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ASTRONOMY IMAGES OF THE DAY Official NASA photographs from agency photographers chronicle what's making news across the agency, from launches ...
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Affaires du Maroc

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Adventures in Outer Space

Astronomy Image of the Day

Each day, NASA directly provides us with a different astronomy– and space science–related image or photograph of our fascinating universe.  Accompanying the images are brief explanations, often written by a professional astronomer or reported by an independent journalist.

Expect authentic images from the U.S. space agency.  Look out for high-resolutions views — captured by astronauts — of space walks they have taken and of satellite orbiting other planets.  Have you seen that supermassive black hole at the center of spiral galaxy?  No, not yet? They can be as eye-opening as those other NASA pictures and descriptions which officially relate to current events in astronomy and space exploration.

NASA satellite and airborne instruments picture Earth every day to increase our knowledge of our home and improve lives. These images, shared with scientists and the public worldwide, may use visible light, like a photographer’s camera, or peer into infrared, microwave and radio wavelengths that are invisible to human eyes.

Our magnificent planet is always ready for its close-up.

Women scientists at NASA in January 1959. Last Updated: March 8, 2017 |  Image Credit: NASA

In celebration of International Women’s Day on Wednesday and Women’s History Month in March, NASA has unveiled an educational virtual tour that brings students into the exciting careers of seven women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields at the agency.

Building on NASA’s participation with the 20th Century Fox film Hidden Figures, NASA’s Modern Figures tour introduces several amazing women who are contributing to America’s space program today, and is the first NASA-themed career tour available via the free Google Expeditions mobile app.

Pictured above are women scientists gathered in a meeting room at NASA in 1959. At the far left is Lucille Coltrane. Lucille was a computer at Langley Research Center. Next to Lucille is Jean Clark Keating, an aerospace engineer. The third woman from the left is Katherine Collie Speegle, a mathematician. The woman standing is Doris ‘Dot’ Lee, who worked on a team with Katherine Collie Speegle. Next to Doris is Ruth I. Whitman, an engineer in the pilotless aircraft division. The woman seated on the right of Ruth is Emily Stephens Mueller, a computer who worked with the Space Task Group.

NASA’s Modern Figures virtual tour gives students a three-dimensional experience in a 100,000-square-foot aircraft hangar, simulated Martian landscape, space flight operations facility, and other fascinating locations where these women work as materials scientists, launch directors, software engineers, and in other STEM fields.


A remarkable galactic hybrid

NASA IMAGE OF THE DAY | NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Showcases a Remarkable Galaxy.

Last Updated: March 6, 2017
Image credit: European Space Agency/Hubble & NASA

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image showcases the remarkable galaxy UGC 12591. UGC 12591 sits somewhere between a lenticular and a spiral.

Pisces–Perseus Supercluster is a long chain of galaxy clusters that stretches out for hundreds of millions of light-years — one of the largest known structures in the cosmos. Its classification straddles somewhere between a lenticular and a spiral galaxy. It lies just under 400 million light-years from us.

The galaxy itself is extraordinary: it is incredibly massive. The galaxy and its halo together contain several hundred billion times the mass of the sun; four times the mass of the Milky Way. It also whirls round extremely quickly, rotating at speeds of up to 1.8 million kilometers (1.1 million miles) per hour.

Observations with Hubble are helping astronomers to understand the mass of UGC 12591, and to determine whether the galaxy simply formed and grew slowly over time, or whether it might have grown unusually massive by colliding and merging with another large galaxy at some point in its past.

NASA IMAGE OF THE DAY | Glaciers Ebb on South Georgia Island
NASA IMAGE OF THE DAY | Glaciers Ebb on South Georgia Island
NASA IMAGE OF THE DAY | Glaciers Ebb on South Georgia Island in the Atlantic Ocean
On September 14, 2016, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured natural-color images of South Georgia Island, where several glaciers are in retreat.

Image Credit | NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey  |  Last Updated: Feb. 28, 2017

Frequent cloud cover in the southern Atlantic Ocean often obscures satellite images of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. But occasionally the clouds give way. On September 14, 2016, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured natural-color images of South Georgia Island, where several glaciers are in retreat.

The image above, a closer crop of a Landsat scene, shows Neumayer Glacier. In the past 16 years, Neumayer has retreated more than 4 kilometers (2.5 miles). Like other large glaciers on the island, Neumayer is a tidewater glacier—that is, it flows down into the ocean. Roughly 30 kilometers (20 miles) to the southeast of Neumayer, on the same side of the island, Hindle Glacier has also retreated markedly since 2000—more than 3 kilometers (2 miles). Like Neumayer, Hindle used to merge with another glacier (Ross).

The image below, a closer crop of the Landsat scene, shows Neumayer Glacier. A blue line indicates its terminus, or leading edge, on September 10, 2000. In the past 16 years, Neumayer has retreated more than 4 kilometers (2.5 miles). Like other large glaciers on the island, Neumayer is a tidewater glacier—that is, it flows down into the ocean.

Acquired September 14, 2016

“The glacier is on the verge of separation into two main tributaries,” wrote glaciologist Mauri Pelto in his blog. “This will enhance calving from the glacier, and promote additional mass loss and retreat. This retreat will impact Konig Glacier to the north, which is connected to the Neumayer Glacier.” Just to the east, sediment stains the waters of Cumberland West Bay.

Roughly 30 kilometers (20 miles) to the southeast of Neumayer, on the same side of the island, Hindle Glacier has also retreated markedly since 2000—more than 3 kilometers (2 miles). Like Neumayer, Hindle used to merge with another glacier (Ross). As recently 2002, the two were still connected, according to Pelto.

Additional information and annotated images: NASA Earth Observatory

NASA Image of the Day |  Orion Spacecraft Parachutes Tested at U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground
Image credit: Image Credit: NASA
Last Updated: March 9, 2017

NASA Images of the Day |  Orion Spacecraft Parachutes Tested at U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground

ARIZONA |  Engineers successfully tested the parachutes for NASA’s Orion spacecraft at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona Wednesday, March 8, 2017. This was the second test in a series of eight that will certify Orion’s parachutes for human spaceflight.

The test, which dropped an Orion engineering model from a C-17 aircraft at 25,000 feet, simulated the descent astronauts might experience if they have to abort a mission after liftoff.

Orion, which will launch atop NASA’s Space Launch System rocket from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is built to take astronauts farther into the solar system than ever before. The spacecraft will carry crew to space, provide emergency abort capabilities, sustain the crew during their mission and provide safe re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA’s Curiosity rover and back-to-back Martian sandstorms.

NASA Image of the Day | Full-Circle Vista With a Linear Shaped Martian Sand Dune
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech |  Last Updated: March 1, 2017

The left side of this 360-degree panorama from NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows the long rows of ripples on a linear shaped dune in the Bagnold Dune Field on the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp. 

The view is a mosaic of images taken with Curiosity’s Navigation Camera (Navcam) on Feb. 5, 2017, during the 1,601st Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars. The view is centered toward west-southwest, with east-southeast on either end.  

The rover is a project of the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity).

A capped mound called “Ireson Hill” is on the right.  A map showing Curiosity’s location on Sol 1601 is at  It also appears below, so please scroll down.

This map here shows the route driven by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity through the 1601 Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission on Mars (dated February 06, 2017).

NASA’s Curiosity Rover’s location for Sol 1601 in Mars. The 1601 Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission on Mars was captured on February 06, 2017. | Image credit: NASA

Numbering of the dots along the line indicate the sol number of each drive. North is up. From Sol 1598 to Sol 1601, Curiosity had driven a straight line distance of about 65.25 feet (19.89 meters). Since touching down in Bradbury Landing in August 2012, Curiosity has driven 9.60 miles (15.45 kilometers).

The base image from the map is from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera (HiRISE) in NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Put on 3D glasses to see the full glory of this Martian landscape. This stereo view from the Curiosity Mars rover’s Navcam shows a 360-degree panorama around the site where the rover spent its 1,000th Martian day, or sol, on Mars. The image appears three-dimensional when viewed through red-blue glasses with the red lens on the left. The site is near “Marias Pass.”


ABOVE PLANET EARTH |  Have you ever wanted to walk in outer space?  Have you dreamed about what it is like to jog while orbiting our planet Earth?

Lucky you. Since this past January 2017, NASA astronauts and flights engineers on board the spacecraft Expedition 50 have been fulfilling those daydreams and showing us how it goes to suit up for orbit.

And NASA released their exclusive photos to share with the world.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough on Jan. 13, 2017 spacewalk
Image Credit: ESA/NASA | Last updated Jan. 17, 2017


Above the Earth’s atmosphere early this year, 3 astronauts boldly walked where ordinary people have walked before.  

Consider these 3 extraordinarily fun moments:

January 6, 2017
NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson was seen during a spacewalk during Expedition 50 aboard the International Space Station. Whitson and fellow NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough successfully installed gizmos that juiced up the International Space Station. They accomplished several get-ahead tasks, including a photo survey of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.  For Whitson, this event marked her seventh spacewalk.

Astronaut Shane Kimbrough during a January 13 spacewalk.

January 13, 2017
Expedition 50’s Commander Shane Kimbrough from NASA and Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency concluded their spacewalk at 12:20 p.m. EST. During the nearly six hour spacewalk, the two astronauts successfully installed three new adapter plates and hooked up electrical connections for three of the six new lithium-ion batteries on the International Space Station.

This was the second spacewalk in a week for Kimbrough and the fourth of his career, and the first for Pesquet.  Collectively, these astronauts were also able to stow padded shields from Node 3 outside of the station to make room inside the airlock — and they took photos to document hardware for future spacewalks.

stronaut Peggy Whitson (center) helps spacewalkers Thomas Pesquet (left) and Shane Kimbrough suit up before beginning their spacewalk Jan. 13, 2017.

March 3, 2017
Students from Hartsfield Elementary 4-H Club of the Houston Independent School District in Texas spoke with a NASA astronaut about what it is like to be currently living and working aboard the International Space Station. The 20-minute, Earth-to-space call aired live on NASA Television and the agency’s website at 10 a.m. EST Friday, March 3.

Flight Engineer Whitson answered questions from students assembled on the campus of the Animal and Environmental Sciences Magnet at Hartsfield Elementary. She spoke about her experiences during and after she launched to the space station on Nov. 17, 2016.

And wouldn’t you know? Whitson is herself a 4-H alumna; she has played a major role in this partnership.

A Quick Précis on Spacewalking

Space station crew members have conducted 197 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 51 days 6 hours and 4 minutes working outside the station.

Not one to waste a world-publicity opportunity, NASA has since started what it calls “Expeditionary Skills for Life,” a NASA and 4-H partnership.  The program highlights important skills including teamwork, cultural competency, leadership, fellowship and communication. The program is designed to take participants through educational expeditions that will help them learn and practice skills that can be applied to almost every aspect of life.
Astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Thomas Pesquet and Peggy Whitson seemingly juggle apples and oranges floating in the microgravity environment inside the space station. | Image credit: NASA
This in-flight education downlink is an integral component of the NASA Office of Education’s efforts to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning in the United States. Linking students directly to astronauts aboard the space station through the agency Office of Education’s STEM on Station activity provides authentic, live experiences in space exploration, space study and the scientific components of space travel, while introducing the possibilities of life in space.

Keep up with the crew aboard the International Space Station on the agency’s blog, follow @ISS on Instagram, and @space_station on Twitter.

Find out more about the NASA/4-H partnership at:

Get NASA TV streaming video, schedules and downlink information at:

Learn about videos and lesson plans highlighting research on the International Space Station at:

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA sent holiday greetings and festive imagery from the cupola on Dec. 18, 2016.
Photo via NASA | Last Updated: Dec. 23, 2016.