“An Act to provide for research into the problems of flight within and outside the Earth’s atmosphere, and for other purposes.”
On July 29, 1958, the United States Congress passed legislation that authorized the formation of a civilian agency to coordinate the US’s space activities. This agency – the National Aeronautics and Space Administration – has, in spite of many obstacles and profoundly tragic setbacks, propelled us forward in areas as far ranging as weather-forecasting and defense, global (and stellar) communications, navigation system, and space exploration.
“When you organize extraordinary missions, you attract people of extraordinary talent who might not have been inspired by or attracted to the goal of saving the world from cancer or hunger or pestilence.” — Neil DeGrasse Tyson
This image, not unlike a pointillist painting, shows the star-studded centre of the Milky Way towards the constellation of Sagittarius. The crowded centre of our galaxy contains numerous complex and mysterious objects that are usually hidden at optical wavelengths by clouds of dust — but many are visible here in these infrared observations from Hubble. However, the most famous cosmic object in this image still remains invisible: the monster at our galaxy’s heart called Sagittarius A*. Astronomers have observed stars spinning around this supermassive black hole (located right in the centre of the image), and the black hole consuming clouds of dust as it affects its environment with its enormous gravitational pull. Infrared observations can pierce through thick obscuring material to reveal information that is usually hidden to the optical observer. This is the best infrared image of this region ever taken with Hubble, and uses infrared archive data from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, taken in September 2011. It was posted to Flickr by Gabriel Brammer, a fellow at the European Southern Observatory based in Chile. He is also an ESO photo ambassador.
Official image of the Space Act from the National Archives. All historical & space photos from the nasa.gov site