Like a sun on a fast rise, Space Shuttle Atlantis arcs into the still-black sky over the Atlantic Ocean, casting a fiery glow on its way. With a crew of five it is heading on the 10th assembly flight to the International Space Station. The primary payload on the mission is the joint airlock module, which will require two spacewalks to attach it to the Space Station. The airlock will be the primary path for Space Station spacewalk entry and departure for US spacesuits, and will also support the Russian Orlan spacesuit for EVA activity. NASA
A photo of Saturn from NASA's Glenn Research Center Collection is seen. NASA
Backdropped by Earth's horizon and the blackness of space, an unpiloted Progress 14 supply vehicle departs from the International Space Station at 1:05 a.m. on July 30, 2004, carrying its load of trash and unneeded equipment to be deorbited and burned up in Earth's atmosphere. The undocking clears the way for the arrival of a new Progress 15, planned to launch August 11 and dock with the Station on August 14. Sun glare off a Station window is visible at lower right. NASA
This image of the Abell 1689 galaxy cluster, about 12.8 billion light-years away, is a composite of separate exposures made by the ACS instrument on the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA/ESA/G. Bacon/Space Telescope Science Institute
The Mercury 7 astronauts examine their 'couches.' Each astronaut's couch was molded to fit his body to help withstand the G-loads of the launch. Plaster casts of the astronauts were created in order to properly mold the couches. Left to right are Alan Sheppard, John Glenn, Walter Schirra, Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, Deke Slayton, Gus Grissom and Bob Gilruth. Gilruth was director of the Space Task Group, which planned and managed the Mercury Project. NASA
What will passenger airplanes be like in the future? Shown here is an artist's depiction of a concept plane that has been recently suggested to NASA. This plane would be expected to achieve supersonic speeds, possibly surpassing the speeds of the supersonic transport planes that ran commercially in the late twentieth century. In terms of noise reduction, the future aircraft has been drawn featuring an inverted V wing stretched over its engines. The structure is intended to reduce the sound from annoying sonic booms. Additionally, future airplanes would aim to have relatively little impact on our environment, including green limits on pollution and fuel consumption. Aircraft utilizing similar design concepts might well become operational by the 2030s. NASA
A spaceborne imaging radar photograph of the Dnieper River, in Ukraine is seen from 1999. NASA
The large annular lake in this image represents the remnants of one of the largest impact craters still preserved on the surface of the Earth. Lake Manicouagan in northern Quebec, Canada, surrounds the central uplift of the impact structure, which is about 70 kilometers in diameter and is composed of impact-brecciated rock. Glaciation and other erosional processes have reduced the extent of the crater, with the original diameter estimated at about 100 kilometers. This natural-color image of the region was acquired by MISR's nadir (vertical-viewing) camera on June 1, 2001. NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team
This artist's concept shows a supermassive black hole at the center of a remote galaxy digesting the remnants of a star. NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer had a "ringside" seat for this feeding frenzy, using its ultraviolet eyes to study the process from beginning to end. The artist's concept chronicles the star being ripped apart and swallowed by the cosmic beast over time. First, the intact sun-like star (left) ventures too close to the black hole, and its own self-gravity is overwhelmed by the black hole's gravity. The star then stretches apart (middle yellow blob) and eventually breaks into stellar crumbs, some of which swirl into the black hole (cloudy ring at right). NASA/JPL-Caltech
A stellar spire in the Eagle Nebula is seen in this Hubble Space Telescope image from 2005. NASA/ESA/The Hubble Heritage Team/STScI/AURA
Like a whirl of shiny flakes sparkling in a snow globe, Hubble caught this glimpse of many hundreds of thousands of stars moving about in the globular cluster M13, one of the brightest and best-known globular clusters in the northern sky. This glittering metropolis of stars is easily found in the winter sky in the constellation Hercules and can even be glimpsed with the unaided eye under dark skies. M13 is home to over 100,000 stars and located at a distance of 25,000 light-years. NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team/STScI/AURA/C. Bailyn/Yale University/W. Lewin/MIT/A. Sarajedini/University of Florida/W. van Altena
Just two years ago Lesotho was referred to as a democratic success story in Africa. But its attempted coup presents a test for the Southern African Development Community, committed to peace in the region.
ByMichael J. Jordan, Correspondent
Two years ago, this tiny nation high in the mountains of southern Africa earned acclaim for passing the latest test of African democracy: It pulled off the region’s first peaceful handover of power. Lesotho then went one step further, forming what some call the first and only coalition government in all of Africa.