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The International Space Station Program will take the next step in expanding a robust commercial market in low-Earth orbit when work continues Wednesday, May 27, to prepare the orbiting laboratory for the future arrival of U.S. commercial crew and cargo vehicles. NASA Television will provide live coverage of the activity beginning at 8 a.m. EDT.

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This single frame Rosetta navigation camera image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was taken on 27 October 2014 from a distance of 9.8 km from the comet centre. The average image scale is approximately 75 cm/pixel and the image measures about 770 m across. 

The original image and more information is available on the blog: CometWatch closeup: Looming over Aten

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The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) instrument on NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory images the solar atmosphere in multiple wavelengths to link changes in the surface to interior changes. When AIA images are sharpened a bit, such as this AIA 171Å channel image, the magnetic field can be readily visualized through the bright, thin strands that ar

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Not all galaxies are neatly shaped, as this new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of NGC 6240 clearly demonstrates. Hubble previously released an image of this galaxy back in 2008, but the knotted region, shown here in a pinky-red hue at the centre of the galaxies, was only revealed in these new observations from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys.

NGC 6240 lies 400 million light-years away in the constellation of Ophiuchus (The Serpent Holder). This galaxy has an elongated shape with branching wisps, loops and tails. This mess of gas, dust and stars bears more than a passing resemblance to a butterfly and, though perhaps less conventionally beautiful, a lobster.

This bizarrely-shaped galaxy did not begin its life looking like this; its distorted appearance is a result of a galactic merger that occurred when two galaxies drifted too close to one another. This merger sparked bursts of new star formation and triggered many hot young stars to explode as supernovae. A new supernova was discovered in this galaxy in 2013, named SN 2013dc. It is not visible in this image, but its location is indicated here.

At the centre of NGC 6240 an even more interesting phenomenon is taking place. When the two galaxies came together, their central black holes did so too. There are two supermassive black holes within this jumble, spiralling closer and closer to one another. They are currently only some 3000 light-years apart, incredibly close given that the galaxy itself spans 300 000 light-years. This proximity secures their fate as they are now too close to escape each other and will soon form a single immense black hole.

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HM Queen Elizabeth II visits the UK Space Agency and RHS ‘Rocket Science’ exhibition at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

In collaboration with ESA, the UK’s Royal Horticultural Society Campaign for School Gardening and the UK Space Agency launched an ‘out-of-this-world’ educational project at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Called Rocket Science, this project will see 2 kg of seeds of a variety of rocket salad sent to the International Space Station as part of ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s six-month Principia mission.

After several months in space,  the seeds will be returned to Earth and sent to thousands of UK schools, together with a batch of seeds that stayed on Earth. Pupils will grow and compare the seeds to see whether space travel has an impact on the growth of the seeds. The results of the nationwide science experiment will be analysed to help find out if we can sustain human life in space by producing our own food.

Read more: ‘Rocket Science’: ESA at the Chelsea Flower Show

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A flooded landscape in Cambodia between the Mekong River (right) and Tonlé Sap river (left) is pictured by Japan’s ALOS satellite. The centre of this image is about 30 km north of the centre of the country’s capital, Phnom Penh.

Originating on the Tibetan Plateau and passing through six countries before emptying into the South China Sea, the 4350 km-long Mekong is the single largest source of protein for communities in its basin. Tens of millions of people rely on the river for fishing, while agriculture is intensive along parts its course.

The river on the left, the Tonlé Sap, changes flow direction seasonally. During the dry season from November to May it flows south, draining into the Mekong at Phnom Penh. The direction changes during the wet season, causing a rise in water levels in the surrounding floodplains and forming a large lake further north (not pictured).

This image, also featured on the Earth from Space video programme, was captured by the AVNIR-2 instrument on Japan’s ALOS satellite on 5 December 2009.

This is just one of about 50 satellite images on display at the National Museum of Science and Technology in Milan, Italy.

As part of the ‘My Planet from Space: Fragility and Beauty’ exhibition, the collection takes you on a journey to some of the most beautiful and remote places on Earth. The exhibition has been organised to coincide with the Expo 2015, with a focus on agriculture to highlight the Expo’s theme of ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’.

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Arianespace is keeping up its 2015 mission cadence with the go-ahead for a dual-payload Ariane 5 launch next week from French Guiana that will orbit the DirecTV-15 and SKY México-1 direct-to-home relay satellites for digital television entertainment services.

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Earth from Space is presented by Kelsea Brennan-Wessels from the ESA Web-TV virtual studios. A flooded landscape in Cambodia between the Mekong and Tonlé Sap rivers is featured in the one hundred forty-fourth edition.

See also Earth from Space: Cambodian rivers to download the image.

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NASA will announce on Tuesday, May 26, the selection of science instruments for a mission to Europa, to investigate whether Jupiter’s icy moon could harbor conditions suitable for life.

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For the first time, the new leaders of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, will speak to members of the news media on Wednesday, May 27.

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