Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hey, here's a 3D image of a nebula

Here's a nice little "holographic" starmap for your next night at the gaming table (or hyperfuel for your next fan fiction). It's a an animated .gif in 3D of cosmic cloud Melotte 15 in the Heart Nebula, IC 1805 by astro photogropher J-P Metsävainio.

It's essentially a stereograph of an object in space. So I have to ask--why aren't we doing this for EVERYTHING IN SPACE? I'm thinking we need to tie two Hubbles together. Should be easy! #NASAMAKEITHAPPEN

Okay, maybe not. But it's pretty cool, huh?

Full article at Universe Today

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What would a wet Mars look like?

One of my favorite science fiction series are the Red Mars (then Blue, then Green) from Kim Stanely Robinson. It's a superbly researched and a fascinating look at what it would cost (in more than economic terms) to change the face of the red planet to one that could support life. But I've often wondered, what would it really LOOK like to see Mars as we know and experience the Earth--as a blue/green orb flocked with plant life and steeped in oceans.

Kevin Gill is a software engineer who has wondered the same and he took to making his own renderings, which--even if not completely accurate--are incredible:

A conception view of the Western hemisphere of Mars with oceans and clouds. Olympus Mons is visible on the horizon beyond the Tharsis Montes volcanoes and the Valles Marineris canyons near the center. 

A visualization of an Earth-like Mars, be it ancient or a future of terraforming. Eye position is about 6,600 kilometers (4100 miles) from the surface of the planet and looking at the southern hemisphere (~20° South) and the 180th meridian.

The Western hempisphere looks particularly intriguing with retaining its arid climate. Looks vaguely like the deserts of Spain to me. And the second image makes me think of the Irish countryside (Shire?). Perhaps I have to much hobbit on the brain. Truly inspiring stuff.

What do the images make you think of?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Here's wishing all you far-out space cats a fantastic New Year in 2013. It was a banner year on the blog, reaching 122 of you signing on as official Exonauts! May you have exciting adventures in the year to come. Expiscor Eternus!