image credit: TSS-1, STS-46 Crew, NASA; image source; larger image
A Tether in Space
The white spherical object is a 1.6 m diameter satellite, part of the Tethered Satellite System-1, launched in 1992 from a boom extending out from the bay of the Space Shuttle. The mission was to generate electricity by dragging the conducting wire through the magnetic field of Earth.
-- To learn more, visit APOD's A Tether in Space.
-- To find out how the test turned out, see The Space Tether Experiment.
-- Clearly a light, strong material is needed for the tether.
(This feature was updated on July 16, 2013.)
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Nanotubes and Other Forms of Carbon
Check out Nanotubes and Other Forms of Carbon from the University of Wisconsin; the videos there show the forms of carbon: graphite, graphene, diamond, fullerene, and nanotube. For each of these forms, you'll see a model that shows how the carbon atoms fit together.