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alanis: Clouds and shadows on Mars, photographed by Mars Express, 24th May 2012.

Between 28 and 36°S, 284°E, on the arc of highlands that surround the southeast Solis Planum. The crater split between the 2nd and 3rd images is Voeykov, about 75 km across, named for climatologist and geographer Alexander Ivanovich Voeykov (1842-1916). The small, deep crater toward bottom left of the 4th image is Los, named for a village of about 400 people in Gävleborg County, Sweden.

Composite of 3 visible light images for colour, and 5 monochrome images for animation. Colour is not balanced naturalistically, and the slightly psychedelic colours of the clouds are a result of mismatches between the images where the clouds have moved between exposures.

Image credit: ESA. Composite: AgeOfDestruction.

(via spaceexp)


Nuclear test 15 megatons, Nevada, 1953, various angles.

(via koriblr)


Nyam- Osoryn Tsultem

Ensemble of the Clouds


(via koriblr)


Golden Sand Dunes of Mars - Hidden Valley Sol 703

Source: Moe_Ali

Oh hey! I have a short story in the August issue of Bastion Science Fiction Magazine — available wherever eBooks are sold. Bastion is a great new journal that focuses on some of the more classic sf elements that are “reminiscent of the golden age.”  

My story is called “Mirror of Stars,” and it’s sort of like about radio waves traveling through space and being picked up by a backwards-thinking culture where solar technologies are considered old and clunky but giant, resource-draining machines are more efficient. There’s also some stuff about colonization and overpopulation. And, some junk inspired by some stuff I read about all the types of drugs astronauts have to get all cranked up on when they go to space. 

Here’s the opening few lines:

The signal thrashes like a kite through waves of interstellar clutter picked up by the comm system: explosions on the surface of suns, electromagnetic distortions, and radiation crashing against cosmic winds—the signal. 

Mek was cruising through the main belt in his solar-glider, the Aurora, searching for a clear broadcast of the signal. For a kid who grew up under the crowded domes of Vuzz this was as close to heaven as he could get—no over-recycled air crapping up his lungs, no big brother cams ensuring he wasn’t taking more than his share of food or fuel. Just Mek, his solar-glider, and the vastness of the cosmos.

Overpopulation was the problem. Give up your place under the domed cities of Vuzz, said the Imperium, and we’ll give you an old solar-glider, some supplies, and a trade route to keep you busy. Best of all, you’ll have the stars. 

“I’ll have the stars,” said Mek.

R. Leigh Hennig at Bastion helped tighten this thing up. Leigh applied some careful thought to the story, which made the editing process just a great experience all around. I thought I had the story figured out, y’know, and Leigh helped me to really figure the story out, especially on some pacing issues involving a spaceship battle, which, y’know, was a cool fucking thing to write about, if you get to write about anything, right.

This issue of Bastion also has some great great great contributions from Clint Spivey, Emma Osborne, Mary Alexandra Agner, William Delman, J. Daniel Batt, Jared W. Cooper, and Garrick Fincham. 

Bastion’s August issue can be purchased here


Going Deep with David Rees

This might be the cutest, most genuine moment I’ve seen in an educational show.

(via howtosharpenpencils)



Your moment of Zen

What a damn beautiful planet this is, sometimes…


Lagrangian Points

The Lagrangian points are the five locations in an orbital system where the combined gravitational force of two large masses is exactly canceled out by the centrifugal force arising from the rotating reference frame.

At these five points, the net force on a third body (of negligible mass) is 0, allowing the third object to be completely stationary relative to the two other masses. That is, when placed at any of these points, the third body stays perfectly still in the rotating frame.

The first image shows the fields due to the first mass, the second mass, and the rotating reference frame. When added together, these fields generate the effective field shown in the second image. The five Lagrangian points are indicated with gray spheres.

The first three Lagrangian points (labeled L1, L2, and L3) lie in line with the two larger bodies and are considered metastable equilibria. L4 and L5 lie 60° ahead of and behind the second body in its orbit and are considered stable equilibria.

Lagrangian points offer unique advantages for space research, and the Lagrangian points of the Sun-Earth system are currently home to four different satellites.

Mathematica code posted here.

Additional sources not linked above: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


     The Historical Redstone Test Stand was built by Wernher von Braun in 1953, to perform static testing on the Redstone family of rockets. The stand was used until 1961, and performed 362 static test firings. A control room is situated inside bunker constructed of three railroad tanker cars. Testing was viewed through cannibalized tank periscopes. The second test stand, shown in the final photo, is the cold calibration unit, used to configure the rocket cooling systems.

     The site is peaceful now, sitting among the beautiful foliage of Huntsville. Though, as I walked around the quiet grounds of the test site, I was almost expecting the Redstone IRBM, perched atop the stand, to roar to life, piercing the tranquil silence, just as so many historic rockets had before. In previous firings, this stand was used to test the Jupiter C rocket used to carry Explorer 1, America’s first satellite, into orbit. As well as the Mercury-Redstone rocket (MR7), which boosted Alan Shepherd into the history books as the first American in space. Countless advancements in the field of rocketry can be traced directly to this very location, nestled in the heart of the south.

(via spaceexp)