IC 1795: The Fishhead Nebula  : To some, this nebula looks like the head of a fish. However, this colorful cosmic portrait really features glowing gas and obscuring dust clouds in IC 1795, a star forming region in the northern constellation Cassiopeia. The nebulas colors were created by adopting the Hubble false-color palette for mapping narrow emission from oxygen, hydrogen, and sulfur atoms to blue, green and red colors, and further blending the data with images of the region recorded through broadband filters. Not far on the sky from the famous Double Star Cluster in Perseus, IC 1795 is itself located next to IC 1805, the Heart Nebula, as part of a complex of star forming regions that lie at the edge of a large molecular cloud. Located just over 6,000 light-years away, the larger star forming complex sprawls along the Perseus spiral arm of our Milky Way Galaxy. At that distance, this picture would span about 70 light-years across IC 1795. via NASA


The U.S. and Russia will partner to build a new space station

NASA and its Russian counterpart Roscosmos have agreed to work jointly on a new space station to replace the aging International Space Station, which is set to cease operation in 2024. Talks between the agencies were held at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, according to Russian state-backed RT. The news was announced Saturday at a Roscosmos press conference.

How this space station will be different

Science in the Media

In the early 1900′s Robert Goddard attracted attention for claiming that rockets could be maneuvered in the vacuum of space.

This idea held the potential to open the universe to humanity but unfortunately the loudest people aren’t always the most scientifically educated.

The New York Times decided to publish a piece defaming Mr. Goddard:

As the years went on it was becoming a less tenable position to have, maintaining that space travel via rocketry was a quacks venture.

In 1969 NASA astronauts landed on the Moon and the New York Times decided they owed Robert Goddard an apology…

49 years later and 24 years after Goddard was already dead they published this sneaky piece:

Be careful what you see in the news.

New stars shed light on the past

This image depicts bright blue newly formed stars that are blowing a cavity in the centre of a fascinating star-forming region known as N90.

The high energy radiation blazing out from the hot young stars in N90 is eroding the outer portions of the nebula from the inside, as the diffuse outer reaches of the nebula prevent the energetic outflows from streaming away from the cluster directly. Because N90 is located far from the central body of the Small Magellanic Cloud, numerous background galaxies in this picture can be seen, delivering a grand backdrop for the stellar newcomers. The dust in the region gives these distant galaxies a reddish-brown tint.

Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration
Source: http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic0702a/

Black Hole Winds Quench Star Formation in Entire Galaxies

By Charles Q. Choi

Giant winds from black holes can blast gas through galaxies at extraordinary speeds, pulling the plug on star formation, researchers say.

This finding reveals how black holes can direct the fates of entire galaxies, scientists added.

The hearts of most and possibly all galaxies harbor supermassive black holes millions to billions of times the mass of the sun. Many are relatively quiet, like the one sitting at the center of the Milky Way. However, others, known as active galactic nuclei, voraciously devour their surroundings, potentially creating black hole winds.

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Shadow of a Martian Robot

What if you saw your shadow on Mars and it wasn’t human?   Then you might be the Opportunity rover currently exploring Mars.   Opportunity has been exploring the red planet since early 2004, finding evidence of ancient water, and sending breathtaking images across the inner Solar System.   Pictured above in 2004, Opportunity looks opposite the Sun into Endurance Crater and sees its own shadow.   Two wheels are visible on the lower left and right, while the floor and walls of the unusual crater are visible in the background.   Opportunity is continuing on its long trek exploring unusual terrain in Meridiani Planum which continues to yield clues to the ancient history of Mars, our Solar System, and even humanity.  

Image Credit: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, JPL, NASA

Reid Wiseman, a member of NASA Astronaut Group 20 in 2009, took part in his first spaceflight as a member of Expedition 40/41 — spending a total of 165 days aboard the International Space Station.

Following the success of his six months living in space, Reid Wiseman was interviewed by Tarquin Cooper of Red Bull Adventure, featured below.  

Meet the astronaut who spent 6 months in space


135 in 135


Orbiter: OV-099, Challenger.  Challenger started it’s career as STA-099, or Structural Test Article-099, in 1972.  The test article was built by North American Aviation, with plans to convert it into a full functioning orbiter.  In 1979, North American go the go ahead to assemble STA-099 into an orbiter configuration, thus changing it’s designation to OV-099, or Orbital Vehicle-099.

Mission: STS-51-L, the tenth and final flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger. The mission was intended to deploy communications satellites, comet observation devices.  The mission also included the first Astronaut-Teacher, Christa McAuliffe, as part of the Teacher in Space Program.  Launching on January 28 1986, the Shuttle broke apart 73 seconds into her flight, killing all crew members aboard.  It marked the first time American astronauts were killed during a flight, and the first time an American crewed spacecraft failed to reach space.  The Rogers Commission, formed to investigate the cause of Challenger’s destruction, concluded that an O-ring seal on the right Solid Rocket Booster had become misshapen following a night of freezing, and had not formed back properly.  The lack of seal allowed solid rocket propellent to push the Solid Rocket Booster into the External Tank, which thereby caused structural failure for the entire launch vehicle.  The boosters separated on their own, leaving the orbiter to continue on it’s intended path but breaking up as a result of the overwhelming aerodynamic forces.  Reports indicated that the crew was not killed as the spacecraft broke up, as 3 of the 4 Personal Egress Air Packs (PEAPs) were activated manually, suggesting that the crew was alive but possibly suffering from blackouts.

Launch Date/Location: January 28, 1986.  Kennedy Space Center, Launch Complex 39A.

Crew: Francis R. Scobee, STS-41-C
Michael J. Smith, first flight
Ellison S. Onizuka, STS-51-C
Judith A. Resnik, STS-41-D
Ronald E. McNair, STS-41-B
Gregory B. Jarvis, Hughes Space and Communications, first flight
S. Christa McAuliffe, Teacher in Space program, first flight

Payload: Tracking Data Relay Satellite-B, TDRS-B

Shuttle-Pointed Tool for Astronomy, SPARTAN-203

Two lessons for the Teacher in Space Program

Three Shuttle Student Involvement Program experiments

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”

President Ronald Reagan, January 28, 1986

(1968) —- With its exterior removed, the Apollo portable life support system (PLSS) can be easily studied. The PLSS is worn as a backpack over the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU), a multi-layered spacesuit used for outside-the-spacecraft activity. JSC photographic frame no. S68-34582 is a close-up view of the working parts of the PLSS.