Soyuz Space Capsule Lands Safely

A Russian space capsule touched down on the steppes of Kazakhstan in Central Asia on April 27, safely returning a joint U.S.-Russian crew to Earth after months aboard the International Space Station. The Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft landed at 7:45 a.m. EDT (1145 GMT), less than four hours after undocking from the space station. Riding home aboard the space capsule were NASA astronaut Dan Burbank and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, who were reintroduced to the strong tug of Earth’s gravity after spending 165 days, or nearly 5 1/2 months, in orbit.

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Andre Kuipers Snapped Photo of Lava Crater in Mauritania

Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers snapped the image of the so-called Richat structure in Mauritania, as the space station flew over the Sahara Desert on the Atlantic Coast of West Africa. Erosion of the various rock layers created the ring-like features that make up the sprawling structure, but according to geologists the origin of the Richat structure remains somewhat mysterious. The photo shows Andre Kuipers’ unique vantage point from the orbiting complex, which flies approximately 240 miles (386 kilometers) above the surface of the Earth.

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