Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mars Travel Preparations in Russia

Confined Space

Preparing for Mars

The European Mars500 study is taking place in a special facility at the Russian Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow.

Cherry Blossom Forecast in Japan

Cherry Blossom Forecast


How awesome is THAT? :-)

Forecast of cherry blossom blooming dates in 2009 (updated on 25 March 2009)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cool Quiz

The Coolest Quiz

You know you want to give it a try. Do it! Do it! (Starsky (Ben Stiller said in Starsky and Hutch 2004

This week
Astroengine hosts Carnival of Space and I'm represented by this lady.

Mt. Edna

Mt. Edna Moves!

Credit: ESA

It is nothing special about a volcano or any part of the planet's crust moving. What is special is the long time series and gorgeous maps they've made. This is looking good science! :-)

Credit: Neri, M., F. Casu, V. Acocella, G. Solaro, S. Pepe, P. Berardino, E. Sansosti, T. Caltabiano, P. Lundgren, and R. Lanari (2009), Deformation and eruptions at Mt. Etna (Italy): A lesson from 15 years of observations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L02309, doi:10.1029/2008GL036151, Published: 28 January 2009.

Muddy Mars

Blue Martian Mud

Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Domes on the Northern Plains on Mars

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Solar Powered Up International Space Station

The International Space Station and Discovery

You have to forgive me, but I absolutely adore the full grown solar panel version of the International Space Station. It is so unbelievably beautiful. Forget about space technology and science and all those big questions. Just enjoy the sheer beauty of that thingy there. :-)

Discovery, the space shuttle, on ground again after a successful mission.

Space Shuttle Landed

Discovery Landed

Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Safe and Sound!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Green Supermodel

Supermodel Being Green - Easy!

I volunteer as a superNOVAE being green for mother Earth. Actually I could do a supermodel too. That is what astrophysicists do. Supermodelling a supernovae that is. Just watch me on a TV channel coming to a computer near you soon...;-)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thor's Head ware

Thor's Helmet

Credit: www.celestialwonders.com

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mars Express Imagery

Mars Express - Express Imagery

The Mars Express blog where you can follow Mars live on webcam And get cool images prepared by a large Mars fan community. Endless resource, folks.

Blue Ice at Night

Baffin Island by Night

Credit: ESA

This is Baffin Island in the Arctic Northern Canada - at Night. The dark deep blue is the Baffin Island, while the sky blue is the ocean and sea ice. Pretty. :-)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Valentina Cosmonaut

Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman to orbit the Earth and she did so (1963) only a couple of years after the first human ever to leave this planet (1961), Yuri Gagarin. I think she deserves more glory and picked her as my representative of women in science and technology on Ada Lovelace day. Actually I think the Russians in general deserves more honor for their contribution to human culture. Because space exploration, as science and technology, is in fact an important element of human culture, not just a utilitarian tool.

There are many women we can and should admire within science and technology. Sadly they are not given as much credit for their achievements as their male counterparts. That is just how life is, I'm telling my son. Teaching him at the same time to never underestimate a woman. Never.

Valentina Tereshkova and Yuri Gagarin

To me Valentina clearly illustrates that women by no means are afraid of technology. In fact they are willing to be guinea pigs for the advancement of the field. Or plain adventurous. I know I was when I applied to become an astronaut. Ironically it was my son that kept me grounded. I was pregnant at the time and when they found out (I did not volunteer that information, the medical tests revealed the fertile condition I was in...) they told me they were very happy for me, BUT they could not allow further testing on my body. I was furious of course and have never forgiven that damn committee. It is a bit of comfort though that Valentina was allowed - even though it most likely was for political reasons rather than confidence in women. They wanted to beat the US not only with sending the first human into space, they wanted to be the first in space with both genders.

I've included a few links to further reading in the text above. For your convenience I've also included a short description of Valentina's life found on Britannica Online.


"Valentina V. Tereshkova. Soviet cosmonaut, the first woman to travel into space. On June 16, 1963, she was launched in the spacecraft Vostok 6, which completed 48 orbits in 71 hours. In space at the same time was Valery F. Bykovsky, who had been launched two days earlier in Vostok 5; both landed on June 19.

Although she had no pilot training, Tereshkova was an accomplished amateur parachutist and on this basis was accepted for the cosmonaut program when she volunteered in 1961. She left the program just after her flight, and on November 3, 1963, she was married to Andriyan G. Nikolayev, another cosmonaut. From 1962 until 1990/91 she was an active member in the U.S.S.R. Supreme Soviet. She directed the Soviet Women’s Committee in 1968, and from 1974 to 1990/91 she served as a member of the Supreme Soviet Presidium. Tereshkova was named a hero of the Soviet Union and was twice awarded the Order of Lenin."

Deadly Beauty

Deadly Beauty - Bushfires in Australia

Credit: NASA

Wilson's Promontory National Park, located at the southern tip of Victoria, Australia, was one of many areas scorched by large bushfires in February 2009. The Cathedral Fire was was sparked by lightning whereas the Churchill fire imaged below was started by arson.

NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and the U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.

East of Churchill, Victoria, we see another burn scar left by one of the deadly Australian bushfires in February 2009 also made visible by using false-colors.

Both images combine visible light with near-infrared light making the burned areas (charcoal-brown) stand out better from unburned vegetation (red) and areas where vegetation is naturally sparse or dormant (beige). The burn scar is brown is some places and more charcoal-colored in others depending on geological and vegetational factors.

These beautiful satellite images contrast the brutal reality on the ground - it is reported nearly two dozen deaths caused by the Churchhill fire and a closing down of the Wilsons Promontory Natural Park for weeks.



Credit: NASA

Extra Vehicular Activity - EVA. Fixin' up the Kibo. :-)

Spirit on Mars

The Western Route

Looks OK to me. :-)

In a distance, through the haze, you see the hills of the Thera Crater - on Mars, of course.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Blue Sun

The Quiet Sun in Blue

The Sun has been so quiet for so long I almost forgot how much I love these blue images of the Sun taken by SOHO. :-)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Japanese Mantis

Bugs in Blue

Credit: sakuraaya

This is a mantis living in Japan. Completely charming!

Mars Climate

Mapping Mars

Aram Chaos

Geological studies done by Mars Express' OMEGA instrument, the Visible and Infrared Mineralogical Mapping Spectrometer, has revealed that the Aram Chaos region on Mars shows a significant amount of sulphates and rust. This again tells us more about the past climate on planet Mars. Cool!

And A Lovely Map!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sun-Earth 2009

Sun-Earth Day 2009


Alfven Waves - Doing a magnetic twist

Magnetic Twists

Credit: QUB

What better way to celebrate vernal equinox than Alfven waves doing magnetic twists? Nope, none better ways exist! :-))


Equinox on Naxos

Credit: Anthony Ayiomamitis

This image is not taken at equinox, when the day and night is almost 12 hours each, but it is a great picture of a sunset in the Aegean sea, Greece that celebrates this moment in time. We are looking forward to loooong days here in Norway. :-)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Venus Passage

Oriental Passage

Credit: Kwon. O Chul

Venus passage of the Sun as seen from Korea. I love the blue Korean signs in this photo. It adds an extra dimension to the already formidable Venus passage. :-)

Saturn and Company

Hey! Let's Ornament Saturn!

Said Titan, Mimas, Dione and Enceladus.

Pavlovian Food

I Want Pavlova

Why has nobody from Down Under ever told me about Pavlova? This is totally my style. And the final remark on a completely ridiculous discussion over at scientificblogging.com that originally started with climate change modeling. I have no idea how we ended up with Pavlova, even if I read the whole discussion, but it doesn't matter because I discovered Pavlova. I want! :-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Laponian Area

Sweden - Almost As Beautiful As Norway

We all know that Norway is several orders of magnitude more beautiful than our dear neighbor Sweden. However, there are versions of Sweden, like this gorgeous capture of the Laponian Area north in Sweden, that are rather stunning. ;-)

Now, come kill me big brother! hahaha

Measuring Gravity - GOCE Fly


The GOCE satellite was successfully launched yesterday after a halt of the launching the day before just 7 seconds before liftoff. So far all is good. Then we'll see if the instruments on board the satellite will function as well and give us unprecedented information about Earth's gravity. :-)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tycho Brahe's supernova

Swell Supernova, Brahe!


GOCE Delayed

The GOCE Thriller

Credit: ESA

What do you know! GOCE was delayed again. This time it was a really close race. I wrote a short piece on the topic with a personal twist over at my scientificblogging.com column.

And I only serve you the nice BLUE image of GOCE here. :-)

ESA's Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Space Bat

Brian The Space Bat

Space shuttle Discovery carried extra weight at launching yesterday. Brian the Bat insisted on sticking to his shuttle territory. :-)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Comet Itagaki


Credit: G. Muler

I like comets with exotic names like Lulin and now Itagaki. Nice collage of images of the comet, as well. :-)

In The Arctic

Arctic Temperature

Credit: UNEP/GRID-Arendal
Trends in Arctic temperature, 1880-2006.

Reading assistance: The thick white line running horizontally on this chart is the average temperature for the period 1961-1990. The red curve shows the mean deviation from that average temperature based on the measurements shown in gray.

The chart shows that there have been colder periods in the Arctic and that the latest trend is warmer than the century average.

I think this illustrates pretty well the facts of the matter. What causes these variations in temperature and what consequences a lasting warming will have are still not well enough understood and we do our best to gather more information and understanding of the complex Earth system.

Carnival of Space

Space Last Week

We need to get the Earth darker. It looks pretty with all the sparkling light on these merged maps of Earth at night, but it destroys our ability to study objects well beyond our planet.

This week's space report is hosted by Out of The Cradle

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Star Motion

Starry Stripes

Credit: Alexandre Santerne

Soon Spring

Blue Just Around The Corner...

On a delightful site about gardening is my cute little Delft vase with my favorite flowers in it. I am so looking forward to my Hepaticas... and some gardening. :-)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ocean Energy

Timely Tidal Energy

Submarine hydropower. The Moon helps us pulling the oceans and moving the water about, creating a source of energy for us to tap. If we figure out a way to do it. Sounds strange to you? If you've been to the beach you've probably noticed the tides - the water level fluctuating on a regular basis every day. That is the tide. And basically the Moon is to blame for that. Luckily.

The hydropower on land comes from water running down towards the sea due to gravitational pull. Like, what comes up most come down. We've developed turbine technology that transform that gravitational energy to electricity. What we need is a more horizontal version of that, in the ocean, to tap the tidal energy.

It seems that we are getting there. NASA definitely contributes to the development of new technology for alternative energy sources. :-)

Mars Moon

Delicious Deimos

Moon of Mars

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gamma Rays

Know Your Gammas

I'm delighted to see the Sun on the list of top ten sources of gamma rays. If only people knew the kind of radiation that is continuously beamed our way...:-)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Space Disco

Disco, Disco, Space Disco

Credit: NASA/Swift/Univ. of Leicester/Bodewits et al.
Comet Lulin in Disco Colors

Excellent, entertaining and enlightening.
You know you like disco.

The lovely Lulin leads to Discovery Space...:-)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Orion and A Horse


Credit: Dale J Martin, Massapoag Pond Lunenburg, MA.

And a Horse Head

Technicalities and a big one.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Las Vegas From Above

Water and Vegas

Las Vegas in false-color images spanning from 1994 - 2009. The dark purple grid of city streets and the green of irrigated vegetation grow out in every direction into the surrounding desert.

Plenty of drinks in Las Vegas, no doubt. Just not drinking water! In the future.

Las Vegas October 1984

Las Vegas January 2009

PS. It's not the speed, it's the acceleration. Stellare reveals her illegal tendencies on the road to Las Vegas, Baby...:-)

Don't worry. I have legal back-up.

On Space

Things Can Go Wrong in Space and other Stories

Each week a bunch of astro-space blogs throw a blogparty called Carnival of space. This time the unfortunate mishap with the environmental satellite OCO launching is on everyone's cyber-lips. PlanetBye contributed with a terrestrial eclipse as seen from the Moon. Here on Earth we only get to see lunar and solar eclipses, but thanks to Japan's Kaguya mission we got to see the eclipse of the Earth. :-)

Tiny Moonlet Orbits Saturn

A Saturn Moonlet

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Found in G-Ring