Minkowski 2-9, abbreviated M2-9 is a planetary nebula that was discovered by Rudolph Minkowski in 1947. It is located about 2,100 light-years away from Earth in the direction of the constellation Ophiuchus.
Have you ever wondered which places on Earth most resemble other planets? For some of us, imagining the landscape of other worlds might just be for fun, but scientists and engineers wonder about what the otherworldly places on Earth can tell us about neighbors like the Moon and Mars.
Working in the most unusual places on Earth can help us to prepare for human flights, robotic missions and the search for life beyond our own planet. These analogues are chosen because they are similar in one way or another to particular planetary environments. They can be used for technical tests and research before the effort and expense of a launch into space.
Shift your perspective and imagine seeing the Earth from the outside; an alien planet in the vastness of space. If our photographs of Earth had been returned from robotic probes that had traveled for light years, how would you see them? From this perspective we can begin to experience the magnificence of the planet that is our home.
Evolution of a vapor trail and cloud created by the launch of a Russian Topol Missile, photographed from the International Space Station on October 10th, 2013. Source images; ISS037-E-9211 to ISS037-E-9334.