Astronomy Picture of the Day
APOD: 1996 April 2 - Atlantis Approaches Mir
Explanation: Imagine flying though space and approaching the Mir space station. The crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis did just this in a mission that ended only two days ago. Mir, now 10 years old, is equipped for scientific experiments in astronomy, physics, materials, biology and chemistry. The top most module on Mir is an unmanned supply ship used to send food and supplies. The next module with the long boom carries telescopes and essential flight equipment and connects to the core module with living quarters and solar panels. To the left is the Spektr module carrying solar arrays and scientific equipment while on the right is a scientific module that also carries an airlock. The docking module seen at the bottom is the ultimate destination of Atlantis. The STS-76 mission left astronaut Shannon Lucid for a planned five month stay. Four more shuttle flights are currently planned to Mir, keeping a NASA astronaut continuously in space until late 1997. 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.
APOD: 1999 February 23 - Construction of International Space Station Begins
Explanation: Move over Mir, here comes the International Space Station. In December 1998, the crew of Space Shuttle Endeavour started construction by joining the U.S.-built Unity node with the Russian-built Zarya module. A close look at the above IMAX(r) photograph will reveal two astronauts working on Unity. Below on Earth, the terminator between night and day is visible. The International Space Station's low 250-mile Earth orbit causes it to experience one complete day/night cycle in about 90 minutes.
APOD: 1998 May 10 - Skylab Over Earth
Explanation: Skylab was an orbiting laboratory launched by a Saturn V rocket in May 1973. Skylab was visited three times by NASA astronauts who sometimes stayed as long as two and a half months. Many scientific tests were performed on Skylab, including astronomical observations in ultraviolet and X-ray light. Some of these observations yielded valuable information about Comet Kohoutek, our Sun and about the mysterious X-ray background - radiation that comes from all over the sky. Skylab fell back to earth on 11 July 1979.
Authors & editors:
& Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.