Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2021 April 24
Explanation: What's happening in the sky? The pre-dawn sky first seemed relatively serene yesterday morning over Indian Harbor Beach in Florida, USA. But then it lit up with a rocket launch. Just to the north, NASA's SpaceX Crew-2 Mission blasted into space aboard a powerful Falcon 9 rocket. The featured time-lapse video -- compressing 12-minutes into 8-seconds -- shows the bright launch plume starting on the far left. The rocket rises into an increasingly thin atmosphere, causing its plume to spread out just as it is lit by the rising Sun. As the Crew-2 capsule disappears over the horizon, the landing plume of the returning first stage of the Falcon 9 descending toward the SpaceX barge in the Atlantic Ocean can be seen. Up in space, the Endeavour crew capsule is expected to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) this morning, delivering four astronauts. The Crew-2 astronauts join Expedition 65 to help conduct, among other tasks, drug tests using tissue chips -- small microfluidic chips that simulate human organs -- that run rapidly in ISS's microgravity.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.