News

The Best Space Images So Far This Year (That Aren't From The James Webb Telescope)

10 out-of-this-world images released in 2022 — and how we got them.

Image data: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSSImage processing by Andrea Luck © CC BY

You don't need to be a space fanatic to appreciate the incredible pics taken from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) earlier this month. But the JWST isn’t the only game in town. From Hubble to the Curiosity rover on Mars, the Juno spacecraft to the 25 other space telescopes in orbit, we’re living in a golden age of space photos.

NASA, CSA, and FGS team

This enhanced image of a moon shadow on Jupiter was created by an amateur using raw data taken from the Juno spacecraft which was 44,000 miles away.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSSImage

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSSImage processing by Thomas Thomopoulos

This image shows off the layer of dry ice that forms on the polar caps of Mars. Those patches of blue are the ice that pop against the rusty-colored sand.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

A flower on Mars! Well, it certainly looks like it — but this “flower” is actually a rock that’s smaller than the size of a penny captured by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA says that Jupiter’s Ganymede has bright lights coming out of the centers of its many craters. Sometimes they come across ones with dark rays instead, like this one named Kittu.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSSImage processing by Thomas Thomopoulos

This photo shows the thick deposits of sediment that cover ice on Mars. NASA says if you look at this through infrared-red-blue images, the ice has a blue-purple tone.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

This is what the inside of a crater looks like on Mars — all those intricate swirls and patterns are spectacular. “The crater in the center of this HiRISE image defines where zero longitude is on Mars,” NASA says, “like the Greenwich Observatory does for the Earth.”

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

This incredible photo shows the defrosting dunes in Kaiser Crater in Spring on Mars. There’s a mix of different sediments, and white snow is dusted on the land in a white layer.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

This section of Mars shows water-modified landscape that used to be on the planet — a long, long time ago.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

When craters look darker on Mars it usually means it’s a newer crater, filled with boulders inside as the impact settles. This crater hasn’t changed much since NASA first saw it in 2007, happening more slowly than previously thought.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Check out the inside of this Martian crater. NASA says that the layers of color — different layers of sedimentary rock — were made up of fine particles carried by the atmosphere and water that “deposited into generally flat-lying layers” that turn into rock over time.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona