Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
In just his first six months on the job, Pope Francis has distinguished himself as the pontiff most likely to go rogue. This, after all, is a man who just got a used car to tool around in. Last May, during a Vatican radio message, he called atheists “precious allies” and told them, “Do good: we will meet one another there.” Now, in a letter to nonbelievers in La Republica, signed simply “Francesco,” the pope continues on his apparent quest to make Vatican higher-ups go a little bit apoplectic.
The letter was a response to the paper’s editor Eugenio Scalfari, and a call to spark “a sincere and rigorous dialogue” between Christians and atheists. Obviously, the man whose work uniform includes a big pointy hat isn’t going to go all, “Maybe this God thing is a bunch of hooey.” But what Francis did offer was a seemingly sincere and respectful attempt to find common ground. “The question for those who do not believe in God is to abide by their own conscience,” he wrote. “There is sin, also for those who have no faith, in going against one’s conscience. Listening to it and abiding by it means making up one’s mind about what is good and evil.” Oh right! Free will! Always a good idea.
His words may not change anybody’s mind on belief. But what they do is tell the world a prominent religious leader understands that no one group has a monopoly on morality, that it belongs to all of us. It’s a reminder to Christians to not be arrogant or self-righteous. The call to conscience is one we all have to heed, however it manifests in our lives and philosophies. And tolerance is a value we can all share.
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.