A Mission to an Asteriod

This afternoon, I’m focusing on my life in the real world by attending an engineering seminar at Goddard Spaceflight Center about the planning for the OSIRIS-REx mission. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will fly to asteroid Bennu, rendezvous with it, fly the spacecraft in close proximity to characterize Bennu’s surface and identify the most promising sample site, navigate to the surface to collect a sample, secure it, and safely return it to the Earth’s surface.

I’ll be back to the Interwebs later this evening.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-VR6pNi70k]

Video Credit: NASA

Blue Marble Arctic

Fifteen orbits of the recently launched Suomi NPP satellite were necessary for the VIIRS instrument to have enough time (and longitude) to gather the data for this composite Arctic view of Earth showing Europe, Asia, and a bit of Africa. Click the image to embiggen.

Suomi NPP orbits the Earth about 14 times each day and observes nearly the entire surface.

Image Credit: NASA/GSFC

Perpetual Ocean

Some folks are comparing this image of the Gulf Stream with a Van Gogh painting. The Scientific Visualization Studio at Goddard Space Flight Center has created a visualization of the world’s ocean currents called Perpetual Ocean which shows surface currents during the period from June 2005 through Decmeber 2007. Videos and stills can be found here. The visualization does not include a narration or annotations; the goal was to use ocean flow data to create a simple, visceral experience.

The visualization was produced using NASA/JPL’s computational model called Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, Phase II or ECCO2, A high resolution model of the global ocean and sea-ice. It attempts to model the oceans and sea ice to increasingly accurate resolutions that begin to resolve ocean eddies and other narrow-current systems which transport heat and carbon in the oceans. The model simulates ocean flows at all depths, but only surface flows are used in this visualization. The dark patterns under the ocean represent the undersea bathymetry. Topographic land exaggeration is 20x and bathymetric exaggeration is 40x.

Image Credit: NASA/GSFC