A galaxy that spins in more ways than one

The Whirlpool Galaxy spins better than your favorite DJ. Using data from telescopes like Hubble, GALEX, and Chandra, NASA “sonified” the iconic galaxy M51, mapping minor scale pitches to different wavelengths of light. The result is haunting in a good way, like Enya in Space. Pictured: The Whirlpool Galaxy and its companion galaxy, NGC 5195, imaged by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Image credit: NASA et al.


NASA’s Ingenuity will have to wait a little longer to fly. On 12 April, NASA announced it’s once again postponing the Mars helicopter’s first flight, this time due to a software update. NASA said Ingenuity is healthy and that it will provide a new flight date sometime next week.


If you think folding a fitted sheet is hard, try folding a five-layer sunshield the size of a tennis court. After about a month of folding, the James Webb Space Telescope’s sunshield is packed and prepped for its upcoming 1.5-million-kilometer (about 1 million miles) voyage to L2. The sunshield will be instrumental in protecting the telescope’s mirrors and sensors.

small bodies

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx has bid adieu to asteroid Bennu. On 7 April, the spacecraft completed its final flyover of the asteroid it reached in 2018. It will stick around Bennu until 10 May before beginning its long journey back to Earth, where it’s expected to deliver an asteroid sample on 24 September 2023.


Blue Origin completed a flight of its New Shepard spacecraft that tested astronaut pre- and post-flight procedures. For the test, Blue Origin personnel boarded the capsule prior to launch for communications checks. They exited for the actual flight and then reentered the capsule after it landed to simulate how crews will leave the capsule.


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