All thematic riffs on the PBD, of course, but why wouldn't you love this shot? Only a handful of photographers ever get the opportunity, and it certainly is a lesson in perspective.
Bonus element pic:
Opportunity spotted this almost pure iron/nickel meteorite near its landing spot, and so dubbed "Heat Shield Rock" by NASA wags. Lame. But the meteorite itself is incredible - consider that iron meteorites are far, far rarer than stony meteorites, for the simple reason that an iron meteorite only comes from one place: The core of a differentiated planet. This planet of course was destroyed, a small piece of its core sits on the surface of Mars, right beside Opportunity. The odds!
Longtime fellow redshirts might recall that I have a bit of a love affair with Iron - the chemical substance. Fe 26, yo. It is only created in one place - a star. Either in the core of a huge star and as that happens, the star soon explodes, spreading the Iron hither and yon. In that explosion even more Iron is created. And every bit of Iron you know of - including the Iron in your blood (think about that, man) - came from an exploding star. This Iron now scattered to the four corners coalesced with clouds of hydrogen and helium and other gases, which if lucky began spinning fast enough to create a new star, with new planets - all of which will have Iron cores. Iron lies at the root of all creation, and destruction.
For it's true! Stars happily chug along creating all the elements up to Iron, glowing and casting their life giving light across space, and onto many, many exoplanets and exomoons, but then as soon as a star produces Iron in its core, it's doomed. So Iron is the end of the fusion line, and literally poison to stars. And yet, on the other side of the scale, all the higher number Elements - like gold, silver, plutonium, uranium, etc - all decay, over time, to Iron, and in so doing cease being radioactive. In fact, a definition of "radioactive": anything higher than Iron on the Periodic Table. This decay will take trillions of years, but eventually there will be a time when all higher elements have decayed to Iron, and lo, that will truly be the Iron Age.
Iron is literally - and figuratively - the balance point of creation, of our very reality. Everything we know of is made up from Elements (which in turn are made up of combinations of electrons, neutrons, and protons, which in turn are made up of combinations of quarks, which in turn, current theory posits but has not proven, are made up of combinations of preons, and I'm sure there's some other turn to be discovered in the future), and Iron sits in supreme harmony among them, destroyer and creator, ultimately, of all.
Also, kudos to you Opportunity - you rule. But let's also pour one out for Spirit:
Bonus Spirit pic, snapped 3/8/04:
And so with that, I begin again. As we all do, every day. But some days more so than others.
We also have several satellites in orbit around Mars, snapping awesome pics every dang day. Like so:
My point? Other than general awesomeness of our reality - space, time, matter, all of it - is that Mars, the Moon, and pretty much the entire Solar System is the province of robots, and not man, for the foreseeable future. I say this with much chagrin, since it has long been my dream to see space colonies and space stations and all the Star Trek/Apollo future you could give me. Which will be none.
Putting men in space is expensive, dangerous, and ultimately not very productive. Robots can do - and will get ever better - most anything a man could do science wise, and much more. Other than a flag planting, why should man go to Mars? Sure, it'd be awesome, and I'd love to see it, but there's not much logical reason to it. Better to send the droids.
And so it will be forever, until we find a way to cheaply and safely get into orbit. Once that's figured out, and many other things (radiation, gravity, food, etc), then and only then will mankind venture into space in numbers that mean something. Till then, we're just engaging in an Extreme Sport. Alas!
Never to be. :(
Seriously, this is a self portrait of Curiosity, and despite reading an explanation, I still am not sure how it's done. Apparently the giveaway is by the front wheel. You tell me. While you figure that out, here's one of Curiosity's first production level shots:
But isn't "False Color" what our brain is doing with all color anyway? Without eyes to see, there's no blue, or red, or green. Just frequencies of radiation. It is the seer that defines color, and thus, all of life is "False Color".
Or at least creatively enhanced.
For now - perhaps one of the coolest Exoplanets discovered to date, orbiting a small red dwarf star which in turn orbits a pair of much larger stars who are orbiting each other. Fun fact to know and share: It's estimated that about 60% of all stars are at least binaries - stars orbiting stars. Our sun is a minority in this regard.
Here's another artist's interpretation of Gliese 667Cc:
PH1, or Kepler-64B:
Another cool first with PH1 was it was discovered by "amateurs" using publicly accessible data from the Kepler Space Telescope. The best space telescope, by the way. Yeah, Hubble, you heard me.
Any idea when our next apocalypse is scheduled? My calendar is wide open.
Above, from bottom - Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter at dawn. Loverly.
So don't accept your apocalypse! Fight it, every day.
Peace be upon us all. Good luck, and good night.