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NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC'S BEST SPACE PICTURES THIS WEEK LXXXVI


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Week’s Best Space Pictures: Mars' Moon Phobos Slowly Crumbling
By Jane J. Lee,
National Geographic News, 13 November 2015.

Feed your need for heavenly views of the universe with our pick of the most awe-inspiring space pictures. This week, Hubble spies what could be the loneliest galaxy in the universe, and scientists try to make sense of a moon's stretch marks.

1. Tug of War

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Mars' moon Phobos is slowly crumbling, according to a new analysis. The grooves on the moon's surface are the first sign that it is being slowly pulled apart by tidal forces, NASA scientists announced Tuesday.

2. Traces

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A network of mineral veins (beige) criss-crosses the "Garden City" site on Mars in an image taken by the Curiosity rover. Flowing fluids deposited the minerals into cracks in the rocks, giving rise to the veins.

3. Fatal Attraction

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An artist's illustration shows what happens when an asteroid wanders too close to a dead star. The asteroid is ripped apart by tidal forces swirling around the white dwarf (centre), and a lopsided disk of debris is all that remains.

4. Winter

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The Cassini spacecraft caught this image of winter's onset on Saturn's moon Titan. A massive cloud of frozen compounds (centre) formed above the moon's south pole. We won't see spring anytime soon, though, since Titan's seasons last 7.5 years.

5. Smoke Signal

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A trailing ash cloud blooms above Mount Rinjani on the Indonesian island of Lombok in this satellite image. The ash smothered towns and farms across three islands and shut down flights to airports throughout the region.

6. Pits

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Small divots dot an area on Pluto called Sputnik Planum in an image from the New Horizons spacecraft. Scientists think the pits formed through a combination of ice fracturing and sublimation, when a solid (ice) transforms directly into a gas.

7. On Its Own

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Spiral galaxy MCG+01-02-015 may look like it has plenty of stars and galaxies as neighbours, but it's all a lie. The galaxy sits in a celestial wasteland so devoid of matter, there's about one atom per cubic meter.

[Source: National Geographic News. Edited. Some links added.]

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