Space Photos of the Week: X-Rays, Binary Stars, and Mars Moles

Exploring space seems like it’s all fun and games, until something goes wrong. Let’s start nearby on Mars, where the InSight lander has gotten into a jam.After touching down on the Martian surface, InSight laid research instruments on the ground, including the HP3 instrument, also known as the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package, to begin drilling. Its drill uses a “mole” that pushes slowly into the dirt. Shortly after the mole deployed, it ran into some rock and got stuck. There’s no straightforward way to get the mole out, but NASA isn’t giving up; InSight is going to try to retrieve the mole with its robotic arm, lay it down again, and attempt to dig once more. HP3 is a key part of InSight’s overall mission, which is to understand the internal makeup of Mars and take temperature readings of the planet’s crust. Here’s hoping InSight finds a softer place to get to the heart of Martian matter.

Double trouble: We’re treating ourselves to not just one, but two views of a pair of binary stars called Cepheus C and Cepheus B, surrounded by a massive nebula. The clouds of gas and dust that surround stars like these are usually hotbeds for young stars. Because of that activity, a lot of forceful radiation emanates from these nascent fireballs and blows away a lot of the surrounding material in what looks like a windstorm — blowing for the length of many light years.

Want to keep cruising around space with the top down? Ride out WIRED’s full space gallery of photos here .
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