A Typographical History of NASA
Data artists and visualization researchers at the Office for Creative Research dug through 11,000 pages of NASA history reports, containing nearly 5 million words, to assemble this typographical timeline of the U.S. space program.
The vertical waves represent the total NASA and percent of national budgets (which is why it begins to shrink toward the right side of the page). The most important words and phrases from each year are listed in lieu of traditional milestones, giving us a unique perspective on the key events that led us up up and away.
Tour the full-size, interactive visualization of NASA’s history here, it’s really something (and it’s also way too big for me to show you on my blog)
(via Popular Science)
Within Invisibility by Jiayu Liu is an installation powered by the wind of 40 Chinese cities.
Liu on her work:
What if we use wind to represent wind?
This project is about nostalgia, personal investigation, and testing the boundaries of data visualisation, and creating a multisensory experience of invisible data. Within Invisibility renders wind data into a multisensory experience. Live data comes from 40 major Chinese cities, each represented by two fans. Each fan shows a graph called a rose or curve,. Wind speed change over the past six hours is proportionally condensed into six seconds, in order to fully visualise a full day’s wind dynamics within a visitor’s attention span.
I want to explore the connection between one’s perception of a city and its data. Though invisible, wind is a universal force, tightly connected with a city’s climate, landscape, even infrastructure and traffic. Thus I have chosen wind as an agent to express multiple layers of data, to allow viewers to not only see but feel the data just as one feels the wind, be it gusty gale or gentle breeze.
Selections from Tallmadge Doyle’s ethereal Celestial Mapping Series
- "Shooting stars" are actually meteors. People once thought they were stars falling from the sky. These tiny grains of dust glow brightly in Earth’s atmosphere because they’re traveling so fast that they release a tremendous amount of energy.
- Meteorites can be huge or tiny. The biggest one ever found weighs around 60 tons, while others are the size of a grain of sand.
- All meteorites come from inside our solar system. Most of them are fragments of asteroids that broke apart long ago in the asteroid belt, located between Mars and Jupiter.
- Small pieces of the Moon occasionally reach Earth as meteorites. We know where they come from because they’re identical in composition to the lunar rocks collected by Apollo astronauts.
- Certain “primitive” meteorites contain the first solid material to form in our solar system. Researchers have used the age of this material—4.568 billion years—to determine the age of our solar system.
Forty years ago, a vast molten cavity known as the Darvaza crater – nicknamed the “door to hell” – opened up in the desert of north Turkmenistan, and has been burning ever since. Now, Canadian explorer George Kourounis has became the first to make the descent into the fiery pit to look for signs of life (x)
"We did find some bacteria living at the bottom that are very comfortable living in those high temperatures, and the most important thing was that they were not found in any of the surrounding soil outside of the crater," he says. "Outside of our solar system, there are planets that do resemble the conditions inside this pit, and [knowing that] can help us expand the number of places where we can confidently start looking for life outside of our solar system."
Aurora from the plane by Paul Williams
Puffball Lycoperdon sp. releasing spores
Spore discharge from puff-balls of the Lycoperdon type (Agaricaceae) can be brought about by impact of water drops on the flattened papery top of the endoperidium (the inner of the two layers into which the sack that encloses a mass of spores is divided).
Raindrops of 1 mm. diameter or over, and rain-drip from trees are adequate to operate the mechanism. Analysis of the operation by ultra-high-speed photographs have shown that the puff reaches a height of a centimeter in approximately one-hundredth of a second after impact. The velocity of the puff on emerging from the ostiole (aperture) is of the order of 100 cm/sec.
The endoperidium (sack) is normally water-proof and ejection continues under humid conditions. Estimates, made from meteorological data, show that a fruit body must be operated many thousands of times in a season.
Photo credit: ©Marco Bertolini | Locality: unknown
How do we terraform Venus?
It might be possible to terraform Venus some day, when our technology gets good enough. The challenges for Venus are totally different than for Mars. How will we need to fix Venus?
This planet has been the center of corny nerd fantasies and awful behavioral gender oversimplifications from days of yore.
There are many real reasons to admire Venus from afar, but my favorite, much like Mars, is the potential to turn it into a vacation spot and haven for mad science planetary engineering. Venus is a virtual twin of Earth. It has a solid surface and very similar gravity to Earth.
In the search for life beyond Earth, astronomers should look for signs of pollution in the atmospheres of alien planets outside the Earth’s solar system, a new study says.
The next-generation James Webb Space Telescope, which is set to launch in 2018, could hunt for worlds harboring alien life by sniffing their atmospheres for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), greenhouse gases that destroy ozone in the Earth’s atmosphere. These chemicals could be detected on planets with atmospheres that are 10 times thicker than Earth’s, the researchers said.
Scientists already scan the atmospheres of alien worlds for traces of oxygen and methane, gases that typically coexist in the presence of life. But searching for signs of pollution elsewhere in the universe could yield clues about more-advanced alien civilizations, the researchers said.
Of course, to very advanced civilizations, Earth’s own greenhouse gases might signal a primitive world, the scientists said.
"We consider industrial pollution as a sign of intelligent life, but perhaps civilizations more advanced than us, with their own SETI programs, will consider pollution as a sign of unintelligent life since it’s not smart to contaminate your own air," study leader Henry Lin, a student at Harvard University, said in a statement.
Earth isn’t the only planet in the solar system with spectacular light shows. Both Jupiter and Saturn have magnetic fields much stronger than Earth’s. Auroras also have been observed on the surfaces of Venus, Mars and even on moons (e.g. Io, Europa, and Ganymede). The auroras on Saturn are created when solar wind particles are channeled into the planet’s magnetic field toward its poles, where they interact with electrically charged gas (plasma) in the upper atmosphere and emit light. Aurora features on Saturn can also be caused by electromagnetic waves generated when its moons move through the plasma that fills the planet’s magnetosphere. The main source is the small moon Enceladus, which ejects water vapor from the geysers on its south pole, a portion of which is ionized. The interaction between Saturn’s magnetosphere and the solar wind generates bright oval aurorae around the planet’s poles observed in visible, infrared and ultraviolet light. The aurorae of Saturn are highly variable. Their location and brightness strongly depends on the Solar wind pressure: the aurorae become brighter and move closer to the poles when the Solar wind pressure increases.
Credit: ESA/Hubble (M. Kornmesser & L. Calçada)