Happy Birthday Spock, and Other Fun Things
In honor of Leonard Nimoyâ€™s 80th birthday tomorrow, a few nifty space things: First, PhotoRadar published a selection of photographs by Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency, who has taken hundreds of in-flight photos from the International Space Station. There are overhead views of volcanoes, flyovers of entire cities, sprawling shots of the ocean’s many colors, and, perhaps most fascinating, pictures of the now retired Discovery as it worked diligently through its final flight. You can view all of them, organized by location, on his Flickr page.
PhotoRadar posted the photos in celebration not only of Mr. Spock’s birthday, but also the World Wildlife Federation’s Earth Hour, which is set to take place tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. local time. Earth Hour, a designated time during which everyone (theoretically) shuts off their lights, exists to tackle climate change, but to space watchers it means something equally important: dark skies. They’re hard to find, which makes stars hard to find. And for the sixth year in a row, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory is running its GLOBE at Night campaign, asking “citizen scientists” to check out their skies and report back. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the campaign runs until April 4, but the folks at GLOBE are requesting viewers to record what they see before, during, and after Earth Hour.
And one last bit: NASA’s image of the day today is an imagined rendering of Mars from 1975, based on what was known about the planet that yearâ€”namely, that it is far away, very cold, and surrounded mostly by carbon dioxide. Now, we know a little more about the red planetâ€”and apparently might be from itâ€”but the images still represent the uniquely human longing to know what’s going on out there.