The View from Space – Earth’s Countries and Coastlines

These high-res time-lapse sequences captured by astronauts aboard the International Space Station give us a beautiful and clear view of some well-known coastlines and countries around the world. Get a good look at England, France, Italy, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Greece, the island of Crete, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, the United States, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Cuba, and more. We’ve attempted to show as many countries as we would, but inevitably we’ve left many out. Please write to the the astronaut photography office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center to request inclusion in this amazing series of sequences.

Flattr this!

Why the Runaway Universe Discovery Won the Nobel Prize in Physics

From EsoCast, Dr. J. explores the upheaval in our understanding of the universe brought on by the discovery that the universe is not just expanding, but is accelerating outward at an ever increasing pace. Was Einstein wrong? Are we missing something crucial in our understanding of how it all began? Either way, this is one of the most exciting scientific discoveries in a long time.

Flattr this!

The Spectacle of Star Death

Take a breathtaking journey into the future, five billion years from now, to see the ultimate fate of the Solar System. This gem from HubbleCast showcases stunning Hubble imagery of the death throes of Sun-like stars. The wreckage of these dying stars form the building blocks of new generations of stars.

Flattr this!

Mars Opportunity Discoveries at Eight Years

The Mars rover Opportunity was supposed to last three months. It’s now going on Nine Years. It’s proved so durable that in 2011 it was essentially sent on a whole new mission.

Opportunity reached a multi-year driving destination, Endeavour Crater, in August 2011. At Endeavour’s rim, it has gained access to geological deposits from an earlier period of Martian history than anything it examined during its first seven years. It also has begun an investigation of the planet’s deep interior that takes advantage of staying in one place for the Martian winter.

Opportunity landed in Eagle Crater on Mars on Jan. 25, 2004, Universal Time and EST (Jan. 24, PST), three weeks after its rover twin, Spirit, landed halfway around the planet. In backyard-size Eagle Crater, Opportunity found evidence of an ancient wet environment. The mission met all its goals within the originally planned span of three months. During most of the next four years, it explored successively larger and deeper craters, adding evidence about wet and dry periods from the same era as the Eagle Crater deposits.

In mid-2008, researchers drove Opportunity out of Victoria Crater, half a mile (800 meters) in diameter, and set course for Endeavour Crater, 14 miles (22 Continue reading Mars Opportunity Discoveries at Eight Years

Flattr this!

Birth of the Moon – PREVIEW

Coming soon to “Cosmic Journeys.” Earth, over its 4.5 billion year history, has been pummeled by asteroids, eroded by wind and rain, covered over with flowing lava, wrinkled and gouged by shifts in its crust.

Most traces of its distant past have long since been destroyed. But there is a place where clues to the early history of our planet are still largely intact.

The moon…

Scientists have been reconstructing its history by scouring its surface, mapping its mountains and craters, and probing its interior regions.

What are they learning about our own planet’s beginnings, by going back in time, to the mysterious “Birth of the Moon.”

Flattr this!

Birth of the Moon

Scientists have been reconstructing the history of the moon by scouring its surface, mapping its mountains and craters, and probing its interior. What are they learning about our own planet’s beginnings?

Decades ago, we sent astronauts to the moon as a symbol of confidence in the face of the great cold war struggle. Landing on the moon was a giant leap for mankind. But it’s what the astronauts picked up from the lunar surface that may turn out to be Apollo’s greatest legacy.

When the astronauts of Apollo stepped out of their landing craft, they entered a world draped in fine sticky dust, strewn with rocks, and pocked with craters. They walked and rambled about, picking up rocks that they packed for the return flight.

Back in earth-bound labs, scientists went to work probing the rocks for clues to one of the most vexing questions in all of science. Where did the moon come from? The answer promised to shed light on an even grander question. Where did Earth come from? And how did it evolve into the planet we know today?

The nature of the moon began to come into focus four centuries ago. Galileo Galilei had heard Continue reading Birth of the Moon

Flattr this!

EARTH Masterpieces of Stone and Ice

Revel in Earth as Art. Make sure you watch in glorious 1080p. Landsat missions were launched for scientific purposes, but they make up one of the most awe-inspiring collections of beautiful images of our home planet.

For the last few centuries, artists have been exploring Earth’s untamed and awe-inspiring vistas, often as an antidote to life in the modern world. They evoked the grandeur of the Hudson River, the peace of Scandinavian fiords, or the omnipotent power of the ocean. This romantic ideal today has gained a new vantage point, from space, and a new set of brushes for capturing the beauty of our planet.

Landsat images feature colors tuned to record geological or even human forces at work. More than that, though, this great gallery of Earth explores its timeless beauty, its uncertain path forward.

So take this tour of Earth’s great landforms as seen from space. We travel to Africa and the Sahara and Namib deserts, to Argentina and Bolivia, the American heartland, and the great Canadian land and ice forms. Then it’s on to Greenland, Iceland, Russia, India, China, and finally the continent down under.

We wrap our journey in a small corner of the vast Great Sandy Desert. The satellite Continue reading EARTH Masterpieces of Stone and Ice

Flattr this!

The Shrinking Expanding Moon

From NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio. New images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft show the moon’s crust is being stretched, forming minute valleys in a few small areas on the lunar surface. Scientists propose this geologic activity occurred less than 50 million years ago, which is considered recent compared to the moon’s age of more than 4.5 billion years.

A team of researchers analyzing high-resolution images obtained by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) show small, narrow trenches typically much longer than they are wide. This indicates the lunar crust is being pulled apart at these locations. These linear valleys, known as graben, form when the moon’s crust stretches, breaks and drops down along two bounding faults. A handful of these graben systems have been found across the lunar surface.

We think the moon is in a general state of global contraction because of cooling of a still hot interior,” said Thomas Watters of the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, and lead author of a paper on this research appearing in the March issue of the journal Nature Geoscience. “The graben tell us forces acting to shrink the moon were Continue reading The Shrinking Expanding Moon

Flattr this!

Wandering Stars: a tour of the planets

A beauteous rip through the solar sytem, based on NASA’s Science on a Sphere program “The Wanderers.” In ancient times, humans watched the skies looking for clues to their future and to aid in their very survival. They soon observed that some stars were not fixed, but moved in the sky from night to night. They called these stars the wanderers.

At the center of our solar system is the sun, binding the planets with its gravitational pull. From our viewpoint on earth, the sun appears small in the sky, but in reality it dwarfs even Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system.

The distance from the sun to the small worlds traveling it are vast. Light takes eight minutes to reach earth, and nearly a day to reach the farthest known bodies. Join us now as we tour our solar system, starting with sun-baked mercury and traveling to the remotest outskirts, where small, icy bodies move with only the faintest connection to our sun.

Mercury
Mercury, the closest planet to Sun is also the smallest terrestrial planet. It orbits so swiftly that its year lasts only 88 Earth days. The airless cratered surface could almost Continue reading Wandering Stars: a tour of the planets

Flattr this!

Seeing Earth from Space: New International Space Station Time-lapse

We’ve all seen pictures of Earth from space, but have we really taken the time to appreciate what our planet looks like against the starscapes of the Milky Way galaxy? Here, we beckon viewers to see Earth in its cosmic context, which includes the stars, interstellar gases, the moon, the sun, and the solar winds. Be sure to watch in full HD, 1080p, and imagine you’re an astronaut aboard the International Space Station with a little time on your hands.

Flattr this!

Space is exciting