Over the years NASA, has released a wide array of stunning photos of space phenomena. These photos include everything from spectacular solar flares of our sun to close up photos of the moons of Saturn and Jupiter to galaxies which are light years away and the alien landscape of Mars. All of this is done with technology developed on Earth and put into space by NASA.
There are many types of technology and vehicles used to take space images. One of the most famous is the Hubble Telescope. The Hubble was designed as a long range telescope and placed in orbit around the Earth in order to get clearer photos without an atmosphere. It has long outlived the design specifications yet still delivers amazing views of galaxies and nebulae.
The Solar Observatory is responsible for the amazing close up photos of our sun and the spectacular solar flares. This observatory has been responsible for studying the sun and has produced some of the most intriguing images ever seen outlining solar processes.
The Cassini Space Probe has provided an enormous amount of information as well as unparalleled vistas of semi-darkened landscapes on the moons of Saturn. The ringed planet has many moons as well as its glorious rings. The Cassini Space Probe was designed with a five year mission life to take photos to send home. It has fulfilled this mission with some of the most incredible photos ever seen of this giant planet, its rings and moons.
The Rover type series of exploration vehicles have landed on Mars and beamed back images of the red planet. These landscapes are surreal in a harsh environment of dust, rocks and very little atmosphere. Landing on Mars, which does not have very much atmosphere for braking spacecraft, was accomplished with a combination of ablative burning such as the original space program Mercury, Gemini and Apollo craft used as well as the same parachute set-up of those craft. The Rover type of exploration vehicles are also designed to inflate large balloons on the outside of the craft just before landing to allow the craft to bounce at touchdown. This cushions the blow and allows the vehicle to land without damage. Once landing is complete the Rover craft exits the landing vehicle to begin exploration and send home photos of the planet.
Getting off Earth and into orbit is the first and most difficult step. Manned space flight for NASA began with the Mercury Missions, continued with Gemini. These were designed to carry 1 or 2 men to Earth orbit. Apollo spacecraft brought man to the moon. The space shuttle carried men and machines to low earth orbit and the International Space Station. Now Orion is set to begin the long, lonely trek to Mars and the asteroids in the coming years.
Over the years all of the many images of space and alien planets have intrigued and fascinated people. Space exploration and the images it produces have ignited the imagination of millions over several generations. The images produced have shown expected as well as unexpected phenomena, both near the Earth and far away. These images have pushed the scientific minds of the planet Earth to explore further, ask more questions and to keep pushing for space travel and exploration.