NASA

The Penguin and the Egg

The distorted spiral galaxy at center, the Penguin, and the compact elliptical at left, the Egg, are locked in an active embrace. This near- and mid-infrared image combines data from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) and MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument), and marks the telescope’s second year of science. Webb’s view shows that their interaction is marked by a glow of scattered stars represented in blue. Known jointly as Arp 142, the galaxies made their first pass by one another between 25 and 75 million years ago, causing “fireworks,” or new star formation, in the Penguin. The galaxies are approximately the same mass, which is why one hasn’t consumed the other.

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Orion on the Rise

Technicians used a 30-ton crane to lift NASA’s Orion spacecraft on Friday, June 28, 2024, from the Final Assembly and System Testing cell to the altitude chamber inside the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The spacecraft, which will be used for the Artemis II mission to orbit the Moon, underwent leak checks and end-to-end performance verification of the vehicle’s subsystems.

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The Maze is Afoot

This labyrinth – with a silhouette of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes at its center – is used as a calibration target for the cameras and laser that are part of SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals), one of the instruments aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover. The image was captured by the Autofocus and Context Imager on SHERLOC on May 11, 2024, the 1,147th day, or sol, of the mission, as the rover team sought to confirm it had successfully addressed an issue with a stuck lens cover.

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Hubble Captures Infant Stars Transforming a Nebula

Named RCW 7, the nebula is located just over 5300 light-years from Earth in the constellation Puppis. Nebulae are areas of space that are rich in the raw material needed to form new stars. Under the influence of gravity, parts of these molecular clouds collapse until they coalesce into protostars, surrounded by spinning discs of leftover gas and dust. In the case of RCW 7, the protostars forming here are particularly massive, giving off strongly ionising radiation and fierce stellar winds that have transformed it into what is known as a H II region. The ultraviolet radiation from the massive protostars excites the hydrogen, causing it to emit light and giving this nebula its soft pinkish glow. Here Hubble is studying a particular massive protostellar binary named IRAS 07299-1651, still in its glowing cocoon of gas in the curling clouds towards the top of the nebula. To expose this star and its siblings, this image was captured using the Wide Field Camera 3 in near-infrared light. The massive protostars here are brightest in ultraviolet light, but they emit plenty of infrared light which can pass through much of the gas and dust around them and be seen by Hubble.

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On the GOES

Crews transport NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-U) from the Astrotech Space Operations facility to the SpaceX hangar at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida beginning on Friday, June 14, 2024, with the operation finishing early Saturday, June 15, 2024. The fourth and final weather-observing and environmental monitoring satellite in NOAA’s GOES-R Series will assist meteorologists in providing advanced weather forecasting and warning capabilities. The two-hour window for liftoff opens 5:16 p.m. EDT Tuesday, June 25, aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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HuskyWorks During Rover Testing

“HuskyWorks,” a team from Michigan Technological University’s Planetary Surface Technology Development Lab, tests the excavation tools of a robot on a concrete slab, held by a gravity-offloading crane on June 12 at NASA’s Break the Ice Lunar Challenge at Alabama A&M’s Agribition Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Led by Professor Paul van Susante, the team aimed to mimic the conditions of the lunar South Pole, winning an invitation to use the thermal vacuum chambers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center to continue robotic testing.

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Hubble Captures a Cosmic Fossil

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image features the globular cluster NGC 2005. It’s not an unusual globular cluster in and of itself, but it is a peculiarity when compared to its surroundings. NGC 2005 is located about 750 light-years from the heart of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), which is the Milky Way’s largest satellite galaxy some 162,000 light-years from Earth.

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