Space NASA Image of the Day

Robby

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This oblique view of the lower mound in Gale Crater shows layers of rock that preserve a record of environments on Mars. Here, orbiting instruments have detected signatures of both clay minerals and sulfate salts, with more clay minerals apparent in the foreground of this image and fewer in higher layers. This change in mineralogy may reflect a change in the ancient environment in Gale Crater. Mars scientists have several important hypotheses about how these minerals may reflect changes in the amount of water on the surface of Mars. The Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, will use its full suite of instruments to study these minerals to provide insights into these ancient Martian environments. These rocks are also a prime target in the search for organic molecules since these past environments may have been habitable -- able to support microbial life. Scientists will study how organic molecules, if present, vary with mineralogical variations in the layers to understand how they formed and what influences their preservation. The smaller hills in this view may provide clues to the modern water cycle on Mars. They contain sulfate salts that have water in them, and as temperatures warm into summer, some of that water may be released to the atmosphere. As temperatures cool, they may absorb water from the atmosphere. The Mars Science Laboratory team will investigate how water is exchanged between these minerals and the atmosphere, helping us understand Mars' modern climate. The hills are particularly useful for this investigation because different parts of the hills are exposed to different amounts of sunlight and thus to different temperatures. Curiosity will be able to compare the water in these contrasting areas as part of its investigations. This three-dimensional perspective view was created using visible-light imaging by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the High Resolution Stereo Camera on the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter. Three-dimensional information was derived by stereo analysis of image pairs. The vertical dimension is not exaggerated. Color information is derived from color imaging of portions of the scene by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera. The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is being prepared for launch on Nov. 25, 2011. In a prime mission lasting one Martian year -- nearly two Earth years -- after landing, researchers will use the rover's tools to study whether the landing region has had environmental conditions favorable for supporting microbial life and for preserving clues about whether life existed. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona (More at NASA Picture Of The Day)
 
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Robby

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Our ability to fly at supersonic speeds over land in civil aircraft depends on our ability to reduce the level of sonic booms. NASA has been exploring a variety of options for quieting the boom, starting with design concepts and moving through wind tunnel tests to flight tests of new technologies. This rendering of a possible future civil supersonic transport shows a vehicle that is shaped to reduce the sonic shockwave signature and also to reduce drag. Image credit: NASA/Lockheed Martin (More at NASA Picture Of The Day)
 

Robby

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Maryland resident John Kovasckitz captured this image of NASA’s P-3B as flew south by southwest near the Fair Hill loop in Maryland on July 1, 2011. During the month of July NASA conducted a series of field studies to assess air quality over northeast Maryland. Two research airplanes--one flying high and the other low--completed 14 flight days of sampling in coordination with ground sites monitoring air quality. These flights were able to sample pollutants in the lower atmosphere over major interstates, densely populated areas, small towns and the Chesapeake Bay. The 117-foot NASA P-3B, spiraled over six ground stations in Maryland, flying as low as 1,000 feet and gathering just over 250 soundings, gathering air-quality data for the study. Image Credit: John Kovasckitz (Used by permission; all rights reserved) (More at NASA Picture Of The Day)
 

Robby

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NASA's modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft briefly flew in formation over the Edwards Air Force Base Test Range on Aug. 2, 2011. The aircraft were scheduled to be in the air on the same day, NASA 911 (plane in the foreground) on a flight crew proficiency flight, and NASA 905 (rear) on a functional check flight following maintenance operations. Since both aircraft were scheduled to be in the air at the same time, SCA pilot Jeff Moultrie of Johnson Space Center's Aircraft Operations Directorate took the opportunity to have both SCA's fly in formation for about 20 minutes while NASA photographer Carla Thomas captured still and video imagery from a NASA Dryden F/A-18. In addition to Moultrie, NASA 905's check flight crew included pilot Arthur "Ace" Beall and flight engineer Henry Taylor while NASA 911 was flown by Larry LaRose, Steve Malarchick and Bob Zimmerman from NASA Johnson and Frank Batteas and Bill Brockett from NASA Dryden. Image Credit: NASA/Carla Thomas (More at NASA Picture Of The Day)
 

Robby

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Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has finished an important evaluation of a prototype Dragon spacecraft designed to carry people into orbit. This key milestone is part of SpaceX's partnership with NASA under a funded Space Act Agreement to advance the design of crew transportation vehicles. The primary goal of the tests was to determine whether the layout will allow astronauts to maneuver effectively in the vehicle. Several veteran space shuttle astronauts and NASA engineers conducted the evaluation during a pair of two-day-long reviews. On top, from left, are NASA Crew Survival Engineering Team Lead Dustin Gohmert, NASA astronauts Tony Antonelli and Eric Boe, and SpaceX Mission Operations Engineer Laura Crabtree. On bottom, from left, are SpaceX Thermal Engineer Brenda Hernandez and NASA astronauts Rex Walheim and Tim Kopra. Image Credit: SpaceX (More at NASA Picture Of The Day)
 

Robby

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A brightly reflective Enceladus appears before Saturn's rings, while the planet's larger moon Titan looms in the distance. Jets of water ice and vapor emanating from the south pole of Enceladus, which hint at subsurface sea rich in organics, and liquid hydrocarbons ponding on the surface on the surface of Titan make these two of the most fascinating moons in the Saturnian system. Enceladus (313 miles, or 504 kilometers across) is in the center of the image. Titan (3,200 miles, or 5,150 kilometers across) glows faintly in the background beyond the rings. This view looks toward the anti-Saturn side of Enceladus and the Saturn-facing side of Titan. The northern, sunlit side of the rings is seen from just above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible green light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on March 12, 2012. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 600,000 miles (1 million kilometers) from Enceladus and at a Sun-Enceladus-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 36 degrees. Image scale is 4 miles (6 kilometers) per pixel on Enceladus. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute (More at NASA Picture Of The Day)
 

Robby

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New data from the Herschel Space Observatory shows that galaxies with the most powerful, active, supermassive black holes at their cores produce fewer stars than galaxies with less ones. Supermassive black holes are believed to reside in the hearts of all large galaxies. When gas falls upon these monsters, the materials are accelerated and heated around the black hole, releasing great torrents of energy. In the process, active black holes often generate colossal jets that blast out twin streams of heated matter. Inflows of gas into a galaxy also fuel the formation of new stars. In a new study of distant galaxies, Herschel helped show that star formation and black hole activity increase together, but only up to a point. Astronomers think that if an active black hole flares up too much, it starts spewing radiation that prevents raw material from coalescing into new stars. This artist concept of the local galaxy Arp 220, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, helps illustrate the Herschel results. The bright core of the galaxy, paired with an overlaid artist's impression of jets emanating from it, indicate that the central black hole's activity is intensifying. As the active black hole continues to rev up, the rate of star formation will, in turn, be suppressed in the galaxy. Astronomers want to further study how star formation and black hole activity are intertwined. Herschel is a European Space Agency cornerstone mission, with science instruments provided by consortia of European institutes, with important participation by NASA. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech (More at NASA Picture Of The Day)
 

Robby

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Best known as a swan winging its way across the night, the constellation Cygnus is easily seen in the northern hemisphere's summertime sky. This new view of the Cygnus-X star-forming region by the Herschel Telescope highlights chaotic networks of dust and gas that point to sites of massive star formation. This image combines far-infrared data acquired at 70 micron (corresponding to the blue channel); 160 micron (corresponding to the green channel); and 250 micron (corresponding to the red channel). The observations were made on May 24, 2010, and Dec. 18, 2010. Herschel is a European Space Agency cornerstone mission, with science instruments provided by consortia of European institutes and with important participation by NASA. Image Credit: ESA/PACS/SPIRE/Martin Hennemann & Frederique Motte, Laboratoire AIM Paris-Saclay, CEA/Irfu -- CNRS/INSU -- Univ. Paris Diderot, France (More at NASA Picture Of The Day)
 

Robby

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The Soyuz rocket is seen in the monitor of a video camera moments before Soyuz Commander Gennady Padalka and flight engineers Joseph Acaba and Sergei Revin arrived to board the rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for their flight to join their crew mates already aboard the International Space Station. The craft successfully launched at 11:01 p.m. EDT, Monday, May 14, 2012. The trio will dock to the station’s Poisk Mini-Research Module at 12:38 a.m. Thursday, bringing Expedition 31 to its full six-member complement. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls (More at NASA Picture Of The Day)
 

Robby

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After spending 19 weeks working in one place while solar power was too low for driving during the Martian winter, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is on the move again. The winter worksite was on the north slope of an outcrop called Greeley Haven. The rover used its rear hazard-avoidance camera after nearly completing the May 8 drive, capturing this view looking back at the Greeley Haven. Since landing in the Meridiani region of Mars on Jan. 25, 2004, Universal Time and EST (Jan. 24, PST), Opportunity has driven 21.4 miles (34.4 kilometers). This image is of Opportunity's traverse map from Sol 2951 and shows the entirety of the rover's travels to this point. A sol is a Martian day. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/University of Arizona (More at NASA Picture Of The Day)
 

Robby

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This is a composite of a series of images photographed from a mounted camera on the Earth-orbiting International Space Station, from approximately 240 miles above Earth. Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit said of the about photographic techniques used to achieve the images: "My star trail images are made by taking a time exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes. However, with modern digital cameras, 30 seconds is about the longest exposure possible, due to electronic detector noise effectively snowing out the image. To achieve the longer exposures I do what many amateur astronomers do. I take multiple 30-second exposures, then ‘stack’ them using imaging software, thus producing the longer exposure." A total of 18 images photographed by the astronaut-monitored stationary camera were combined to create this composite. Image Credit: NASA (More at NASA Picture Of The Day)
 

Robby

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This is a composite of a series of images photographed from a mounted camera on the Earth-orbiting International Space Station, from approximately 240 miles above Earth. Space station hardware in the foreground includes the Mini-Research Module (MRM1, center) and a Russian Progress vehicle docked to the Pirs Docking Compartment (right). Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit said of the photographic techniques used to achieve the images: "My star trail images are made by taking a time exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes. However, with modern digital cameras, 30 seconds is about the longest exposure possible, due to electronic detector noise effectively snowing out the image. To achieve the longer exposures I do what many amateur astronomers do. I take multiple 30-second exposures, then 'stack' them using imaging software, thus producing the longer exposure." A total of 47 images photographed by the astronaut-monitored stationary camera were combined to create this composite. Image Credit: NASA (More at NASA Picture Of The Day)
 

actionavenue

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#14
That is some seriously cool hardware. I'm going to guess it would be above my expertise and paygrade to fix this machinery, should anything go wrong with it. Duct tape works miracles, but come on now!
 

Robby

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Observations with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have provided the first X-ray evidence of a supernova shock wave breaking through a cocoon of gas surrounding the star that exploded. This discovery may help astronomers understand why some supernovas are much more powerful than others. On Nov. 3, 2010, a supernova was discovered in the galaxy UGC 5189A, located about 160 million light years away. Using data from the All Sky Automated Survey telescope in Hawaii taken earlier, astronomers determined this supernova exploded in early October 2010 (in Earth's time-frame). This composite image of UGC 5189A shows X-ray data from Chandra in purple and optical data from Hubble Space Telescope in red, green and blue. SN 2010jl is the very bright X-ray source near the top of the galaxy. A team of researchers used Chandra to observe this supernova in December 2010 and again in October 2011. The supernova was one of the most luminous that has ever been detected in X-rays. The results of these observations were published in a paper that appeared in the May 1, 2012 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Royal Military College of Canada/P.Chandra et al); Optical: NASA/STScI (More at NASA Picture Of The Day)
 

Robby

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The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soared into space from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, carrying the Dragon capsule to orbit at 3:44 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 22, 2012. The launch is the company's second demonstration test flight for NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, or COTS, Program. During the flight, there will be a series of check-out procedures to test and prove Dragon's systems, including rendezvous and berthing with the International Space Station. If the capsule performs as planned, the cargo and experiments it is carrying will be transferred to the station. Image Credit: NASA/Alan Ault (More at NASA Picture Of The Day)
 

Robby

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NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity catches its own late-afternoon shadow in this dramatically lit view eastward across Endeavour Crater on Mars. The rover used the panoramic camera (Pancam) between about 4:30 and 5:00 p.m. local Mars time to record images taken through different filters and combined into this mosaic view. Most of the component images were recorded during the 2,888th Martian day, or sol, of Opportunity's work on Mars (March 9, 2012). At that time, Opportunity was spending low-solar-energy weeks of the Martian winter at the Greeley Haven outcrop on the Cape York segment of Endeavour's western rim. In order to give the mosaic a rectangular aspect, some small parts of the edges of the mosaic and sky were filled in with parts of an image acquired earlier as part of a 360-degree panorama from the same location. Opportunity has been studying the western rim of Endeavour Crater since arriving there in August 2011. This crater spans 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter, or about the same area as the city of Seattle. This is more than 20 times wider than Victoria Crater, the largest impact crater that Opportunity had previously examined. The interior basin of Endeavour is in the upper half of this view. The mosaic combines about a dozen images taken through Pancam filters centered on wavelengths of 753 nanometers (near infrared), 535 nanometers (green) and 432 nanometers (violet). The view is presented in false color to make some differences between materials easier to see, such as the dark sandy ripples and dunes on the crater's distant floor. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ. (More at NASA Picture Of The Day)
 
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