Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day we feature a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

January 7, 1996
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Mercury Astronauts and a Redstone
Credit: NASA

Explanation: Space suited project Mercury astronauts John H. Glenn, Virgil I. Grissom, and Alan B. Shepard Jr. (left to right) are pictured here posing in front of a Redstone rocket in this 1961 NASA publicity photo. Project Mercury was the first U.S. program designed to put humans in space. It resulted in 6 manned flights using one-man capsules and Redstone and Atlas rockets. Shortly after the first U.S. manned flight on May 5, 1961, a suborbital flight piloted by Alan Shepard, President Kennedy announced the goal of a manned lunar landing by 1970. This goal was achieved by NASA's Apollo program and Shepard himself walked on the moon as a member of the Apollo 14 mission.

Tomorrow's picture: Local Group Galaxy NGC 205

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (GMU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
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