Reaching out into space yields benefits on Earth. Many of these have practical applications — but there’s something more than that. Call it inspiration, perhaps, what photographer Ansel Adams referred to as nature’s “endless prospect of magic and wonder."
Our ongoing exploration of the solar system has yielded more than a few magical images. Why not keep some of them close by to inspire your own explorations? This week, we offer 10 planetary photos suitable for wallpapers on your desktop or phone. Find many more in our galleries. These images were the result of audacious expeditions into deep space; as author Edward Abbey said, "May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.”
1. Martian Selfie
This self-portrait of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows the robotic geologist in the “Murray Buttes” area on lower Mount Sharp. Key features on the skyline of this panorama are the dark mesa called “M12” to the left of the rover’s mast and pale, upper Mount Sharp to the right of the mast. The top of M12 stands about 23 feet (7 meters) above the base of the sloping piles of rocks just behind Curiosity. The scene combines approximately 60 images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager, or MAHLI, camera at the end of the rover’s robotic arm. Most of the component images were taken on September 17, 2016.
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft captured this high-resolution, enhanced color view of Pluto on July 14, 2015. The image combines blue, red and infrared images taken by the Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC). Pluto’s surface sports a remarkable range of subtle colors, enhanced in this view to a rainbow of pale blues, yellows, oranges, and deep reds. Many landforms have their own distinct colors, telling a complex geological and climatological story that scientists have only just begun to decode.
On July 19, 2013, in an event celebrated the world over, our Cassini spacecraft slipped into Saturn’s shadow and turned to image the planet, seven of its moons, its inner rings — and, in the background, our home planet, Earth. This mosaic is special as it marks the third time our home planet was imaged from the outer solar system; the second time it was imaged by Cassini from Saturn’s orbit, the first time ever that inhabitants of Earth were made aware in advance that their photo would be taken from such a great distance.
Before leaving the Pluto system forever, New Horizons turned back to see Pluto backlit by the sun. The small world’s haze layer shows its blue color in this picture. The high-altitude haze is thought to be similar in nature to that seen at Saturn’s moon Titan. The source of both hazes likely involves sunlight-initiated chemical reactions of nitrogen and methane, leading to relatively small, soot-like particles called tholins. This image was generated by combining information from blue, red and near-infrared images to closely replicate the color a human eye would perceive.
A huge storm churning through the atmosphere in Saturn’s northern hemisphere overtakes itself as it encircles the planet in this true-color view from Cassini. This picture, captured on February 25, 2011, was taken about 12 weeks after the storm began, and the clouds by this time had formed a tail that wrapped around the planet. The storm is a prodigious source of radio noise, which comes from lightning deep within the planet’s atmosphere.
Jupiter is still just as stormy today, as seen in this recent view from NASA’s Juno spacecraft, when it soared directly over Jupiter’s south pole on February 2, 2017, from an altitude of about 62,800 miles (101,000 kilometers) above the cloud tops. From this unique vantage point we see the terminator (where day meets night) cutting across the Jovian south polar region’s restless, marbled atmosphere with the south pole itself approximately in the center of that border. This image was processed by citizen scientist John Landino. This enhanced color version highlights the bright high clouds and numerous meandering oval storms.
X-rays stream off the sun in this image showing observations from by our Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, overlaid on a picture taken by our Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). The NuSTAR data, seen in green and blue, reveal solar high-energy emission. The high-energy X-rays come from gas heated to above 3 million degrees. The red channel represents ultraviolet light captured by SDO, and shows the presence of lower-temperature material in the solar atmosphere at 1 million degrees.
This image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows Victoria crater, near the equator of Mars. The crater is approximately half a mile (800 meters) in diameter. It has a distinctive scalloped shape to its rim, caused by erosion and downhill movement of crater wall material. Since January 2004, the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been operating in the region where Victoria crater is found. Five days before this image was taken in October 2006, Opportunity arrived at the rim of the crater after a drive of more than over 5 miles (9 kilometers). The rover can be seen in this image, as a dot at roughly the “ten o'clock” position along the rim of the crater. (You can zoom in on the full-resolution version here.)
Last, but far from least, is this remarkable new view of our home planet. Last week, we released new global maps of Earth at night, providing the clearest yet composite view of the patterns of human settlement across our planet. This composite image, one of three new full-hemisphere views, provides a view of the Americas at night from the NASA-NOAA Suomi-NPP satellite. The clouds and sun glint — added here for aesthetic effect — are derived from MODIS instrument land surface and cloud cover products.
Do me a favor and please never tell your child that they look like they’re gaining weight. Just because they may have gained an extra pound or two after a sports season ended does not give you a right to point it out. Trust me they are either confident enough in themselves that they haven’t noticed or they’ve already noticed and they beat themselves up over it every day but either way it will do nothing but tear them down. If you want to have a positive impact on their self-esteem, stress health not weight. If within your budget start buying less processed foods and more fruits and vegetables. Maybe suggest a family hike. But whatever you do, do not, I repeat DO NOT tell them that they look like they are gaining weight.
ok we all know how íþróttaálfurinn is an elf, yes? well let me just tell you this, icelandic elves are not like what u see in movies. like no. 1 rule about icelandic elves is don’t fuck with them or they will either make u go insane or steal ur babies. they might do it anyway even if u do nothing. also don’t mess with the rocks or the hills where they live or ur cursed for life. if an elf tells u to do something u better do it bc u’ll get a reward and everything will be good but if u don’t…. hoo boy u gonna regret it
“The [Champions League], make no mistake, is perhaps the finest exhibition of football on the planet. From Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo it plays host to the best players in the world, assembled by teams boasting budgets as large as that of many small nations. But that injection of funds, the disparity that afflicts the game, makes it a little more predictable with every year that passes. […] In a world where money dominates the sport and, more often than not, dictates results, the Libertadores keeps its romance alive long after the Champions League became a private party for Europe’s elites. The likes of Red Star, Steaua Bucharest, Ajax and Celtic can no longer dream of taking down the big boys, but for their counterparts across the Atlantic, nothing is impossible.”x
If your still doing those lazytown prompts, How about a sport that keeps doing all these ridiculous things to impress Robbie. Like lifting extremely heavy objects for really trivial reasons, or making elaborate meals for everyone, and just ... Generally getting more and more obvious about it till someone (like the mayor) finally just has to confront him about it. And Robbie mean while is super impressed but it just doesn't register that sport was doing all these things for him....
Hey look the Mayor finally decided to join in the prompt fun.
Sorry this is so short! Wanted to leave some Sportacus extra-ness to the imagination!
Mayor Milford cleared his throat nervously as he tapped
Sportacus on the shoulder, “Um, Sportacus? Can I talk to you for a moment?”
Sportacus, who had been doing squats while holding up the ice cream stand,
grinned, “Of course, Mayor!” He let the stand drop to the ground, “What
did you need?
“I wanted to talk to you about your… activities lately.”
“What do you mean?”
Milford tapped his fingers together, “Well, you’ve been doing push-ups on
the roof of town hall, bench pressing multiple benches
at once, weeding every garden in town…”
Sportacus frowned, “Did I do something wrong?”
“Oh, no!” Milford said quickly, “Not at all. It’s just- we’re worried
you’re overworking yourself.”
“Don’t be so nice to
Both Sportacus and the mayor jumped at the sudden new voice. From the
other side of the wall beside them, Robbie Rotten popped up. He looked
extremely annoyed, glaring at Sportacus.
Milford missed Sportacus’ cheeks turn a faint pink as Robbie went on, “He has done something wrong! This menace has
been back flipping over me all week, doing basketball tricks in my face, keeps
balancing things on his feet while doing handstands - for some reason!- and I
can’t go two feet without him offering to carry me someplace!”
Robbie crossed his arms, “What is wrong with you lately?” He
Sportacus opened and closed his mouth a few times before answering, “So,
you’re not impressed? Should I- Should I do more? Less?”
Robbie blinked, “Am I impressed that you can lift just about anything and
do almost every trick?” He looked away, “Maybe. A little.” Robbie coughed, “But
why would you care what I think?”
Sportacus was practically bouncing on his toes at this
point. Milford backed away quietly; suddenly,uncomfortably aware
that this wasn’t his conversation anymore.
We are currently in a world in which strong women are forced to choose between sacrificing their strength – and their livelihoods – in order to be considered women, or sacrificing the public perception of appropriate womanhood to be strong.
Erika Nicole Kendall, ‘Female athletes often face the femininity police – especially Serena Williams’
NHL players, and hockey fans in general, are overwhelmingly complicit in regards to hockey’s relationship with white supremacy.
Last night at the ESPYs, four of the NBA’s most prominent players (including LeBron James, an arguable candidate for the best NBA player of all time) gave a stirring, well-composed speech on police brutality in America and the specific manner in which, to quote directly, “black and brown bodies” are targeted by police.
This shows a deep understanding of the issue, one that understands the manner in which white supremacy brutalizes bodies deemed to be outside of whiteness, and the way in which police power relies upon this very brutalization at a basic level. From their inception, police have been specifically used not to protect, but to maintain an order of law with the threat of violence or incarceration.
The NHL, the whitest of the Big Four sports, has not seen any appreciable discussion of police brutality, or even of any issues with racism beyond incredibly shallow gestures towards a supposed progress. When a talented player like Joshua Ho-Sang is sent home from camp for oversleeping and the response loudly condemns him, when a player like PK Subban is traded in a lopsided deal for a player of the same caliber but older and on a worse contract, when Wayne Simmonds is loudly condemned but other players are excused for far more dangerous conduct, when the hockey media runs articles attempting to describe Auston Matthews in a manner that will allow the mostly white fans of the Maple Leafs to see him as not only Canadian but more specifically a white Canadian, it should be easy to tell the sport has a problem with race.
Both specific examples like these, and far more nebulous examples such as the manner in which many NHL fans discuss the NBA with dogwhistles and coded language, contribute to an image of the sport as unwelcoming and moreover unwelcoming by design. While programs such as the You Can Play Project have made admirable strides, this progress is not an excuse for the racism of the league.
Hockey absolutely has a problem with whiteness, with white supremacy, and that much should be rather clear from engaging with hockey fans for any appreciable amount of time.
And this is not simply relegated to the fans, but to the players themselves. As Stars players offer condolences to the Dallas PD, their silence on police brutality as well as other events such as the Pulse Nightclub shooting is incredibly apparent. That the most memorable examples of players mentioning police brutality are poorly thought-out tweets from Tom Sestito and Bobby Ryan complaining about protestors and insisting neutrality while implicitly protecting police from critique says quite a bit about how players feel. Considering the incredibly deeply embedded cultures of white supremacy in both America and Canada, it should come as no surprise that the league is so deeply white in every sense, but that it is unsurprising is not an excuse.
Hockey fans must begin to openly, loudly, and relentlessly critique the whiteness of the sport, must talk about the manner in which its whiteness is preserved through structures of racism deeply in North American society, and to challenge the overwhelming silence of NHL players on matters of racial justice in America.