Astronaut Dale A. Gardner, getting his turn in the Manned Maneuvering Unit, prepares to dock with the spinning WESTAR VI satellite during the STS-51A mission in 1985. Gardner used a large tool called the Apogee Kick Motor Capture Device to enter the nozzle of a spent WESTAR VI engine and stabilize the communications spacecraft sufficiently to capture it for return to Earth in the cargo bay of the space shuttle Discovery.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope quashed the possibility that what was previously believed to be a toddler galaxy in the nearby universe may actually be considered an adult. Called I Zwicky 18, this galaxy has a youthful appearance that resembles galaxies typically found only in the early universe. Hubble has now found faint, older stars within this galaxy, suggesting that the galaxy may have formed at the same time as most other galaxies.
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.
Researchers examining data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope speculate that planets that have been pulverized by repeated collisions with massive celestial objects are less able to sustain life than those that haven't.
Apollo 9 Command/Service Modules nicknamed "Gumdrop" and Lunar Module, nicknamed "Spider" are shown docked together as Command Module pilot David R. Scott stands in the open hatch. Astronaut Russell L. Schweickart, Lunar Module pilot, took this photograph of Scott during his EVA as he stood on the porch outside the Lunar Module in 1969.
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.
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.
On a spacewalk, astronaut Owen K. Garriott, science pilot, retrieves an imagery experiment from the Apollo Telescope Mount attached to the Skylab in Earth orbit in 1973.
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.