15 breathtaking images from space, made possible by NASA.

The infinite beauty of space is visible to us because of NASA.

Ever since the space race began on Oct. 4, 1957, the U.S. has worked tirelessly to stay at the forefront of space exploration. Starting with Eisenhower and the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1958, we've been exploring space and sharing it with the world for almost 60 years.

Recent government decisions to limit communication and budget cuts from both parties have led to the notion that one day soon, we could be without NASA. Which would leave us without a future of pioneering, groundbreaking, and stunning images like the ones below.


1. A view from above.

This image is from the Apollo 11 mission.

Photo by NASA/Newsmakers via Getty Images.

2. A "young" cluster of stars.

They're only 2 million years old.

Photo by NASA/Flickr.

3. A galaxy far, far away ... 55 million light-years away.

Technically this galaxy is called NGC 4013. It's similar in shape to the Milky Way (this is a side view), but the difference is that this Hubble-produced image is a whopping 55 million light-years away. Or 16.8 million parsecs, if you're interested.

Photo by NASA/Newsmakers via Getty Images.

4. The death of a star.

Some of us may be feeling crushed lately. Allow this star to empathize with you. In space, dead stars can still pulse, and in the deep center, you'll see the "heart" of this exploded star.

Ready for space facts? This is called a neutron star. NASA tells us "it has about the same mass as the sun but is squeezed into an ultra-dense sphere that is only a few miles across and 100 billion times stronger than steel."

Photo by NASA/Flickr.

5. Even artist concept images from NASA are mind-blowing.

In 2011, the WISE telescope had to be retired because it was overheating too much. But before it was shut off, it made the discovery of millions of potential black holes. This image is an interpretation of a quasar. I wish it were a scene from "Doctor Who."

Image by NASA/ESAvia Getty Images.

6. Jupiter rising.

Plato summed it up perfectly when he wrote that "Astronomy compels the soul to look upward and leads us from this world to another."

Photo by NASA/Flickr

7. Ever wonder what a gamma ray burst is?

NASA's got you covered.

Photo by NASA/Getty Images

8. From a distance, the world looks...

If you think the zoom on your mobile is impressive, this picture of Saturn was taken by the spacecraft Cassini in 2002 from 177 MILLION MILES AWAY.

Photo by NASA/Getty Images.

9. A giant leap indeed.

Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin, a U.S. flag, and the moon. July 20, 1969.

Photo by NASA/Newsmakers.

10. Venus transit across the sun.

Venus is a massive planet. But the sun is oh my gosh big. Here is what it looks like while going across the sun as photographed by the SDO satellite in June 2012.

Photo by SDO/NASA via Getty Images.

11. Paging Matt Damon.

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover took 33 telephoto images and stitched them together to show us that California's drought is nothing compared to this.

Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS via Getty Images.

12. Best pumpkin ever? or just the sun laughing at us?

Photo by NASA/Flickr.

13. It's the final countdown!

The legendary space shuttle Atlantis lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on July 8, 2011, for the last time in NASA's shuttle program.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

14. This is what an oil change looks like in space.

Photo by NASA via Getty Images.

15. Pure human joy.

This photo shows NASA and JPL celebrating the success of the solar-powered Juno spacecraft successfully joining Jupiter's orbit. This took five years and on July 4, 2016, it started to successfully transmit data back to Earth.

That is what pure human joy looks like.

Photo by RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images.

NASA has brought the limitless beauty of space to our fingertips for almost 60 years. The images here represent just a microscopic sample. The ingenuity, drive, and determination shown is immeasurable. The unbelievable scientific and technological advancements are a true testament to what it means to be at the forefront of space exploration. Here's hoping we can celebrate NASA's 60th next year.

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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