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A daily newsletter charting the future: From technology to the scientific breakthroughs changing our lives.


Month in Space Pictures: A fireball from beyond and a storm on Jupiter

A meteor streaks across the sky, a tiny satellite is set free, a final farewell from Saturn and more stellar images from November 2017.

 / Updated 21 PHOTOS

Bacteria in orbit

The EcAMSat, short for E. coli AntiMicrobial Satellite, is ejected from the the Kibo laboratory module of the International Space Station on Nov. 20.

The EcAMSat mission will investigate space microgravity effects on the antibiotic resistance of the bacterial pathogen E. coli. 

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Tight fit

From left, NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps, cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Alexander Gerst sit in a Soyuz spacecraft during a "fit check" in Moscow on Nov. 9.

"Nothing like sitting in your own spaceship for the very first time," tweeted Gerst. "Love the 'new-spacecraft smell.'"

The crew will depart for the space station in 2018. 

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Parting shot

In a fitting farewell to the planet that had been its home for over 13 years, NASA's Cassini spacecraft took one last, lingering look at Saturn and its splendid rings during the final leg of its journey and snapped a series of images that has been assembled into a new mosaic.

Cassini's wide-angle camera acquired 42 red, green and blue images, covering the planet and its main rings from one end to the other, on Sept. 13, two days before its dramatic plunge into the planet's atmosphere. Imaging scientists stitched these frames together to make a natural color view which was released on Nov. 21. 

Cassini's dazzling photos of ringed planet

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Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanksiy tweeted this photo of a "moonset" from the space station on Nov. 6. 

Refraction of light by Earth’s atmosphere causes the moon's "squashed" appearance. 

Sergey Ryazanksiy / Roscosmos
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Shooting Star

A football-sized meteor streaks across the sky above the village of La Villa in northern Italy on Nov. 14. The shooting star was seen by thousands of people in Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria and Luxembourg.

British photographer Ollie Taylor happened to be on a shoot in the Dolomites when he captured the fireball in motion.

Ollie Taylor / via ESA
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The Orbital ATK Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, launches from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Nov. 12.

The cargo resupply mission delivered approximately 7,400 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the space station.

Bill Ingalls / NASA
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... Arrival

The Orbital ATK Cygnus resupply ship, with its UltraFlex solar arrays deployed, approaches the space station's robotic arm, Canadarm2, as both spacecraft fly into an orbital sunrise on Nov. 14. 

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Martian landscape

This view of Sirenum Fossae fracture system on Mars, released on Nov. 16, was captured by the ESA's Mars Express orbiter. The features are associated with tectonic stresses linked to the volcanic activity of the region. 

The Mars Express successfully entered Martian orbit in December 2003, six months after its launch. 

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Earth landscape

Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanksiy tweeted this image of the sands of Algeria from the space station on Nov. 15.

Sergey Ryazanksiy / Roscosmos
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Inflatable room

NASA astronaut Joseph Acaba works inside the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) on the space station on Nov. 21. 

BEAM is an experimental capsule that after docking inflates to roughly 13 feet. 

Randy Bresnik / NASA
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Marine pride

NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik tweeted this image on Nov. 10 in honor of the 242nd birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps. 

Randy Bresnik / NASA
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Encircling Filament

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory came across an oddity on Oct. 29-31 that the spacecraft has rarely observed before: a dark filament encircling an active region.

Solar filaments are clouds of charged particles that float above the sun, tethered to it by magnetic forces. They are usually elongated and uneven strands. Only a handful of times before have we seen one shaped like a circle. The black area to the left of the brighter active region is a coronal hole, a magnetically open region of the sun. 

Image released on Nov. 8.

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Jovian Tempest

A massive storm rages in Jupiter's northern hemisphere as captured by NASA's Juno spacecraft.

JunoCam's raw images are available to the public and citizen scientists have been doing amazing work processing JunoCam images ever since Juno's arrival at the giant planet in July 2016. Gerald Eichstadt and Sean Doran processed this image which was released on Nov. 17.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran
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Taking the test

Cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov attends his final exam at the Gagarin Cosmonauts' Training Centre in Star City, outside Moscow, on Nov. 29.

The test is one all space station crews must pass before they are cleared to launch.

Shkaplerov, who previously spent a year in orbit, will be taking another trip to the station in December. 

STR / AFP - Getty Images
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Sunrise below

"Sunrises are not just on the horizon," tweeted NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik on Nov. 28, "they are also played out in the streaks, long shadows and colors of the clouds below."

Randy Bresnik / NASA
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The Soyuz rocket carrying Russia's Meteor-M 2-1 weather satellite lifts off from the launch pad at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia's Far East on Nov. 28.

The weather satellite and nearly 20 micro-satellites from various nations failed to enter their designated orbits following the launch, another blow to the nation's space program.

Russia's Roscosmos space agency said it's trying to determine what happened.

Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP - Getty Images
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Not Mars

German astronaut Mathias Maurer collects specimens in Lanzarote on Spain's Canary Islands, on Nov. 22.

The European Space Agency is considering building a permanent station on the island to simulate Mars missions. 

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Orion Nebula

The Orion Nebula in the Milky Way is captured on Nov. 22 from Wundwin, near Mandalay in Myanmar. 

Ye Aung Thu / AFP - Getty Images
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Great Salt Lake

Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli tweeted this image of the Great Salt Lake in Utah on Nov. 16, writing "it feels like a shot from another planet!"

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Beaver's moon

A full November moon, sometimes called a Beaver's Moon, rises behind St. Michael's Tower on the top of Glastonbury Tor, following a sunset ceremony on its lower slopes to celebrate the festival of Samhain on Nov. 4.

Halloween has its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain which marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. 

Photos: Supermoon lights up world's landmarks

Matt Cardy / Getty Images
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Wide view

Astronaut Randy Bresnik captured this image on Nov. 22 of Madagascar from the cupola, a seven-windowed dome on the space station that offers panoramic views of Earth.

October's best space pictures: Astronaut Halloween and a ghoulish sun

Randy Bresnik / NASA
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