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Prior to launch, the team laid out the parachute and hang lines in front of SPIDER, seen in the distance. The long-duration balloon that would carry SPIDER into the sky is attached to the end of the parachute shown here in the foreground.
Prior to launch, the team laid out the parachute and hang lines in front of SPIDER, seen in the distance. The long-duration balloon that would carry SPIDER into the sky is attached to the end of the parachute shown here in the foreground.

SPIDER Readied for Launch

A quartet of Saturn's moons, from tiny to huge, surround and are embedded within the planet's rings in this Cassini composition. Saturn's largest moon, Titan, in the background, and the moon's north polar hood is clearly visible.
A quartet of Saturn's moons, from tiny to huge, surround and are embedded within the planet's rings in this Cassini composition. Saturn's largest moon, Titan, in the background, and the moon's north polar hood is clearly visible.

In, Around, Beyond Rings

The Cassini spacecraft takes an angled view toward Saturn, showing the southern reaches of the planet with the rings on a dramatic diagonal. The moon Enceladus appears as a small, bright speck in the lower left of the image.
The Cassini spacecraft takes an angled view toward Saturn, showing the southern reaches of the planet with the rings on a dramatic diagonal. The moon Enceladus appears as a small, bright speck in the lower left of the image.

Angling Saturn

This self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at 'Namib Dune,' where the rover's activities included scuffing into the dune with a wheel and scooping samples of sand for laboratory analysis.
This self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at 'Namib Dune,' where the rover's activities included scuffing into the dune with a wheel and scooping samples of sand for laboratory analysis.

Curiosity Self-Portrait at Martian Sand Dune

This image, containing data from NASA's Spitzer and Chandra space telescopes, shows a cluster of young stars expected to burn for billions of years.
This image, containing data from NASA's Spitzer and Chandra space telescopes, shows a cluster of young stars expected to burn for billions of years.

Cosmic Sparklers

Like a giant eye for the giant planet, Saturn's great vortex at its north pole appears to stare back at Cassini as NASA's Cassini spacecraft stares at it.
Like a giant eye for the giant planet, Saturn's great vortex at its north pole appears to stare back at Cassini as NASA's Cassini spacecraft stares at it.

The Eye of Saturn

In this image of PSR B1509-58 (about 170,000 light-years from Earth), X-rays from NASA's Chandra in gold are seen along with infrared data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).
In this image of PSR B1509-58 (about 170,000 light-years from Earth), X-rays from NASA's Chandra in gold are seen along with infrared data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).

Face Illusion in the Cosmic Clouds

A composite image from a camera on ESA's Rosetta mission's Philae comet lander shows a solar array, with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in the background.
A composite image from a camera on ESA's Rosetta mission's Philae comet lander shows a solar array, with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in the background.

Rosetta Selflessly Offers Beautiful Comet Selfie

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft took this image of Pluto's vast nitrogen ice plain informally named Sputnik Planum.
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft took this image of Pluto's vast nitrogen ice plain informally named Sputnik Planum.

Pluto's Mysterious, Floating Hills

This color-coded map from NASA's Dawn mission shows the highs and lows of topography on the surface of dwarf planet Ceres. It is labeled with names of features approved by the International Astronomical Union.
This color-coded map from NASA's Dawn mission shows the highs and lows of topography on the surface of dwarf planet Ceres. It is labeled with names of features approved by the International Astronomical Union.

Topographic Ceres Map with Feature Names II

This impact crater, as seen by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, appears relatively recent as it has a sharp rim and well-preserved ejecta.
This impact crater, as seen by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, appears relatively recent as it has a sharp rim and well-preserved ejecta.

A Fresh Crater near Sirenum Fossae

This is the first map of radioactivity in a supernova remnant, the blown-out bits and pieces of a massive star that exploded. The blue color shows radioactive material mapped in high-energy X-rays using NASA's NuSTAR.
This is the first map of radioactivity in a supernova remnant, the blown-out bits and pieces of a massive star that exploded. The blue color shows radioactive material mapped in high-energy X-rays using NASA's NuSTAR.

Untangling the Remains of Cassiopeia A

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope exposes the depths of this dusty nebula with its infrared vision, showing stellar infants that are lost behind dark clouds when viewed in visible light.
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope exposes the depths of this dusty nebula with its infrared vision, showing stellar infants that are lost behind dark clouds when viewed in visible light.

Making a Spectacle of Star Formation in Orion

The red arc in this infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is a giant shock wave, created by a speeding star known as Kappa Cassiopeiae.
The red arc in this infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is a giant shock wave, created by a speeding star known as Kappa Cassiopeiae.

Speedster Star Shocks the Galaxy

This composite is a mosaic comprising four individual Rosetta NAVCAM images taken from 19 miles from the center of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
This composite is a mosaic comprising four individual Rosetta NAVCAM images taken from 19 miles from the center of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Rosetta Comet

The globe of Saturn, seen here in natural color, is reminiscent of a holiday ornament in this wide-angle view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
The globe of Saturn, seen here in natural color, is reminiscent of a holiday ornament in this wide-angle view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

Painted Lines on an Ornament

This full-resolution image shows part of the deck of NASA's Curiosity rover taken from one of the rover's Navigation cameras looking toward the back left of the rover. On the left, part of the rover's power supply is visible.
This full-resolution image shows part of the deck of NASA's Curiosity rover taken from one of the rover's Navigation cameras looking toward the back left of the rover. On the left, part of the rover's power supply is visible.

A Clear Look at the Rover Deck

The comparison from NASA's Hubble telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory highlights how different the universe can look when viewed in other wavelengths of light. M82 is located 12 million light-years away in the Ursa Major constellation.
The comparison from NASA's Hubble telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory highlights how different the universe can look when viewed in other wavelengths of light. M82 is located 12 million light-years away in the Ursa Major constellation.

Galaxy in Different Lights

The 'Dumbbell nebula,' also known as Messier 27, pumps out infrared light in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Planetary nebulae are now known to be the remains of stars that once looked a lot like our sun.
The 'Dumbbell nebula,' also known as Messier 27, pumps out infrared light in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Planetary nebulae are now known to be the remains of stars that once looked a lot like our sun.

Weighing in on the Dumbbell Nebula

This image shows the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy in infrared light as seen by ESA's Herschel Space Observatory and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The brightest center-left region is called 30 Doradus, or the Tarantula Nebula.
This image shows the Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy in infrared light as seen by ESA's Herschel Space Observatory and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The brightest center-left region is called 30 Doradus, or the Tarantula Nebula.

Dusty Space Cloud

A dying star, called the Helix nebula, is shown surrounded by the tracks of asteroids in an image captured by NASA's WISE. Skirting around the edges of the Helix nebula are the footprints of asteroids marching across the field of view.
A dying star, called the Helix nebula, is shown surrounded by the tracks of asteroids in an image captured by NASA's WISE. Skirting around the edges of the Helix nebula are the footprints of asteroids marching across the field of view.

March of Asteroids Across Dying Star

This computer-generated view depicts part of Mars at the boundary between darkness and daylight, with an area including Gale Crater beginning to catch morning light. NASA has selected Gale as the landing site for the Mars Science Laboratory mission.
This computer-generated view depicts part of Mars at the boundary between darkness and daylight, with an area including Gale Crater beginning to catch morning light. NASA has selected Gale as the landing site for the Mars Science Laboratory mission.

Daybreak at Gale Crater

Our sky is filled with a diffuse background glow, known as the cosmic infrared background. Much of the light is from galaxies we know about, but previous Spitzer measurements have shown an extra component of unknown origin.
Our sky is filled with a diffuse background glow, known as the cosmic infrared background. Much of the light is from galaxies we know about, but previous Spitzer measurements have shown an extra component of unknown origin.

First Stars or Stray Stars? A Cosmic Infrared Mystery

Possible variations in chemical composition from one part of Saturn's ring system to another are visible from Voyager 2.
Possible variations in chemical composition from one part of Saturn's ring system to another are visible from Voyager 2.

Composition Differences within Saturn's Rings

During August 16 and 17, 1989, the Voyager 2 narrow-angle camera was used to photograph Neptune almost continuously, recording approximately two and one-half rotations of the planet..
During August 16 and 17, 1989, the Voyager 2 narrow-angle camera was used to photograph Neptune almost continuously, recording approximately two and one-half rotations of the planet..

Neptune Full Disk

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