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Space photos: The most amazing images this week!

NASA is getting excited about the upcoming test flight of its Martian helicopter, the Hubble Space Telescope gets a good look at the Veil Nebula and the crew for SpaceX's upcoming Crew-2 launch are getting ready for their journey into space. These are some of the top photos this week from Space.com. 

Ingenuity's blades

Blades on the Ingenuity Mars helicopter during the unlocking process, as seen on Apr. 8, 2021.

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU)

This image shows the blades on NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter during the unlocking process, as seen on Apr. 8, 2021. Ingenuity reached Mars by being packed inside of the larger Perseverance rover. The mission team will test the blades before the rotorcraft's first liftoff from the Martian surface, first at 50 and then at 2,400 revolutions per minute before the helicopter attempts to fly.

Full story: Mars helicopter Ingenuity unlocks its rotor blades to prepare for 1st flight on Red Planet

Perseverance selfie with Ingenuity

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover took a selfie with the Ingenuity helicopter, seen here about 13 feet (3.9 meters) from the rover, on April 6, 2021. Mission team members are prepping Ingenuity for its first test flight, which could take place as soon as Sunday (April 11). NASA officials have said that if Ingenuity is successful, helicopters may become a regular part of future interplanetary missions. 

Full story: These selfies of NASA's Mars helicopter with the Perseverance rover are just amazing

Ingenuity's 1st Mars color photo

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

On April 3, 2021, NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter captured this low-resolution view of the Martian ground. This is the first color image taken by the tiny helicopter on Mars' surface. This is the ground of the Red Planet's Jezero Crater. A portion of two wheels belonging to NASA’s Perseverance rover also appear in this image. 

Full story: Mars Helicopter Ingenuity snaps 1st color photo on Red Planet

Titan

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

NASA's Cassini spacecraft took this picture of Saturn's moon Titan in January 2013. Titan, like Earth, has rain. Titan's skies are made of methane, however, but this liquid pools on Titan's surface and may potentially make this moon habitable. Scientists in a new study looked at how raindrops and clouds may be shaped across different worlds to better understand what makes a world habitable. 

Full story: Alien raindrops are similar to those on Earth

Lunar skylight

(Image credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University)

This bird's eye view over the moon's surface shows a skylight into a lava tube. The shadow cast by this skylight, located in Mare Tranquillitatis, suggests the tube may be about 330 feet (100 meters) deep. These features might be some of the spots that humans will visit and explore on future crewed interplanetary missions. 

Full story: Lava tubes in Hawaii could be a dress rehearsal for Mars colonies

Uranus X-ray emissions

(Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXO/University College London/W. Dunn et al; Optical: W.M. Keck Observatory)

This composite image of the planet Uranus shows X-rays that astronomers have detected being emitted (the X-rays emissions are depicted in pinkish purple). Astronomers detected these X-rays being emitted from the planet using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory in 2002 and 2017 and detailed their observations and these strange emissions in a new study. -- Chelsea Gohd

Ready to launch

(Image credit: SpaceX)

The crew for SpaceX's upcoming Crew-2 mission is all smiles as we get closer to launch. The four astronauts are set to launch to the International Space Station April 22 and there will meet up with the Crew-1 astronauts who have been living up on the orbiting laboratory. From the left is European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide. -- Chelsea Gohd

The veil nebula

(Image credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble/Z. Levay)

This Hubble Space Telescope image of the Veil Nebula is seriously one to behold. While this is an older photo, new processing techniques have more recently been applied to the image to bring out even more detail and highlight the absolute brilliance of this sight. The Veil Nebula can be found about 2,100 light-years from Earth, nestled in the constellation Cygnus (The Swan), and in this photo you can see just a piece of the magnificent, expansive nebula. -- Chelsea Gohd

Blue Dunes

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU)

While it might look like a painting or a still from a science fiction film, this is actually an image of dunes on the surface of Mars. This image shows dark dunes surrounding Mars' northern polar cap. The scene is colorful, but these are false colors with cooler temperatures showing as blue and warmer areas seen as yellowish. The scene, created from images taken from 2002 to 2004 by the Mars Odyssey orbiter's thermal emission imaging system instrument, was released as part of a series of images celebrating Odyssey's 20th anniversary. -- Chelsea Gohd

A Soyuz launches

Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft, the "Yu.A. Gagarin," launches for the International Space Station from Site 31/6 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, on April 9, 2021.

(Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

60 years after the first human spaceflight launched cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin off of Earth, Russia launched a Soyuz named after Gagarin to the International Space Station. Today at 3:42 a.m. EDT (0742 GMT or 12:42 local time), Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft, the "Yu.A. Gagarin," launched from site 31/6 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan near where Gagarin made his historic flight April 12, 1961.  -- Chelsea Gohd

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

  • Non-Lurker
    On the Space.com Amazing Images of the week site, an artist's depiction of Enceladus has been mislabeled as being that of a photo of two storms on Jupiter merging and as having been taken by Juno. Don't get me wrong. I have always enjoyed the space photos and images of the week.



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