The year is 2183. Earth is dead. With all evidence of organic life lost, a cosmic archaeologist travels faster thanlight into deep space to capture images of the once vibrant planet. When his vessel is damaged he must take matters into his own hands, risking his life to witness humanity’s lost home.
Two just-released pictures of the Earth and the Moon. The first taken by NASA’s Cassini-Huygens spacecraft as it orbited Saturn – 900 million miles away – last Friday.
The second, taken last Saturday by the MESSENGER spacecraft orbiting Mercury – a mere 61 million miles away – shows us from the opposite direction.
Which is so not our good side.
(Hat tip: Mauriac)
For the sake of perspective, as the US Geological Survey showed with a memorable graphic last year, every last drop of fresh water, sea water, ground water, water vapor and water in biological matter would form a sphere just 1,384km in diameter.
NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft, has already discovered more than 100 planets outside our solar system in the first four years of its mission, including, last year, a possible ‘ocean world’ called Kepler-22b.
Lately, its deep space telescope has identified three exoplanets of similar size to Earth which appear to have the right temperatures to sustain life. Two of them (Kepler-62e and Kepler-62f) orbit the Kepler-62 star 1200 light years from Earth with estimated surface temperatures of -3°C and -65°C respectively (though the chilliness may be tempered by the blanketing effect of as-yet-unknown atmospheres.)
The third planet, Kepler-69c, orbiting a different star, has a balmy estimated surface temperature of 27°C. Scientists also speculate that it could be covered with liquid, but not necessarily water.
We want to believe.
Any visual that accompanies this legendary quote from the late Carl Sagan’s book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision Of The Human Future In Space are enhanced by the audio rather than vice versa.
This animation by London animation studio ORDER is another welcome excuse to hear Sagan’s muse on the appearance of the earth in a photograph taken by the distant Voyager 1 probe.
Previously: Eye Candy: The Pale Blue Dot (Halo visuals)
Almost 40 years to the day after the Apollo 17 crew snapped the famed “blue marble” image of Earth floating in space on December 7, 1972, Nasa has unveiled “black marble” views of the planet by night. The cloud-free pictures, taken with a high-resolution visible and infrared imager aboard a NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite, capture the night lights of Earth in unprecedented detail. (Pix: NASA/Rex Features)
Full size, zoomable, full-screenable version here. (Thanks, Conski)
(Hat tip: Aaron McAllorum)
It’s not dark – it’s infrared, baby.