It may not look like much at first glance, but this is one of the cooler things I’ve seen in a while. This is a photo featuring the moon Phobos, taken by the Curiosity Rover from the surface of Mars during the day.
Challenges of Getting to Mars: Curiosity’s Seven Minutes of Terror
The precision and innovation that is required for space exploration just blows my mind. I did not realize that Curiosity will have to basically land on Mars completely unaided by man, but it’s so much more complicated than that.
This view was captured by NASA’s GALEX mission, which launched in April 2003. Its main purpose was to image hundreds of thousands of galaxies, charting their rates of star formation – the science is best gathered in ultraviolet. Unfortunately, NASA cut off financial support for the mission back in February, 2011.
It’s really a shame that we invest so little into NASA. During the Apollo program, roughly 4% of the federal budget went to NASA, today it’s about .5%.
A photo of 200,000 galaxies, a mere 0.004% of our sky.
These images were taken with VISTA, the European Southern Observatory’s Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA), a 4.1 meter telescope in Chile. This huge image is actually composed of 6000 separate images, and is the single deepest infrared picture of the sky ever taken with this field of view. Hubble can get deeper, for example, but sees a much, much smaller part of the sky.
You can find the full, high rez version here. It’s worth a look, a very long one. (17,121 x 10,824 pixels & 250MBs)
Hubble’s new photo is the most high-resolution image ever taken of Messier 9, and reveals the ancient cluster as never before. So many details of the stars are visible, despite the fact that the whole image spans an area no bigger than the size of the head of a pin held at arm’s length.