• The Orion spacecraft crew module for Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) is lifted into a test stand for pressure testing in the Neil Armstrong Operations & Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The work is an important milestone on Orion’s journey toward EM-1, its mission beyond the moon atop the Space Launch System rocket in 2018.
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  • This mid-afternoon, 360-degree panorama was acquired by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover on April 4, 2016, as part of long-term campaign to document the context and details of the geology and landforms along Curiosity’s traverse since landing in August 2012.
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  • This illustration shows a star surrounded by a protoplanetary disk. A new study uses data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and four ground-based telescopes to determine the distance from a star to the inner rim of its surrounding protoplanetary disk. Researchers used a method called “photo-reverberation,” also known as “light echoes.
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  • The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite acquired this large natural-color image showing a wide view of the Caspian Sea around the Tyuleniy Archipelago on April 16, 2016. Ocean scientist Norman Kuring of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center found a puzzling feature in the image — lines crisscrossing the North Caspian Sea.
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  • This Earth observation composite image from the International Space Station captures morning sunglint and low clouds over the central Pacific Ocean. The image was put together at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, from a series of photographs taken by Expedition 47 Commander Jeff Williams on March 25, 2016.
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  • A prototype 13-kilowatt Hall thruster is tested at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. This prototype demonstrated the technology readiness needed for industry to continue the development of high-power solar electric propulsion into a flight-qualified system.
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  • A view from below in High Bay 3 inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center shows three work platforms installed for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The platforms will surround and provide access to the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft for Exploration Mission 1.
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  • One of dozens of high-powered rockets lifts off on April 16, 2016, during NASA’s 16th annual Student Launch challenge, held near Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama from April 13-16. Nearly 50 middle and high school, college and university teams from 22 states competed in the challenge.
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  • A sinuous feature snakes northward from Enceladus’ south pole like a giant tentacle.
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  • This image of early ice breakup of the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska, was taken by the Suomi NPP satellite’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument infrared channel, at around 1148 UTC on April 13, 2016.
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  • The rear wheels of the space shuttle orbiter Columbia touched down on Rogers dry lake at Edwards Air Force Base, NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center (then Dryden), California, to successfully complete a stay in space of more than two days. Astronauts John W. Young, STS-1 commander, and Robert L. Crippen, pilot, were aboard the vehicle.
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  • Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra of NASA captured this brightly lit night image of the city of Chicago on April 5, 2016, from the International Space Station. Kopra (@astro_tim) wrote, “#Goodnight #Chicago from @Space_Station. #CitiesFromSpace”
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  • An Air Force Test Pilot School T-38C passes in front of the sun at a supersonic speed, creating shockwaves that are caught photographically for research. NASA is using a modern version of schlieren imagery to visualize supersonic flow phenomena with full-scale aircraft in flight. The results will help engineers design a quiet supersonic transport.
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  • It’s difficult to get a sense of scale when viewing Saturn’s rings, but the Cassini Division (seen here between the bright B ring and dimmer A ring) is almost as wide as the planet Mercury.
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  • Expedition 47 Flight Engineer Tim Peake of ESA took this photograph on April 6, 2016, as the International Space Station flew over Madagascar, showing three of the five spacecraft docked to the station. The station crew awaits the scheduled launch today, April 8, of the third resupply vehicle in three weeks: a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft.
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