Clouds of steam and ash rise from Sarychev Volcano in Russia's Kuril Islands,northeast of Japan, during an early stage of eruption on June 12. This rare view was captured in a photograph taken from the international space station.
In the northwest Pacific Ocean, the Oyashio Current flows down out of the Arctic, past Siberia and the Kamchatka Peninsula. Around the latitude of Japan's Hokkaido Island, it begins to veer eastward and converges with the warmer Kuroshio Current. This image from NASA's Aqua satellite, shows how the convergence of these two currents affects blue-green swirls of phytoplankton floating in the sea.
A false-color image from the high-resolution camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveals variations in the composition of clay and sulfate-bearing rocks in Gale Crater on the Red Planet. Gale Crater is one of the potential landing sites being considered for NASA's Curiosity rover, which is due for launch in 2011.
St. Helena, located in the South Atlantic Ocean, was one of the many isolated islands that naturalist Charles Darwin visited during his scientific voyages in the nineteenth century. This image of St. Helena was acquired by astronauts onboard the international space station, an effort to document current biodiversity in the areas Darwin visited. Before Darwin's day, St. Helena was where an exiled Napoleon Bonaparte spent the last years of his life.
Take me home.
The space shuttle Atlantis takes a piggyback ride back home to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 2, on top of a modified Boeing 747 jet. The $1.8 million cross-country trip was required because Atlantis landed in California at the end of its flight to fix the Hubble Space Telescope.