Inauguration from space

Here’s a picture of Washington DC taken from the international space station (Credit: NASA):

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Can you see the crowd? It would be tough, especially since was taken the day before the inauguration.

Here’s a picture of the rings of Saturn (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute):

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You can see two of the moons through the gaps in the rings, in fact the gaps in the rings are caused by the moons–obviously these moons really want to be in the picture.

SpaceX launches

The first of the SpaceX missions to resupply the International Space Station has lifted off (Credit:  NASA/Rick Wetherington and Tony Gray; NASA):

You can read about what’s happening at the Space Station here.

Pretty pictures

No politics for today, just some pictures from NASA. The first is the launch of the latest Soyuz mission to the Space Station. I really like the appearance of the Soyuz (Credit:NASA/Carla Cioffi):

and then there’s this picture of a carbon star spitting out a layer of helium (Credit: ESA/NASA):

Mars and SpaceX

The commercial SpaceX Dragon capsule has been captured by the space station. Here’s a picture of it as it approached the space station (Credit: NASA):

In unrelated news, the Mar’s Rover Opportunity is still around and still taking pictures (this is a false color image, credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.):

Space stuff

The initial launch for SpaceX is now set for tomorrow morning:

Mission plans call for an extensive set of tests in space requiring the Dragon spacecraft to show that it can move precisely in orbit and approach the space station carefully. Only after these tests are successful will the spacecraft be allowed to approach the orbiting laboratory close enough to be grappled and berthed by the station’s robotic arm.

And since I’m talking about space, here’s s picture of the Andromeda Galaxy (Credit: GALEX, JPL-Caltech, NASA):

Update: The SpaceX launch was aborted this morning, they might try again as early as Tuesday.

Space stuff

A few nice pictures for today. The first is an outburst from a black hole (Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Curtin University/R. Soria et al., Optical: NASA/STScI/ Middlebury College/F. Winkler et al.):

The next two look at SpaceX, the private company that is in line to take over cargo transport into space (Credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann):

and a more recent picture (Credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann April 26, 2012):

The launch is scheduled for the near future, but there is no firm date yet. You can look here for more information.

The Sun, a supernova, and a poem

A couple of pictures today. The first is of the space station as it moves in front of the Sun (Credit: Thilo Kranz/DLR–the DLR is the German Space Agency)–you really need to click on the image to see the space station, it’s that dot in the upper left of the Sun:

The second is a composite image taken by the Chandra telescope of the aftermath of a supernova in the Large Megallanic Cloud (Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Penn State/S. Park et al. Optical: NASA/STScI/UIUC/Y.H. Chu & R. Williams et al.):

And here’s a poem, since it’s Frige’s day:

Pop the wastelands rise about
With a snap crackle and
But don’t fret the music shouts
Here comes the new world.

The Soyuz TMA-18 lifts off and a poem

For some reason I haven’t looked at Russian spacecrafts and, to my eye, they look quite a bit different from NASA rockets (This is the Soyuz TMA-18; Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls):

Here’s a small picture of its liftoff (there doesn’t seem to be a link to the story itself, so you might have to scroll down or search) this morning (Credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi):

To me it looks spindly, but it must not be since Russia sends up a lot more rockets than anyone else (and for several years will be the only way to get to the space station).

And today being Friday, a poem (I’ve decided to go for the bombast here, so I needed to use the exclamation point):

I have seen Osiris rent asunder
Or perhaps Ragnarök to be
As I gaze inside thunder
That engulfs the night and me!

A hundred poems and the space station

It’s a cloudy day here in Boston. I wonder if it looks like this from above (Credit: NASA):

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This is a picture of the space station taken as STS-119 performed a fly around after undocking. The cloudy Earth is in the background.

Oh, I might as well include a picture of the shuttle Discovery lifting off on the STS-119 mission (Image Credit: NASA/Tony Gray, Tom Farrar):

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I also give you my hundredth poem on the site (do I get a prize?):

Do you feel the east wind
Blowing out the fires lit
When inhibitions flowed like wine
And clouds leaked the sky?

Serenity Now

No, I don’t mean this. I mean that I think the new addition to the space station should be named Serenity. Really a shuttle would be a better choice given the TV show, but this isn’t too bad.

Here it is (from NASA, credit: Alenia Spazio):

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and here’s what the view might look like when it’s actually in space (again from NASA):

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The point is that NASA is allowing us to vote on its name. The options are Earthrise, Legacy, Serenity, Venture, or you can suggest your own. Obviously, any Firefly fan like me will go for Serenity (DVDs of the TV series and the movie Serenity are on the space station). The voting is done on March 20, so go over and vote.

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