Best Space Photos of the Week - Feb. 15, 2014

Europe's Billion-Star Mapping Spacecraft Snaps 1st Photo (Image)

ESA/DPAC/Airbus DS

A new European spacecraft tasked with mapping a billion stars has beamed its first picture back to Earth. [Read the full story here. ]

Amazing Space Photos by Japanese Astronaut Koichi Wakata in Orbit

Koichi Wakata (via Twitter as @Astro_Wakata)

This image of a green apple was taken by JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata aboard the International Space Station on Feb. 6, 2014. Wakata tweeted the haiku: “Smell of the Earth, from the fresh green apples, just arrived on Progress.” [See more photos here.]

First Map of Jupiter's Giant Moon Ganymede Unveiled (Photos, Video)

USGS Astrogeology Science Center/Wheaton/NASA/JPL-Caltech

Scientists have created the first global geological map of Jupiter's huge, ice-covered moon Ganymede. [Read the full story.]

Saturn's Auroras Glow in 360-Degree Views from NASA Spacecraft (Photos, Video)

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Colorado/Central Arizona College and NASA/ESA/University of Leicester and NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Lancaster University

Saturn's auroras dance in a new video that shows the planet's northern and southern lights shining in amazing, 360-degree detail. The video, released by NASA today (Feb. 11), shows multiple views of the planet's auroras in different wavelengths of light.[Read the full story.]

Mighty Mobile Rocket Launcher: Rolling NASA Platform Ready for Upgrade (Photo)

NASA/Ben Smegelsky

The Mobile Launcher, a massive structure, stands at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and represents one of NASA's key elements of ground support equipment being upgraded. [Read the full story.]

Winter Storm Battering Southeast Seen from Space

NOAA

An Earth-watching satellite has spotted the latest winter storm threatening to paralyze the southeastern United States. [Read the full story.]

Gigantic Black Hole Jets Shines in Amazing New Video, Photo

NASA/CXC/U.Birmingham/M.Burke et al.

A powerful jet shooting from a supermassive black hole at the center of a distant galaxy shines in a newly released image and video tour. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory gathered data that was used to create the new photo of the galaxy Centaurus A — which is located about 12 million light-years from Earth. [Read the full story.]

Rare Sight: See Venus During the Day (Photo)

Robert Roy Britt

One of the more amazing sights in our sky is the planet Venus. At its best, Venus is brighter than all other celestial objects except the sun and moon. Right now, the brilliant planet is so bright that you can actually see it in the daytime, if you know where to look. [Read the full story.]

Curiosity Rover Conquers Martian Sand Dune (Video)

NASA/JPL-Caltech

A new video shows NASA's Mars rover Curiosity playing dune buggy, clambering over a drift of sand on its way toward a big Red Planet mountain. [See the video.]

Photos of Ganymede, Jupiter's Largest Moon

USGS Astrogeology Science Center/Wheaton/ASU/NASA/JPL-Caltech

Jupiter's moon Ganymede is the largest satellite in the solar system. Larger than Mercury and Pluto, and only slightly smaller than Mars, it would easily be classified as a planet if were orbiting the sun rather than Jupiter. IN THIS IMAGE: To present the best information in a single view of Jupiter's moon Ganymede, a global image mosaic was assembled, incorporating the best available imagery from NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft and NASA's Galileo spacecraft. This image shows Ganymede centered at 200 west longitude. This mosaic (right) served as the base map for the geologic map of Ganymede (left). [See the photos.]

Spaceport Sweden Launches Aerial Northern Lights Tours, Aims for Space (Video)

IDEAS/Spaceport Sweden

Spaceport Sweden has just released a new promotional video showing some of the amazing things tourists can do when they visit the complex. [Read the full story.]

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