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NASA

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Explore the universe and discover our home planet with the official NASA Instagram account

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When the Orion spacecraft hurtles toward Earth during its return from deep-space, the capsule’s system of 11 parachutes will slow it from 300 mph to 20 mph for splashdown in the ocean in about 10 minutes. We put it to the test!  Through a series of tests in the Arizona desert, engineers have refined Orion’s parachutes and worked to certify them for flights with astronauts, including the recent successful test Dec. 13, seen here, that looked at a failure case in which only two of the systems three orange and white main parachutes deploy after several other parachutes in the system used to slow and stabilize Orion endure high aerodynamic stresses.  But behind the scenes, engineers are working hard to understand and perfect the system that must be able to work across a broad range of potential environmental conditions and bring the crew home since the astronauts inside descend with their lives hanging by a series of threads during the parachute-assisted end of future Orion missions.  Image credit: U.S. Army @exploreNASA #orion #nasa #space #spacecraft #capsule #nasaorion #parachute #test #arizona #returntoearth
Liftoff of science and supplies! This morning at 10:36 a.m. EST, a SpaceX #dragon cargo spacecraft left Earth carrying more than 4,800 pounds of research equipment, cargo and supplies that will support dozens of the more than 250 investigations aboard the International Space Station (@iss). This super science-heavy flight will deliver experiments and equipment that will study phenomena on the Sun, materials in microgravity, space junk and more.  NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba will use the space station’s robotic arm to capture Dragon when it arrives at the station early Sunday morning.  Credit: NASA  #nasa #space #dragon #liftoff #launch #cargo #science #supplies #wow #fire #smoke #orbit #spacestation #astronauts #experiments #rocket #spacex
Welcome to Earth! Three people landed back on planet Earth this morning after spending more than four months in space. NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik (@AstroKomrade), European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli and Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy landed in their Soyuz spacecraft in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017 at 3:37 a.m. EST.  Together, the crew members contributed to hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, as well as Earth and other physical sciences aboard the International Space Station (@iss). Their time aboard marked the first long-term increase in crew size on the U.S. segment of the International Space Station from three to four, allowing us to maximize time dedicated to research on the station.  Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls  #nasa #space #spacecraft #touchdown #landing #astronauts #crew #earth #home #return #souyz #microgravity #laboratory #trip #travel #esa #roscosmos #planetearth #science
Did you know that stellar explosions and their remains -- “supernova remnants” -- are a source of chemical elements essential for life here on Earth? A new Chandra X-ray Observatory image captures the location of several vital elements like silicon (red), sulfur (yellow), calcium (green) and iron (purple), located on Cassiopeia A -- a supernova remnant ~11,000 light years from Earth.  Chandra’s sharp X-ray vision allows astronomers to gather detailed information about the elements that objects like Cas A produce. For example, they are not only able to identify many of the elements that are present, but how much of each are being expelled into interstellar space.  Oxygen is the most abundant element in the human body (about 65% by mass), calcium helps form and maintain healthy bones and teeth, and iron is a vital part of red blood cells that carry oxygen through the body. All of the oxygen in the Solar System comes from exploding massive stars. About half of the calcium and about 40% of the iron also come from these explosions, with the balance of these elements being supplied by explosions of smaller mass, white dwarf stars.  Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO  #nasa #space #chandra #supernova #explosion #remnants #oxygen #carbon #chemical #elements #beautiful #pictureoftheday #picoftheday #universe #solarsystem #calcium #stars #earth #xray #observatory #astronomy #astronomers
Don’t be fooled! The cosmic swirl of stars in this Hubble Space Telescope (@NASAHubble) image may seem tranquil and unassuming, but this spiral galaxy actually displays some explosive tendencies.  In October of 2011, a cataclysmic burst of high-energy gamma-ray radiation — known as a gamma-ray burst — was detected coming from the region of sky containing this galaxy. Astronomers believe that the galaxy was the host of the burst, given that the chance of a coincidental alignment between the two is roughly 1 in 10 million. At a distance of around 185 million light-years from Earth, it was the second-closest gamma-ray burst ever detected.  Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA  #nasa #space #hubble #spothubble #galaxy #spiral #astrophysics #solarsystem #universe #stars #formation #picoftheday #photooftheday #science #astronomy #beautiful
Heads-up, Earthlings! The annual Geminid meteor shower has arrived, peaking overnight Dec. 13-14. It's a good time to bundle up! Then, go outside and let the universe blow your mind!  The Geminids are active every December, when Earth passes through a massive trail of dusty debris shed by a weird, rocky object named 3200 Phaethon. The dust and grit burn up when they run into Earth's atmosphere in a flurry of "shooting stars." The Geminids can be seen with the naked eye under clear, dark skies over most of the world, though the best view is from the Northern Hemisphere. Observers will see fewer Geminids in the Southern Hemisphere, where the radiant doesn't climb very high over the horizon.  Skywatching is easy. Just get away from bright lights and look up in any direction! Give your eyes time to adjust to the dark. Meteors appear all over the sky.  Video credit: NASA #nasa #space #science #astronomy #video #meteorshower #geminids #meteors #skywatching #shootingstar #shootingstars
As massive wildfires continue to rage in southern California, our satellites, people in space and aircraft are keeping an eye on the blazes from above. This data and imagery not only gives us a better view of the activity, but also helps first responders plan their course of action.  A prolonged spell of dry weather primed the area for major fires. Powerful Santa Ana winds fanned the flames and forecasters with the LA office of the National Weather Service warned that the region is in the midst of its strongest and longest Santa Ana wind event of the year.  These winds are hot, dry and ferocious. They can whip a small brush fire into a raging inferno in just hours.  Astronaut Randy Bresnik (@AstroKomrade) shared these images from the International Space Station (@ISS) over the last two days showing the smoke plumes from space, saying "Thank you to all the first responders, firefighters, and citizens willing to help fight these California wildfires." Image credits: NASA/@AstroKomrade #wildfire #nasa #iss #spacestation #astropics #earth #california #fire #cafires #photooftheday #picoftheday #smoke #thomasfire #santaana #space
A spectacular spacecraft departure. At 8:11 a.m. EST this morning, Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo vehicle was released from the International Space Station (@iss). Cygnus is currently filled with more than 6,200 pounds of trash and other items that will burn up over the Pacific Ocean as the spacecraft re-enters Earth’s atmosphere on Dec. 18. Today, before its re-entry later this month, Cygnus will deploy 14 CubeSats to conduct science.  Cygnus arrived at the space station on Nov. 14 and delivered almost 7,400 pounds of science and supplies to the crew onboard. These experiments included studies in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science.  Credit: NASA/@AstroKomrade  #nasa #space #spacestation #orbitalatk #cygnus #spacecraft #cargo #supplies #science #cubesats #reentry #earth #orbit #deliver #depart #canadarm2 #roboticarm
The six people living and working in space had a front row seat from the International Space Station (@iss) during yesterday’s #supermoon. This image, captured by NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik (@AstroKomrade) shows off their unique vantage point from 250 miles above our home planet.  A supermoon occurs when the Moon’s orbit is closest to Earth at the same time it is full. Two other supermoons will take the celestial stage on Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2018. To learn more about our Moon, explore historic landing sites and discover its wondrous features, visit moon.nasa.gov.  Credit: NASA/@AstroKomrade  #nasa #space #moon #supermoon #spacestation #astronauts #science #fullmoon #earth #solarsystem #astronomy
Space station supermoon. This composite image made from six frames shows the International Space Station (@iss), with a crew of six onboard, as it transits the Moon at roughly five miles per second on Dec. 2. The microgravity laboratory orbits our planet at 17,500 mph and is home to important science and research that will not only benefit life here on Earth, but will help us venture deeper into the solar system than ever before.  This Moon also happens to be a supermoon, which is when a full Moon is also at or near its closest point in its orbit around Earth.  Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky  #nasa #space #spacestation #internationalspacestation #moon #planets #solarsystem #transit #microgravity #science
Jupiter, you’re bluetiful 💙! Churning swirls of Jupiter’s clouds are seen in striking shades of blue in this new view taken by our Juno spacecraft (@NASAJuno). The color-enhanced image was taken when the spacecraft was only 11,747 miles from the tops of the planet’s clouds.  This color-enhanced image, which captures a cloud system in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere, was taken on Oct. 24 when Juno was performing its ninth close flyby of the gas giant planet.  Because of the Juno-Jupiter-Sun angle when the spacecraft captured this image, the higher-altitude clouds can be seen casting shadows on their surroundings. The behavior is most easily observable in the whitest regions in the image, but also in a few isolated spots in both the bottom and right areas of the image.  Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/ Seán Doran  #nasa #space #art #science #juno #jupiter #planet #gasgiant #solarsystem #spacecraft #picoftheday #swirls #blue #beautiful
What’s up in the night sky this December? Meteor showers and the circle of constellations!  The Geminid meteor shower peaks on the morning of Dec. 14. If you’re in a dark area, you may be able to see up to 120 meteors per hour between midnight and 4 a.m. local time. The Ursid meteor shower also peaks this month on Dec. 22.  This month you can also enjoy the circle of constellations and the brightest stars around Gemini.  Watch to find out when and where to look up!  Credit: NASA  #nasa #space #solarsystem #stargazing #astronomy #stars #constellations #meteor #meteorshower #geminids #ursids #nightsky #december #whatsup
An office with a view…this video, captured by NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, shows off the spectacular view during a recent spacewalk. He posted the footage on social media saying: “Sometimes on a #spacewalk, you just have to take a moment to enjoy the beauty of our planet Earth. This Go-Pro footage is from our spacewalk where Joe Acaba and I refurbished the Canadarm2 robotic arm and the Dextre robotic arm extension.” Currently, six humans are living and working on the International Space Station (@iss), which orbits our planet at 17,500 mph. Located 250 miles above Earth, the crew conducts important science and research that will help send us deeper into the solar system than ever before.  Credit: NASA/@AstroKomrade  #nasa #space #spacestation #science #gopro #spacewalk #earth #crew #view #repair #astronauts #spacesuit
With six humans onboard, the International Space Station (@iss) was spotted in Washington, DC on Nov. 29 in this twenty-second exposure over the Washington National Cathedral.  Did you know that the space station is the third brightest object in the night sky? You can find out when it’s passing over your area by visiting SpotTheStation.nasa.gov.  The microgravity laboratory orbits our planet at 17,500 mph and is home to important science and research that will not only benefit life here on Earth, but will help us venture deeper into the solar system than ever before.  Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls  #nasa #space #spacestation #spotthestation #washington #washingtondc #dc #cathedral #nationalcathedral #pass #flyby #overhead #picoftheday #astronauts #nofilter
Don’t worry, that’s not a shoebox being ejected from the International Space Station (@iss). But…it is a shoebox-sized satellite that will study space weather and was designed to show how reliable CubeSats can be.  Small satellites like these provide a cost-effective and reliable method of gathering highly robust science. Dellingr, named after the mythological Norse god of the dawn, was designed to not only demonstrate the vigor of its design, but also gather high-quality data about the Sun’s influence on Earth’s upper atmosphere using a suite of miniaturized instruments and components.  Credit: Nanoracks/Larry Kepko  #nasa #space #science #spacestation #smallsat #cubesat #satellite #earth #research #sun #spaceweather #weather
An epic journey to Saturn. These two images (swipe to see both!) illustrate just how far our Cassini spacecraft traveled to get to the ringed planet. The first image, taken in 2001, was acquired at a distance of approximately 317 million miles from Saturn during the long voyage from the inner solar system. The second image was taken just one day before the mission’s end, and shows the site where Cassini would enter the planet’s atmosphere.  The first image looks toward Saturn in wavelengths of infrared light, while the second image was taken in visible light.  The Cassini spacecraft ended its more than 13 years at Saturn with a dive into the planet’s atmosphere on Sept. 15, 2017.  Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute  #nasa #space #science #cassini #saturn #planets #planet #solarsystem #distance #voyage #journey #picoftheday #miles #exploration #discovery #rings #astronomy
Is this reddish landscape on another world or right here on Earth? . . . . . . . It's here on Earth, as seen by European astronaut Paolo Nespoli (@Astro_Paolo), who shared this image saying it featured "the maze of canyons, mesas, and mounds" from Canyonlands National Park (@canyonlandsnps) in Utah. He noted that this landscape was "created by the Colorado River and the Green River." Astronauts have used hand-held cameras to photograph the Earth for more than 50 years. Beginning with the Mercury missions in the early 1960s, astronauts have taken more than 1.5 million photographs of the Earth. Today, the International Space Station (@ISS) continues the tradition of Earth observation from human-tended spacecraft. Operational since November 2000, the station is well suited for documenting Earth features as it maintains an altitude between 220-286 miles (354-460 km) above the Earth. That provides an excellent stage for observing most populated areas of the world.  Image credit: ESA/@Astro_Paolo #space #esa #spacestation #iss #earth #earthobs #astronautpics #utah #canyonlands #nationalpark #nps #nationalparks #canyonlandsnps #earthpics #science #astronomy #red #canyons #mesa #southwest #coloradoriver #internationalspacestation
We’re closing out our #blackholefriday with a black hole that’s close to home, on a cosmic scale. At the center of our own Milky Way galaxy lies a supermassive black hole named Sagittarius A*. Located about 26,000 light years from Earth, this black hole contains around 4.5 million times the mass of our Sun!  Once a controversial claim, this astounding conclusion is now virtually inescapable and based on observations of stars orbiting very near the galactic center. Astronomers patiently followed the orbit of a particular star. Their results showed that the star was moving under the influence of the enormous gravity of an unseen object which must be extremely compact, and contain huge amounts of matter – a supermassive black hole.  This Chandra X-ray telescope image shows the X-ray light from a region of space a few light years across. The black hole is invisible, but is near the center of this image. The gas near the center produces X-ray light as it is heated. Many of the ‘stars’ in the field probably have much smaller black holes near them that are producing the X-ray light from the gas they are consuming.  Thanks for joining us for our 5th annual #blackholefriday!  Credit: NASA/CXC/MIT/Frederick K. Baganoff et al.  #nasa #space #blackhole #chandra #galaxy #milkyway #sagittariusa #lightyears #observations #telescope #xray #blackfriday
What happens when two supermassive black holes collide? Until last year, we weren’t quite sure. Gravitational waves!  Gravitational waves are ripples in space-time originally predicted by Albert Einstein more than 100 years ago, but confirmed for the first time in 2016 by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). To date, LIGO has made four detections of gravitational waves emanating from the mergers of black holes. Einstein pictured these waves as ripples in the fabric of space-time produced by massive, accelerating bodies, such as black holes orbiting each other.  Credit: SXS  #nasa #space #gravitationalwaves #gravity #spacetime #einstein #waves #ripples #blackfriday #blackholes #blackhole #blackholefriday #collide
Do the #blackfriday lines suck? We’re asking the same question about black holes...why do they suck...or do they?  There are many cultural myths concerning black holes. They have been portrayed as time-traveling tunnels to another dimension, or as cosmic vacuum cleaners sucking up everything in sight. Black holes are really just the evolutionary end points of massive stars. At a distance, black holes really don’t have more gravity than normal objects, so at a distance they really won’t suck things in any more than a normal object at the same mass.  Credit: NASA/Dana Berry/Sky Works Digital  #nasa #space #blackfriday #blackholefriday #friday #blackhole #blackholes #light #star #explosion #mass #annual #facts
Devouring the crazy #blackfriday deals? This supermassive black hole is devouring a glowing stream of material from a star! Supermassive black holes, with their immense gravitational pull, are notoriously good at clearing out their immediate surroundings by eating nearby objects. When a star passes within a certain distance of a black hole, the stellar material gets stretched and compressed -- or “spaghettified” -- as the black hole swallows it.  A black hole destroying a star, an event called “stellar tidal disruption,” releases an enormous amount of energy, brightening the surroundings in an event called a flare. Thanks to our Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), we now have new insights into these flares.  Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech  #nasa #space #blackhole #blackholefriday #friday #blackhole #blackholes #light #star #explosion #mass #annual #facts #wise #stellar #tidal #disruption

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