Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
According to reports from news agencies, on Tuesday a U.S. drone reportedly killed four Yemeni suspected al-Qaida militants. The targeted attack comes not only amid decisions this week by the U.K. and the U.S. to evacuate all non-essential personnel in Yemen, citing an “extremely high” threat level, but also within the context of an uptick in drone strikes in Yemen of late. As the A.P noted, “There has been a spike in apparent U.S. drone strikes against al-Qaida leaders. The attack Tuesday was the fourth in two weeks.”
While the debate goes on as to whether the U.S. government is simply amping up claims of al-Qaida threats in order to publicly justify surveillance programs operated by the National Security Agency, the AP reports that,”Yemeni officials have suggested al-Qaida threats to multiple potential targets in the Arabian Peninsula country in recent days, including foreign installations and government offices in the capital Sanaa as well as to the strategic Bab al-Mandeb straits at the entrance to the Red Sea to the south.”
It’s worth noting that a rise in the number of U.S. drone strikes in Yemen this year is believed by many Yemeni activists to have fomented anti-American sentiment. Indeed, during a U.S. Senate hearing on drone strikes earlier this year, Yemeni youth and human rights activist Baraa Shiban said that U.S. strikes served as “kerosene for insurgency.” ” He commented, “What does the U.S. mean to these people now? A blasted car, and gruesome footage of dead families?”
Following Tuesday’s drone attack, aimed at a vehicle believed to be carrying four AQAP militants, reports from local sources say that the strike “turned [the vehicle] into a ball of fire.” Via Britain’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism:
This strike came amid fears of an impending terrorist attack and a heightened state of alert in the Middle East. The US revealed it had intercepted chatter that could have precipitated a terrorist attack. On August 4 the US shut 19 embassies in the Middle East and North Africa.The UK and other European countries shut their Yemen missions. AQAP was reportedly most likely to launch an attack – three unnamed sources told CNN the group was in the final stages of launching an attack. It had also emerged senior AQAP militant Nasir al Wuhayshi had been made al Qaeda second-in-command. The US reportedly had intercepted communication between al-Qaida leader Ayman al Zawahiri and Yemen – most likely transmitted by courier according to CNN.
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email email@example.com.More Natasha Lennard.
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.