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 '1440x900' Category

Wallpaper: Earthrise

Friday, August 10th, 2007

Wallpaper: Earthrise
Earthrise as seen from Apollo 11 as it approached its historic landing.

Wallpaper: Martian North Pole

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

Wallpaper: Martian North Pole

Since the Mars Phoenix Lander has now been successfully launched, and is on its way to potentially making the first ever successful landing in the Martian polar region… Here is a great image of the region taken from the Mars Recon Orbiter’s archives.

On a side note, there was one previous mission called the Mars Polar Lander which was to touch down in the region in 1999. Communication was lost with the lander just prior to the designated arrival date and the whereabouts of the probe have been a mystery ever since. Recently the Opportunity and Spirit rovers, the old Viking Landers and even the original Pathfinder components had been clearly imaged from orbit by the Mars Global Surveyor and that raised hopes we might finally make a visual connection with the remains of the doomed lander. Initially some hopeful findings had been made, but they later panned out and as of this date MPL still remains lost.

Wallpapers: Crescent Saturn Images

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

Wallpaper: Crescent Saturn I

Wallpaper: Crescent Saturn II

Image Note: the top image’s rings were extended to the far right to fill the page. The original image was square format.

Wallpaper: Deuteronilus Mensae on Mars

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

Wallpaper: Deuteronilus Mensae on Mars

It is believed that these valleys may have originated from flash flood waters which came from melting ice many ages ago. But the conditions on Mars do not allow water to stay liquid for very long. That water would have frozen pretty quickly and then flowed down any depressions… which when you think of it - sort of makes an “instant glacier”.

Wallpaper: Space Walk

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Wallpaper: Space Walk

Ed White is the first American space walker, which took place on Mercury 7. Sadly, he later died on the ground in the tragic Apollo 1 flash fire which took place during a test run. The accident took the lives of 3 astronauts before Apollo even got off the ground.

Note: I erroneously labeled this wallpaper as Mercury 7 and not Gemini 4. Image has been corrected.

Image Note: Some of the Earth image at the far left has been extended in Photoshop to fill out the space. The original image was square.

Wallpaper: Phoebe Portrait

Friday, May 4th, 2007

Wallpaper: Phoebe Portrait

A few posts back I uploaded a closer detail of this same image. This is the best “portrait” image of Phoebe available taken by Cassini on its way into the Saturn system and orbit insertion. Being so far out from the rest of the most dle scientific targets (4x as far as Iapetus), this was the only up-close visit planned to the tiny moon who’s size is about 220km average width.

Wallpaper: Phoebe

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

Wallpaper: Phoebe

There appears to be a layer of dark material covering the small moon Phoebe as revealed by the collapse of materials in the northern region of the small moon. Phoebe orbits Saturn outside the orbit of Iapetus and has been considered a possible candidate for the dark material also found covering one side of that unusual moon. What may have caused this transfer of materials is still a mystery… or that Phoebe had anything to do with that feature on Iapetus is still very much in question.

Some propose that Phoebe is actually a captured comet from the Kuiper belt (a region of small bodies orbiting the sun beyond Neptune of which Pluto is considered a member). If this is true, the images taken by cassini would be the only images of such bodies to be anything other than a single point of light.

Wallpaper: Southern Saturn

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

Wallpaper: Southern Saturn

According to the Cassini website, this image was taken at about 58 degrees below the ring-plane in the southern hemisphere. The southern lower half of Saturn tends to appear yellow-peach while (at current) the northern half of Saturn leans to a white-grey-blue, with varying effects from the shadows of the rings cast upon the cloud tops (just visible on the middle-left). It is unusual to view such a large area of Saturn’s globe without the intrusion of rings or ring-shadows and it reminds us how gorgeous Saturn would be even without its stunning rings.

Wallpaper: Ganymede Up Close

Friday, April 20th, 2007

Wallpaper: Ganymede Up Close

Two views of Ganymede’s patchwork surface taken by Galileo around 1997. While some areas appear geologically older (as demonstrated by the record of impact cratering) some seemingly younger areas recall the fracturous features seen at Europa. Many theorize, just as they do at Europa, that there may be a global ocean of water beneath the surface at Ganymede. However, it is also assumed (if if this does exist) that this ocean would be more shallow and under a much thicker crust of rock hard ice than that of Europa.

Wallpaper: Geysers on Enceladus

Friday, April 20th, 2007

Wallpaper: Geysers on Enceladus

Visual evidence that Enceladus hosts cryo-geysers around its southern pole. The lighter surrounding area is due to Saturn’s E-ring, whose materials are supplied by these same geysers.

This is another image supplied by Mr. Gordan Ugarkovic who notes that “this is a colorized image, artificial color was added to make the plumes and E ring subtly bluish, while saturnlit portion of Enceladus slightly brownish. In reality no color frames were taken, only clear filter ones”.

Wallpaper: Ariel Portrait

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Wallpaper: Ariel Portrait

Ariel is the third of the five larger moons or Uranus. It is somewhat similar to Saturn’s Rhea in composition, about 30% rock and 70% ices. There are obvious ridges and details that would appear to be somewhat “young” features (which is still quite old to you and me), but there is little known about this moon as it was only viewed once from 127,000 km by Voyager 2.

Wallpaper: Dione’s Ice Cliffs at Crescent

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

Wallpaper: Dione: Ice Cliffs at Crescent

An almost Apollo class image of the cliffs of Dione rising at its horizon. Many of the cliffs pictured here are from impact craters, but Dione is also well known for its “wispy” details which have been revealed by Cassini as fractures which result in giant ice cliffs and valleys. You can see one crater actually cross-sectioned by one of these fractures at the extreme far right side of the wallpaper image above.

The origins of these fractures are yet unknown and it is generally accepted that these are relatively recent formations as many of them run through impact craters which are known all over the solar system to be ancient details. As a matter of fact, impact cratering is how most planetary scientists are able to rate the age of a surface by the absence or presence of crater events. Bodies with many craters (our moon, Callisto and Mercury) are considered to be old and generally unchanged since early in its formation history as it is assumed that the period of heavy cratering happened soon after the formation of the solar system. Bodies with less cratering (like Earth, Io and Titan) are considered to have “young” surfaces which have been geologically changed over the ages and erased the record of impact cratering.

Wallpaper: Mars Sunset Over Husband Hill

Monday, March 12th, 2007

Wallpaper: Mars Sunset on Husband Hill

This is another fine example of freelance imagers at work. Many of whom spend time at unmannedspaceflight.com

Wallpaper: Europa Portrait Render

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

Wallpaper: Europa Portrait Render
The previous Europa portrait posted here, is the most commonly seen image of the full globe of Europa. Even though there have been multiple missions to Jupiter and its system of moons (including an orbiter which stuck around for quite a while)… there are surprisingly few full globe images of Europa. The one used in the previous post mentioned was compiled through several filters but due to some incomplete data, an artificial green haze appears at the right edge of the disc. Considering the scientific importance of Europa and its unique appearance makes a full globe view of this world highly desirable in my mind.

Enter Tayfun Öner who is the author of the above render. This model was created by stitching together a map of the Europan surface from a multitude of images. At this point in history, a good amount of Europa has been photographed and allows one to make an almost complete surface map as seen below. The clearest and best resolved regions of the map are likely from the Galileo mission and where gaps appeared from that mission the spaces were filled in with images taken by Voyager. Euro Map I usually prefer straight photography for the puposes of this site, but this is one of the most impressive renders I have ever seen of any body in the solar system. Seeing as how data sets for full global images of Europa are flawed at best… this render does the job most impressively. The full hi-res set of Europa maps by Tayfun can be found here for the curious.

Wallpaper: Looking Back at Earth

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

Wallpaper: Lunar Look Back
Trying to get some decent Apollo images on here from time to time. So many of these images are so often seen that I want to focus on the ones that really are great but are rarely seen.

Actual WallpaperSeeing the size of Earth as it really appears from the surface of the moon reminds me of this wallpaper that I grew up with in my room as a child. I always assumed it was an actual image, but in reality the Earth appears about 1/20 the size and Earth would never phase in shadow from north to south under any circumstance! (I missed that obvious flaw as pointed out by Paul Neave). I beleive they still sell this wallpaper as I still see it around occasionally at stores and other public spaces (no pun). In addition to this image, you also see the Earth from moon shots taken while in- moon-orbit which also gives the Earth a far larger appearance… but I suspect that some good zoom lenses were likely utilized to get those looks as well.