The first color movie of Jupiter from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows what it would look like to peel the entire globe of Jupiter, stretch it out on a wall into the form of a rectangular map, and watch its atmosphere evolve with time. The brief movie clip spans 24 Jupiter rotations between Oct. 31 and Nov. 9, 2000. NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
A seven-year journey to the ringed planet Saturn begins with the liftoff of a Titan IVB/Centaur carrying the Cassini orbiter and its attached Huygens probe. This spectacular streak shot was taken from Hangar AF on Cape Canaveral Air Station, with a solid rocket booster retrieval ship in the foreground. NASA/JPL-Caltech
This image shows the eruption of a galactic 'super-volcano' in the massive galaxy M87, as witnessed by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and NSF's Very Large Array (VLA). At a distance of about 50 million light years, M87 is relatively close to Earth and lies at the center of the Virgo cluster, which contains thousands of galaxies. The cluster surrounding M87 is filled with hot gas glowing in X-ray light (and shown in blue) that is detected by Chandra. As this gas cools, it can fall toward the galaxy's center where it should continue to cool even faster and form new stars. NASA/CXC/KIPAC/N./NSF/NRAO/AUI/W. Cotton
The 'once upon a time' science fiction concept of a space elevator has been envisioned and studied as a real mass transportation system in the latter part of the 21st century. David Smitherman of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center's Advanced Projects Office has compiled plans for such an elevator. The space elevator concept is a structure extending from the surface of the Earth to geostationary Earth orbit at 22,000 miles in altitude. The tower would be over 30 miles tall with a cable tethered to the top. Its center mass would be at GEO such that the entire structure orbits the Earth in sync with the Earth's rotation maintaining a stationary position over its base attachment at the equator. NASA
Apollo 13 astronauts train prior to their ill-fated mission in 1970. Originally intended to land on the moon, the mission had to be aborted after an oxygen tank ruptured, severely damaging their spacecraft's electrical system. NASA
With the doors to the high-tech telescope nestled in its rear fuselage open, NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, soars over California’s Owens Valley during a flight-envelope expansion test flight on June 30. Several test points were flown with the telescope doors open at an altitude of 42,000 feet, within the altitude range that the SOFIA will operate when conducting astronomical observations. NASA/Jim Ross
In 1572, the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe observed and studied the explosion of a star that became known as Tycho's supernova. More than four centuries later, Chandra's image of the supernova remnant shows an expanding bubble of multimillion degree debris (green and red) inside a more rapidly moving shell of extremely high energy electrons (filamentary blue). NASA/CXC/Rutgers/J.Warren & J.Hughes et al.
This is an artist's concept of Deep Impact's Encounter with Comet Tempel 1. One part of Deep Impact, a NASA probe, was slammed into the comet in 2005, while another component of the probe photographed the impact. This illustration gives us a look at the moment of impact and the forming of the crater. NASA/JPL/UMD
Why are some hills on Mars so layered? The answer is still under investigation. Clearly, dark windblown sand surrounds outcropping of light sedimentary rock across the floor of crater Arabia Terra. The light rock clearly appears structured into many layers, the lowest of which is likely very old. Although the dark sand forms dunes, rippled dunes of lighter colored sand are easier to see surrounding the stepped mesas. Blown sand possibly itself eroded once-larger mesas into the layered hills. MSSS/JPL/NASA
Scientists have reported the first conclusive discovery of water vapor in the atmosphere of an exoplanet, or a planet beyond our solar system. This artist's impression shows an infrared view of a gas-giant exoplanet transiting across the face of its star. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope observed this type of system in infrared light, providing the breakthrough. The planet, HD 189733b, lies 63 light-years away in the constellation Vulpecula. NASA
Russia's petroleum-dependent economy is facing a perfect storm of bad news, brought on plunging global crude prices and an ever-tightening set of Western sanctions imposed over the Kremlin's Ukraine policy. The Kremlin, which failed to diversify the economy fast enough during the fat years, now faces the urgent task of carrying out painful economic restructuring and public belt-tightening at the same time. If it doesn't, it risks losing the political and social stability that have been the hallmarks of the Vladimir Putin era.