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 January, 2010

The Art of Michael Paukner

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

Admit it, deep down inside we (or at least I) all secretly want to explore the heavens untethered from the Earth and unlock all the mysteries of the universe. Perhaps that is why the beautiful info-graphic art of Michael Paukner is so appealing. His work focuses on many scientific themes such as space exploration, as seen in this poster of the Solar System as it is known today (above), to more conspiratorial “junk science” theories like numerology, the Doomsday Planet (follows the link) and that crazy Aztec calendar that ends in 2012.


Could the Phoenix Rise Again?

Monday, January 18th, 2010

It seems pretty unlikely to happen, but starting on January 18 the Mars Odyssey Orbiter will begin listening for signals from the Phoenix. The mission ended last November as the Sun became too dim to continue to provide the solar cells enough energy to keep Phoenix warm and operable. The lander was never intended to survive a Martian winter and has most likely been devastated by the extremes and unlike the rovers, Phoenix is in a polar region which makes those extremities of a Martian winter even greater. Now with the end of Martian winter comes the addition of more sunlight, comparable warmth and therefore a reason to think maybe we can grab enough power to wake up and resume operations. So nobody really expects a technical miracle to take place this week, but in the unlikely event that the lander has survived… the science teams already have a plan in place to take that advantage.

Above is an impressive mosaic image of the frozen water that was found beneath the lander later in the mission. It is thought that the thrusters (which enable a soft surface landing) kicked away the top soil on the way down, revealing a sheet of frozen ice water right underneath the lander’s feet.

Prometheus, Small Moon of Saturn

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Prometheus is the small moon that shepherds Saturn’s outer “F” ring and causes those crazy waves in the particles that make up the ring itself. The phenomenon has been the theme of at least 3 different animations here on The image above is what that small moon in those animations looks like from 60,000 km taken by Cassini on Dec 26, 2009.

Back-Burner Image: Saturn Clouds

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Haven’t come across too much lately. When that happens, I like to post these images that have been sitting around collecting virtual dust. Cloud top formations on Saturn taken by Cassini in 2009.