Wednesday, May 18, 2011

SKYWATCH: Endeavor Exiting the Clouds

On Monday, space shuttle Endeavor departed the launch pad at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the last time, heading towards a two-week-long mission to the International Space Station. A historic moment, one which presented the final departure of one of the great machines man has ever built.
A while back, shuttle Discovery did the exact same thing, but it would appear Endeavor has drawn a lot more attention to it than its predecessor. For reasons unknown – perhaps humanity is only beginning to realize, now that the second shuttle is on its way out the door, that one of its greatest achievements, manned space exploration, will enter a cone of shadow – we are witnessing a flood of Endeavor photos, much more than we did with the Discovery. None of them, not even the ones taken by professional photographers, comes even close to this one, taken by a Jane Doe with the camera of her phone. The photo, taken by Stefanie Gordon of Hoboken, New Jersey – who happened to be at the right time, in the right place, in a plane going from New York to Palm Beach – shows the Endeavor as it shoots out from under the rug of clouds, leaving behind a swirling trail of smoke, air and water particles.


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