Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Pics In Space: Focus On Technology

Good grief, guys, how did you let me get all the way to June 5th without reminding me that I hadn't coughed up these month's MSNBC Space Slide Show?! I repent in sackcloth and ashes (hereafter designated "repenting in S&A"), and can only claim the weekend as any kind of excuse. Truth is I just forgot. Bad Kat. Okay, now that I've grovelled in S&A, let's move on to something more interesting.

This month's slide show is very tech heavy, with lots of shots of rockets and telescopes, launchpads and landers. If you are into the gadgets of space, you'll like this focus on the technology that makes it possible for humans to reach out and touch the stars (figuratively, of course.) There are a few snaps of the people who use that technology, as well, with even the Queen of England sneaking her way into the photo journal, as she chats with some space station dwellers. Not all the people who grace this month's show are still among the living. The passing of astronaut Walter M. Schirra is noted with a photo of him suited up and seated in Gemini 6, and the ashes of actor James Doohan, of Star Trek fame, get a ride aboard a rocket from Spaceport America, in New Mexico.

My favorite photos this time around are, as usual, the ones that glow. There's a fine shot of a spiral galaxy, and an impressive rocket launch to light things up, as well as an observatory in Los Angeles that's glowing for a not-so-happy reason. It's back-lit by a rather vivid brush fire. The best pic of the lot, though, in my opinion, was the gorgeous infrared image of Saturn and her rings. Absolutely stunning. It made me want to climb aboard a rocket, fly out and perch right there in that spot, in a lawn chair, with a cold drink and some barbeque, and just watch the show, like it was a fireworks display. I'll have to find some way to switch my vision to infrared, but that should be a minor problem, especially given all the trouble it will have taken me to get there in the first place. While I'm out that far, I might as well take a gander at Jupiter's moons. The Slide Show has a montage all set up, where we can get a preview. It will make planning the trip a bit more complicated, since I'll have to make sure it's timed so that the two planets are somewhere in the same vicinity when I head out. It'll be worth the extra effort, though, don't you think? Hey, anybody want to come with?