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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.
So this is not new, but my lack of activity on WS has me missing many great moments. Since I view this site as more of an archive of amazing space imagery… there is no expiration date on any image. Above is Mars Curiosity as it parachutes to the Martian surface as seen from orbit by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Colorization was added by Ian Regan.
And a semi-recent image from Curiosity of Mount Sharp from August 2013.
Somehow we missed this image of Comet Hartley in Nov of 2010. Now that the probe that was Deep Impact (known as Epoxy in the extended mission) has passed away, I thought it a good excuse to show this amazing shot which has far more detail than the two we published here previously.
Stunning hi-res composite of Io and Europa transiting the mighty disc of Jupiter. Three of the most fascinating bodies in the solar system in one highly detailed image. You MUST click on the full resolution to see the details that are even apparent on the moons.
How did I miss this? Europa Report is based upon a future manned mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa. It was developed with mission specialists from NASA — so the details and events depicted are presented in more sciFiFact than in the traditional Hollywood SciFi. Sounds pretty incredible for lovers of real space exploration.
Having followed the activities of a small army of freelance space imagers that lurk in various places on the internet for about 10 years now — it is truly unusual for me to come across images that I know I have not seen before. Michael Benson’s exhibit titled, “Planetfall” at the American Association for the Advancement of Science offers offer fresh views from missions as old as Viking and as new as Cassini. What originally caught my attention was an image of an actively spewing Enceladus that is exposed in both Sun and Saturn shine — a view I have surely seen before, but never so detailed or dramatic. Even more surprising and rare is a new global composite view of Uranus with a complete and continuous ring taken by Voyager almost 30 years ago.
The show ends soon (June 28, 2013) and is located in Washington DC.
Herschel is a huge crater in the leading hemisphere of the Saturnian moon Mimas, on the equator. It is the one that makes Mimas look like The Death Star. This is the best image yet of this feature taken by the Cassini probe.
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?