Epiphanies on an endless missile range

I recently completed my first marathon, the Bataan Memorial Death March. For anyone unfamiliar, the Bataan Memorial Death March is a challenging march through the high desert terrain of White Sands Missile Range, N.M., while carrying a 60-pound rucksack. The annual event honors the heroic service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II, sacrificing their freedom, health and, in many cases, their very lives.

I had 26.2 miles for self-reflection. During the long hours, I learned many leadership lessons that seem like common sense now, but dawned like true epiphanies in the desert heat.

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Last Sun

The remote Antarctic base Concordia enjoying its last sunset for almost four months.

ESA sponsors a medical research doctor in Concordia every winter to study the long-term effects of isolation.

The base is 3200 m above sea level and temperatures drop to –80°C. No supplies can be delivered during the Antarctic winter and nobody can leave the base, no matter what emergency.

The station is the closest thing on Earth to interplanetary exploration. Studying the effects of isolation there is preparing ESA for the real thing: a mission to Mars.

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A tale of galactic collisions

When we look into the distant cosmos, the great majority of the objects we see are galaxies: immense gatherings of stars, planets, gas, dust, and dark matter, showing up in all kind of shapes. This Hubble picture registers several, but the galaxy catalogued as 2MASX J05210136-2521450 stands out at a glance due to its interesting shape.

This object is an ultraluminous infrared galaxy which emits a tremendous amount of light at infrared wavelengths. Scientists connect this to intense star formation activity, triggered by a collision between two interacting galaxies.

The merging process has left its signs: 2MASX J05210136-2521450 presents a single, bright nucleus and a spectacular outer structure that consists of a one-sided extension of the inner arms, with a tidal tail heading in the opposite direction, formed from material ripped out from the merging galaxies by gravitational forces.

The image is a combination of exposures taken by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, using near-infrared and visible light.

The image is a combination of exposures taken by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, using near-infrared and visible light. A version of this image was submitted to the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Luca Limatola.

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Destination Earth

An artistic look at a coronal mass ejection launched towards Earth. The image is based on data collected by the ESA/NASA SOHO space telescope and comprises an extreme-ultraviolet image of the Sun’s disc (not to scale) superimposed on an image of the stormy solar environment. The scene has been processed using the running difference technique.


This image featured in a SOHO ‘The Sun as Art’ portfolio in 2002 and was highlighted as space science image of the week on 6 May 2013.

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NASA to Mark 40th Anniversary of Skylab and Life Off Earth

NASA will commemorate the 40th anniversary of America's first space station Monday, May 13, with a televised roundtable discussion featuring Skylab astronauts, a current astronaut and agency managers planning future space missions.

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Laser Geodynamics Satellite I

The LAGEOS I, Laser Geodynamics Satellite, was launched on May 4, 1976 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The two-foot diameter, 900-pound satellite orbited the Earth from pole to pole and measured the movements of the Earth's surface relative to earthquakes, continental drift, and other geophysical phenomena.The mirrored surface of the satellite precisely reflected laser beams from ground stations for accurate ranging measurements. Scientists at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. came up with the idea for the satellite and built it at the Marshall Center. Image Credit: NASA/MSFC

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Arianespace Flight VV02 scheduled for the night of May 6 to 7

Given the weather conditions over the Guiana Space Center on May 5, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Arianespace have decided to restart the countdown for Vega Flight VV02. This mission will place three satellites into orbit: Proba-V, VNREDSat-1 and ESTCube-1. If the favorable trend in weather conditions continues, the launch is now scheduled for the night of May 6-7, 2013.

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