Epic Space Photos of the Week (June 29-July 5)
International Space Station astronauts were greeted with this view on July 4 -- storm clouds brewing over the Atlantic Ocean near Brazil and the Equator. A Russian Soyuz spacecraft docked with the orbiting outpost blocks the sun from view.
Space station astronauts also took this photo from inside the station's Cupola, looking down on our planet.
NASA/JPL-Caltech (false color added by Ian O'Neill/Discovery News)
Meanwhile, on Mars, Curiosity watched the sun dip below the horizon on sol 312 of the mission inside Gale Crater.
NASA/JPL-Caltech (edit by Ian O'Neill/Discovery News)
Curiosity also created an animation of Mars' largest moon, Phobos, rise over the Red Planet.
NASA's Mars rover Opportunity is about to celebrate 10 years since it was launched from Earth. The robot is still going strong. This photo shows the terrain that Opportunity is crossing in a flat area called "Botany Bay" on the way toward "Solander Point," raised portions of the western rim of 14-mile-wide (22-kilometer-wide) Endeavour Crater -- a crater the rover has been exploring since 2011.
ESA's Mars Express carried out observations of Mars' largest volcano, Olympus Mons. In this image, the topographic map of the huge mountain's eastern flank has been created.
Two suborbital rockets were successfully launched 15 seconds apart on July 5 from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, VA, as part of a study of electrical currents in the ionosphere. The launch of the Black Brant V at 10:31:25 a.m. and the Terrier-Improved Orion at 10:31:40 were part of the Daytime Dynamo experiment, a joint project between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA.
Screegrab from Tsenki TV
Sadly, not all rocket launches went to plan this week. A Russian Proton-M booster veered out of control on July 2, crashing 2.5 kilometers from the launch site. No one was hurt, but 600 tons of toxic fuel was released into the environment. The rocket was launching a $200 million payload -- 3 GLONASS navigation satellites.
NASA posted this photo of a huge 5.5-meter cryogenic propellant tank being manufactured at the Boeing Developmental Center in Tukwila, Wash. It will be one of the largest composite propellant tanks ever made and is scheduled to be pressure-tested in 2014 at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
On July 2, Hubble released new imagery of Comet ISON. The 'dirty snowball' will swing through the inner solar system later this year, potentially puttiung on a bright show that will throw it into the history books as the 'Comet of the Century.'
This week, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) released this photo of some of the antennas that became part of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. The three antennas in the foreground, as well as some of those in the background, were supplied by ESO as part of its contribution to ALMA, through a contract with the European AEM Consortium.