Archive for the ‘Space’ Category
Money is always short when it comes to spaceflight. While NASA does have a rather large budget in comparison to ESA for example, very little seems to come out of it if you look at the development time of the new Ares rockets which are supposed to take human beings to the moon again. If you consider that it’s already been done before a couple of decades ago, you’d think it could be repeated in a shorter time frame and with less money now since a lot of the basic research has already been done (of course, a lot of know-how has been lost as well.)
When looking up at the moon, it’s always this monochrome, barren disk in the night sky. The reverse view is something I still find rather wonderful and refreshing, despite having been around since the Apollo landings in the 1960s. Standing on the barren rock and looking up to a strangely coloured marble against a pitch black background — it looks so fake, yet it is a change of perspective that would do good for a lot of people on our planet when it comes to the ridiculous matters we fight for.
This is a video of Earth rise as seen by the Japanese space probe Kaguya currently orbiting the moon, taken on April 5, 2008.
I’m checking NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander website daily to get updates on the mission and new photos to look at. I find it really fascinating and quite a technological feat to shoot a complicated machine into space, have it travel millions of kilometers over periods of months or years and then land it on another planet. And it still works after everything it went through (well, sort of, there are already some minor problems.) Anyway, I was getting some of the latest photos from the site. The stereoscopic camera on Phoenix only shoots black and white photos, but there is an array of red, green and blue LEDs near the camera. This allows to shoot the scene three times, with different lighting and thus later on compose a colour picture. I tried this myself today with one of the pictures, but it’s of course only a very rough approximation, and nowhere a scientific process. It’s especially difficult since the photos aren’t labeled, so you don’t know with what colour light they were illuminated. I tried some reasoning, since the primary colour on Mars is red, the brightest photo of the series should be the red channel from my naive understanding and so on. The result is what you can see above.
This got me thinking about my favourite space pictures, so here’s a little rundown of some of them, in no particular order. Click on the images to view high-resolution versions.