News

Universe-Breaking Galaxies, Source of Dark Energy, Mars Anniversary

Perseverance has been on Mars for two years. Are black holes the source of dark energy? Universe-breaking galaxies found. And an early warning system for asteroids.

Mars Anniversary

NASA’s Perseverance Rover is about to begin its third year exploring Mars. NASA released this cool two-year animation of images from the rover’s Front Left Hazard Avoidance Camera to celebrate. During the timelapse, you can see various rocks that Perseverance stopped to study with its robotic arm and sensors. The rover initially landed in Jezero Crater on Feb. 18th, 2020, and has now travelled almost 15 km and taken 18 samples of rocks, regolith, and even the Martian atmosphere.

More about Percy’s 2 years on Mars.

“The Universe Breakers”: Six Galaxies That are Too Big, Too Early

New images from JWST show six galaxies at a time when the Universe was only 3% of its current age, 500-700 million years after the Big Bang. They should be baby galaxies, but they contain 100 times more stellar mass than astronomers were expecting to see soon after the beginning of the Universe. If true, this calls the current thinking of galaxy formation into question or challenges most models of cosmology.

More about the “impossible” galaxies.

A 500-Meter-Long Asteroid Flew Past Earth and Astronomers Were Watching

An asteroid the size of the Empire State Building flew past Earth on Feb. 3rd, coming within 1.8 million km of our planet. For context, that’s about five times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. Astronomers turned the Goldstone Solar System Radar dish on the space rock, mapping its surface. The asteroid, called 2011 AG5, is one of the most elongated objects ever seen, with a length-to-width ratio of 10:3. It’ll have another close flyby in 2040 when it comes within three times the Earth-Moon distance.

More about close asteroid flyby.

Source of Dark Energy

A new paper was released suggesting that there might be a link between dark energy and the growth of supermassive black holes. Researchers speculate that, in fact, black holes can be the source of dark energy. If true (which we yet need to prove) this can be ground-breaking.

To shed more light on the research here’s an in-depth interview with Dr Chris Pearson from STFC RAL Space, who is a co-author of the paper.

More about black holes and dark energy.

New Spacecraft Can See Into the Permanently Shadowed Craters on the Moon

The permanently shadowed craters at the Moon’s south pole are exciting because they contain vast reserves of water ice that future human explorers could use. But studying these craters is difficult because they’re in shadow and have no direct illumination falling inside them. NASA’s new ShadowCam instrument is at the Moon, flying with Korea’s Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter. ShadowCam can see in such low light that it can reveal incredible details in these shadowed craters as if they were lit in sunlight.

More about ShadowCam.

ESA’s Early Warning System for Asteroids

ESA is considering their own mission to search for potentially dangerous asteroids. The spacecraft will be called NEOMIR and it will go to the Earth-Sun L1 Lagrange point. This way it will be able to see incoming space rocks that will otherwise be missed because of the Sun blinding the telescopes. NEOMIR will also operate in the infrared, which will make its task even easier.

More about NEOMIR.

Don’t Miss Out On Space News

If you want to get a curated selection of the most important space and astronomy news every week, subscribe to our Weekly Email Newsletter and get magazine-size ad-free news directly from Fraser Cain.

If you prefer the news to be videoed at you, check out our Space Bites playlist on our YouTube channel

Anton Pozdnyakov

Recent Posts

If Exoplanets Have Lightning, it’ll Complicate the Search for Life

Discovering exoplanets is almost routine now. We've found over 5,500 exoplanets, and the next step…

14 mins ago

Electrodes in Spacesuits Could Protect Astronauts from Harmful Dust on Mars

To quote NASA associate administrator Jim Reuter, sending crewed missions to Mars by 2040 is…

42 mins ago

Odysseus Moon Lander Sends More Pictures — and We Know Where It Is

Four days after Intuitive Machines' Odysseus lander made an off-kilter touchdown on the moon, the…

3 hours ago

Astronomers Discover a New Meteor Shower. The Source is Comet 46P/Wirtanen

Like many of you, I love a good meteor shower. I have fond memories of…

10 hours ago

Surprise! Japan’s SLIM Moon Lander Wakes Up After a Freezing Night

Japan's space agency didn't expect its wrong-side-up SLIM moon lander to revive itself after powering…

14 hours ago

Titan Probably Doesn’t Have the Amino Acids Needed for Life to Emerge

Does Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, possess the necessary ingredients for life to exist? This is…

16 hours ago