Clouds around its north pole make Uranus look like a watercolor painting in this image, which was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in November 2022 and released this month. It’s one of our picks for the coolest space pictures of the month. The planet's north pole will be pointing directly at Earth in 2028 when the planet reaches its northern summer solstice for the first time in 84 years. Image credit: NASA et al.
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Fact Worth Sharing
Uranus orbits the Sun on its side, with its poles alternating pointing toward and away from the Sun. This may be because another large world crashed into the planet long ago, or perhaps because a previous ring system caused Uranus to wobble and tip over.
A Chinese lunar sample return mission has found water.Researchers analyzing lunar regolith brought back to Earth in 2020 by the Chang’e-5 spacecraft have found water trapped in glass beads. The beads are thought to have formed from lunar material that was ejected during asteroid impacts then cooled and fell back to the surface. There’s enough water in these beads to suggest that the top 12 meters (40 feet) of the lunar surface could contain 270 trillion kilograms (600 trillion pounds) of water - MY EMPHASIS.Pictured: China's Chang'e-5 spacecraft captured this image of the lunar surface shortly after landing in the Ocean of Storms on Dec. 1, 2020. Image credit: CNSA/CLEP.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson issued a warning to Congress. In an open letter to the top member of the House Appropriations Committee, Nelson outlined the damaging and potentially permanent effects on NASA of two budget-cutting scenarios being considered by House Republican leadership. One scenario would allocate NASA $1.4 billion less than it received in 2023. The second scenario would exempt defense spending from being cut, meaning NASA and other agencies would get even less.
ESA is considering developing an independent human spaceflight program. The European Space Agency, which currently partners with NASA and others for its astronaut program, is assessing a report from a high-level advisory group that recommends developing independent capabilities including crewed vehicles, a commercial space station, and a European human landing on the Moon within a decade.