A Hubble Space Telescope image released yesterday confirms what a fuzzy shot taken last May only hinted at: Two more moons have been found orbiting Pluto, making a total of three. Astronomers led by astrophysicist Hal Weaver of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, estimate that P 1 is 38 miles (61 kilometers) in diameter, versus P 2's 29 miles (47 kilometers). Listen to your favorite National Geographic news daily, anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone. Galaxy clusters give up secrets, a Mars rover takes a panorama, and the Orion spacecraft takes a step closer to completion in this week's best space pictures. One of Saturn's many moons, Tethys, gleams brightly and offers a peek from between the planet's A and F rings, in an image released October 13.The space between the two rings is known as the Keeler gap, and another smaller moon (not pictured), Daphnis, keeps the area clear of dust and ice.
NASA's New Horizons spacecrafta€”slated to fly by Pluto in July 2015a€”might now also target three Kuiper belt objects, distant jumbo comets discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope.Pluto is considered one of the kings of the Kuiper belt, a ring of comets surrounding our solar system that has never been visited by a spacecraft. Sextans A, a small galaxy 4.5 million light-years away from Earth, is no place for a young star. On the move on Mars, the panoramic camera on NASA's Opportunity rover snapped this true-color image of Wdowiak ridge while trundling along the western rim of Endeavour crater in September.


Aiming for a smoother voyage for future space explorers, technicians fit the third of four airflow panels to NASA's new Orion Launch Abort System in an image released on October 13.The new spacecraft's panels will limit sound and vibration, to ensure a smoother, quieter ride for the astronauts inside.
A DC-8 research airplane flies over the Mojave Desert in California in an image taken October 16.
An artist's illustration released on October 15 depicts a galaxy cluster forming in the early universe. The peaks and valleys in this image of the base of the Valles Marineris canyon on Mars are known as chaotic terrain.
We pored through the massive set of images of Earth from space to show you some of our favorites.
This suggests that all three moons were born from a cataclysmic collision of two Pluto-size objects millions of years ago, the researchers write in a report in today's issue of the journal Nature. Weaver and his team will train Hubble's eye on Pluto again next week for a clearer picture of the moons' sizes, shapes, and colors. The routine test flight put instruments for NASA's IceBridge project through their paces to ensure proper function before the plane left for fieldwork in Antarctica, monitoring ice.


It's reminiscent of the Spiderweb galaxy, which developed roughly ten billion years ago and is one of the best examples known of the formation of a galaxy cluster. The features resemble the ridges carved on Earth by wind and water.In fact, researchers think that layered deposits shown in this image may have accumulated in an ancient Martian lake that formed farther up the canyon.
However, Sextans A still interests researchers, who are eager to see how stars bloom in such impoverished conditions.The image above, taken by the European Space Agency and released October 15, shows gas in purple, young stars in blue, and the heat from newly formed stars in yellow and orange. The effect also splits the view of the galaxy into three parts.This tiny galaxy is one of the most distant ever seen, and it's giving astronomers a glimpse into the earliest moments of the universe.
And the three identified objects (one shown above in an artist's illustration) could be in range of New Horizons after it zips past Pluto, formerly designated a planet.




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