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Official portrait for the STS-42 Space Shuttle mission
Official portrait for the STS-42 Space Shuttle mission

Ulf Merbold (born 1941) is a German physicist and astronaut. After growing up in East Germany, he studied physics at the University of Stuttgart in West Germany. In 1977, he applied to become one of the first astronauts of the European Space Agency (ESA), and started astronaut training with NASA in 1978. On November 28, 1983, Merbold became the first West German in space and the first non-American to fly on a NASA spacecraft when he flew aboard Space Shuttle Columbia as a payload specialist of the STS-9 mission. He participated in two further space flights, the STS-42 NASA mission in 1992 and a Euromir mission to the Russian space station Mir in 1994. In total, he spent 49 days in space, where most of his work was related to performing experiments in materials science and the life sciences. Merbold also provided ground support for other ESA missions and served as head of the German Aerospace Center's astronaut office. He worked for ESA until his retirement in 2004. (Full article...)

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November 28: Bukovina Day in Romania (1918)

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Hyles gallii

Hyles gallii, also known as the bedstraw hawk-moth, is a moth of the family Sphingidae. The species was first described by S. A. von Rottemburg in 1775 and is found in North America, in Europe to the Arctic Circle, in Central Asia, and in Japan. This image shows a late-stage H. gallii caterpillar in Keila, Estonia. Caterpillars of the species can reach a length of 70 to 80 millimetres (2.8 to 3.1 in), with variable colouring. One type is olive green with cream spots and a reddish-brown head, while another is almost entirely black.

Photograph credit: Ivar Leidus

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