This Week's Top Space Stories!

Titan's surface sports many small lakes, which scientists studied in two new papers.
(Image: © NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/USGS)

An interstellar meteor entered Earth's skies

(Image: © M. Kornmesser/ESO)

Researchers detected the first-known interstellar meteor by studying Earth's atmosphere. A new study reports on this meteor, which approached the blue planet with a particular velocity that suggests to scientists that it gained a gravitational boost from outside Earth's solar system. [Full Story: The First Known Interstellar Meteor May Have Hit Earth in 2014]

See Also: Asteroid Hunting Mission Releases 5th Year of Data

Plus: Rare Comet Fragment Found Inside Rocky Meteorite

Christina Koch will now spend almost a year in space

(Image: © NASA)

On April 16, NASA announced a new flight schedule for astronaut Christina Koch. On March 14, Koch launched up to the International Space Station with two fellow crew members, both of whom are still scheduled to return to Earth in six months. According to the new announcement, the duration of Koch's mission will now change to 328 days. [Full Story: NASA Astronaut Christina Koch Will Spend Nearly a Year in Space]

See Also: Breaking Records: How Astronaut Christina Koch's Extended Space Mission Will Make History

Plus: Second NASA Astronaut to Spend Nearly a Year in Space — For Science

X-rays from neutron star collision reach Earth

(Image: © X-ray: NASA/CXC/University of Science and Technology of China/Y. Xue et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI)

A new study reports on a powerful X-ray burst that likely came from the merger of two neutron stars. This light reached NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory after traveling over 6 billion light-years, and offers a new way of detecting the crashes of these superdense bodies.

[Full Story: Boom! Another Neutron-Star Crash Spotted]

See Also: LIGO Is Up and Running Again and Already Spotted Two Possible Black Hole Mergers

'Phantom lakes' and caves found on a Saturnian moon

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured this stunning view of the galaxy cluster RXC J0142.9+4438 on Aug. 13, 2018, using the observatory's Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3.

(Image: © NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/USGS)

Saturn's moon Titan may have seasonal changes that create caves and lakes that manifest but then evaporate into nothing. Two new studies used Cassini spacecraft mission data to understand the landscape created by liquid methane falling as rain and then evaporating on this moon. [Full Story: Saturn's Moon Titan May Have 'Phantom Lakes' and Caves]

Mice and space supplies fly on Antares

(Image: © Bill Ingalls/NASA)

An Antares rocket took off on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 17 from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. The Northrop Grumman launch vehicle performed the aerospace and defense technology company's eleventh cargo flight for NASA. Tons of space agency supplies and several dozen mice traveled on Antares in a journey towards the International Space Station. [Full Story: Antares Rocket Launches Cygnus Cargo Ship on Marathon Mission for NASA]

Stratolaunch's 'Roc' takes first flight

A first-ever test March 25, 2019 saw two ground-based interceptors launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California intercepting an intercontinental ballistic missile target launched from a separate test site.

(Image: © Stratolaunch)

The world's largest aircraft flew for the first time this week. Private launch company Stratolaunch flew its massive airplane, named Roc, for over two hours on April 13. Roc is designed to launch rockets from the air, and during this test flight, it reached an altitude of 17,000 feet (5,180 m), according to Stratolaunch representatives. [Full Story: Stratolaunch Flies World's Largest Plane for the First Time]

Full Story: What It Was Like to Fly the 'Roc' — Stratolaunch's Massive Rocket-Carrier Airplane

One year after launching, TESS finds an Earth-size world

(Image: © Robin Dienel, courtesy of the Carnegie Institution for Science)

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has been searching for distant planets, watching out for moments when these bodies pass in front of their parent stars. And according to a study published April 15, the NASA mission has made its first Earth-size planetary discovery. The exoplanet is located about 53-light years from the sun and orbits a red dwarf star about once a week. [Full Story: NASA's TESS Exoplanet Mission Finds 1st Earth-Size Alien World]

See Also: Discovery! 3rd Planet Found in Two-Star 'Tatooine' Star System

Beresheet glitch caused its lunar crash

(Image: © SpaceIL/IAI)

Israel's Beresheet spacecraft crashed into the moon during a landing attempt on April 11, when its main engine malfunctioned as a result of a technical glitch. The engine did function again, but by that point in time in its descent, the would-be lander was traveling too fast and couldn't slow down in time for a safe touchdown. [Full Story: Israeli Moon Lander Suffered Engine Glitch Before Crash]

See Also: Manual Command Likely Caused Israeli Moon Lander's Crash

Plus: Israel Will Build Another Moon Lander

Record high for space investment

InsightART's scanner based on space-flown technology analyzes a statue of an angel.

The consulting firm Bryce Space and Technology published a new report on April 9. They found that 2018 was a record year for space company investment, totaling $3.23 billion. And according to early 2019 projections, megaconstellations of broadband satellites and their development might mean investment continues to grow. [Full Story: Space Investment Hits Record High in 2018]

Astronomers watch sun belch hot, gooey orbs

(Image: © NASA/GSFC/Solar Dynamics Observatory)

A new study published in February details how the sun releases burbs of scorching-hot plasma as often as every few hours. They are officially known as periodic density structures, but astronomers call them "the blobs." [Full Story: The Sun Is Spitting Out 'Lava Lamp Blobs' 500 Times the Size of Earth]

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