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A NASA spacecraft on Mars is losing power and is headed for a dusty demise. The InSight lander has just a couple more months of science work before succumbing to the Martian dust on its solar panels. NASA said Tuesday it will keep using the spacecraft's seismometer to detect marsquakes until the power peters out. Officials expect operations to cease in July, almost four years after InSight's arrival at Mars. InSight is one of three NASA spacecraft operating on the Martian surface. Rovers Curiosity and Perseverance are still going strong, thanks to nuclear power.

(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)

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The moon glowed red on Sunday night and the early hours of Monday, after a total lunar eclipse that saw the sun, Earth and moon form a straight line in the night sky.

A total lunar eclipse will grace the night skies this weekend, providing longer than usual thrills for stargazers across North and South America. The celestial action unfolds Sunday night into early Monday morning. The moon will be bathed in the reflected red and orange hues of Earth's sunsets and sunrises for about 1 1/2 hours. It will be one of the longest totalities of the decade and the first so-called blood moon in a year. Observers in the eastern half of North America, and all of Central and South America, will have prime seats for the whole show, weather permitting.

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Astronomers have unveiled the first wild but fuzzy image of the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Nearly all galaxies, including our own, are believed to have these giant black holes at their center, where light and matter cannot escape. That makes it extremely hard to get pictures of them. The image released Thursday was made by eight synchronized radio telescopes around the world. This is not the first picture of a black hole. The same international group released the first one in 2019 from a distant galaxy.

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Scientists for the first time have grown plants in soil from the moon collected by NASA’s Apollo astronauts. The University of Florida researchers had no idea if anything would grow in moon dirt. So they planted thale cress last year in lunar soil returned by Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and other moonwalkers. All the seeds sprouted. But the plants ended up stunted. Scientists plan to plant more thale cress before possibly moving on to other vegetation. NASA says the timing for such an experiment was finally right as the space agency looks to put astronauts back on the moon.

NASA's new space telescope is in the home stretch of testing. Astronomers said Monday the James Webb Space Telescope is checking out better than anticipated less than six months after liftoff. They've released test pictures of a neighboring satellite galaxy, and the results are stunning when compared with images taken by NASA's previous infrared space telescope. Science observations are expected to begin in July. Launched last December, the $10 billion Webb is considered the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.

Many Ukrainian scientists are continuing their research and teaching even amid Russia's war. A report published in April said Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science estimated that 4,000 to 6,000 scholars had already left Ukraine but around 100,000 remained. Ukrainian scientists are appealing to international institutions for remote work opportunities as well as access to journals, datasets, archives and other materials. But they also say they want to prevent the war from resulting in a long-lasting exodus of talent which will be needed to rebuild Ukraine’s institutions after fighting stops. As one scientist put it “We don’t want the war to result in a brain drain from Ukraine.”

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Fifty years after his Apollo 16 mission to the moon, retired NASA astronaut Charlie Duke says he’s ready for the U.S. to get back to lunar exploration. Duke said Friday that part of that effort will come in the form of the Artemis program, with NASA’s upcoming flight to the moon with its new Space Launch System rocket. Duke has been making speeches recently to mark the 50th anniversary of his Apollo 16 space flight. He was in South Carolina to speak to a group of middle school students from his hometown of Lancaster.

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A loud boom prefaced a streaking fireball spotted in three Southern states. NASA confirmed Thursday that more than 30 people in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi reported seeing the exceptionally bright meteor in the sky around 8 a.m. Wednesday after hearing loud booms in Claiborne County, Mississippi, and surrounding areas. Officials say it was first spotted 54 miles above the Mississippi River, near Alcorn, Mississippi. At its peak, the fireball was more than 10 times brighter than a full moon. NASA says the fireball generated enough energy to create shockwaves that produced booms and vibrations felt by people in the area.

Charlie Duke is part of a tiny fraternity that’s getting even smaller: People who walked on the moon. Duke on Wednesday visited his Apollo 16 spaceship at a space museum in Huntsville, Alabama, to mark the 50th anniversary of his one and only trip to the moon. Only four of the 12 U.S. astronauts to who walked on the moon are still alive, and Duke stays busy with speaking engagements. Duke says he still has vivid memories from the journey, and he is looking forward to NASA’s upcoming return flight to the moon with its new Space Launch System rocket that’s at the core of the Artemis program.

The flight debut of NASA's mega moon rocket faces additional delays following a string of failed fueling tests. Officials said Monday it will be challenging to meet a launch window in early to mid-June. The next opportunity to send an empty capsule around the moon and back would be at the end of June or July. The 30-story rocket has been on the pad in Florida for the past month. It will return to the hangar next week for valve and fuel leak repairs. The problems cropped up earlier this month, preventing NASA from filling the rocket's fuel tanks for a critical dress rehearsal.  

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