Astronaut Bob Behnken conducts a spacewalk

NASA astronaut Robert Behnken works during the Wednesday, July 1, 2020, six-hour and one-minute spacewalk to swap an aging nickel-hydrogen battery for a new lithium-ion battery on the International Space Station's Starboard-6 truss structure.

NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Behnken concluded their spacewalk at 12:14 p.m. EDT. During the spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts completed half the work to upgrade the batteries that provide power for one channel on one pair of the station’s solar arrays. The new batteries provide an improved and more efficient power capacity for operations.

They successfully moved and connected one new, powerful lithium-ion battery and its adapter place to complete the circuit to the new battery and relocated one aging nickel-hydrogen battery to an external platform for future disposal.

The following day, spacesuit checks were on the schedule for the Expedition 63 crew following a spacewalk to replace aging batteries on the space station. The duo also recharged batteries and refilled water tanks inside their U.S. spacesuits. 

Image Credit: NASA


Source: www.nasa.gov
NASA astronaut Bob Behnken during a spacewalk

On June 26, 2020, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Chris Cassidy conducted the first of two spacewalks to swap batteries and upgrade power systems on the International Space Station's Starboard-6 truss structure. Behnken is pictured here during the six-hour and seven-minute excursion. The two astronauts conducted a second spacewalk on July 1 to complete the upgrades.

Image Credit: NASA


Source: www.nasa.gov
Deep Space 1 Spacecraft at 2.3 Million Miles

June 30 is Asteroid Day.

Asteroids, sometimes called minor planets, are rocky, airless remnants left over from the early formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. The current known asteroid count is 958,967.

This image was taken using the 200-inch Hale telescope on Palomar Mountain by astronomers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the Deep Space 1 spacecraft at a distance of 2.3 million miles (3.7 million kilometers) from Earth. Tracing a path against the constellation Gemini. This image was obtained on Nov. 16, 1998, 23 days after the spacecraft's launch from Cape Canaveral, FL.

The spacecraft was receding from Earth at a speed of 1.1 miles per second relative to Earth. The spacecraft, just 4.9 feet high, was 4 million times dimmer than the faintest star visible to the unaided eye.

Top of the image is north. Each side of this square image is five arc-minutes, or approximately 0.08 of one degree.

Deep Space 1 was the first mission under NASA's New Millennium Program testing new technologies for use on future science missions. Among its 12 new technologies were a xenon ion propulsion system, autonomous navigation, a high-efficiency solar array and a miniature camera/spectrometer.

Visit NASA's Asteroid Watch to learn more about how the agency tracks these celestial bodies.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Source: www.nasa.gov
View during June 26, 2020, spacewalks

On June 26, 2020, spacewalkers Bob Behnken and Chris Cassidy completed the first of two scheduled spacewalks to replace batteries on one of two power channels on the far starboard truss (S6 Truss) of the International Space Station.

In this image posted by @AstroBehnken on Twitter, he said: "Yesterday, @Astro_SEAL snapped this shot from our worksite on @Space_Station@SpaceX ’s Crew Dragon and @JAXA_en ’s HTV in clear view. Not bad for a view while working …"

During the spacewalk, Behnken and Cassidy removed five of six aging nickel-hydrogen batteries for one of two power channels for the starboard 6 (S6) truss, installed two of three new lithium-ion batteries, and installed two of three associated adapter plates that are used to complete the power circuit to the new batteries. Mission control reports that the two new batteries are working.

Cassidy and Behnken are scheduled to complete the upgrade to this initial power channel in a second spacewalk on July 1.

Image Credit: NASA 


Source: www.nasa.gov
edge-on view of the stars in galaxy NGC 5907, bright against the backdrop of space

The galaxy known as NGC 5907 stretches wide across this image. Appearing as an elongated line of stars and dark dust, the galaxy is categorized as a spiral galaxy just like our own Milky Way. In this new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, we don’t see the beautiful spiral arms because we are viewing it edge-on, like looking at the rim of a plate. It is for this reason that NGC 5907 is also known as the Knife Edge galaxy.

The Knife Edge galaxy is about 50 million light-years from Earth, lying in the northern constellation of Draco. Although not visible in this image, ghostly streams of stars on large arching loops extend into space, circling around the galaxy; they are believed to be remnants of a small dwarf galaxy, torn apart by the Knife Edge galaxy and merged with it over 4 billion years ago.

Text credit: ESA (European Space Agency)
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. de Jong; Acknowledgment: Judy Schmidt (Geckzilla)


Source: www.nasa.gov
The solar eclipse shadows a portion of Asia

On June 21, 2020, as the International Space Station orbited over Kazakhstan and into China, an external high-definition camera captured this picture of the solar eclipse shadowing a portion of the Asian continent. The eclipse was visible across broad sections of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. In the left foreground, is the H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 from JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Image Credit: NASA


Source: www.nasa.gov
Hubble image of NGC 7027

As nuclear fusion engines, most stars live placid lives for hundreds of millions to billions of years. But near the end of their lives they can turn into crazy whirligigs, puffing off shells and jets of hot gas. In this image NGC 7027 resembles a jewel bug, an insect with a brilliantly colorful metallic shell.

Recently, NGC 7027's central star was identified in a new wavelength of light — near-ultraviolet — for the first time by using Hubble's unique capabilities. The near-ultraviolet observations will help reveal how much dust obscures the star and how hot the star really is. This object is a visibly diffuse region of gas and dust that may be the result of ejections by closely orbiting binary stars that were first slowly sloughing off material over thousands of years, and then entered a phase of more violent and highly directed mass ejections. Hubble first looked at this planetary nebula in 1998. By comparing the old and new Hubble observations, researchers now have additional opportunities to study the object as it changes over time. Planetary nebulas are expanding shells of gas created by dying stars that are shedding their outer layers. When new ejections encounter older ejections, the resulting energetic collisions shape the nebula. The mechanisms underlying such sequences of stellar mass expulsion are far from fully understood, but researchers theorize that binary companions to the central, dying stars play essential roles in shaping them. NGC 7027 is approximately 3,000 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA and J. Kastner (RIT)


Source: www.nasa.gov
NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken

NASA astronauts (from top) Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken work on U.S. spacesuits inside the International Space Station's Quest airlock. The two are slated to conduct spacewalks on Friday, June 26, and Wednesday, July 1, to begin the replacement of batteries for one of the power channels on the orbiting laboratory.

The spacewalking astronauts will replace aging nickel-hydrogen batteries for one of two power channels on the far starboard truss (S6 Truss) of the station with new lithium-ion batteries that arrived to the station on a Japanese cargo ship last month. The battery replacement work is the culmination of power upgrade spacewalks that began in January 2017.

Image Credit: NASA


Source: www.nasa.gov
Troy Asher and Wayne Ringelberg

Pilots Troy Asher and Wayne Ringelberg walk out of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center’s (AFRC) hangar in Palmdale, California, toward the flight line. In addition to aeronautics research, Flight Operations personnel support such missions as the Mars Perseverance Rover, slated to launch in July 2020.

Armstrong's Building 703 in Palmdale opened in 2007 at the former Rockwell International/North American Aircraft production facility in Palmdale. The Los Angeles World Airports Board of Airport Commissioners endorsed a 20-year lease agreement with NASA for use of a large hangar and surrounding acreage at the facility adjacent to U.S. Air Force Plant 42.

Specialized science platform aircraft, such as the DC-8 flying laboratory, high-altitude research aircraft ER-2s, C-20A, Gulfstream III and the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, are based at the facility.  Building 703 contains about 422,000 square feet of floor space, including 210,000 square feet in the central hangar area and an equivalent amount of office space on four floors.

Learn more on NASA Armstrong: www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong

Image Credit: NASA/Lauren Hughes


Source: www.nasa.gov
Troy Asher and Wayne Ringelberg

Pilots Troy Asher and Wayne Ringelberg walk out of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center’s (AFRC) hangar in Palmdale, California, toward the flight line. In addition to aeronautics research, Flight Operations personnel support such missions as the Mars Perseverance Rover, slated to launch in July 2020.

Armstrong's Building 703 in Palmdale opened in 2007 at the former Rockwell International/North American Aircraft production facility in Palmdale. The Los Angeles World Airports Board of Airport Commissioners endorsed a 20-year lease agreement with NASA for use of a large hangar and surrounding acreage at the facility adjacent to U.S. Air Force Plant 42.

Specialized science platform aircraft, such as the DC-8 flying laboratory, high-altitude research aircraft ER-2s, C-20A, Gulfstream III and the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, are based at the facility.  Building 703 contains about 422,000 square feet of floor space, including 210,000 square feet in the central hangar area and an equivalent amount of office space on four floors.

Learn more on NASA Armstrong: www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong

Image Credit: NASA/Lauren Hughes


Source: www.nasa.gov
Artist's concept on NASA astronaut on Mars

This artist's concept shows an astronaut on Mars, as viewed through the window of a spacecraft. NASA is returning astronauts to the Moon and will test technology there that will be useful for sending the first astronauts to the Red Planet.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Source: www.nasa.gov
starburst galaxy PLCK G045.1+61.1 (a bunch of bright smears of light against the black backdrop of space)

Seen here in incredible detail, thanks to the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is the starburst galaxy formally known as PLCK G045.1+61.1. The galaxy, which appears as multiple reddish dots near the center of the image, is being gravitationally lensed by a cluster of closer galaxies, also seen in the image.

Gravitational lensing occurs when a large distribution of matter, such as a galaxy cluster, sits between Earth and a distant light source. As space is warped by massive objects, the light from the distant object bends as it travels to us, creating stretched, magnified and sometimes multiple images of the lensed object. This effect was first predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

From 2009 to 2013, the European Space Agency’s Planck space observatory captured multiple all-sky surveys. In the course of these surveys, with complementary observations by the Herschel Space Observatory, Planck discovered some of the brightest gravitationally lensed, high-redshift galaxies in the night sky. 

It was during the study of these Planck-Herschel selected sources using Hubble that the optical starlight emitted from this ultra-bright galaxy was found.

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


Source: www.nasa.gov
Artwork by Barron Storey of Gravity Probe B: What is Gravity Probe B?

One of an artist’s most fundamental characteristics is a capacity to bridge the gap between imagination and illustration and bring even the most abstruse and metaphysical concepts to life. Scientists and engineers understand this process all too well as they strive to coax into existence new theories, experiments and technologies. A striking example of that process is the artist Barron Storey’s attempt in the late 1980s to bring the ideas of the Gravity Probe B team at Stanford University to the public. Learn more.

Launched on April 20, 2004, Gravity Probe B (GP-B) was a collaboration between Stanford University and NASA designed to test two previously untested aspects of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity (geodetic and frame-dragging effects) by observing the precession of four near perfectly spherical gyroscopes in reference to a distant star as the spacecraft traveled in a polar orbit 400 miles above the Earth. The story of GP-B spans almost five decades and includes both a wide body of technical and scientific innovation and a remarkable collaboration between physics and engineering.  

This is but one of a series of images illustrating the scientific concepts. View the gallery.

Image Credit: Stanford University/Barron Storey


Source: www.nasa.gov
bright spiral galaxy NGC 2608 against the black backdrop of space

Looking deep into the universe, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope catches a passing glimpse of the numerous arm-like structures that sweep around this barred spiral galaxy, known as NGC 2608. Appearing as a slightly stretched, smaller version of our Milky Way, the peppered blue and red spiral arms are anchored together by the prominent horizontal central bar of the galaxy.

In Hubble photos like this, bright foreground stars in the Milky Way will sometimes appear as pinpoints of light with prominent light flares known as diffraction spikes, an effect of the telescope optics.  A star with these features is seen in the lower right corner of the image, and another can be spotted just above the pale center of the galaxy. The majority of the fainter points around NGC 2608, however, lack these features, and upon closer inspection they are revealed to be thousands of distant galaxies. NGC 2608 is just one among an uncountable number of kindred structures.

Similar expanses of galaxies can be observed in other Hubble images such as the Hubble Deep Field, which recorded over 3,000 galaxies in one field of view.

Text credit: ESA (European Space Agency)
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Riess et al.


Source: www.nasa.gov
Cassini at Saturn

This illustration imagines the view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft during one of its final dives between Saturn and its innermost rings, as part of the mission's Grand Finale. Cassini made 22 orbits that swooped between the rings and the planet before ending its mission on Sept. 15, 2017, with a final plunge into Saturn.

#TBT

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Source: www.nasa.gov
A wispy

Like a wisp of electric green smoke, the aurora australis seemingly intersects with the Earth's airglow as the International Space Station orbited above the Indian Ocean halfway between Australia and Antarctica.

Ever-shifting displays of colored ribbons, curtains, rays, and spots, auroras are most visible near the North (aurora borealis) and South (aurora australis) Poles as charged particles (ions) streaming from the Sun (the solar wind) interact with Earth’s magnetic field.

Auroras happen when ions in the solar wind collide with atoms of oxygen and nitrogen in the upper atmosphere. The atoms are excited by these collisions, and they typically emit light as they return to their original energy level. The light creates the aurora that we see. The most commonly observed color of aurora is green.

Image Credit: NASA


Source: www.nasa.gov
Japan's HTV-9 resupply ship

Japan's resupply ship, the H-II Transfer Vehicle-9 (HTV-9), is pictured attached to the International Space Station's Harmony module. Stowed inside the Japanese space freighter is the HTV-8 cargo pallet that was brought up to the station on a previous resupply mission. The pallet contains old nickel-hydrogen batteries for disposal that were disconnected from the station during a series of spacewalks at the end of 2019.

Carrying four tons of supplies, water, spare parts and experiment hardware for the Expedition 63 crew aboard the International Space Station, HTV-9 launched from Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan on Wednesday, May 20 at 1:31 p.m. EDT (2:31 a.m. Thursday, May 21, Japan time).

Image Credit: NASA


Source: www.nasa.gov
Holden Crater

Much of Mars is covered by sand and dust but in some places stacks of sedimentary layers are visible. In this image, exquisite layering is revealed emerging from the sand in southern Holden Crater. Sequences like these offer a window into Mars' complicated geologic history.

Holden Crater was once a candidate landing area for the Curiosity, Mars Science Laboratory, and is still an intriguing choice today.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
 


Source: www.nasa.gov
ASIM hardware attached to exterior of space station

Lightning flashes from a storm cloud to strike the ground. Such bolts represent only a small part of the overall phenomenon of lightning. The most powerful activity occurs high above the surface, in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Up there, lightning creates brief bursts of gamma rays that are the most high-energy naturally produced phenomena on the planet. Researchers recently measured these high-energy terrestrial gamma-ray flashes, or TGFs, using instruments on the International Space Station. The work helps reveal the mechanism behind the creation of the bright flashes we call lightning.

The instruments are part of the Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM), an Earth observation facility on the outside of the space station used to study severe thunderstorms and their role in Earth’s atmosphere and climate.

This photo of the ASIM investigation installed on the International Space Station’s Columbus External Payload Facility was taken by the ground-controlled External High Definition Camera 3.

Image Credit: NASA


Source: www.nasa.gov
Engineers and technicians working on the Mars 2020 Perseverance team

The samples Apollo 11 brought back to Earth from the Moon were humanity's first from another celestial body. NASA's upcoming Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission will collect the first samples from another planet (the red one) for return to Earth by subsequent missions. In place of astronauts, the Perseverance rover will rely on the most complex, capable and cleanest mechanism ever to be sent into space, the Sample Caching System.

In this image taken on May 20, 2020 at the Kennedy Space Center, engineers and technicians insert 39 sample tubes into the belly of the rover. Each tube is sheathed in a gold-colored cylindrical enclosure to protect it from contamination. Perseverance rover will carry 43 sample tubes to the Red Planet's Jezero Crater. 

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
 


Source: www.nasa.gov
Women of the Candomblé faith give thanks to the sea goddess for the first catch of the day. Founded in Salvador, Brazil, the faith is a mixture of African beliefs that resulted from enslaved people's export to the country.