Space Shuttle Endeavour being ferried by NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft flies over the Johnson Space Center in Houston on its way to the California Science Center for display.

Our Shuttle Carrier Aircraft ferries the Space Shuttle Endeavour over the Johnson Space Center in Houston in this Sept. 20, 2012, image. Endeavour’s end destination was the California Science Center, where it sits on display. The shuttle Endeavour brought the first parts of the International Space Station to space and completed 25 missions.

On its final flight to the California Science Center 10 years ago, Endeavour was escorted by a combination of F/A-18s and an F-15 from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. Those aircraft were flown by NASA Armstrong pilots, while center photographers and videographers documented the orbiter’s final journey.

Image credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz


Source: www.nasa.gov
bright spiral galaxy fills the scene. Dark reddish-brown dust lanes bisect the spiral arms. Bright blue stars are dotted troughout.

The galaxy NGC 1961 unfurls its gorgeous spiral arms in this newly released image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Glittering, blue regions of bright young stars dot the dusty spiral arms winding around the galaxy’s glowing center.

NGC 1961 is an intermediate spiral and an AGN, or active galactic nuclei, type of galaxy. Intermediate spirals are in between “barred” and “unbarred” spiral galaxies, meaning they don’t have a well-defined bar of stars at their centers. AGN galaxies have very bright centers that often far outshine the rest of the galaxy at certain wavelengths of light. These galaxies likely have supermassive black holes at their cores churning out bright jets and winds that shape their evolution. NGC 1961 is a fairly common type of AGN that emits low-energy-charged particles.

The data used to create this image came from two proposals. One studied previously unobserved Arp galaxies, while the other looked at the progenitors and explosions of a variety of supernovae.

Located about 180 million light-years away, NGC 1961 resides in the constellation Camelopardalis.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, J. Dalcanton (University of Washington), R. Foley (University of California - Santa Cruz); Image processing: G. Kober (NASA Goddard/Catholic University of America)

Media Contact:

Claire Andreoli
NASA's Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbelt, MD
301-286-1940


Source: www.nasa.gov
Astronaut Michael E. Lopez-Alegria, mission specialist, is photographed in this close-up view during one of the STS-92 sessions of extravehicular activity (EVA).

Astronaut Michael E. López-Alegría, mission specialist, is photographed in this close-up view during one of the STS-92 spacewalks on Oct. 18, 2000.

During his NASA career, López-Alegría logged more than 257 days in space and performed 10 spacewalks totaling 67 hours and 40 minutes. He flew on the STS-73, STS-92 and STS-113 space shuttle missions and spent seven months on the space station as commander of Expedition 14. In 2022, he served as commander of Axiom Mission 1, the first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station

Throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, we're celebrating the contributions of the brilliant Hispanic people of NASA.

Image credit: NASA


Source: www.nasa.gov
A little blue heron is seen in front of the Vehicle Assembly Building as preparations for launch continue, Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

A little blue heron is seen in front of the Vehicle Assembly Building as preparations for launch continue, Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA’s Artemis I flight test is the first integrated test of the agency’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, and supporting ground systems. NASA is currently targeting no earlier than Sept. 27 for launch, pending the success of a cryogenic demonstration test targeted for no earlier than Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Get the latest Artemis I updates.

Image credit: NASA/Keegan Barber


Source: www.nasa.gov
jfk_rice_speech

On Sept. 12, 1962, President Kennedy speaks before a crowd of 35,000 people at Rice University in Houston. During his speech, the President recommitted the nation to the Moon landing goal he proposed to Congress in May 1961, rallying the nation to land astronauts on the Moon before the end of the decade and bring the crew safely back to Earth.

We will provide live coverage of the final event celebrating the 60th anniversary of this speech at noon EDT (11 a.m. CDT) on Monday, Sept. 12 on NASA Television, the NASA app, and our website.

Image Credit: NASA


Source: www.nasa.gov
Night time photograph of north Africa and southern Europe

This nighttime photograph from the International Space Station (ISS) as it orbited 261 miles above Earth looks across the Mediterranean Sea from north Africa to southern Europe. The city lights of Algiers, Algeria to Tunis, Tunisia highlight Africa's northern coast from the bottom center toward the upper right. From far left, the lights of city-state Monaco to Naples, Italy define the shores of southern Europe. The French island of Corsica and the Italian island of Sardinia are also pictured.

The ISS circles the Earth every 90 minutes, traveling at about 17,500 miles (28,000 km) per hour. Find out where the ISS is now.

Image credit: NASA


Source: www.nasa.gov

Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were launched in 1977 on a grand tour of the outer planets of the Solar System. They have become the longest operating and most distant spacecraft from Earth. Both have traveled beyond the heliosphere, the realm defined by the influence of the solar wind and the Sun's magnetic field. On the 45th year of their journey toward the stars Voyager 1 and 2 reached nearly 22 light-hours and 18 light-hours from the Sun respectively and remain the only spacecraft currently exploring interstellar space. Each spacecraft carries a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk with recordings of sounds, pictures and messages. The Golden Records are intended to communicate a story of life and culture on planet Earth, preserved in a medium that can survive an interstellar journey for a billion years.



A climber weaves through limestone pinnacles in the Tsingy de Bemaraha national park and reserve in Madagascar

Climbing Pinnacles

A climber weaves through limestone pinnacles in the Tsingy de Bemaraha nature reserve in Madagascar in an image captured for a story in the November 2009 issue. In the national language of Madagascar, the formations are called "tsingy," meaning "where one cannot walk barefoot."

Photograph by Stephen Alvarez, Nat Geo Image Collection


Bright-white stars in a cloud of blue. Superimposed on the scene is a red spiral.

Nature likes spirals – from the whirlpool of a hurricane, to pinwheel-shaped protoplanetary disks around newborn stars, to the vast realms of spiral galaxies across our universe.

Now astronomers are bemused to find young stars that are spiraling into the center of a massive cluster of stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.

The outer arm of the spiral in this huge, oddly shaped stellar nursery called NGC 346 may be feeding star formation in a river-like motion of gas and stars. This is an efficient way to fuel star birth, researchers say.

Bright-white stars in a cloud of blue. Superimposed on the scene is a red spiral.
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The massive star cluster NGC 346, located in the Small Magellanic Cloud, has long intrigued astronomers with its unusual shape. Now researchers using two separate methods have determined that this shape is partly due to stars and gas spiraling into the center of this cluster in a river-like motion. The red spiral superimposed on NGC 346 traces the movement of stars and gas toward the center. Scientists say this spiraling motion is the most efficient way to feed star formation from the outside toward the center of the cluster.
Credits: Illustration: NASA, ESA, Andi James (STScI)

The Small Magellanic Cloud has a simpler chemical composition than the Milky Way, making it similar to the galaxies found in the younger universe, when heavier elements were more scarce. Because of this, the stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud burn hotter and so run out of their fuel faster than in our Milky Way.

Though a proxy for the early universe, at 200,000 light-years away the Small Magellanic Cloud is also one of our closest galactic neighbors.

Learning how stars form in the Small Magellanic Cloud offers a new twist on how a firestorm of star birth may have occurred early in the universe's history, when it was undergoing a "baby boom" about 2 to 3 billion years after the big bang (the universe is now 13.8 billion years old).

"The Hubble archive is really a gold mine. There are so many interesting star-forming regions that Hubble has observed over the years. Given that Hubble is performing so well, we can actually repeat these observations. This can really advance our understanding of star formation."

--Elena Sabbi, STScI

The new results find that the process of star formation there is similar to that in our own Milky Way.

Only 150 light-years in diameter, NGC 346 boasts the mass of 50,000 Suns. Its intriguing shape and rapid star formation rate has puzzled astronomers. It took the combined power of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) to unravel the behavior of this mysterious-looking stellar nesting ground.

"Stars are the machines that sculpt the universe. We would not have life without stars, and yet we don't fully understand how they form," explained study leader Elena Sabbi of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. "We have several models that make predictions, and some of these predictions are contradictory. We want to determine what is regulating the process of star formation, because these are the laws that we need to also understand what we see in the early universe."

Researchers determined the motion of the stars in NGC 346 in two different ways. Using Hubble, Sabbi and her team measured the changes of the stars' positions over 11 years. The stars in this region are moving at an average velocity of 2,000 miles per hour, which means that in 11 years they move 200 million miles. This is about 2 times the distance between the Sun and the Earth.

But this cluster is relatively far away, inside a neighboring galaxy. This means the amount of observed motion is very small and therefore difficult to measure. These extraordinarily precise observations were possible only because of Hubble's exquisite resolution and high sensitivity. Also, Hubble's three-decade-long history of observations provides a baseline for astronomers to follow minute celestial motions over time.

The second team, led by Peter Zeidler of AURA/STScI for the European Space Agency, used the ground-based VLT's Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument to measure radial velocity, which determines whether an object is approaching or receding from an observer.

"What was really amazing is that we used two completely different methods with different facilities and basically came to the same conclusion, independent of each other," said Zeidler. "With Hubble, you can see the stars, but with MUSE we can also see the gas motion in the third dimension, and it confirms the theory that everything is spiraling inwards."

But why a spiral?

"A spiral is really the good, natural way to feed star formation from the outside toward the center of the cluster," explained Zeidler. "It's the most efficient way that stars and gas fueling more star formation can move towards the center."

Half of the Hubble data for this study of NGC 346 is archival. The first observations were taken 11 years ago. They were recently repeated to trace the motion of the stars over time. Given the telescope's longevity, the Hubble data archive now contains more than 32 years of astronomical data powering unprecedented, long-term studies.

"The Hubble archive is really a gold mine," said Sabbi. "There are so many interesting star-forming regions that Hubble has observed over the years. Given that Hubble is performing so well, we can actually repeat these observations. This can really advance our understanding of star formation."

The teams' findings appear Sept. 8 in The Astrophysical Journal.

Observations with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope should be able to resolve lower-mass stars in the cluster, giving a more holistic view of the region. Over Webb's lifespan, astronomers will be able to repeat this experiment and measure the motion of the low-mass stars. They could then compare the high-mass stars and the low-mass stars to finally learn the full extent of the dynamics of this nursery.

Hubble Spots Spiraling Stars
Nature likes spirals – from the whirlpool of a hurricane, to pinwheel-shaped protoplanetary disks around newborn stars, to the vast realms of spiral galaxies across our universe. Now astronomers are bemused to find young stars that are spiraling into the center of a massive cluster of stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.
Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center; Lead Producer: Paul Morris

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, in Washington, D.C.


Source: www.nasa.gov
Swirling reds, whites, and light yellows mix around in front of a starry sky.

Swirling reds, whites, and light yellows mix around in front of a starry sky.
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In this mosaic image stretching 340 light-years across, Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) displays the Tarantula Nebula star-forming region in a new light, including tens of thousands of never-before-seen young stars that were previously shrouded in cosmic dust. The most active region appears to sparkle with massive young stars, appearing pale blue.
Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team

Once upon a space-time, a cosmic creation story unfolded: Thousands of never-before-seen young stars spotted in a stellar nursery called 30 Doradus, captured by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Nicknamed the Tarantula Nebula for the appearance of its dusty filaments in previous telescope images, the nebula has long been a favorite for astronomers studying star formation. In addition to young stars, Webb reveals distant background galaxies, as well as the detailed structure and composition of the nebula’s gas and dust.

At only 161,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy, the Tarantula Nebula is the largest and brightest star-forming region in the Local Group, the galaxies nearest our Milky Way. It is home to the hottest, most massive stars known. Astronomers focused three of Webb’s high-resolution infrared instruments on the Tarantula. Viewed with Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), the region resembles a burrowing tarantula’s home, lined with its silk. The nebula’s cavity centered in the NIRCam image has been hollowed out by blistering radiation from a cluster of massive young stars, which sparkle pale blue in the image. Only the densest surrounding areas of the nebula resist erosion by these stars’ powerful stellar winds, forming pillars that appear to point back toward the cluster. These pillars contain forming protostars, which will eventually emerge from their dusty cocoons and take their turn shaping the nebula.

Webb’s Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) caught one very young star doing just that. Astronomers previously thought this star might be a bit older and already in the process of clearing out a bubble around itself. However, NIRSpec showed that the star was only just beginning to emerge from its pillar and still maintained an insulating cloud of dust around itself. Without Webb’s high-resolution spectra at infrared wavelengths, this episode of star formation-in-action could not have been revealed.

Swirls of white, blue, and pink against a starry background.
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At the longer wavelengths of light captured by its Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), Webb focuses on the area surrounding the central star cluster and unveils a very different view of the Tarantula Nebula. In this light, the young hot stars of the cluster fade in brilliance, and glowing gas and dust come forward. Abundant hydrocarbons light up the surfaces of the dust clouds, shown in blue and purple.
Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team

The region takes on a different appearance when viewed in the longer infrared wavelengths detected by Webb’s Mid-infrared Instrument (MIRI). The hot stars fade, and the cooler gas and dust glow. Within the stellar nursery clouds, points of light indicate embedded protostars, still gaining mass. While shorter wavelengths of light are absorbed or scattered by dust grains in the nebula, and therefore never reach Webb to be detected, longer mid-infrared wavelengths penetrate that dust, ultimately revealing a previously unseen cosmic environment. 

One of the reasons the Tarantula Nebula is interesting to astronomers is that the nebula has a similar type of chemical composition as the gigantic star-forming regions observed at the universe’s “cosmic noon,” when the cosmos was only a few billion years old and star formation was at its peak. Star-forming regions in our Milky Way galaxy are not producing stars at the same furious rate as the Tarantula Nebula, and have a different chemical composition. This makes the Tarantula the closest (i.e., easiest to see in detail) example of what was happening in the universe as it reached its brilliant high noon. Webb will provide astronomers the opportunity to compare and contrast observations of star formation in the Tarantula Nebula with the telescope’s deep observations of distant galaxies from the actual era of cosmic noon.

Despite humanity’s thousands of years of stargazing, the star-formation process still holds many mysteries – many of them due to our previous inability to get crisp images of what was happening behind the thick clouds of stellar nurseries. Webb has already begun revealing a universe never seen before, and is only getting started on rewriting the stellar creation story.  

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world's premier space science observatory. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.


Source: www.nasa.gov
Three impact craters are displayed in this three-dimensional perspective view of Venus' surface. The center of the image is located at approximately 27 degrees south latitude, 339 degrees east longitude in the northwestern portion of Lavinia Planitia.

Three impact craters are displayed in this three-dimensional perspective view of the surface of Venus taken by NASA's Magellan, the first deep space probe launched by a space shuttle. The center of the image is located at approximately 27 degrees south latitude, 339 degrees east longitude in the northwestern portion of the Lavinia Planitia region of Venus.

Read More: The Crater Farm

Image credit: NASA/JPL


Source: www.nasa.gov
Hubble image of a star and galaxy in Lacerta

A little-studied star, TYC 3203-450-1, upstages a galaxy in this Hubble Telescope image from December 2017. Both the star and the galaxy are within the Lizard constellation, Lacerta. However, the star is much closer than the much more distant galaxy.

Astronomers studying distant objects call these stars “foreground stars” and they are often not very happy about them, as their bright light is contaminating the faint light from the more distant and interesting objects they actually want to study.

See more images from Hubble.

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Text credit: European Space Agency


Source: www.nasa.gov
Artemis I sits on the Launch Pad. It is illuminated in the dark.

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen atop the mobile launcher at Launch Pad 39B, Monday, Aug. 29, 2022, as the Artemis I launch teams loaded more than 700,000 gallons of cryogenic propellants including liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. The Artemis I flight test is the first integrated test of our deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, SLS rocket, and supporting ground systems.

NASA waved off the Aug. 29 launch attempt after a test to get the RS-25 engines on the bottom of the core stage to the proper temperature range for liftoff was not successful.

Image credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky


Source: www.nasa.gov
Picture of a researcher climbing a tall tree in a rainforest in Indonesia

Canopy Climbing

A researcher climbers into the rainforest canopy to study orangutans in Gunung Palung National Park in Borneo, Indonesia. This photo appeared in an April 1997 story about the wonders of fig trees in Borneo.

Photograph by Tim Laman, Nat Geo Image Collection


The X-1E aircraft dominates the foreground of this photo. It is white, with its designation written on its side in big orange letters. The Moon is in the background, lined up with the nose of the airplane.

The supersonic X-1E research aircraft was the last of NASA's experimental X-1 series of aircraft. From 1955-1958, it made 26 flights and one captive flight (attached to a carrier aircraft). Research flights took place over what is now NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California.

In this photo from November 2021, the X-1E looks toward the full Moon.

Credit: NASA/Joshua Fisher


Source: www.nasa.gov

Does the Earth ever pass through a wind of meteors? Yes, and they are frequently visible as meteor showers. Almost all meteors are sand-sized debris that escaped from a Sun-orbiting comet or asteroid, debris that continues in an elongated orbit around the Sun. Circling the same Sun, our Earth can move through an orbiting debris stream, where it can appear, over time, as a meteor wind. The meteors that light up in Earth's atmosphere, however, are usually destroyed. Their streaks, though, can all be traced back to a single point on the sky called the radiant. The featured image composite was taken over two days in late July near the ancient Berber village Zriba El Alia in Tunisia, during the peak of the Southern Delta Aquariids meteor shower. The radiant is to the right of the image. A few days ago our Earth experienced the peak of a more famous meteor wind -- the Perseids.


Picture of two women in the 1950s riding a mini roller coaster at a fair in Florida

Fair Days

For a story in the September 1954 issue, a team of National Geographic writers and photographers spent 10 months attending various fairs in the United States. In this photo, two women laugh while riding a mini roller coaster at the Florida State Fair.

Photograph by J. Baylor Roberts, Nat Geo Image Collection


Aquanaut under water working.

A team of roboticists from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston have applied their expertise in making robots for deep space to designing a fully electric shape-changing submersible robot that will cut costs for maritime industries. Aquanaut, seen here during testing in the giant pool at Johnson’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab, opens its shell and turns its arms, claw hands, and various sensors to the job.

NASA has a long history of transferring technology to the private sector. The agency’s Spinoff publication profiles NASA technologies that have transformed into commercial products and services, demonstrating the broader benefits of America’s investment in its space program. Spinoff is a publication of the Technology Transfer program in NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).

Learn more: NASA Space Robotics Dive into Deep-Sea Work

Credits: Nauticus Robotics Inc.


Source: www.nasa.gov
Moonikin Campos, a manikin or anatomical model that simulates the human body, lies on its back. Its head and torso are visible in the picture. It wears an orange jumpsuit and a helmet that has an opaque black visor.

Moonikin Campos, named after Arturo Campos, will be on Artemis I, an uncrewed test flight of the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket as an integrated system ahead of crewed flights to the Moon. Moonikin Campos, along with two phantom manikins, Helga and Zohar, will allow us to measure radiation, acceleration, and vibration data throughout the mission; the information gathered from these human body replicas will inform future crewed missions.

Image Credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky


Source: www.nasa.gov
A mass of bright blue-white stars fills the center, gold stars are dotted throughout

This star-studded image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the heart of the globular cluster NGC 6638 in the constellation Sagittarius. The star-strewn observation highlights the density of stars at the heart of globular clusters, which are stable, tightly bound groups of tens of thousands to millions of stars. To capture the data in this image, Hubble used two of its cutting-edge astronomical instruments: Wide Field Camera 3 and the Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Hubble revolutionized the study of globular clusters. The distortion caused by Earth’s atmosphere makes it nearly impossible to clearly distinguish stars in the cores of globular clusters with ground-based telescopes. Orbiting some 340 miles (550 km) above Earth, Hubble can study what kind of stars make up globular clusters, how they evolve, and the role of gravity in these dense systems without Earth’s atmosphere posing a problem.

The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope will further our understanding of globular clusters by peering into their star-studded interiors. Webb observes at infrared wavelengths, providing unique information about cluster stars that will complement Hubble’s incredible views.

Text credit: European Space Agency (ESA)
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Cohen

Media Contact:

Claire Andreoli
NASA's Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbelt, MD
301-286-1940


Source: www.nasa.gov
Picture of a man and woman laughing over steins of beer while a jazz band plays in the background

Chicago Club

A couple enjoys music with their beers at a jazz club in downtown Chicago, sometime in the mid-1960s. This photo appeared in a June 1967 story called "Illinois: The City and the Plain."

Photograph by James L. Stanfield, Nat Geo Image Collection