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This illustration made available by Johns Hopkins APL and NASA depicts NASA’s DART probe, foreground right, and Italian Space Agency’s (ASI) LICIACube, bottom right, at the Didymos system before impact with the asteroid Dimorphos, left. (Steve Gribben / Johns Hopkins APL / NASA via AP)

A NASA spacecraft rammed an asteroid at blistering speed Monday in an unprecedented dress rehearsal for the day a killer rock menaces Earth.

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This view of Jupiter was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft on Feb. 12, 2019, as the spacecraft performed its 17th science pass of Jupiter. (Courtesy of NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS)

Jupiter is making its closest approach to Earth since 1963 on Monday night, and the views should be especially spectacular.

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This image shows the exoplanet HIP 65426 b in different bands of infrared light, as seen from the James Webb Space Telescope. Purple shows the NIRCam instrument’s view at 3 micrometers, blue shows the NIRCam instrument’s view at 4.44 micrometers, yellow shows the MIRI instrument’s view at 11.4 micrometers and red shows the MIRI instrument’s view at 15.5 micrometers. (Credit: NASA/ESA/CSA, A Carter (UCSC), the ERS 1386 team and A. Pagan)

For the first time, the James Webb Space Telescope has been used to directly image an exoplanet — that’s a planet outside of our solar system. A Northwestern astronomer was part of the team. 

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This image provided by NASA shows a false color composite image of Jupiter obtained by the James Webb Space Telescope on July 27, 2022. The planet’s rings and some of its small satellites are visible along with background galaxies. (NASA via AP)

The James Webb Space Telescope took the photos in July, capturing unprecedented views of Jupiter’s northern and southern lights, and swirling polar haze.

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The International Space Station was photographed by one of the STS-98 crew members aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis following separation of the Shuttle and Station on Feb. 16, 2001. (Credit: NASA)

NASA said in February it intends to keep operating the International Space Station until the end of 2030, after which the ISS would be deorbited and crashed into a remote part of the Pacific Ocean. Commercially operated space platforms would replace the ISS as a venue for collaboration and scientific research, NASA said.

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This image released by NASA on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, shows the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula. (NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI via AP)

Tuesday’s releases showed parts of the universe seen by other telescopes. But Webb’s sheer power, distant location from Earth and use of the infrared light spectrum showed them in a new light that scientists said was almost as much art as science.

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Egg collecting was trendy 100 years ago but today collections like the Field Museum's are rare. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicago-area birds are nesting and laying eggs earlier than ever before. A mysterious meteor burns up over Papua New Guinea. A fossil could rewrite the history of the evolution of life on Earth. And a disturbing finding about microplastics.

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A still image of Wednesday’s solar flare, March 30, 2022. (NASA)

The Sun put on a spectacular show Wednesday, emitting a “significant solar flare,” according to NASA. Now scientists are bracing to see what the resulting space weather will have in store for Earth.

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(Lim Yaw Keong / Pixabay)

A bit of space junk is hurtling toward the moon at 5,800 miles per hour, with impact set for Friday morning.

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(ISS Above / Twitter)

Recent flyovers by the International Space Station have captured some stunning images of Chicago, as seen from 250 miles above.

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Vivek Shandas, a professor of climate adaptation at Portland State University, takes a temperature reading of almost 106 degrees in downtown Portland, Ore., on Aug. 12, 2021. (Nathan Howard / AP Photo, File)

Earth simmered to the sixth hottest year on record in 2021, according to several newly released temperature measurements.

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The James Webb Space Telescope. (Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

The highly anticipated launch of the James Webb Space Telescope has been delayed multiple times.

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The James Webb Space Telescope. (Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

NASA prepares to launch the most powerful space telescope ever. Local astronomers share some up-close details. 

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A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the LUCY spacecraft lifts off from Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Lucy, will observe Trojan asteroids, a unique family of asteroids that orbit the sun in front of and behind Jupiter. (AP Photo / John Raoux)

An Atlas V rocket blasted off before dawn, sending Lucy on a roundabout journey spanning nearly 4 billion miles. Researchers grew emotional describing the successful launch — lead scientist Hal Levison said it was like witnessing the birth of a child. “Go Lucy!” he urged.

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Illustration of the DART spacecraft with the Roll Out Solar Arrays (ROSA) extended. Each of the two ROSA arrays in 8.6 meters by 2.3 meters. (Credit: NASA)

A NASA mission to deflect an asteroid – it’s been the premise for more than one Hollywood movie – but next month NASA launches its DART mission that aims to do it for real.

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On Sunday, July 11, 2021, Richard Branson became the first person to fly into space on a self-funded ship. (WTTW News via CNN)

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson on Sunday became the first billionaire to ride his own rocket ship to space. But beyond being the ultimate joyride for billionaires, will commercial space travel take off as an industry accessible to the rest of us?