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The top space stories of the week!

Earth recently arrived at its furthest point away from the sun, a total lunar eclipse made subtle changes to the appearance of July's ''Buck Moon" and Jupiter has a new storm called ''Clyde's Spot.'' These are some of the top stories this week from 

Getting an in-depth look at weird lunar rock.

(Image credit: © CNSA/CLEP)

A Chinese-language science publication recently announced findings about a curious lunar material found last year by a lunar mission. Scientists analyzed data from China's Yutu-2 rover, which is located on the lunar far side, to determine the composition and abundance of the material. Researchers describe it as a glistening, dark green substance. 

Full story: Chinese scientists reveal analysis of weird substance found on the moon's far side by Yutu 2 rover

Rocket Lab rocket fails to deliver satellites into orbit.

(Image credit: Rocket Lab)

On July 4, Rocket Lab announced that there was an issue with their Electron rocket and that its seven small payloads were lost. The booster took off from the company's New Zealand launch site to deliver the Earth-imaging satellites for three different customers, but a problem with Electron's second-stage engine burn led to the loss of all the satellites. 

Full story: Rocket Lab Electron launch fails to reach orbit, 7 satellites lost

See also: China launches 3 satellites on 2 rockets in 3 days

Plus: Israel launches Ofek 16 reconnaissance satellite into orbit

Investigation into Boeing Starliner anomalies is complete.

(Image credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA)

On July 7, NASA announced that an independent review team found an additional 19 corrective actions for Boeing in regards to its Starliner crew capsule, bringing the total number of corrections to 80. Starliner made its debut flight in December 2019 and suffered glitches and software issues in space before landing back to Earth. NASA and Boeing hope for a second test flight sometime this year. 

Full story: NASA completes investigation on flawed Boeing Starliner capsule test flight

A report on the underrepresentation of Black students in physics and astronomy. 

Astronomy and physics have a lot to learn when it comes to diversity and inclusion.

(Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/PSU/L. Townsley et al; UKIRT; JPL-Caltech)

A report published in late 2019 by the American Institute of Physics' (AIP) National Task Force to Elevate African American Representation in Undergraduate Physics and Astronomy (TEAM-UP) outlined changes that universities can make to increase the number of Black students in the fields of physics and astronomy. The two main factors that are exacerbating the underrepresentation of Black students is the lack of a supportive environment and financial challenges, according to the report. 

Full story: Space has a diversity problem — and big institutions like universities can do something about it

See also: Yale astronomy students speak out against institutional racism

InSight's burrowing 'mole' probe might be stuck (again). 

(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A burrowing probe from NASA's InSight Mars lander mission is once again experiencing problems. The Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package might be stuck in its new spot just beneath the Red Planet's surface, according to new photos from the mission. This hammer-like appendage was designed to reach at least 10 feet (3 meters) underground. 

Full story: The 'mole' on Mars from NASA's InSight lander may be stuck again

See also: It's the month of Mars! 3 Red Planet missions set to launch in July

Elevated levels of artificial radioactive particles detected in Scandinavia. 

Sunset in winter landscape of Finland.

(Image credit: Lars Thulin via Getty Images)

Radioactivity levels have spiked in the atmosphere over northern Europe, according to a Dutch health agency. Several agencies in the region detected higher-than-normal levels of radioactive isotopes, or radionuclides. According to an announcement in late June from an official with the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, these radionuclides are human-made and may indicate damage to a fuel element in a nuclear power plant. 

Full story: Mysterious radiation spike detected over Scandinavia

Jupiter has a new big storm.

Citizen scientist Kevin Gill created this image using data gathered by the JunoCam instrument aboard NASA’s Juno Jupiter orbiter on June 2, 2020. At center, to the lower right of Jupiter’s famous Great Red Spot, is a newfound storm dubbed “Clyde’s Spot.”

(Image credit: Image data: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS; image processing by Kevin M. Gill © CC BY)

Amateur astronomer Clyde Foster of South Africa spotted a new storm in Jupiter's cloud tops in late May, and the giant planet's new blemish is now named after its finder. In June, NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter captured recently-published imagery of ''Clyde's Spot'' when it was flying between 28,000 miles and 59,000 miles (45,000 to 95,000 kilometers) above the planet.

Full story: 'Clyde's Spot,' a new storm on Jupiter, discovered by amateur astronomer (photos)

Macy's fireworks go off on the top of the Empire State Building as the full buck moon rises in the sky on July 4, 2020 as seen from Weehawken, New Jersey.

(Image credit: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

A total lunar penumbral eclipse occurred over the July 4-5 weekend. The subtle phenomenon happened as the full moon passed through the outermost part of Earth's shadow. It was a less-apparent event than its counterpart, a total lunar umbral eclipse, when the moon passes through the deeper part of Earth's shadow and turns a copperish-red color. 

Full story: July's full 'Buck Moon' wows skywatchers despite lackluster lunar eclipse

UAE's first Mars mission is ready for launch. 

uae hope mars probe

(Image credit: MBRSC)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will launch its first interplanetary mission next week. The Hope mission is currently awaiting lift off at Japan's Tanegashima Space Center. This Mars mission is designed to spend about two Earth years studying the Red Planet's thin atmosphere. 

Full story: A Mars 'Hope': The UAE's 1st interplanetary spacecraft aims to make history at Red Planet

Earth recently passed its aphelion point!

The sun shines over planet Earth in this photo taken by astronauts aboard the space shuttle Discovery in April 1990.

(Image credit: NASA)

July 4 marked the moment when Earth was the farthest distance from the sun in its orbit. This benchmark is known as aphelion. Earth was at its closest to the sun about six months ago, on Jan. 5. 

Full story: Aphelion Day 2020: Earth is farthest from the sun today!

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