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:
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.
NOAA’s 2017 American Samoa Expedition has discovered some amazing deep sea creatures, many of whom defy explanation and description. Their finds underscore just how critical science is to our society. The Venus Flytrap sea anemone?! Or how about this incredible Armored Searobin. Our planet never ceases to amaze, and in 2017, it’s truly remarkable that we’re still discovering new and fascinating species. Via Gizmodo:
This is just Wow. As an Oregonian, I’m very proud of my state. It’s people and politics and nature all add up to something special. But I’ve never seen the Beaver state like this, and I bet you haven’t either. Made using infrared converted cameras, Sam Forencich has created a masterpiece of scenery and landscape. Beautifully shot using drones and time lapse, the scenery looks completely otherworldly thanks to the way infrared lights things up. Mount Hood comes alive with colors you’ve never seen. Crater Lake looks like an alien landscape from a science fiction movie. Edited with brilliantly choreographed sound design, this is a fullscreen, sound-on affair. Do yourself a favor and devote 5 minutes fully to this video, entitled Invisible Oregon. It’s amazing. Via LaughingSquid:
Daily Overview is a beautiful website that showcases stunning images of our planet from space. The most impressive part is how diverse our small planet is, with hundreds of different colors and textures. Below are just a handful of beautiful views. The hardcover book version is available for sale here.
Watching the Aurora Borealis is a special occasion, regardless of how strong or visible it is. This capture of the Aurora in Denmark is remarkable for the intensity, and the reflection of the capture in the water. Via Sploid:
BMDesign Studios takes the issue of water scarcity, and flips it on it’s head… But seriously, this innovative design acts as a natural water harvesting device, using a simple concave form. Small raindrops coalesce into larger ones, and the resulting rainfall collects quickly. In addition, the bowled roof creates additional shade for the building below it, reducing surface temperatures, and decreasing the need for air conditioning.
For a prototype of a school building with 923 square metres (9,935 square feet) of concave roof, it is estimated that 28 cubic metres (7,396 gallons) of water would be collected — the architects say that’s about a 60 percent rate of efficiency
Click the images for a more detailed look.
The Wulingyuan area of Hunan, China was the original inspiration for James Cameron’s world of Pandora, in the movie Avatar. The stunning quartzite sandstone pillars are like no other place on the planet, and they’re a prized Unesco World Heritage site. In order to allow visitors an unparalleled view of these natural wonders, the Chinese government held a design contest for a series of lookouts. The winning design is from Martin Duplantier Architects, and it’s a mesmerizing mirrored platform, complete with a water covered surface, to allow for perfect reflectivity. We hope this structure doesn’t interfere with the stunning beauty of these mountains, but it definitely looks like a sight worth visiting. Via DesignBoom:
Iceland, oh Iceland. You’re so beautiful it hurts. We could post about your vast otherworldly landscapes for months, and not get tired of it. The contrasts, the forms, the rawness. Iceland is so full of picturesque vistas it boggles the mind. Lukas Furlan has a gorgeous glimpse of Iceland, in 4k. Next, we need to get ourselves some plane tickets to visit this place in person.
I don’t care what party you belong to, or where your beliefs lay: November 8, 2016 was a disaster for our natural world.
President-elect Trump is by far the least qualified, most dangerous candidate to ever be elected to the highest office in the world, and he brings with him an enormous amount of miseducation, deceit, and outright lies when it comes to climate change and the natural world.
In electing Trump, the non-college-educated in this country have sent a message, although I don’t think they know what that message is, or what it means. What those of us with college educations and advanced degrees know, is that the next president of the United States has incredibly important decisions to make when it comes to the health of planet earth.
Trump’s vision for America is one of the early 1900’s, where we exploited resources at any cost, planet be damned. Burn all the coal you want, offshore oil wells, the more the merrier! “A Chinese hoax”, he says, when describing climate change.
What most Americans don’t know, and possibly don’t care about, is the global ramifications of a superpower like us, flouting science and ignoring the perils all around us. Increasing floods, hurricanes, landslides, as well as droughts and wildfires, are all to accelerate under a reality-denying administration like Trump’s.
In an age where knowledge is at your literal fingertips, people would rather elect a narcissistic, reality-TV star to power than a woman with decades of incredible experience. That alone creates a lot of cynicism. But combine that with incredible global peril, and a man who has promised to roll back President Obama’s hard-fought environmental achievements, and your head wants to explode.
At a time when the earth’s biological systems are failing, an absolute disaster of a man gets elected President, thanks to swarms of ignorant, uneducated white people.
I am truly scared for our future, and those of you with any type of education should be, too. The planet is in for dire days ahead.