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Night Lights: The Black Marble (NASA, 2012)

Still from NASA's Black Marble animation.

Still from NASA’s Black Marble animation.

From the NASA Earth Observatory comes this animation of city lights at night, composited from 2.5 terrabytes of images taken by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite during 312 orbits of the Earth during April and October of 2012.  “Nothing tells us more about the spread of humans across the Earth than city lights,” says NOAA scientist Chris Elvidge.

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Around Saturn (2013)

NASA footage of Saturn's rings, used in Fabio di Donato's "Around Saturn" (2013).

NASA footage of Saturn’s rings, used in Fabio di Donato’s “Around Saturn” (2013).

Méliès-esque is precisely the word.  Fabio di Donato edited together thousands of photographs takenof Saturn by the Cassini probe, and turned them into a beautiful flickering silent movie of space, an early experimental documentary of light and pattern, a waltz between planet and spacecraft where the viewer races around the rings of Saturn and falls into the dark of space.  It’s a wonderfully compelling way to present NASA’s scientific images.

Warning: video may not be suitable for people with photosensitive epilepsy. Continue reading

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Pre-flight footage of Valentina Tereshkova – June 16th, 1963

Valentina Tereshkova, suited up for spaceflight.

Valentina Tereshkova, suited up for spaceflight.

Here’s a little Tereshkova love to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her spaceflight on  June 16th, 1963.  I didn’t realize this footage existed, but it’s great stuff.  It always surprises me to realize how actually literal it is when Bowie says, “Here am I sitting in my tin can“, and how much space-age technology really… isn’t.  We basically sent people up into total vacuum with snorkels and aluminum foil.  What wonderful insanity. Continue reading