This is Space: Photos of the Orion Nebula, Mars, Virgin Galactic, and Zuma

This week in space photos includes a little bit of everything: a doomed SpaceX launch, a journey through Orion, and underground ice on Mars.

I like keeping a close eye on both established and emerging aerospace companies, so there will be an increasing number of technology development photos from space companies.

An Artistic Illustration of the Orion Nebula

Orion's Nebula in IR and visible light

Artist's concept of the visible and infrared visualization of the Orion Nebula that was derived from the Hubble Telescope. Image credit: NASA/ESA/STScI/Caltech-IPAC

I can't stop staring at this image, shared by Hubblesite.

This image showcases both the visible-light and the infrared-light visualizations of the Orion Nebula. This view from the movie sequence looks down the “valley” leading to the star cluster at the far end. The left side of the image shows the visible-light visualization, which fades to the infrared visualization on the right. These two contrasting models derive from observations by the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes.

Nor can I stop watching this video NASA created to fly you to and through the Orion Nebula.

Virgin Galactic's VMS Eve and VSS Unity

Out of everything in the air right now, Virgin Galactic's glide images offer the most drama and excitement.

Today we tested Unity’s atmospheric capabilities hard, touching top-end glide speeds as pilots Mark ‘Forger’ Stucky and Michael ‘Sooch’ Masucci completed a busy test card. Alongside confirming the work that has taken place on the ground, the glide flight tested transonic flight performance, stability and control.


You can read more about last week's testing, and view additional images here.

Underground Martian Ice Deposit

Underground Martian Ice Deposit

A cross section of underground ice on the surface of Mars taken from HiRISE on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/USGS

Images like this build excitement for future space exploration to Mars.

A cross-section of a thick sheet of underground ice is exposed at the steep slope (or scarp) that appears bright blue in this enhanced-color view from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Color is exaggerated to make differences in surface materials easier to see.

Read more about the significance of this image here.

Cloud Belts on Jupiter

Cloud belts on Jupiter's southern hemisphere were captured by Juno. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill

Cloud belts on Jupiter's southern hemisphere were captured by Juno. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill

NASA's Juno spacecraft sends back images of Jupiter for researchers and citizen scientists to study and process. This image was created by a citizen scientist.

Jupiter appears in this color-enhanced image as a tapestry of vibrant cloud bands and storms. The dark region in the far left is called the South Temperate Belt. Intersecting the belt is a ghost-like feature of slithering white clouds. This is the largest feature in Jupiter's low latitudes that's a cyclone (rotating with clockwise motion).

You can view raw images from JunoCam here.

Electron Rocket on the Test Stand

Rocket Lab shared this photo of their Electron rocket gearing up for a rocket launch. The company launches from New Zealand, and the view from their last test window was amazing- totally worth tuning in for.

SpaceX Zuma Launch

SpaceX Zuma Launch

On January 7th, 2018 the SpaceX Zuma mission launched from Cape Canaveral. Image credit: SpaceX

When Zuma finally launched everything looked like it was another successful mission, and incredible images where captured and shared all over social media. After about a week of back and forth, there is still no clear answer about why the payload was lost after deployment, but the mission ended when the satellite re-entered the atmosphere on January 8th.

Both ULA and ISRO went on to launch successful missions later in the week.
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