Space Shuttle Atlantis Returns to Earth

Space Shuttle Atlantis Touches Down

Space Shuttle Atlantis Returns to Earth

The space shuttle Atlantis touched down with its crew for the final time yesterday morning, marking the final shuttle mission for NASA. The space shuttle program may be coming to an end but research and broader NASA missions have yielded technological findings that affected life on the Earth's surface:

  1. Based on lighting technology developed for plant growth research on the space shuttle, surgeons have used photodynamic therapy to treat brain cancer with successful results.
  2. Algorithms developed for the Hubble Telescope were used to improve the image processing techniques in mammography.
  3. Miniature sensors that explore air on other planets for traces of life eventually led to the development of hand-held devices to detect explosives and chemical agents in combat situations.

Click through the gallery to see more incredible images of Atlantis returning home.

Source: Getty
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