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Mars orbiter briefing
With two weeks until its arrival at the red planet, NASA and Lockheed Martin officials hold this Feb. 24 news conference on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The briefing explains how the MRO spacecraft will fire its engines to enter into orbit around Mars and the mission's scientific goals to examine the planet like never before.
Lockheed's CEV plans
As part of Lockheed Martin's plans for the Crew Exploration Vehicle, the company has announced that final assembly and testing of the capsules will be performed at the Kennedy Space Center's Operations and Checkout Building. Lockheed Martin officials, Florida's lieutenant governor, the local congressman and a county economic development leader held this press conference Feb. 22 to unveil the plans.
STS-8: Night launch
The space shuttle program performed its first dazzling nighttime launch with Challenger's August 1983 mission. A cockpit camera mounted beside commander Dick Truly captured amazing footage of night turning to day inside the shuttle from the brilliant flame of ascent. STS-8 also featured the first African-American astronaut, Guion Bluford. Challenger's astronauts tell the story of their six-day mission, which deployed an Indian satellite, used the robot arm to look at the orbiter's belly and examined the glow around the shuttle, during this narrated post-flight film.
STS-7: America's first woman astronaut
The seventh flight of the space shuttle is remembered for breaking the gender barrier for U.S. spaceflight. Sally Ride flew into space and the history books with her historic June 1983 mission, becoming America's first woman astronaut. STS-7 also launched a pair of commercial communications spacecraft, then deployed a small platform fitted with experiments and camera package that captured iconic pictures of Challenger flying above the blue Earth and black void of space. The crew members narrate highlights from the mission in this post-flight film presentation.
STS-6: Challenger debut
The space shuttle program became a two-orbiter fleet on April 4, 1983 when Challenger launched on its maiden voyage from Kennedy Space Center. The STS-6 mission featured the first ever spacewalk from a space shuttle and the deployment of NASA's first Tracking and Data Relay Satellite. The four astronauts narrate a movie of highlights from their five-day mission in this post-flight presentation.
STS-121 crew press chat
Commander Steve Lindsey and his crew, the astronauts set to fly the second post-Columbia test flight, hold an informal news conference with reporters at Kennedy Space Center on Feb. 17. The crew is in Florida to examine hardware and equipment that will be carried on the STS-121 flight of shuttle Discovery.
House hearing on NASA
NASA Administrator Mike Griffin and his No. 2, Shana Dale, appear before the House Science Committee on Feb. 16 to defend President Bush's proposed 2007 budget for the space agency. Congressmen grill Griffin and Dale about the budget's plans to cut funding for some science programs.
Hubble's largest galaxy portrait showcases Pinwheel HUBBLE EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY NEWS RELEASE Posted: February 28, 2006
This new Hubble image reveals the gigantic Pinwheel Galaxy, one of the best known examples of "grand design spirals," and its supergiant star-forming regions in unprecedented detail. The image is the largest and most detailed photo of a spiral galaxy ever released. Credit: European Space Agency & NASA Download larger image version here
Giant galaxies weren't assembled in a day. Neither was this Hubble Space Telescope image of the face-on spiral galaxy Messier 101 (the Pinwheel Galaxy). The image is the largest and most detailed photo of a spiral galaxy ever released from Hubble. The
galaxy's portrait is actually composed from 51 individual Hubble
exposures, in addition to elements from images from ground-based
photos. The final composite image measures a whopping 16,000 by 12,000
The Hubble observations that went into assembling this image composite
were retrieved from the Hubble archive and were originally acquired for
a range of Hubble projects: determining the expansion rate of the
universe; studying the formation of star clusters in giant starbirth
regions; finding the stars responsible for intense X-ray emission and
discovering blue supergiant stars. As an example of the many treasures
hiding in this immense image, a group led by K.D. Kuntz (Johns Hopkins
University and NASA) recently catalogued nearly 3000 previously
undetected star clusters in it.
The giant spiral disk of stars, dust and gas is 170,000 light-years
across or nearly twice the diameter of our Milky Way. The galaxy is
estimated to contain at least one trillion stars. Approximately 100
billion of these stars alone might be like our Sun in terms of
temperature and lifetime. Hubble's high resolution reveals millions of
the galaxy's individual stars in this image.
Upper left: Background galaxies far behind the Pinwheel Galaxy. The galaxies are clearly reddened by the dust in the Pinwheel. Upper middle: Dust lanes in the Pinwheel galaxy. The dust particles scatter blue light the most and therefore colour the light from background stars red. The same effect is seen in sunsets on the Earth. Upper right: A selection of some of the millions of individual stars visible in Messier 101 with Hubble's sharp vision. In total it is estimated that the Pinwheel galaxy contains about one trillion stars. Lower left: An example of some of the 3000 bright clusters of sizzling newborn blue stars in the Pinwheel galaxy. Lower middle: Another "grand design" spiral lies behind the Pinwheel Galaxy itself and is visible through its disk. Lower right: Two distant galaxies behind Messier 101 and a collection of individual foreground stars from one of its spiral arms. Credit: European Space Agency & NASA Download larger image version here
The Pinwheel's spiral arms are sprinkled with large regions of star-
forming nebulae. These nebulae are areas of intense star formation
within molecular hydrogen clouds. Brilliant young clusters of sizzling
newborn blue stars trace out the spiral arms. The disk of the galaxy is
so thin that Hubble easily sees many more distant galaxies lying behind
the foreground galaxy.
The Pinwheel Galaxy lies in the northern circumpolar constellation,
Ursa Major (The Great Bear) at a distance of 25 million light-years
from Earth. We are seeing the galaxy from Earth today as it was at the
beginning of Earth's Miocene Period when mammals flourished and the
Mastodon first appeared on Earth. The galaxy fills an area on the sky
of one-fifth the area of the full moon.
The newly composed image was assembled from archived Hubble images
taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field and
Planetary Camera 2 over nearly 10 years: in March 1994, September 1994,
June 1999, November 2002 and January 2003. The Hubble exposures have
been superimposed onto ground-based images, visible at the edge of the
image, taken at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in Hawaii, and at
the 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, part of the
National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Arizona. Exposures taken
through a blue filter are shown in blue, through a green filter in
green and through a red filter in red.
The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation
between ESA and NASA.