Around forty years ago, a Voyager spacecraft captured the first closeup images of Europa, one of Jupiter’s 79 moons, revealing brownish cracks slicing the moon’s icy surface, which give it the look of a veiny eyeball. Missions in the decades since have gathered enough additional data about Europa to make it a high-priority target of investigation in NASA’s search for life. What sets this moon apart from the others is the possibility that it may possess all of the ingredients necessary for life.
SpaceX announced that it has now successfully completed 13 consecutive successful tests of their Mark 3 parachute design, developed in cooperation with Airborne System, for the Crew Dragon spacecraft after fixing a few initial problems. This parachute system is crucial because it’s the same one that will be eventually responsible for bringing astronauts safely back down to Earth.
Photo credit: NASA/SDO
NASA just shared an image of the sun that makes it look like a jack-o’-lantern due to the active regions on the surface. This image was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, which watches the sun at all times from its orbit in space on October 8th, 2014. These active regions appear brighter due to those areas emitting more light and energy.
NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover took a new selfie on Oct. 11, 2019 at “Glen Etive”, which is part of the “clay-bearing unit,” and this mosaic was stitched together from 57 individual images taken by a camera on the end of its robotic arm. If you look in the left foreground you’ll see the two holes that Curiosity drilled – named “Glen Etive 1” (right) and “Glen Etive 2” (left) – that were used to analyze the chemical composition of rock samples by using the drill to turn them into powder before dropping the samples into a portable lab in its belly called Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM).
It’s official, Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket launched NASA’s long-delayed Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, satellite into orbit at approximately 9:59 p.m. EDT on Oct. 10th from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It will study the dynamic zone in Earth’s atmosphere, or the region where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather from above.