Perceptive viewers noticed a tardigrade-shaped speck in new imagery from the sun, a NASA scientist grew radishes for a moon-food experiment and the Hubble Space Telescope captured the sight of a sea of galaxies. These are some of the top photos this week from Space.com.
Juno views of Ganymede
The JIRAM instrument aboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft took these images on Dec. 26, 2019. They provide the first infrared mapping of Ganymede’s northern regions. The $1.1 billion Juno probe launched in August 2011 and arrived at Jupiter in July 2016 on a mission to help scientists better understand the giant planet and its moons.
NASA scientists grows radishes
This moving image shows a timelapse of growing radishes that a NASA scientist has been monitoring from home. This experiment emerged from research work by the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in which scientists wanted to learn how astronauts on the moon might be able to grow their own food. This experiment is being conducted at a scientist’s home because the team had to begin to work remotely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Perseverance rover gets its power generator
This photo shows NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover displaying where its power system would be inserted — between the panels on the right marked by gold tube. The Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG). The installation is a vital step toward liftoff for the rover, which will rely on the MMRTG power system to keep its instruments running and to stay warm during the cold Martian nights and winters.
On July 18, 2020, astrophotographer Evan Zucker and his wife, Paula, drove three hours to the Mojave Desert north of Desert Center, California, to see Comet NEOWISE. “The comet itself was a very obvious naked eye object, even all the way down to the horizon, but the ion tail was a challenge to perceive naked eye,” Zucker wrote on Facebook. They used a Sony a7iii camera with a Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM lens, set to f/1.4 and ISO 800, mounted on a 6-in. Celestron telescope to provide tracking. The single 13-second exposure was processed in Adobe Lightroom and Topaz AI De-Noise.
Tardigrade-shaped speck seen in solar imagery
On July 16, when the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA unveiled the latest images captured by their Solar Orbiter mission, some viewers pointed out the small, dark blotch on the left-hand side in one of the image sequences. The tardigrade-shaped speck in the imagery recently led to some joking about the unlikely solar presence of a water bear.
Rosalind Franklin gets ready for Mars
Today, the European Space Agency, along with a number of partners, will analyze how ready Rosalind Franklin, the ExoMars robotic craft named after the groundbreaking chemist who discovered the double helix structure of DNA, is for a trip to Mars set for 2022.
Earth from above
NASA astronaut Doug Hurley snapped this incredible shot of the Sobradinho Reservoir and São Francisco River in Brazil from the International Space Station and posted it to Twitter on July 21. Hurley flew to the space station May 30 aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon vehicle Endeavour as part of the Demo-2 mission and is set to return to Earth on August 2.
A supernova remnant
While it might look like a cosmic, space brain, this is actually an image of G292.0+1.8, a young, oxygen-rich remnant from a supernova that scientists think has a pulsar at its center, surrounded by outflowing material. The image, taken by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory
Observations using Chandra have created strong evidence that there is a pulsar in G292.0+1.8. Using observations like this, astronomers can study the connection between pulsars (a magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits electromagnetic radiation) and massive stars.
In this image, you can see a shell of expanding gas 36 light-years across. The gas contains elements including oxygen, neon, magnesium, silicon and sulfur.
A sparkling sea of galaxies
A sparkling galaxy shines in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The galaxy, known as PGC 29388, glimmers amidst a sea of more distant galaxies. It is a dwarf elliptical galaxy, named as such because it is “small” (relatively speaking) with “only” about 100 million to a few billion stars.
NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) captured this view of the Jezero Crater, the landing site for the Perseverance Mars rover. This Martian crater offers an optimal landing site, as it has geologically rich terrain dating as far back as 3.6 billion years old.
“On ancient Mars, water carved channels and transported sediments to form fans and deltas within lake basins,” NASA officials said in a statement. “Examination of spectral data acquired from orbit show that some of these sediments have minerals that indicate chemical alteration by water. Here in Jezero Crater delta, sediments contain clays and carbonates.” — Samantha Mathewson