Take a look at this image of Bennu and notice the material being ejected from the surface in the middle of the image. We are seeing an extremely rare “active” asteroid for the first time up-close. According to Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona, "probably the biggest surprise of the early stages of the OSIRIS-REx mission and, I would say, one of the biggest surprises of my scientific career".
Since Osiris-Rex’s arrival in January this kind of event has been observed at least eleven times with three of events ejecting over 100 observable particles. There is no official theory as to the cause, but they suggest that these particles ultimately go into orbit for a spell and eventually return to the surface of Bennu. Which explains why after billions of years the rock hasn’t whittled away to nothing.
A near real-time movie! This is a pretty rare thing in deep space exploration. Most clips we see are time-lapse moons slipping by other moons or a spacecraft approaching it’s target. It is not often we see such dramatic movies coming from deep space.
Still waiting on better images from the Ultima Thule flyby on New Years Eve. Above is the best of just two images shared so far from the encounter. Below is a true-color attempt by Wildespace on unmannedspaceflight.com.
This might be the prettiest Mars pan yet.
Occator Crater is the mesa or large butte with a flat top located in the lower right hand corner of the image. It has been puzzling scientists since Dawn approached Ceres because its brightness was so intense that people were speculating if light could somehow actually be emanating from within the body. Many details are now visible in the boundaries between the bright and dark material but it is not yet clear if the lines are runoff, splatter or some other process yet to be understood.
The short clip compresses 25 minutes of images taken by the Philae Lander as it came to rest on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. There is more going on in the image than you would think. Much of the dust that appears to be falling straight down are actually stars moving as 67P rotates. The dust that is actually moving in the image travels in all directions and mostly upward.
Image by @landru79 (who just won the internet). Be sure to see this page on LiveScience that explains how the clip was made and also includes an animation isolating the stars so you can see what is actually moving on the surface.
We missed this amazing image (March of 2016) of the enigmatic Occator Crater on Ceres by the Dawn spacecraft. Scientists studying Ceres’ bright spots determined the spots’ age are only about four million years, some 30 million years younger than Occator crater itself. This suggests that there have been eruptive outbursts of sub-surface salt-water on Ceres over a long period of time and could even still be happening today.
That is an amazing discovery considering that the size of Ceres is smaller than anyone would have expected to have the ability to generate internal heating enough to create such processes.
Original image posted by JPL.
There are so many amazing images coming from Juno that it is hard to select anything that is not beautiful. However, this image stood out to me not only due to the colors and texture (which they all have) but compositionally as well.
Nothing to say here, except this is a pretty amazing pan.
No matter where you live, there is likely to be a Yuri’s Night event coming up soon.
On the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s historic first human spaceflight on April 12, 1961, people gather around the world to celebrate humanity’s past, present and especially future of our collective exploration of the cosmos.
Check this link to see the schedule of events near you and even if you don’t attend any events, why not grab some Yuri’s Night merch at chopshopstore to show others you care about our future in space!