Posts Tagged ‘NASA’


Why am I looking up?

October 6, 2016

I thought this video about the Hubble space telescope was pretty cool.

via WordlessTech


What am I sappy dog blogging?

March 25, 2016

space dogs

Astronaut Leland Melvin includes his rescued dogs in best NASA portrait ever.

Ref: Traditional Vibe


What am I singing?

December 14, 2015


Here’s a little ditty to get you in the mood for the holiday season.

More at Scientific Songs of Praise


What do I find super cool?

July 15, 2015


Shamelessly stolen from HMS Defiant

I am looking forward to the images to come.


What am I watching?

January 19, 2015


Look at this marvelous animated gif of the dwarf planet, Ceres, taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft.

Thanks to Lights in the Dark for this post.

This is where you can find Ceres.  It is remarkable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is because scientists suspect there is a significant amount of water present on Ceres under a layer of ice.

742px-Ceres_Orbit.svg“Ceres Orbit” by Orionist

I hope we will see more photos soon as Dawn gets nearer to Ceres.


What am I watching?

September 24, 2014


Reblogged from The Art in Science:

NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio produced this video demonstrating how the earths tides ebb and flow around the world. It doesn’t include narration or annotation because, they explain, ‘The goal was to use ocean flow data to create a simple, visceral experience’.

The visualization shows ocean surface currents around the world during the period from June 2005 through December 2007 – these figures are plotted into a computer that takes in shed loads of data and outputs pretty things like this – I love when computers do that. The computational model is called Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, Phase II (ECCO2 for short).

It can calculate ocean flow at all depths but this particular video shows only surface flows. NASA describe it as a ‘high resolution model of the global ocean and sea-ice. ECCO2 attempts to model the oceans and sea ice to increasingly accurate resolutions that begin to resolve ocean eddies and other narrow-current systems which transport heat and carbon in the oceans’.

The dark areas under the ocean  show the the undersea bathymetry (basically the opposite of topography). The bathymetry and land topography are exaggerated to enhance the contrast – bathymetry by 20 times and topography by 40 times.


What event am I commemorating?

July 1, 2014

This post is reblogged from Lights in the Dark, with thanks.

Cassini Marks Ten Discovery-Filled Years at Saturn

Cassini by the Numbers: an infographic of the spacecraft's achievements over the past decade (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Just a week after Curiosity celebrated its first Martian year in Gale Crater and we have yet another milestone anniversary in Solar System exploration: as of 10:48 p.m. EDT tonight Cassini will have been in orbit around Saturn for a full decade!

“There are times when human language is inadequate, when emotions choke the mind, when the magnitude of events cannot properly be conveyed by the same syllables we use to navigate everyday life. The evening of June 30, 2004 was such a time.” 

– Carolyn Porco, Cassini Imaging Team Leader, CICLOPS “Captain’s Log” on June 30, 2014

That’s ten years and over 2 billion miles of discoveries and explorations of our Solar System’s most majestic planet and its incredibly varied family of moons. Over the course of its primary mission and three extended missions, we have been able to get a close-up look at Saturn and its moons like never before, witnessing first-hand the changes that occur as their seasons change. What’s been discovered by the Cassini mission about Saturn has offered invaluable insight into the evolution of our entire Solar System, as well as planets that could be found elsewhere in our galaxy.

“Having a healthy, long-lived spacecraft at Saturn has afforded us a precious opportunity,” said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “By having a decade there with Cassini, we have been privileged to witness never-before-seen events that are changing our understanding of how planetary systems form and what conditions might lead to habitats for life.”

Launched on October 15, 1997, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft established orbit around Saturn on June 30, 2004 (July 1, UTC).

Enceladus' icy geysers, one of the most important discoveries by Cassini

From a NASA news release:

After 10 years at Saturn, the stalwart spacecraft has beamed back to Earth hundreds of gigabytes of scientific data, enabling the publication of more than 3,000 scientific reports. Representing just a sampling, 10 of Cassini’s top accomplishments and discoveries are:

The surface of Titan seen by the Huygens probe in 2005 (ESA/NASA/JPL)

• The Huygens probe makes first landing on a moon in the outer solar system (Titan)
• Discovery of active, icy plumes on the Saturnian moon Enceladus
• Saturn’s rings revealed as active and dynamic — a laboratory for how planets form
• Titan revealed as an Earth-like world with rain, rivers, lakes and seas
• Studies of Saturn’s great northern storm of 2010-2011
• Studies reveal radio-wave patterns are not tied to Saturn’s interior rotation, as previously thought
Vertical structures in the rings imaged for the first time
• Study of prebiotic chemistry on Titan
• Mystery of the dual, bright-dark surface of the moon Iapetus solved
• First complete view of the north polar hexagon and discovery of giant hurricanes at both of Saturn’s poles

“It’s incredibly difficult to sum up 10 extraordinary years of discovery in a short list, but it’s an interesting exercise to think about what the mission will be best remembered for many years in the future,” Spilker said.

(Learn more about each of the above discoveries here.)

“Our team has done a fantastic job optimizing trajectories to save propellant, and we’ve learned to operate the spacecraft to get the most out of it that we possibly can. We’re proud to celebrate a decade of exploring Saturn, and we look forward to many discoveries still to come.”

– Earl Maize, Cassini project manager at JPL

Of course, if you’re like me some of the most exciting parts of the Cassini mission have been the pictures! What amazing views of Saturn, its rings, and its moons we’ve gotten from Cassini… each one a glorious gem in its own right, and thanks to the talent and hard work of the Cassini imaging team at the Space Science Institute (SSI) in Boulder, Colo. the entire world has been able to go along for the ride… and very near literally, too.

Mosaic from the Cassini imaging team of Saturn on July 19, 2013… the “Day the Earth Smiled” (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

If you’d like to relive the experience of Cassini’s ten years at Saturn as a photojournal, visit SSI’s CICLOPS page here and check out the pictures on a month-by-month basis across the entire mission timeline (including some equally incredible images from its previous Jupiter encounter as well!)

You can also see some of the Cassini team’s favorite images from Saturn here, and find out what’s coming up in the next few years as Cassini’s explorations continue!

Here’s to many more discoveries about our Solar System’s very own “lord of the rings!”


What is tattoo Tuesday about?

April 15, 2014

eclipse tattoo

The tattoo this week is about the lunar eclipse.  A lunar eclipse is a fascinating sight.  This time, however, I missed it because this is what I woke up to.


I hope the daffodils survive.   I was at the beach on Sunday – brought a book and a lawn chair and sat in the sun – temps in the upper 70s at least.  The temperature of the lake?  That is another matter entirely.  It won’t warm up until much later. Too often we go from winter directly into summer (and back again) here is the Connecticut Western Reserve.

I will try to catch another lunar eclipse later in the year.  This information is from NASA:

For people in the United States, an extraordinary series of lunar eclipses is about to begin.

The action starts on April 15th when the full Moon passes through the amber shadow of Earth, producing a midnight eclipse visible across North America. So begins a lunar eclipse tetrad—a series of 4 consecutive total eclipses occurring at approximately six month intervals.  The total eclipse of April 15, 2014, will be followed by another on Oct. 8, 2014, and another on April 4, 2015, and another on Sept. 28 2015.


What am I Lego-loving?

February 26, 2014

lego jupiter

David Reneke at Dave Reneke’s World of Space and Astronomy posted this wonderful story about strange and unusual objects that people have launched into space.  What caught my eye, of course, were the LEGO characters of Magellan, Jupiter and Juno being carried on a probe to Jupiter.

Mini-figurines of Galileo and the Roman deities Jupiter and Juno were launched in 2011 aboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft en route to Jupiter . LEGO has flown products aboard the U.S. Space Shuttles and to the International Space Station previously, but Juno’s cargo represents the “most distant LEGO launch” ever. The figurines will burn up in Jupiter’s atmosphere along with the spacecraft at the end of the mission in October 2017.

Among the other objects launched are a Florida state quarter, the famous golden disc,  the Mars penny, and a wheel of cheese.   What would you send into space?


What is tattoo Tuesday about?

February 18, 2014

On February 18, 1930, Clyde W. Tombaugh, an assistant at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, discovered Pluto. For over seven decades, Pluto was considered the ninth planet of our solar system.

Now we know that is not the case.

This video was made by C G P Grey.

Pluto may not be a planet (one less object to memorize in elementary science class!), but it is the basis for some interesting tattoos:


pluto3That’s Pluto up there at the top.



Still mourning the fact that Pluto is not a planet?  As Neil deGrasse Tyson says, “Get over it!”