What Is Space?

This is a blog post I wrote in March of 2008—a year before there was even Lights in the Dark! I’m sharing it again because it’s fun…I hope you think so too. We’ve all seen the grade-school models of the solar system. Maybe you made one in science class. Out of painted styrofoam balls or…

A Cosmic Quotation Mark? No, It’s Just Another Moon of Saturn

What looks like a single open-quote (or backwards comma) is really Saturn’s two-toned moon Iapetus, seen here in RGB composite color made from raw images acquired by Cassini on Aug. 30 from a distance of about 1.5 million miles. With a leading side stained a dark reddish hue and a trailing side bright white, the…

A Look Back Home

This image shows the Earth as seen by NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper aboard the Chandrayaan-1 orbiter, India’s first lunar scientific satellite. Earth’s colors appear as super-saturated blue, green and white through the mapper’s eye, which is designed to analyze the composition of the moon’s surface and help look for possible water resources for use by…

A Giant Among Moons

The largest of Jupiter’s 63 known moons and the largest moon in our solar system, Ganymede has twice the mass of our own moon and is even larger than the planet Mercury. Its surface is marked by dark regions which are  full of craters and lighter areas lined with ridges. This image was taken by…

The Ring

No, it’s not the final frame of a haunted videotape…it’s a backlit Titan, silhouetted against the sun, photographed by Cassini from over 850,000 miles away. Titan’s upper-level atmospheric haze is illuminated in this image, surrounding the moon high above the cloudtops. The haze is a mixture of complex hydrocarbons created by the breakdown of methane…

It’s a Small World

Another wonderful image from the Apollo Image Gallery, this scanned film image shows the ascent stage of the Eagle lander as photographed by Neil Armstrong, with the partially-lit Earth floating in the black lunar sky above. This is how our world looks from 239,000 miles away. Basically it would look 4 times larger than the…

A Leap for Mankind

“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” After speaking these historic words at 10:56 EDT on July 20, 1969, marking the moment that humanity first placed a foot on a world other than its own, Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong began his work documenting the lunar surface before him. The…

Eagle’s Eye View

In the center of this image from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, there’s a small object casting a shadow toward the right. That object is the remaining section of the Apollo 11 lunar module, Eagle, from which astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin made history as the first humans to step foot on the moon…

What Is Space?

This is a reprint of an earlier article of mine from March 8, 2008. I thought it would have a good home here. Hope you enjoy it. Are We There Yet? We’ve all seen the grade-school models of the solar system. Maybe you made one in science class. Out of painted styrofoam balls or colored construction…