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50 Years of Pictures From Space

Science & Space

Taking pictures in space ain’t just point and shoot. When a spacecraft is billions of miles from home, it takes an awful lot of data processing and signal gathering to turn its whispered transmissions into the kind of head-spinning, eye-popping photographs we’ve gotten used to over the decades. That’s why it’s a good thing we’ve got NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN), a global array of antennas that just last month celebrated 50 years on the job.

Ever since Dec. 24, 1963, when the DSN went online, it’s been the call center for spacecraft sending data and pictures home from every planet in the solar system, from comets and asteroids and the sun, from Voyager 1, which is the first spacecraft to leave the solar system. The DSN is also what connected us to the Apollo astronauts and the TV cameras they carried as they orbited and walked on the surface…

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