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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.
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.
Answer: Could change/save the world as we know it.
Short-sighted discreditors of space exploration often question what good it is to have a man on the moon. What good can come of sending probes to Mars for so many millions of dollars? Leaving aside mankind’s natural impulse to learn and understand everything around us (not to mention how well it has served us), practical reasons for exploring something as barren as our moon do run thin to the average citizen. While I do so value the science that happens at such remote locations, it is the getting there that challenges us to push the boundaries of known science. Coming up with a better and safer means of space travel can wind up producing something like this; a potentially abundant green source of energy that could transform the world and be the answer to many of the problems facing the us today.
What is often hard to explain to people who negate the need for space exploration are the side benefits of such programs for the whole world. Just like wars, performing something as technically challenging as space exploration results in pushing the boundaries of science in directions it might not have otherwise gone. When Sputnik was launched, most believed that space would go the way of a militarized zone and become a new battleground for superiority. Instead, all these years later we enjoy a vast communication network that has helped topple entire governments without a single bullet being fired. If it is a choice, I would choose space exploration over another world war to press mankind further along the path of progress any day.
So to those who think the best that going to the moon has produced is velcro — consider the possibility that by NASA may be on the way to providing the world with abundant clean energy as the result of trying to find a cheaper safer way to the stars. Not a bad fringe benefit.
Occasionally they find things on Mars that I don’t bother posting because they are obviously bits of plastic that fell from descent, or are just shadow tricks. But this one has me and others scratching our collective heads. It really seems to be “growing” from the rock below and is clearly a shiny metallic material. Possibly a dropped Martian hammer?
To the casual observer Mercury is a body double of our own moon, but they are very different on the inside. In images, however, it offers very little that is unfamiliar from what we can see with our own eyes when we look up. Included in this post are 4 full color images of Mercury with the above being taken in February, 2012.
I last wrote about this mission in 2007. Now it is actually upon us. So never mind the launch… what is remarkable about this trip is when it arrives. JPL commissioned this incredible animation that is so real you feel like it was videotaped live. This is expected to take place August of 2012.
Juno is the first mission to study Jupiter since Galileo in the 90s and will arrive around July of 2016. The new imaging event on this encounter will be seeing the poles of Jupiter for the first time in great detail. The camera fitted to Juno are specifically for public consumption and promotion and less about science. It will be nice to have an instrument specifically dedicated to securing amazing images.
Apparently Dawn has achieved an orbit around Vesta. There was some concern that it would even be possible considering Vesta’s weak gravitational pull. This is the first time an object has been placed in orbit around an object in the Asteroid Belt.
“This movie is different from similar Voyager movies because I’m keeping Jupiter’s size constant. This is accomplished by reprojecting the source images to simple cylindrical projection and then rendering everything using the same viewing geometry. I also sharpened the images a bit to better reveal various details.” — Bjorn Jonsson
The time lapse estimation is about 10 Earth hours per second. Special thanks to unmannedspaceflight.com for all the awesome.