Category Archives: Space

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NASA has Discovered an Ocean of Water Inside Saturn’s Moon, Enceladus

April 3rd, 2014 | Space

enceladus - ocean of water

The Cassini spacecraft has just found evidence for an ocean of liquid water inside Saturn’s moon, Enceladus. Of course, this is exciting news because we know that water is an essential agent for all biochemistry on Earth. In other words, the best places to search for alien life in our solar system contain some source of liquid water (i.e. Europa).

The ocean was found using gravitational measurements from the spacecraft.  According to Sami Asmar of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.: “The way we deduce gravity variations is a concept in physics called the Doppler Effect, the same principle used with a speed-measuring radar gun. As the spacecraft flies by Enceladus, its velocity is perturbed by an amount that depends on variations in the gravity field that we’re trying to measure. We see the change in velocity as a change in radio frequency, received at our ground stations here all the way across the solar system.”

Enceladus is just one of 52 named moons that orbit Saturn.

Saturn moons

There may be an ocean of alien life swimming around underneath the surface of Enceladus, but we’ll never know until we can drill into the moon. A similar project is being planned for Europa sometime in the 2030’s.

Read more at NASA.

-RSB

Chalkboard Quantum Mechanics by Alejandro Guijarro

April 2nd, 2014 | Brain, Space

Alejandro Guijarro Chalkboards 1

Chalkboards 2

Alejandro Guijarro Chalkboards 3

Alejandro Guijarro Chalkboards 4

Alejandro Guijarro Chalkboards 5

Chalkboards 6

Alejandro Guijarro Chalkboards 7

Alejandro Guijarro Chalkboards 8

Alejandro Guijarro Chalkboards 9

There is something enchanting to be found in chalkboards, an intellectual canvas where remnants of hypnotic scribbles and fantastical ideas are scattered. They epitomize that moment where knowledge and imagination meet to foster new ideas. Academic brainstorming sessions in fields such as quantum mechanics often result in a flurry of mysterious equations, symbols, and geometric shapes, and Alejandro Guijarro set out to capture them.

Alejandro is an artist based in London and Madrid who works primarily in photography. Over a three year period, he traveled the world visiting institutions known for their prowess in quantum mechanics: CERN in Switzerland, Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford, and UC Berkeley.

From the artist:

“I’ve visited top universities all over the world for this project: Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford, Berkeley, Cern in Switzerland, Brussels, Vienna and institutions in China and Spain. It was a challenge to find places that still had blackboards rather than whiteboards or interactive screens. Many of the boards were in professors’ own rooms where they do their research. Some of them were intrigued, wondering why I wanted to photograph work they didn’t consider important. They didn’t see what they had done as art.”

Quantum mechanics (you can read about here, good luck!) is a branch of physics dealing with the strange, quantum realm of atomic and subatomic matter. You would have to work hard to find a more confusing (and compelling) topic to capture in photographic form. All of this mystery builds the intrigue found in Alejandro’s photographs. The aesthetic is certainly a nice interaction of line, color, and form, but the real magic lies in knowing these symbols represent the very fabric of our reality. It’s fascinating stuff!

If you’ve enjoyed these, you can find more from Alejandro Guijarro at his site.

-RSB

X-Rays of Space Gear by the Smithsonian Museum

March 31st, 2014 | Space

X-Rays of Space Gear -  Helmet 1964

X-Rays of Space Gear - Extra-Vehicular A-7; Shepard, Alan B., Jr.; Apollo 14 Flight

Helmet. Pressure Dome, Experimental;  1982-0463-001, side view

X-Ray Apollo lunar overshoe

X-Ray Apollo 17 lunar glove

X-Ray Solid Aluminum Arm

Clothing, Space Suits, Hard Suits, EX-1A Advanced Vehicular Suit (AES) (AiResearch)

The Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. worked on a project last year to catalog various components of space gear using an X-Ray machine, and the results are pretty fascinating. It can be quite challenging to visualize all of the design and ingenuity that exists inside a contemporary space suit, but we’ve seen in the past how X-Ray technology can provide a fresh perspective on everyday objects.

Via Wired:

“We were trying to find ways to image the suits to find out what’s going on,” Lewis explains. “But short of taking them apart we really couldn’t tell what was going on inside.” Of course, deconstructing an intricately made suit puts major stress on the material, so they looked to X-ray technology to do the task.

Unfortunately for us, the full exhibit ended last December, but these digital images will live on in the Internet.

-RSB

Incredible Coral Reef Time-lapse by Daniel Stoupin

March 29th, 2014 | Space

Coral Reef Time-lapse

Coral Reef Time-lapse 2

Often called the “Rainforests of the Sea,” coral reefs represent one the most diverse natural habitats in the world. They grow best in warm, shallow, clear, sunny and agitated waters, and when thriving, provide food and shelter for 25% of all marine life.

Videographer, Daniel Stoupin, spent nine long months creating an award-deserving time-lapse of this habitat, and the final result is incredible! The project required 150,000 22-megapixel RAW exposures, which he compiled into a 4K masterpiece (despite Vimeo only showing it as 1080p).  I had no idea how mobile the coral and sponges were.

From the creator:

“To make this little clip I took 150000 shots. Why so many? Because macro photography involves shallow depth of field. To extend it, I used focus stacking. Each frame of the video is actually a stack that consists of 3-12 shots where in-focus areas are merged. Just the intro and last scene are regular real-time footage. One frame required about 10 minutes of processing time (raw conversion + stacking). Unfortunately, the success rate was very low due to copious technical challenges and I spent almost 9 long months just to learn how to make these kinds of videos and understand how to work with these delicate creatures.

I am glad that I abandoned the idea of making this clip in 3D (with two cameras) – very few people have 3D screens and it doubles processing time.”

Would have loved to see it in 3D though… This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen on the Internet in quite some time.

-RSB

Mesmerizing GIFs by David Szakaly

March 25th, 2014 | Space

David Szakaly 1 David Szakaly 2 Szakaly 3 Szakaly 4 Szakaly 5 David Szakaly 6

Ever since Compuserve released the GIF format back in 1987, it seemed destined for Internet stardom. The feature of storing multiple images in one file enables the creation of simple animations that can be displayed seamlessly in browsers.

David Szakaly is taking this medium to the “next level” with his series of simple, yet mesmerizing, animations. The designs have a refined aesthetic which sort of sucks the viewer in, and the infinite loops support the feeling. He’s simply the best GIF artist alive.

You can find a lot more from David at his Tumblr site. It’s definitely worth following.

-RSB

“Chella Ride” by Dog Blood

March 13th, 2014 | Space

“Chella Ride” is a new track from the group, Dog Blood, a musical collaboration between Skrillex and Boyz Noize. The animated music video really caught my eye. It’s an incredible production by the folks over at Golden Wolf. They implemented multiple techniques such as 3d, 2d, cel animation and live action footage to create a gritty, hard-hitting animation style.

Dog Blood - Chella Ride 1

Dog Blood - Chella Ride 2

Dog Blood - Chella Ride 3

celllayersIf you’re not familiar with it, cel animation is an antique method used by studios before the advent of computer-assisted design. The technique involves drawing on clear plastic sheets (gets its name from “celluloid” sheets) and then laying these images over a static background drawing.

Very old school!

-RSB

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