SpaceX Dragon space cargo ship blasting off atop a Falcon 9 rocket to start its CRS-12 mission (Image courtesy SpaceX)

A little while ago SpaceX Dragon spacecraft blasted off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in its CRS-12 (Cargo Resupply Service 12) mission, also referred to as SPX-12. After just over ten minutes it separated successfully from the rocket’s last stage and went en route. This is the 12th mission for the Dragon spacecraft to resupply the International Space Station with various cargoes and then return to Earth, again with various cargoes.

Artist's concept of the the TRAPPIST-1 system seen from an area near TRAPPIST-1f (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An article to be pulished in “The Astrophysical Journal” describes a research on the age of the TRAPPIST-1 system. This ultra-cool dwarf star has become increasingly popular thanks to the results of research on its planets. One of the problems was to establish its age and astronomer Adam Burgasser of the University of California, San Diego, and Eric Mamajek of NASA’s JPL provided an estimate between 5.4 and 9.8 billion years.

Artist's representation of WASP-121b (Image NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STSci))

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes the observation of the stratosphere of an exoplanet called WASP-121b, a hot Jupiter with an orbit very close to its star. A team of researchers led by Tom Evans of the University of Exeter used the Hubble Space Telescope to study it and find evidence that it has a stratosphere, a layer of its atmosphere where the temperature gets higher than that of its lower layers. It could be the first exoplanet that was proven to have a stratosphere.

Artist’s concept of 2014 MU69 as a pair of asteroids (Image NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker)

NASA has communicated the results of the observations of 2014 MU69, the object in the Kuiper Belt that represents the next target for the New Horizons space probe. The study of the observations made on July 17, 2017 when 2014 MU69 passed in front of a star suggests that it has the shape of an extreme prolate spheroid or that it’s actually two asteroids very close if not in contact.