European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet likes to spend his free time aboard the International Space Station capturing photographs as well as stunning video footage, and the latest is of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. Although the exact location wasn’t provided, he did say that clouds competed for attention in this aurora time-lapse over a sparkling blue ocean. Read more for the video and additional information.
NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission may sound like the plot for the 1998 movie Armageddon, but this is real and aimed to demonstrate kinetic impactor technology. In other words, impacting an asteroid to adjust its speed and path. DART’s main target is the binary asteroid system Didymos, and while not currently on a path to collide with Earth, thus posing no actual threat to the planet, the spacecraft will impact Dimorphos nearly head-on at 15,000 mph, shortening the time it takes the small asteroid moonlet to orbit by several minutes. Read more for two videos and additional information.
Photo credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA, A. Sarajedini
NASA / ESA’s Hubble Space Telescope has imaged NGC 6717, a dazzling globular cluster of stars located over 20,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius. This spherical collection of stars are tightly bound together by gravity, with more in the centers than its outer fringes. When looking at NGC 6717, we see sparsely populated edges instead of the massive collection of stars at its center. Read more for two videos on globular clusters and additional information.
In the image above, you’ll see NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, one of seven ISS crew members on the left, while the right side image shows a smoke plume rising from the Manhattan area after two planes crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center photographed from space during the morning of September 11, 2001. Kimbrough transmitted a video message to Earth in honor of those who lost their lives that fateful day as well as to anyone affected by the September 11 attacks. Read more for the video message and a bonus.
Photo credit: NASA/Chris Gunn
After numerous delays, NASA has officially confirmed the James Webb Space Telescope launch for Dec. 18, 2021, and when in orbit, it will serve as the premier deep space observatory for the next decade. This new date follows on the heels of Arianespace successfully launching an Ariane 5 rocket in late July and scheduling a launch that will precede Webb. The team is prepping for shipment operations, in which the observatory will undergo final closeout procedures before packing begins for its trip to the launch site. Read more for two videos and additional information.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured a rare celestial phenomenon known as a Herbig-Haro object. This amazing object, named HH111, was imaged using the telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), and only develops under very specific circumstances. More specifically, they occur when newly formed stars expel very narrow jets of rapidly moving ionized gas, making the gas highly charged. Read more for a video and additional information.
NASA’s Perseverance rover has successfully secured a core sample of Mars rock. It accomplished this using a Sampling and Caching System that consists of a rotary-percussive drill and a hollow coring bit at the end of its 7-foot-long robotic arm. This tool is used to extract samples that can be slightly thicker than a pencil, and within the bit is a sample tube, which has to be opened in order to be imaged by the rover’s Mastcam-Z instrument. Read more for a short video and additional information.
Photo credit: Thomas Pesquet
European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet spends his free time aboard the International Space Station capturing breathtaking photographs, and his latest of the Aurora Australis is definitely no exception. This blue color of the southern lights is a rare phenomenon, partially due to the added additional illumination from the Moon. The Moon was particularely high and very bright, illuminating the clouds to create a very special atmosphere. Read more for additional pictures and information.
NASA started flight testing with Joby Aviation’s all-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to further develop its Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) National Campaign. It will run through Friday, Sept.10, at Joby’s Electric Flight Base located near Big Sur, California, and eventually, the aircraft could serve as air taxis for those in cities around the country. The goal for these tests are to collect vehicle performance and acoustic data for use in modeling and simulation of future airspace concepts. Read more for a video and additional information.
French aerospace engineer and astronaut Thomas Pesquet recently posted a video showing what it’s like to have a pizza party aboard the International Space Station. He documented astronauts making and enjoying the pizza in zero gravity, especially the skill required to place floating toppings on the pie. Fortunately, the crusts are pre-baked, but everything else can be customized before being heated in a space oven. Read more for the video and additional information.