Environmental Portrait of Isidro Reyna in Bldg. 30, in front of the Mission Control Center doors, at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

“We were a two-person shop doing comprehensive communications for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. I won a whole ton of awards there alongside an amazing mentor and boss named Sandra Arnold. That's why I stayed so long — because we were such a great team. That experience was very foundational to my federal career.

"I found out in October 2013 that my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I called Sandra and told her what was going on, and she suggested I telework from San Antonio and take care of him.

"So, I physically moved from my office in Galveston, Texas, back to my hometown of San Antonio and rented a home. My dad moved in with me, and sadly, he eventually passed away. I will forever be thankful to Sandra for allowing me that time because I was able to spend that last year of my dad's life with him. 

"She asked me, ‘What are you going to do next? What do you want to do next?’ And I told her, ‘I can't go back and work there after the trauma of my dad's death.’ I needed time to grieve. It’s tough. I didn’t want to jump back into this work. 

"We were on the phone, and she said, ‘Well, let's look at jobs together.’ And she said, ‘Hey, check this one out. There's a job at NASA.’ 

"The stars aligned – I was working at Johnson Space Center in Houston about six months later. That’s how I got here, in a roundabout way.” 

— Isidro Reyna, Strategic Communications Manager, Strategic Integration and Management Division, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters

Image Credit: NASA / James Blair
Interviewer: NASA / Thalia Patrinos

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Source: www.nasa.gov
A new mosaic of the Shackleton Crater

A new mosaic of the Shackleton Crater
A new mosaic of the Shackleton Crater
Credits: Mosaic created by LROC (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) and ShadowCam teams with images provided by NASA/KARI/ASU

A new mosaic of the Shackleton Crater showcases the power of two lunar orbiting cameras working together to reveal unprecedented detail of the lunar South Pole region.

This mosaic was created with imagery acquired by  LROC (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera), which has been operating since 2009, and from ShadowCam, a NASA instrument on board a KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute) spacecraft called Danuri, which launched in Aug. 2022. ShadowCam was developed by Malin Space Science Systems and Arizona State University.

LROC can capture detailed images of the lunar surface but has limited ability to photograph shadowed parts of the Moon that never receive direct sunlight, known as permanently shadowed regions. ShadowCam is 200-times more light-sensitive than LROC and can operate successfully in these extremely low-light conditions, revealing features and terrain details that are not visible to LROC. ShadowCam relies on sunlight reflected off lunar geologic features or the Earth to capture images in the shadows.

ShadowCam’s light sensitivity, however, renders it unable to capture images of parts of the Moon that are directly illuminated, delivering saturated results. With each camera optimized for specific lighting conditions found near the lunar poles, analysts can combine images from both instruments to create a comprehensive visual map of the terrain and geologic features of both the brightest and darkest parts of the Moon. The permanently shadowed areas in this mosaic, such as the interior floor and walls of Shackleton Crater, are visible in such detail because of the imagery from ShadowCam. In contrast, the sunlit areas in this mosaic, like the rim and flanks of the crater, are a product of imagery collected by LROC.

With ShadowCam, NASA can image permanently shadowed regions of the Moon in greater detail than previously possible, giving scientists a much better view of the lunar South Pole region. This area has never been explored by humans and is of great interest for science and exploration because it is thought to contain ice deposits or other frozen volatiles. Scientists believe layers of the ice deposits have existed on the Moon for millions or billions of years, and the ability to study samples could further our understanding of how the Moon and our solar system evolved. The ice deposits could also serve as an important resource for exploration because they are comprised of hydrogen and oxygen that can be used for rocket fuel or life support systems.

A more complete map of the lunar South Pole region area is valuable for future surface exploration endeavors, such as VIPER (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover) and Artemis missions, which will return humans to the lunar surface and establish a long-term presence at the Moon.

Source: www.nasa.gov
A large lenticular galaxy appearing as faint, gray, concentric ovals that grow progressively brighter towards the core and fades away at the edge. Two threads of dark reddish-brown dust cross the galaxy’s disk, near its center. Black background.

This dream-like image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope features the galaxy known as NGC 3156. It lies about 73 million light-years from Earth, in the minor equatorial constellation Sextans.

NGC 3156 is a lenticular galaxy, with two visible threads of dark reddish-brown dust crossing the galaxy’s disk. This galaxy type is named for their lens-like appearance when viewed from the side or edge-on. They fall somewhere between elliptical and spiral galaxies and have properties of both. Like spirals, lenticulars have a central bulge of stars and a large disk surrounding it. They often have dark dust lanes like spirals, but no large-scale spiral arms. Like ellipticals, lenticular galaxies have mostly older stars and little ongoing star formation.

Astronomers have studied NGC 3156 in many ways – from its cohort of globular clusters (roughly spherical groups of stars bound together by their gravitational attraction), to the stars being destroyed by the supermassive black hole at its heart. Using Hubble data, they compared stars near the galaxy’s core to those in galaxies with similarly sized black holes. They found that NGC 3156 has a higher-than-average percentage of stars gobbled up by its supermassive black hole when compared to its counterparts.

Text credit: European Space Agency (ESA)
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Sharples, S. Kaviraj, W. Keel

Media Contact:

Claire Andreoli
NASA's Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbelt, MD
[email protected]

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On September 12, from a location just south of the Arctic Circle, stones of Iceland's modern Arctic Henge point skyward in this startling scene. Entertaining an intrepid group of aurora hunters during a geomagnetic storm, alluring northern lights dance across the darkened sky when a stunning fireball meteor explodes. Awestruck, the camera-equipped skygazers captured video and still images of the boreal bolide, at its peak about as bright as a full moon. Though quickly fading from view, the fireball left a lingering visible trail or persistent train. The wraith-like trail was seen for minutes wafting in the upper atmosphere at altitudes of 60 to 90 kilometers along with the auroral glow.

Liliana Villarreal, Artemis landing and recovery director with Exploration Ground Systems (EGS), stands in front of the Crew Module Test Article (CMTA) at the turn basin in the Launch Complex 39 area at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

“From an early age, I wanted to be an astronaut. I remember going to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center when I was 7 on a family trip, and we got to see the rockets in the Rocket Garden and learn all about the Moon landings. I had no idea that humanity had ever been in space, much less landed on the Moon. When my family moved from Colombia to the United States when I was 10 years old, I remember thinking, ‘Maybe I have an opportunity to work in the space industry when I get older now that I live here.’

“Back then, we didn't have Google, so I went to the library because I wanted to find out, ‘How do you become an astronaut?’ And I remember looking through the encyclopedias that they had and looking at the current astronauts that were on the books and their bios — in particular, the females, because if they could do it, maybe I could. A lot of the astronauts had aerospace engineering as their degree, but a lot of them were also military pilots. So, I figured, OK, I'm going to try to do both routes and see if I could get in, and from that day on, I wanted to be an aerospace engineer. Unfortunately, my path as a military pilot ended the moment that I failed my driver’s permit vision test at 15 years old. Back then, the military would only accept people with perfect 20/20 vision.

“I kept applying for jobs [at] Boeing because I knew they were working on the International Space Station, and I'm like, ‘I need to work for NASA, this is my path in.’ And I just pestered those guys down in Florida, and one of them eventually called me after I moved back and said, ‘Hey, we have a job. Would you like to interview?’ And I'm like, ‘Of course!’ And I remember my first day coming into Kennedy Space Center and seeing the Vehicle Assembly Building. … It was very emotional because I couldn't believe that I was here.

"It's amazing when I get a chance to see the space station fly over. I am very fortunate to be able to say that my hands were on a lot of the hardware that is up there. I’m very proud to have been part of the International Space Station program.”

— Liliana Villarreal, Artemis Landing and Recovery Director, Exploration Ground Systems, NASA's Kennedy Space Center

Image Credit: NASA / Kim Shifflet
Interviewer: NASA / Michelle Zajac

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Venus has returned as a brilliant morning star. From a window seat on a flight to Mexico City, the bright celestial beacon was captured just before sunrise in this astronomical snapshot, taken on September 12. Venus, at the upper right, shared the early predawn skies with an old crescent Moon. Seen from this stratospheric perspective, both mountain peaks and clouds appear in silhouette along a glowing eastern horizon. The dramatic, long, low cloud bank was created by venting from planet Earth's active volcano Popocatépetl.

Fragmented sea ice in Hudson Bay in June 2023.

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite on the NOAA-20 (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) satellite captured this image of fragmented ice in Hudson Bay on June 28, 2023. The sea ice typically melts away between June and August, and the bay begins to freeze over again in late October or November.

The ebb and flow of ice and its distribution play a vital role in the lives of many animals, especially polar bears. When there is ice in the bay, polar bears head out to hunt for ringed seals and other prey. When the ice melts, the bears retreat to shore, where they fast or feed on whatever bits of food they can find until the ice returns.

Warm weather in early June 2023 accelerated Hudson Bay’s ice breakup, according to data from the Canadian Ice Service. This left much of the bay with less ice than usual by the end of the month, especially in the western and central parts of the bay.

Image Credit: NASA/Wanmei Liang; NOAA

Source: www.nasa.gov

Big, beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 7331 is often touted as an analog to our own Milky Way. About 50 million light-years distant in the northern constellation Pegasus, NGC 7331 was recognized early on as a spiral nebula and is actually one of the brighter galaxies not included in Charles Messier's famous 18th century catalog. Since the galaxy's disk is inclined to our line-of-sight, long telescopic exposures often result in images that evokes a strong sense of depth. The effect is further enhanced in this sharp image by galaxies that lie beyond the gorgeous island universe. The most prominent background galaxies are about one tenth the apparent size of NGC 7331 and so lie roughly ten times farther away. Their close alignment on the sky with NGC 7331 occurs just by chance. Lingering above the plane of the Milky Way, this striking visual grouping of galaxies is known to some as the Deer Lick Group.

Justin Hall lands the DROID 2 aircraft at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, as part of the Advanced Exploration of Reliable Operation at Low Altitudes: Meteorology, Simulation, and Technology campaign.

Justin Hall lands the Dryden Remotely Operated Integrated Drone 2 (DROID 2) aircraft at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, on Aug. 22, 2023, as part of the Advanced Exploration of Reliable Operation at Low Altitudes: Meteorology, Simulation and Technology campaign. The data gathered by studying wind from the ground to 2,000 feet could improve the safety of takeoff and landing for future air taxis and improve weather forecasts.

DROID 2, a fixed wing aircraft, acted as a wind sensor during the study. The remotely piloted drone, with its 10-foot wingspan, flew repeated passes at different predetermined altitudes. It completed the last flights for the campaign on Aug. 31.

See more photos from the wind study.

Image Credit: NASA/Steve Freeman

Source: www.nasa.gov
Expedition 69 Flight Engineer Frank Rubio completes a Surface Avatar session in the Columbus Laboratory Module.

In this image from July 24, 2023, astronaut Frank Rubio completes a session on the Surface Avatar Remote Control Terminal, which investigates how haptic controls, user interfaces, and virtual reality could command and control surface-bound robots from long distances. While aboard the International Space Station, Rubio has worked on several experiments involving robotics, space physics, and biology, and he participated in three spacewalks.

On Sept. 11, 2023, Rubio surpassed NASA’s single spaceflight record of 355 continuous days in space made by astronaut Mark Vande Hei on March 30, 2022. NASA TV broadcast a prerecorded space-to-ground conversation Vande Hei had with Rubio on Sept. 5, when he congratulated the orbiting astronaut for his record-breaking mission. Rubio is set to return to Earth on Sept. 27, when he will have spent 371 days in space.

Image Credit: NASA/Warren Hoburg

Source: www.nasa.gov

Some 4 billion light-years away, massive galaxy cluster Abell 370 is captured in this sharp Hubble Space Telescope snapshot. The cluster of galaxies only appears to be dominated by two giant elliptical galaxies and infested with faint arcs. In reality, the fainter, scattered bluish arcs, along with the dramatic dragon arc below and left of center, are images of galaxies that lie far beyond Abell 370. About twice as distant, their otherwise undetected light is magnified and distorted by the cluster's enormous gravitational mass, overwhelmingly dominated by unseen dark matter. Providing a tantalizing glimpse of galaxies in the early universe, the effect is known as gravitational lensing. A consequence of warped spacetime, lensing was predicted by Einstein almost a century ago. Far beyond the spiky foreground Milky Way star at lower right, Abell 370 is seen toward the constellation Cetus, the Sea Monster. It was the last of six galaxy clusters imaged in the Frontier Fields project.

A snowy egret marches through a pond near Kennedy Space Center, looking for food. The snowy egret can be identified by its slender black bill, black legs and yellow feet.

A snowy egret, identifiable by its slender black bill, black legs and yellow feet, marches through a pond near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, looking for food in this image from March 29, 2007. This species inhabits salt marshes, ponds, rice field and shallow coastal bays from Maine to southern South America. They are also found in northern California, Texas, and Oklahoma. Kennedy shares a boundary with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which surrounds it; more than 330 native and migratory bird species live there.

Image credit: NASA/Ken Thornsley

Source: www.nasa.gov
Support teams onboard the SpaceX recovery ship MEGAN work to open the hatch of the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft shortly after it landed with NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 members on Sept. 4, 2023.

Support teams onboard the SpaceX recovery ship MEGAN work to open the hatch of the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft shortly after it landed in the Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 4, 2023, with NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, United Arab Emirates (UAE) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev aboard. Bowen, Hoburg, Alneyadi, and Fedyaev are returning after nearly six months in space aboard the International Space Station.

This was the first spaceflight for all members except Bowen. During this expedition, Hoburg completed his first spacewalk, Alneyadi became the first UAE astronaut to conduct a spacewalk, and Bowen tied the record for most spacewalks by a U.S. astronaut, also held by Mike Lopez-Alegria, Bob Behnken, Peggy Whitson, and Chris Cassidy.

Watch the crew discuss their six-month science mission aboard the International Space Station during a news conference on Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 2:15 p.m. EDT, live on NASA’s website.

Image Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Source: www.nasa.gov

Sculpted by stellar winds and radiation, the star factory known as Messier 17 lies some 5,500 light-years away in the nebula-rich constellation Sagittarius. At that distance, this 1/3 degree wide field of view spans over 30 light-years. The sharp composite, color image highlights faint details of the region's gas and dust clouds against a backdrop of central Milky Way stars. Stellar winds and energetic light from hot, massive stars formed from M17's stock of cosmic gas and dust have slowly carved away at the remaining interstellar material, producing the cavernous appearance and undulating shapes. M17 is also known as the Omega Nebula or the Swan Nebula.

A field of stars in colors of yellow, gold, and blue fills the frame against a black background.

This colorful image of the globular star cluster Terzan 12 is a spectacular example of how dust in space affects starlight coming from background objects.

A globular star cluster is a conglomeration of stars, arranged in a spheroidal shape. Stars in globular clusters are bound together by gravity, with a higher concentration of stars towards the center. The Milky Way has about 150 ancient globular clusters at its outskirts. These clusters orbit around the galactic center, but far above and below the pancake-flat plane of our galaxy, like bees buzzing around a hive.

The location of this globular cluster, deep in the Milky Way in the constellation Sagittarius, means that it is shrouded in gas and dust which absorb and alter the starlight emanating from Terzan 12. The cluster is about 15,000 light-years from Earth. This location leaves a lot of room for intervening interstellar dust particles between us and the cluster to scatter blue light, causing only the redder wavelengths to come through to Earth. The interstellar dust clouds are mottled so that different parts of the cluster look redder than other parts along our line of sight.

The brightest red stars in the photo are bloated, aging giants, many times larger than our Sun. They lie between Earth and the cluster. Only a few may actually be members of the cluster. The very brightest hot, blue stars are also along the line of sight and not inside the cluster, which only contains aging stars.

Terzan 12 is one of 11 globular clusters discovered by the Turkish-Armenian astronomer Agop Terzan approximately a half-century ago. With its sharp vision, Hubble has revolutionized the study of globular clusters ever since its launch in 1990. Hubble observations have shed light on the relation between age and composition in the Milky Way galaxy's innermost globular clusters.

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, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, in Washington, D.C.  

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, ESA/Hubble, Roger Cohen (RU)

Media Contacts:

Claire Andreoli
NASA's Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbelt, MD
[email protected]

Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD

Bethany Downer

Source: www.nasa.gov
Recovery teams participate in field rehearsals in preparation for the retrieval of the sample return capsule from NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023, at the Department of Defense's Utah Test and Training Range.

A recovery team member takes part in field rehearsals in preparation for the retrieval of the sample return capsule from NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission in this image from Aug. 29, 2023. The sample of rocks and dust, which the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft collected from the asteroid Bennu in Oct. 2020, will return to Earth on Sept. 24, safely landing at the Department of Defense's Utah Test and Training Range. The sample will give generations of scientists a window into the time when the Sun and planets were forming about 4.5 billion years ago.

Get a preview of what the asteroid sample recovery will look like and join us on Sept. 24 at 10 a.m. EDT for live coverage.

Image Credit: NASA/Keegan Barber

Source: www.nasa.gov
Voyager 1 Lifts Off Toward an Interstellar Journey

On Sept. 5, 1977, NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft lifts off atop its Titan/Centaur-6 launch vehicle from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, now Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, in Florida.

Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, were originally launched to conduct closeup studies of Jupiter and Saturn, Saturn's rings, and the larger moons of the two planets. After completing these missions and more, Voyager 1 became the first spacecraft to reach interstellar space and is now the farthest human-made object from Earth. Scientists think it will reach the inner edge of the Oort Cloud in 300 years.

Follow along with Voyager's live mission status.

Source: www.nasa.gov

In 1716, English astronomer Edmond Halley noted, "This is but a little Patch, but it shows itself to the naked Eye, when the Sky is serene and the Moon absent." Of course, M13 is now less modestly recognized as the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules, one of the brightest globular star clusters in the northern sky. Sharp telescopic views like this one reveal the spectacular cluster's hundreds of thousands of stars. At a distance of 25,000 light-years, the cluster stars crowd into a region 150 light-years in diameter. Approaching the cluster core, upwards of 100 stars could be contained in a cube just 3 light-years on a side. For comparison, the closest star to the Sun is over 4 light-years away. The remarkable range of brightness recorded in this image follows stars into the dense cluster core.

Hurricane Idalia in the Gulf of Mexico

iss069e084548 (Aug. 29, 2023) --- Hurricane Idalia is pictured in the Gulf of Mexico as the International Space Station orbited 261 miles above.
Source: www.nasa.gov

Not the James Webb Space Telescope's latest view of a distant galactic nebula, this illuminated cloud of gas and dust dazzled early morning spacecoast skygazers on August 26. The snapshot was taken about 2 minutes after the launch of of a Falcon 9 rocket on the SpaceX Crew-7 mission, the seventh commercial crew rotation mission for the International Space Station. It captures drifting plumes and exhaust from the separated first and second stage illuminated against the still dark skies. Near the center of the image, within the ragged blueish ring, are two bright points of light. The lower one is the second stage of the rocket carrying 4 humans to space in a Crew Dragon spacecraft. The bright point above is the Falcon 9 first stage booster orienting itself for the trip back to Landing Zone-1 at Cape Canaveral, planet Earth.

Astronaut Guion S. Bluford, mission specialist, checks out the sample pump on the continuous flow electrophoresis system (CFES) experiment in the mid deck of the Earth-orbiting space shuttle Challenger on Space Transportation System-8 mission.

In this image from Sept. 5, 1983, Guion “Guy” Bluford checks out the sample pump on the continuous flow electrophoresis system (CFES) experiment in the middeck of the Earth-orbiting space shuttle Challenger.

Forty years ago today, he launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, becoming the first African American to fly in space. Bluford was a member of NASA's "Thirty-Five New Guys" – the 1978 astronaut class, which had the first African American, the first Asian American, and the first women astronauts.

During the STS-8 mission, the crew deployed the Indian National Satellite INSAT-1B, operated the Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System with the Payload Flight Test Article, operated the CFES, conducted medical measurements to understand biophysiological effects of spaceflight, and activated four “Getaway Special” canisters. STS-8 completed 98 orbits of the Earth in 145 hours before landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on Sept. 5, 1983.

Image Credit: NASA

Source: www.nasa.gov