Falcon 9 launches ocean science mission for NASA and CNES

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California at 6:46 a.m. Eastern Dec. 16. The rocket’s upper stage released the payload, the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) spacecraft, into an 890-kilometer orbit 52 minutes later. The rocket’s first stage, making its sixth flight, landed back at the launch site seven and a half minutes after liftoff.

James Webb Space Telescope view of Saturn’s weirdest moon Titan thrills scientists

Titan is a strange world — a little bit Earthlike, if land were made of water ice, rivers and seas were filled with liquid methane and other hydrocarbons, and the atmosphere were thick and hazy, dotted with methane clouds. And now, the James Webb Space Telescope (Webb or JWST) has observed two of those clouds during observations on Nov. 4 that have thrilled scientists, according to a NASA statement.