In this 1960 photograph, the seven original Mercury astronauts participate in US Air Force survival training exercises at Stead Air Force Base in Nevada. Pictured from left to right are: L. Gordon Cooper, M. Scott Carpenter, John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Virgil I. Grissom, Walter Schirra, and Donald K. Slayton. Portions of their clothing have been fashioned from parachute material, and all have grown beards from their time in the wilderness. The purpose of this training was to prepare astronauts in the event of an emergency or faulty landing in a remote area.
A quarter moon is visible in this oblique view of Earth's horizon and airglow, recorded with a digital still camera on the final mission of the Space Shuttle Columbia. Columbia's crew was killed on Feb. 1, 2003 when the shuttle broke up on re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.
The Crab Nebula, filled with mysterious filaments, is the result of a star that was seen to explode in 1054 AD. This spectacular supernova explosion was recorded by Chinese and (quite probably) Anasazi Indian astronomers. The filaments are mysterious because they appear to have less mass than expelled in the original supernova and higher speed than expected from a free explosion. In the above picture taken recently from a Very Large Telescope, the color indicates what is happening to the electrons in different parts of the Crab Nebula.
Asteroid collision: The Hubble Space Telescope has spotted an odd X shape in our solar system's asteroid belt, in what could be the first image of an asteroid collision in space.
By the end of this month, astronomers expect to have found 500 planets beyond our solar system. The current count is 494, including one that may be inhabitable by humans.
Fire acts differently in space than on Earth. Sandra Olson, an aerospace engineer at NASA's Glenn Research Center, demonstrates just how differently in her art. This artwork is comprised of multiple overlays of three separate microgravity flame images. Each image is of flame spread over cellulose paper in a spacecraft ventilation flow in microgravity. The different colors represent different chemical reactions within the flame.
This image of the core of galaxy M100 shows faint structure as small as 30 light-years across in a galaxy tens of millions of light-years away, made possible by The Hubble Space Telescope's improved optics.
In this x-ray photo provided by NASA, the sun is shown early in the morning of Sunday, Aug. 1, 2010. The dark arc near the top right edge of the image is a filament of plasma blasting off the surface - part of the coronal mass ejection. The bright region is an unassociated solar flare.
Space Shuttle Endeavour Astronaut Mae Jemison works in the Spacelab-J module, inside the space shuttle. Spacelab-J is a combined National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) and NASA. The objectives included life sciences, microgravity and technology research.
Astronaut James S. Voss, mission specialist, handles the newly-delivered main boom of the Russian crane (Strela) to be connected to its operator post in 2000. During this 6-hour, 44-minute extravehicular activity, astronauts Voss and Jeffrey N. Williams also secured a United States-built crane that was installed on the station last year; replaced a faulty antenna for one of the station's communications systems; and installed several handrails and a camera cable on the station's exterior.