In this image Yuri Gagarin, pilot of the Vostok 1, is on the bus on the way to the launch. The cosmonaut behind Gagarin is German Titov, the back-up pilot whobecame pilot of Vostok 2.”Triumphant music blared across the land. Russia’s radios saluted the morning with the slow, stirring beat of the patriotic song, ‘How Spacious Is My Country.’ Then came the simple announcement that shattered forever man’s ancient isolation on earth: ‘The world’s first spaceship, Vostok [East], with a man on board, has been launched on April 12 in the Soviet Union on a round-the-world orbit.’ wrote TIME magazine in their cover story of the event.”
After the historical flight that lasted 108 minutes, he was no longer Senior Lieutenant Yuri Gagarin; he was Yuri Gagarin, hero and icon. During the flight, he was not allowed to operate the controls because the effects of weightlessness had only been tested on dogs so far. The mission was instead controlled by ground crews, and an override key was provided in case of emergency.
Because of his popularity, the government would not allow him another trip into space. It was too dangerous and they did not want to lose their icon. Frustrated, Yuri went back to training in the MiGs. On March 27, 1968, Gagarin and his instructor, Vladimir Seryogin, took off in a MiG-15 fighter plane under poor weather conditions, which crash landed. He was just 34.
Image Credit: NASA/Roscosmos & Public domain
Source: Roscosmos Facebook page.

In this image Yuri Gagarin, pilot of the Vostok 1, is on the bus on the way to the launch. The cosmonaut behind Gagarin is German Titov, the back-up pilot whobecame pilot of Vostok 2.”Triumphant music blared across the land. Russia’s radios saluted the morning with the slow, stirring beat of the patriotic song, ‘How Spacious Is My Country.’ Then came the simple announcement that shattered forever man’s ancient isolation on earth: ‘The world’s first spaceship, Vostok [East], with a man on board, has been launched on April 12 in the Soviet Union on a round-the-world orbit.’ wrote TIME magazine in their cover story of the event.”

After the historical flight that lasted 108 minutes, he was no longer Senior Lieutenant Yuri Gagarin; he was Yuri Gagarin, hero and icon. During the flight, he was not allowed to operate the controls because the effects of weightlessness had only been tested on dogs so far. The mission was instead controlled by ground crews, and an override key was provided in case of emergency.

Because of his popularity, the government would not allow him another trip into space. It was too dangerous and they did not want to lose their icon. Frustrated, Yuri went back to training in the MiGs. On March 27, 1968, Gagarin and his instructor, Vladimir Seryogin, took off in a MiG-15 fighter plane under poor weather conditions, which crash landed. He was just 34.

Image Credit: NASA/Roscosmos & Public domain

Source: Roscosmos Facebook page.

APOD: Planetary Nebula NGC 2438
Image Credit & Copyright: Daniel López, IAC
Explanation: NGC 2438 is a planetary nebula, the gaseous shroud cast off by a dying sunlike star billions of years old whose central reservoir of hydrogen fuel has been exhausted. About 3,000 light-years distant it lies within the boundaries of the nautical constellation Puppis. Remarkably, NGC 2438 also seems to lie on the outskirts of bright, relatively young open star cluster M46. But this planetary nebula’s central star is not only much older than the stars of M46, it moves through space at a different speed than the cluster stars. Distance estimates also place NGC 2438 closer than M46 and so the nebula appears in the foreground, only by chance along the line-of-sight to the young star cluster. This deep image of NGC 2438 highlights a halo of glowing atomic gas over 4.5 light-years across, extending beyond the nebula’s brighter inner ring. Similar haloes have been found in deep images of other planetary nebulae, produced during the earlier active phases of their aging central stars.

APOD: Planetary Nebula NGC 2438

Image Credit & Copyright: Daniel López, IAC

Explanation: NGC 2438 is a planetary nebula, the gaseous shroud cast off by a dying sunlike star billions of years old whose central reservoir of hydrogen fuel has been exhausted. About 3,000 light-years distant it lies within the boundaries of the nautical constellation Puppis. Remarkably, NGC 2438 also seems to lie on the outskirts of bright, relatively young open star cluster M46. But this planetary nebula’s central star is not only much older than the stars of M46, it moves through space at a different speed than the cluster stars. Distance estimates also place NGC 2438 closer than M46 and so the nebula appears in the foreground, only by chance along the line-of-sight to the young star cluster. This deep image of NGC 2438 highlights a halo of glowing atomic gas over 4.5 light-years across, extending beyond the nebula’s brighter inner ring. Similar haloes have been found in deep images of other planetary nebulae, produced during the earlier active phases of their aging central stars.

APOD: Endeavour Looking Up
Credit & Copyright: Ben Cooper ( Spaceflight Now, Launch Photography)
Explanation: First flown in 1992, Endeavour, the youngest space shuttle orbiter, is being prepared for its 25th and final trip to low Earth orbit. Seen here from an exciting perspective 400 feet above the floor of Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building, Endeavour (OV-105) is mated to an external tank and solid rocket boosters just prior to roll out to launch pad 39A on March 11. The completed space shuttle stands over 18 stories tall. Intended for an April 19 near sunset launch on STS-134, Endeavour will head for the International Space Station and deliver the AMS cosmic ray experiment. The final flight of Endeavour will be the penultimate planned space shuttle flight.

APOD: Endeavour Looking Up

Credit & Copyright: Ben Cooper ( Spaceflight Now, Launch Photography)

Explanation: First flown in 1992, Endeavour, the youngest space shuttle orbiter, is being prepared for its 25th and final trip to low Earth orbit. Seen here from an exciting perspective 400 feet above the floor of Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building, Endeavour (OV-105) is mated to an external tank and solid rocket boosters just prior to roll out to launch pad 39A on March 11. The completed space shuttle stands over 18 stories tall. Intended for an April 19 near sunset launch on STS-134, Endeavour will head for the International Space Station and deliver the AMS cosmic ray experiment. The final flight of Endeavour will be the penultimate planned space shuttle flight.

First Image Ever Obtained from Mercury Orbit
At 5:20 am EDT on Mar. 29, 2011, MESSENGER captured this historic image of Mercury. This image is the first ever obtained from a spacecraft in orbit about the Solar System’s innermost planet. Over the subsequent six hours, MESSENGER acquired an additional 363 images before downlinking some of the data to Earth. The MESSENGER team is currently looking over the newly returned data, which are still continuing to come down.
Source: NASA.

First Image Ever Obtained from Mercury Orbit

At 5:20 am EDT on Mar. 29, 2011, MESSENGER captured this historic image of Mercury. This image is the first ever obtained from a spacecraft in orbit about the Solar System’s innermost planet. Over the subsequent six hours, MESSENGER acquired an additional 363 images before downlinking some of the data to Earth. The MESSENGER team is currently looking over the newly returned data, which are still continuing to come down.

Source: NASA.

APOD - Valles Marineris: The Grand Canyon of Mars
Credit: Viking Project, USGS, NASA
Explanation: The largest canyon in the Solar System cuts a wide swath across the face of Mars. Named Valles Marineris, the grand valley extends over 3,000 kilometers long, spans as much as 600 kilometers across, and delves as much as 8 kilometers deep. By comparison, the Earth’s Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA is 800 kilometers long, 30 kilometers across, and 1.8 kilometers deep. The origin of the Valles Marineris remains unknown, although a leading hypothesis holds that it started as a crack billions of years ago as the planet cooled. Several geologic processes have been identified in the canyon. The above mosaic was created from over 100 images of Mars taken by Viking Orbiters in the 1970s.

APOD - Valles Marineris: The Grand Canyon of Mars

Credit: Viking Project, USGS, NASA

Explanation: The largest canyon in the Solar System cuts a wide swath across the face of Mars. Named Valles Marineris, the grand valley extends over 3,000 kilometers long, spans as much as 600 kilometers across, and delves as much as 8 kilometers deep. By comparison, the Earth’s Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA is 800 kilometers long, 30 kilometers across, and 1.8 kilometers deep. The origin of the Valles Marineris remains unknown, although a leading hypothesis holds that it started as a crack billions of years ago as the planet cooled. Several geologic processes have been identified in the canyon. The above mosaic was created from over 100 images of Mars taken by Viking Orbiters in the 1970s.