Sometimes you don't need fancy modern compounds - primitive cavemen had the answer.

Burnt bone charcoal, used in prehistoric cave paintings, will be applied to the ESA’s Solar Orbiter titanium heatshield to protect it from the Sun’s close-up glare. 

Solar Orbiter, due for launch in 2017, will carry instruments to perform high-resolution imaging of Sol from as close as 42,000,000 km – a little more than a quarter of the distance to Earth. Operating in direct view of the Sun, the mission must endure 13 times the intensity of terrestrial sunlight and temperatures rising as high as 520° C.
When President Obama took office in 2009, among his first priorities was to cancel the Constellation program, mostly because it had George Bush's name on it, though that was behind a veneer of 'too expensive' and would take too long. 
It looks more like a painting than a real-life event but this image from the Cassini orbiter shows the progress of a massive storm on Saturn. 

The head of the storm is towards the left of the image, where the most turbulent activity is shown in white, but towards the center you can also see the trace of a spinning vortex in the wake of the storm.

The image is centered at about 0º longitude and 35º N latitude and has had its colors enhanced to help reveal the complex processes in Saturn’s weather. The white corresponds to the highest cloud tops, but to the human eye the storm would appear more as a bright area against a yellow background.
Rosetta is currently chasing down Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, where it will become the first space mission to rendezvous with a comet, the first to attempt a landing on a comet’s surface and the first to follow a comet as it swings around the Sun.

But for 31 months it has been radio silent. It is powered by solar energy and was placed into deep space slumber in June of 2011 as it cruised out to a distance of nearly 500 million miles from Sol, beyond the orbit of Jupiter. Now it is only about 400 million miles from the Sun and has enough solar energy to power back up.

To everyone's relief, it did. 
Can you believe it's already been 10 years?

Before there was a cute Rover on the Martian surface, delighting us with pithy commentary on Twitter, we had Mars Express paving the way. Ten years ago, on 14 January 2004, it took its very first images, in color and in 3-D.

This idea dates back to the Russians in the early 1970s. The surface of Venus is far too hot, and the atmosphere too dense, for Earth life. However, our air is a lifting gas on Venus with about half the lifting power of helium on Earth. A habitat filled with normal air will float high in the dense Venus atmosphere, The atmospheric pressure there is the same as Earth sea level (1 bar). Temperatures are perfect for Earth life too, just over 0°C.

Hubble's Frontier Fields observing program is using the magnifying power of enormous galaxy clusters to peer deep into the distant Universe and Abell 2744, nicknamed Pandora's Cluster,  is  the first image.

Astronomers previously observed Abell 2744 with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope back in 2011 and determined it had a very violent history, having formed from a cosmic pile-up of multiple galaxy clusters. They found that at least four galaxy clusters had crashed into one another to form Abell 2744, causing some weird and wonderful effects. 

An international team has published a major list of celestial X-ray sources in the Astrophysical Journal - over 150,000 high-energy stars and galaxies.

Using the X-ray telescope on board the US/UK/Italian Swift satellite, the team analyzed eight years' worth of data to make the first Swift X-ray Point Source catalogue. In addition to providing the positions of almost a hundred thousand previously unknown X-ray sources, the team have also analyzed the X-ray variability and X-ray colors of the sources in order to help to understand the origin of their emission, and to help in the classification of rare and exotic objects.

All of the data, including light curves and spectra are available online.

Australian astronomers have derived a catchy way to prevent catastrophic, multi-billion dollar space junk collisions -  by listening in to the radio signals generated by stations like the popular youth network Triple J. 

The project spearheaded by Curtin University in Western Australia uses the newly operational Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), one of three precursor telescopes for the $2 billion Square Kilometre Array project, to detect radio waves reflecting off thousands of objects orbiting the earth. The study has already tracked radio waves from FM transmitters located near Perth and Geraldton bouncing off the International Space Station as it passed over Western Australia, approximately 500 kilometres above the Earth's surface.   

C/2012 S1, Comet ISON, is intriguing because it has never approached the sun before and that is scientifically terrific. 

Comet ISON began in the Oort cloud almost a light year away and has traveled for over a million years. Unlike more famous comets, Halley's as an example, it has never come this way before - and that means it is still made of pristine matter from the earliest days of the solar system's formation. Its top layers haven't been lost by a trip near the sun.

To study it as it approached Sol, a vast fleet of solar observation experiments have been watching. Would it break up or slingshot?