NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover takes a lovely selfie, Europe’s BepiColombo Mercury mission has also been busy taking selfies and an astronaut also posed for a selfie during a historic spacewalk. These are just some of the top photos this week on Space.com.
An astrophotography student stands before the Milky Way galaxy and the bright planet Jupiter during an astrophotography workshop in Campinho, Portugal, on May 5, 2019. Jupiter shined bright because it was approaching opposition — a point in a planet’s orbit where it is directly opposite the sun in the sky.
China Spots Glassy Lunar Material
China’s Yutu 2 moon rover captured this image of glassy material from the edge of a small crater. This photo, released by the China Lunar Exploration Program, reveals what could be a previously unidentified material on the moon’s surface.
During its first year in space, the BepiColombo spacecraft has captured more than 500 images using its three monitoring cameras that are pointed in different directions, according to the European Space Agency. And 200 of these images are selfies, like this photo here. BepiColombo is Europe’s first mission to Mercury.
Making History in Space
NASA astronaut Christina Koch (left) poses for a portrait with fellow Expedition 61 Flight Engineer Jessica Meir of NASA who is inside a U.S. spacesuit for a fit check for a spacewalk on Oct. 18, 2019. It was the first all-female spacewalk in history. — Hanneke Weitering
Curiosity Rover Snaps a Selfie
NASA’s Curiosity rover, which has been exploring Mars for the last 7 years, took a new selfie on the Red Planet this month. The image is a panorama combining 57 images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), a camera on the end of the rover’s robotic arm, and the rover’s arm isn’t visible in all of the frame that make up the composite. When Curiosity made this selfie on Oct. 11, it was exploring an area called “Glen Ative” inside Gale Crater, where it recently drilled two holes that are visible on the left. — Hanneke Weitering
Star Trails and Lightning Over Earth
In this photo from the International Space Station, star trails circle above the Earth while bright lightning flashes and city lights illuminate the planet’s surface and skies. The image is a composite that combines more than 400 photos captured by NASA astronaut Christina Koch over the span of 11 minutes, when the space station was traveling from Namibia toward the Red Sea. — Hanneke Weitering
A Jovian Jet Stream
A new view from NASA’s Juno spacecraft shows a swirling jet stream in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere. This dark belt of swirling clouds is known as “Jet N4,” and Juno captured this close-up image of the feature during a flyby on Sept. 11, when the spacecraft was about 7,540 miles (12,140 kilometers) from the planet’s cloud tops. Citizen scientist Björn Jónsson created this enhanced image using data from the spacecraft’s JunoCam imager. — Hanneke Weitering
Paranal Observatory by Moonlight
A full moon glows over the Paranal Observatory in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile in this view captured by astrophotographer Gerard Hüdepohl. The observatory is located on top of Cerro Paranal, a mountain with an elevation of 8,500 feet (2,600 meters), and it is home to several telescope facilities. The Very Large Telescope (VLT) array and the VLT Survey Telescope are both visible at the top of the peak in this photo, on the left, and four smaller auxiliary telescopes are on the smaller peak to the right. — Hanneke Weitering
NASA astronaut Jessica Meir pauses to take a selfie during her historic first all-woman spacewalk together with Christina Koch on Oct. 18. In the reflection on her spacesuit visor, you can see parts of the International Space Station’s exterior and planet Earth. — Hanneke Weitering
Asteroid Zips Across the Crab Nebula
While capturing an image of the Crab Nebula, the Hubble Space Telescope inadvertently also caught a view of an asteroid in our solar system passing through the foreground. The Crab Nebula is a supernova remnant located approximately 6,300 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Taurus, the Bull. An asteroid, designated 2001 SE101, can be seen streaking across the frame from the bottom left toward the top right of the image. Citizen scientist Melina Thévenot from Germany discovered the asteroid photobomb in this 2005 Hubble image as part of the European Space Agency’s “Hubble Asteroid Hunter” citizen science project. — Hanneke Weitering