The tip of the Boeing Delta II rocket with its MESSENGER spacecraft on top breaks through the billows of smoke below as it lifts off on Aug. 3, 2004 from Launch Pad 17-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. MESSENGER (Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging) is on a seven-year journey to the planet Mercury. The spacecraft will fly by Earth, Venus, and Mercury several times to burn off energy before making its final approach to the inner planet on March 18, 2011.
Solar Probe Plus will plunge directly into the sun’s atmosphere at approximately 4 million miles from the sun’s surface into a region that no other spacecraft has ever encountered. The spacecraft folds its solar panels into the shadows of its protective solar shade, leaving just enough of the specially-angled panels in sunlight to provide power closer to the Sun.
This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image captures the tempestuous stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7,500 light-years away from Earth in the southern constellation Carina.
Most ISS images are nadir, in which the center point of the image is directly beneath the lens of the camera, but this one is not. This highly oblique image of northwestern African captures the curvature of the Earth and shows its atmosphere. The Earth's atmosphere is composed of 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen and 1 percent other constituents, and it shields us from nearly all harmful radiation coming from the sun and other stars.
Sept. 1 episode of Bravo's reality show, 'Top Chef', featured a space-food challenge from NASA. The winner, Angelo Sosa, will have his short rib dish flown into orbit.
This satellite image, photographed by an Expedition 24 crew member on the International Space Station on Aug. 30, shows an oblique view of the eye of Hurricane Earl centered just north of the Virgin Islands, packing 115-kilometer winds. The photo was taken with a digital still camera using a 50mm lens. Hurricane Earl gained more punch on September 2, 2010 as the large storm churned up the Atlantic threatening the U.S. East Coast with dangerous winds and large swells and forcing evacuations in North Carolina.
This is a Space Shuttle mission STS-61 onboard view showing astronauts Story Musgrave and Jeffrey Hoffman preforming repairs to the Hubble Space Telescope during their Extra Vehicular Activity. Astronauts' work was made easier by the HST's many crew aids. Astronaut Musgrave makes use of one of the spacecraft's handholds. Launched on December 1, 1993, the Space Shuttle Orbiter Endeavor STS-061 mission was the 59th Shuttle flight.
This ominous, dark shape sprawling across the face of the Sun is a coronal hole - a low density region extending above the surface where the solar magnetic field opens freely into interplanetary space. Studied extensively from space since the 1960s in ultraviolet and x-ray light, coronal holes are known to be the source of the high-speed solar wind, atoms and electrons which flow outward along the open magnetic field lines. During periods of low activity, coronal holes typically cover regions just above the Sun's poles.
Is the heart and soul of our Galaxy located in Cassiopeia? Possibly not, but that is where two bright emission nebulas nicknamed Heart and Soul can be found. The Heart Nebula, officially dubbed IC 1805, is visible in the above right. The above image was taken in infrared light by the recently launched WISE telescope.
This is a composite image of the active galaxy M82 from infrared observations by Spitzer Space Telecope in three wavelength bands coded in red (longest wavelength), green, and blue (shortest wavelengths).