What happened in space this week? From NASA’s new Jupiter mission to our favorite villains from The Social Network, catch up on the past few days’ intergalactic headlines.
NASA announced plans to launch a mission to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa by 2025. Released this week, the White House’s FY15 budget allocated $15 million for the mission, which will explore Europa’s frozen shell to investigate if an ocean of liquid water exists beneath it.
Space elevators may offer an easier way to travel to space. According to a new Acta Astronautica study, researchers report that partial elevators not anchored to Earth could reduce the cost of space travel up to 40%.
In an unprecedented space occurrence, the Hubble Space Telescope is tracking an asteroid that is mysteriously falling apart. Researchers have never before witnessed the disintegration of an asteroid to such an extreme degree in the asteroid belt.
For the next few weeks, you’ll be able to spot Mercury on the southeastern horizon a half hour before sunrise. Difficult to find normally, the planet will be most visible on March 14, when it reaches its “greatest elongation” from the sun.
In a process called “galactic disrobing,” the jellyfish-like galaxy ESO 137-001 appears to be dissolving in space. In reality, the galaxy is bleeding superheated gas from its structure, as young stars encased in gas are torn away as ESO 137-001 moves through space.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft this week completed its 100th flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan, which Cassini has studied for over a decade. Since arriving at Titan in 2004, Cassini has revolutionized our understanding of the moon, discovering Titan’s gaseous lakes and subterranean layer of liquid water.
The Winklevoss twins, famous for suing Mark Zuckerburg for “stealing” their idea for the original Facebook, are headed to space on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. After paying for their journey in bitcoins, the twins join Justin Bieber, Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga and Steven Hawking on the waiting list for the spaceship journeys, which could begin as early as this year.