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.
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.
Perseverance selfie with Ingenuity
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.
Ingenuity's 1st Mars color photo
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.
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
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.
Uranus X-ray emissions
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
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
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
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
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