Exploring the Evolution of Galaxies

Ten years ago today — April 28, 2003 — a Pegasus XL rocket carried a small spacecraft to probe the origin of stars and galaxies.


(A 2012 GALEX composite image of the Andromeda galaxy. NASA/JPL-Caltech image.)

Called GALEX, for GALaxy Evolution eXplorer, the spacecraft’s primary instrument was a telescope tuned to the ultraviolet part of the spectrum. With its mission now extended beyond the original 29-month timeline, GALEX is conducting “an all-sky imaging survey, a deep imaging survey, and a survey of 200 galaxies nearest to the Milky Way” in order to explore the origins of heavy elements, stars, and galaxies. You can find more information about the mission, including many stunning images, on this page

For more down-to-earth mapping purposes, on this date 5 years ago India launched CartoSat 2A, a remote-sensing satellite, along with 9 smaller spacecraft, from the Sriharikota launch center on a PSLV 9 rocket. Urban and rural planners use CartoSat’s data.

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P.S. The full resolution JPEG (19.3 MB) of the Andromeda image above is here.

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