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 May, 2008

Pssst… Look Under Your Feet

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Pssst… Look Under Your Feet

The Mars Phoenix Lander was sent on its long mission to Mars for really one purpose: to find ice. The region selected was seen as one of the more likely places on Mars to have an ice table that is closer to the surface and hopefully available to its robotic arm deployed just a few days ago.

The above image was taken yesterday by that robotic arm and lead scientists suspect that the bright patch visible in the image is the very ice they have been looking for. It would seem that when Phoenix’s thrusters were fired to slow the lander down for a soft touch-down – that all the dust and soil below it was blown away to reveal a smooth and highly reflective surface.

It is not yet official… but this could mean mission accomplished for Phoenix.

Express Way to Venus

Friday, May 30th, 2008

One More Earthrise

Too few images come from the Venus Express mission. Probably has something to do with its featurelessness. The only way to see this level of detail in the Venusian clouds is by using alternative flase-color imaging. These frames were taken in ultraviolet light.

One More Earthrise

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

One More Earthrise

Also from JAXA.

Prometheus Spreads its Magic!

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Prometheus Spreads its Magic

From the raw images of the Cassini mission. This is Saturn’s tiny moon Prometheus causing a disturbance in some ring particles. Nothing really new to be said here as we have seen this featured in a few animations posted here before. This is just a nice image of that phenomenon with the addition of a nice glaringly over-exposed Prometheus.

Its Just Pretty: Earthrise as Seen by Kaguya

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Earthrise from Luna as seen by Kaguya

Japan’s Lunar probe has taken images like this before. Still… just pretty.

Phoenix Landing Site as Seen by Mars Recon

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Phoenix Landing Site as Seen by Mars Recon

So much for descent images… here is Phoenix in its resting place also taken by Mars Recon. Seen here is the lander on top, the heat shield (with a bounce mark) and the parachute below (which appears to have fallen nicely elongated).

The Phoenix Landing Image in Context

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

The Phoenix Landing Image in Full

The Phoenix Landing Image in Zoom 1

The Phoenix Landing Image in Full Zoom

In the second image, the Phoenix Lander is the barely visible speck in the center of the white box. The third image is essentially the same image as seen earlier here, just less contrast added. Click the center image (or here) for the full-res from Emily Lackdawalla’s Planetary Blog.

Near True Color From Phoenix

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Phoenix Color by Gordan Ugarkovic

Near “true” color made by Gordan Ugarkovic using the only RED, GREEN and BLUE filtered images returned from the mission thus far. Additional adjustments were made by looking at the logo and the American flag (which we have an idea of what those color are supposed to look like) and adjusting the color of those items to appear as what we know are “true colors”. Logic then dictates that if those items are correctly balanced, then the Martian soil will also appear close to accurate.

Phoenix Landing as Seen by Mars Recon

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Phoenix Landing as Seen by Mars Recon

This image represents the very first time we have been able to acquire a visual on any kind of probe landing on the surface of another moon/planet. What is (clearly) seen here is the Mars Phoenix lander in the parachute phase of its descent. You can even make out the shape of the thin threads that hold Phoenix tethered to its chute.

Normally a visit to another world is a solitary experience, but as many as 3 other probes already in orbit around Mars (Mars Reconnaissance, Mars Express and Mars Odyssey) were timed out to be in the general overhead vicinity of the Phoenix landing. It just so happens that one of them, Mars Recon, has very sharp eyes.

False Color From Phoenix

Monday, May 26th, 2008

False Color From Phoenix

Until we locate some better “true color” images from Phoenix, this false will have to do.

First Images From Phoenix

Monday, May 26th, 2008

This mission is not likely to be very exciting in the imaging. So far most of what has been returned looks more like the more ordinary images returned by the Mars Rovers. The real excitement of this mission is drilling for the water ice. The first images are look a whole lot like an old moon mission from the early sixties:

Mars Phoenix Opens Its Eyes

The horizon from Phoenix. You can now see the features that made up the cantaloupe-like texture of the images of this region from orbit.

Martian Horizon from Phoenix

The Surrounding Environment of Phoenix

Phoenix is on Martian Ground

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

Phoenix is on Martian Ground

After the failure of the original mission, Mars Polar Lander… the Mars Phoenix Lander is confirmed on the ground and nearly right on the exact spot it was expected to land in. Next trick is opening the solar arrays and starting up all the instruments.

Area Where Phoenix is Expected to Land

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Area Where Phoenix is Expected to Land

See also.

Phoenix Lands in 3 Days

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Phoenix Landing

Official website is here and the official blog.

Volcanic Io Wallpapers

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Io’s Chaac-Camaxtli Patera Caldera

Another fine color composite by Jason Perry the original which can be found here.

Io’s Tvashtar Catena

Also made a wallpaper from the excellent Tvashtar Caldera region image posted here a while back. This was rendered by Ricardo Nunes using images also compiled by Jason Perry.