Diagram showing the Andromeda galaxy, the halo that surrounds it and how its size was measured (Image NASA/STScI)

A team of scientists used the Hubble Space Telescope to measure the extent of the halo of the gas surrounds the Andromeda galaxy. It turned out to be much larger than expected stretching for about a million light-years from the galaxy. This means it reaches out to about half the distance that separates it from the Milky Way so if it was visible to the naked eye its size would be about a hundred times that of the full Moon. The results of this research were published in “Astrophysical Journal”.

Artistic concept of the exoplanet 55 Cancri e that shows its partially molten surface before and after vocanic activity (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt)

An article published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describes a study of the exoplanet 55 Cancri e. It claims that on its surface there’s and extremely violent volcanic activity. The consequence is that the temperature is not only very high but has swings ranging from 1,000° to 2,700° Celsius (from 1800° to 4900° Fahrenheit). Among the authors of the article there’s Dr. Nikku Madhusudhan of British Institute of Astronomy of the British University of Cambridge, who has been studying 55 Cancri e for some time and has already published a study in which he argues that this exoplanet may contain a diamond large three times the Earth.

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, announced that the Progress M-27M spacecraft disintegrated in an uncontrolled reentry in the Earth’s atmosphere. Officially, the cargo space has ceased to exist at 02.04 UTC of Friday falling over the Pacific Ocean. It was the inevitable conclusion of a mission that started badly on April 28, 2015, with a serious problem that had caused the impossibility to take control of the Progress to send it to the International Space Station, where it was supposed to bring supplies.

Image of the HL Tauri system taken by the ALMA telescope (Image ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO))

Last October a picture of the system HL Tauri captured by ESO’s ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array) telescope was published. It showed a disk of dust that is slowly coalescing and was one of the sharpest images ever made at sumbillimetric wavelengths. According to many scientists there are planets that are forming in the system but others were skeptical and that created a debate. Now a team of astrophysicists from the University of Toronto led by Daniel Tamayo brought new evidence that there really are planets forming, published in the journal “Astrophysical Journal”.

Journey To Mars (Image NASA)

NASA announced Journey to Mars, a challenge in which the public was invited to submit ideas to develop the elements needed to establish a permanent presence of humans on the planet Mars. There are the basic elements to sustain human life, meaning shelter, food, water, breathable air but also communications, exercise, social interaction, and medicine. Other elements can be considered as well because a true colony must be able to go beyond basic needs to thrive.