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 June, 2008

Goodbye Blue Skies

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Goodbye Blue Skies

The blue hues that Saturn has shown Cassini since its arrival are slowly disappearing as the seasons change on Saturn. Soon the whole globe will appear as Voyager saw it in all golden hues.

What is on Phoenix’s Leg?

Friday, June 27th, 2008

What is on Phoenix’s Leg?

I cannot stop looking at this animation. The first frame was taken on the 8th sol (a Mars day) and the second around the 31st sol. As you can see from the animation, it seems that some mystery material is either growing, moving or multiplying around one of the legs of the Phoenix lander. The most likely source is frost building up on what would be a very cold surface, however the only issue is that it doesn’t look exactly like frost and it hasn’t appeared on any of the other legs.

Image note: We added an artificial fade from 1 frame to frame 2 and scaled the original image to around 300%. Due to artifacts from increasing the scale and compression we added some noise to smooth out the overall appearance.

Martian Soil Could Support Life

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Phoenix results seem to suggest that Martian soil could support life.

It looks like Phoenix is finding results with chemistry analysis tests that suggest Martian soil could - or could have supported life. We have known for a while now that elements like magnesium, sodium, potassium and chlorine are all found in Martian soil. Now we also know that the soil alkalinity is comparable to that which we grow all kinds of plants in here on Earth.

There are more tests to be done, but these results could make growing vegetables in Martian soil a reality one day. It also makes it more conceivable that some kind of life may one day have existed on Mars… or even currently.

The Phoenix Ice Melt

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

Melting ice exposed on Mars

Thank you… its just what we came for. Now, can we have that in a glass or perhaps with some bacteria?

STS-123: Main Arrays on ISS

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

We are back from experiencing technical difficulties.

Earth’s Atmosphere at the Edge of Space

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Earth’s Atmosphere at the Edge of Space

In June 2007, the Space Shuttle crew (STS-117) visiting the International Space Station (ISS) observed spectacular polar mesospheric clouds over north-central Asia (top). The red-to-dark region at the bottom of the image is the dense part of the Earth’s atmosphere. For more like this see Earth From Space.

STS-123: As Seen From EVA

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

STS-123: As Seen on EVA

Image taken by an astronaut on an extra vehicular activity or “space-walk”.

STS-123: Before Docking With ISS

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

STS-123: Before Docking With ISS

Better late than never… This is taken from The International Space Station of STS123 a few months back.

STS-124: Arm & Crescent

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

STS-124: Arm & Crescent

Phobos Hangs Above the Martian Horizon

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Was reminded of this image in the current issue of The Planetary Report. It was taken by Mars Express in 2007 and is featured in a current article about the excellent Russian Phobos-Grunt mission planned for 2009. This mission marks a return to planetary exploration for the Russian space program and does so in a big way. The plan is to land on the Martian moon Phobos – take samples of its surface and return them back to Earth. Sample return missions are technically very difficult and in all of history the number of attempts numbers in the single digits.

Phobos Hangs Above the Martian Horizon

Lunar Elevation Map from Kaguya Data

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Click either image below to load the 4MB high-res tiff file from JAXA. Your will need to be able to read tiff files to view in the browser or click here to download and save the file (right click on the link and choose “save file”).

Jaxa Lunar Elevation Map: Far Side

Near Side

Jaxa Lunar Elevation Map: Near Side

Far (unseen) Side

Titan Flyby 44

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Titan on May 28, 2008

Taken by Cassini on May 28, 2008. Part of an on-going effort to offer images of Titan that show some kind of details in visible light.

Moons of Jupiter on Your Desk

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Moons of Jupiter Desktop Globes
Download this pdf to check out these soon to be produced desktop globes of Jupiter’s moons and contact them about any interest in buying them here. These are cardboard-substrate globes on simple plastic bases, but they still look pretty cool. Even at the high price of $300 (a pre-production estimate) – I have to say that I am pretty tempted.