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NASA's 1st attempt to collect Mars samples comes up empty
Created for blog@iirsg.org |  Web Version
August 9, 2021
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The Launchpad
NASA's 1st attempt to collect Mars samples with Perseverance rover comes up empty
(NASA/JPL-Caltech)
The Perseverance rover's first sample-snagging attempt didn't go according to plan. The NASA rover drilled its first sample-collecting hole on Friday (Aug. 6), a major milestone for the $2.7 billion mission. But data beamed back to Earth by Perseverance indicate that no Mars rock or dirt made it into the sampling tube, NASA officials announced on Friday afternoon.
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A chunk of stellar shrapnel is careering toward the edge of our Milky Way galaxy at almost 2 million mph (3.2 million kph), a new study reports. "The star is moving so fast that it's almost certainly leaving the galaxy," study co-lead author J.J. Hermes, an associate professor of astronomy at Boston University, said in a statement.
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Spaceflight
All eyes on Venus: 2 spacecraft gear up for close Venus flybys this week
(ESA/ATG medialab)
NASA's Solar Orbiter, in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), will hone in on Venus today (Aug. 9), but it won't be alone for long. Another ESA spacecraft, BepiColombo — a partnership with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA — will fly by the planet just one day later.
Full Story: Space (8/8) 
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NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity captured stunning new aerial views of its landing site Jezero Crater during its most complex flight yet. Ingenuity, which landed with the Perseverance rover inside Jezero Crater, an ancient, Martian lakebed, on Feb. 18, completed its 10th flight on July 24, climbing to a new record altitude of 40 feet (12 meters). From this vantage point, Ingenuity was able to photograph low-lying wrinkles, or "Raised Ridges," in the crater's surface, which may reveal new clues about Mars' watery past, according to NASA.
Full Story: Space (8/6) 
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Science & Astronomy
Jupiter 'energy crisis' caused by auroras, scientists find in new study
(J. O'Donoghue (JAXA)/Hubble/NASA/ESA/A. Simon/J. Schmidt)
Jupiter's mysterious "energy crisis" that has puzzled astronomers for 50 years could be caused by auroras, new observations suggest. There's so little sunlight that far from the sun that Jupiter's upper atmosphere should be frigid, scientists estimate it should be about -100 degrees Fahrenheit (-73 degrees Celsius). However, the average temperature in Jupiter's upper atmosphere is a roasting 800 degrees F (426 C) — almost as hot as the surface of the hellish planet Venus.
Full Story: Space (8/9) 
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A stunning Hubble Space Telescope image of three galaxies tearing each other apart has given astronomers an early glimpse into the Milky Way’s fate. Located 389 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Lynx, Arp 195 is a galaxy cluster made up of three galaxies ripping each other apart in a three-way gravitational tug-of-war. It is a destiny that astronomers predict will befall the Milky Way when, in 4.5 billion years’ time, it is set to collide with the neighboring Andromeda galaxy, according to an assessment by the European Space Agency.
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SpaceX
Elon Musk is thrilled as SpaceX's Starship becomes world's tallest rocket — and he's not alone
(Elon Musk/Twitter)
SpaceX's Starship has officially become the world's tallest rocket  — and Elon Musk is over the moon. On Friday (Aug. 6), for the first time, SpaceX stacked its Starship spacecraft on top of its Super Heavy rocket. At around 395 feet (120 meters) tall, the stacked spacecraft is the tallest in the world. (If you take the launch stand into account, it's even taller, at about 475 feet, or 145 m, high).
Full Story: Space (8/7) 
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Skywatching
Perseid meteor shower 2021: When, where & how to see it
(Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
The bright Perseids are perhaps the most popular meteor shower of the year, and they've just begun! With clear skies, you could see what some consider the most spectacular cosmic light show. The shower will peak between Tuesday and Thursday (Aug. 11-13).
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The new moon arrived on Sunday (Aug. 8), just as the Perseid meteor shower gets more intense. On Wednesday (Aug. 11) the thin crescent moon will pass Venus in the evening sky.
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Entertainment
This Lego Ideas concept would let you build NASA's James Webb Space Telescope
(Lego)
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will become the largest telescope to ever be launched into space, and Lego could be launching its own buildable model replica, if the idea gains enough support. This idea to for a Lego replica of the giant telescope into production comes from Lego Ideas creator tonysmyuncle and has already received over 600 supporters. In total, it will need 10,000 supporters for it to go to an expert review before the winner is announced — but there is plenty of time to support the idea with 417 days left before the votes are counted.
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With an out-of-this-world resume that includes the novels "Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13," which was adapted into director Ron Howard's 1995 film "Apollo 13," and the 2017 film "Apollo 8," Time magazine senior writer and best-selling author Jeffrey Kluger has naturally gravitated back into outer space with his latest thriller, "Holdout" (Dutton, 2021).
Full Story: Space (8/7) 
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