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Month in Space Pictures: Rocket launches big and small and Jovian twilight zone

A homemade rocket, a cosmic firework and more out-of-this-world photos from March 2018.

Image: jsc2018e010883 - At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 55 crewmembers Ricky Arnold of NASA (left), Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos (center) and Drew Feustel of NASA (right) pose for pictures with their Russian Sokol launch and entry suits

Empty suits

NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel and cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, right, pose with their launch and entry space suits on March 5. The trio launched March 21 for a five-month mission on the International Space Station. 

Victor Zelentsov

Farewell Earthlings!

From top, Drew Feustel, Ricky Arnold, and Oleg Artemyev wave farewell prior to boarding the Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft. The trio launched into orbit on March 21 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. 

JOEL KOWSKY / AFP - Getty Images

Don't try this at home...

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster launches on March 21. 

The arrival of Feustel, Arnold and Artemyev at the space station boosts the orbiting lab's population to its full complement of six crewmembers. 

Dmitri Lovetsky / AP

No, really, don't try this at home

"Mad" Mike Hughes blasts off in his home-made rocket near Amboy, California, on March 24.

Hughes, the rocket man who believes the Earth is flat, propelled himself about 1,875 feet into the air before a hard landing in the Mojave Desert. 

Hughes said he was "relieved," after being checked out by paramedics. "I'm tired of people saying I chickened out and didn't build a rocket. I'm tired of that stuff. I manned up and did it."

Matt Hartman / AP

Arctic glow

A woman watches the northern lights, or aurora borealis, from a pier in Bostad, in the Arctic Circle in northern Norway, on March 3. 


OLIVIER MORIN / AFP - Getty Images

Earth art

Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy tweeted this image of Australia on March 14. 

When Ryazanskiy returned to Earth in December after spending six months on the space station, he said he was bringing 200,000 images with him, and he's been posting selections on Twitter ever since. 


A brilliant mind

Students wait in line to sign a book of condolence at Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge University, where British physicist Stephen Hawking was a fellow for more than 50 years. 

Hawking, who died on March 14, was famous for his insights on black holes, the existence of God and quantum gravity.

Photos: A brief history of Stephen Hawking

TOLGA AKMEN / AFP - Getty Images
Image: Airplane Moon

Under the moon

A United Airlines jet flies in front of the moon over Thousand Oaks, California, on March 26. 

KC Alfred / Zuma Press
Image: A new composite image of the Crab Nebula features X-rays from Chandra, optical data from Hubble, and infrared data from Spitzer.

Spinning crab

A new composite image of the Crab Nebula, released on March 14, features X-rays from the Chandra Observatory (blue and white), optical data from Hubble (purple), and infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope (pink).

The Crab Nebula is powered by a quickly spinning, highly magnetized neutron star called a pulsar. The combination of rapid rotation and a strong magnetic field in the Crab Nebula generates an intense electromagnetic field that creates jets of matter and anti-matter moving away from both the north and south poles of the pulsar, and an intense wind flowing out in the equatorial direction.

Chandra X-ray Observatory Center / X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NA

Rocket's path

A SpaceX rocket launches from Cape Canaveral in Florida on March 6, successfully deploying a Hispasat 30W-6 satellite approximately 33 minutes after launch. SpaceX did not attempt to land Falcon 9's first stage after launch due to unfavorable weather conditions in the recovery area off the Atlantic Coast.

February's Month in Space: Cosmic Penguin and Playing Mars