“When NASA’s Juno spacecraft flew past Earth on Oct. 9, 2013, it received a boost in speed of more than 8,800 mph (about 7.3 kilometer per second), which set it on course for a July 4, 2016, rendezvous with Jupiter.
One of Juno’s sensors, a special kind of camera optimized to track faint stars, also had a unique view of the Earth-moon system. The result was an intriguing, low-resolution glimpse of what our world would look like to a visitor from afar.
The cameras that took the images for the movie are located near the pointed tip of one of the spacecraft’s three solar-array arms. They are part of Juno’s Magnetic Field Investigation (MAG) and are normally used to determine the orientation of the magnetic sensors. These cameras look away from the sunlit side of the solar array, so as the spacecraft approached, the system’s four cameras pointed toward Earth. Earth and the moon came into view when Juno was about 600,000 miles (966,000 kilometers) away — about three times the Earth-moon separation.
During the flyby, timing was everything. Juno was traveling about twice as fast as a typical satellite, and the spacecraft itself was spinning at 2 rpm. To assemble a movie that wouldn’t make viewers dizzy, the star tracker had to capture a frame each time the camera was facing Earth at exactly the right instant. The frames were sent to Earth, where they were processed into video format. “
Video and text via NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
… a piece of brilliant recreational math from Lee Sallows.
S + U + N = 3 + 0 – 3 = 0
M + E + R + C + U + R + Y = -6 + 4 + 1 – 4 + 0 + 1 + 5 = 1
V + E + N + U + S = -2 + 4 – 3 + 0 + 3 = 2
E + A + R + T + H = 4 + 6 + 1 – 1 – 7 = 3
M + A + R + S = - 6 + 6 + 1 + 3 = 4
J + U + P + I + T + E + R = -8 + 0 + 7 + 2 – 1 + 4 + 1 = 5
S + A + T + U + R + N = 3 + 6 – 1 + 0 + 1 – 3 = 6
U + R + A + N + U + S = 0 + 1 + 6 – 3 + 0 + 3 = 7
N + E + P + T + U + N + E = -3 + 4 + 7 – 1 + 0 – 3 + 4 = 8
P + L + U + T + O = 7 – 5 + 0 – 1 + 8 = 9
E + R + I + S* = 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 = 10
Via Futility Closet
“Yellow-green light of 5500 Angstroms, for example, generally emanates from material of about 10,000 degrees F (5700 degrees C), which represents the surface of the sun. Extreme ultraviolet light of 94 Angstroms, on the other hand, comes from atoms that are about 11 million degrees F (6,300,000 degrees C) and is a good wavelength for looking at solar flares, which can reach such high temperatures. By examining pictures of the sun in a variety of wavelengths – as is done through such telescopes as NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) and the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) — scientists can track how particles and heat move through the sun’s atmosphere.”
I bet those 7 minutes must have been terrifying. Oh, and science FTW!!!
“A “real-time data translator” machine converted a Mariner 4 digital image data into numbers printed on strips of paper. Too anxious to wait for the official processed image, employees from the Telecommunications Section at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, attached these strips side by side to a display panel and hand colored the numbers like a paint-by-numbers picture. The completed image was framed and presented to JPL director, William H. Pickering. Mariner 4 was launched on November 28, 1964 and journeyed for 228 days to the Red Planet, providing the first close-range images of Mars.”
SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS
You can watch the movie in its entirety at Youtube.
Here is the plot as described on Wikipedia. Note that there is no mention of Curiosity or of NASA generally. Presumably, the sequel will rectify this…
“The story involves the people of Mars, including Momar (“Mom Martian”) and Kimar (“King Martian”). They’re worried that their children Girmar (“Girl Martian”) and Bomar (“Boy Martian”) are watching too much Earth television, most notably station KID-TV’s interview with Santa Claus in his workshop at the North Pole. Consulting the ancient 800-year-old Martian sage Chochem (a Yiddish word meaning “genius”), they are advised that the children of Mars are growing distracted due to the society’s overly rigid structure; from infancy, all their education is fed into their brains through machines and they are not allowed individuality or freedom of thought.
Chochem notes that he had seen this coming “for centuries”, and says the only way to help the children is to allow them their freedom and be allowed to have fun. To do this, they need a Santa Claus figure, like on Earth. Leaving the Chochem’s cave, the Martian leaders decide to abduct Santa Claus from Earth and bring him to Mars. As the Martians could not distinguish between all the fakes Santas, they kidnapped two children to find the real one. Once this is accomplished, one Martian, Voldar, who strongly disagrees with the idea, repeatedly tries to kill Santa Claus along with two kidnapped Earth children. He believes that Santa is corrupting the children of Mars and turning them away from the race’s original glory.
When they arrive on Mars, Santa and the children build a factory to make toys for the children. However, Voldar and his assistants, Stobo and Shim, sabotage the factory and change the programming so that it makes the toys incorrectly. Meanwhile, Dropo, Kimar’s assistant, has taken a great liking to Santa Claus and Christmas, puts on one of Santa’s spare suits and starts acting like Santa Claus. He goes to the toy factory to make toys, but Voldar mistakes him for Santa and kidnaps him.
When Santa and the children come back to the factory to make more toys, they discover the machines have been tampered with. Voldar and Stobo come back to the factory to make a deal with Kimar, but when they see the real Santa Claus they realize that their plan has been foiled. Dropo, held hostage in a cave, tricks his guard Shim and escapes. Kimar then arrests Voldar, Stobo and Shim. Santa notices Dropo acts like him, and says that Dropo would make a good Martian Santa. Kimar agrees to let Dropo be the Martian Santa Claus and sends Santa and the children back to Earth.”
(see more of Popperfont’s Sciencegeek Advent Calendar Extravanganza here)