solar system

Starship

Say what you will, but the man has panache, and a keen sense of the moment. https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1178014342031298561

This is the just-assembled Starship Mk1 Prototype, which will make its first test flight (to 20 km) next month. It's intended to be a reusable spacecraft that will go to the moon and Mars.

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Posted on Facebook and Twitter.

The Shadow of Io

During a recent perijove pass, Juno caught an absolutely incredible image of Io's shadow cast upon Jupiter.😲😍

Unless it's actually millions of monoliths devouring Jupiter's atmosphere. Which is, frankly, equally as likely.

Hi-res quality: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinmgill/48745739051/
Source and credit: https://twitter.com/kevinmgill/status/1173741101515079680

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Originally posted on Facebook.

Space Is Hard, Once Again

For the second time this year, a lunar lander has experienced an error and crashed in the final meters of its descent to the surface.

SPACE IS HARD, guys. I know I make it look easy in my books (as well as cool, fun and exciting 😋), but it's hard. And it's going to continue being hard for a while yet.

https://www.theverge.com/2019/9/6/20853462/india-chandrayaan-2-lunar-landing-moon-vikram-crash-communication-failure

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Originally posted on Facebook.

Parker Skims the Sun

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is currently making its third of 24 dives through the sun’s corona this week: https://www.space.com/parker-solar-probe-third-sun-flyby.html. Every loop sends the spacecraft deeper into the corona, increasing the risk to the craft but also the reward in the form of bucketloads of scientific data.

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Originally posted on Twitter.

The Great Red Spot

This new Hubble Space Telescope view of Jupiter, taken on June 27, 2019, reveals the giant planet's trademark Great Red Spot, and a more intense color palette in the clouds swirling in Jupiter's turbulent atmosphere than seen in previous years. The colors, and their changes, provide important clues to ongoing processes in Jupiter's atmosphere. More info: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2019/hubble-new-portrait-of-jupiter

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Originally posted on Twitter.

Oops?

The Beresheet lunar lander scattered tardigrades all over the moon when it crashed: https://www.wired.com/story/a-crashed-israeli-lunar-lander-spilled-tardigrades-on-the-moon/

As Shannon Stirone said on Twitter, "And thus began the story of how the tardigrades took over the moon."

If you don't know about the incredible creatures that are tardigrades, you can start your rabbit hole adventure here: https://www.americanscientist.org/article/tardigrades

#wewerehereatthebeginning

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Originally posted on Facebook.

ISS Crossing a Spotless Sun

The Space Station Crosses a Spotless Sun (by Rainee Colacurcio): https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190715.html

I saw this image yesterday morning, and I continue to be transfixed by it. Obviously, there is one heck of a visual illusion going on here, as the ISS is in low Earth orbit and the sun is 93 million miles away, but it's powerful nonetheless.😯

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Originally posted on Facebook and Twitter.

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.

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.

Tumultuous Clouds of Jupiter

This stunning image of Jupiter's stormy northern hemisphere was captured by NASA's Juno spacecraft as it performed a close pass of the gas giant planet. Some bright-white clouds can be seen popping up to high altitudes on the right side of Jupiter's disk.

Juno took the four images used to produce this color-enhanced view on May 29, 2019, as the spacecraft performed its 20th science pass of Jupiter. At the time the images were taken, the spacecraft was between 11,600 miles (18,600 kilometers) and 5,400 miles (8,600 kilometers) above Jupiter's cloud tops.

https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/tumultuous-clouds-of-jupiter/

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Initially posted on Twitter.

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.

Asteroid Selfie

Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft grabs epic close-up just 30 feet above asteroid Ryugu: https://www.cnet.com/news/japans-hayabusa2-spacecraft-snaps-close-up-just-30-feet-above-asteroid/

Hayabusa2 has been hanging out orbiting Ryugu for almost a year now, doing science, shooting cannonballs at it, snapping pics and, soon, snagging a material sample.

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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.