Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Here’s a quick update on the Obama administration’s recent decision to sell arms to the regime in Bahrain, which has been accused of widespread human rights abuses in suppressing a protest movement in the Gulf nation.
Three senators and and 18 representatives — all Democrats — have signed a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemning the deal (and remember, the administration still isn’t saying what equipment, exactly, it’s sending to Bahrain). Here’s the key section of the letter:
We recognize the limited nature of the sales, and we acknowledge that the Bahraini government has taken some positive steps with respect to human rights in recent months. However, it has not done enough to justify the sale of any military items or services to Bahrain. Moreover, if the Administration wishes to reward the Bahraini government for any progress, there are other methods that do not involve strengthening the Bahraini military or security forces.
Tragically, even a brief survey of reports from reliable sources makes clear that the Bahraini government continues to perpetrate significant human rights violations.
The letter then enumerates some of those reported violations, things like the killing of at least 10 people in the past few months, the prosecution of doctors who treated protesters, and the barring of international human rights observers from entering the country.
It’s not clear Congress can actually do anything to stop the arms sale at this point, so the letter mostly serves to draw public attention to the issue. I’ve asked the State Department for comment and will update if I hear back.
Here’s the full letter:
Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica. You can follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustinMore Justin Elliott.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.