of the coolest stellar bodies to boot), to search for the molecules of alien life.

Dragonfly will launch in 2026 and arrive at Titan in 2034.

Much more at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-nasa-mission-will-fly-titans-frigid-skies-to-search-for-lifes-beginnings/

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Originally posted on Facebook and Twitter (additional tweets: here and here.

Stunning Close-Up of Asteroid Bennu

NASA's OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Takes Stunning Photo of Asteroid Bennu From Just 0.4 Miles Away. This image of asteroid Bennu was captured on Jun. 13, 2019, shortly after NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft executed its second orbital insertion maneuver. From the spacecraft’s vantage point in orbit, half of Bennu is sunlit and half is in shadow. At this distance, details as small as 1.6 ft (0.5 m) across can be resolved in the center of the image.

https://gizmodo.com/nasas-osiris-rex-spacecraft-takes-stunning-photo-of-ast-1835601275

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Originally posted on Twitter.

Bam! Fresh Crater Spied on Mars — and It Looks Spectacular

A small space rock crashed into the Red Planet's surface recently, producing a fresh crater that researchers estimate is 49 feet to 53 feet (15 to 16 meters) wide. The dramatic feature is clearly visible in a newly released image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

https://www.space.com/mars-fresh-crater-nasa-mro-photo-2019.html

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Originally posted on Twitter.

Extrasolar Fireworks

For the 1st time, we've detected a coronal mass ejection (CME) from a star other than our own. This event, located 450 light years from Earth, was marked by an intense flash of X-rays followed by the emission of a big bubble of plasma, and was captured by the Chandra X-ray Observatory: https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/chandra-detects-a-coronal-mass-ejection-from-another-star

Hey, CMEs figure prominently in The Stars Like Gods….

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Originally posted on Twitter.

Mars 2020 Rover Has A Date With Jezero Crater

This is where the Mars 2020 Rover is heading. From this picture, I think you can guess why.

Jezero Crater is an ancient lake that formed inside an impact crater. Detailed study of the features of the lake led scientists to conclude that the lake is ancient and did not experience times when water went down. Due to its long lifespan as a lake, it’s possible that life may have developed in the lake. It’s possible, though not necessarily likely, that preserved signs of life are waiting to be discovered at Jezero Crater.

https://www.universetoday.com/142357/this-is-where-mars-2020-rover-is-heading-from-this-picture-i-think-you-can-guess-why/

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Originally posted on Twitter.

The Sky In X-Ray

NASA is building up a map of the entire sky seen in X-rays, line by line with its NICER experiment.

In this image, numerous sweeping arcs seem to congregate at various bright regions. You may wonder: What is being shown? Air traffic routes? Information moving around the global internet? Magnetic fields looping across active areas on the Sun?

In fact, this is a map of the entire sky in X-rays recorded by NASA's Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER), a payload on the International Space Station.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-05/nsfc-nnm053019.php

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Originally posted on Twitter.

Boulders on Bennu

An abundance of boulders litters the surface of asteroid 101955 Bennu in this dramatic close-up from the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Taken on March 28 from a distance of just 3.4 kilometers (2.1 miles) the field of view is about 50 meters across while the light colored boulder at top right is 4.8 meters tall. https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190524.html

Incredible to think about, isn’t it?

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Originally posted on Twitter.

Hot, Hot, Hot

From NASA: “Discovery Alert: These three new planets are Qatar-8b, 9b and 10b are all gas giants like our own Jupiter and Saturn, but in such tight orbits around their parent stars that they hover between 1,457 degrees to 3,000 degrees F.”

Note: This brings the total number of confirmed exoplanet discovers to 3,949 - only 51 to go until 4K.

https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/news/1570/discovery-alert-these-giants-are-hot/

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Originally posted on Twitter.

Hubble Deep-Sky Mosaic

Via NASA: “This might be the most exciting “history book” we’ve ever read. Astronomers have put together the largest and most comprehensive image of the evolving universe — using 16 years’ worth of observations from Hubble. Take a peek at this deep-sky mosaic.” https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2019/hubble-astronomers-assemble-wide-view-of-the-evolving-universe

Make sure and check out the short video at the link for a mind-boggling sense of scale.

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Originally posted on Twitter.

Event Horizon

Here you go, space nerds: the first ever image of the event horizon of a black hole! The supermassive black hole at the center of galaxy M87 is 54 million light-years from earth and has a mass of 6.5 billion suns.

The close-up image is from the Event Horizon Telescope, the wide-field view from the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Early analysis suggests the observations are consistent with Einstein's Theory of General Relativity (some were hoping they would conflict, because having to redo all the theories is kind of exciting).

Download a high-res version of the image here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lightsinthedark/47579266551/

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Originally posted on Facebook.