Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

March 10, 1996

Mir is 10
Credit: NASA, STS-74 Crew

Explanation: The first module of the Russian Space Agency's Mir Space Station was launched into orbit 10 years ago (on February 20, 1986). Mir has since been substantially expanded in orbit by adding additional modules including the Kvant Astrophysics Module (1987) and recently a docking module. NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis was modified to allow it to dock with Mir in 1995 (STS-71,, STS 74) beginning a series of Shuttle-Mir flights scheduled to continue through 1997. In this wide angle view - poised above planet Earth with sunlight glinting from solar panels - Mir and Atlantis are seen connected via the docking module from the perspective of the shuttle payload bay. The image is from an IMAX movie frame taken during the STS 74 mission. In late 1997, building on this jointly developed understanding and experience, the US and Russia will launch the first modules of the International Space Station.

Information: The Scale of the Universe Debate in April 1996
Tomorrow's picture: Hubble Telescope Maps Pluto

| Archive | Index | Search | Glossary | Education | About APOD |

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (GMU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
NASA Technical Rep.: Sherri Calvo. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC