The Most Amazing Space Photos This Week!

Spacecraft get excellent views of volcanic eruptions in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, a giant dust devil travels across the Martian plains and William Shatner heads to space. These are some of the top photos this week from Space.com. 

View from Chinese space station

(Image credit: CMSA)

Shenzhou 12 astronaut Liu Boming took this image from aboard China’s new space station core module, called Tianhe (“Harmony of the Heavens”). This image shows the northeastern Chinese cities of Shenyang and Changchun. 

The Shenzhou 12 astronauts reached Tianhe on June 17 and returned to Earth on Sept. 17. China’s human spaceflight agency, CMSA, released images from their trip shortly after the crew returned, but this image is part of a newly released set. 

Full story: These smartphone photos of Earth from space by China’s Shenzhou 12 astronauts are just gorgeous

Plumes from Cumbre Vieja

(Image credit: Copernicus)

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station captured this view of the smoke and ash emanating from the Cumbre Vieja volcano in the Atlantic Ocean. This early October image shows a three-dimensional view of the plumes, which have reached an altitude of 2 miles (3 km). These emissions have caused intermittent disruptions to local air traffic and poor air quality.

Cumbre Vieja is located on La Palma, which is part of the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco. Scientists think that this eruption may continue for months. 

Full story: Satellites capture reinvigorated La Palma volcanic eruption

Kīlauea volcano

(Image credit: Maxar Technologies)

As Cumbre Vieja erupts in the Atlantic Ocean, another volcano oozes lava on the other side of the planet. 

This night-time photo shows the Kīlauea volcano in Hawaii as it appeared on Oct. 1, 2021. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), lava erupted from two vents, including one in the western wall of Halema’uma’u crater. This image was taken by Maxar Technologies’ WorldView-2 satellite. 

Full story: Hawaiian volcanic eruption glows in gorgeous satellite photos

Shenzhou 13 crew

(Image credit: CCTV)

Meet China’s Shenzhou 13 mission crew members: commander Zhai Zhigang (center) and astronauts Wang Yagping (right) and Ye Guangfu (left). In this image, they salute as they walk to their crew quarters ahead of their planned launch up to Tianhe, the core module of China’s new space station.

This is the second crewed mission to the Chinese space station. The trio launched on Wednesday (Oct. 15) aboard a Long March 2F rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert. 

Full story: China launches Shenzhou 13 astronauts on historic mission to new space station

Excavating a World War II supersonic rocket

(Image credit: Colin Welch)

The South East England location seen in this image was an orchard 77 years ago. In 1944, a supersonic Nazi V2 rocket heading for London crashed and exploded in this spot. 

This aerial view shows the excavation that archaeologists conducted last month to find the remains of the German rocket. To find the pieces from within what is currently open farmland, the team used metal detectors. The deepest remnants of the blast were more than 14 feet (4.3 meters) underground. 

Full story: Remains of Nazi V2, the first supersonic rocket, unearthed in South East England

New high-res images of fiery La Palma volcanic eruption 

(Image credit: Maxar Technologies)

New high-resolution satellite images reveal lava rivers spilling from the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma as the devastating eruption shows no signs of stopping nearly a month after it started. 

The images, captured by a satellite of the U.S. Earth observation company Maxar Technologies on Thursday (Oct. 14), show the thick plume of smoke rising from the crater, forming a dark heavy cloud above the island. Glowing streams of lava flow down the flank of the mountain range towards the coast. — Tereza Pultarova

Captain Kirk in awe of planet Earth

(Image credit: Blue Origin)

Hollywood actor William Shatner who portrayed Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek series in the 1960s enjoys the view from the Blue Shepard capsule during his suborbital space trip in this image released by Blue Origin on Thursday (Oct. 14).

Shatner, who became the oldest person ever to fly to space at age 90, was reduced to tears by the experience. “What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine,” Shatner told Jeff Bezos, the founder of Blue Origin, which flew the actor to space on their second crewed flight on Wednesday (Oct. 13) “I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened … it’s extraordinary.” — Tereza Pultarova

Brain of spacecraft that will return humans to moon heads to U.S.

(Image credit: ESA–A. Conigli)

The Europe-built service module for the Orion spacecraft that will take humans to the moon in 2023 has departed Germany for Kennedy Space Center to commence integration with the crew capsule.

The European Service Module for the Artemis II mission, the first with human crew on board, was built by a consortium of European companies led by aerospace giant Airbus. The module, which has been assembled in the city of Bremen in the north of Germany, was loaded into an Antonov aircraft on Wednesday (Oct. 13) and dispatched to the U.S. for integration with the Orion crew capsule at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. — Tereza Pultarova

James Webb Telescope arrives at launch site

(Image credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)

The James Webb Telescope has arrived in French Guiana today aboard the MN Colibri cargo ship after a 1,500-mile (2,400 kilometers) voyage from California. James Webb, the largest and most complex space science observatory ever built, survived 16 days at sea sealed inside a custom-built, environmentally controlled container. The telescope will now be transported to the European Spaceport in Kourou to begin preparations for its Dec. 18 launch atop an Ariane 5 rocket.

The telescope, a partnership between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, was conceived in the early 1990s as a successor of the legendary Hubble Space Telescope. — Tereza Pultarova

Giant dust devil whirls across Martian plains 

(Image credit: ESA/Roscosmos/CaSSIS)

A dust devil whirling across the surface of Mars’ Amazonis Planitia can be seen in this image taken by the European/Russian ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter in May this year. The false-color composite photo, taken by the satellite’s CaSSIS camera, shows the wind vortex in blue and its trail. 

Dust devils frequently form in late spring and summer in Amazonis Planitia, one of the smoothest areas of Mars, which is located north of the planet’s northern tropic. The mechanism behind the dust devil formation on Mars is the same as on Earth, except that those on Mars can grow into sizes much greater than the most damaging tornadoes on Earth. In some cases, they can reach up to 5 miles (8 kilometers) high. — Tereza Pultarova

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