First US manned space flight, 1961
First US manned space flight, 1961. Redstone rocket launching the Freedom 7 capsule into space on 5th May 1961. This mission (Mercury-Redstone 3) launched Alan Shepherd into space as part of the Mercury program, making him the first US astronaut to travel into space, and the second person worldwide after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin - who had made his flight in April of that year. Shepherd's flight lasted less than 16 minutes, reaching a height of 187 kilometres. Unlike Gagarin, Shepherd did not orbit the Earth. Photographed on 5th May 1961, at Launch Complex 5 (LC-5), Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA.
© NASA/VRS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Florida peninsula seen from Space Shuttle
Florida peninsula seen from space. To the right of the frame is the Atlantic Ocean, with the Gulf of Mexico to the left. Just right of centre jutting out into the Atlantic is Cape Canaveral, home of the Kennedy Space Center from where all Shuttle missions are launched. The spread of the city of Miami is seen as the grey area at the bottom right of the peninsula. The dark patch next to Miami is Lake Okeechobee. Extending from bottom centre to bottom left is the line of the Florida Keys: at bottom right is pale blue, shallow water next to South Bimini Island. This photograph was taken by the crew of Shuttle Discovery during Mission 51-C of 24-27 January 1985.
© NASA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Burrowing owl on a post
Burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) on a post, with its head turned vertically. It often perches on a post, using it as a vantage point from which to swoop on prey. It feeds mainly on large insects and small mammals, but also eats fruits. This small owl inhabits prairies and scrubland from western and southern North America to northern South America. As its name implies, it nests in a burrow, either digging its own or taking over the burrow of a burrowing animal such as a prairie dog. It is known to line its burrow with mammal dung to attract insects. It stands around 25 centimetres tall. Photographed in Florida, USA.
© Manuel Presti/Science Photo Library