The otherworldly photos from Mars’ newest robotic resident keep rolling in.
NASA’s Perseverance rover, which touched down inside the 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, captured some nice shots of its own shadow over the weekend with its hazard-avoidance cameras.
Space UpClose’s Ken Kremer stitched two of those pictures into a striking mosaic that shows the outline of the rover and the rubbly terrain it has just begun to explore.
Perseverance is the centerpiece of the $2.7 billion Mars 2020 mission, which will search for signs of ancient life on Jezero’s floor and collect and cache dozens of samples for future return to Earth. The car-sized rover is getting up to speed nicely; instrument checkouts are going well, and the robot has conducted its first few drives on the Red Planet’s surface.
Perseverance has covered about 230 feet (70 meters) on Mars so far, mission team members said via Twitter Monday evening (March 8). Its latest drive served to scout out a potential flight zone for Ingenuity, the 4-lb. (1.8 kilograms) helicopter that traveled to the Red Planet on Perseverance’s belly.
Getting Ingenuity aloft is the first big order of business for the Mars 2020 mission. After the little chopper finishes its technology-demonstrating flights, Perseverance will begin its science and sample-collecting work in earnest, rover team members have said.
The Mars 2020 team makes all of Perseverance’s photos publicly available here. As of Monday evening, there were 8,802 images to gawk at, including high-resolution 360-degree panoramas of the area near the landing site, which was recently named after renowned sci-fi author Octavia Butler, and stunning shots of the rover’s dramatic sky-crane touchdown.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.
Chinese sighting of ‘cube’ on moon rouses speculation, inspires memes
A photograph of a cube-like object captured by a Chinese rover on the far side of the moon has fanned speculation over what it could be and inspired a host of memes by Chinese internet users.
The Yutu-2 caught an image of what seems like a large cubic object on the horizon about 80 metres (87 yards) from its location, said Our Space, a Chinese government science website, citing the rover’s last log on Dec. 3.
Under the hashtag “Yutu’s latest discovery”, a series of internet memes showed the rover rolling over the lunar plain towards a pair of obelisks, a tall monolith, and even a giant hammer and sickle – the symbol of the Communist Party.
“It’s space junk left behind by the U.S.,” one Chinese internet user wrote in a social media post.
“Get a bit closer, and you’d see it’s a nucleic acid test site for COVID-19,” another quipped.
“It’s the home of aliens!” a third said in mock horror.
Others suggested a more mundane possibility – it’s just a boulder.
The solar-powered Yutu, or “Jade Rabbit” in Chinese, will cover the distance of 80 metres in two to three lunar days, according to Our Space, or two to three Earth months.
The robotic rover has been operating in the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin since its deployment in January 2019.
The mission was a historic first, with no other nation having landed on the far side of the moon until then.
With the moon tidally locked to Earth – rotating at the same speed as it orbits our planet – most of its “dark side” is never visible to those on Earth.
(Reporting by Ryan Woo and Liangping Gao; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)
'Mystery hut' on the moon just the latest weird lunar find by China's Yutu 2 rover – Space.com
China’s Yutu 2 rover is the first spacecraft to explore the surface of the moon’s far side, and the wheeled robot has made some interesting discoveries during its historic journey.
Yutu 2 landed in Von Kármán crater atop the Chang’e 4 lander in January 2019 and has been working its way northwest during each 14.5-Earth-day-long lunar day ever since, using its four science payloads to image and analyze its surroundings as it goes.
The solar-powered rover recently spotted a weirdly cube-shaped ‘mystery hut’ on its horizon that has generated quite a bit of media buzz, despite most likely being just a rock. But other findings have also drawn attention over the past couple of years.
‘Gel-like’ moon discovery and rocks
Yutu 2 discovered an object in the middle of a small crater that was initially described by Our Space — a Chinese-language science outreach channel affiliated with the China National Space Administration — by the term “胶状物” (“jiao zhuang wu”), which can be translated as “gel-like.” There was no accompanying image.
Outside scientists suspected the substance was glassy material created by an impact, and that turned out to be correct. A recent paper in the journal Nature authored by Chinese scientists reported that the material was likely from a meteorite strike on the moon less than one million years ago.
Yutu 2 rover and the ‘milestone’ rock
Another discovery was a number of shards of rock sticking out of the surface, referred to by Our Space as a “milestone.” Once again, a meteor impact is the likely culprit.
While seemingly mundane, such rocks stand out on a surface that has been pulverized over billions of years by both micrometeorites and harsh solar radiation. When Yutu 2 discovers sizable rocks, they’re generally indicators of impact activity. Such rocks provide clues about the history of the moon and the composition of material excavated or ejected by impactors, as was the case with a set of relatively young rocks discovered in early 2020.
Yutu 2 has also been peeking beneath the lunar surface, using its ground-penetrating radar to build an image of layers beneath the rover by collecting reflected electromagnetic waves. Yutu 2 detected three distinct layers in the near subsurface, suggesting that separate, large impact events had delivered ejecta into the region.
The fuzzy image of the “mystery hut” left some people wondering about the quality of Yutu 2’s photographic gear. However, the rover’s pair of panoramic cameras have returned a huge batch of impressive images from the lunar far side.
The lunar far side never faces Earth; it was not seen until the Soviet Union’s Luna 3 spacecraft traveled around the moon in 1959. Chang’e 4 and Yutu 2 therefore cannot beam data directly to Earth and are supported by a relay satellite beyond the moon, which facilitates communications between the spacecraft and its handlers. The relay satellite, known as Queqiao, also collects some data of its own, using a pioneering low-frequency astronomy instrument.
So far, Yutu 2 and its Chang’e 4 lander have been active for over 1,000 (Earth) days on the far side of the moon. Yutu 2 has set a new longevity record for a rover working on the lunar surface, surpassing the previous record of 321 days set by the Soviet Union’s robotic Lunokhod 1 rover.
Yutu 2 and Chang’e 4 are currently in their 37th lunar day (each of which is around 29.5 Earth days). The two solar-powered spacecraft hibernate during the two-week-long lunar nights, when the temperature plummets as low as minus 310 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 190 degrees Celsius).
The image of the “mystery hut” was taken during lunar day 36, in November 2021. It’s possible that the China Lunar Exploration Program will release new images in the weeks following the end of lunar day 37, which will come on the evening of Dec. 10. Yutu 2 travels an average of roughly 66 feet to 98 feet (20 to 30 meters) per lunar day, meaning the rover is expected to cover the approximately 260 feet (80 m) to the object by lunar day 38 or 39.
Hubble telescope clicks photo of colliding gases in `running man` nebula – WION
Hubble space telescope has been humankind’s eye in the sky for decades and though the space telescope has developed glitches, hit snags and has required frequent repairs, it has clicked wonders lying in unimaginably distant corners of the universe and enhanced our knowledge.
It has now clicked an image of colliding gases in ‘Running Man’ Nebula.
Nebulas are where stars form. When this image was clicked, Hubble was trying to observe effect young stars have on their surroundings.
The image it clicked was of Herbig-Haro object (HH 45). Herbig Haro nebula is a type of nebula that forms when gas from a young star collides with surrounding dust and produces shockwaves.
Herbig Haro objects are a rare sight in the universe. This Herbig Haro object has been spotted by Hubble in nebula named NGC 1977. This nebula is also called ‘Running Man Nebula’. This is a complex structure of three nebulae. The Running Man Nebula is about 5000 light-years away from Earth. The Running Man Nebula is a reflection nebula. This means that it does not emit light of its own but reflects light emitted by other nebulae.
NASA is soon launching a ‘successor’ to Hubble Space Telescope. In December, it is going to launch James Webb Space Telescope. This space telescope is more powerful than Hubble telescope and will be equipped with latest technology.
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