In this column, staff writer Andrea Alfano rounds up the most important and fascinating space news of the past week in bite-sized summaries to keep you up to date on what's happening way up above us.

It was a rough week for space research in light of the failure of SpaceX's latest mission, but there were still wonders to be found in the night sky and our sun. Plus, the arts and sciences collided with the announcement of plans to send fine art to the moon for the first time.

SpaceX's latest rocket exploded during launch.

No one was physically hurt when Falcon 9 exploded in the sky on June 28, but the rocket's failure surely stung a little bit extra for SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, since that day also happened to be his 44th birthday. And it's almost sure to hurt SpaceX's bank account, too.

This unmanned flight was the third failed attempt at a resupply mission to the International Space Station over the course of the last eight months (the other two were Orbital ATK's Antares rocket and Russia's Progress 59 vessel). The two tons of food and supplies on Falcon 9's attached cargo capsule, named Dragon, burned up and fell back to Earth.

Carnegie Mellon University announced plans to send art to the moon.

We humans love our art so much that we are going to send some of it to the moon next year for practically no one to enjoy. Of course, simply looking at the art is not the really the point of the Moon Arts Ark. "This is an opportunity to take the arts and humanities into a realm that is traditionally thought of as cold and lifeless," project leader Lowry Burgess said in a statement.

The intricate piece of art shown above will make the historic trip to the moon next year aboard the rover that Carnegie Mellon University is entering in the Google Lunar XPrize (assuming it doesn't blow up before it gets there).

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this gorgeous image of a solar flare.

Solar flares are explosions of radiation that occur fairly regularly on our sun. They are classified based on their intensity, with classes A being the least intense and class X being the most, but all are unfathomably powerful. Each solar flare releases as much energy as millions of megaton hydrogen bombs. The one shown above was a mid-size, class M solar flare.

The intensity of a solar flare also determines which radio wave frequencies it will affect. Solar flares tend to cause radio blackouts which can disrupt long-distance communications signals such as GPS signals.

Jupiter and Venus came together in the night sky.

Jupiter and Venus got closer together in the night sky than they've been in past 10 years on June 30, so close that it was possible to cover them with the tip of a finger held in front of your eyes. Even though Jupiter is more than a thousand times larger than Venus, they appear to be about the same size because Jupiter is so much farther away from Earth.

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