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June 9, 2008

The Sky, From Above

The Space Shuttle Discovery successfully launched last week, becoming the 154th manned US space mission. It flew to the International Space Station, delivering (among other things) a Japanese module called Kibo, repair parts for a broken toilet, a Buzz Lightyear action figure, one of Lance Armstrong's yellow jerseys, and 18 sesame seed bagels - the first bagels ever to reach Earth orbit. Completion of this mission will leave only eight flights remaining in the Space Shuttle program until its end in 2010.

One of the best features of the space program has always been astronaut photography, and I will take this opportunity to share some of the best photographs of Earth's skies, taken from above - way above (over 200 miles to be more exact). (15 photos total)


The Space Shuttle Discovery lifts off from launch pad 39-A at Kennedy Space Center on May 31, 2008 in Cape Canaveral, Florida, en route to the International Space Station on a construction mission. (Eliot J. Schechter /Getty Images)


The Space Shuttle Discovery lifts off from Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39A at 5:02 p.m. The STS-124 mission is the 26th in the assembly of the International Space Station. (Photo courtesy of NASA/Johnson Space Center)

Cumulonimbus Cloud over Africa - 2/5/2008 (Image courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center)

Anvil clouds seen at sunset. (Image courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center)

Storm clouds over the Libya/Chad border, Africa - 10/18/2003 (Image courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center)

Over the Gulf of Mexico - 1/8/2007 (Image courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center)

A cloud wake appears on the downwind side of Isla Socorro, Mexico - 2/12/2000 (Image courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center)

Golden sunset reflected over the Pacific Ocean - 4/26/2008 (Image courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center)

Thunderheads loom over the US Midwest - 8/19/2003 (Image courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center)

A dust storm appears over Mali, Sahara Desert - 6/6/2001 (Image courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center)

Moonset, over the Caribbean - 10/10/2007 (Image courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center)

Lightning flashes, city lights, sunset, Aurora Australis, atmospheric glow and some stars, seen over Argentina on 4/23/2003 (Image courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center)

Cloud, dust storm over central China - 6/3/2002 (Image courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center)

Storm clouds over Central Africa - 5/4/2005 (Image courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center)

Atmospheric distortion apparently flattens the moon as it sets, seen from above Cuba, 2/24/2005 (Image courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center)


More links and information:
Shuttle mission 124 Wikipedia entry
Shuttle Mission Information from NASA
The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth from Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center

 
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