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 the 'news' Category

Ceres: Several White Spots

Monday, February 9th, 2015

There are now several white spots appearing on Ceres as Dawn makes it’s final approach to the dwarf planet. Any knee-jerk expectation say that there is merely a brighter material beneath the surface that was revealed by ancient impacts. Why the surface is darker and the underneath material is brighter (see Iapetus) would be a mystery… but perhaps they still may be related to the active geysers scientists have previously predicted due to data provided by The Herschel Infrared Space Observatory.

We shall soon see.

Dawn Begins Observations

Monday, January 26th, 2015

The Dawn spacecraft is approaching Ceres and has begun observations, including this first animation. Ceres is a dwarf planet that resides within the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter and is the last unexplored spherical body (that we know of) that resides within the orbit of Neptune. (more…)

The Top 20 Robotic Spacecraft in History

Monday, October 20th, 2014

The poll is complete and the most popular robotic spacecraft in history have been selected. Thanks to the efforts by The Planetary Society. The top three missions selected here now represent the themes of our series of screen-printed posters celebrating the history of robotic space exploration. To support this effort please see our campaign page at Kickstarter.


The Voyager Program
As we expected the Voyager Program came into the top spot with 507 votes (18.5%). The poster for this design is already complete and available for viewing on the campaign page.

Cassini / Huygens
Cassini takes poster #2 with 432 votes (15.7%), effectively eclipsing it’s sister probe Galileo. This design is expected to be completed on or before October 23rd.

Mars Science Lab (aka Curiosity)
The newest member of the robotic Martian community of surface rovers, Curiosity arrived in 2012 and has stolen the thunder of the previous Mars Exploration Rovers with 340 votes (12.4%). This design is expected to be completed on or before October 31st.

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Historic Robotic Spacecraft Poster Survey

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Our new Kickstarter project proposes the creation of three screen-printed posters celebrating the most popular and notable interplanetary robotic space missions in history. Going into this, we knew that poster #1  had to go to the hugely popular Voyager missions (shown above). However, we need your help selecting the themes of posters #2 and #3. So head over to The Planetary Society now to vote on your three favorite missions, but do it by the 19th to have it count for the poster selection. If this goes better than expected we could even wind up designing a fourth or fifth.

MOM is at Mars

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

You know how your Mother will always take the most predictable pictures at the holidays? Well, the Mars Orbiter Mission has done exactly that with it’s recent global image of Mars and it turns out to actually be quite a rare image. Despite so many probes being active at Mars at once, most are too close to the planet to be able to capture a full disc image like this. (more…)

Kickstarter Project Coming Oct 2

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Our new Kickstarter campaign will be live in a few days. Above are a few of the celestial assets illustrated for the animation/video we are producing for the campaign page.

New Horizons Can See Pluto and Charon

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

There is so little to see here, but to think that New Horizons arrives at this impossibly distant world next year is unreal. Other than some fairly minor bodies, after Pluto and Ceres are visited in 2015 — every major target of interest in the solar system that most of us grew up with will have been visited at least once by robotic spacecraft.

Chop Shop’s Next Kickstarter Project

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Also worth noting is our new Twitter feed now available twitter.com/wndrngspc.

When It’s a Jet, It’s a Jet All the Way

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (aka CG-67P) is showing the early formation of it’s jets. Those jets are what cause the formation of the most distinguishing characteristic of any comet — it’s tail. The Rosetta spacecraft is currently in orbit about the comet and it is assumed that as the pair orbit closer to the sun, these jets will become much more active and should provide quite a show for us. The Rosetta team has also recently shared the potential landing sites for it’s Philae Lander in November shown here.

This image was brought to the world by Emily Lackdawalla’s Planetary Blog.

Rosetta At Target Tomorrow

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Here is today’s look out the window.

Rosetta Nearing Target 67P (That’s a Comet)

Monday, August 4th, 2014

This mission is just not getting enough public attention. Launched in 2004, the mission has already flown by Mars and two minor asteroids 2867 Šteins in 2008, and of 21 Lutetia in 2010. However, the real target of the mission is coming this week… a comet with the unforgivable name 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Rosetta will go into orbit around the comet and observe it for the coming months as it nears the Sun which will cause it to start acting more like a comet and forming the familiar tail. As if that were not enough, a small lander named Philae will attempt to land and attach itself to the comet in November.

Enceladus has 101 Geysers

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Apparently there are a whole lot of geysers on Enceladus, more than 100. Well only one more, but there are sure to be others. Most of the geysers spotted so far appear along the four noticeably visible “tiger stripes” that appear in the southern hemisphere.

These are two of the most recent images to come from Cassini on this hot region of this medium sized moon. Nice seeing the detail on the geysers in the dark regions of the images where you can actually see where they are originating from on the surface.

Chang’E on the Moon

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

The first soft-landing on the Moon since the Soviets did it with Luna 24 in 1976.

One of the first views from the lander after it landed on Dec 14, 2013.

The rover Yutu after deployment. See how Chinese state television saw the event here.

In Saturn’s Rings Official Trailer

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013


The long awaited official trailer for “In Saturn’s Rings” has been unleashed. Looking forward to this film for over three years now.

Cosmos Time

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

I don’t usually post tee designs not by Chop Shop, but as a massive fan both of Cosmos and Adventure Time — I couldn’t justify not tipping this off. For anyone not aware of the world around them, a new series called “Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey” is due to be released in Spring 2014. This time playing Jake the Dog to Carl Sagan’s Finn the Human will be Neil DeGrasse Tyson as illustrated in the design above.