The crew currently on board will stay longer than planned, and partner space agencies are now debating whether to completely abandon ship when it's time to bring the astronauts home.
Photograph courtesy NASA
Young stars light up dense clouds of molecular gas in a recently released picture of a star-forming region in the constellation Orion. The image was created using the Mayall four-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona.
For the first time, astronomers have spotted a spiral galaxy, similar to our own Milky Way, that hosts not one but two supermassive black holes at its heart.
Released August 31, the picture above combines x-ray and optical images of the galaxy NGC 3993, which lies about 160 million light-years away. The inset (top right) shows just the x-ray image—captured by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory—which reveals the two black holes orbiting a mere 490 light-years apart.
The black hole pair is most likely the result of a merger between two galaxies of unequal mass more than a billion years ago.
Image courtesy CXC/SAO/STScI/NASA
A radar picture shows a 25-mile-wide (40-kilometer-wide) impact crater on Saturn's moon Titan—only the eighth crater yet found on the moon's surface. The image was released August 29 by scientists with NASA's Cassini mission.
While Saturn's other moons have many thousands of craters, such features are rare on Titan. For starters, the large moon's dense atmosphere burns up smaller impacting bodies before they can reach the surface.
The craters that do form are often hard to recognize or disappear entirely as they are eroded by geological processes, such as wind and possibly icy volcanism.
Image courtesy Caltech/NASA
The rising sun highlights Earth's atmospheric layers in a high-resolution picture taken August 27 by astronaut Ron Garan from aboard the International Space Station. The picture was taken as the orbiting lab passed over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Flying high above Earth, the ISS completes an orbit every 90 minutes, so astronauts see 16 sunrises each 24-hour day.