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Station news briefing
International Space Station program manager Bill Gerstenmaier holds a news conference Sept. 24 to discuss problems with the oxygen generation system and Expedition 10 launch preparations. (44min 06sec file)
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Galaxy clusters collide
Scientists describe a cosmic hurricane in this news conference from Sept. 23, explaining how two merging galaxy clusters churn high-pressure shock waves that leave thousands of galaxies strewn in the wake. (53min 24sec file)
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Meet next station crew
The three men to launch aboard the next Soyuz spacecraft bound for the International Space Station -- Expedition 10 commander Leroy Chiao, flight engineer Salizhan Sharipov and Russian taxi cosmonaut Yuri Shargin -- hold a pre-flight news conference near Moscow on Sept. 23. (43min 05sec file)
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Life on the station
Former International Space Station commander Mike Foale radioed current ISS science officer Mike Fincke on Sept. 22 to discuss actvities and work aboard the outpost. (5min 01sec file)
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Station chat with kids
Expedition 9 commander Gennedy Padalka and flight engineer Mike Fincke talk about life aboard the International Space Station during an in-flight educational event with students at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. (19min 00sec file)
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ISS educational event
The International Space Station's Expedition 9 crew hold an educational talk with students and members of the National Guard Bureau in Charleston, West Virginia. (19min 53sec file)
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NASA chief visits KSC
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe tours the hurricane damage at Kennedy Space Center. (5min 50sec file)
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Shuttle news briefing
The Stafford-Covey Return to Flight Task Group's co-chairmen, former astronauts Tom Stafford and Dick Covey, hold a news conference Thursday to update reporters on NASA's efforts to prepare the next space shuttle mission. (47min 01sec file)
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Genesis crash lands
The Genesis sample return capsule tumbles through the sky and impacts the desert floor in Utah after its speed-slowing chute and parafoil failed to deploy for a mid-air recovery by a helicopter. (2min 29sec file)
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Slow-motion
This slow-motion video shows the Genesis capsule slamming into the ground. (1min 06sec file)
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Aerial views of crater
Aerial views show the Genesis capsule half buried in the Utah desert floor after its landing system suffered a failure. (1min 53sec file)
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Chandra watches a glowing cloud dubbed the Mouse
CHANDRA X-RAY CENTER NEWS RELEASE
Posted: September 25, 2004

Astronomers have used an X-ray image to make the first detailed study of the behavior of high-energy particles around a fast moving pulsar. The image, from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, shows the shock wave created as a pulsar plows supersonically through interstellar space. These results will provide insight into theories for the production of powerful winds of matter and antimatter by pulsars.


The Mouse, a.k.a. G359.23-0.82, gets its name from its appearance in radio images that show a compact snout, a bulbous body, and a remarkable long, narrow, tail that extends for about 55 light years (see radio image below). The image on the left, a composite X-ray (gold) and radio (blue), shows a close-up of the head of the Mouse where a shock wave has formed as the young pulsar plows supersonically through interstellar space. Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/B.Gaensler et al. Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA
Download a larger image here

 
Chandra's image of the glowing cloud, known as the Mouse, shows a stubby bright column of high-energy particles, about four light years in length, swept back by the pulsar's interaction with interstellar gas. The intense source at the head of the X-ray column is the pulsar, estimated to be moving through space at about 1.3 million miles per hour.

A cone-shaped cloud of radio-wave-emitting particles envelopes the X-ray column. The Mouse, a.k.a. G359.23-0.82, was discovered in 1987 by radio astronomers using the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array in New Mexico. It gets its name from its appearance in radio images that show a compact snout, a bulbous body, and a remarkable long, narrow, tail that extends for about 55 light years.

"A few dozen pulsar wind nebulae are known, including the spectacular Crab Nebula, but none have the Mouse's combination of relatively young age and incredibly rapid motion through interstellar space," said Bryan Gaensler of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and lead author of a paper on the Mouse that will appear in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal. "We effectively are seeing a supersonic cosmic wind tunnel, in which we can study the effects of a pulsar's motion on its pulsar wind nebula, and test current theories."

Pulsars are known to be rapidly spinning, highly magnetized neutron stars -- objects so dense that a mass equal to that of the Sun is packed into a diameter of about 12 miles. Their formation is associated with a Type II supernova, the collapse and subsequent explosion of a massive star. The origin of a pulsar's high velocity is not known, but many astrophysicists suspect that it is directly related to the explosive circumstances involved in the birth of the pulsar.


This illustration shows the various zones around a pulsar (bright white dot) that is producing a wind of high energy particles as it moves supersonically through the interstellar medium. Immediately surrounding the pulsar is a cavity (shown in red) in which the wind flows freely outward. At the point where the pressure of the pulsar wind is balanced by external pressure, a termination shock is formed. Credit: CXC/M. Weiss
 
The rapid rotation and strong magnetic field of a pulsar can generate a wind of high-energy matter and antimatter particles that rush out at near the speed of light. These pulsar winds create large, magnetized bubbles of high-energy particles called pulsar wind nebulae. The X-ray and radio data on the Mouse have enabled Gaensler and his colleagues to constrain the properties of the ambient gas, to estimate the velocity of the pulsar, and to analyze the structure of the various shock waves created by the pulsar, the flow of particles away from the pulsar, and the magnetic field in the nebula.

Other members of the research team were Eric van der Swaluw (FOM Institute of Physics, The Netherlands), Fernando Camilo (Columbia Univ., New York), Vicky Kaspi (McGill Univ., Montreal), Frederick K. Baganoff (MIT, Cambridge, Mass.), Farhad Yusef-Zadeh (Northwestern), and Richard Manchester (Australia Telescope National Facility). The pulsar in the Mouse was originally detected by Camilo et al. in 2002 using Australia's Parkes radio telescope. Chandra observed the Mouse on October 23 and 24, 2002.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington. Northrop Grumman of Redondo Beach, Calif., formerly TRW, Inc., was the prime development contractor for the observatory. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls science and flight operations from the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Mass.

Ares 1-X Patch
The official embroidered patch for the Ares 1-X rocket test flight, is available for purchase.
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Apollo Collage
This beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.
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Expedition 21
The official embroidered patch for the International Space Station Expedition 21 crew is now available from our stores.
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Hubble Patch
The official embroidered patch for mission STS-125, the space shuttle's last planned service call to the Hubble Space Telescope, is available for purchase.
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