Hubble Telescope Captures Image of Star-Creation Zone, Revealed by NASA

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured an image of a star-forming region, called IRAS 16562-3959, within the Milky Way galaxy, according to a recent press release. This region is located in the Scorpius constellation, approximately 5,900 light-years away from Earth.

The focal point of the image, IRAS 16562-3959, is believed to host a colossal star that is still in the process of forming. This star is estimated to be about 30 times the mass of our Sun. The clouds appearing dark in the image are due to the presence of dense light-obscuring dust blocking the near-infrared wavelengths of light that Hubble observed.

However, the near-infrared light manages to leak out primarily on two sides where a powerful jet from the massive protostar clears away the dust. This star-forming region seems to be calm and serene, but Hubble’s observations indicate that it has recently witnessed a stellar explosion, also known as a supernova.

Images like these, captured in multiple wavelengths, are instrumental in enhancing our understanding of the formation of the most massive and brightest stars in our galaxy. In 2023, the Hubble space telescope released an image of a spiral galaxy, known as UGC 12295, located some 192 million light years away from the Earth.

Apart from exploring distant galaxies, NASA is also planning to conduct a simulated one-year Mars surface mission to inform its plans for human exploration of the Red Planet. Named CHAPEA (Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog), this ground-based mission is expected to launch in spring 2025.

In each CHAPEA mission, a four-person volunteer crew will live and work inside a 1,700-square-foot, 3D-printed habitat located at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. This initiative forms part of NASA’s broader strategy to prepare for future manned missions to Mars, with the aim of understanding the challenges that astronauts might face during long-duration space travel.

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