Early Saturday morning, Space-X launched CRS-5, another supply run to the International Space Station. It was also an attempt to land the first stage on a barge in the Atlantic ocean, in hopes of recovering the booster to keep costs down. It failed, but came really close. But the most impressive aspect of this launch were the views from the internal LO2 tank camera of the 2nd stage. [more inside]
Astronaut Chris Hadfield explains how zero gravity makes it possible to take sharp, hand-held long exposures.
Breathtaking collection of images at The Atlantic: Viewing the Earth From Space
"Is it OK to take a selfie at Auschwitz?", asks archaeologist Paul Mullins. Selfies are people in places, not objects in spaces, says Katie Warfield.
Between 2002 and 2006, the Hubble telescope took photos of an explosion coming from a red variable star in the constellation Monoceros, about 20,000 light years from the Sun. This is a time-lapse video of those photos.
"Like a human who just went through laser vision correction, the International Space Station (ISS) recently got a clearer view of our world. That improved view is opening up new vistas for students in American classrooms." A gorgeous photo of British Columbia's snow-capped mountains was the first view delivered via the Window Observational Research Facility at the U.S. Laboratory Science Window on the International Space Station. This video explanation of the window (part 2) is hosted by three-time shuttle veteran Mario Runco.
Simultaneous video and selectively played audio of every Apollo lunar landing on one screen. (via Collect Space) [more inside]
The Smithsonian's National Air and Space museum is running an exhibit showing the ingenuity of design inherent in the spacesuits used by NASA astronauts. It includes some very cool x-ray photographs of the equipment by Mark Avino. [via]
Last fall, the Canadian Space Agency asked students to design a simple science experiment that could be performed in space, using items already available aboard the International Space Station. Today, Commander Chris Hadfield conducted the winner for its designers: two tenth grade students, Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner, in a live feed to their school in Fall River, Nova Scotia. And now, we finally have an answer to the age-old question, What Happens When You Wring Out A Washcloth In Space? [more inside]
January 13, 2013 marks the 125th anniversary of the National Geographic Society. The Magazine is celebrating by taking a yearlong look at the past and future of exploration. [more inside]
Don Pettit, famed International Space Station photographer, gives an interesting talk at Luminance 2012 about the opportunities and difficulties of shooting aboard a space station.
The Last Pictures. In Billions of Years, Aliens Will Find These Photos in a Dead Satellite. Interview with artist Trevor Paglen (previously).
Auroras Underfoot is a short documentary about auroras by NASA, which uses high-definition images taken by International Space Station science officer Don Pettit of aurora from orbit. Pettit writes about the difficulties of taking photographs from orbit and other subjects on his blog.
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.
On Jan. 6, the NASA Johnson Space Center and the School of Earth and Space Exploration unveiled the Project Gemini Online Digital Archive. The archive contains the first high-resolution digital scans of the original flight films from the US Gemini space program.
It's probably too late to take your Hasselblad aboard a Space Shuttle, but if the opportunity arises, read the Astronaut's Photography Manual (PDF) and you might capture photos like this one. Previously.
The secretive NRO celebrated 50 years of spying from space with a one-day surprise public exhibition of a just-declassified KH-9 Hexagon "Big Bird" imaging satellite. Between 1963 and 1986, a constellation of KH-7 Gambit, KH-8 Gambit 3, and KH-9 Hexagon satellites, all revealed after a half-century of secrecy, returned high-resolution film exposures of Cold War targets from orbit by parachute.
The official Google Earth plugin is one free download that makes all sorts of cool stuff possible in your browser. There's a full screen version of the program (complete with underwater views and 3D buildings) which can be searched by entering queries at the end of the URL. There's a framed version with support for layers, historical imagery, day/night cycles, and the Google Sky starmap. Less useful but more fun are Google's collection of "experiments" demonstrating the possibilities of the Earth API, including a "Geo Whiz" geography quiz, an antipode locater, a 3D first-person view of San Francisco, a virtual route-follower, and MONSTER MILKTRUCK!, a crazy fun driving simulator that lets you careen a virtual milk truck through the Googleplex campus, ricochet off the Himalayas, or explore any other place you care to name. Lots more can be found in the Google Earth Gallery -- highlights include a look at mountaintop removal mining, a real-time flight tracker, a guide to trails and outdoor recreation, a 360 panorama catalog, geotagged Panoramio photos, and the comprehensive crowdsourced Google Earth Community Layer. And while it's too large to view online, don't miss loading the Metafilter user location map into a desktop version of Google Earth! [more inside]
It is a stunning image and one that is bound to be reproduced over and over again whenever they recall the history of the US space shuttle.
Croatian software developer and amateur image processor Gordan Ugarković takes images from NASA's unmanned space probes released to the Planetary Data System, splices them together and tweaks the colors, sometimes combining higher resolution black and white images with color images, sometimes recreating what the object would look like in natural color (ie, in visible wavelengths, from images taken in multiple wavelengths), sometimes heightening the contrast to bring out detail. (via) [more inside]
The most detailed photo of the surface of the sun looks like this. It was taken by the team at CA's Big Bear Solar Observatory. They have some other neat images of our nearest star at their website. [more inside]
Space Project from photographer Vincent Fournier. "Playing on the stylised notion of a sci-fi utopia, Fournier’s otherworldly photographs of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre, the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah and the Atacama Desert Observatories in Chile – alongside a series of surprisingly stringy trainee astronauts - offer an alternative view of the world, unseen by many and known by few."
New photos of the moon have revealed the most detailed views yet of a rare hole in the lunar surface — a pit large enough to swallow an entire football field whole. "High-resolution cameras aboard the Japanese Kaguya spacecraft first spotted the irregularly shaped chasm, located in Mare Ingenii on the moon's southern hemisphere. Now, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has taken a new, up-close photo of the moon pit from lunar orbit."
The balloon was launched at 5:37pm (PST) from Oxnard, CA and reached an altitude of 125,000 feet snapping photos and recording video along the way.
Since late January of 2010, the International Space Station was able to access the Internet for personal use, leading to the first tweet from space. The previous tweets were e-mailed to the ground where support personnel posted them to the astronaut's Twitter account. Currently there are 17 active NASA astronauts and 6 internatual'nauts tweeting from on high. If their words aren't enough, they're also posting pictures, primarily from Soichi Noguchi (@Astro_Soichi) and José Hernández (@Astro_Jose, whose socio-political messages were covered previously). [more inside]
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]
Soyuz rocket rolls to launch pad. A fine photoset of an otherwise routine Russian rocket rollout. I can tell that photographer Bill Ingalls loves rockets. His favs.
With the integration of cameras, GPS receivers, and more into cellphones, many people take for granted the lightweight, energy efficient technology in their pockets. MIT ties all that tech together to a weather balloon in Project Icarus, where for $150 a prepaid cellphone becomes a high-altitude near-space camera.
1,512 high-resolution images of Mars from the viewpoint of an airplane passenger. Previous photos: 1 2 3
"The arc of the Milky Way seen from a truly dark location is part of our planet's natural heritage," said Connie Walker, and astronomer from the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, Arizona. Yet "more than one fifth of the world population, two thirds of the U.S. population and one half of the European Union population have already lost naked eye visibility of the Milky Way." In these areas, people are effectively living in perennial moonlight. They rarely realize it because they still experience the sky to be brighter under a full moon than under new moon conditions. "Reducing the number of lights on at night could help conserve energy, protect wildlife and benefit human health," astronomer Malcolm Smith of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. One study found an increased risk of breast cancer for women living in areas with the most light pollution (abstract). Some communities are embracing their dark skies, such as the New Zealand community of Tekapo, possibly home to first "Starlight Reserve," waiting on UNESCO's official approval. Not sure where to look in the vast night sky? Follow some guidelines, or check the view in Chile, Queensland, Australia, or Texas.
Rethinking Earthrise. On the 40th anniversary of the NASA's Apollo 8 mission [caution: weird JFK animation], which answered Stewart Brand's epochal, LSD-inspired question "Why haven't we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?" with an unforgettable image of a seemingly fragile and isolated blue planet, Nature editor Oliver Morton -- author of a new book on photosynthesis called Eating the Sun -- disputes the notion that the Earth is fragile and isolated. "The fragility is an illusion," he writes. "The planet Earth is a remarkably robust thing, and this strength flows from its ancient and intimate connection to the cosmos beyond. To see the photo this way does not undermine its environmental relevance -- but it does recast it."
From grainy stills to gorgeous high-resolution portraits, from intimate pairings to stark contrasts, and from old standbys to little-known surprises, The Planetary Society's Earth galleries offer a rich collection of stunning photography and video footage of our world as seen from both planetary spacecraft and geostationary satellites. It is a vista that has inspired many a deep thought in the lucky few that have seen it firsthand [previously]. Oh, and the rest of the Solar System is pretty neat, too.
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.
The evolution of Mars imaging from orbit: Mariner 4 (1964), Mariner 6 and Mariner 7 (both 1969), Mariner 9 (1971) (all NASA), Mars 5 (1973) (USSR), Viking 1 (1975), Viking 2 (1976), Mars Global Surveyor (1996), Mars Odyssey (2001) (NASA), Mars Express (2003) (ESA), up to this spy-quality shot of an active avalanche taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (2005).
Shaun O'Boyle recently returned from Cape Canaveral where he photographed the artifacts of the early space program. They are part of the Modern Ruins site (previously, previously, and previously) which is a great place to waste an afternoon.
The most widely-distributed photograph in history may be The Blue Marble, a shot taken in 1972 by an unknown crewmember on Apollo 17. In 2002, NASA released a new Blue Marble photograph, familiar to desktops everywhere, using a composite of many photographs. In 2005, Blue Marble: The Next Generation offered even better views and some spectacular animations of the seasons from space. In the same spirit, the Discovery Channel just launched Earth Live, which lets you see the dynamics of weather and climate through a well done interface.
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