The Only Humans To Die In Space

Soyuz and Salyut Docking in Space.

Soyuz and Salyut Docking in Space (Artist’s Rendering). Source: SpaceFacts/ Joachim Becker

There exists only one video of what followed Soyuz 11’s violent decompression. In it, we see two men sprawled over white sheets, helpless on the dead grasses of the Kazakh steppe. Their faces are obscured by the sweating, heaving medics huddled over them, performing the kiss of life, frantically trying to save them: but their essences had been sucked out in a silent flash. Their skin is as gray and lifeless as the ground they lay upon. All crewmen were lost.

The Salyut-1 (“salute”, “fanfare”) was intended to be one of the USSR’s defining blows to the United States in the Cold War. The first space station of any kind was going to be a Soviet one, and the eager Soviets had already sent a team of three men to occupy it. It was a hasty decision: the Soviet team had recently abandoned their lunar mission plans, and were in a mad dash to show the world that they could still make firsts in space. From the initial design phases to the actual launch of Salyut-1, only 16 months had passed.

Crew of Space Station Salyut-1/Soyuz 11.

Crew of Space Station Salyut-1/Soyuz 11. Source: SpaceFacts.de/Joachim Becker

The first manned flight to Salyut-1 was the Soyuz 10. There was a malfunction in the docking procedure and the mission had to be scrapped. Soyuz 11 was the second attempt, and the world was leaning forward in their seats as the crew successfully completed its three-hour docking procedure with Salyut on June 7th, 1971. But the three men: Vladislav Volkov, Georgy Dobrovolsky, and Viktor Patsayev, were greeted with a troubling sight: the space station was filled with smoke.
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Stunning Photos From The 2014 Astronomy Photography Awards

Earth and Space WInner 2014

Aurora over a Glacier Lagoon by James Woodend. Overall and Earth and Space winner. Source: ViralSpell

Space has intrigued us since the dawn of time, when the world’s earliest civilizations conjured up myths and fables to explain the sun, moon and stars. While our knowledge of space has grown drastically over the years, there is still much that we will never know. Images from the Astronomy Photography Awards don’t explain wormholes or supernovae, but they do capture some of the most wondrous images of our massive solar system. Keep scrolling to check out this year’s winners, along with our favorite submissions.

Young Winner 2014

The Horsehead Nebula (IC 434) by Shishir and Shashank Dholakia. Young winner. Source: Creative Review

Astronomy Photography Awards 2014 Winners

Ripples in a Pond by Alexandra Hart. Winner in Our Solar System category. Source: ViralSpell

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The Hubble Flickr Stream Is The Most Stunning Thing You’ll See All Week

Hubble In Space

Source: NASA

Before Galileo turned his telescope to the skies in 1610, all that we knew of the universe we knew because we could see it with our naked eyes. Little did we know what wonders they hid from us. Galileo’s work sparked a revolution in science and astronomy, and while he may have made vast improvements on the telescope of his day, NASA’s 24,000 lb. space telescope has collected over 100 terabytes of data since its launch in 1990. A large number of these images have been curated to the Hubble’s Flickr stream. They give us an exciting glimpse into what those of Galileo’s time were missing, and what we, too, could miss if we don’t pay attention.

And if these images leave you yearning for some video footage, fear not: we’ve got you covered with the most important image Hubble has ever captured.

Hubble Flickr Homunculus Nebula

Source: Flickr

Huge clouds of matter – known today as the Homunculus Nebula – consist of byproducts from the binary star system Eta Carinae, which experienced a supernova impostor event in 1843. This is the closest star system to Earth which could experience true supernova status in the near future. (The near future in space-time could still mean a million years from now.)

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4 Wonders Of Our Solar System

Even though astronomy is one of our oldest sciences, our understanding of the universe is still in its infancy. There are so many fascinating things in the universe and we don’t even have to travel too far to see them. Many of them are right here in our very own solar system.

Olympus Mons

Solar System Viking

Actual NASA image taken by Viking 1 Source: Wikipedia

For a long time, we considered Olympus Mons, located on Mars, to be the tallest mountain in our solar system. At a height of 14 miles, it is almost three times as tall as Mount Everest, the highest point on our planet.

Now we know that there is actually a slightly taller mountain in our solar system. It is called Rheasilvia and it is located on an asteroid named Vesta. Even so, Olympus Mons remains far more impressive. Although Rheasilvia is a little taller, the mountain on Mars is simply gigantic in scope.

Solar System Crater

Massive crater located right at the center of the mountain Source: European Space Agency

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