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Posts from the ‘Outer Space’ category

NASA’s Inflatable Greenhouse for Farming on Mars

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DesignBoom has a look at NASA’s prototype greenhouse, developed at the University of Arizona, which may travel to Mars in the near future and help astronauts farm their produce on the Red Planet. The structure is a cylinder in shape and can deploy quickly once at it’s destination. It uses both LED and natural light to grow, and has a sophisticated support system:

The 18 X 7 ft deployable greenhouse can also be used for air revitalization, water recycling or waste recycling. The idea is for carbon dioxide exhaled by the astronauts to be introduced into the martian/ lunar greenhouse, which is then used by the plants to photosynthesize and generate oxygen. the whole process is called a bioregenerative life support system.

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Growing lettuce aboard the ISS

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Country Flags Merged with Landscapes


Flag designs are cool, they’re so diverse, and represent so much for a country. Their stripes, shapes and colors inspire millions. But how about blurring the lines between countries, and merging them with imagery of landscapes? That’s what Max Serradifalco has done with his series, All Colors of the World. His work is at first a little perplexing, as the landscapes don’t correspond to the flags where they were photographed. But upon further investigation, the work is meant to blur boundaries, considering everyone citizen of Planet Earth, versus bound by invisible country lines. In addition, the graphical elements of the flags create fascinating collages when combined with landscape photography. Aerial photo locations include Qatar, Antarctica, Namibia, Kazakhistan, Kenya, Japan, Iraq, Oceania, and many others. Can you name the flags? Via Inspiration Now:



Two Thirds of the Great Barrier Reef Now Bleached

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Considered one of the true treasures of Planet Earth, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral system on the planet, able to be seen from space. And now, due to human caused climate change, it’s been severely, severely damaged, possibly forever. Coral bleaching, caused by high water temperatures, has been happening on the reef for the last several years. But a severely hot summer there this year has increased the bleaching to reach two thirds of the entire reef system. This means bright, colorful, living coral has now been killed, leaving white skeletons of the coral behind. The chart below show the amount of bleaching from 2016 to 2017. Sadly, the trend is not going in the right direction. Via James Cook University:

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With such a huge area of bleaching, what can be done to stem the tide? Well, cutting emissions is the first critical step. And judging by current politics, that seems uncertain. For reference, a healthy, beautiful section of the Great Barrier Reef looks like the below photo:

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Float Your Way to Space in a Balloon

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With a growing number of companies on the verge of sending private citizens into space on rockets, there’s a movement to send people to space on a….slower pace. World View Enterprises has plans (and a high tech balloon) to start sending people on commercial flights to the edge of space starting in 2018.  With a mission to give people a true “global perspective” on our planet, the experience sounds like the ride of a lifetime.  Check out this fascinating video on their mission to take people over 100,000 feet above Earth. Via Mashable:

Cassini’s Last Tour

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Cassini is an orbiter that has been diligently exploring our Solar System for the last twenty years. A joint venture between NASA, ESA and ISA, Cassini was partnered with a lander named Huygens until it jettisoned to the moon of Saturn, Titan, in 2005.

For over a decade since then, Cassini has faithfully orbited Saturn, sending back some amazing images of our beautiful ringed planet neighbor.  Sadly, Cassini is on it’s last legs:

Cassini continued to study the Saturn system in the following years, and continues to operate as of April 2017. However, due to the spacecraft’s dwindling fuel resources for further orbital corrections, it is currently planned to be destroyed by diving into the planet’s atmosphere in September 2017. – Wikipedia

Powered by a small nuclear power source, the orbiter is running out of juice after all those years in the cold vacuum of space. Here are some great images captured by Cassini over the last several years. Thanks to incredible engineering and design efforts, this orbiter has given us a huge amount of data about our solar system, planets, moons, and space in general. RIP, Cassini. Photos and info courtesy of NASA. 

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Jupiter’s Gorgeous Storms


A new photo by Juno Cam, taken February 2017, shows a swirl of colorful storms, 9,000 feet above the Jovian planet. Jupiter’s size is breathtaking, with many of the visible storms being as large as Earth itself. Check out this quick size comparison we drew up to get a sense of the planet’s epic scale.

Jupiter vs Earth Size Comparison

Raw images from Juno Cam are available to the public here:

Incredible Overhead Video of Mars

Mars imagery taken by NASA HiRise Cameras

From the cold of space, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has quietly been snapping pictures of Mars for the last 12 years. Using a camera system called HiRise, it’s been mapping and taking detailed stills of the Mars surface. Now, a Finnish filmmaker named Jan Fröjdman has taken those stills and very painstakingly stitched them together into a beautiful video. The result is stunning, a serene yet unfamiliar flyover of magnificent landscapes that are as varied as they are beautiful. Mars, we’re coming for you. This takes us one step closer. We highly recommend you watch this fullscreen, with the resolution turned up to 2K. Via Gizmodo:

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World’s Biggest Solar Farm

China has recently completed construction of the world’s biggest solar farm. Called Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, the operation generates 850 Megawatts of electricity, which for the uninitiated, is enormous. Containing over four million solar panels, the plant can generate enough power from the sun to run nearly a quarter of a million homes. The Guardian has a good look at the new solar park, part of China’s giant effort to clean up their electrical generation. As solar prices get cheaper, look for more of these giant installations to help take our planet out of the age of coal, oil and gas.

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Giant solar installation as seen from satellites

Iceland’s Northern Lights Reflected in Volcanic Crater Lake

Astronomy Picture of the Day has a remarkable shot of a crater lake reflecting the gorgeous aurora above it. Learn much more about the photo and the stars contained in it on their website.



The Scale of the Universe


Yukai Du has a super fun collection of motion graphics that help tell the story of the scale of the universe. Animated for a Ted-Ed video about Hubble’s Deep Field images, Du has a beautiful style that combines a great color scheme with fun, inviting motion.

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