Posts tagged “space”

Incredible Photos of Mars

The Verge highlighted some amazing photos from NASA and University of Arizona’s HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment). From the HiRISE FAQ page:

HiRISE returns images of the Martian surface with higher resolution than ever seen before from an orbiter. This means we can see extraordinary detail in all kinds of surface features. Scientists all over the world are already using these images to understand many previously-unexplained phenomena on the Red Planet. We might also discover brand new types of features never seen before! The stereo and color capabilities will also allow us to explore Mars in 3D, and with compositional information. The ultra high resolution also makes HiRISE the perfect tool for investigating the safety of future landing sites for other missions, such as the Phoenix lander or the Mars Science Laboratory. We’ve also done some searching for past Mars landers, both successful and not. But even without the higher resolution and added capabilities, additional cameras in Mars orbit are always valuable for imaging new terrains on Mars, and for monitoring the dynamic surface and atmosphere for activity and changes.

A few more favorites:

NASA: The Day the Earth Smiled

That’s something, isn’t it?

In this rare image taken on July 19, 2013, the wide-angle camera on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has captured Saturn’s rings and our planet Earth and its moon in the same frame. It is only one footprint in a mosaic of 33 footprints covering the entire Saturn ring system (including Saturn itself). At each footprint, images were taken in different spectral filters for a total of 323 images: some were taken for scientific purposes and some to produce a natural color mosaic. This is the only wide-angle footprint that has the Earth-moon system in it.

"Warp drive. Like on 'Star Trek.'"

Harold G. White, a physicist and advanced propulsion engineer at NASA, beckoned toward a table full of equipment there on a recent afternoon: a laser, a camera, some small mirrors, a ring made of ceramic capacitors and a few other objects.

He and other NASA engineers have been designing and redesigning these instruments, with the goal of using them to slightly warp the trajectory of a photon, changing the distance it travels in a certain area, and then observing the change with a device called an interferometer. So sensitive is their measuring equipment that it was picking up myriad earthly vibrations, including people walking nearby. So they recently moved into this lab, which floats atop a system of underground pneumatic piers, freeing it from seismic disturbances.

The team is trying to determine whether faster-than-light travel — warp drive — might someday be possible.

Warp drive. Like on “Star Trek.”

This is a fun one. They’ve also got a nice statement from Neil deGrasse Tyson:

“Routine travel among the stars is impossible without new discoveries regarding the fabric of space and time, or capability to manipulate it for our needs,” he said, adding, “By my read, the idea of a functioning warp drive remains far-fetched, but the real take-away is that people are thinking about it — reminding us all that the urge to explore continues to run deep in our species.”

Stop-motion Video of Space Shuttle Endeavor

From Matthew Givot, who posted the video on his Vimeo account:

A very special thanks to the City of Inglewood, Chief of Police Mark Fronterotta, Lieutenant James Madia, Sergeant Dirk Dewachter, and to the Men and Women of the Inglewood Police Department. None of this would have been possible without them.

This project was only made possible by the help of a truly amazing and talented timelapse team which included; Joe Capra, Chris Pritchard, Brian Hawkins, Andrew Walker, Ryan Killackey and myself.

This truly was a once in a lifetime opportunity that we are so happy and honored to have been be a part of.

The endeavor started on Thursday night and went on until Sunday night, with very little sleep to no sleep. The only thing that kept us going was pure love of the art and adrenaline. One thing that stood out the most for me, while I was shooting, was the people of Los Angeles. It was so powerful to see the excitement on peoples faces and the pride of their home town. No matter how many times I would see the Shuttle it would never get old.

This has been an amazing experience that I will never forget. My hope is that this film will show you the amount of dedicated people and teamwork that it took to get the Endeavour to its new home. Enjoy.

space shuttles, magic, wonder

Today, for all its myriad frustrations, saw a lifelong dream fulfilled.

I saw a real space shuttle, in flight, albeit atop an enormous, gargantuan flying machine.

We had a research group meeting in the morning. All of us who work with Dr. Smith gathered, discussed our progress and plans, and caught up with him on happenings from around the world (enlightening and humbling).

At the beginning, perhaps ten minutes in, Amanda noticed - through a window near the top of our building - that dozens of folks were standing on the roof of an adjacent building, keenly and obviously looking at something. “It must be the shuttle,” she remarked.

The shuttle?

Then Amod saw it - he spotted it! - and the whole room, ages 22-65, ran to the windows, eyes wide open.

The jet escorting the shuttle looked like a sparrow next to an albatross. The huge, lumbering plane floated through the sky. Perched atop it was Endeavor, glistening during her final trip. At one point, the plane passed directly in front of sun, casting a massive shadow on the ground.

Silence, interspersed with the restrained oohs and aahs of wonder.

Wonder amongst a group of people trained to control their outbursts. Wonder amongst a bunch of scientists, realizing a shared dream.

The last flight of Endeavor, and we saw it.

Astronaut Don Pettit's Photos from Space

“My star trail images are made by taking a time exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes. However, with modern digital cameras, 30 seconds is about the longest exposure possible, due to electronic detector noise effectively snowing out the image. To achieve the longer exposures I do what many amateur astronomers do. I take multiple 30-second exposures, then ‘stack’ them using imaging software, thus producing the longer exposure.”

Fascinating and striking. Also, Don Pettit seems like the coolest imaginable dude. Megan Garber reported in the Atlantic that

Pettit has found a totally worthwhile way to pass the time not spent berthing space capsules, installing scientific equipment, being a bold explorer into the final frontier, etc. Pettit has been orchestrating space-based science demonstrations, broadcasting them to earth via YouTube in a series he calls Science off the Sphere.

Pettit is clearly incredibly excited about these demonstrations — and his enthusiasm makes for buoyant viewing, even in zero gravity. A couple weeks ago, the astronaut, chemical engineer, and Eagle Scout took zero-gravitied water droplets and used sound waves to manipulate them. It was beautiful and powerful and weird. Yesterday, though, Pettit outdid himself — by stripping down to a seemingly self-cut muscle T, taking a vacuum cleaner hose, and using said hose to create a makeshift, spaceborn didgeridoo.

None of that is a typo.

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