‘Panic!’ Around JWST, Exoplanet With CO2, Weak Mars Astronauts

No, James Webb didn’t disprove the Big Bang. Carbon dioxide found in an exoplanet atmosphere. An amazing picture of Jupiter from Webb, pieces of other stars found in asteroid Ryugu, weak astronauts arriving on Mars, and a new way to measure distances in the Universe.

It was a week full of space events, so the video version of the Space Bites is a bit longer than usual. Though, it’s still perfect for those of you who prefer the news being videoed at you by Fraser!

Don’t PANIC! JWST Did Not Disprove The Big Bang

I’m sure you’ve heard several stories about how JWST disproves the Big Bang Theory of the Universe. As you can probably guess, this isn’t true. This powerful infrared observatory has revealed fascinating views about some of the most distant and youngest galaxies ever seen. Still, none of the observations come close to overturning the Big Bang. They are fascinating and will provide astronomers with plenty of answers and even more questions.

More about JWST and the Big Bang.

Carbon Dioxide Discovered in an Exoplanet Atmosphere

This week we got an exciting new scientific result from the James Webb Space Telescope: a clear, unambiguous signal of carbon dioxide in an exoplanet’s atmosphere. The planet is a “hot Saturn” called WASP-39B, orbiting a Sun-like star 700 light-years away. Observations from Spitzer and Hubble revealed that the world has water vapor in its atmosphere, as well as sodium and potassium. But astronomers never had the sensitivity to detect carbon dioxide until now.

More about Webb’s CO2 discovery.

Jupiter With Auroras from JWST

This bizarre and beautiful image of Jupiter was taken by JWST in the first few weeks of operation, primarily to test how well it can track fast-moving targets like planets. The image has been cleaned up by citizen scientist Judy Schmidt and reveals features of Jupiter, such as its faint rings and polar auroras. Lighter colors correspond to higher altitudes so that you can see high-altitude hazes in some cloud layers and the Great Red Spot.

More about Jupiter in infrared.

Black Holes Help Measure Distances in Space

Astronomers are always looking for new ways to measure distance in the Universe. A new technique could use the gravitational waves from colliding black holes as a “standard candle” to add to the cosmic distance ladder. Light is red-shifted by the Universe’s expansion, and the same thing happens to gravitational waves, too, making the collisions appear more massive, happening in slow motion. If we know what kinds of black holes collided, we can use this to determine how far away the collision occurred and measure the distance to its galaxy.

More about ways to measure space distances.

Ryugu Samples Are Partially Interstellar

Our Solar System has been around for about 4.5 billion years, but the Universe was going for almost 10 billion years before that. Stars have lived and died, seeding our region with heavier elements. Scientists studying the samples of Asteroid Ryugu returned by the Hayabusa2 mission have found grains of material formed by previous generations of stars. These give us a better glimpse into the giant nebula that formed the Sun and thousands of other stars.

More about Ryugu samples.

How Weak Will Mars Astronauts Feel On Arrival

When astronauts spend several months in space, they come back to Earth significantly weakened. Exercise can slow the degradation of their bodies, but only to a certain point. When astronauts make the 6-month flight to Mars, how will they feel when they set foot on the Red Planet? Will they be strong enough to fulfill essential duties right away, or will they need some time to rest? Scientists have simulated astronaut capabilities based on a previous long-duration space mission and have made predictions.

More about travelling to Mars.

There’s Less Water Ice Under InSight That Scientists Expected

We know there’s a lot of water on Mars, especially at the poles. As you move closer to the equator, there’s less and less water, or maybe it’s frozen deep underground. NASA’s Mars InSight lander used its instruments to track how seismic waves move through the regolith under its feet. Unfortunately, it didn’t detect any evidence of water ice for hundreds of meters under the surface. This is too bad since the equator has the most reasonable temperature on Mars, and future explorers might rely on local deposits of water ice.

More about water on Mars.

Interview With Tory Bruno

My guest this week is Tory Bruno, the President, and CEO of United Launch Alliance. ULA has provided launch services for many NASA missions, including Juno, Curiosity, MAVEN, and the Parker Solar Probe.

Asking AI to Imagine Space Things

What if Mars was a cake? Or DaVinci designed spaceships? What if space monsters were real? Or what if the Universe was made of cake? We asked all these questions to an AI. Here’s what happened.

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