Sultry witches. World-devouring cephalopods. Adorable teddy bears. Smithsonian Magazine takes a look at the fantastical mission patches of the National Reconnaissance Office (via)
Political geographer Phil Steinberg reacts to marine ecologist Jon Copley's piece on the new gravity model of the ocean floor from David Sandwell and others at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. "Instead of understanding the ocean as something to see through as one seeks to map the seabed, water is reframed as something to see with. Volume, rather than being understood as a barrier to vision, becomes a means for achieving that vision." Copley asks: "Philosophically, when it comes to exploring anywhere on our dynamic world, how and when do we decide that somewhere has 'been explored'?" (via)
Civilians in Abandoned McDonald’s Seize Control of Wandering Space Satellite (with NASA's silent blessing)
On July 18th, Russian researchers launched a Foton-M satellite in hopes of study how reptiles reproduce in a zero-g environment. They lost the ability to send commands to the biosatellite later that same day.
The Corona Atlas of the Middle East uses spy satellite imagery to reveal as many as 10,000 previously unknown archaeological sites.
Revision Demoparty was held this past Easter weekend. It's considered to be a rebirth and spirital heir of the Breakpoint Demoparty, and, arguably the flagship "Demoscene" event of the year. A lot of groups and individuals bring their A game to show off the most inspiring, technically-intense and memorable demos to the world. Every year has highlights and it's a big deal when a brand new platform gets a demo, but this year, the wildest demo went in an entirely unexpected direction: space. [more inside]
When can I spot the Space Station? The International Space Station can easily be spotted with the naked eye. Because of its size (110m x 100m x 30m) it reflects very much sunlight. This simple tool will tell you all of the opportunities you can view the ISS over the next ten days, along with a brightness index and a map tracing its transit across your local sky. The red line shows where the ISS is sunlit and visible. On the blue line the ISS is in the Earth's shadow and invisible or it is less than 10° above the horizon. [more inside]
The 14th moon of the planet Neptune has been confirmed. New Scientist: "...its existence is an enigma. The object, known for now as S/2004 N1, is the first Neptunian moon to be found in a decade. Its diminutive size raises questions as to how it survived the chaos thought to have created the giant planet's other moons." [more inside]
The Long Swath is a satellite image by NASA's Landsat Data Continuity Mission that captures, in a single continuous image, a strip of land 120 by 6,000 miles stretching from South Africa to Russia. The image can be explored in Gigapan, Google Earth, and fly-over videos and high resolution images.
Explore different views into this global timelapse built from global, annual composites of Landsat satellite images. Watch change across the planet's surface beginning as early as 1984. See Vegas grow! Rainforests Shrink! Coastlines expand, and lakes vanish!
in February, 1996, a rocket launch at Xichang failed. Smithsonian Air & Space publishes first-hand account. Xichang Satellite Launch Center at Wikipedia. Previously (comprehensive, highly reccommended).
The Last Pictures. In Billions of Years, Aliens Will Find These Photos in a Dead Satellite. Interview with artist Trevor Paglen (previously).
Flipping through public access or PBS channels one might have seen Classic Arts Showcase with it's familiar ARTS bug. The 24-hour non-commercial free-to-air satellite channel broadcasts a repeated 8-hour mix of about 150 video clips weekly a mix of various classic arts including animation, architectural art, ballet, chamber, choral music, dance, folk art, museum art, musical theater, opera, orchestral, recital, solo instrumental, solo vocal, and theatrical play, as well as classic film and archival documentaries. The channel has no VJs and only silent interstitials encouraging the viewer to “...go out and feast from the buffet of arts available in your community.” [more inside]
.... .. -.. . -. .. .-- .- -.- .- (HI DE NIWAKA) If you see something flashing in the sky and it flashes with that morse sequence, it's not an UFO. It's the small (10cm cube) cubesat FITSAT-1 greeting us from the space with powerful LED morse flashes.
35 years ago today, Voyager 1 transmitted three images which NASA processed into a single frame of Earth and its moon. [more inside]
The United States Department of Defense has generously "decided to give NASA two telescopes as big as, and even more powerful than, the Hubble Space Telescope." They apparently had some antiquated spy satellite hardware sitting around unused and unwanted. NASA still needs to find money to outfit them with recording instruments and pay a team to manage them, which may take 8 years
Earth in perspective:
- Stratocam takes the most beautiful landscape satellite photographs from Google Maps, as voted on by visitors, and switches them every few seconds, with a fullscreen mode.
- ChronoZoom is an interactive, zoomable HTML5 timeline of the entire history of the universe, from the Big Bang to Homo Sapiens, with embedded video and lectures.
The Blue Marble is a famous photograph of Earth, taken by the crew of Apollo 17 on December 7th 1972, as they traveled to the moon. On January 23th, 2012, the Suomi NPP satellite snapped a similar, high definition photo, called Blue Marble 2012. By sure to check out the other side of the Marble, how the photos were taken and a PDF that describes the NPP project.
Google Earth is a program where you can look at the Earth through aerial photos. At Google Earth Cool Places (GECplaces) you can find and share weird, cool, and beautiful places. [more inside]
MeFi's own Alan Taylor brings us another crop of stunning aerial imagery from Google Earth, inviting you to guess what you're looking at. Now with multiple choice! (previously)
Trevor Paglen (aka Agent Plorver) has work featured in Belgium's z33 House for Contemporary Art's current exhibit, Architecture of Fear. Paglen's work includes tracking and photographing 189 classified American satellites in orbit around Earth as well as locating and photographing US-run 'black sites' in Afghanistan. We Make Money Not Art (previously w/r/t Architecture of Fear) sits down with Paglen over Skype for an interview.
Some Google Earth enthusiasts have found a strange and unexplainable grid pattern in the middle of China's Gobi Desert.
GPX riding is a general term for using a GPS device to track and record location while riding a bicycle [previously on MetaFilter]. Combining this technology with a planned effort to create art is the premise behind Wallygpx. Think of the images as being akin to a giant etch-a-sketch.
Some time late tonight or early tomorrow morning, NASA's UARS (a satellite deployed in 1991 to study the ozone layer) will fall to the Earth. The odds of it hitting you are about 1 in 20 trillion, but the odds of it hitting somebody somewhere is about 1 in 3,200. The Planetary Society Blog has a nice writeup as well. Follow along yourself with NASA or the Center for Orbital Reentry Debris Studies. [more inside]
Want to view weather fullscreen? Check out Weather Underground's Full Screen Weather Map. found via /r/boston [more inside]
We tend to think of blogs that showcase large images as a phenomenon of the past few years. But NASA's Earth Observatory has been posting its Image of the Day since April 1999 (when its first "large" image available for download was a 214 KB jpeg of the North Pole). Now, Image of the Day has downloads of images in multiple formats, most of which measure in megabytes, not kilobytes, and these stunning images of the earth's surface give context to the human activity down below: a toxic spill in Hungary, wildfires in Mexico, the growth of a coal mine in West Virginia, agriculture in Brazil, snowmelt flooding in Fargo, North Dakota, last year's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, artificial islands in Dubai, the aftermath of Japan's recent tsunami.
The GOCE satellite has completed its survey of the Earth's gravitational field. This visualisation of different gravitational potentials (the geoid) will help us understand earthquakes and the flow of ocean currents by comparing the actual height of the surface with the one predicted by the geoid. [more inside]
Via Secrecy News:
Millions of feet of film of historical imagery from intelligence satellites may be declassified this year, the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) said. "The NGA is anticipating the potential declassification of significant amounts of film-based imagery... in 2011," according to an NGA announcement that solicited contractor interest in converting the declassified film into digital format. It was published in Federal Business Opportunities on February 14, 2011. A copy is posted here (pdf).[more inside]
Hacking the Sky: Robert Simpson writes astronomy tools for use with Google Earth, Google Sky, and Twitter.
"They ran into each other. Nothing has the right of way up there. We don't have an air traffic controller in space. There is no universal way of knowing what's coming in your direction." An unprecedented collision of two orbiting satellites yesterday highlights the increasing threat of space junk.
The GeoEye-1 (aka "The Google Satellite") took pictures of the inauguration from 423 miles up. The crowds of over a million around the Capitol and spilling up the Mall and around the city are a sight, even from space. GeoEye also offers a gallery of other impressive high-resolution satellite shots, including themed sections ranging from world universities (featuring great shots of the Head of the Charles Regatta) to natural disasters.
Approximately two years ago, James Kim died after he and his family were stranded, snowbound, in their car on the Oregon coast (Previously, previously, and (selflink) previously). But what if he'd had a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)? [more inside]
Baghdad nights: evaluating the US military ‘surge’ using nighttime light signatures (PDF). A team of UCLA geographers using satellite imagery to track the amount of light emitted in Baghdad at night found that electricity use in Sunni neighborhoods fell prior to the surge and never returned, indicating that ethnic cleansing by Shiite militias drove the Sunnis away before the surge began and was largely responsible for the subsequent decrease in violence. [Via Passport]
The Weather World 2010 project at UIUC began as a comprehensive meteorology tutorial designed for a high school/undergraduate level. It has since expanded to include guides to remote sensing and reading weather maps. (Some highlights include optical effects, severe storms, and the basics of weather forecasting.) For folks in the US, it also has current surface and satellite imagery for a number of different atmospheric properties.
30 Incredible Abstract Satellite Images of Earth "From 400 miles away, the earth transforms into abstract art. The global landscape is impressionist, cubist and pointillist." Nice NASA images from 2000, downloadable as wallpaper.
Satellites Document War, Destruction From Outer Space. The AAAS's Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project uses high-resolution satellite photography to detect and call attention to human rights violations.
Christopher Tarnovsky, smartcard programmer, gives a fascinating insider account of his years in the cloak-and-dagger world of satellite TV piracy. Tarnovsky began as a satellite pirate himself before being hired by a DirecTV contractor to develop anti-piracy electronic countermeasures; he was allegedly responsible for the "Black Sunday" attack on DirecTV pirates. [more inside]
NPR article on World Where's Waldo Link to the website A Canadian woman made a giant waldo and put it on top of her house and is waiting for the google earth satellites to pick him up.
Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001, inventor of the telecommunications satellite and the only reason most geeks can find Sri Lanka on a map, has died shortly after celebrating his 90th birthday.
Discoveries made using satellite imagery, particularly via Google Earth, have made headlines in the blue and green before. Increasingly high-resolution photos, combined with obsessive interest, have lead inevitably to the next step: interpretation and analysis of spots on the Earth's surface for which information is restricted, censored, or classified, such as the preparedness of military defenses in North Korea and Iran, or the viability of Saudi Arabia's next big oil play. Of course, not all mapping is benevolent.