You need to upgrade your Flash Player The theme of this blog is not only and obviously space, but in particular “terrestrial worlds”, places that tend to have surfaces on which one could walk or at least attach oneself to. These places sometimes also have other earth-like familiar features such as atmospheres, weather, volcanos, geysers and perhaps, we are finding, even exotic oceans, rivers or lakes that are not necessarily made of familiar materials we are used to here at home. The second theme is imagery. Occasionally I do some retouching of images when needed if an image is incomplete or sometimes “dirty” or noisy. I will attempt to correct image shortcomings based upon other images or well-accepted presumed attributes. When this is done, notes will be offered as to what was added, why and sometimes how it was done. This way no one should ever wonder if something they are looking at is real or photoshop.

Archive for September, 2007

The Carnival of Space 22: The Art of Space

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Carnival of Space Logo 22I am honored to be the host of The Carnival of Space’s 22nd edition with a focus on the art of space. Wanderingspace considers images of our Solar neighborhood to be art in their own right, so here the line between art and science is thinly drawn to begin with. Enjoy the links!

Recently artist Bettina Forget had one of her creations featured on the back cover of a recent Planetary Society periodical. She posts at her Inside the Artist’s Studio blog and recently mused on sketching at the eyepiece of a telescope and its benefits. Be sure to also take a look at her Moon Series, which is where the previously mentioned Planetary Society featured painting of Io and Europa can also be viewed.

Another fine arts bit of space creativity can be found in the recent work of artist Robert Whitman. Pixel Pusher has an introduction to his show “Turning” which features glowing, spinning sculptures of such moons as Europa and Ganymede while another installment involves a projection of Io. The show is currently on exhibit at the Pace Wildenstein Gallery in New York City. So hop on the subway, it closes on September 29!

If you don’t just want to look at space art but actually create it, Artsnova Digital Art and Space has a few words on a new NASA Space Art Contest whose theme is “Life and Work on The Moon”.

Still feeling creative? The Wired Science Blog is hosting a NASA Slogan Contest where we all have an opportunity to come up with our own slogan and submit it. This contest is only open to entries for about another 24 hours after this goes live, so hurry over!

In the strange category, The Podcast Troubadour offers up two Carnival of Space Themes for your listening pleasure. One is more theatrical and breaks into what can only be described space carnival music while the other will shake your descent stage thrusters. Yes… theme music for The Carnival of Space. The internet is a place where anything can happen and usually does.

If you are unfamiliar with the work of IMAX in a Basement you need to take a look at what exactly is coming out of that basement. The film “Outside In” is entirely made of Cassini still images and is somehow made into what feels like a 3-dimensional voyage to Saturn without the use of any 3-d modeling software. Check out his new offering of 100 Megapixels of Saturn Ring Magnificence with both a hires still and a sneak-peek video segment.

Bridging the gap between art and pure space science, I feel the need to link to Don Mitchell’s Mental Landscapes site for his Soviet Venus Images collection. This is not a blog… i know… but if you scroll about half-way down the page you will see his re-worked Soviet Venera images of the surface of Venus which is just about the most incredible feat i have seen by any freelance imager. Maybe you are familiar with his work already, but if not… every fan of space exploration needs to know that these images now exist thanks to Don.

Riding with Robots reflects on that recent Hubble image of Ceres in, “The Clear Power of a Fuzzy Image” which according to the author “embodies his fascination with space exploration”.

While we are in a reflecting mood Cumbrian Sky compares the 1981 experience of images of Iapetus coming from Voyager to the 2007 experience of images of Iapetus coming directly to our computer screens from Cassini. Space exploration has certainly changed in 25 years. If you want to see more about the recent Iapetus flyby be sure to check out Emily Lakdawalla’s post on the Voyager Mountains and her most excellent link at the end of the article to the full set of images and metadata from the event.

For some off topic posts, A Babe in the Universe offers a new video Images of a New Space Age. Sorting Out Science considers the recent meteorite impact in Peru. Unenumerated has some real options analysis for space projects and takes a fresh look at risk evaluation for deep space missions. Robot Guy posts a whole episode of The Universe’s Mars Episode. Astroblogger captures the ISS whiz past Jupiter. Hobbyspace is telling us about how Google Moon is getting sharper as well as a new 3-D Hubble IMAX movie in the works. And Mr. Gerhards is hoping to record the goings on in going to see Shuttle launches before its too late.

Finally, some posts on two books from completely opposite ends of the spectrum. Lunar Photo of the Day takes a peek into the book-by-committee publication, “The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon” which is apparently the kind of book that may hold some sway in terms of Lunar decision making over at NASA. On the other hand, Music of the Spheres blogs on “Cosmos for Beginners” which, unlike the previous title, could be a nice purchase for children of all ages between 12 and 90.

Well, thats all for now. Make sure you bookmark some of these excellent blogs and maybe even subscribe to their RSS feeds. Remember, its the internet… all the planetary love you can ever ask for and its all for free!

Carnival of Space Is Nearly Here

Monday, September 24th, 2007

I have been contacting some of my favorite space related bloggers about their potential inclusion in the upcoming Carnival of Space to be hosted here at Wandering Space on Sept. 27. Many of these individuals surprised me by admitting that they hadn’t been aware to its existence. So, in case you are unfamiliar…

The Carnival of Space is simply a regular round-up of posts relating to space exploration and research. Each issue of the carnival is hosted at a different blog location and the editor of said blog would, in effect, curate that edition of the carnival. The final result is essentially just a blog post that links out to several other blogs posts and hopefully works as a sort of “best of” collection for the past few weeks. It is a great opportunity to get a whole lot of traffic as a host and share that traffic with other bloggers by linking to their individual posts. The hope is that it will not only get people reading a single article, but maybe stay a while and check out the rest of the blog… maybe even become a regular reader or subscriber.

The last edition of the Carnival of Space (#21) was hosted at That edition had a theme which was the unveiling of the Google Lunar XPrize. Like that edition, the next edition to be hosted here will have a theme of “Art and Imagery of Space”. Hopefully highlighting both people who creativly work with space imagery, as well as people who do more technical compositing and work with mission data. If you have any ideas or potential content for the next carnival please contact with your ideas. Only three days left.

Dawn is Ready for Sept 27 Launch

Coincidentally, The Dawn Mission to the Vesta and Ceres (asteroids) is scheduled to lift-off the same day as the carnival. This has been repeatedly delayed for a while now. Hopefully the 27th sticks.

Kodak Moment: Enceladus

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Kodak Moment: Enceladus

Following up on yesterday’s post, Gordan Ugarkovic found another “Kodak” moment involving Enceladus from the recent raw images. The Cassini team apparently will arrange to have the probe snap these kinds of images every so often to essentially fulfill PR needs. They have actually dubbed them as “Kodak Moments” when planning for gathering more compositionally compelling images of Saturn and its moons for public consumption.

Shouldn’t there just be an Ugarkovic category at this point?

Enceladus, Mimas Transit Saturn

Friday, September 21st, 2007

Enceladus, Mimas Transit Saturn

Here is a recent set of raw Saturn images (red, green and blue filters) combined to create a near-true color shot. Moon motion in RGBOf course, the moons and Cassini were both moving and changing the perspective of the 3 bodies from one another from one filtered exposure to the next (the effects of which can be seen at left). So it was required that the 2 moons be “lifted” from the main image, properly registered for each individual moon and then merged back into the main composition. Once in place, a bit of Photoshop retouching was needed to erase the echoes in the 2 other channels where the moons were before registration was corrected.

The raw files archive on the Cassini site only reports which object was targeted, so it did not specify that the other moon is Mimas… but I cannot image what other globe that could possibly be seemingly inside Enceladus’s orbit.

Rhea Floats Above Saturn

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Rhea Floats Above Saturn

Another Gordan Ugarkovic beauty.

Smallsteps Wallpaper: Surveyor 1

Monday, September 17th, 2007

Smallsteps Wallpaper: Surveyor 1

Look at the date on this mission. It’s 1966… 3 years before the Apollo 11 manned landing on the moon. It shows you what we as a species could really do had we the initiative to do it. Just 3 years after landing the first unmanned probe on the surface of the moon… we were ready to send people. That would almost be like sending men to Mars just a few years after Viking landed in 1976. Okay… it is much further away than the moon and many other technical difficulties as well. So lets say that it would been like sending people to Mars 10 years after Viking. That would be 1986 and here we are 20 years after that saying it will still take another 15.

The Surveyor craft was sent to the surface of the moon largely just to prove that we could do it. It was doing what its name suggested… surveying places for Apollo to plant a few flags.

2560 x 1600 Set 02 : The Moons of Jupiter

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

The moons of Jupiter (well, the 4 major ones) are in their own right, a Solar System within a Solar System. There is volcanically explosive Io; Europa with its cracks and ridges hinting at its huge internal ocean; Ganymede the largest moon in our celestial neighborhood and Callisto one the most heavily cratered bodies we have anywhere. The 4 moons are also called the Galilean moons as they were discovered by Galileo and have since been revealed to be more fascinating than most planets are. The images below represent what I think are likely the best representative images of these places that can fill a 2560×1600 screen. At this size, the details are quite impressive… do take a look even if you can’t make use of the images as wallpaper images.
2560 x 1600 Set 02 : The Moons of Jupiter

The Europa image is actually a render created by Tayfun Öner as not that many satisfactory images exist of a full globe Europa. Many great images exist of Ganymede but most are low resolutions, this image was stitched together by Ted Stryk of The other two are officially released NASA composites.

Download the zipped files here

In the Shadow of the Moon Trailer

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

In the Shadow of the Moon Trailer

The Ron Howard documentary “In the Shadow of the Moon”, came to theaters on September 7th. How did I miss this? See the trailer here.

Wallpaper: Iapetus Bright Portrait

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

Wallpaper: Iapetus Bright Portrait

It had to happen… regularly featured on this site Gordan Ugarkovic stitches together an awesome hi-res full globe image of Iapetus only a few days after the closest approach (see previous post for even larger sized wallpaper for bigger monitors). I usually only label an image a “portrait” once for each body, but seeing as Iapetus has two different sides… I think it deserves two. Here is the darker side imaged earlier in 2005.

2560 x 1600 Set 01

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

Images large enough to fill a wallpaper this large are few, but there are some. Here is set 01 which includes two images of Iapetus from this week’s encounter and one of Hyperion.

2560 x 1600 Set 01

Download the zipped files here

Iapetus September 12 (color)

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

Iapetus September 12 - 01 Thumbnail

In the world of moons and planets people are quite excited about the recent Cassini flyby of Iapetus. What we have known about this moon for quite some time is that it is much lighter on one side than the other. Voyager gave us a peek at that phenomenon and then when Cassini got a closer look it started to seem as if something has rained down this dark material on one side of the moon but not on the other. However, now that Cassini has come within 1500 km the details are staggering. Nobody has any idea at this point what possible process could have created this surface. There are places where the bright material seems deposited and others where the dark does.

As more details and theories come in, there will be additional posts. Just worth noting that the scientific community seems to be as excited about this as they were when they got their first looks at Jupiter’s moons from Voyager.

By the way, DO CLICK ON THAT IMAGE above… its HUGE.

Iapetus September 10 - The Ridge (mono)

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

The ridge at Iapetus’s equator from only 3,148 km. The black and white nature of Iapetus is only one of its bizzare traits, the other is the huge mountain range that runs almost completely around its equator. This the feature that often causes the mainstream media to compare the moon to a walnut.

Iapetus Ridge from 3,148 km

That feature is clearly seen in this previous post.

Iapetus September 10 - 03 (mono)

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

Iapetus September 11 - 04

Wow. Just totally unreal.

Iapetus September 10 - 02 (color)

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

Iapetus September 11 - 03

The regions including the stark boundaries between the mysterious dark and bright sides of Iapetus are coming in. This bit looks to be like just a part of what would seem to be the potential to assemble a huge hi-res color image of the moon’s full disk.

Iapetus September 10 - 01 (color)

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

Iapetus from 8,593 kilometers

From yesterday’s encounter at 8,593 kilometers. Near true color image constructed from the infrared, green and ultraviolet filters.