The shadows cast by clouds… as seen from space

Wednesday, 10 September, 2014

Photo by Alexander Gerst

German astronaut Alexander Gerst, currently stationed on the International Space Station, has amassed an amazing collection of photos of shadows cast by Earth’s clouds… that in some cases stretch for thousands of kilometres.

Via Colossal.

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Sea plankton on the International Space Station’s starboard bow?

Wednesday, 27 August, 2014

There’s bound to be a logical explanation, bound to… a study of external surfaces of the International Space Station (ISS) has revealed, among other things, the presence of sea plankton.

So how does plankton even reach the ISS? Via evaporation in over-drive? And once it… arrives there, what are the chances of survival? Pretty good actually, it would seem:

Some organisms can live on the surface of the International Space Station (ISS) for years amid factors of a space flight, such as zero gravity, temperature conditions and hard cosmic radiation. Several surveys proved that these organisms can even develop.

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If you get caught between the Moon and the ISS…

Tuesday, 22 October, 2013

A totally speculative notion, I hope, what if the Moon were as close to Earth as the International Space Station?

If you overlook the fact that we wouldn’t be here – in short the tidal and gravitational forces of two bodies in such close proximity would tear the Moon apart, hammering Earth with debris in the process – the sight of the Moon a mere four or so hundred kilometres away, would be simultaneously eerie and spectacular.

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Second star to the right and straight on till morning

Thursday, 9 May, 2013

Controlling the International Space Station (ISS), as it hurtles above our heads in Earth orbit, looks incredibly straightforward here, but I suspect there’s far more to steering a vessel, or if you ask me, a structure, with the dimensions of the ISS.

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Lake Baikal, Siberia

Thursday, 7 March, 2013

Lake Baikal, photo by Chris Hadfield

A photo of Lake Baikal, in Siberia, the world’s deepest, and largest, freshwater lake, taken by Chris Hadfield, currently a flight engineer on the International Space Station (ISS).

Holding almost a fifth of the world’s unfrozen surface fresh water, Lake Baikal is also said to be the clearest, and oldest, lake on Earth.

See a larger version here. Flick through Hadfield’s Twitter page for more of his stunning in-Earth-orbit photography.

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There are no floors, walls, ceilings, or seats, in the ISS, just surfaces

Friday, 11 January, 2013

A video tour of the maze like International Space Station, courtesy of former ISS commander Sunita Williams. It’s 25 minutes long, but trust me, there’s not a dull second.

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Send mail to me care of the third sleep station from the sun

Tuesday, 22 May, 2012

How do you address mail that might be sent into space? A somewhat serious question considering there is currently at least one full-time outpost in Earth orbit, the International Space Station (ISS), and that at one stage we were envisaging a very real off-planet future.

US astronaut Don Pettit, who is presently aboard the ISS, has one suggestion:

My sleep station, a coffin-sized box, is located in the fifth deck space of Node 2. From an Earth-based perspective, I pop out of my sleep station as if I were coming out of the floor. I am thus situated on the International Space Station (ISS) in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) with an orbital inclination of 51.6 degrees (the angle of our orbit plane to the equator) and an average altitude of 400 kilometers. It occurred to me that my address should be: Node 2, Deck 5, ISS, LEO 51.603. The first three digits of your space zip code would be your orbital inclination and the last two a designator for your particular space station, with ISS being the third in this location (after the Salyut series and Mir). This zip code nomenclature should suffice, at least until there are more than 99 different space stations in orbit.

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Where could warp drive take us anyway, except away from here?

Thursday, 17 May, 2012

London at night, photo by NASA

We may never be able to bound around the solar system or galactic space in warp drive like spaceships, but as a consolation we do have the International Space Station, and the steady stream of photos taken by its crew, such as this stunning night time image of London.

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A guide to taking photos while in Earth orbit

Monday, 7 May, 2012

Alan Poindexter, who commanded Space Shuttle flight STS-131 in April 2010, writes about his experiences of taking photos while orbiting the Earth.

While living and working in space was a tremendous experience, it also presented us with many challenges. Some of which aren’t so obvious. Photographically speaking, there were a number of hurdles. The dynamic range of the subject was potentially huge. The darkest darks you can imagine along with the brightest highlights. With no atmosphere, there is probably another stop or two of light on bright subjects. I would guess that the dynamic range of some scenes approaches 16 or 17 stops.

His write up also offers some candid insights into living and working aboard both a Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. Nothing at all like the orbiting Hilton hotel from 2001: A Space Odyssey, though no less exhilarating I’m sure.

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You don’t know how lucky you are to be back in Earth orbit

Wednesday, 16 November, 2011

A great companion piece to the short video clip I posted at the end of September… a five minute time-lapse video made up of images recently taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

At times Earth looks like a completely alien planet by way of lightening storms, cloud formations, city lights, and the almost ever present aurora borealis/australis.

Best viewed in full screen mode, as always.

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