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On May 23, 2014, Expedition 40 Commander Steve Swanson posted this photograph -- taken from the International Space Station -- to Instagram. Swanson noted, “Western Sahara – the contrast between the sand and the water is spectacular from here.” Swanson uploaded the first image from space to Instagram on April 7. He began posting imagery to the social media site during his pre-flight training.
NASA demonstrated that it can land an unmanned spacecraft on a rugged planetary surface in the pitch dark in a May 28, 2014 free-flight test of the Morpheus prototype lander and Autonomous Landing Hazard Avoidance Technology, or ALHAT. The 98-second test began at 10:02 p.m. EDT, with the Morpheus lander launching from the ground over a flame trench and ascending more than 800 feet (244 m) into the dark Florida sky at Kennedy Space Center using only ALHAT's Hazard Detection System for guidance. The Hazard Detection System, assisted by three light detection and ranging (lidar) sensors, located obstacles -- such as rocks and craters -- and safely landed on the lunar-like hazard field a quarter mile away from the NASA Center.
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have assembled a comprehensive picture of the evolving universe – among the most colorful deep space images ever captured by the 24-year-old telescope. Researchers say the image, in new study called the Ultraviolet Coverage of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, provides the missing link in star formation. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2014 image is a composite of separate exposures taken in 2003 to 2012 with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3.
This view in the International Space Station, photographed by an Expedition 40 crew member, shows how it looks inside the space station while the crew is asleep. The dots near the hatch point to a Soyuz spacecraft docked to the station in case the crew was to encounter an emergency. This view is looking into the Destiny Laboratory from Node 1 (Unity) with Node 2 (Harmony) in the background. Destiny is the primary research laboratory for U.S. payloads, supporting a wide range of experiments and studies.
A stream of plasma burst out from the sun, but since it lacked enough force to break away, most of it fell back into the sun (May 27, 2014). The video, seen in a combination of two wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light, covers a little over two hours. This eruption was minor and such events occur almost every day on the sun and suggest the kind of dynamic activity being driven by powerful magnetic forces near the sun's surface.
The Orion crew module for Exploration Flight Test-1 is shown in the Final Assembly and System Testing (FAST) Cell, positioned over the service module just prior to mating the two sections together. The FAST cell is where the integrated crew and service modules are put through their final system tests prior to rolling out of the Operations and Checkout Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Technicians are in position to assist with the final alignment steps once the crew module is nearly in contact with the service module. In December, Orion will launch 3,600 miles into space in a four-hour flight to test the systems that will be critical for survival in future human missions to deep space.

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Purpose of the NASA Postdoctoral Program

The NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) supports NASA’s goal to expand scientific understanding of the Earth and the universe in which we live.

Selected by a competitive peer-review process, NPP Fellows complete one- to three-year Fellowship appointments that advance NASA’s missions in earth science, heliophysics, planetary science, astrophysics, space bioscience, aeronautics and engineering, human exploration and space operations, and astrobiology.

As a result, NPP Fellows contribute to national priorities for scientific exploration; confirm NASA’s leadership in fundamental research; and complement the efforts of NASA’s partners in the national science community.


Latest News

Volume 2, Issue 3, of the NPP newsletter features the fascinating subject of astrobiology, demonstrated by Trinity Hamilton’s research; a report on the value of the NPP experience by Jun Xiong, who completed his appointment at ARC; a look at chemical engineering and its importance to aeronautics research at LaRC; and an overview of the GSFC’s postdoctoral community, which complements the NPP research experience for Fellows at Goddard.

Curiosity has always been a driving force in science. In the case of Heidar Thrastarson, curiosity drove him from his home in Iceland all the way to Pasadena, Calif. Heidar Thrastarson Thrastarson’s research focuses on extrasolar planets, an interest that spawned during an undergraduate astrophysics class. His curiosity was sparked after selecting extrasolar planets as an essay topic, and his career was born. Find out more about Heidar on his research experience profile.