As things here on Earth become increasingly more Theater of the Absurd, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft whizzes millions of miles away, unaffected by our intra-human squabbling. After 20 years of heading toward and exploring the Saturn system, on September 15th, Cassini will plunge itself into the planet’s atmosphere, broadcasting the whole thing like a tearfully beautiful sequel to The Iron Giant.
Last week, the Larsen C Ice Shelf gave birth to a trillion pound baby, an iceberg now dubbed A68. The latest observations suggest this big berg has moved 1.5 miles from its starting point, and that it’s already starting to crack up.
Window-rattling, dog-spooking sonic booms are all that have stood between you and dramatically faster supersonic commercial airline travel for decades.
Humanity hasn’t done a ton of good in our short stint on Earth, though we’ve definitely succeeded at turning this planet into a trash pit of despair. Today, researchers from NASA’s Kepler space telescope team announced we might get to bring our garbage party to another planet—perhaps a bunch of them.
The past few years have been incredible for physics discoveries. Scientists spotted the Higgs boson, a particle they’d been hunting for almost 50 years, in 2012, and gravitational waves, which were theorized 100 years ago, in 2016. This year, they’re slated to take a picture of a black hole. So, thought some theorists, why not combine all of the craziest physics ideas into one, a physics turducken? What if we, say, try to spot the dark matter radiating off of black holes through their gravitational waves?
NASA’s Juno spacecraft has consistently been coming through with the best close-up images of Jupiter we’ve ever seen. But a newly released, enhanced-color image of a large dark spot might be the most ethereal of all—its swirling, colorful clouds make it seem like a Jovian Van Gogh.