Shuttle Atlantis as it enters Earth's glowing atmosphere. Click for a better, larger view. (c) NASA/Johnson Space Center

Shuttle Atlantis as it enters Earth's glowing atmosphere. Click for a better, larger view. (c) NASA/Johnson Space Center

I know some of you are either nostalgic or plain tired of all the Atlantis posts we’ve been publishing lately, but this one absolutely takes the cake. The photo above, taken from aboard the International Space Station by one of the astronauts there, shows Atlantis as it enters Earth’s atmosphere, leaving a trail of golden plasma behind it. The plasma glow is actually a leftover from super-heated air around Atlantis’s heat shield, as the shuttle plunged at hypersonic speed into the atmosphere as it safely landed on the Kennedy Space Center runway yesterday.

Take a swell look at the photo, we won’t be seeing a new one for good, good while.

NASA via Popsci

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