Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Earth, the Final Frontier


The last few weeks have seen many  astronomy related anniversaries and planned upcoming missions, so it's only fitting that this blog should also feature a series of photographs about space. With the recent celebration of Earth Day, the first post in this series should somehow tie all of these themes together with an amazing image. The above photograph of Earth from Mars is such an image.

This gray-scale picture is remarkable in that it is the first ever photograph of Earth from another planet. If you are having trouble finding the pale dot that is the Earth, have a look at the image below.

The credit to this photograph goes to NASA's Mars rover Spirit which has been peacefully hibernating for more than a year now. The image is actually a mosaic taken by the robot's panoramic camera, giving observers a view of the Martian Horizon with Earth visible. The contrast has been adjusted to make it easier for human eyes to make out that little dot that represents planet Earth.

There are many other fantastic images of Earth and space taken from other robots and satellites that could have been featured today (and probably will be featured on this blog in the future), but this one was chosen for many reasons. Firstly, this view from Mars' surface seems strangely familiar and alien at the same time; if not for the description in this post, it could easily be mistaken for a photo of space taken from Earth.

Secondly, that same view could one day be seen by future generations of humans without the aid of any camera or robot, but with their very own eyes. Lastly, it's a comforting thought that of all the photos of space that is available online, it's still an image of Earth, however faint it may be, that is still one of the most inspiring.

Speaking of space, this post would be found wanting if didn't also feature the Habitable Zones of the Internet, a very informative and entertaining site run by fellow blogger Astronomy Pirate. Mr. Pirate will no doubt correct any mistakes regarding the information presented in this post as well as any future posts about space.

The original photo mosaic of can be found here, hosted on NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory website. The Earth from Mars image with the text can be found here, which is part of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Flickr photostream.

83 comments:

Lucifer said...

hope i'll be able to go there and see for myself...

Jack said...

Very cool, thanks!

Astronomy Pirate said...

Thanks for mentioning me. This is really a great photo, I haven't seen it for a couple years. As far as the science behind it, you got it pretty correct. And even though Spirit is in hibernation, there are plenty of future science missions planned for Mars and other planets to keep giving us wonderful photos like this until we can get there ourselves.

The Angry Lurker said...

You are here....brilliant.

Fang said...

That looks really epic, actually.

Nicole✗✗ said...

ha! Neat!!

Moobeat said...

great post :)

AllenTesch said...

I love space pictures of earth. You feel so small.

Living cheap said...

nice picture!

**Hype.Planet** said...

lol, I feel small now.

Kanika Bishnoi said...

This has always fascinated me. Thanx for sharing... :)

Jaccstev said...

Cool! This is an awesome article!

Mike said...

Spectacular, and very profound.

princy gupta said...

nice post.... good stuff

freightblog said...

i am looking forward to some space photos :)

Legnox said...

Good read!

duffboi said...

Wow, I must be REALLY small then! haha. cool picture, good post.

HiFi said...

Sweet. This bodes well for future space exploration.

Solsby Kid said...

Wow, amazing stuff! Love the blog man!

ed said...

minimalism, my favorite

Lucky13 said...

Wow, this makes me feel so tiny in the vast thing called universe

Devon Davidson said...

It's more frightening than inspiring really. Makes you feel so small.

Poker Ed said...

show me moreee, i find this stuff really intersting

thenitefalls said...

We are are just a tiny cell of this whole universe!

Sam said...

It is a shame the NASA space project mainly for the moon is being shut down :/

DerpFiles said...

Dat pale blue dot. Feels humbling man.

Lhosreiff said...

Its so...small...

Mike said...

that is so crazy! we are nothing but a spect in the universe great pic

Flodström said...

I always find space pictures so pretty, these had too few stars for my liking thuogh :P

Rob said...

We are pretty far away from everything... Makes ya realize how small we are when you see how big everything else is...

Wintermute said...

makes me think of cowboy bebop. not sure howd I feel about living on Mars.

DocStout said...

Not as visually stunning as a lot of other pieces, but historically important.

Jay Reid said...

Dude that's amazing.

Wayward Disposition said...

That is an insane idea to wrap my head around.

ChazWellington said...

i feel so small...

Agustin Creevy said...

this things are just way too over my mind

MRanthrope said...

I love how insignificant this photo shows that we really are. It's kind of refreshing in a strange way.

G said...

wow cool photo - but awesome write up...I feel so tiny now

Dave said...

Thanks a lot for such a good post. Cheers.

N4M3L3SS said...

mezmirizing

Trolske said...

I love pictures from outer space!

Banacek said...

I'm not anywhere, I only think that I am.

Malkavian said...

Cool

Mike James said...

I love how you always have someting new to say!

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ExoticBlogger said...

that's stunning!

OatmealStout said...

This is pretty impressive!

jblogger45 said...

i feel small now

Joel C Anatoli said...

Wow, what an inspiring post!

Rockinrule said...

so beautiful man.

LifeHacks said...

Excellent photo, we are just a mere spec in this vast universe.

Bart said...

nah i dunno. but im pretty sure im not ther.

Grafted said...

Awesome

skinned sheep said...

always awesome stuff. thank you :]

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Wow that perspective is just overwhelming.

Necroticism said...

I never get the feeling of "I'm so small", I have both, we are (humanity) big deal and also, tiny to the universe. Tiny =/= nothing.

The Game Store Guy said...

Suddenly life's little problems feel so insignificant.

Anonfourtwenty said...

The littlest dot.

Glovey said...

Love the blog style! Keep up the great work!

Mo said...

oh there i am...
great post!

sedated said...

looks like a cool place to me

Mike said...

i'm confused

Stare Dad said...

At the begining I felt small when i saw stuff like this. But why should i? Really. I am not small. WE are not small

Reilly said...

and now some Johan Strauss!

Team Panda said...

"to boldly go where no man has gone before"

we should live on mars already.

randomer said...

Wow, makes you feel so small and insignificant when you see something like that.

Biff Tanner said...

Very cool post thanks.

Laughing Vault said...

nice photos :)

Titan of 2012 said...

...Speechless!

Kingmush said...

Sure puts us in perspective..

pixel said...

wow that is an awesome perspective!

ironchefman said...

Truly in the spirit of Carl Sagan's "Pale Blue Dot". A very similar picture, with a moving little story behind it. I think everyone could benefit from a little lesson in astronomy along these lines.

Shelby Fox said...

I had no idea what this picture was....but then I remembered astronomy in school and how small we are in the universe.

Venus said...

simply amazing. makes me thing of how fragile our World is.

Maggie said...

you just made me feel so small. heeeeeellllooooooooooooo out there. doubt they can hear me, ha ha
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Slamcakes said...

I really hope I can live to see us make it there.

Inhia said...

that picture is not very fun for me to think about... i feel... small? <3

Kanika Bishnoi said...

Looks so heavenly :)

Electric Addict said...

just a small spec in the big universe

Alexandra said...

nice! That looks beautiful. Sure makes one feel small :-)

Titan of 2012 said...

This is philosophical.

Generally Disgruntled said...

Very cool. Kind of blows your mind

The Old Master said...

Best ever! Cool blog and I love this. Coming back for the updates!

Andrew said...

It looked a little bit like a sheet with a light behind it at first and then it all made sense.

Crazy that we have stuff taking pictures from other planets now. Just the other day Kennedy was talking silliness about the moon and now this!

It's funny, lately I have been watching Star Trek The Next Generation and have been really enjoying it; it's nice to see that your blog and my life converge. Now I just have to find out how you know... haha. Great post.

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