Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day we feature a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

August 12, 1995
See Explanation. Go online for the highest resolution available.
Atlantis Landing
Credit: NASA, Kennedy Space Center

Explanation: Space Shuttle Atlantis lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The Space Shuttle is the first orbital space vehicle to land on a runway like an airplane. Space Shuttles sometimes have the option of landing in White Sands, New Mexico or at the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The runways the shuttles land on are among the longest in the world. Shuttles that do not land in Florida must generally be strapped to the back of a 747 airplane and flown back.

View this page (with external links) online at

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman. Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA/GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.

DVD Table of Contents
Educator's Index