The Beauty of Space Photography

Space photography is the closest thing to being there, and this PBS video demonstrates the beauty of our universe. Awe-inspiring stuff…

From the YouTube description:

Space presents a fantastic mystery to human life. Unfathomably large, with characteristics that defy our experience and understanding, the stars have perplexed and amazed humanity for our entire recorded history, and likely before. In the present, astrophysicists and astronomers are aggressively studying the universe in an attempt to solve critical scientific and philosophical questions. One of the primary tools for measurement and observation is imaging using cameras connected to powerful telescopes on Earth and in space. And although it’s not the primary motivation for photographing space, beauty is one of the most intriguing byproducts. Images of space communicate the grandeur of the universe, and spark essential curiosities about what may be out there waiting for us once we make our way into the stars.

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Animated Video: The Life of an Astronaut

From YouTube:

As commander of Skylab 4, NASA astronaut Jerry Carr has spent over 2000 hours in space, breaking the world record for individual time in space. In this animated TEDEd lecture, Carr recounts his life as an astronaut from the beginning of training to his first assignment as commander.

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I was very pleased to learn that yet another extrasolar planet has been discovered, this time closer to Earth than ever before. It turns out that Alpha Centauri, our closest neighboring star system, has an Earth-like planet. Yay! However, this sort of news never manages to totally counteract the conflicted feelings I have about our prospects for deep space exploration.

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SYNOPSIS: From an alternate history with both a moonbase and a global thermonuclear war, a band of stranded astronauts seek a new parallel earth to escape to.

MY RATING:

MY REVIEW
PROS: Excellent use of space science; doesn’t overstay its welcome; solid prose.
CONS: An ending that feels a bit forced even given its symbolic power.
VERDICT: Interesting premise with solid, if not quite perfect, execution.

The USSR and America have ruined the world in a thermonuclear conflagration. The fate of astronauts stranded on a moonbase, their return capability extremely limited, seems to be to slowly die even as the Earth did. But fortunately, they have a Nazi wonder weapon: a device to move an area into a parallel timeline. And so the search is on for a timeline which has not died in nuclear fire, and has a space program far enough along to help them get off of the Moon.  But even when such a timeline is found, the technical challenges in getting back to Earth are not the least bit trivial, to say nothing of the psychological strains of their ordeal…

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Created as a collaboration between World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Ben Lee and Leo Burnett, “Space Monkey” carries a message about our planet, and features Ben Lee’s track, “Song for the Divine Mother of the Universe”.

[via Neatorama]