Paisaje en Sutton, Alaska, Estados Unidos, 2017-08-22, DD 98-106 PAN.jpg

Landscape in Sutton, Alaska, United States.

Diana Trujillo

Lee esta historia en español aquí.

Diana Trujillo, an aerospace engineer, is currently Technical Group Supervisor for Sequence Planning and Execution and a Tactical Mission Lead for the Mars Perseverance rover. Born and raised in Colombia, Trujillo immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 17 to pursue her dream of working for NASA. While enrolled in English-as-a-second-language courses, she also worked full time to support her studies in community college and later the University of Florida and University of Maryland. She has held several roles for NASA and JPL, including Mars Curiosity rover mission lead, deputy project system engineer, and Deputy Team Chief of Engineering Operations on Curiosity. Trujillo has also been active in sharing the excitement and opportunities of STEM with the public. She co-created and hosted #JuntosPerseveramos, NASA’s first-ever Spanish-language live broadcast of a planetary landing, for Perseverance’s arrival on Mars, which attracted millions of viewers worldwide.

On Oct. 8, 2021, Trujillo and two other Latina engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be honored as the 2021 recipients of STEM Awards from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation for their significant roles in the agency’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission during the 34th Hispanic Heritage Awards broadcast on PBS.

In this image, Trujillo celebrates the completion of a successful shift as flight director, as the first photograph taken on the surface of Mars confirmed the successful deployment of Ingenuity, the first helicopter ever delivered to the surface of another planet. 

Learn more: Mars Perseverance Team Members to Be Recognized at Hispanic Heritage Awards

Image Credit: NASA


Where on Earth do cyclones go? Known as hurricanes when in the Atlantic Ocean and typhoons when in the Pacific, the featured map shows the path of all major storms from 1985 through 2005. The map shows graphically that cyclones usually occur over water, which makes sense since evaporating warm water gives them energy. The map also shows that cyclones never cross -- and rarely approach -- the Earth's equator, since the Coriolis effect goes to zero there, and cyclones need the Coriolis force to circulate. The Coriolis force also causes cyclone paths to arc away from the equator. Although long-term trends remain a topic of research, evidence indicates that hurricanes have become, on the average, more powerful in the North Atlantic over the past 30 years, and their power is projected to keep increasing.

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NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-3 Commander Raja Chari

In this image, NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-3 Commander Raja Chari trains aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft in Hawthorne, California.

Chari was selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class and reported for duty in August 2017. The Iowa native graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1999 with bachelor’s degrees in astronautical engineering and engineering science. He earned a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. He also logged more than 2,500 hours of flight time in the F-35, F-15, F-16, and F-18.

The Crew-3 mission is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and is the third time that SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket will carry astronauts to the International Space Station for a long duration mission. The earliest targeted launch date is Sunday, Oct. 31, from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The launch will carry three NASA astronauts – mission commander Chari, pilot Tom Marshburn, and mission specialist Kayla Barron to the space station – as well as European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer, who will serve as a mission specialist. This is the first spaceflight for Chari, Barron, and Maurer. It is the third for Marshburn. The crew will complete a six-month science mission aboard the microgravity laboratory in low-Earth orbit.

Image Credit: SpaceX


Which way up Mount Sharp? In early September, the robotic rover Curiosity continued its ascent up the central peak of Gale Crater, searching for more clues about ancient water and further evidence that Mars could once have been capable of supporting life. On this recent Martian morning, before exploratory drilling, the rolling rover took this 360-degree panorama, in part to help Curiosity's human team back on Earth access the landscape and chart possible future routes. In the horizontally-compressed featured image, an amazing vista across Mars was captured, complete with layered hills, red rocky ground, gray drifting sand, and a dusty atmosphere. The hill just left of center has been dubbed Maria Gordon Notch in honor of a famous Scottish geologist. The current plan is to direct Curiosity to approach, study, and pass just to the right of Gordon Notch on its exploratory trek.

Inside the Integrated Processing Facility at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, the Landsat 9 spacecraft is moved into position for encapsulation on Aug. 16, 2021.

Inside the Integrated Processing Facility at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, the Landsat 9 spacecraft is moved into position for encapsulation on Aug. 16, 2021. The two halves of the United Launch Alliance (ULA) payload fairing will surround and encase Landsat 9 to protect it during launch atop the ULA Atlas V rocket.

Landsat 9 will launch on the Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 3 at Vandenberg in September of this year. The launch is being managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program based at Kennedy Space Center, America’s multi-user spaceport.

The Landsat 9 satellite, managed by the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will continue the nearly 50-year legacy of previous Landsat missions. It will monitor key natural and economic resources from orbit. The satellite will carry two instruments: the Operational Land Imager 2, which collects images of Earth’s landscapes in visible, near infrared and shortwave infrared light, and the Thermal Infrared Sensor 2, which measures the temperature of land surfaces. Like its predecessors, Landsat 9 is a joint mission between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Image Credit: NASA/Randy Beaudoin


What's that in the mirror? In the featured image of the dark southern sky, the three brightest galaxies of the night are all relatively easy to identify. Starting from the left, these are the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), and part of the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. All three are also seen reflected in a shallow pool of water. But what is seen in the mirror being positioned by the playful astrophotographer? Dust clouds near the center of our Milky Way -- and the planet Jupiter. The composite was carefully planned and composed from images captured from the same camera in the same location and during the same night in mid-2019 in Mostardas, south Brazil. The picture won first place in the Connecting to the Dark division of the International Dark-Sky Association's Capture the Dark contest for 2021.

Quiz: What is pictured in the double-reflection below the main mirror?

What's happened to the sky? Aurora! Captured in 2015, this aurora was noted by Icelanders for its great brightness and quick development. The aurora resulted from a solar storm, with high energy particles bursting out from the Sun and through a crack in Earth's protective magnetosphere a few days later. Although a spiral pattern can be discerned, creative humans might imagine the complex glow as an atmospheric apparition of any number of common icons. In the foreground of the featured image is the Ölfusá River while the lights illuminate a bridge in Selfoss City. Just beyond the low clouds is a nearly full Moon. The liveliness of the Sun -- and likely the resulting auroras on Earth -- is slowly increasing as the Sun emerges from a Solar minimum, a historically quiet period in its 11-year cycle.

The National 9/11 Flag was raised over the Rocket Garden at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

The contributions of NASA and Kennedy Space Center were stitched into the fabric of one of the nation's most recognizable symbols, when flags from Florida's Spaceport were sewn into an American Flag recovered near ground zero following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

In this image, the National 9/11 Flag was raised over the Rocket Garden at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex after Florida's contribution was added. The flag is now a part of the permanent collection of the National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center site. 

Learn more: NASA Remembers Sept. 11

Image Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett


Faint comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P) sweeps past background stars in the constellation Taurus and even fainter distant galaxies in this telescopic frame from September 7. About 5 years ago, this comet's 4 kilometer spanning, double-lobed nucleus became the final resting place of robots from planet Earth, following the completion of the historic Rosetta mission to the comet. After wandering out beyond the orbit of Jupiter, Churyumov-Gerasimenko is now returning along its 6.4 year periodic orbit toward its next perihelion or closest approach to the Sun, on November 2. On November 12, the comet's perigee, its closest approach to Earth, will bring it within about 0.42 astronomical units. Telescopes should still be required to view it even at its brightest, predicted to be in late November and December. On September 7 Rosetta's comet was about 0.65 astronomical units away or about 5.4 light-minutes from our fair planet.

Mary Jackson in room with computers

Mary W. Jackson grew up in Hampton, Virginia and attended the historically black college Hampton Institute (now Hampton University), earning bachelor of science degrees in mathematics and physical science.

Each year, we celebrate National Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Week under the leadership of the White House Initiative on HBCUs and with input from the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs and its conference sponsors. It provides a forum to exchange information and share innovations among and between institutions. This year HBCU Week runs Sept. 7-10.

After graduating from Hampton, Jackson took a rather circuitous route to becoming a celebrated NASA engineer – from school teacher to 'human computer' in the now famous, Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory’s segregated West Area Computing section in 1951. After about two years, she received an offer to work for engineer Kazimierz Czarnecki in the 4-foot by 4-foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel, a 60,000 horsepower wind tunnel capable of blasting models with winds approaching twice the speed of sound. Czarnecki offered Mary hands-on experience conducting experiments in the facility, and eventually suggested that she enter a training program that would allow her to earn a promotion from mathematician to engineer. Trainees had to take graduate level math and physics in after-work courses managed by the University of Virginia. Because the classes were held at then-segregated Hampton High School, however, she needed special permission from the City of Hampton to join her white peers in the classroom. Never one to flinch in the face of a challenge, Mary completed the courses, earned the promotion, and in 1958 became NASA’s first black female engineer. That same year, she co-authored her first report, Effects of Nose Angle and Mach Number on Transition on Cones at Supersonic Speeds for NASA's predecessor the NACA.

The contributions of Jackson and her colleagues in the film Hidden Figures. While the movie dramatizes some aspects, it is true to the struggles of the women at the center of the story. The victories for racial and gender rights were not achieved easily or quickly. But today, NASA recognizes their struggles and contributions, and recently renamed the agency's Washington, D.C. headquarters the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters.

Learn about current HBCU scholars at NASA.

Undaunted by the Fight, HBCUs Shape Leaders at NASA

NASA Marshall Celebrates Contributions by Workforce Alums from Historically Black Colleges, Universities

Image Credit: NASA

Apurva Varia

Apurva Varia joined the Goddard Space Flight Center in 2002 as a propulsion engineer. For 13 years, he analyzed, designed, and tested the propulsion systems for spacecraft, including the Solar Dynamics Observatory, Magnetospheric Multiscale, and Deep Space Climate Observatory

He was the first deaf engineer to monitor and analyze the telemetry from a propulsion system inside an uncrewed spacecraft in a NASA Mission Operation Center. In 2016, he became a mission director for three spacecraft including the Parker Solar Probe, which launched on a journey to study our Sun in 2018.

Learn more about Apurva Varia's career at NASA.


Image Credit: Bill Hrybyk


What surrounds the Andromeda galaxy? Out in space, Andromeda (M31) is closely surrounded by several small satellite galaxies, and further out it is part of the Local Group of Galaxies -- of which our Milky Way galaxy is also a member. On the sky, however, gas clouds local to our Milky Way appear to surround M31 -- not unlike how water clouds in Earth's atmosphere may appear to encompass our Moon. The gas clouds toward Andromeda, however, are usually too faint to see. Enter the featured 45-degree long image -- one of the deeper images yet taken of the broader Andromeda region. This image, sensitive to light specifically emitted by hydrogen gas, shows these faint and unfamiliar clouds in tremendous detail. But the image captures more. At the image top is the Triangulum galaxy (M33), the third largest galaxy in the Local Group and the furthest object that can be seen with the unaided eye. Below M33 is the bright Milky-Way star Mirach. The image is the digital accumulation of several long exposures taken from 2018 to 2021 from Pulsnitz, Germany.

TTBW in 14x22 Langley Trans Sonic Truss Braced Wing

Instrumentation technician Michael Hodgins performs installation measures on the trans-sonic truss-braced wing (TTBW) model at Langley Research Center’s 14x22 subsonic wind tunnel. The unique design of the aircraft’s wings reduces drag during flight, which in turn reduces fuel consumption by up to 10 percent. This concept is part of an ongoing initiative by NASA, industry partners, and academia to make the future of aviation more environmentally friendly through the Sustainable Flight National Partnership (SFNP). The SFNP will expand research for sustainable aviation by developing and testing new technologies for aircraft, new automation tools for greener and safer airspace operations, and sustainable energy options for aircraft propulsion. The TTBW will undergo a variety of aerodynamic testing as researchers continue to test key flight components such as increased lift and reduced drag.

Image and Text Credit: NASA/Langley Research Center/David Meade


Is this one galaxy or two? The jumble of stars, gas, and dust that is NGC 520 is now thought to incorporate the remains of two separate disk galaxies. A defining component of NGC 520 -- as seen in great detail in the featured image from the Hubble Space Telescope -- is its band of intricately interlaced dust running vertically down the spine of the colliding galaxies. A similar looking collision might be expected in a few billion years when our disk Milky Way Galaxy to collides with our large-disk galactic neighbor Andromeda (M31). The collision that defines NGC 520 started about 300 million years ago. Also known as Arp 157, NGC 520 lies about 100 million light years distant, spans about 100 thousand light years, and can be seen with a small telescope toward the constellation of the Fish (Pisces). Although the speeds of stars in NGC 520 are fast, the distances are so vast that the battling pair will surely not change its shape noticeably during our lifetimes.

It started with a pine tree. The idea was to photograph a statuesque pine in front of the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. And the plan, carried out two months ago, was successful -- they both appear prominently. But the resulting 3-frame panorama captured much more. Colorful stars, for example, dot the distant background, with bright Altair visible on the upper left. The planet Saturn, a bit closer, was captured just over the horizon on the far left. Just beyond the Earth's atmosphere, seen in the upper right, an Earth-orbiting satellite was caught leaving a streak during the 25-second exposure. The Earth's atmosphere itself was surprisingly visible -- as green airglow across the image top. Finally, just by chance, there was a firefly. Do you see it? Near the image bottom, the firefly blinked in yellow several times as it fluttered before the rolling hills above Milogradovka River in Primorsky Krai, Russia.

Explore Your Universe: Random APOD Generator

Not the Hubble Space Telescope's latest view of a distant galactic nebula, this illuminated cloud of gas and dust dazzled early morning spacecoast skygazers on August 29. The snapshot was taken at 3:17am from Space View Park in Titusville, Florida. That's about 3 minutes after the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on the CRS-23 mission to resupply the International Space Station. It captures drifting plumes and exhaust from the separated first and second stage of the rocket rising through still dark skies. The lower bright dot is the second stage continuing on to low Earth orbit. The upper one is the rocket's first stage performing a boostback burn. Of course the first stage booster returned to make the first landing on the latest autonomous drone ship to arrive in the Atlantic, A Short Fall of Gravitas.

These cosmic clouds have blossomed 1,300 light-years away, in the fertile starfields of the constellation Cepheus. Called the Iris Nebula, NGC 7023 is not the only nebula to evoke the imagery of flowers. Still, this deep telescopic image shows off the Iris Nebula's range of colors and symmetries, embedded in surrounding fields of interstellar dust. Within the Iris itself, dusty nebular material surrounds a hot, young star. The dominant color of the brighter reflection nebula is blue, characteristic of dust grains reflecting starlight. Central filaments of the reflection nebula glow with a faint reddish photoluminesence as some dust grains effectively convert the star's invisible ultraviolet radiation to visible red light. Infrared observations indicate that this nebula contains complex carbon molecules known as PAHs. The dusty blue petals of the Iris Nebula span about six light-years.

Find the Big Dipper and follow the handle away from the dipper's bowl until you get to the last bright star. Then, just slide your telescope a little south and west and you'll come upon this stunning pair of interacting galaxies, the 51st entry in Charles Messier's famous catalog. Perhaps the original spiral nebula, the large galaxy with well defined spiral structure is also cataloged as NGC 5194. Its spiral arms and dust lanes clearly sweep in front of its companion galaxy (top), NGC 5195. The pair are about 31 million light-years distant and officially lie within the angular boundaries of the small constellation Canes Venatici. Though M51 looks faint and fuzzy to the eye, deep images like this one reveal its striking colors and galactic tidal debris.

Johanna Lucht

According to, extraordinaire means: outstanding or remarkable in a particular capacity – an apt description of engineer Johanna Lucht.

"My 'extraordinary' is finding efficient ways to improve how we gather and evaluate aviation data," said Lucht.  

Lucht, who was born deaf, never thought she would work for NASA. Born in Germany, where resources for deaf people were limited at the time, Johanna developed an understanding of mathematics before she acquired language. It was that passion for math and the ability to face challenges that led to her eventual study of computer science, and paved her road to NASA.  After an internship at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center, she was offered a position.

In 2017, Johanna became the first deaf engineer to carry out an active role in a NASA control center during a crewed research flight. As the systems II engineer for the flight, she was responsible for observing and evaluating data related to the aircraft’s GPS and navigation systems, as well as analyzing inflight data, to monitor how well the aircraft was performing in flight. She worked with an interpreter who conveyed communications to her—and she excelled in the role. She believes the challenges she faced growing up as a deaf person in the hearing world in part prepared her for her role.


Image Credit: NASA


Like an illustration in a galactic Just So Story, the Elephant's Trunk Nebula winds through the emission nebula and young star cluster complex IC 1396, in the high and far off constellation of Cepheus. Also known as vdB 142, seen on the left the cosmic elephant's trunk is over 20 light-years long. Removed by digital processing, no visible stars are in this detailed telescopic close-up view highlighting the bright swept-back ridges that outline pockets of cool interstellar dust and gas. But the dark, tendril-shaped clouds contain the raw material for star formation and hide protostars within. Nearly 3,000 light-years distant, the relatively faint IC 1396 complex covers a large region on the sky, spanning over 5 degrees. This starless rendition spans a 1 degree wide field of view though, about the angular size of 2 full moons. Of course the dark shapes below and right, marching toward the winding Elephant's Trunk, are known to some as The Caravan.