041918: Return to Mars

I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at images lately (as opposed to making new ones). Again and again, I find my way back to NASA‘s amazing online libraries of Mars images. Today’s images come from the Mars Curiosity Rover (the first three), and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

As a young boy I dreamed about adventures in space. Tom Swift Jr., Tom Corbett Space Cadets, Rocky Jones Space Ranger – they were constant companions in my imagination.

Mars has been the focus of imaginative fiction for well over a hundred years (See kirkusreviews). These days, as so much science fiction has become science fact, we think “when” rather than “if” regarding any visits.

Now we can see it with the clarity of a view out our windows. And, despite its apparent lifelessness, there is a beauty and sense of natural balance that we see on our own pale blue dot!

I hope you might enjoy these enhanced color images. If any of you are curious I’d be happy to provide information about any particular image.

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020118: New Landscapes

Since the earliest days of photography the landscape has provided seemingly endless subject matter for the adventurous photographer. From the exploits of William Henry Jackson in the 1800s to Ansel Adams in the 1900s to today’s latest crop of photographers, gaining access to the “perfect” vantage point has always been key.

As technology has rapidly advanced that access has expanded greatly. Aerial photography gave us fresh and new views of our environment. Drones have now vastly expanded that view.

And today satellites and space missions have introduced us to views we never could have  imagined. In a previous post (Circles and Arcs) I introduced stunning images of Saturn and its moons taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.

Today’s images come from NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover. Yes, these landscapes, or should I say “Marscapes”, show us scenes that seem almost familiar.

Thanks to the fine people at NASA there are huge collections of images available to all for viewing. In the case of Mars there are many, many high resolution images available with all necessary scientific information relating to each specific location photographed.

FYI – NASA’s budget continues to be cut. Non-science bureaucrats have been given the reins at government agencies

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080317: Looking Out (and Looking Back)

Today’s opener was taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft last year. It has been exploring Saturn and many of its 62 moons since its arrival at Saturn in 2004. Currently the spacecraft is in the middle of its “Grand Finale,” as NASA refers to its ultimate and final stage – plunging into Saturn’s atmosphere next month on September 15. It has treated us to previously unimaginable sights and still has six more weeks of transmissions.

More on this image – https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA21046

Above are the first three drawings ever of Saturn and made by the observations of Galileo over 400 years ago. July 30,1610 was the first one (top) with slightly better results for the other two as he continually refined his telescopes.

We’ve come a long way – this pic taken from behind Saturn looks back at Earth (the dot center right). The beauty and importance of these and many other images, to me, cannot be understated.

More on this image – https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17171

This trio of craters, also shot from Cassini, reside on Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons.

More on this image – https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA20011

NASA’s image libraries are full of these wonderful and fascinating images and are all easily  accessible online.This one above is from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and shows part of Mars’ south pole.

More on this image – https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/jpl/pia21639/erosion-of-the-edge-of-the-south-polar-layered-deposits

And last in this series is a picture of our own Grand Canyon taken from the International Space Station by a student controlled EarthKam camera!

More on this image – https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/space-stations-earthkam-sees-the-grand-canyon

As I said, NASA has endless libraries worth perusing. Also, my favorite non-NASA sight you might want to visit is  Planetary Landscapes – daily posts of images from here on Earth and elsewhere!

One last note: Saturday, August 5, will be the fifth anniversary of the explorations begun by the Mars Rover. It continues to chug along the surface of the planet, sending back wonderful and astounding landscape images of Mars – Images – Mars Science Laboratory

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All this thought about outer space got me to break out my collection of pulp Sci-Fi magazines. The stories age great. The cover images make me dream of being aboard a spaceship exploring the wide universe. I think it’s my way of coping with the depressing news that we witness daily – especially the science related cutbacks, the dissolution of important government functions ranging from climate change to research of all kinds, etc.

The two  “Thrilling Wonder Stories” are from 1951 and 1952.

The three remaining magazines, “Amazing Stories,” are from 1947 and 1948.

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So, from the faraway future to the faraway past – I had to toss in a few new images of the very old – 387 million years ago (give or take a few mil!) – Devonian invertebrate fossils from the neighborhood.

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Science matters.

Thanks for the visit.