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Photo Feature

Pitch, Roll

April 8th, 2010

This view of the underside of the crew cabin of the space shuttle Discovery was provided by the Expedition 23 crew during a survey as STS-131 approached the International Space Station. As part of the survey and part of every mission’s activities, Discovery performed a back-flip for the rendezvous pitch maneuver (RPM). The image was photographed with a digital still camera, using a 400mm lens at a distance of about 600 feet (180 meters). Image Credit: NASA

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Photo Feature

Flying Across the Moon

April 7th, 2010

The International Space Station flew across the face of the moon over NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida approximately 15 minutes before the launch of space shuttle Discovery on the STS-131 mission. Discovery successfully launched on April 5 and is now docked with the station. STS-131 will deliver the multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo, filled with supplies, a new crew sleeping quarters and science racks that will be transferred to the International Space Station’s laboratories. The crew also will switch out a gyroscope on the station’s truss, install a spare ammonia storage tank and retrieve a Japanese experiment from the station’s exterior. Image Credit: Photo courtesy of Fernando Echeverria

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Photo Feature

Discovery Lifts off

April 6th, 2010

An exhaust cloud billowed around Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida as space shuttle Discovery lifted off to begin the STS-131 mission. The seven-member crew will deliver the multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo, filled with supplies, a new crew sleeping quarters and science racks that will be transferred to the International Space Station’s laboratories. The crew also will switch out a gyroscope on the station’s truss, install a spare ammonia storage tank and retrieve a Japanese experiment from the station’s exterior. Image Dredit: NASA/Tony Gray and Tom Farrar

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Photo Feature

3-2-1 Lift Off

April 5th, 2010

Space shuttle Discovery’s engines ignited at 6:21 a.m. EDT Monday, April 5, for liftoff of the STS-131 mission from Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The seven-member crew will deliver the multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo, filled with supplies, a new crew sleeping quarters and science racks that will be transferred to the International Space Station’s laboratories. The crew also will switch out a gyroscope on the station’s truss, install a spare ammonia storage tank and retrieve a Japanese experiment from the station’s exterior. STS-131 is the 33rd shuttle mission to the station and the 131st shuttle mission. Image Credit: NASA/Troy Cryder

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Photo Feature

Playing Forward

April 3rd, 2010

Edwin P. Hubble–famed astronomer–and basketball star? In fact, Dr. Hubble was both. The University of Chicago alumnus was a member the UC Maroons team that in 1909 won the college championship over Indiana University. It’s only fitting that the man, the astronomer, the basketball star be honored for all of his accomplishments as the college championships are being played again in Indianapolis in 2010. In this image from May 2009 during the Hubble servicing mission, NASA astronaut and fellow University of Chicago alumnus John Grunsfeld paid homage to Dr. Hubble, after whom the telescope was named, by photographing the team’s vintage basketball aboard space shuttle Atlantis. The Hubble Space Telescope is visible through the portholes. Image Credit: NASA

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Photo Feature

Llullaillaco Volcano

April 2nd, 2010

The summit of South America’s Llullaillaco Volcano has an elevation of 22,110 feet above sea level, making it the highest historically active volcano in the world. The current stratovolcano–a cone-shaped volcano built from successive layers of thick lava flows and eruption products like ash and rock fragments–is built on top of an older stratovolcano. The last explosive eruption of the volcano, based on historical records, occurred in 1877. This photograph of Llullaillaco, taken from aboard the International Space Station, illustrates an interesting volcanic feature known as a coulée. Coulées are formed from highly viscous, thick lavas that flow onto a steep surface. As they flow slowly downwards, the top of the flow cools and forms a series of parallel ridges oriented at 90 degrees to the direction of flow (somewhat similar in appearance to the pleats of an accordion). The sides of the flow can also cool faster than the center, leading to the formation of wall-like structures known as flow levees. Llullaillaco is also a well-known archaeological site; the mummified remains of three Inca children, ritually sacrificed 500 years ago, were discovered on the summit in 1999. Image Credit: NASA

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