Planetfall

Having followed the activities of a small army of freelance space imagers that lurk in various places on the internet for about 10 years now — it is truly unusual for me to come across images that I know I have not seen before. Michael Benson’s exhibit titled, “Planetfall” at the American Association for the Advancement of Science offers offer fresh views from missions as old as Viking and as new as Cassini. What originally caught my attention was an image of an actively spewing Enceladus that is exposed in both Sun and Saturn shine — a view I have surely seen before, but never so detailed or dramatic. Even more surprising and rare is a new global composite view of Uranus with a complete and continuous ring taken by Voyager almost 30 years ago.

The show ends soon (June 28, 2013) and is located in Washington DC.

Beyond Earth Letterpress Print

Chop Shop’s best selling Beyond Earth t-shirt is now available as a archival quality letterpress print. 23 historic missions of various nations orbit beyond Earth to explore our solar system. The missions are loosely arranged according to their most notable destinations. Printed on 19" x 25" French, Speckltone 80lb.

Above Earth Tshirt Celebrates 50 Years of Manned Spaceflight

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's historic first manned mission into the great beyond... Chop Shop's newest iconic tshirt was released today featuring 23 historic missions of mankind's exploration of Earth and space. Missions starting with Sputnik -- leading to Yuri Gagarin's first manned mission expanding to today's permanently manned International Space Station.

The design itself also includes unmanned missions like Sputnik, Hubble as well as missions inhabited by species other than human. A spiraling timeline weaves the missions together and is numbered with significant years of progress. Pre-Order it for Men on American Apparel’s Black, Navy or on Alstyle Black and for Women on American Apparel Black. Look for a children’s version in a few weeks as well.

Voyager 1 Approach Video by Bjorn Jonsson

Voyager 1 Approach Video by Bjorn Jonsson from Chopping Block on Vimeo.

“This movie is different from similar Voyager movies because I'm keeping Jupiter's size constant. This is accomplished by reprojecting the source images to simple cylindrical projection and then rendering everything using the same viewing geometry. I also sharpened the images a bit to better reveal various details.” — Bjorn Jonsson

The time lapse estimation is about 10 Earth hours per second. Special thanks to unmannedspaceflight.com for all the awesome.

The Great Red Spot

This is a reprocessed image of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot from the 1979 Voyager 1 encounter with the planet. Old data like this is being crunched by people like Bjorn Jonsson to create new and better detailed images that were not possible when the data sets were originally acquired. For comparison, just take a look at the “official” NASA release of the same image data from back in '79. I do need to begrudgingly note that the contrast and sharpness have been artificially exaggerated in this newer image for appearance.

New Iconic Celebrates 23 Deep Space Missions & The Planetary Society

Robotic and human missions of exploration that extended beyond the Earth’s orbit. 23 historic missions in total (with an additional 6 separations) that are recognized for their notable achievements to various celestial bodies in our solar system with targets including the Sun, planets and their moons, comets and asteroids. Nearly every icon represents a specific robotic explorer (or series) with the exception of the Apollo program which continues to be the single human endeavor to ever go beyond the cradle.

If you buy a copy we will donate $5 of every purchase to The Planetary Society. The world’s largest space-interest group dedicated to inspiring the public with the adventure and mystery of space exploration. A non-governmental organization founded in 1980, who among its founders included Carl Sagan, the author of Cosmos.

If you buy a copywith a membership (sorry, US residents only), we will register you as a new member for only an additional $25 (normally $37). See here for what you get as a new member.

Vintage-Styled Soviet Space Posters

Contained within Justinvg’s excellent poster set on flickr are these gorgeous posters celebrating early Soviet triumphs in space. There are 5 total; Sputnik, Sputnik 2, The Luna Program, Vostock and Voskhod. But if you are a fan of Star Wars — don’t miss his fictional travel poster series (which are also included in the same set as these Soviet ones).

Eric Zelinski Redesigns Man and Space

Eric Zelinski had an unusual inspiration to redesign 4 chapters of a classic educational book; Time Life Science Library's Man and Space. The edition was first printed in 1964 and contained some very basic info-graphics on various space travel themes of the era. Keep in mind that this is pre-Apollo — so some of the items were conceptually unproven, but based upon generally accepted models of that time.

Seen above is “Ways to Go” which presents 3 different ways that NASA was actually considering for getting a man to the surface of the moon and back. Judging from the upstanding rockets seen in diagram #1 and #2, I think #3 is closer to the method that prevailed.

A diagram of the way back home.

A bit of more general information on the local environment around earth.

See also Eric’s submissions to the t-shirt giant Threadless. Many are space themed and his current submission is “Us Divided” which features a cosmic Earth split in two. It is now available for voting, so why not show some support?

50 Years of Space Exploration Map

This is so nice, but I am furious that I didn’t get to design this. This is Information design at it’s best naturally by National Geographic. You can see 50 years of robotic planetary exploration at a glance. It even includes failed missions represented by darker desaturated lines. As far as I can tell the cream colored lines are US and the red ones are Soviet. Interesting to see how many of those lines go dark around Mars.

Now where does one purchase such a thing? Perhaps this month’s issue of NG? Here is the link to it on their site complete with zoom viewer and them some kind samaritan posted a hires version to flickr.

Stryk Blog Is Back

Ted loves to re-work old data sets from older missions with today’s technology. Often the results are visually beautiful and put a new face on old encounters, but occasionally this work also finds new items not seen the first time around. Above is a set of images of Neptune compiled to reveal that Voyager managed to capture the transit of one of its very small moons, Despina, across its face. This was a detail not previously seen until the data was re-worked by Ted.

He is back at updating his blog planetimages.blogspot.com and there are more images to come as some of the posts provide some great opportunities to update our “portrait” series of images. These are images that are tagged as such which feature the best global images of each major body in our Solar System.

Apollo 12 and Surveyor 3

This image was taken by LRO of the Apollo 12 landing site. Since Apollo 11 already achieved the objective of landing a man on the surface of the moon and returning him safely to home, one of the main objectives of Apollo 12 was to show landing precision. They did this by selecting the resting place of Surveyor 3 as the area they would like to touch-down and did so impressively by touching down only 200 feet away from the robotic lander. You can therefore see the Intrepid Lander, Surveyor 3, the LDEP experiment as well as a good amount of foot traffic left behind by astronaut feet.

Be sure to click on the image for the full size to see all the detail.

Mariner 10 Re-Imaging of Venus

Been meaning to catch up on a few odds and ends lying around. This image of Venus was re-worked from Mariner 10 images by Mattias Malmer somewhere around 2005. It is an attempt at showing Venus in natural light and is far better than the version previously used as our “portrait” image for Venus. The issue is that Mariner 10 images only allow one to do that by taking some liberties with UV data. According to Malmer, “I think that if I were to make an even blander version of the this image it would be close enough to reality”.

See the original 2005 post on unmannedspaceflight.com where you can get this image at 4000x4000 resolution. Time for a wallpaper update.

Tweets of Apollo

You can also follow the mission in real-time as history played out 40 years ago on twitter. Follow Mission Control, The Spacecraft or The Lunur Excursion Module (Eagle). The Eagle will not have much to say, obviously, until it is actually descending toward the surface of the moon on Monday, but it has just started making some noise on Sunday night.

Echos of Apollo Online

Follow the Apollo 11 mission in real time at wechosethemoon.org for the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11. The site comes complete with a gorgeous mission animation that shows the viewer what stage the mission is in as the data loads in the background. Once the page opens up we are treated to various interactive modules like photo and video galleries featuring material from the current stage of the mission as well as an oddly placed JFK and Apollo gallery.

The best part is the real-time audio stream. As I am writing this, the astronauts are asleep and every 15 minutes mission control interrupts the static to essentially report how long they have been asleep and that the mission is progressing nominally. As boring as that is… it sure makes it real and takes those too young to have been a part of it as close to knowing how that might have felt to follow this historic event. Of course, the whole thing peaks on the 20th with the real-time streaming of touch down at Tranquility Base.

Also see NASA’s newly restored footage of Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong’s magnificent first step.