5:05pm

Thu July 21, 2011
The Two-Way

'Against Clouds And City Lights:' A Photo Of The Shuttle's Fiery Reentry

NASA released a stunning picture of the space shuttle Atlantis making its reentry back to Earth. The picture was taken aboard the International Space Station and shows, as NASA describes it, "Atlantis, appearing like a bean sprout against clouds and city lights, on its way home:"

In the background, you're looking at airglow over Earth.

The New York Times reports that Michael Fossum, a NASA astronaut aboard the space station, floated in the windowed cupola and remarked on Atlantis' plasma trail. In orbit, the space shuttle was flying at a speed of about 17,500 mph and after firing its rockets it slowed down to make a still blazing hypersonic descent to Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Earlier today, Marrk blogged the the landing that closed the book on a 30-year shuttle program.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.