Our Earth can be a violent, desperate place. Sometimes it’s nice to take a broader view and be reminded the blue marble can also be a beautiful place to live. Astronaut Karen Nyberg joined the International Space Station as a flight engineer for Expedition 35 back in May. Picking up where former ISS denizen Chris Hadfield left off, Nyberg has taken to social media to share some amazing images from above Earth’s atmosphere.
Water, Sans Gravity - Nyberg calls this “one of the coolest games in space.” In a weightless environment, water behaves quite differently than here on land. Thanks to the effects of surface tension, it tends to form eerily beautiful spheres. Here Nyberg plays with water sans gravity, and refraction, all in one fantastic picture.
The Nile on July 14, 2013 - From such a distance, the Nile River (which is 4,132 miles long) looks modest as it snakes through Africa.
Orion - Many of these photos are taken from space and aimed at our home planet. This one, of the constellation Orion on August 15, 2013, gives us an awesome view of the familiar stars. We Earth-bound folk have looked to Orion to predict seasons and the best time to harvest crops. Home to stars such as Betelgeuse, it’s visible in the night sky from October through March.
Sunset over South America -There’s something incredible about seeing the sunset from space. On July 15, 2013, Nyberg captured that moment over the Rio de la Plata, or River of Silver, which runs through South America. As seen from space, it really lives up to its name.
Bangkok, Thailand - Like many cities, Bangkok’s skyline doesn’t go to sleep, which adds to the light pollution that makes it so hard to see stars from Earth. You can see that from space in this photo: Here is Bangkok, with veins of city lights streaking through ghostly cloud cover, taken on August 15, 2013
Canary Islands -Nyberg calls these cloud patterns “really cool.” We agree! The Canary Islands off the coast of Spain may have been a bit overcast on July 6, 2013, but the sunbathers’ loss was clearly to our benefit.
Clouds on July 26, 2013 - We gaze up at the sky and find shapes in the clouds. Nyberg looks down on the cotton stuff from above. “These look very botanical to me,” she writes.
Iran - This swirly looking coastal region is Iran along the Persian Gulf.
Feather Clouds on August 13, 2013 - Some of the most beautiful photos aren’t ruined by cloud cover, rather the clouds take center stage. In this photo of the South Pacific, Nyberg notes she’s “seeing nature in nature.”
For the first time, astronomers have discovered a sun-like star playing host to a “habitable zone” exoplanet located inside the Milky Way’s galactic bulge — some 25,000 light-years distant — using a quirk of Einstein’s general relativity.
But don’t go having dreams of exotic getaways to the glistening lights of the center of our galaxy, this exoplanet is a huge gas giant world, about five times the mass of Jupiter. However, there is something (potentially) very exciting about this new discovery. Like Jupiter, this newly discovered giant exoplanet may possess small satellites; exomoons that could have life-giving potential. Read more
A relative of Boston Dynamics’ Cheetah robot, which last year managed to outpace the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt on a treadmill, is now able to run outdoors untethered. Named the WildCat, the outdoor runner is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and is being developed for military use.
"At a space industry conference last week, Russian officials announced that their version of Robonaut, the SAR-400, is currently undergoing testing at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre Research Institute, and will be making its way to the International Space Station (ISS) within just a few years." (via IEEE Spectrum)
#thingsnasamighttweet Apollo 9 Command/Service Modules (CSM) nicknamed “Gumdrop” and Lunar Module (LM), nicknamed “Spider” are shown docked together as Command Module pilot David R. Scott stands in the open hatch. Astronaut Russell L. Schweickart, Lunar Module pilot, took this photograph of Scott during his EVA as he stood on the porch outside the Lunar Module. Apollo 9 was an Earth orbital mission designed to test docking procedures between the CSM and LM as well as test fly the Lunar Module in the relative safe confines of Earth orbit. #space #nasa #nasahistory