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‘Photo Feature’

Photo Feature

TIROS

April 1st, 2010

On April 1, 1960, a satellite designed by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) launched to become the nation’s first weather satellite. That satellite, the Television InfraRed Observational Satellite, or TIROS 1, operated for only 78 days but demonstrated the feasibility of monitoring Earth’s cloud cover and weather patterns from space. This NASA program provided the first accurate weather forecasts based on data gathered from space. In this image, TIROS undergoes vibration testing at the Astro-Electronic Products Division of RCA in Princeton, New Jersey. Image Credit: NASA

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Photo Feature

A Subtle Difference

March 31st, 2010

Subtle color differences on Saturn’s moon Mimas are apparent in this false-color view of Herschel Crater captured by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft during its closest-ever flyby of that moon. The image shows terrain-dependent color variations, particularly the contrast between the bluish materials in and around Herschel Crater and the greenish cast on older, more heavily cratered terrain elsewhere. The origin of the color differences is not yet understood, but may be caused by differences in the surface composition between the two terrains. False color images from Cassini’s previous closest encounter, in 2005, also showed such variations. The natural color of Mimas visible to the human eye may be a uniform gray or yellow color, but this mosaic has been contrast-enhanced and shows differences at other wavelengths of light. During this flyby on Feb. 13, 2010, Cassini came within about 5,900 miles of Mimas and these images were obtained with Cassini’s narrow-angle camera on that day at a distance of approximately 10,000 miles from Mimas. The images were re-projected into an orthographic map projection. A black and white image, taken in visible light with the wide-angle camera, is used to fill in parts of the mosaic. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

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Expedition 23 Soyuz Rollout

March 31st, 2010

The Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft arrived by train to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Wednesday, March, 31, 2010. The launch of the Soyuz spacecraft with Expedition 23 Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov, Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko and NASA Flight Engineer Tracy Caldwell Dyson is scheduled for Friday, April 2, 2010 at 12:04 a.m. Eastern. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

March 30th, 2010

This new composite image from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and Spitzer Space Telescope shows the dusty remains of a collapsed star, the dust from which is flying past and engulfing a nearby family of stars. Scientists believe the stars in the image are part of a stellar cluster in which a supernova exploded. Material ejected in the explosion now blows past these stars at high velocities. In this image of G54.1+0.3, X-ray data from Chandra are shown in blue, and data from Spitzer in green (a shorter wavelength) and red-yellow (a longer one). The white source near the center of the image is a dense, rapidly rotating neutron star, or pulsar, all that remains of a core-collapse supernova explosion. The pulsar generates a wind of high-energy particles — seen in the Chandra data — that expands into the surrounding environment, illuminating the material ejected in the supernova explosion. The unique environment into which this supernova exploded makes it possible for astronomers to observe the condensed dust from the supernova that is usually too cold to emit in the infrared. Image Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/T. Temin et al. Infrared: NASA/JPL/Caltech

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NASA’s First Class of Female Astronauts

March 29th, 2010

From left to right are Shannon W. Lucid, Margaret Rhea Seddon, Kathryn D. Sullivan, Judith A. Resnik, Anna L. Fisher, and Sally K. Ride. NASA selected all six women as their first female astronaut candidates in January 1978, allowing them to enroll in a training program that they completed in August 1979. Image Credit: NASA

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Preparing Discovery for Flight

March 26th, 2010

A specialized transporter brought the payload canister to Launch Pad 39A in preparation for the STS-131 mission. The canister, which is the same dimensions as the shuttle’s cargo bay, held the Leonardo supply module during the move from processing to the shuttle. Leonardo will be packed inside space shuttle Discovery for launch. In this image, the payload canister holding the Leonardo supply module is hoisted to the clean room at Launch pad 39A. Image Credit: NASA/Amanda Diller

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