There is a bear on Mars and a green comet passing close to Earth.

They say space is place, and there’s a lot going on out there. Here’s what you may have missed this week in outer space.

video transcript


Earlier in the week, the internet caught fire over an image captured by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that bears a striking resemblance to a bear.

Whatever it is, it looks like you had a good day. He seems happy to me.

The image, which was originally captured in December, shows a patch of the Martian landscape outlined by what NASA calls a circular fracture pattern, with two craters for eyes in what could be a volcanic formation for a nose and mouth. Now some have been quick to point out that in a topography as vast and varied as that of Mars, there are likely to be things that look like other things. And sure, technically they may be right, but this still looks like a bear. On Wednesday night, a bright green comet known as C/2022E3ZTF, or simply the Green Comet, became visible to Earth for the first time since the Stone Age.

A comet that only passes Earth every 50,000 years is making its closest pass to Earth in our lifetime right now.

JOHN GIANFORTE: If you have a good, unobstructed view of the northern horizon…

You can still try to detect the comet again tonight and in the next few days.

Although if you’re like me and live in a city, buildings and light pollution will get in the way. But it’s still worth a try because it won’t be back for at least another 50,000 years. Moving closer to home, NASA astronaut Nicole Duke Mann and Koichi Guacara of Japan’s JAXA space program participated in a seven-hour spacewalk on Thursday to help prepare for the installation of a new solar array on the Space Station. International.

All smiles everywhere.

Back on Earth, SpaceX launched its 200th Falcon 9 rocket with another batch of Starlink internet satellites in orbit. And Vice President Harris awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor to former astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken, who piloted the first manned space mission, along with NASA, to the International Space Station in 2020. And finally, this week marked the 20th anniversary of the space shuttle Columbia disaster. During re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, Columbia broke up, killing all seven astronauts on board.

JOHN GIANFORTE: These men and women took a great risk in the service of all humanity.

In addition to the tragic loss of the crew, the investigation that followed exposed a major flaw in the shuttle’s heat shield and marked the beginning of the end for the space shuttle program, which was officially retired in 2011.

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