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STS-1 crew looks back
In this highly entertaining program, commander John Young and pilot Bob Crippen of the first space shuttle crew tell stories and memories from STS-1. The two respected astronauts visited Kennedy Space Center on April 6 to mark the upcoming 25th anniversary of Columbia's maiden voyage.

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STS-41G crew film
The October 1984 flight of space shuttle Challenger featured a diverse set of accomplishments. The Earth Radiation Budget Satellite environmental spacecraft was deployed and a planet-mapping radar was tested. The seven-person crew was led by Bob Crippen and included the first Canadian in space, Marc Garneau, and the first time two women, Sally Ride and Kathryn Sullivan, had flown aboard one flight. Sullivan and Dave Leestma also conducted a spacewalk to demonstrate techniques for refueling satellites. The crew narrates this post-flight film of STS-41G.

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STS-37 anniversary
On April 5, 1991, space shuttle Atlantis lifted off from Kennedy Space Center carrying the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory -- NASA's second Great Observatory. Launch occurred at 9:23 a.m. from pad 39B.

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Crew news conference
The combined Expedition 12 and 13 crews, along with visiting Brazilian astronaut Marcos Pontes, hold this in-flight news conference with reporters in Houston, Cape Canaveral and Moscow on April 3. The crews are handing over duties during this week-long handover before Expedition 12 returns to Earth from the space station.

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Soyuz docking
The Russian Soyuz TMA-8 spacecraft carrying the Expedition 13 resident crew successfully docks to the Zarya module of the International Space Station under automated control.

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Next station crew
Full coverage of the Expedition 13 crew's launch aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to begin a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.

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Solar eclipse from ISS
External cameras on the International Space Station captured this incredible footage of the March 29 solar eclipse. The station flew through the eclipse over the Middle East as the moon passed in front of the sun and cast its shadow on the Earth.

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Total solar eclipse
A total solar eclipse occurred March 29. This video from Side, Turkey shows the period of totality when the moon slid between the Earth and Sun. The eclipse revealed the Sun's glowing outer halo of million-degree gas, called the solar corona.

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Survey finds galaxy cluster building-block process
ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY NEWS RELEASE
Posted: April 10, 2006

A study of the Universe's most massive galaxy clusters has shown that mergers play a vital role in their evolution.

Astronomers at Oxford University and the Gemini Observatory used a combination of data from the twin Gemini Telescopes, located in Hawaii and Chile, and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to study populations of stars in the Universe's most massive galaxy clusters over a range of epochs - the earliest being half the age of the Universe. The HST images were used to map the light distribution of the galaxies in the cluster. Data from the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph allowed the team to analyse the light from galaxies to determine their masses, ages and chemical compositions.

"We still don't have a clear picture of how galaxies develop over the history of the Universe. The strength of this study is that we are able to look at galaxy clusters over a range of epochs," said Dr Jordi Barr of Oxford University, who presented some of the first results of the Gemini/HST Galaxy Cluster Project at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting.

Galaxy clusters contain the most massive galaxies in the Universe. Until recently, astronomers believed that all galaxies in the centres of clusters formed rapidly and then aged without any further changes to their structure in a process known as "Passive Evolution". Results from the Gemini/HST Galaxy Cluster Project now show that this cannot be the case.

Dr Barr explained, "When we're looking at the most distant galaxy clusters, we are looking back in time to clusters that are in early stages of their formation. The young galaxies in distant clusters appear to be very different from those in the mature clusters that we see in the local Universe. We found the earliest galaxy clusters have a huge variation in the abundances of elements such as oxygen and magnesium, whereas the chemistry of galaxies in the sample of closer clusters appears to be much more homogenous. This difference in chemistry proves that the clusters must actively change over time. If the galaxies in the old clusters have acquired a complete "set" of elements, it's most likely that they have formed from the mergers of several young galaxies".

The group found that the star-formation in galaxies is dependent on mass and that in lower mass galaxies star-formation continues for longer. The most massive galaxies in clusters appear to have formed all their stars by the time the universe is just over a billion years old, whereas the lower mass galaxies finish forming their stars some 4 billion years later.

"We see the effects of star-formation in low mass galaxies but are unsure about why it's happening. It's possible that star-formation can be shut down very rapidly in dense environments and that the lower mass galaxies are recent arrivals that are forming stars over a longer period outside the cluster, then falling in. But we are still speculating..." said Dr Barr

The group's observations of merging galaxy clusters showed that a large proportion of the galaxies in those clusters have undergone recent bursts of star formation. This indicates that star formation may be triggered if galaxies are thrown, during the course of a merger, into contact with the gaseous medium pervading the cluster.

Future observations are planned at X-ray wavelengths to study the interactions between galaxies and the distribution and temperature of the surrounding gas.

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Final Shuttle Mission Patch

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STS-134 Patch

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The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!
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Ares 1-X Patch
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Apollo Collage
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Project Orion
The Orion crew exploration vehicle is NASA's first new human spacecraft developed since the space shuttle a quarter-century earlier. The capsule is one of the key elements of returning astronauts to the Moon.
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Fallen Heroes Patch Collection
The official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store.
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Ares 1-X Patch
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Apollo Collage
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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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