Posts Tagged ‘space’

The World’s Most Powerful Digital Camera Snaps Its First Photos

On a mountaintop in Chile is the most powerful digital camera mankind has ever constructed. Called the Dark Energy Camera, the phone booth-sized device shoots 570-megapixel photographs using an array of 62 separate CCD sensors and a 13-foot light-gathering mirror. Planning and building the thing took 120 scientists from 23 international organizations a whopping 8 years.

This past week, the researchers behind the project announced the first fruits of their labor: massive photographs that show patches of the sky 20 times the size of the moon (as seen from Earth).
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Dad Sends His Son’s Toy Train to Space, Creates Short Film Showing the Journey

Sending a camera up to the edges of space on a weather balloon has been done quite a bit now, but perhaps none of the projects have been as creative as Ron Fugelseth’s effort. Ron worked with his 4-year-old son to give his son’s favorite toy train Stanley a fun and exciting ride to space. They built a rig consisting of a weather balloon, a styrofoam box, an HD video camera, and an old cell phone for GPS. Stanley was then attached to the outside of the box using a rod, positioned so that the camera would be perpetually pointed at Stanley with the world in the background.
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1909 Lincoln Penny Used to Calibrate the Mars Curiosity Rover’s Camera on Mars

Did you know that there’s US currency on Mars? It’s true: when NASA’s Curiosity rover was launched back on November 26, 2011, one of the things it carried with it was a penny from over a century ago. The 1909 Lincoln cent is part of the rover’s onboard calibration target used to check that the cameras are working properly.
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9/11 Photographed From the International Space Station

When the September 11th terrorist attacks happened exactly 11 years ago today, NASA astronaut Frank Culpertson was the only American not on planet Earth. Looking down at New York City from the International Space Station, he managed to snap the powerful photo above (high res here), showing the smoke plume from the World Trade Center site.
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Photographs of Astronauts Using DSLRs on Spacewalks

This photograph of Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide taking a self-portrait was published to NASA’s amazing 2Explore Flickr account on Wednesday. It was snapped during a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station. The EXIF data embedded in the photo reveals that he was using a Nikon D2Xs with a 10.5mm fisheye lens at f/11, 1/500, and ISO 200.
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Footage of Curiosity’s Descent onto Mars Interpolated to 25 Frames per Second

NASA’s Curiosity Rover snapped photographs at 5 frames per second as it descended onto the face of Mars a few weeks ago. The footage that results when the images are combined into a 15 frame per second HD video is pretty amazing, but apparently not amazing enough for a YouTube user named hahahaspam. He spent four straight days taking the 5 fps footage and interpolating it to 25 frames per second. This means that instead of a video showing the choppy landing at 3 times the actual speed, his video shows the landing smoothly and in real time!
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Earth and Jupiter Seen in a Single Photo Taken From Mars

Planetary conjunctions are beautiful to photograph from Earth, but send a camera to another planet in the Solar System, and you can shoot a planetary conjunction photograph containing Earth!

Back on May 8th, 2003, the Mars Orbiter Camera on the Mars Global Surveyor had the rare opportunity to photograph both the Earth and Jupiter in the same region of space. It was the first planetary conjunction observed from another planet, with the Earth 86 million miles away and Jupiter 600 million miles away. The resulting image (shown above right), contains both planets, along with some of the moons.
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The Curiosity Rover’s Descent into Mars as an Amazing HD Video

When NASA’s Curiosity rover performed its “seven minutes of terror” landing on Mars a couple weeks ago, the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) camera had the task of capturing 1600×1200 (~1.9 megapixel) photographs at a rate of 5 frames per second. The camera began snapping away from when the heatshield separated to a few seconds after the rover touched down. The amazing high-definition video above was created with these photographs, showing what it’s like to fall onto the surface of the red planet.
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The 5 Most Artistic Satellite Photographs of Earth Captured by NASA

The scary face in this image is actually inundated patches of shallow Lake Eyre (pronounced “air”) in the desert country of northern South Australia. An ephemeral feature of this flat, parched landscape, Lake Eyre is Australia’s largest lake when it’s full. However in the last 150 years, it has filled completely only three times.

Satellite photographs of Earth are often abstract and artsy, filled with strange colors, shapes, and textures. Some resemble the paintings of old masters, while others look like microscopic slides studied in biology classes. NASA’s LandSat has snapped images from space for 40 years now, with many of the images going into a special collection by the U.S. Geological Survey called “Earth as Art“. NASA recently decided to run a photo beauty contest to find out which of the satellite images in its collection are the most artistic.

Over 14,000 people ended up voting on the collection of 120+ images. The image above came in at number 5. It’s titled “Lake Eyre Landsat 5 Acquired 8/5/2006″.
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Shooting the Highest Free-Fall Jump In History from the Edge of Space

Next month a project called Red Bull Stratos will attempt to set a new world record for highest free-fall skydive in history. Skydiver Felix Baumgartner will leap from 120,000 ft (36,600m or 22.7 miles), breaking Joseph Kittinger’s record of 102,800 ft set in 1960. The behind-the-scenes video above gives a glimpse into how the team is planning to photograph and film the crazy stunt with 15 cameras at the edge of space — an environment with zero air pressure and temperatures as low as -60°.
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