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Pictures | Fri Dec 12, 2014 | 3:35am IST

Pictures of the year: Space

The Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft carrying the International Space Station crew of Anton Shkaplerov of Russia, Terry Virts of the U.S. and Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy blasts off from the launch pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome, November 24, 2014. 

REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

The Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft carrying the International Space Station crew of Anton Shkaplerov of Russia, Terry Virts of the U.S. and Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy blasts off from the launch pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome, November 24, 2014....more

The Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft carrying the International Space Station crew of Anton Shkaplerov of Russia, Terry Virts of the U.S. and Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy blasts off from the launch pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome, November 24, 2014. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov
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An image captured from a distance of about 7.8 km (4.8 miles) from the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, in an image taken from a probe launched from the spaceship Rosetta, October 26, 2014. 

REUTERS/ESA/Rosetta

An image captured from a distance of about 7.8 km (4.8 miles) from the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, in an image taken from a probe launched from the spaceship Rosetta, October 26, 2014. REUTERS/ESA/Rosetta

An image captured from a distance of about 7.8 km (4.8 miles) from the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, in an image taken from a probe launched from the spaceship Rosetta, October 26, 2014. REUTERS/ESA/Rosetta
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An unmanned Antares rocket is seen exploding seconds after lift off from a commercial launch pad in this still image from video shot by Matthew Travis of Zero-G News from the press area at Wallops Island, Virginia, October 28, 2014.  REUTERS/Matthew Travis/Zero-G News

An unmanned Antares rocket is seen exploding seconds after lift off from a commercial launch pad in this still image from video shot by Matthew Travis of Zero-G News from the press area at Wallops Island, Virginia, October 28, 2014. REUTERS/Matthew...more

An unmanned Antares rocket is seen exploding seconds after lift off from a commercial launch pad in this still image from video shot by Matthew Travis of Zero-G News from the press area at Wallops Island, Virginia, October 28, 2014. REUTERS/Matthew Travis/Zero-G News
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Egmont National Park in New Zealand with Mt. Taranaki at its center is seen in a Landsat 8 satellite image taken July 3, 2014. The image is from the book Sanctuary: Exploring the World's Protected Areas from Space, published by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies with support from NASA. 

REUTERS/NASA/USGS

Egmont National Park in New Zealand with Mt. Taranaki at its center is seen in a Landsat 8 satellite image taken July 3, 2014. The image is from the book Sanctuary: Exploring the World's Protected Areas from Space, published by the Institute for...more

Egmont National Park in New Zealand with Mt. Taranaki at its center is seen in a Landsat 8 satellite image taken July 3, 2014. The image is from the book Sanctuary: Exploring the World's Protected Areas from Space, published by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies with support from NASA. REUTERS/NASA/USGS
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Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev looks out of the Russian Soyuz TMA-12M space capsule shortly after landing southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, September 11, 2014.  REUTERS/Maxim Shipenkov/Pool

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev looks out of the Russian Soyuz TMA-12M space capsule shortly after landing southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, September 11, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Shipenkov/Pool

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev looks out of the Russian Soyuz TMA-12M space capsule shortly after landing southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, September 11, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Shipenkov/Pool
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The 10-m (32.8 ft) South Pole Telescope and the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization Telescope at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is seen against the night sky with the Milky Way in a picture released March 17, 2014. Researchers announced that they had discovered what many consider the holy grail of their field: ripples in the fabric of space-time that are echoes of the massive expansion of the universe that took place just after the Big Bang. The gravitational waves were detected by the BICEP telescope. 
REUTERS/Keith Vanderlinde/National Science Foundation

The 10-m (32.8 ft) South Pole Telescope and the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization Telescope at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is seen against the night sky with the Milky Way in a picture released March 17, 2014. Researchers...more

The 10-m (32.8 ft) South Pole Telescope and the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization Telescope at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is seen against the night sky with the Milky Way in a picture released March 17, 2014. Researchers announced that they had discovered what many consider the holy grail of their field: ripples in the fabric of space-time that are echoes of the massive expansion of the universe that took place just after the Big Bang. The gravitational waves were detected by the BICEP telescope. REUTERS/Keith Vanderlinde/National Science Foundation
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Nili Patera, one of the most active dune fields on the planet Mars in a photo taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, March 1, 2014. 

REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Nili Patera, one of the most active dune fields on the planet Mars in a photo taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, March 1, 2014. REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Nili Patera, one of the most active dune fields on the planet Mars in a photo taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, March 1, 2014. REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
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An impact crater on Mars in an image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter released February 5, 2014. The crater spans approximately 100 feet in diameter and is surrounded by a large, rayed blast zone. Because the terrain where the crater formed is dusty, the fresh crater appears blue in the enhanced color of the image, due to removal of the reddish dust in that area. 


REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

An impact crater on Mars in an image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter released February 5, 2014. The crater spans approximately 100 feet in diameter and is surrounded by a large,...more

An impact crater on Mars in an image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter released February 5, 2014. The crater spans approximately 100 feet in diameter and is surrounded by a large, rayed blast zone. Because the terrain where the crater formed is dusty, the fresh crater appears blue in the enhanced color of the image, due to removal of the reddish dust in that area. REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
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A NASA image shows a photo taken by the Expedition 38 crew aboard the International Space Station, of the night view of the Korean Peninsula, with North Korea in the middle almost completely dark compared to neighboring South Korea (bottom right) and China (top left). The photograph was cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed at source. 

REUTERS/NASA-JSC

A NASA image shows a photo taken by the Expedition 38 crew aboard the International Space Station, of the night view of the Korean Peninsula, with North Korea in the middle almost completely dark compared to neighboring South Korea (bottom right) and...more

A NASA image shows a photo taken by the Expedition 38 crew aboard the International Space Station, of the night view of the Korean Peninsula, with North Korea in the middle almost completely dark compared to neighboring South Korea (bottom right) and China (top left). The photograph was cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed at source. REUTERS/NASA-JSC
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The spiral galaxy NGC 4258, also known as M106, with two extra spiral arms as seen in this composite image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. The image was published in the June 20, 2014 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letter. 
REUTERS/NASA

The spiral galaxy NGC 4258, also known as M106, with two extra spiral arms as seen in this composite image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. The image was published in the June 20, 2014 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letter. REUTERS/NASA

The spiral galaxy NGC 4258, also known as M106, with two extra spiral arms as seen in this composite image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. The image was published in the June 20, 2014 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letter. REUTERS/NASA
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A new mosaic made from images taken by NASA's Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990's is shown of the surface of Jupiter's icy moon, Europa, as it looms large in this newly-reprocessed, higher resolution color view released November 24, 2014. This newer version was created from images assembled into a realistic color view of the surface that approximates how Europa would appear to the human eye. 


REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institue

A new mosaic made from images taken by NASA's Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990's is shown of the surface of Jupiter's icy moon, Europa, as it looms large in this newly-reprocessed, higher resolution color view released November 24, 2014. This...more

A new mosaic made from images taken by NASA's Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990's is shown of the surface of Jupiter's icy moon, Europa, as it looms large in this newly-reprocessed, higher resolution color view released November 24, 2014. This newer version was created from images assembled into a realistic color view of the surface that approximates how Europa would appear to the human eye. REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institue
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The Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Orion spacecraft lifts off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida, December 5, 2014. 

REUTERS/Steve Nesius

The Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Orion spacecraft lifts off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida, December 5, 2014. REUTERS/Steve Nesius

The Delta IV Heavy rocket with the Orion spacecraft lifts off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida, December 5, 2014. REUTERS/Steve Nesius
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The Milky Way seen from the International Space Station in a photo taken by NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman on September 28, 2014
 REUTERS/NASA

The Milky Way seen from the International Space Station in a photo taken by NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman on September 28, 2014 REUTERS/NASA

The Milky Way seen from the International Space Station in a photo taken by NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman on September 28, 2014 REUTERS/NASA
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NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory image in extreme ultraviolet light shows an active region of the sun's coronal loops taken over about a two-day period, from February 8 - 10, 2014. Coronal loops are found around sunspots and in active regions. These structures are associated with the closed magnetic field lines that connect magnetic regions on the solar surface. Many coronal loops last for days or weeks, but most change quite rapidly. REUTERS/Solar Dynamics Observatory

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory image in extreme ultraviolet light shows an active region of the sun's coronal loops taken over about a two-day period, from February 8 - 10, 2014. Coronal loops are found around sunspots and in active regions. These...more

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory image in extreme ultraviolet light shows an active region of the sun's coronal loops taken over about a two-day period, from February 8 - 10, 2014. Coronal loops are found around sunspots and in active regions. These structures are associated with the closed magnetic field lines that connect magnetic regions on the solar surface. Many coronal loops last for days or weeks, but most change quite rapidly. REUTERS/Solar Dynamics Observatory
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The Supermoon rises over houses in Olvera, in the southern Spanish province of Cadiz, July 12, 2014. Occurring when a full moon or new moon coincides with the closest approach the moon makes to the Earth, the Supermoon results in a larger-than-usual appearance of the lunar disk. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

The Supermoon rises over houses in Olvera, in the southern Spanish province of Cadiz, July 12, 2014. Occurring when a full moon or new moon coincides with the closest approach the moon makes to the Earth, the Supermoon results in a larger-than-usual...more

The Supermoon rises over houses in Olvera, in the southern Spanish province of Cadiz, July 12, 2014. Occurring when a full moon or new moon coincides with the closest approach the moon makes to the Earth, the Supermoon results in a larger-than-usual appearance of the lunar disk. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
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The sun reflects off the water in this picture taken by German astronaut Alexander Gerst from the International Space Station and sent on his Twitter feed July 17, 2014. REUTERS/Alexander Gerst/NASA

The sun reflects off the water in this picture taken by German astronaut Alexander Gerst from the International Space Station and sent on his Twitter feed July 17, 2014. REUTERS/Alexander Gerst/NASA

The sun reflects off the water in this picture taken by German astronaut Alexander Gerst from the International Space Station and sent on his Twitter feed July 17, 2014. REUTERS/Alexander Gerst/NASA
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The shadow of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity pictured in late-afternoon in an image taken by the rover's rear hazard avoidance camera, March 20, 2014. The rover's shadow falls across a slope called the McClure-Beverlin Escarpment on the western rim of Endeavour Crater, where Opportunity was investigating rock layers for evidence about ancient environments. 

REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech

The shadow of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity pictured in late-afternoon in an image taken by the rover's rear hazard avoidance camera, March 20, 2014. The rover's shadow falls across a slope called the McClure-Beverlin Escarpment on the...more

The shadow of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity pictured in late-afternoon in an image taken by the rover's rear hazard avoidance camera, March 20, 2014. The rover's shadow falls across a slope called the McClure-Beverlin Escarpment on the western rim of Endeavour Crater, where Opportunity was investigating rock layers for evidence about ancient environments. REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech
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Radiation and winds from stars blow a cavity into the surrounding dust and gas, creating the Trifid nebula, as seen in infrared light by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The Trifid nebula is located 5,400 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius. 

REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

Radiation and winds from stars blow a cavity into the surrounding dust and gas, creating the Trifid nebula, as seen in infrared light by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The Trifid nebula is located 5,400 light-years away in the...more

Radiation and winds from stars blow a cavity into the surrounding dust and gas, creating the Trifid nebula, as seen in infrared light by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. The Trifid nebula is located 5,400 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius. REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA
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The eye of Hurricane Arthur is seen over the Atlantic in a photo from the International Space Station tweeted by European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst on July 3, 2014. 

REUTERS/Alexander Gerst/NASA

The eye of Hurricane Arthur is seen over the Atlantic in a photo from the International Space Station tweeted by European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst on July 3, 2014. REUTERS/Alexander Gerst/NASA

The eye of Hurricane Arthur is seen over the Atlantic in a photo from the International Space Station tweeted by European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst on July 3, 2014. REUTERS/Alexander Gerst/NASA
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A globular star cluster called Messier 5 containing 100,000 stars or more and packed into a region around 165 light-years in diameter in an image taken by NASA's Hubble Space telescope and released April 25, 2014. Messier 5 lies some 25,000 light-years away and its stars are estimated to be nearly 13 billion years old, according to NASA. 

REUTERS/NASA/Hubble Space Telescope

A globular star cluster called Messier 5 containing 100,000 stars or more and packed into a region around 165 light-years in diameter in an image taken by NASA's Hubble Space telescope and released April 25, 2014. Messier 5 lies some 25,000...more

A globular star cluster called Messier 5 containing 100,000 stars or more and packed into a region around 165 light-years in diameter in an image taken by NASA's Hubble Space telescope and released April 25, 2014. Messier 5 lies some 25,000 light-years away and its stars are estimated to be nearly 13 billion years old, according to NASA. REUTERS/NASA/Hubble Space Telescope
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National Diver School director Jerome Vincent, wearing a Gandolfi space suit, trains in a swimming pool in Marseille, France, October 22, 2014. The underwater test session develops European expertise in spacewalk simulations under partial gravity for exploring the Moon, asteroids and Mars.


 REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

National Diver School director Jerome Vincent, wearing a Gandolfi space suit, trains in a swimming pool in Marseille, France, October 22, 2014. The underwater test session develops European expertise in spacewalk simulations under partial gravity for...more

National Diver School director Jerome Vincent, wearing a Gandolfi space suit, trains in a swimming pool in Marseille, France, October 22, 2014. The underwater test session develops European expertise in spacewalk simulations under partial gravity for exploring the Moon, asteroids and Mars. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
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The moon moves between NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, and the sun, giving the observatory a view of a partial solar eclipse from space, January 30, 2014. Such a lunar transit happens two to three times each year. This one lasted two and one half hours, which is the longest ever recorded. 

REUTERS/NASA/SDO

The moon moves between NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, and the sun, giving the observatory a view of a partial solar eclipse from space, January 30, 2014. Such a lunar transit happens two to three times each year. This one lasted two and...more

The moon moves between NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, and the sun, giving the observatory a view of a partial solar eclipse from space, January 30, 2014. Such a lunar transit happens two to three times each year. This one lasted two and one half hours, which is the longest ever recorded. REUTERS/NASA/SDO
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A view photographed by NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman from the International Space Station showing part of the United States mainland from the state of Florida to Louisiana just before dawn, September 12, 2014. 

REUTERS/Reid Wiseman/NASA

A view photographed by NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman from the International Space Station showing part of the United States mainland from the state of Florida to Louisiana just before dawn, September 12, 2014. REUTERS/Reid Wiseman/NASA

A view photographed by NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman from the International Space Station showing part of the United States mainland from the state of Florida to Louisiana just before dawn, September 12, 2014. REUTERS/Reid Wiseman/NASA
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The fifth brightest galaxy in the sky Centaurus A, an active galaxy about 12 million light years from Earth in an image taken May 1, 2014. The image is produced through a collaboration of professional and amateur astronomers that combines optical data from amateur telescopes with data from the archives of NASA missions. 


REUTERS/NASA

The fifth brightest galaxy in the sky Centaurus A, an active galaxy about 12 million light years from Earth in an image taken May 1, 2014. The image is produced through a collaboration of professional and amateur astronomers that combines optical...more

The fifth brightest galaxy in the sky Centaurus A, an active galaxy about 12 million light years from Earth in an image taken May 1, 2014. The image is produced through a collaboration of professional and amateur astronomers that combines optical data from amateur telescopes with data from the archives of NASA missions. REUTERS/NASA
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A churning region of star birth in NGC 2174, also known as the Monkey Head Nebula, about 6400 light-years away in the constellation of Orion in an infrared image mosaic from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope released March 17, 2014. 


REUTERS/NASA

A churning region of star birth in NGC 2174, also known as the Monkey Head Nebula, about 6400 light-years away in the constellation of Orion in an infrared image mosaic from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope released March 17, 2014. REUTERS/NASA

A churning region of star birth in NGC 2174, also known as the Monkey Head Nebula, about 6400 light-years away in the constellation of Orion in an infrared image mosaic from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope released March 17, 2014. REUTERS/NASA
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A piece of debris is seen near the scene of the crash of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo near Cantil, California, October 31, 2014. A passenger spaceship being developed by Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic company crashed during a test flight near the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, killing one pilot and seriously injuring the other. 

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

A piece of debris is seen near the scene of the crash of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo near Cantil, California, October 31, 2014. A passenger spaceship being developed by Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic company crashed during a test flight near...more

A piece of debris is seen near the scene of the crash of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo near Cantil, California, October 31, 2014. A passenger spaceship being developed by Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic company crashed during a test flight near the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, killing one pilot and seriously injuring the other. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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The Egyptian desert meets the Red Sea on a cloudless afternoon in a photo tweeted by first-time astronaut Reid Wiseman aboard the International Space Station on June 8, 2014. 


 REUTERS/Reid Wiseman/NASA

The Egyptian desert meets the Red Sea on a cloudless afternoon in a photo tweeted by first-time astronaut Reid Wiseman aboard the International Space Station on June 8, 2014. REUTERS/Reid Wiseman/NASA

The Egyptian desert meets the Red Sea on a cloudless afternoon in a photo tweeted by first-time astronaut Reid Wiseman aboard the International Space Station on June 8, 2014. REUTERS/Reid Wiseman/NASA
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International Space Station crew Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy attends a sending-off ceremony before the launch of the Soyuz TMA-15 M spacecraft at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, November 23, 2014. 

REUTERS/Maxim Shipenkov/Pool

International Space Station crew Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy attends a sending-off ceremony before the launch of the Soyuz TMA-15 M spacecraft at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, November 23, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Shipenkov/Pool

International Space Station crew Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy attends a sending-off ceremony before the launch of the Soyuz TMA-15 M spacecraft at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, November 23, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Shipenkov/Pool
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The Delta IV rocket is seen streaking across the sky after being launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as pictured from Port Canaveral, Florida, February 20, 2014. Picture taken with long exposure. REUTERS/Mike Brown

The Delta IV rocket is seen streaking across the sky after being launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as pictured from Port Canaveral, Florida, February 20, 2014. Picture taken with long exposure. REUTERS/Mike Brown

The Delta IV rocket is seen streaking across the sky after being launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as pictured from Port Canaveral, Florida, February 20, 2014. Picture taken with long exposure. REUTERS/Mike Brown
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The G292.0+1.8 supernova remnants in a newly processed commemorating the 15th anniversary of NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. 

REUTERS/NASA

The G292.0+1.8 supernova remnants in a newly processed commemorating the 15th anniversary of NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. REUTERS/NASA

The G292.0+1.8 supernova remnants in a newly processed commemorating the 15th anniversary of NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. REUTERS/NASA
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