On Aug. 17, gravity waves rippled through the solar system, slightly squeezing and stretching the space Earth occupies, the result of a catastrophic collision of two compact-but-massive neutron stars, producing a so-called “kilonova” explosion that seeded the local environment with a flood of heavy elements ranging from gold and platinum to uranium and beyond, scientists said Monday.
Scientists planning the the next phase of NASA’s New Horizons mission, a robotic craft that completed the first exploration of Pluto in 2015, are going into the flyby of a frozen, faraway city-sized clump of rock on New Year’s Day 2019 armed with little knowledge of the target lurking around 4 billion miles from Earth.
The Hubble Space Telescope has again spotted what appear to be towering plumes of water vapor erupting from Jupiter’s moon Europa, hinting that future spacecraft may be able to sample the hidden sea, a possible abode of life, without having to drill through miles of rock-hard ice, researchers said Monday.
If you look at the night sky this month, chances are you can’t miss Mars rising in the east like an orange beacon each evening. Scientists recently aimed the Hubble Space Telescope at the red planet, producing a dazzling image of bright Martian ice caps, rust-colored landscapes and clouds hanging in its rarefied atmosphere.