They say space is the place — and there’s a lot going on out there. Here’s what you might have missed this week in outer space.
– Earlier this week, the internet was ablaze over an image captured by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that bears a striking resemblance to a bear.
– Whatever it is, it looks like he had a good day. It looks happy to me.
– The image, first captured in December, shows a patch of Martian landscape outlined by what NASA calls a circular fracture pattern, with two craters for eyes in a volcanic formation for a nose and mouth. Now, some people were quick to point out that there are similar things in a topography as vast and varied as Mars. And sure, they could be technically correct, but this is still like a mark. On Wednesday night, a bright green comet known as C/2022E3ZTF, or simply the green comet, was visible to Earth for the first time since the Stone Age.
– A comet that only comes from Earth Every 50,000 years is currently making its closest pass to Earth in our lifetime.
JOHN GIANFORTE: If you have a good unobstructed view of the northern horizon–
– You can still try to see the comet again tonight and in the coming days.
– But if you’re like me and live in a city, buildings and light pollution will get worse. But it’s still worth a shot because it won’t be coming back for at least another 50,000 years. Moving closer to home, on Thursday, NASA astronaut Nicole Duke Mann and Koichi Guacara of Japan’s JAXA space program participated in a seven-hour spacewalk to help prepare for the installation of a new solar array on the International Space Station.
– All smiles around.
– Back on Earth, SpaceX launched its 200th Falcon 9 rocket carrying another batch of Starlink internet satellites into orbit. And Vice President Harris presented the Congressional space medal of honor to former astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken, who piloted the first manned space mission, in cooperation with NASA, to the International Space Station in 2020. And finally, commemorating 20 years this week. of the Columbia space shuttle disaster. During re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, Columbia disintegrated, killing all seven astronauts on board.
JOHN GIANFORTE: These men and women took great risks in the service of all humanity.
– In addition to the tragic loss of crew, the ensuing investigation revealed a major flaw in the shuttle’s heat shield and marked the beginning of the end for the space shuttle program, which was officially terminated in 2011.