Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Barnard 3/IRAS Ring G159.6-18.5

This stunning image was captured by WISE, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. It is a view of the Barnard 3, or IRAS Ring G159.6-18.5, awash with bright green and dark red dust clouds and is another stellar nursery where baby stars are born.

The colors used in this image represent specific wavelengths of infrared light. Blue and cyan (blue-green) represent light emitted at wavelengths of 3.4 and 4.6 microns, which is predominantly from stars. Green and red represent light from 12 and 22 microns, respectively, which is mostly emitted by dust.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

Friday, November 18, 2011

New Map Of The Moon

This high resolution image of the Moon was taken by NASA's Reconnaissance Orbiter science team. This new topographical map shows its surface shape and features. The image resolution features a pixel scale close to 328 feet.

Due to the limitations of previous missions, a global map of the moon’s topography at high resolution has not existed until now. With LRO's Wide Angle Camera and the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter instrument, scientists can now accurately portray the shape of the entire moon at high resolution.

Image Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/DLR/ASU

Monday, August 29, 2011

The First Man In Space

U.S. Air Force Colonel and Navy Seal, Joseph Kittinger is surely one of the most overlooked figures in the early history of space exploration. Born July 27, 1928, Kittinger was a career military officer and Command Pilot and happens to be the first man ever to go into space.

On August 16, 1960, a full eight months before the first manned space flight, Colonel Kittinger soared in a gondola, suspended from a balloon to an astonishing altitude of 103,000 feet and into history. The image below was taken as he jumped from his gondola and plummeted to earth.

Click on the image to read my full write up about Joseph Kittinger.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

360 Degree Panorama of Space Shuttle Discovery Flight Deck

Click this image for total immersion in the Space Shuttle Discovery's flight deck while being decommissioned (June 2011)in the Orbiter Processing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center. It Feels as though you are really there! You can zoom in or out and rotate to see the entire interior.

Image and Panorama Credit: Jook Leung for THELASTSHUTTLE.COM

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene 2

This image, taken by NASA yesterday, shows just how big this storm system is. It shows Irene making landfall in North Carolina and covers nearly the entire eastern seaboard. While posting this, I just heard there have already been four reported fatalities and there are over 300,000 homes currently without power. This storm is now reported to be the size of Europe!

This photograph was taken from the GOES-13 satellite.

Image Credit: NASA

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hurricane Irene

This image, taken aboard the International Space Station, by Astronaut Ron Garan shows Hurricane Irene as it passed over the Caribbean on Aug. 22, 2011.

Image Credit: NASA/Ron Garan

Friday, August 5, 2011

Animation Video of Assembly of ISS

Great video with annotations.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

ISS Crew Member View of Final Shuttle Landing

This unprecedented view of the space shuttle Atlantis, appearing like a bean sprout against clouds and city lights, on its way home, was photographed by the Expedition 28 crew of the International Space Station. Airglow over Earth can be seen in the background.

Click on the image to see the full size version of 4,256px × 2,832px (scaled to 1,295px × 862px)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Survival of the Elements

This close-up image shows the 'Materials on International Space Station Experiment-8.' Taken during the spacewalk on July 12, 2011, the small circles pictured are test beds for materials and computing elements attached to the outside of the International Space Station. These elements are being evaluated for the effects of atomic oxygen, ultraviolet, direct sunlight, radiation, and the extremes of heat and cold. Researchers hope the results will provide a better understanding of the durability of various materials and computing elements when they are exposed to the rigors of space environments and hope to incorporate what is learned into the design of future spacecraft.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Today marks the final launch in the NASA Shuttle program. This image of space shuttle Atlantis was taken shortly after the service structure was rolled back in preparation for lift off today. NASA is quoted as saying "This is the beginning of a new era in space exploration where we will build the capabilities to send humans deeper into space than ever before."

Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The official press release went on to say "We will use the International Space Station as a test bed and stepping stone for the challenging journey ahead. We are changing the way we do business, fostering a commercial industry that will safely service low Earth orbit so we can focus our energy and resources on sending astronauts to an asteroid and eventually to Mars. The road ahead is challenging but this approach and space exploration architecture puts us in a position to go where no human has gone before."

Friday, July 1, 2011

Glowing Emerald Nebula

Named RCW 120, this region of hot gas and glowing dust can be found in the murky clouds encircled by the tail of the constellation Scorpius. The ring of dust actually is glowing in infrared colors that our eyes cannot see, but come to life when viewed by Spitzer's infrared detectors. At the center of this ring are two giant stars whose intense ultraviolet light created a bubble, though they blend in with other stars when viewed in infrared.

Spitzer has found that such bubbles are common and can be found around O stars throughout our Milky Way galaxy. The small objects at the lower right area of the image may themselves be similar regions seen at much greater distances across the galaxy.

Rings like this are so common in Spitzer's observations that astronomers have even enlisted the help of the public to help them find and catalog them all. Anyone interested in joining the search as a citizen scientist can visit "The Milky Way Project," part of the "Zooniverse" of public astronomy projects, at The Milky Way Project.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Aurora Borealis From Space

This image was aquired on May 29, 2010 from the International Space Station using a Nikon D3 digital camera during Expedition 23. Located above the Indian Ocean, the curvature of the Earth's horizon (the limb) is clearly visible with the faint blue line of the upper atmosphere directly above it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Seaside Sunrise

Taken June 23, 2011, this image features the sun rising over the Atlantic Ocean behind with the space shuttle Atlantis' external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters on Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Monday, June 27, 2011


NASA aerospace engineer Sandra Olsen demonstrates how fire acts in space with this composite of multiple overlays featuring three separate microgravity flame images. Each image is of flame spread over cellulose paper in a spacecraft ventilation flow in microgravity. Each color represents different chemical reactions within the flame. The blue areas are caused by chemiluminescence (light produced by a chemical reaction.) The white, yellow and orange regions are due to glowing soot within the flame zone.

Microgravity combustion research at Glenn not only provides insights into spacecraft fire safety, but it has also been used to create award-winning art images. This image won first place in the 2011 Combustion Art Competition, held at the 7th U.S. National Combustion Meeting.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Art of Making Stars

Rho Ophiuchi is a busy star-forming complex. WISE (NASA's Wide-field Infrared Explorer) captured this image of the region, which is one of the closest star-forming complexes to Earth.

The amazing variety of colors seen in this image represents different wavelengths of infrared light. The bright white nebula in the center of the image is glowing due to heating from nearby stars, resulting in what is called an emission nebula. The same is true for most of the multi-hued gas prevalent throughout the entire image, including the bluish, bow-shaped feature near the bottom right. The bright red area in the bottom right is light from the star in the center--Sigma Scorpii--that is reflected off of the dust surrounding it, creating what is called a reflection nebula. And the much darker areas scattered throughout the image are pockets of cool, dense gas that block out the background light, resulting in absorption (or 'dark') nebulae. WISE's longer wavelength detectors can typically see through dark nebulae, but these are exceptionally opaque.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

The bright pink objects just left of center are young stellar objects--baby stars just beginning to form. Many of them are still enveloped in their own tiny compact nebulae. In visible light, these baby stars are completely hidden in the dark nebula that surrounds them. Some of the oldest stars in the Milky Way galaxy can also be seen in this image. One cluster,, the M80, is can be seen near the top and to the far right edge of the image. Another one called NGC 6144, is found close to the bottom edge near the center. Both are small densely compacted groups of blue stars. Globular clusters such as these are some of the oldest stars known. Some are as old as 13 billion years, making them as almost as old as the universe itself.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ares 1 Rocket First Stage Motor Unveiled

The DM-1 (first stage development motor) for the newly designed Ares 1 rocket is unveiled. The Ares 1 rocket is one of as two part system that is being built and tested by NASA as part of the Constellation Program which is replacing the soon to be defunct Shuttle Program.

The stationary firing of the five-segment solid rocket motor will be conducted by ATK Space Systems, a division of Alliant Techsystems of Brigham City, Utah, the prime contractor for the Ares I first stage. The motor will provide the backbone for the Ares I, generating up to 3.6 million pounds of thrust, or lifting power, at launch. DM-1 is managed by the Ares Projects at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Credit: NASA/ATK

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Robonaut 2

Developed by a joint technology partnership between NASA and General Motors, Robonaut 2 is a humanoid robot that will be helping astronauts in space with construction projects, repetitive tasks and much more. Robonaut arrived at the International Space Station in February, 2011, it is the latest generation of astronaut helpers. Called R2, it will be be installed permanently on the Unity node.

Credit: NASA

Lightning Over Brazil

European Space Agency Astronaut, Paolo Nespoli, took this image of lightning over Brazil as seen from the International Space Station in January 2011.

Nespoli, a member of the Expedition 27 crew, first visited the station in 2007 as a member of the STS-120 crew aboard space shuttle Discovery to deliver the Italian-built Harmony node.

Credit: ESA/NASA

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Through The Looking Glass

The NASA logo on Bldg. 703 at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif., is reflected in the 2.5-meter primary mirror of the SOFIA observatory's telescope.

SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) is an airborne observatory, built to complement the Hubble, Spitzer and Herschel space telescopes, as well as major Earth-based telescopes.

SOFIA features a German-built 100-inch (2.5 meter) diameter far-infrared telescope weighing 20 tons mounted in the rear fuselage of a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft. It is one of the premier space science programs of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

SOFIA is a joint program between NASA and the German Aerospace Center.

Credit: NASA/Tom Tschida

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lift Off of Soyuz TMA-02M

This image was taken of the Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft as it launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early Wednesday, June 8, 2011, (4:12 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, June 7). Its crew included:

Expedition 28 Soyuz Commander Sergei Volkov of Russia,
NASA Flight Engineer Mike Fossum
JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa

They are on the way to the International Space Station. Kazakhstan is a nation located between Russia and China.

Credit: NASA /Carla Cioffi

Monday, June 13, 2011

Preparing to Launch The Soyuz TMA-02M

Launch pad engineers at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the nation of Kazakhstan work on the giant mechanisms at the base of the Soyuz TMA-02M rocket following its rollout to the pad on Sunday, June 5, 2011. The rocket was being prepared for launch June 8 to carry the crew of Expedition 28 to the International Space Station.

Credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Working Towards The Future

Work on the heat shield and thermal protection backshell of the Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle ground test article, or GTA, was completed in preparation for environmental testing. This image is of the crew vehicle at the Lockheed Martin Vertical Test Facility in Colorado. The crew vehicle will undergo rigorous testing to confirm its ability to safely fly astronauts through all the harsh environments of deep space exploration missions.

Image Credit: NASA/Lockheed Martin

Friday, June 10, 2011

Portrait of Shuttle and Space Station

On May 23, the Soyuz was carrying Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev, NASA astronaut Cady Coleman and European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli back to Earth. Once their vehicle was about 600 feet from the station, Mission Control Moscow, outside the Russian capital, commanded the orbiting laboratory to rotate 130 degrees. This move allowed Nespoli to capture digital photographs and high definition video of shuttle Endeavour docked to the station.

Credit: NASA

Monday, June 6, 2011

Amazing Video of Apollo 11 Launch

This amazing video of the Apollo 11 launching was filmed at an incredible 500 frames per second. It was then slowed down for this video, which includes a technical narrative of what you are watching! The flames become so bright about half way through the video, that it is in a white out state, however, keep watching as it will pass and you will enjoy some great footage and information about the processes behind launches.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

PS-PVD Rig at NASA's Glenn Research Center

The PS-PVD rig at NASA's Glenn Research Center uses new technology to create super thin ceramic coatings, which are being developed to protect high efficiency engines. The coatings created in the PS-PVD rig are thinner and more complex than those previously available.

Inside the Plasma Spray-Physical Vapor Deposition, or PS-PVD, ceramic powder is introduced into the plasma flame, which vaporizes it and then condenses it to form a ceramic coating.

The PS-PVD rig uses a system of vacuum pumps and a blower to remove air from the chamber, reducing the pressure inside to fraction of normal atmospheric pressure. The plasma flame is extremely hot and reaches 10,000 degrees Celsius. Ceramic powder is introduced from the torch into the plasma flame. The plasma vaporizes the ceramic powder,
which then condenses 5 feet away from the torch onto the component to form the ceramic coating.

Plasma--not a gas, liquid or solid--is the fourth state of matter and often behaves like a gas, except that it conducts electricity and is affected by magnetic fields. On an astronomical scale, plasma is common. The sun is composed of plasma, fire is plasma, fluorescent and neon lights contain plasma. NASA’s PS-PVD rig is one of only two such facilities in the country and one of four in the world.

Image Credit: NASA/Marvin G. Smith (Wyle Information Systems LLC)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Chasma Boreale - Mars

The Chasma Boreale is a long, flat-floored valley that cuts deep into Mars' north polar icecap, with walls rising about 4,600 feet above the floor. Where the edge of the ice cap has retreated, sheets of sand are emerging that accumulated during earlier ice-free climatic cycles. Winds blowing off the ice have pushed loose sand into dunes and driven them down-canyon in a westward direction.

This scene combines images taken during the period from December 2002 to February 2005 by the Thermal Emission Imaging System instrument on NASA's Mars Odyssey. It is part of a special series of images marking the orbiter as the longest-working Mars spacecraft in history.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

Friday, June 3, 2011

Atop the Mobile Platform

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is seen in silhouette, left, as he shook hands with workers atop the Mobile Launch Platform as space shuttle Atlantis rolled out of High Bay 3 in the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39A for its final flight, Tuesday, May 31, 2011, at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

The 3.4-mile trek, known as rollout, took about seven hours to complete. On STS-135, the orbiter's final, Atlantis will carry the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module to deliver supplies and spare parts to the International Space Station. The launch of STS-135 is targeted for July 8.

Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Launch Pad at Dawn

This image shows the launch pad at the NASA center in Florida.

The Final Voyage

Space shuttle Endeavour on the STS-134 mission made its final landing at the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center, Wednesday, June 1, 2011, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Endeavour, completed a 16-day mission to outfit the International Space Station. Endeavour spent 299 days in space and traveled more than 122.8 million miles during its 25 flights. It launched on its first mission on May 7, 1992.

Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Docked One Last Time

The Space Shuttle Endeavour is photographed in front of a night view of Earth while docked at the International Space Station on May 28, 2011. The STS-134 astronauts left the station the next day on May 29, after delivering the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and performing four spacewalks during Endeavour's final mission.

Image Credit: NASA

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nile River Delta at Night

One of the fascinating aspects of viewing Earth at night is how well the lights show the distribution of people. In this view of Egypt, the population is shown to be almost completely concentrated along the Nile Valley, just a small percentage of the country’s land area.

The Nile River and its delta look like a brilliant, long-stemmed flower in this photograph of the southeastern Mediterranean Sea, as seen from the International Space Station. The Cairo metropolitan area forms a particularly bright base of the flower. The smaller cities and towns within the Nile Delta tend to be hard to see amidst the dense agricultural vegetation during the day. However, these settled areas and the connecting roads between them become clearly visible at night.

Scattered blue-grey clouds cover the Mediterranean Sea and the Sinai, while much of northeastern Africa is cloud-free. The thin yellow-brown band tracing the Earth’s curvature at the top of the image is airglow, a faint band of light emission that results from the interaction of atmospheric atoms and molecules with solar radiation at an altitude of approximately 60 miles (100 kilometers).

This astronaut photograph was taken by the Expedition 25 crew on Oct. 28, 2010, with a Nikon D3S digital camera using a 16 mm lens.

Image Credit: NASA

Friday, May 27, 2011

Final Spacewalk of the STS - 134 Mission

NASA astronaut Michael Fincke worked outside the station during the fourth and final spacewalk of the STS-134 mission, which lasted more than 7 hours. Fincke and fellow astronaut Greg Chamitoff completed the primary objectives for the spacewalk, including stowing the 50-foot-long boom and adding a power and data grapple fixture to make it the Enhanced International Space Station Boom Assembly, available to extend the reach of the space station's robotic arm.

Image Credit: NASA

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Iceland's Grimsvotn Volcano

This natural-color satellite image, acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite, shows the towering ash plume on May 21, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. local time. Beneath the ash plume, clouds cover much of the scene. Lingering snow is visible beneath the clouds to the northeast (upper left). Brown ash covers a portion of the Vatnajokull Glacier near the Atlantic coast (lower right).

Image Credit: NASA, GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response Team

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Here is the accompanying press release by NASA for this image......

"Because of the absence of gravity, fuels burning in space behave very differently than they do on Earth. In this image, a 3-millimeter diameter droplet of heptane fuel burns in microgravity, producing soot. When a bright, uniform backlight is placed behind the droplet and flame and recorded by a video camera, the soot appears as a dark cloud. Image processing techniques can then quantify the soot concentration at each point in the image.

On the International Space Station, the Flame Extinguishing Experiment examines the combustion of such liquid fuel droplets. This colorized gray-scale image is a composite of the individual video frames of the backlit fuel droplet. The bright yellow structure in the middle is the path of the droplet, which becomes smaller as it burns. Initial soot structures (in green) tend to form near the liquid fuel. These come together into larger and larger particles which ultimately spiral out of the flame zone in long, twisting streamers."

Image Credit: NASA

Monday, May 23, 2011

Exploring The Wonders Of The Universe

This image shows the newly-installed Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2, which is visible at the center of the International Space Station's starboard truss. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, or AMS, is the largest scientific collaboration to use the orbital laboratory.

This project is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and is funded by 16 nations. Led by Nobel Laureate Samuel Ting, more than 600 physicists from around the globe will be able to participate in the data generated from this particle physics detector. The mission of the AMS is, in part, to seek answers to the mysteries of antimatter, dark matter and cosmic ray propagation in the universe.

Image Credit: NASA

Friday, May 20, 2011

Inspecting Segments of the James Webb Telescope

NASA engineer Ernie Wright looks on as the first six flight ready James Webb Space Telescope's primary mirror segments are prepped to begin final cryogenic testing at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

It is one of the 18 segments that will form NASA's James Webb Space Telescope’s primary mirror for space observations. Engineers began final round-the-clock cryogenic testing to confirm that the mirrors will respond as expected to the extreme temperatures of space prior to integration into the telescope's permanent housing structure.

Image Credit: NASA/MSFC/David

Not Your Typical Work Day

Astronaut Drew Feustel works in the vacuum of space in the first of four spacewalks during the STS-134 mission of the Space Shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station. Working early in the morning of May 20, 2011, Feustel and Astronaut Greg Chamitoff successfully installed antennas for the External Wireless Communication system, routing cables, setting up the antenna, installing handrails, and connecting power cables during this spacewalk. This was the 245th spacewalk conducted by U.S. astronauts and was Feustel's fourth spacewalk.

Image Credit: NASA

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Space Shuttle Endeavour at the International Space Station

This image of the space shuttle Endeavour was taken by STS-134 mission specialist Ron Garan on May 19, 2011. It shows the craft docked at the International Space Station. It is the 36th shuttle mission to the International Space Station.

Image Credit: NASA

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Space Shuttle Atlantis Returning to Kennedy Space Center

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sunset Over South America

The Expedition 27 crew photographed this sunset over western South America from aboard the International Space Station. The station crew sees, on average, sixteen sunrises and sunsets during a 24-hour orbital period. Each changeover between day and night on the ground is marked by the terminator, or line separating the sunlit side of Earth from the side in darkness.

While the terminator is conceptualized as a hard boundary and is frequently presented as such in graphics and visualizations, in reality the boundary between light and dark is diffused due to the scattering of light by Earth’s atmosphere.

Image Credit: NASA

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Water Planet

Viewed from space, the most striking feature of our planet is the water. In both liquid and frozen form, water covers 75% of the Earth’s surface. This detailed, photo-like view of Earth is based largely on observations from MODIS, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, on NASA's Terra satellite.

Image Credit: NASA

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Endavor On The Launch Pad

The space shuttle Endeavour as it sat on Launch Pad 39A, waiting for a storm to pass prior to the rollback of the Rotating Service Structure on Thursday, April 28, 2011, at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Image Credit: NASA

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