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NASA Image Of The Day

Grand Canyon Geology Lessons on View
NASA Image Of The Day
The Grand Canyon in northern Arizona is a favorite for astronauts shooting photos from the International Space Station, as well as one of the best-known tourist attractions in the world. The steep walls of the Colorado River canyon and its many side canyons make an intricate landscape that contrasts with the dark green, forested plateau to the north and south. The Colorado River has done all the erosional work of carving away cubic kilometers of rock in a geologically short period of time. Visible as a darker line snaking along the bottom of the canyon, the river lies at an altitude of 715 meters (2,345 feet), thousands of meters below the North and South Rims. Temperatures are furnace-like on the river banks in the summer. But Grand Canyon Village, the classic outlook point for visitors, enjoys a milder climate at an altitude of 2,100 meters (6,890 feet). The Grand Canyon has become a geologic icon?a place where you can almost sense the invisible tectonic forces within the Earth. The North and South Rims are part of the Kaibab Plateau, a gentle tectonic swell in the landscape. The uplift of the plateau had two pronounced effects on the landscape that show up in this image. First, in drier parts of the world, forests usually indicate higher places; higher altitudes are cooler and wetter, conditions that allow trees to grow. The other geologic lesson on view is the canyon itself. Geologists now know that a river can cut a canyon only if the Earth surface rises vertically. If such uplift is not rapid, a river can maintain its course by eroding huge quantities of rock and forming a canyon. This astronaut photograph (ISS039-E-5258) was taken on March 25, 2014 by the Expedition 39 crew, with a Nikon D3S digital camera using a 180 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. It has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. > View annotated image Image Credit: NASA Caption: M. Justin Wilkinson, Jacobs at NASA-JSC...
16 Apr 2014
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ESA Launchers
ESA Launchers

  • Europe lofts first Copernicus environmental satellite

    The ability of European citizens, policymakers and service providers to access key environmental data on a routine basis will take a major step forward following the launch today of ESA’s Sentinel-1A satellite.



  • Ariane 5’s second launch of 2014

    An Ariane 5 launcher lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on its mission to place two telecom satellites, Astra-5B and Amazonas-4A, into their planned transfer orbits.



  • Experimental simulator testing propulsion systems

    The first hot fire test of an experimental simulator to measure pressure oscillations in solid rocket boosters was performed yesterday at the French military procurement agency test site in Saint Jean d’Illiac, France.



  • Ariane 5’s first launch of 2014

    The first Ariane 5 launch of the year lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana this evening on its mission to place two telecommunications satellites, ABS-2 & Athena–Fidus, into their planned transfer orbits.



  • Deploying multiple satellites with Sylda and Vespa

    This year saw Europe’s launchers delivering more satellites into a range of orbits per single launch – giving customers even more options for flying their missions.



  • Liftoff for ESA’s billion-star surveyor

    ESA PR 44-2013: ESA’s Gaia mission blasted off this morning on a Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on its exciting mission to study a billion suns.



  • Ariane 6 progress

    The preliminary requirements for Europe’s next-generation Ariane 6 launcher have been agreed and the project is set to move on to the next stage

  • Stepping up Vega launcher production

    Such is the success of Europe’s Vega small launcher that an order was signed today in Rome for the production of ten more vehicles. These will be launched over three years from the end of 2015.



  • Shaker testing seeks to extend Vega performance

    Vega’s top stage has been subjected to the forces of launch on a shaker table at ESA’s main technical centre. This testing is intended to boost the carrying capacity of Europe’s newest launcher for future flights.



  • Ariane 6 moves to next stage of development

    The preliminary requirements for Europe’s next-generation Ariane 6 launcher have been agreed and the project is set to move on to the next stage.



  • Wildlife at CSG

    Europe’s Spaceport covers 700 sq km and as a restricted area offers protection to a rare biodiversity of wildlife

  • IXV splashdown

    ESA Euronews: IXV reentry test takes Europe's newest spacecraft a step closer to launch in 2014

  • Ariane 5's fourth launch of 2013

    This evening, an Ariane 5 launcher lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on its mission to place two communications satellites, Eutelsat 25B/Es’hail 1 and GSAT-7, into their planned geostationary transfer orbits.



  • Flawless launch of Alphasat, Europe’s largest and most sophisticated telecom satellite

    Alphasat, Europe’s largest and most sophisticated telecommunications satellite, was launched into its planned orbit today from Kourou, French Guiana.



  • Liftoff replay

    Replay of the Ariane 5 liftoff at 19:54 GMT (21:54 CEST) on 25 July from French Guiana, with Alphasat on board

  • Final inspection and fairing integration

    Last week the Ariane 5 fairing containing Alphasat was lowered on top of the launcher.



  • ATV-4 launch

    Sterex images of ATV-4 launch

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