Satellites caught images of the devastating explosion this week in Beirut, a NASA spacecraft caught Mars’ ”nightglow” and a Japanese spacecraft peered below Venus’ cloud tops. These are just some of the top photos of the week on Space.com.
This view of the destruction caused by an explosion in the port of Beirut was captured by a SkySat satellite operated by San Francisco-based company Planet on Aug. 5. As of the picture’s published date, there were at least 135 known dead people and at least 5,000 wounded. The blast occurred after a fire reached a warehouse containing 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, an explosive compound often used as a fertilizer, Lebanese authorities have said.
Beirut explosion devastation spotted from space (satellite photos) Duckweed could be future astronaut food
(Image credit: Dr. Jared J. Stewart, CC BY-ND)
Duckweed is a small floating plant that grows on the surface of ponds. It is commonly eaten in Asia but is mostly considered a pest plant in the U.S. as it can quickly take over ponds. But duckweed is also the most protein–dense plant on the planet and produces many important micronutrients. Duckweed may provide the nutritional needs of astronauts.
Full story: Duckweed is an incredible, radiation-fighting astronaut food — and by changing how it is grown, we made it better Russian Proton rocket soars
(Image credit: Roscosmos)
A Proton rocket launched two communications satellites for the Russian government Thursday (July 30) in a dazzling nighttime liftoff. The heavy-lift rocket launched the Express 80 and Express 103 communications satellites into orbit from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on July 31.
Full story: Russian Proton rocket launches Express communications satellites in stunning nighttime liftoff (video, photos) MAVEN sees Martian ‘nightglow’
(Image credit: NASA/MAVEN/Goddard Space Flight Center/CU/LASP)
This image shows the ultraviolet “nightglow” in Mars’ atmosphere with green and white false colors to represent the ultraviolet light. It was taken by NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission (MAVEN), has been studying Mars since it launched to orbit and study the Red Planet in 2013.
Full story: The eerie green ‘nightglow’ of Mars pulses in ultraviolet light in new NASA views Venus in infrared
(Image credit: JAXA/PLANET-C Project Team)
This image was taken by Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft and it shows the night side of Venus in infrared. The dark side of the image is the day side of the planet, which is too bright to study in infrared. New work shows that Venus hosts acid clouds which whip around the planet at high speeds that are close to that of a commercial air jet on Earth.
Full story: A super speedy acid cloud has been hiding on Venus for decades Saturn in striking detail
(Image credit: NASA, ESA, A. Simon (GSFC), M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley) and the OPAL Team)
This image of Saturn, snapped by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, reveals the planet’s swirling, turbulent atmosphere and striking, signature rings. You can even see the planet’s mysterious “hexagon,” the hexagonal storm constantly swirling at its north pole, right on “top” of the planet.
A successful splashdown
(Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
On Sunday (Aug. 2), NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley splashed back down on Earth inside of a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, successfully completing the SpaceX Demo-2 mission to and from the International Space Station. This was the first splashdown landing for the U.S. in roughly 45 years.
A space butterfly
(Image credit: ESO)
This stunning image, taken by ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), shows the “space butterfly,” the planetary nebula NGC 2899. The nebula’s gases, forming the shape of a cosmic butterfly, stretch out to a maximum of two light-years from its center. The striking structure glows brightly in the Milky Way galaxy.
Bringing a Dragon home
(Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
On Aug. 2, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley made their way home to Earth aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft Endeavour which they rode to space on May 30. With the successful splashdown, SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission is complete and the company will move on to its first operational crewed Crew Dragon mission, Crew-1.
Training for the Dragon
(Image credit: Megan McArthur/Twitter)
NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough can be seen in this image, which McArthur
, at SpaceX, practicing how to fly the company’s Crew Dragon vehicle. The pair will make up half of the crew that will fly to the space station with SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission, slated for 2021. shared to Twitter
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