Thanks for visiting Lights in the Dark, a photoblog based on the concept that Bill Dunford created with his excellent site, Riding With Robots on the High Frontier. Riding With Robots has informed, educated and entertained me for the past several years. Sadly, Bill can no longer maintain his site, and rather than see his concept disappear, I decided to pick up the baton and make an attempt to keep the flame alive, in my own way.

I can’t claim to be able to do this as well as he did, but I have to at least give it a try. I’m not a web designer, nor am I an astronomer, but I know what attracted me to Riding With Robots: a clean design, with well-chosen images and nicely thought-out links to further information for those who wished to learn more. (There was also a handy dashboard widget to keep one updated….hopefully that will come in the future to viewers of this page.)

Riding With Robots provided a glimpse to our cosmic backyard, from the viewpoint of the fascinating little rovers and satellites that are currently on active duty around the solar system. They are our eyes and ears to the wonders of space, the proxies by which we can explore our extended planetary neighborhood. As we move about our daily life they are also busy with their duties – investigating, measuring, driving, flying, and photographing places humans may not go for centuries yet, if at all. Yet these places exist, and share the same sunrise and sunset as us…indeed, are made of the same stellar “stuff”. They are our family, and these are their portraits.

We can see all these places from our viewpoints on Earth as mere lights in the dark…specks of unblinking brightness in the night sky. But across the vast inhospitable distances, which we humans have managed to cross with our ingenious mechanical inventions, we find they hold a beauty all their own, and often uncannily familiar to what can be found here. After all, nature has a way of making family resemblances.

I hope you enjoy these images as much as I do sharing them.

– J