This week in space: 7/27 - 8/3

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NASA: Jupiter's Moon Io 'Collapses' In Giant Planet's Shadow

Greetings, earthlings.

With everything that happens on earth in a given week, it's easy to forget that things, indeed, are constantly happening outside our own atmosphere.

From one very lonely young star to an asteroid that might destroy our planet, here's everything important that happened in space last week.

5. Jupiter's moon Io has 'collapsed' in the giant planet's shadow

But don't worry, it'll make a comeback.

According to NASA-funded research, the atmosphere of Jupiter's moon, Io, is constantly fluctuating.

"The new study documents atmospheric changes on Io as the giant planet casts its shadow over the moon's surface during daily eclipses," said a press release issued by the agency.

Based on data collected from two separate instruments, a team of researchers found that "Io's atmosphere begins to 'deflate' when the temperatures drop from -235 degrees Fahrenheit in sunlight to -270 degrees Fahrenheit during eclipse."

The release went on to explain that "in full eclipse, the atmosphere effectively collapses, as most of the sulfur dioxide gas settles as frost on the moon's surface. The atmosphere redevelops as the surface warms once the moon returns to full sunlight."

Photo's of Juno's historic landing on Jupiter:

16 PHOTOS
NASA's Juno spacecraft lands on Jupiter
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NASA's Juno spacecraft lands on Jupiter
An artist's rendering depicts NASA's Juno spacecraft above Jupiter's north pole in this undated handout image. Launched in 2011, the Juno spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter in 2016 to study the giant planet from an elliptical, polar orbit. Juno will repeatedly dive between the planet and its intense belts of charged particle radiation. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Members of the Juno team celebrate at a press conference after they received confirmation from the Juno spacecraft that it had completed the engine burn and successfully entered into orbit around Jupiter,at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, U.S. in this July 4, 2016 handout photo. The Juno mission launched August 5, 2011 and will orbit the planet for 20 months to collect data on the planetary core, map the magnetic field, and measure the amount of water and ammonia in the atmosphere. NASA/Aubrey Gemignani/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
(L-R) Dr. Jim Green, Planetary Science Division Director, NASA; Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute; Geoff Yoder, acting Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, NASA; Michael Watkins, director, NASA?s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); and Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); celebrate with others on the Juno team after they received confirmation from the spacecraft that it had successfully completed the engine burn and entered orbit of Jupiter, in mission control of the Space Flight Operations Facility at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, U.S. in this July 4, 2016 handout photo. The Juno mission launched August 5, 2011 and will orbit the planet for 20 months to collect data on the planetary core, map the magnetic field, and measure the amount of water and ammonia in the atmosphere. NASA/Aubrey Gemignani/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
A 1/4 scale model of NASA's Juno Spacecraft is seen in front of an image of Jupiter, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, July 3, 2016. NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft is scheduled to enter into orbit around Jupiter on July 4 to begin an in-depth study of the planet's formation, evolution and structure. The key event on July 4 is a 35-minute engine burn at 11:18 p.m. EDT (0318 GMT on Tuesday), which is designed to slow Juno down enough to be captured by Jupiter's powerful gravity. / AFP / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
NASA's Juno Mission Principal Investigator Scott Bolton (L) and Robert Kondrk (R), Apple vice president for Content and Media Apps, speak at a press conference at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, June 30, 2016 to announce 'Destination: Juno,' a collaboration between NASA and Apple to bring 'exploratory' music inspired by space from artists such as Brad Paisley, Corinne Bailey Rae, GZA, Jim James featuring Lydia Tyrell, Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Weezer and Zoé to Apple Music and iTunes listeners. The Juno spacecraft is scheduled to enter Jupiter's orbit on July 4, 2016 after a five years voyage to the fifth planet from the sun. / AFP / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
NASA Program Executive Diane Brown (L), Juno Mission Principal Investigator Scott Bolton (C) and Robert Kondrk (R), Apple vice president for Content and Media Apps, attend a press conference at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, June 30, 2016 to announce 'Destination: Juno,' a collaboration between NASA and Apple to bring 'exploratory' music inspired by space from artists such as Brad Paisley, Corinne Bailey Rae, GZA, Jim James featuring Lydia Tyrell, Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Weezer and Zoé to Apple Music and iTunes listeners. The Juno spacecraft is scheduled to enter Jupiter's orbit on July 4, 2016 after a five years voyage to the fifth planet from the sun. / AFP / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JUNE 30: A scientist works at the Deep Space Network desk in the mission control room of the JPL Space Flight Operations Facility at JPL as NASA officials and the public look forward to the Independence Day arrival of the the Juno spacecraft to Jupiter, at JPL on June 30, 2016 in Pasadena, California. After having traveling nearly 1.8 billion miles over the past five years, the NASA Juno spacecraft will arrival to Jupiter on the Fourth of July to go enter orbit and gather data to study the enigmas beneath the cloud tops of Jupiter. The risky $1.1 billion mission will fail if it does not enter orbit on the first try and overshoots the planet. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JUNE 30: Cassini Ace Bill Mogensen works at his desk in the mission control room of the JPL Space Flight Operations Facility at JPL as NASA officials and the public look forward to the Independence Day arrival of the the Juno spacecraft to Jupiter, at JPL on June 30, 2016 in Pasadena, California. After having traveling nearly 1.8 billion miles over the past five years, the NASA Juno spacecraft will arrival to Jupiter on the Fourth of July to go enter orbit and gather data to study the enigmas beneath the cloud tops of Jupiter. The risky $1.1 billion mission will fail if it does not enter orbit on the first try and overshoots the planet. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - (From R) Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager, Scott Bolton, NASA principal investigator for the Juno mission to Jupiter and Jim Green, NASA director of Planetary Science, react as the Juno spacecraft successfully enters Jupiter's orbit on July 4, 2016, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Juno was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on August 5, 2011 on a five-year voyage to its mission to study the planet's formation, evolution and structure. / AFP / POOL / Ringo Chiu (Photo credit should read RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)
Scott Bolton (L), NASA principal investigator for the Juno mission to Jupiter, reacts as the Juno spacecraft successfully enters Jupiter's orbit on July 4, 2016, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Juno was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on August 5, 2011 on a five-year voyage to its mission to study the planet's formation, evolution and structure. / AFP / POOL / Ringo Chiu (Photo credit should read RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Juno Project Manager Rick Nybakken (C) celebrates as the solar-powered Juno spacecraft goes into orbit around Jupiter, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California on July 4, 2016. Juno was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on August 5, 2011 on a five-year voyage to its mission to study the planet's formation, evolution and structure. / AFP / POOL / Ringo Chiu (Photo credit should read RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)
Staff members watch on before the solar-powered Juno spacecraft went into orbit around Jupiter, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California on July 4, 2016. Juno was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on August 5, 2011 on a five-year voyage to its mission to study the planet's formation, evolution and structure. / AFP / POOL / Ringo Chiu (Photo credit should read RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)
Diane Brown (L), NASA Juno program executive, Scott Bolton (C), Juno principal investigator and Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager, celebrate at a press conference after the Juno spacecraft was successfully placed into Jupiter's orbit, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California on July 4, 2016. Juno was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on August 5, 2011 on a five-year voyage to its mission to study the planet's formation, evolution and structure. / AFP / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Juno Project Manager Rick Nybakken (L) and principal investigator Scott Bolton (R) celebrate as the solar-powered Juno spacecraft goes into orbit around Jupiter, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California on July 4, 2016. Juno was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on August 5, 2011 on a five-year voyage to its mission to study the planet's formation, evolution and structure. / AFP / POOL / Ringo Chiu (Photo credit should read RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JULY 4: Juno team members celebrate in mission control of the Space Flight Operations Facility at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory after receiving confirmation from the spacecraft that it has successfully entered orbit of Jupiter, July 4, 2016 in Pasadena, CA. The Juno mission launched August 5, 2011 and will orbit the planet for 20 months to collect data on the planetary core, map the magnetic field, and measure the amount of water and ammonia in the atmosphere. (Photo by Aubrey Gemignani/NASA via Getty Images)
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4. NASA discovered the 'loneliest' star in the universe

In a galaxy far, far away from any known celestial object, a young star is going through a tremendous, yet incredibly lonely, growth spurt -- much like you did in middle school.

No, actually -- even NASA called this star the "loneliest" in the universe.

"The unusual object, called CX330, was first detected as a source of X-ray light in 2009," according to a NASA press release.

It's closest neighboring star formation is over a thousand light-years away.

Researchers eventually hypothesized that the object was probably "a young star that had been outbursting for several years."

Based on observations from numerous telescopes, Chris Britt, the lead author of a recently published paper on the entity, concluded that the "rapidly growing young star is forming in the middle of nowhere."

Astronomers are uncertain as to how the object became so isolated, but some believe it may have formed under turbulent conditions.

The teenage angst is almost palpable here.

NASA Spies 'Loneliest Young Star'

3. Jupiter actually does not orbit the sun

Today in things you-thought-you-knew-but-actually-didn't, Jupiter does not orbit the sun -- but the reason why is a bit complicated.

When a small object revolves around a larger one, it is not a perfectly circular path of travel. Rather, they both have an orbit around a combined center of gravity.

In situations like the Earth and the sun, the sun is so much larger that the combined center of gravity is pretty close to the sun's own center. This means that while both technically orbit each other, it seems that the sun remains still as the Earth travels around it.

This is not the case with Jupiter, whose mass is over two times bigger than the masses of all the other planets combined.

The gas giant is so big that its center of gravity is actually above the sun's surface. As a result, Jupiter and the sun move together -- though their orbits are still quite different.

Jupiter is also so big that it "tugs" on Earth. Some scientists believe this is what makes it possible for Earth to remain livable, not too hot or too cold.

Jupiter Does Not Orbit the Sun


​​​​​2. A 30-year-old black hole mystery was finally solved

Well it's about damn time.

A while back, Albert Einstein predicted that large, dense objects that have a lot of gravity will bend time and space as they spin -- black holes, in particular, he said, twist space and time like taffy.

The fascination with black holes did not end with Einstein. Satellites from the European Space Agency and NASA have been examining these scientific marvels for decades, specifically X-ray light emitted from them in interesting patterns.

A recent press release from Adam Ingram of the University of Amsterdam drastically altered what we previously knew about the impact black holes have on their surrounding environments.

Ingram said that although a similar gravitational vortex was predicted, it is now said to be more like "twisting a spoon in honey" rather than twisting taffy.

In this metaphor, the honey resembles space, and anything embedded in the honey will be dragged around by a twisting spoon.

He also added that this discovery means anything orbiting a spinning object will have its motion affected.

30-Year Black Hole Mystery Solved

1. NASA decided to send a craft to study the asteroid that could possibly destroy Earth

Seems like a good idea.

You probably didn't know this, but there's an asteroid currently hurdling through space that has a chance of destroying Earth one day.

Naturally, NASA is planning to do exactly what you'd assume it would do in such a scenario --- they're gonna check it out.

The OSIRIS-REx Mission, currently being worked on by both NASA and the University of Arizona, plans to send an unmanned spacecraft to the asteroid, named Bennu, on September 8. It should arrive at the asteroid in August 2018.

Bennu, which was actually named by a third-grader from North Carolina who won an asteroid-naming contest, refers to an Egyptian mythological bird.

"Born from the rubble of a violent collision, hurled through space for millions of years and dismembered by the gravity of planets, asteroid Bennu had a tough life in a rough neighborhood," said NASA in its review of the movie "8 Mile"an official statement.

The asteroid is estimated to be a third of a mile in diameter, and models predict that between 2169 and 2199 there are eight times that it could crash down on us here on Earth.

On top of those concerns, NASA is pushing its way to Bennu because it's thought to be a relic, containing the materials present as the solar system was forming.

"We believe Bennu is a time capsule from the very beginnings of our solar system," Dante Lauretta, a professor of planetary science at the University of Arizona and the principal investigator on the OSIRIS-REx mission, told ABC News. "So the sample can potentially hold answers to the most fundamental questions human beings ask, like 'Where do we come from?'"

While it would be great to know where exactly life on Earth came from, maybe a better question would be, how exactly can we destroy this thing so life on Earth can continue?

NASA Sending Craft to Study Asteroid That Could Destroy Earth

That's all for now, have a stellar week!

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