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First American Spacewalk June 5, 2008

Posted by jtintle in NASA, Space Fotos.
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During the Gemini 4 mission on June 3, 1965, Ed White became the first American to conduct a spacewalk. The spacewalk started at 3:45 p.m. EDT on the third orbit when White opened the hatch and used the hand-held manuevering oxygen-jet gun to push himself out of the capsule.

The EVA started over the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii and lasted 23 minutes, ending over the Gulf of Mexico. Initially, White propelled himself to the end of the 8-meter tether and back to the spacecraft three times using the hand-held gun. After the first three minutes the fuel ran out and White maneuvered by twisting his body and pulling on the tether.

In a photograph taken by Commander James McDivitt taken early in the EVA over a cloud-covered Pacific Ocean, the maneuvering gun is visible in White’s right hand. The visor of his helmet is gold-plated to protect him from the unfiltered rays of the sun.

Following in the footsteps of their predecessor, the STS-124 mission specialists Mike Fossum and Ron Garan will conduct a spacewalk at 11:32 a.m. today. for more information on the STS-124 mission, visit www.nasa.gov/shuttle.

Credit: NASA

Baby Stars in the Witch Head Nebula August 21, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Spitzer Space Telescope (SST), Deep Space, JPL, NASA, Nebula, Satellite, Space Agencies, Space Fotos, Witch Head Nebula.
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NASA/JPL-Caltech/L.Rebull (SSC/ Caltech)


Eight hundred light-years away in the Orion constellation, a gigantic murky cloud called the “Witch Head” nebula is brewing baby stars. The stellar infants are revealed as pink dots in this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Wisps of green in the cloud are carbon-rich molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are found on barbecue grills and in automobile exhaust on Earth. This image was obtained as part of the Spitzer Space Telescope Research Program for Teachers and Students, involving high school teachers and their students from across the United States. The infrared image is a three-color composite, in which light with a wavelength of 4.5 microns is blue, 8.0-micron light is green, and 24-micron light is red.

Stirred-up Saturn June 30, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Cassini, JPL, NASA, Planets, Satellite, Saturn, Space Agencies, Space Fotos, Space Science Institute.
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Stirred-up Saturn

Image Credit:
NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute


A great vortex rolls through high southern latitudes on Saturn, whirling twisted contours into the clouds. The ringed planet’s uppermost clouds are thought to be composed largely of ammonia ice overlying deeper layers of ammonium hydrosulfide and water clouds.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 13, 2006 at a distance of approximately 2.8 million kilometers (1.8 million miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 143 degrees. The image was obtained using a spectral filter sensitive to wavelengths of infrared light centered at 938 nanometers. Image scale is 17 kilometers (10 miles) per pixel.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org.

Cassini at the Half June 29, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Cassini, European Space Agency, JPL, NASA, Planets, Satellite, Saturn, Space Agencies, Space Fotos.
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The Clock is Ticking June 29, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Astronaut, Kennedy Space Center, Space Shuttle, Spacecraft.
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Discovery crew addresses the media.

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Image above: Crew arrives at Kennedy. At the microphone is Pilot Mark Kelly. From left are Commander Steven Lindsey, Mission Specialists Lisa Nowak and Michael Fossum, Kelly, and Mission Specialists Stephanie Wilson, Piers Sellers and Thomas Reiter.

 Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

The launch countdown officially began at 5 p.m. EDT today at the T-43 hour mark. Included in the countdown are nearly 28 hours of built-in hold time prior to a targeted 3:49 p.m. launch on Saturday; it is the middle point in a launch window that extends for 10 minutes. The launch countdown will be conducted from the newly renovated Firing Room 4 of the Launch Control Center at Kennedy.

During a countdown status briefing this morning at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA Test Director Jeff Spaulding announced that "Discovery is in excellent shape."

"We’re tracking no issues in our preparation at this point. Our teams have been working tirelessly during this last year to help make this flight and all shuttle flights as safe as possible for the crews," he said. "As we approach our nation’s 230th birthday, I’m proud to announce that the launch vehicle, the launch and flight teams and flight crew are ready to launch and continue our mission completing the space station."

STS-121 Payload Manager Debbie Hahn indicated the payloads have been loaded into the orbiter and are ready for flight.

Launch Weather Officer Kathy Winters reported there is a 60-percent chance that weather may prevent launch on Saturday. A Bermuda high could improve the weather, but the Space Coast will be dealing with thunderstorms and anvil clouds which could be an issue because of lightning strikes. In the event of a 24-hour delay, the forecast is identical — with a 60-percent chance of weather delaying the launch. The chance of weather constraints, if the launch is delayed 48 hours, stays at the 60-percent mark because of thunderstorm activity.

Tune in to NASA TV at 10 a.m. Thursday for the Countdown Status Briefing and an update on the launch status and weather forecast for mission STS-121 with NASA Test Director Pete Nicolenko and Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winter.

At 4 p.m. Thursday, NASA TV will host a Launch Readiness News Conference with Mission Management Team chairman, John Shannon; Mike Suffredini, International Space Station Program manager; Mike Leinbach, shuttle launch director; Alan Thirkettle, International Space Station Program manager for the European Space Agency; and U.S. Air Force First Lt. Kaleb Nordgren of the 45th Weather Squadron. They will discuss the preparations for the 32nd flight of Space Shuttle Discovery.
Both exciting events can be seen live on NASA TV.

Full Moon Against Earth’s Limb June 28, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Earth, International Space Station, Moon, NASA, Planets, Space Agencies, Space Fotos, Spacecraft.
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Full Moon
ISS012-E-19253 (12 Feb. 2006) — A full moon is visible in this view above Earth’s horizon and airglow, photographed by an Expedition 12 crewmember on the International Space Station.

Image Credit: NASA

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Site of Carthage, Tunisia June 28, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Astronaut, Earth, EPoD, International Space Station, NASA, People, Planets, Space Agencies, Space Fotos, Spacecraft, Website.
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Site of Carthage, Tunisia


Click here to view full image (470 kb)Credit:

NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth, NASA, ISS


The city-state of Carthage in North Africa was founded by Phoenician settlers in 814 BC, and it subsequently became the seat of a trade empire that controlled much of the western Mediterranean region (including most of the former Phoenician lands). Carthage was completely destroyed by the Roman Republic during the Third (and final) Punic War (149-146 BC). The end of Carthage has been made notorious by the story that the Romans allegedly sowed the city with salt to ensure that no further rivals to their power would arise there. However, given the great value of salt at the time and the strategic importance of the city’s location, scholars dispute whether the event actually occurred. Following the destruction of Carthage, Roman dominance of the Mediterranean continued until the fall of the Western Empire in AD 476.

The favorable location of the ancient city of Carthage is clear in this astronaut photograph. Bays along the coastline provide ready access to the Gulf of Tunis, which leads to the Mediterranean Sea. Docks along the coastline (lower right) support the shipping industry. Modern Carthage is a wealthy suburb of the Tunis metropolitan area (the center of which is located to the southwest of the image). Dense concentrations of white rooftops are obvious in the residential subdivisions to the north and south of the ancient city location. Large tracts of new developments appear to be in progress along the curving, light-colored roadways to the west of the historical city (lower image center). The green, shallow waters of an evaporating salty lake are visible at image left. Several such lakes are present in Tunisia and are centers for bird-watching tourism.

Astronaut photograph

ISS013-E-34753 was acquired June 8, 2006, with a Kodak 760C digital camera using an 800 mm lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and the Image Science & Analysis Group, Johnson Space Center. The image in this article has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast. Lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet.

The Moving Moons of Saturn June 26, 2006

Posted by jtintle in APoD, Cassini, Enceladus, European Space Agency, JPL, Mimas, NASA, Planets, Rhea, Satellite, Saturn, Space Agencies, Space Fotos, Space Science Institute, SSI, Website.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA


The moons of Saturn never stop. A space traveler orbiting the ringed giant planet would witness a continuing silent dance where Saturn’s multiple moons pass near each other in numerous combinations. Like a miniature Solar System, the innermost moons orbit Saturn the fastest. The above movie was centered on Saturn’s moon Rhea, so that the moons Mimas and Enceladus appear to glide by. At 1,500 kilometers across, Rhea is over three times larger than the comparably sized Mimas and Enceladus. The Sun illuminates the scene from the lower right, giving all of the moons the same crescent phase. The above time lapse movie was created by the Saturn-orbiting robotic Cassini spacecraft over a period of about 40 minutes.

NASA’s Chandra Answers Black Hole Paradox June 22, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Chandra X-ray Observatory, Deep Space, Illustration, NASA, Satellite, Space Agencies, Space Fotos.
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GRO J1655-40


 Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss; X-ray Spectrum: NASA/CXC/U.Michigan/J.Miller et al


The X-ray spectrum (see inset) of a binary star system consisting of a black hole and a normal star indicates that turbulent winds of multimillion degree gas are swirling around the black hole. As the illustration shows, much of the hot gas is spiraling inward toward the black hole, but about 30% is blowing away.

The temperature and intensity of the winds imply that powerful magnetic fields must be present. These magnetic fields, likely carried by the gas flowing from the companion star, create magnetic turbulence that generates friction in the gaseous disk and drive winds from the disk that carry momentum outward as the gas falls inward. Magnetic friction also heats the gas in the inner part of the disk to X-ray emitting temperatures.

The analysis of the disk wind of GRO J1655-40, or J1655 for short, confirmed what astronomers had long suspected, namely that magnetic friction is central to understanding how black holes accrete matter rapidly. Without a process to take away some of the angular momentum of the gas, it could remain in orbit around a black hole for a very long time.
J1655 is a binary system that harbors a black hole with a mass seven times that of the sun, which is pulling matter from a normal star about twice as massive as the sun. The Chandra observation revealed a bright X-ray source whose spectrum showed dips produced by absorption from a wide variety of atoms ranging from oxygen to nickel. A detailed study of these absorption features shows that the atoms are highly ionized and are moving away from the black hole in a high-speed wind.

Understanding the importance of magnetic forces in the disk of gas around J1655 could have far-reaching implications, from the supermassive black holes associated with powerful quasars, to planet-forming disks around young sun-like stars.

Galle Bedding 3_D June 20, 2006

Posted by jtintle in JPL, Mars, Mars Global Surveyor, NASA, Planets, Space Agencies, Space Fotos, Spacecraft.
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Galle Bedding 3_D


NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems


This is a "3-D" stereo anaglyph showing layers in Galle Crater. It is a view of a portion of the same location featured in a mosaic yesterday, 15 June 2006, entitled "Galle Bedding." To see the layers in three dimensions, one must use "3-D" glasses with a red left eye and a blue right eye. This anaglyph uses two Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images acquired at slightly different viewing angles: MOC images E22-01557 and M14-02055. Owing to the specifics of the viewing geometry, the image is tilted on its side, relative to the mosaic shown in the 15 June 2006 release. In other words, in this image, north is toward the right and west is up. This anaglyph, when viewed in conjunction with the 15 June 2006 mosaic of these layers, provides a more complete sense of the cross-cutting relations between layers in the mound located in southern "Galle (Happy Face) Crater." The layers are part of a mound of sedimentary rock in southern Galle — a remnant of a once more-extensive deposit of sedimentary material in this south mid-latitude impact basin.

Location near: 52.3°S, 30.1°W
Image width: ~7.3 km (~4.5 mi)
Illumination from: upper right
Anaglyph from MOC images: E22-E22-01557 and M14-02055

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