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The top space stories of the week!

Astronauts share their Thanksgiving plans in a new video, supporters of the Arecibo Observatory create a formal White House petition and NASA releases an audio file from the Martian rover traveling through space. These are some of the top stories this week from Space.com. 

Thanksgiving 2020 in space. 

NASA astronaut Victor Glover showcases some cornbread dressing on the International Space Station, part of the Expedition 64 crew's Thanksgiving dinner, in a video of the astronauts' holiday meal. (Image credit: NASA)

Five astronauts spoke in a new video published by NASA on Monday (Nov. 23) ahead of Thanksgiving. NASA astronauts Kate Rubins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Mike Hopkins and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi talked about how difficult this year has been for the world, and they also showed the food packets they would be eating from during the holiday meal. 

Full story: A very space Thanksgiving for 2020: Here's what astronauts will eat in space (video)

STEVE is still a puzzle.

A 2017 STEVE event over New Zealand reveals the strange new feature that astronomers are calling "streaks." (Image credit: Stephen Voss)

The celestial ribbon-like structures known as STEVE (Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement) may look slightly like auroras, but they are something altogether different. NASA researchers recently reviewed hundreds of hours of STEVE footage recorded by citizen scientists to find tiny smears of green light near the "picket fence" of the main smear. By doing this work, they hoped to learn more about the puzzling phenomenon. 

Full story: STEVE is smearing green 'streaks' across the sky, and nobody knows why

Arecibo observatory supporters create White House petition. 

An image of Wilbert Ruperto-Hernández at the Arecibo Observatory.

An image of Wilbert Ruperto-Hernández at the Arecibo Observatory. (Image credit: Wilbert Ruperto-Hernández)

The iconic Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico was recently decommissioned by the National Science Foundation following structural damage incidents. Supporters of the facility have now created a formal White House petition calling on the federal government to reassess the situation at the 1,000-foot-wide (305 meters) dish. 

Full story: Arecibo observatory supporters ask White House to help save damaged radio telescope

See also: Arecibo isn't the first radio telescope to unexpectedly fail. Here's what we can learn from Green Bank's collapse.

New Chinese lunar mission will attempt to collect moon samples. 

A Chinese Long March 5 rocket launches the Chang'e 5 moon sample-return mission into orbit from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on Hainan Island in southern China on Nov. 24, 2020 Beijing time (Nov. 23 EST).

A Chinese Long March 5 rocket launches the Chang'e 5 moon sample-return mission into orbit from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on Hainan Island in southern China on Nov. 24, 2020 Beijing time (Nov. 23 EST). (Image credit: China National Space Administration)

China recently launched the first lunar sample-return mission in half a century. On Monday (Nov. 23). China launched the robotic Chang'e 5 mission atop a Long March 5 rocket from Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province. The mission is aiming for a landing on the huge volcanic plain known as Oceanus Procellarum. 

Full story: China launches historic Chang'e 5 mission to collect the first moon samples since 1976

100th flight of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches 60 Starlink internet satellites from Florida on Nov. 24, 2020. It was the 100th Falcon 9 launch overall and the seventh mission for this particular rocket's first stage. (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX launched the 100th flight of its Falcon 9 rocket this week (Nov. 24) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The booster brought 60 Starlink internet satellites into orbit and then landed at sea. 

Full story: SpaceX rocket launches for record 7th time, nails landing at sea in 100th Falcon 9 mission

See also: SpaceX's Starship SN8 prototype fires engines ahead of major test flight

Martian rover's sounds can be heard in a new NASA audio file.

This annotated illustration shows the location of the Perseverance rover's entry, descent, and landing microphone.

This annotated illustration shows the location of the Perseverance rover's entry, descent, and landing microphone. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A newly released NASA audio file reveals the whirring sound made by the space agency's Perseverance rover as it flies through space on its way to Mars. The sound is produced by the car-sized rober's "heat-rejection fluid pump," and is created as the vibrations pass through the body of the rover (sound waves cannot travel through the vacuum of space). 

Full story: Hear Mars rover Perseverance whir as it cruises toward the Red Planet

Japanese mission is practicing Martian moon landing. 

Illustration of the MMX Rover moving on the Mars moon Phobos.

Illustration of the MMX Rover moving on the Mars moon Phobos. (Image credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0))

The Mar­tian Moons eX­plo­ration (MMX) mission from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) recently started practicing its future landing on Mars' moon Phobos. The MMX mission is scheduled to launch in 2024, with a landing onto the 14-mile wide (22 kilometers) moon scheduled for early 2027. 

Full story: Rover that will explore Mars moon Phobos starts landing tests

See also: Hope, the UAE's first interplanetary mission, has its eye on bonus science on way to Mars

Space junk cleanup mission will launch demonstration in 2021. 

Astroscale's ELSA-d mission will launch in March 2021 to test space junk-removal tech.

Astroscale's ELSA-d mission will launch in March 2021 to test space junk-removal tech. (Image credit: Astroscale)

A new mission targeting space junk will get an orbital test in early 2021. The End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) mission consists of two spacecraft. The Japan-based company Astroscale will use the upcoming flight to demonstrate how its tech might de-orbit defunct satellites and other pieces of space junk. 

Full story: Astroscale to test space junk cleanup tech with 'ELSA-d' launch in 2021

Faint substellar object spotted by a radio telescope. 

An artist's impression of the new brown dwarf BDR J1750+3809, or "Elegast." This faint, cold celestial body was detected using radio telescope observations for the first time.

An artist's impression of the new brown dwarf BDR J1750+3809, or "Elegast." This faint, cold celestial body was detected using radio telescope observations for the first time. (Image credit: ASTRON/Danielle Futselaar)

Scientists found a substellar object, or an object too small in mass to be considered a star, using a radio telescope in the Netherlands. These objects are also known as ''super-planets'' or ''brown dwarfs,'' and are usually hard to detect because of their size. Researchers said this object, nicknamed Elegast, is the first substellar object to be detected using a radio telescope. 

Full story: Faint 'super-planet' discovered by radio telescope for the 1st time

A jet demonstration could pave the way for supersonic commercial aircraft. 

Boom Supersonic unveiled its XB-1 supersonic passenger aircraft in October 2020.

Boom Supersonic unveiled its XB-1 supersonic passenger aircraft in October 2020. (Image credit: Boom Supersonic)

A supersonic jet demonstrator will fly in 2021, and its creator hopes to develop a commercial airliner that can fly faster than twice the speed of sound. The demonstrator of Aviation startup Boom Supersonic is called XB-1, and if the flight goes according to plan, the company may do a full-scale flight test in 2025 for passenger flights. 

Full story: Boom Supersonic will test fly its new faster-than-sound XB-1 jet in 2021

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