The images coming down from the STS-123 mission have been nothing short of spectacular. The pictures have included amazing EVA shots, images of the astronauts hard at work (and having fun, too) and stunning photos of the ever-growing International Space Station. Here are just a few of the latest images from the mission, and they’re all so great, I’ve decided to give each one an award. This one gets the award for Best Group Photo Ever of the Shuttle, ISS and Earth. On Monday, shuttle Endeavour undocked from the ISS, and after the obligatory fly-around, the astronauts snapped this picture as the shuttle separated from the station. In my mind, this is one of the most amazing images from space ever. And there’s more….
This image gets the award for Best Color Contrast Image of the ISS. Backdropped by the airglow of Earth’s horizon and the blackness of space, the ISS hangs on Earth’s limb. What an awesome view that must be live and in person.
Obviously, this image gets the Best Moon Photo for the STS-123 Mission. Talk about being in the right place at the right time! Framed by different components of the International Space Station, a full moon is visible in this view above Earth’s horizon and airglow. I’d like to give credit where credit is due and say which astronaut snapped this image, but NASA only says the picture was taken by an STS-123 crewmember who was on the station while Space Shuttle Endeavour was docked with the ISS.
This has to be one of the Best Aurora Picture Ever Taken From Space. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around having the chance to look down to see an aurora. The Aurora Borealis glows beautifully green in this images that looks northward across the Gulf of Alaska, over a low pressure area (cloud vortex). This image was taken on March 21, 2008 at 09:08:46 (GMT) with a 28 mm lens from the nadir point of 47.9 degrees north latitude and 146.8 degreees west longitude.
Let’s give a round of applause for the crews of STS-123 and the ISS who accomplished so much during the mission with five EVA’s, adding the Japanese Logistics Module to the station and constructing Dextre the robot handyman. Plus they are responsible for all the great images from the mission, too. Shuttle Endeavor will attempt to land on Wednesday, March 26 at 7:05:08 p.m EDT. As of now, the weather looks good for landing in Florida.
Pictured are Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, US astronauts Greg Johnson, Rick Linnehan, Garrett Reisman, Dom Gorie, Peggy Whitson, Mike Foreman, Bob Behnken, European astronaut Leopold Eyharts, and Japanese astronaut Takeo Doi.
See all the images from the STS-123 mission here.
Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today’s Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT’s Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is the author of the new book “Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.” She is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.