The Planetary Society Blog 7 Feb 2020, 16:50 UTC NASA’s Mars 2020 rover is packed and ready for shipping to Kennedy Space Center for launch. The rover will lift off in July or August and arrive on Mars in February 2021. There, it will search for signs of past and present life, while collecting soil and rock samples for future return to Earth. However, the missions that will return the samples to Earth still need to be formally approved and funded. Learn more about the Mars 2020 rover here.
Scientific American 7 Feb 2020, 14:45 UTC Astronomers are puzzling over how this cosmic giant arose and expired so quickly in the early universe
Universe Today 6 Feb 2020, 17:40 UTC A trio of space travelers returned to Earth this morning from the International Space Station, including NASA astronaut Christina Koch, who set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, at 326 straight days. Also coming home was ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, who has now spent a total of 367 days in space (in two missions), more days than any ESA astronaut in history.
Centauri Dreams 6 Feb 2020, 16:11 UTC The dataflow from New Horizons has been abundant enough that we are now drilling down to atmospheric models that may explain the dwarf planet’s topography. Mention topography on Pluto and the first thing that leaps to mind is Tombaugh Regio, and a new paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research Planets actually takes us into its role in the formation of regional weather patterns on the icy orb. For at the heart of Pluto’s weather appears to be the terrain often called Pluto’s ‘heart,’ from the distinctive shape it imposes upon the landscape.
Bad Astronomy 6 Feb 2020, 14:00 UTC Astronomers have found a very massive galaxy nearly clear across the Universe. It has something like 300 billion stars in it, so it's actually more stelliferous than even our own Milky Way. Because it's so far away we see it as it was when it was very young, which in turn means it made a lot of stars extremely quickly. That's unusual for a galaxy at that distance but not unprecedented.
New Scientist 6 Feb 2020, 11:30 UTC For years, astronomers have been searching for patterns in strange blasts of radio waves coming from space. These fast radio bursts (FRBs) had seemed totally random, but for the first time we have seen an FRB that turns off and on again at regular intervals. Now we just need to figure out why.