Astronomy Picture of the Day

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.

December 10, 1997
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

Sprint the Flying Space Camera
Credit: Space Shuttle Columbia Crew, STS-087, NASA

Explanation: Yes, but can your soccer ball do this? The ball near the middle of the above photograph is actually a robotic camera designed to float about a Space Shuttle and the International Space Station and take pictures. Named "Sprint", it is NASA's first Autonomous Extravehicular Activity Robotic Camera (AERCam) and was tested earlier this month by the crew of Space Shuttle Columbia. Sprint's diameter is actually about 50 percent larger than a soccer ball, and astronauts make a goal of not kicking it.

Tomorrow's picture: A Martian Lake Bed?

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.