These photos of star trails were taken by Expedition 31 Flight Engineer Don Pettit on the International Space Station.
Life in a space colony would be different from life on Earth.
Gravity might be a thing of the past, everyone could drink distilled urine, and a whole generation of Earthlings may grow up without ever having set foot on the surface of the planet. At the moment, those ideas are still firmly set in the realm of science fiction, but in the next 1,000 years, new technologies could be developed that would enable humanity to colonize space.
While a self-sustaining space station colony might be a long way off, scientists are still working to design and perhaps even build a space station that goes beyond low-Earth orbit.
A view of Halley’s Comet from the Lick Observatory on June 6, 1910
What makes this epic snowball photo even cooler is that this was only TWO passes ago for this periodic visitor, which only shows up every 75-76 years!!!
Covering the Space Program
NASA doesn’t need much help selling the idea that space is super-awesome, but these covers for manuals and press conference notes from the golden age of spaceflight sure don’t hurt. They are going up for auction later this month. I wouldn’t mind having one or two of those hanging in my house, eh?
Ten years ago on March 1, the European Space Agency launched an 8-ton satellite called Envisat that would deliver back to Earth some of the most beautiful images of our planet taken from space.
Since then, Envisat has orbited Earth more than 50,000 times and has lived twice as long as planned.
The satellite has more than seven instruments on board that can use radar to see through clouds, capture ocean color and land cover, monitor the ozone layer and atmospheric pollutants, measure thermal-infrared radiation, and register surface topography.
To celebrate the satellite’s 10th anniversary, Wired has selected a few of its most beautiful images for this gallery.
Good luck deciding which one to use as wallpaper for your computer desktop.
What if the sun never set?
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station occasionally experience that very phenomenon, and it’s captured in the video above in all its beautiful oddness. Here’s how it works:
The ISS doesn’t travel around the Earth’s middle. Rather, it follows a near-polar orbit. As it flies along its tilted north-south path, orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes, this orbit lets it see much more of the Earth beneath it. Occasionally, it happens to travel along the line between night and day, and that’s where this cool scene unfolds.
Along Earth’s “terminator” (the line between light and dark), if you looked out the window of the ISS you’d see the Sun dip in the sky, but climb again without setting.
In the video, the orbit begins east of London, then extends southward along the terminator until crossing near the South Pole. The ISS then orbits back up toward the north, hovering above the terminator in permanent daylight until it reaches a point just east of where it began.
The Earth’s terminator line:
(Video by NASACrewEarthObs)
(Photo: Chris Hadfield via Twitter)
Astronaut Chris Hadfield has made a name for himself as the International Space Station’s first Canadian commander, the“Singing Spaceman” and Star Trek skipper William Shatner’s Twitter buddy — but he’s also one heck of a photographer.