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Cosmic pluralism: science, religion, and possible populations on Venus

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it became possible to believe in the existence of life on other planets on scientific grounds. Once the Earth was no longer the center of the universe according to Copernicus, once Galileo had aimed his telescope at the Moon and found it a rough globe with mountains and seas, the assumption of life on other planets became much less far-fetched. In general there were no actual differences between Earth and Venus, since both planets orbited the Sun, were of similar size, and possessed mountains and an atmosphere. If there is life on Earth, one may ponder why it could not also exist on Venus. In the extraterrestrial life debate of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Moon, our closest celestial body, was the prime candidate for life on other worlds, although a number of scientists and scholars also speculated about life on Venus and on other planets, both within our solar system and beyond its frontiers. Venusians: the Planet Venus in the 18th-Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate (PDF), from The Journal of Astronomical Data (JAD) Volume 19, somewhat via NPR and their mention of amateur astronomer Thomas Dick's estimations of the populations of the other planets in our solar system (Archive.org online view of Celestial scenery, or, The Wonders of the planetary system displayed, 1845).
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 21, 2014 - 7 comments

If you plan on taking a trip to Jupiter, this is not the map to use.

If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel is a tediously accurate model of the Solar System that Josh Worth made to explain to his daughter just how difficult it is to go on holiday to Mars.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 5, 2014 - 69 comments

The Madness Of The Planets

I am a staunch believer in leading with the bad news, so let me get straight to the point. Earth, our anchor and our solitary haven in a hostile universe, is in a precarious situation. The solar system around us is rife with instability.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 31, 2013 - 42 comments

Sailor Moon Saturday Gone Gaga

"Take me to your [Sailor] Venus!"
Lady Gaga – Sailor Stars
Lady Gaga – Papercraft Roleplay Venus [more inside]
posted by fraula on Nov 16, 2013 - 21 comments

Rocket to Venus (because Mars was too far, and the Moon was burnt out)

In 1928, the Ohio-born inventor Robert Condit wanted to make a pioneering flight like Charles Lindberg the year before. But instead of traveling around a portion of the earth, he wanted to leave it entirely. Destination: Venus. Condit had built a rocket of sorts, and planned to launch from Florida in March, but postponed due to imperfect atmospheric conditions. Between then and August, he made his way to Baltmore, where he worked with the brothers Sterling and Harry B. Uhler to make or modify his space craft. Harry remembered their efforts well, recounting the events leading up to an actual attempt to launch the craft (PDF with photos), made of varnished sailcloth, wrapped around a structure of angle iron ribs, bolted into shape. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 3, 2013 - 26 comments

Damn fine year for outer space achievements and photos

The year in space, according to NASA and the ESA, along with the best space photos of 2012.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 31, 2012 - 8 comments

The cosmos is also within us, we're made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos, to know itself.

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage is a thirteen-part television series of one hour shows written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, that was aired at the tail end of 1980 and was - at the time - the most widely watched series in the history of American public television. It is best introduced by an audio excerpt of one of his books, The Pale Blue Dot. Inside is a complete annotated collection of the series. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 3, 2012 - 46 comments

Life on Pluto - Details on Page 97.

What lives where in the Solar System. Fantastic Adventure covers from 1939/40 depicting the kind of lifeforms they think each planet can support. [more inside]
posted by marienbad on Sep 20, 2012 - 63 comments

A talk by writer Warren Ellis

How to See the Future.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Sep 9, 2012 - 36 comments

Strange New Worlds

Let's take another look at Chris Wayan's PLANETOCOPIA (previously): A series of detailed conceptions and paintings of vastly different Earths based on differing climates and land mass position. A planet designed to speed up East-West cvilization development! A life-bearing super hot world! An Earth with most of the seas missing! Forever Ice Age Earth! [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Sep 9, 2012 - 11 comments

Dance of the Celestial Orbs

Stunning video of the transit of Venus by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.
posted by pashdown on Jun 6, 2012 - 72 comments

Last chance this century!

Missed the transit of Venus in 2004? Want to know if you'll be able to see the transit on June 5/6 from your location? Want a free badge-of-geekhood app for your iPhone? It's all right here! [more inside]
posted by Quietgal on Jun 1, 2012 - 27 comments

Transit of Venus

Next Wednesday's Transit of Venus (prev.) may be astronomically important, but is also a chance to reflect on a lot of important 18th and 19th century science, discovery and politics.
posted by wilful on May 31, 2012 - 14 comments

Venus to transit sun in June

There's a little black spot on the sun today.... Venus transits the sun in June - it's a once-in-a-lifetime event for most of us. (Bonus song lyric links here and youtube here)
posted by Lynsey on May 2, 2012 - 45 comments

Venus, Retouched

Ana Utopia Giordano photoshops portraits of Venus for today's standards of the feminine ideal.
posted by ambrosia on Apr 13, 2012 - 45 comments

March Madness!

Take a tour of the solar system! Tonight, see the wonders of Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn! There's only one catch: You'll need to actually step outside to do it. [more inside]
posted by bondcliff on Mar 5, 2012 - 48 comments

Venera

At a time when the US was turning its attention from the moon and towards Mars, the Soviet Union had an active exploration program for Venus, Venera. Running from 1961 to 1983, the program had setbacks from the first launch, but Venera 9 produced the first ever transmission of images from another planet. [more inside]
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing on Jun 5, 2010 - 45 comments

Explore the Surface of Mercury

NASA's MESSENGER team (previously: 1, 2, 3), with help from the U.S. Geological Survey, released yesterday the first global map of the planet Mercury. [more inside]
posted by SpringAquifer on Dec 16, 2009 - 15 comments

The Hohle Fels Venus

Ancient Venus rewrites history books: Female figure was carved from a mammoth tusk 35,000 years ago. [Via]
posted by homunculus on May 13, 2009 - 77 comments

Where the wild things are/are not.

Poaching – not pears, not birds, but plants. In the feed-me-Seymour vein of green and growing things, these are the plants that eat things – too bad they aren’t able to defend themselves from people and habitat loss. But wait! There’s help on the way. [more inside]
posted by mightshould on Feb 24, 2009 - 9 comments

The Venus Calendar and Related Lore of the Dogon

The Venus Calendar and Related Lore of the Dogon by Philip C. Steffey, PhD.
posted by sidr on Feb 23, 2009 - 16 comments

Venus's Missing Water

Where did Venus’s water go? Water may have once been as abundant on Venus as it is on Earth. New data from the Venus Express suggests that the planet's lack of a magnetic field has allowed water in the atmosphere to be stripped apart and carried into space by the solar wind.
posted by homunculus on Dec 29, 2008 - 30 comments

Zeitgeist: Addendum

We already talked (self-link, sorta) about Zeitgeist: The Movie. Its author, Peter Joseph, recently released Zeitgeist: Addendum. (beware: last two links are two hour movies) This time, it’s about money and debt, scarcity and resources. The first, financial part may look like an extended Ron Paul ad, but then there’s a sudden turn towards resource-based utopian techno-communalism, and an endorsement for The Venus project. It seems to me like "Kropotkinian anarchism meets The Matrix". In these rough times, is it time for a big leap? [Also announced: The Zeitgeist Movement, still not active]
posted by Baldons on Oct 7, 2008 - 21 comments

Venus and Mars - not what we thought

Why aren't men and women becoming more alike? A husband and a stay-at-home wife in a patriarchal Botswanan clan seem to be more alike than a working couple in Denmark or France. The more Venus and Mars have equal rights and similar jobs, the more their personalities seem to diverge. International Sexuality Description Project findings.
posted by desjardins on Sep 9, 2008 - 45 comments

Dan Dare and the Birth of Hi-Tech Britain

Dan Dare, pilot of the future, scourge of the Venusian Mekon menace, and modernist architectural inspiration?
posted by Artw on Apr 28, 2008 - 12 comments

Hot space bot uses stirling engine

NASA proposes using a Stirling cooler (essentially a Stirling engine in reverse) to keep a probe cool on the surface of Venus, which has had a tendency to melt or smash previous probes. The cooler would maintain a 25cm sphere within the probe at 200°C -- 100°C above the boiling point of water but sufficiently cool for a high-temperature microcontroller to operate. The waste heat radiators on the exterior of the sphere would reach the temperature of 500°C, 40°C above the the normal Venusian surface temperature.
posted by Artw on Nov 12, 2007 - 40 comments

Venus, get your gun.

I support gun control, but for 82-year-old Miss America Venus Ramey, I make an exception. The first redhead and the only native Kentuckian ever to be Miss America, she's pretty fearsome with a snub-nosed .38.
posted by tizzie on Apr 20, 2007 - 116 comments

Retro rockets: the good old days that never will be.

Mr. Smith Goes to Venuspart 1CC and part 2CC. Legendary space artist Chesley Bonestell shows us what family vacationsCC should have been like in Coronet Magazine, March 1950. [Click thumbnails for LARGE images.]
posted by cenoxo on Dec 13, 2006 - 20 comments

7 mph would be the equivalent of driving at the speed of light

At forty miles (64.4 km) from Pluto to Sun, the Maine Solar System Model is the largest complete three-dimensional scale model of the solar system in the world. What, you didn't know there was more than one? And yes, Pluto is staying put.
posted by jessamyn on Sep 4, 2006 - 29 comments

Road trip to venus!

Road trip to venus!

The Venus Express was launched on Nov. 9th, 2005 from Baikonur, the historic spaceport in Kazakhstan. It is the first Venus probe sent by the ESA , and you can follow it's progress on the six month journey to the planet.

Exploration of Venus begin in 1962 with Mariner 2, the first space probe to fly by another planet and other flights, including the Russian Venera 7, which was the first probe to land on another planet. The Soviets took quite an interest in Venus and dominated the exploration of the planet through the '70s and '80s. A lot of the images recorded by those early craft have been reprocessed with modern technology.

In the early '90s the Magellan spacecraft spent several years mapping the surface of Venus, providing us many, many, many images and 3D maps of the planet.

As for Venus Express, it's goal is to spend two years making detailed studys of the planet's clouds and atmosphere.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Nov 13, 2005 - 19 comments

Who can invent for us a cartography of autonomy, who can draw a map that includes our desires? - Hakim Bey

Cartography is a skill pretty much taken for granted now, but it wasn't always so. Accurate maps were once prized state secrets, laborious efforts that cost a fortune and took years (or even decades) to complete.

How things have changed. (Yours now, $110) It took almost 500 years to map North America, but it's only taken one tenth of that to map just everything else. In the last 50 years, we've been able to create acurate atlases of two planets and one moon (with a second in the works). Actually, we've done a lot more than that. We're actually running out of things to map.

Maybe Not.
posted by absalom on Jan 27, 2005 - 17 comments

Has Jupiter aligned with Mars?

Venus Transits the Sun. Some really gorgeous pics of this rare stellar event.
posted by WolfDaddy on Jun 8, 2004 - 10 comments

Viewing the Transit

Speaking of Transit Watching. I found it really interesting to see the collection of AP photos about the transit of Venus today. Apparently the compelling story is not so much the science (planets orbit the sun, got it), but the global spectacle. It's a bit of an anomaly of late, but Venus watching seems to be something the whole world peacefully agrees is a good thing. [View the viewers in Abu Dhabi, Azraq, Bangkok, Beijing, Cairo, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, La Linea, Lebanon, London, Madras, Minsk, Nairobi, New Delhi, New York, Pakistan Paris, Potsdam, Pretoria, Rome, St. Petersburg, Sydney, Tehran, and Yokohama ]
posted by kokogiak on Jun 8, 2004 - 7 comments

Chasing Venus

Chasing Venus Transits of Venus occur every 130 years or so when Venus can be observed passing across the face of the sun. Chasing Venus is an online exhibition by Smithsonian Institution Libraries that tells the story of how the transit has been observed since the 17th century, with early observations in England, illustrated accounts of expeditions by 18th century astronomers to various parts of the world, and early uses of photography to record observations in the 19th century. Includes links to animations of transits reconstructed from Victorian photographs, and details of a lecture series on Thursdays in April and May (first one April 8). The first transit since 1882 is this year.
posted by carter on Apr 4, 2004 - 5 comments

Venus

Reprocessed images from the Soviet exploration of Venus.
posted by homunculus on Feb 16, 2004 - 9 comments

Who owns the moon? Apparently these people do, and they’re selling it off acre by acre. They are “The founders and leaders of the extraterrestrial real estate market.” Do we really need a Galactic Government with an embassy on the moon? I guess The Federation had to start somewhere. This just begs the question, “Does Venus have its own laws?”
posted by archimago on Oct 23, 2002 - 17 comments

The Hottentot Venus is going home. An African woman named Saarjite Baartman, apparently EXTREMELY overendowed in the buttock/labia department (second floor, next to men's shoes, watch the doors), she did the freakshow thing in Europe for five years in the early 19th c., was edited down at death to her relevant bits and pickled for posterity. Ever been to an actual state-fair freakshow? I saw the alligator lady in the late 70s somewhere in Kentucky. A morally complicated experience.
posted by luser on Feb 21, 2002 - 19 comments

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