Wednesday's science stories

A glowing cloud in deep space could unlock how massive stars grow

Photo: ESA/Hubble/NASA/I. Stephens

A pink stellar cloud not far from the Tarantula Nebula 160,000 light-years away is demonstrating how extremely massive stars form.

The state of play: The cloud — known as LHA 120-N 150 — contains dozens of newly forming massive stars and clumps of dust that could help scientists learn more about whether large stars form in dense clusters or in isolation, according to ESA.

Go deeperArrowMar 24, 2020 - Science

SpaceX pushes for first crew launch amid coronavirus pandemic

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in SpaceX's Crew Dragon. Photo: NASA

Even in the midst of the pandemic, SpaceX and NASA are moving ahead with their plans to launch astronauts to the International Space Station for the first time in mid-to-late May.

Why it matters: The launch marks the culmination of years of work for SpaceX and NASA to get Americans flying to orbit from U.S. soil for the first time since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011.

Go deeperArrowMar 24, 2020 - Science

European Space Agency scales back missions as pandemic intensifies

Photo: NASA

The European Space Agency is stopping science operations on four deep space missions as the coronavirus pandemic continues to intensify.

Why it matters: The shutdown comes as nations have placed tight restrictions on movement while cases of COVID-19 rise. ESA also announced that someone working at the European Space Operations Centre in Germany has tested positive for the virus.

Go deeperArrowMar 24, 2020 - Science

The cosmic perspective on self-isolation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The perspective space provides is essential during these troubled times.

Why it matters: Astronauts live in isolation and look down on our planet with a view that can bring people out of their own experiences, especially during times of extreme and shocking change.

Go deeperArrowMar 24, 2020 - Science