Space Stories: A New Martian Crater, the Final Piece of China’s Space Station, and the Falcon Heavy Flies Again

Image (Credit): Recent impact crater on the surface of Mars. It was formed on December 24, 2011 in the Amazonis Planitia region. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

Here are some recent stories of interest.

NASA: “NASA’s InSight Lander Detects Stunning Meteoroid Impact on Mars

NASA’s InSight lander recorded a magnitude 4 marsquake last Dec. 24, but scientists learned only later the cause of that quake: a meteoroid strike estimated to be one of the biggest seen on Mars since NASA began exploring the cosmos. What’s more, the meteoroid excavated boulder-size chunks of ice buried closer to the Martian equator than ever found before – a discovery with implications for NASA’s future plans to send astronauts to the Red Planet.

Aljazeera: “Final Module Docks at China’s ‘Heavenly Palace’ Space Station

The final module required for the completion of China’s Tiangong space station has successfully docked with the core structure, state media say, a key step in Beijing’s ambitious plans for space exploration…The module – named Mengtian, which means “heavenly dream” – was launched on Monday on a Long March 5B rocket from the Wenchang launch centre on China’s tropical island of Hainan, CCTV reported.

Wall Street Journal: “SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Rocket, World’s Most Powerful Rocket, Launches After Three-year Hiatus

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy — a towering, three-pronged vehicle that is the most powerful operational rocket in the world — returned to the skies on Tuesday for the first time since mid-2019. The rocket launched at 9:41 a.m. ET from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, hauling satellites to space for the US military in a secretive mission dubbed USSF-44.