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Photo Feature

American, Indonesian Students Link Hands Via Distance Learning

May 12th, 2010

A dozen Indonesian students gathered at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta (at left in the split-screen video monitor) had the opportunity to query their American high school counterparts on their interests, experiences and culture during the interactive video linkup recently at NASA Dryden’s Aerospace Exploration Gallery in Palmdale, Calif. NASA / Tom Tschida

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Photo Feature

Menkhib and the California Nebula

May 11th, 2010

NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, features one of the bright stars in the constellation Perseus, named Menkhib (at upper left near the red dust cloud), surrounded by the large star-forming California Nebula, running diagonally through the image. Menkhib is one of the hottest stars visible in the night sky; its surface temperature is about 37,000 Kelvin (about 66,000 degrees Fahrenheit, or more than six times hotter than the sun). Because of its high temperature, it appears blue-white to the human eye. It has about 40 times the mass of our sun and gives off 330,000 times the amount of light. Menkhib is a runaway star, and the fast stellar wind it blows is piling up in front of it to create a shock wave. This shock wave is heating up dust, which WISE sees as the red cloud in the upper left of the image. Menkhib and the California Nebula are about 1,800 light-years away from Earth and are located within the same spur of the Orion spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy as Earth. All four infrared detectors aboard WISE were used to make this image. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

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Photo Feature

Hellas Planitia

May 10th, 2010

This image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter covers a small portion of the northwest quadrant of Hellas Planitia on Mars. With a diameter of about 1,400 miles and a depth reaching the lowest elevations on Mars, Hellas is one of the largest impact craters in the solar system. The area has a number of unusual features, which are thought to be quite old because of the high crater density. The crater inside Hellas has been filled with material, which may be related to volcanic activity on the basin’s northwestern rim. It also might be related to the presence water and water ice. However, there is evidence elsewhere that the ground here is rich with ice. HiRISE will be used to investigate this in more detail when the basin is free from atmospheric dust. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/International Research School of Planetary Sciences

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Eyjafjallajökull Volcano in Infrared

May 6th, 2010

On Sat., April 17, 2010, the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) instrument aboard NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) spacecraft obtained this false-color infrared image of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano. A strong thermal source (denoted in red) is visible at the base of the Eyjafjallajökull plume. Above and to the right, strong thermal emission is also seen from the lava flows located at Fimmvorduhals between March 20 and April 13, 2010, where lava first reached the surface, generating impressive lava fountains and lava flows. As the Fimmvorduhals episode was in a location with no ice cap, there was little of the violent interaction between lava and water that took place at Eyjafjallajökull and that generated the massive volcanic plume. To the east of Fimmvorduhals is the Myrdalsjökull ice cap, beneath which slumbers the mighty Katla volcano. Katla has erupted 20 times in recorded history, with the last eruption occurring in 1918. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/EO-1 Mission/GSFC/Ashley Davies

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Photo Feature

Freedom 7

May 6th, 2010

On May 5, 1961, at 9:34am EST NASA astronaut Alan Shepard launched about his Mercury Redstone spacecraft, nicknamed Freedom 7, to become the first American in space. In this image, fellow astronaut Gus Grissom wishes a suited Alan Shepard a safe flight just before insertion into the craft. The flight lasted 15 minutes, 28 seconds and traveled a distance of 303 statute miles. Image Credit: NASA

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