Outer space does not begin at a definite altitude above Earth's surface. The Kármán line, an altitude of 100 km (62 mi) above sea level, is conventionally used as the start of outer space in space treaties and for aerospace records keeping. Certain portions of the upper stratosphere and the mesosphere are sometimes referred to as "near space". The framework for international space law was established by the Outer Space Treaty, which entered into force on 10 October 1967. This treaty precludes any claims of national sovereignty and permits all states to freely explore outer space. Despite the drafting of UN resolutions for the peaceful uses of outer space, anti-satellite weapons have been tested in Earth orbit.
An animated view of Voyager I's approach to Jupiter. One frame of this image was taken each Jupiter day (approximately 10 hours) between January 6 and February 9, 1979, as the space probe flew from 58 million to 31 million kilometers from Jupiter during that time. The small, round, dark spots appearing in some frames are the shadows cast by the moons passing between Jupiter and the Sun, while the small, white flashes around the planet, are the moons themselves.
Astronaut Eugene Cernan makes a short test drive of the lunar rover (officially, Lunar Roving Vehicle or LRV) during the early part of the first Apollo 17extravehicular activity. The LRV was only used in the last three Apollo missions, but it performed without any major problems and allowed the astronauts to cover far more ground than in previous missions. All three LRVs were abandoned on the Moon.
Credit: NASA, ESA, AURA/Caltech, Palomar Observatory
The Pleiades (also known as M45 or the Seven Sisters) is an open cluster in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the nearest to the Earth of all open clusters, probably the best known and certainly the most striking to the naked eye.
An animated image showing the apparent retrograde motion of Mars in 2003 as seen from Earth. All the true planets appear to periodically switch direction as they cross the sky. Because Earth completes its orbit in a shorter period of time than the planets outside its orbit, we periodically overtake them, like a faster car on a multi-lane highway. When this occurs, the planet will first appear to stop its eastward drift, and then drift back toward the west. Then, as Earth swings past the planet in its orbit, it appears to resume its normal motion west to east.
"The Blue Marble" is a famous photograph of Earth. NASA officially credits the image to the entire Apollo 17 crew — Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Jack Schmitt — all of whom took photographic images during the mission. Apollo 17 passed over Africa during daylight hours and Antarctica is also illuminated. The photograph was taken approximately five hours after the spacecraft's launch, while en route to the Moon. Apollo 17, notably, was the last manned lunar mission; no humans since have been at a range where taking a "whole-Earth" photograph such as "The Blue Marble" would be possible.
This infrared image shows hundreds of thousands of stars crowded into the swirling core of our spiral Milky Way galaxy. In visible-light pictures, this region cannot be seen at all because cosmic dust lying between Earth and the galactic center blocks our view.
The launch of Space ShuttleAtlantis on STS-98, February 72001, at sunset. The sun is behind the camera, and the shape of the plume is cast across the vault of the sky, intersecting the rising full moon. The top portion of the plume is bright because it is illuminated directly by the sun; the lower portions are in the Earth's shadow. After launch, the shuttle must engage in a pitch and roll program so that the vehicle is below the external tank and SRBs, as evidenced in the plume trail. The vehicle climbs in a progressively flattening arc, because achieving low orbit requires much more horizontal than vertical acceleration.
A diagram of Jupiter showing a model of the planet's interior, with a rocky core overlaid by a deep layer of liquid metallic hydrogen and an outer layer predominantly of molecular hydrogen. Jupiter's true interior composition is uncertain. For instance, the core may have shrunk as convection currents of hot liquid metallic hydrogen mixed with the molten core and carried its contents to higher levels in the planetary interior. Furthermore, there is no clear physical boundary between the hydrogen layers—with increasing depth the gas increases smoothly in temperature and density, ultimately becoming liquid.
Ignace-Gaston Pardies (1636–1673) was a French Catholic priest and scientist. His celestial atlas, entitled Globi coelestis in tabulas planas redacti descriptio, comprised six charts of the night sky and was first published in 1674. The atlas uses a gnomonic projection so that the plates make up a cube of the celestial sphere. The constellation figures are drawn from Uranometria, but were carefully reworked and adapted to a broader view of the sky. This is the second plate from a 1693 edition of Pardies's atlas, featuring constellations including Pegasus and Andromeda, visible in the northern sky.
A composite photo of the Orion Nebula, the closest region of star formation to Earth. It is composed of 520 separate images and NASA calls it "one of the most detailed astronomical images ever produced". The nebula is located below Orion's Belt and is visible to the naked eye at night. It is one of the most scrutinized and photographed objects in the night sky, and is among the most intensely-studied celestial features.
This natural-color mosaic image, combining thirty photographs, was taken by the Cassini orbiter over the course of approximately two hours on 23 July 2008 as it panned its wide-angle camera across Saturn and its ring system as the planet approached equinox. Six moons are pictured in the panorama, with the largest, Titan, visible at the bottom left.
Image 4Debris impacts on Mir's solar panels degraded their performance. The damage is most noticeable on the panel on the right, which is facing the camera with a high degree of contrast. Extensive damage to the smaller panel below is due to impact with a Progress spacecraft. (from Space debris)
Image 5Major elements of 200 stratospheric interplanetary dust particles. (from Cosmic dust)
Image 20Atmospheric attenuation in dB/km as a function of frequency over the EHF band. Peaks in absorption at specific frequencies are a problem, due to atmosphere constituents such as water vapor (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2). (from Interstellar medium)
Image 21This is an artist's concept of the expansion of the universe, where a volume of the universe is represented at each time interval by the circular sections. At left is depicted the rapid inflation from the initial state, followed thereafter by steadier expansion to the present day, shown at right. (from Outer space)
Image 22Artist's impression of dust formation around a supernova explosion. (from Cosmic dust)
Image 28Large-scale matter distribution in a cubic section of the universe. The blue fiber structures represent the matter and the empty regions in between represent the cosmic voids of the intergalactic medium (from Outer space)
Image 29Objects in Earth orbit including fragmentation debris. November 2020 NASA:ODPO (from Space debris)
Image 34Saudi officials inspect a crashed PAM-D module in January 2001. (from Space debris)
Image 35Astronaut Piers Sellers during the third spacewalk of STS-121, a demonstration of orbiter heat shield repair techniques (from Outline of space science)
Image 36For the first time, the NASA / ESA / Canadian Space Agency / James Webb Space Telescope has observed the chemical signature of carbon-rich dust grains at redshift, which is roughly equivalent to one billion years after the birth of the Universe, this observation suggests exciting avenues of investigation into both the production of cosmic dust and the earliest stellar populations in our Universe. (from Cosmic dust)
Image 41The distribution of ionized hydrogen (known by astronomers as H II from old spectroscopic terminology) in the parts of the Galactic interstellar medium visible from the Earth's northern hemisphere as observed with the Wisconsin Hα Mapper (Haffner et al. 2003) harv error: no target: CITEREFHaffnerReynoldsTufteMadsen2003 (help). (from Interstellar medium)
Image 42A dusty trail from the early Solar System to carbonaceous dust today. (from Cosmic dust)
Image 43Vanguard 1 is expected to remain in orbit for 240 years. (from Space debris)
Image 73Part of the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field image showing a typical section of space containing galaxies interspersed by deep vacuum. Given the finite speed of light, this view covers the past 13 billion years of the history of outer space.
Image 75Astronomers used the James Webb Space Telescope to image the warm dust around a nearby young star, Fomalhaut, in order to study the first asteroid belt ever seen outside of the Solar System in infrared light. (from Cosmic dust)
Image 76Space ShuttleDiscovery's lower starboard wing and Thermal Protection System tiles, photographed on STS-114 during an R-Bar Pitch Manoeuvre where astronauts examine the TPS for any damage during ascent (from Space debris)
Did you know (auto-generated)
... that, for the Space 220 Restaurant, Disney reached out to NASA engineers to understand what a space elevator might look like?