Category Archives: Scientific & Technical Imaging

Amazing footage of Perseverance landing on Mars

Insanely magical.

The real footage in this video was captured by several cameras that are part of the rover’s entry, descent, and landing suite. The views include a camera looking down from the spacecraft’s descent stage (a kind of rocket-powered jet pack that helps fly the rover to its landing site), a camera on the rover looking up at the descent stage, a camera on the top of the aeroshell (a capsule protecting the rover) looking up at that parachute, and a camera on the bottom of the rover looking down at the Martian surface.

If that’s up your alley, check out this 4K video showing images of the red planet (captured earlier):

Per Laughing Squid,

Elderfox Studios took photographic footage taken by various Mars space rovers and compiled them into an absolutely astonishing 4K rendered video that reveals the surface of Mars. The original photos used in this short but stunning documentary were from NASAJPL-CaltechMSSSCornell University and ASU.

Great space photography o' the day

  • Happy 50th birthday, NASA! [Via]
  • The Big Picture features some excellent images of man on the Moon–both past and future.  (I’ve gotta get one of those ATHLETE vehicles for a future Death Valley outing.)  They also feature recent volcanic activity.
  • The Hubble recently spotted–er, spied–Jupiter’s Great Red Spot eating the "Baby Red Spot."  More beautiful high-res shots of Jupiter & its moons–including amazing shots of volcanoes in action–are here.
  • VAMP, the Virtual Astronomy Multimedia Project, aims to "vastly multiply the use of, astronomy image resources… by systematically linking resource archives worldwide."  The Astronomy Visualization Metadata (AVM) standard they’ve devised works builds on Adobe’s XMP technology. [Via Robert Hurt]

Saturday Science: Great photos of Earth, Mars, & beyond’s new feature The Big Picture dispenses with traditional peanut-sized Web photos and showcases great images in the news.  Site designer/developer/writer/photo editor Alan Taylor talks about his brainchild and how it came to be. [Via]  Lately they’ve been harvesting the best photos that billions of tax dollars can buy:


  • The Sky, From Above features gorgeous shots of the Space Shuttle at liftoff, as well as of thunderstorms over the American Midwest and more.  [Via]
  • In Martian Skies, you can view panoramas from Mars and watch dust devils skittering across the Martian landscape.
  • The site also features a retrospective of some of the great images sent back home by the Cassini space probe over the past four years. [Via]

On related notes, apparently the Mars Phoenix rover is broadcasting via Twitter.  Also, NASA’s new space suit design looks rather trim & buff.  I kind of miss the human Jiffy Pop bag look, though.

Photoshop science: Fugazi edition

(In the Donnie Brasco, instead of DC punk, sense of the word)


Counting chickens in Africa, via Photoshop

A few years ago I heard from a researcher at DuPont who was, as I recall, using Photoshop’s Histogram palette & other tools to analyze samples of Kevlar and other materials.  Later I visited the Johnson Space Flight Center and talked to a team about using Photoshop’s Ruler Tool to assess possible cracks in space shuttle heat shields photographed during flight.  No matter what you think a given feature is designed to do, customers will always find interesting ways to push it farther.


In that vein, Chris Ing gets crafty on, using the new analysis tools in PS CS3 Extended to do everything from estimating chicken density in Africa* (by analyzing the "integrated density" of various regions of an info graphic) to calculating the height of Kirsten Dunst (studiously cross-checked against something called Chickipedia–and no, I’m not feigning ignorance).  Should you find yourself "interested in comparing the circularity of your head to that of a friend," you’ve got a kindred spirit.

* Sorry, the pre-/post-hatched counting enhancement will have to wait for a future release. (We’ll sic Chris on it.) We’ve heard somewhere that it’s an important distinction…

Air cannons & soda fountains

Okay, so their connection to this blog is tenuous at best, but these semi-science-y vids are too fun not to share:

  • A while back I mentioned the 150-T-shirt Human Flipbook that Colle+McVoy created for sandwich chain Erbert & Gerbert.  Now they’ve returned with  Gotta love the insane whooping of geeks celebrating. [Via Dustin Black]
  • Some 1,500 Belgian kids did their best Blue Man impression, launching sticky geysers of foam as they attempted to create the world’s largest Diet Coke/Mentos explosion.  I can’t find a video of this stunt, but these guys were apparently trying to outdo these folks in Cincinnati.

Brains, nukes, and beautiful math

Science drops: Tumbling hippies, Chinese cannons, & more

Okay, I’m getting a little far afield of scientific imaging per se, but I found the following interesting & thought you might as well.

  • Oh man–tumbling hippies + Jabberwocky + amino acids: this 1971 MIT video has it all.  When that hoodling organ sountrack kicks in, you know it’s gonna be good. (Skip ahead 3:30 or so to the dancing.) [Via]
  • Hmm–I wonder whether these come in “Ps” or “Ai”: periodic table rings. [Via Jeffrey Warnock]  (Of course, a more committed geek would go with knuckle tattoos–the arm already having been done.)
  • The Chinese government is apparently trying to control the weather at the Olympics, literally shooting clouds out of the sky.  Seriously.
  • Lunar images & infographics:
  • I’m not sure that it constitutes scientific imaging, but Wikipedia hosts a beautiful column of fire.  Talk about an awesome blossom.

Giant lasers, DIY galaxies, and more

In honor of today being Pi Day (mmm, Pi…), it seems appropriate to share a wad of science-y bits:

Digital imaging in, and of, space