Space Bites

Booster 7’s BOOM, Nuclear Mission to Neptune, More JWST Images

Even more pictures from James Webb Space Telescope, China’s planning a mission to Neptune, SpaceX’s Booster 7 suffers from an explosion, black holes are messy eaters, going under Europa’s ice crust and more.

For those of you who prefer the most important news of the week being videoed at you by none other than Fraser Cain, we got you! Enjoy the video version!

James Webb’s First Full-Color Images

After 20 years of waiting, they’re finally here! The first scientific images were released from the James Webb Space Telescope. One image was revealed on Monday afternoon, and the rest were shown off early Tuesday morning. Among the collection, there was a deep field image of a gravitational lensing galaxy cluster, the planetary nebula surrounding a dying star, a star-forming region in the Carina nebula, a group of galaxies called Stephan’s Quintet, and spectra from an exoplanet. It was an incredible day, and we released a video that focused on explaining the images, which I think you’ll enjoy.

More about JWST’s images.

We also have a special episode of Space Bites just about these images:

We got that amazing release of Webb images on Tuesday, but the telescope team gave us a bonus image of Jupiter just a few days later. This photo demonstrates that Webb can capture data on objects inside the Solar System and see galaxies out to the edge of the observable Universe. You can see the Great Red Spot and smaller storms in the cyclonic bands stretching around the planet. And if you look closely, you can see the shadow of Europa just to the left of the Great Red Spot.

More about JWST’s Jupiter images.

SpaceX Booster 7 Goes BOOM

During one of the tests of Booster 7, which is the first stage of Starship, there was an unplanned explosion. It doesn’t seem that the detonation was too serious, but one of the problems was that all 33 Raptors V2 were installed. So now SpaceX needs to assess the damage, which might cause further delays for the first orbital test of the Starship.

Mission to Neptune Could Happen After All. Just Not With NASA

NASA and ESA have no plans to send a mission to Neptune in the following decades, but another country has stepped forward: China. The Chinese National Space Agency announced its plans to send a nuclear-powered orbiter to Neptune to study the planet, its rings, and moons. In addition to the main spacecraft, it’ll carry several smaller probes which will be deployed into the atmosphere or Neptune or to visit its moon Triton. If could launch by 2030, arriving in 2036.

More about China’s nuclear mission to Neptune.

A Black Hole Tried to Eat a Star but failed

When a star gets too close to a supermassive black hole, it gets torn apart. You’d assume the material would be sucked into the black hole, lost forever. Astronomers watched this happen in a distant galaxy, and much to their surprise, most of the material flew out of the black hole’s accretion disk and off into space. It appears that black holes are pretty sloppy eaters, consuming very little of the stars they destroy.

More about feeding black holes.

In Search of Europan Space Whales

Europa is one of the most fascinating worlds in the Solar System. Underneath kilometres of ice, there’s probably an ocean of liquid water. Could there be life down there? A new NASA NIAC grant has awarded a team $125,000 to investigate how a future mission could melt down through the ice on Europa and then release a fleet of swimming cryobots that could explore the ocean for evidence of life. These cell phone-sized swimmers could operate independently or work together in schools to share their science instruments.

More about getting under the ice of Europa.

More Breaking Space News

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Anton Pozdnyakov

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