NASA’s Cassini Missions View Saturn

The “sixth rock from the Sun,” Saturn, named after the Roman God, is the second largest planet in the Solar System following Jupiter.

Two things which set Saturn apart from other planets are its nine rings composed of ice particles along with some rocky debris and dust, as well as at least 62 moons. Saturn’s atmosphere is composed of 96% hydrogen, 3% helium with traces of other gases.

The images below were captured by NASA’s Cassini Missions, Equinox and Solstice. Four of the images are natural color and one is ultra-violet.

Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Colorado

An intriguing planet, to be sure.

For many more images visit: NASA Saturn Cassini Images.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Atlantis – NASA STS 135 – The Final Space Shuttle Flight

The final flight of the three decade long Space Shuttle program, featuring STS 135 Atlantis, launched just before noon on Friday, July 8, 2011.

For many members of Main Street USA, especially those who grew up in the 1950’s and have watched the evolution of space travel and exploration, STS 135 marks the end of an era that may never be replaced. Below photo: Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett.

This blogger was with a group of friends at Cape Kennedy for the launch of STS 86 Atlantis, on Sepember 25, 1997, and we all watched in awe as the boosters propelled the craft from the launch pad into space. It was truly a spectacle to behold.

However, it appears that those fortunate individuals witnessing STS 135 will be the last of the breed.

Hopefully, Congress, in its infinite wisdom, will rapdily bring back a space program that has contributed in many ways to America.

Until then: R.I.P. Space Shuttle.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

NASA to the Extreme II – Image Captures

In 1993, NASA launched an infrared space observatory, the Spitzer Space Telescope (SST), formerly named the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF). The SST is the fourth and final of the NASA Great Observatories program.

NASA came through once again with spectacular images from deep space.

The beauty of the various images both Hubble and Spitzer have captured are magnified by the distance and space between our Earth and their locale.

Below are a sampling of Spitzer’s captures.

Chaos at the Heart of Orion – NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI

 Maffei 2 The Hidden Galaxy – NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

Stellar Snowflake Cluster – NASA/JPL-Caltech/CfA

Constellation Scorpius – NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

The Infrared Helix -NASA / JPL-Caltech /Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

Supernova Remnant – NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

What more can be said than NASA and Spitzer have provided eye candy to those who appreciate the vastness, wonder and mysteries of space.

For an earlier blog post containing more space images from NASA visit: NASA to the Extreme.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Space Shuttle STS-133 Discovery…viewed from the sky

Following some last minute delays, on February 24, 2011, the Space Shuttle STS-133 Discovery launched for the 39th and final time.

The space agency is under a presidential direction to retire the space shuttle fleet of three (including Atlantis and Endeavor) this summer and let private companies take over trips that orbit while NASA will focus on getting astronauts to asteroids and Mars.

The same morning, a plane that had been delayed from Orlando was lucky enough to witness the sight and at least one man captured it and posted it online.

While the passenger recorded the launch on his iPhone, the plane’s captain said to passengers over the loudspeaker, “Those on the right side can see the space shuttle. Those on the left side can probably see the people on the right side looking at the space shuttle.”

Truly that is life in the fast lane.

Over For Now.

Main Street One