This week has really put things into perspective. Orbiting Saturn, the Cassini mission looked back at Earth to take our portrait. Events around the planet were organized, motivating the citizens of our planet to wave at the probe right when it was taking the photo. This was the result.
Using the newly-minted Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile, astronomers have mapped a three-dimensional view of the outflows from the galaxy NGC 253. This is the best view yet of how vigorous star formation can blast gas out of a galaxy and starve future generations of stars of the fuel they need to form and grow.
The Hubble Space Telescope took this composite image in April 2013 (that was released this week) featuring Comet ISON -- the possible "comet of the century" -- against a backdrop of numerous galaxies and a handful of foreground stars.
Saturn's moons Mimas and Pandora as seen by the NASA Cassini Solstice mission. Mimas, often referred to as the "Death Star Moon" after its Star Wars lookalike is, fortunately, not fully operational as a superweapon.
The spiral galaxy NGC 524 as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope.
A section of the sun as seen by NASA’s brand new Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS. The IRIS image provides scientists with unprecedented detail of the lowest parts of the sun’s atmosphere, known as the interface region.
3-D printed rocked parts? NASA Marshall engineers installed a 3-D printed injector in a subscale RS-25 engine model, and the engine was hot-fired exposing the part to temperatures of nearly 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit while burning liquid oxygen and gaseous hydrogen. The test appears to have been a resounding success.
On July 25, an Ariane 5 lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana carrying Europe’s largest telecom satellite Alphasat.
From the Mars Odyssey spacecraft the valleys on Mars look like they have been caused by runoff, perhaps meltwater from snow. Could it be that it snowed on ancient Mars?
As Mars rover Curiosity continues its trek across Gale Crater, it's orbiting cousin, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, is keeping a watchful eye on its progress.