November 2nd, 2007

dd2guy

that's no moon! (oh wait, yes it is)



Iapetus? Yeah. We've been there.

This is so exciting, you guys! I spent a many an hour of my early childhood looking at blurry Galileo and Voyager photographs of the outer planets and their moons, and back then I couldn't wait to see what they looked like up close. And now we are. Granted, Saturn's moons look much like we expected--they are rocks in space, after all--but that just makes them all the more real. Gone are the delirious 2001-like cosmic visions of our parents' era, which with the help of LSD spurred the formation of many a New Age cult--this is our solar system in so much detail that you can almost reach right out and touch it. Just imagine what it'll be like when we send out spacecraft tough enough to take up-close optical photographs of things that aren't rocks in space--like the newly discovered giant hydrocarbon lakes on Titan. Artist's impressions just don't do this kind of subject matter justice, as terrestrial artists have no extraterrestrial frame of reference; imagine a sea-size body of liquid methane as real to you as a glass of water.
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