earth as seen from space

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Add to your electronic bookshelf with these free e-books from NASA!

1. The Saturn System Through the Eyes of Cassini

This work features 100 images highlighting Cassini’s 13-year tour at the ringed giant.

2. Earth as Art 

Explore our beautiful home world as seen from space.

3. Meatballs and more 

Emblems of Exploration showcases the rich history of space and aeronautic logos.

4. Ready for Our Close Up

Hubble Focus: Our Amazing Solar System showcases the wonders of our galactic neighborhood.

5. NASA’s First A 

This book dives into the role aeronautics plays in our mission of engineering and exploration.

6. See More 

Making the Invisible Visible outlines the rich history of infrared astronomy.

7. Ready for a Deeper Dive? 

The NASA Systems Engineering Handbook describes how we get the job done.

8. Spoiler Alert

The space race really heats up in the third volume of famed Russian spacecraft designer Boris Chertok memoirs. Chertok, who worked under the legendary Sergey Korolev, continues his fascinating narrative on the early history of the Soviet space program, from 1961 to 1967 in Rockets and People III.

9. Take a Walk on the Wild Side

The second volume of Walking to Olympus explores the 21st century evolution of spacewalks.

10. No Library Card Needed 

Find your own great read in NASA’s free e-book library.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.

I was talking to a friend who was feeling down about human-caused global climate change. “It may be,” I told a friend in London as we walked across Tower Bridge, “that our ticket was punched before we ever got started.” While there is no doubt we’re cutting our time on earth shorter through carbon emissions and the destruction of the ecology, it might be that our species was never going to make it past the end of the womb of our ice-age birth. I explained this, about how fragile an organism we are, and how the ice ages cycle. She laughed, she was used to my strange form of hope.

“You have to choose to have hope, or just jump out of a window,” a person I was interviewing once told me, a person who’d been accused of techno-utopianism. We were walking along the California coast hills at sunset, talking about all the ways our technological lives could go wrong, and the many ways it is going wrong. He wasn’t utopian, it turned out, he’d thought of the worst long before his detractors had. He’d decided to try to head it off, instead of jumping out of a window.

We are diseased and angry and we kill each other and ourselves and all the world. We are killing off life on Earth like a slow moving asteroid. I try to look at this, and my own part in it. Sometimes it is overwhelming. I feel so powerless trying to comprehend all the terrible things we face, much less get past them into our future, with our humanity and our inconceivably beautiful little blue-green planet preserved.

All these grown-up monsters for my grown-up mind, they are there in the nights I wake up terrified and taunted by death. When I feel so small and broken, when despair and terror take me, I have a secret tool, a talisman against the night. I don’t use it too often so that it doesn’t lose its power. I learned it on airplanes, which are strange and thrilling and full of fear and boredom and discomfort. When I am very frightened, I look out the window on airplanes and say very quietly:

I have seen the tops of clouds

And I have. In all the history of humanity, I am one of the few that has seen the tops of clouds. Many would have died to do so, and some did. I have seen them many times. I have seen the Earth from space, and spun it around like a god to see what’s on the other side. We are the only consciousness we’ve ever found that has looked deep into the infinite dark, and instead of dark, we saw galaxies. Galaxies! Suns and worlds beyond number. We have looked into our world and found atoms, atomic forces, systems that dance to the glorious music of the universe. We have seen actual wonders that verge on the ineffable. We have coined a word for the ineffable. We have coined thousands of words for the ineffable. In our pain we find a kind of magic, in our worst and meanest specimens we find the flesh of a common human story. We are red with it.

I know mysteries that great philosophers would have died for, just to have them whispered in their dying ears. I can look them up on my smartphone. I live in the middle of miracles, conceptions and magics easily worth many lifetimes to learn, from which I can pick and choose. I have wisdom and knowledge poured around me like a river, more than I could learn in a thousand lifetimes, and I am still alive. It is good that I am alive, it is good that we are alive. Even if we kill ourselves off with nuclear fire, or gray goo, or drown ourselves in stinking acid oceans, it is good that we have lived, that we did all of this, and that we grew into what we are, and learned to dream of what we could be. The only thing we can say for sure is that we will die, but we will die having gone so far above our primordial ponds and primate forests that we saw the tops of clouds.

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Earth is the ultimate ocean planet (that we know of), but it turns out that our solar system has water in some surprising places, with five ocean-bearing moons and potentially several more worlds with their own oceans. 

1. The Original “Alien Ocean”

Our Galileo spacecraft (1989-2003) detected the first evidence of an ocean beyond Earth under the ice of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa.

2. Lost Oceans

There are signs that Mars and Venus once had oceans, but something catastrophic may have wiped them out. Earth’s natural force field – our magnetosphere – acts like shield against the erosive force of the solar wind.

3. Earth, the Original Ocean World

The search for life beyond Earth relies, in large part, on understanding our home planet. Among the newest Earth ocean explorers us the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System, or CYGNSS–a constellation of microsatellites that will make detailed measurements of wind speeds over Earth’s oceans to help understand hurricanes. The spacecraft have moved into their science operations phase.

4. Sister Ships

It’s fitting the first mission to explore an alien ocean is named in honor of fast-sailing clipper ships of old. Our Europa Clipper spacecraft will seek signs of habitability on Jupiter’s moon Europa.

5. Game Changer

Scientists expected Saturn’s moon Enceladus to be a tiny, solid chunk of ice and rock. But, not long after arriving at Saturn, our Cassini spacecraft made a series of incremental discoveries, eventually confirming that a global subsurface ocean is venting into space, with signs of hydrothermal activity.

6. Why Ocean Worlds Matter

“The question of whether or not life exists beyond Earth, the question of whether or not biology works beyond our home planet, is one of humanity’s oldest and yet unanswered questions. And for the first time in the history of humanity, we have the tools and technology and capability to potentially answer this question. And, we know where to go to find it. Jupiter’s ocean world Europa.” - Kevin Hand, NASA Astrobiologist

7. More Alien Oceans

Scientists think Jupiter’s giant moons Ganymede and Callisto also hide oceans beneath their surfaces. Elsewhere in the solar system, scientists hope to look for hidden oceans on far-flung worlds from Ceres in the main asteroid belt to Pluto in the Kuiper Belt.

8. Cold Faithful(s)?

Thanks to our Cassini orbiter we know the tiny moon Enceladus is venting its ocean into space in a towering, beautiful plume. The Hubble Space Telescope also has seen tantalizing hints of plumes on Jupiter’s moon Europa. Plumes are useful because they provide samples of ocean chemistry for oceans that could be miles below the surface and difficult for spacecraft to reach. It’s like they’re giving out free samples!

9. Titanic Seas and Ocean

Saturn’s moon Titan not only has liquid hydrocarbon seas on its surface. It also shows signs of a global, subsurface saltwater ocean–making the giant moon a place to possibly look for life as we know it and life as we don’t know it … yet.

10. Oceans Beyond

Several of the thousands of planets discovered beyond our solar system orbit their stars in zones where liquid surface water is possible–including Proxima-b, a rocky planet orbiting the star nearest to our own.

BONUS: Adopt a bit of YOUR Ocean World

We invite everyone to help us celebrate Earth Day 2017 by virtually adopting a piece of Earth as seen from space. Your personalized adoption certificate will feature data from our Earth-observing satellites for a randomly assigned location, much of it ocean (it is 70 percent of the Earth’s surface after all!). Print it and share it, then explore other locations with our interactive map and get even more Earth science data from NASA’s Worldview website.

Visit go.nasa.gov/adopt to adopt your piece of the planet today!

Discover more lists of 10 things to know about our solar system HERE.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

The moon waxes and wanes from the point of view of earth, but when seen from the perspective of space it is always full. It is only “point of view” that creates partiality. In the same way, the reality of our deepest nature is always divine. It is not divine in seed form, like a tree waiting to grow from a seed, but fully developed, right now.
—  Traktung Yeshe Dorje

Night Vision of Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne seen from the International Space Station at night reveals its young history. Unlike the winding streets in older European cities, Melbourne’s streetlights follow a more planned grid system. Established in 1835 around the natural bay of Port Phillip Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria in Australia.

4.5" Earth Satellite View - with Cloud Cover MOVA Globe | Buy-Now!

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  • Unique gift item for home decorators, tech geeks, world travelers, astronomy enthusiasts, educators, corporation gifts and the person who already has everything. Globe’s silent movement reflects the steady rotation of the earth while sparking conversation and wonder for anyone who comes across its path
Dreams Do Come True

@monotype-on-phantom, throwing you a cookie, because I’ve often saw you say that you firmly believe in Danny deserving to be happy (so do I).


Maybe he wasn’t working for NASA.

Maybe he wasn’t the smartest guy around due to a poor school career.

And maybe he never managed to get into a dedicated college or university.

But damn it, he still did it regardless of what teachers and experts thought.

“Captain,” a voice to his left rose Danny from his own gleeful thoughts, bringing him back to reality. “The team is ready.”

A smile graced the young adult’s lips and he looked down at the console in front of him. It wasn’t a NASA space shuttle, or any other government-founded machinery, but it still did what he wanted out of it.

Namely, getting him into space to complete a mission for NASA after they realized what and where he could go.

After a quick press of buttons, Danny nodded his head and glanced at the person sitting next to him. The guy, about fifteen or twenty years older than him, looked nervous to be under the command of someone so young. Yet his professionalism refrained him from questioning everything his ‘captain’ did.

After all, the Fentons had built the ship they were all standing in. And the Fentons had also built the technology that had carried them where they were without having to spend years traveling through space. Surely, they knew what they were doing.

“Alright folks,” Danny spoke into the small headset he wore almost all the time while on the job. “We will be at the coordinates in… about five minutes. Make sure everything is ready to be unloaded, hooked up and stable. I don’t want to have to explain why we lost expensive equipment during our first mission here.”

There was a chorus of 'yes, sir’, 'copy that’ and 'understood’, and Danny felt himself relax against his seat even if there was no real gravity to pull him down against it. He took a deep breath, holding it for a few seconds, then released it slowly.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” he asked suddenly, casting his eyes out of the large window panel. “I’ve seen it before, but… it never stops to amaze me.”

Danny felt his companion shift into the seat next to him and hum in contemplation. “Indeed it is, Captain,” he replied with awe filling his voice. “I’ve seen the Earth from orbit, and the moon from space, but this… yes. I can see why it’s so beautiful.”

The moment of silence lasted for several seconds until Danny started to laugh. It was a joyful sound that was carried through the communication line and to everyone that was listening in. The happiness was contagious and soon his mirth was accompanied by amused chuckles and excited whispers.

No one would bother stop that until they reached their destination.

After all…

Jupiter! Who would have thought?

Exterminate

Part Two of the Time and Space Series.

Doctor Who AU featuring Park Jinyoung as The Doctor.

Word Count: 3.6K


You ducked down behind some boxes clutching your knees to your chest. Tears of fear welled up in your eyes clouding your vision. You sent out a silent prayer in hopes they wouldn’t find you.

Exterminate

They were getting closer, there evil robotic cry sounding as if it were only a few feet from you now. They were coming.

Exterminate

You buried your face into your arms trying to figure out a way out, but none seemed to appear. You could see no way out. “Doctor,” you whispered at the pocket watch hanging around your neck. “Where are you?”

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