One of the weirdest places in Antarctica is Blood Falls, a five-story cascade of blood-red liquid pouring from Taylor Glacier. Researchers finally traced its source: a saltwater lake millions of years old trapped under the glacier.
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Lucy Bellwood, an adventure cartoonist of the beloved (to me, at least) ligne claire school of illustration, created this webcomic about spending time aboard the R/V Falkor, "a state-of-the-art oceanographic research vessel." It's available as a PDF, or get read it here.
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E/V Nautilus explores the ocean, sharing highlights of their video captures, like this adorable googly-eyed stubby squid seen off the coast of California. Read the rest
In 1912, Herbert Ponting captured remarkable film and images of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition. Amateurs and pros have all worked to restore and colorize Ponting's work. Read the rest
Martin Critchley shot this lovely ice cave footage, which proved so popular he released an extended cut. Read the rest
While we were busy enjoying the spectacular images of Pluto, ESA's Rosetta camera released this image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Read the rest
The tourists' naked selfies angered the ancestral spirits of Borneo, said the official, and we are inclined to agree.
A Russian spacecraft carrying three people docked successfully at the International Space Station today after a flawless launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Our guy in space, NASA's Reid Wiseman, got right to work tweeting totally awesome photographs that masterfully convey the wonder and beauty of being, holy crap, an astronaut in space.
The Antarctic Heritage Trust of New Zealand announced
(PDF) that it had discovered a century-old box of photographic negatives from Captain Scott's last expedition base at Cape Evans, depicting Ernest Shackleton's 1914-1917 Ross Sea Party. The mouldy cellulose nitrate negs were among 10,000 artifacts recovered from Scott's Cape Evans hut, and were "clumped together." The negs were painstakingly restored and the photos have been published
. They're damaged but remarkable, and no one knows who took them.
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What's better than new shots of Mount St. Helens? How about some new photos of the Ross Sea Party — a group of men who traveled to Antarctica to set up supply depots for Ernest Shackleton in 1914 and ended up stranded until 1917 when Shackleton's ship was destroyed by ice and their own ship broke free and drifted off without them in it.
The photo above shows the team's chief scientist Alexander Stevens on the deck of the Aurora, the ship that left without its crew. The photos were found frozen in ice in a hut at Cape Evans. (This is not the same hut where researchers found a bottle of whiskey left by the Shackleton team a few years ago, that was at Cape Royds.) The New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust restored the negatives and developed the photos. You can see all of the images (as well as some really amazing pictures of the negatives, themselves) at their website. Read the rest
Call it Schrödinger's space probe: Voyager I may or may not have left our Solar System. Some of the information the probe has collected suggests that it's slipped the surly bonds of the Sun, while other incoming data leaves scientists believing it hasn't yet crossed that boundary. Both Xeni
have written about this in the last couple years. At Nature, Alexandra Witze explains why we probably won't know exactly when Voyager leaves the Solar System
. Instead, we'll only figure it out when the probe is well past the System limits sign. Read the rest
I'd never seen this NASA photo of Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan before. It was taken after one of his three moonwalks with crewmate Harrison Schmitt, though you could be forgiven for assuming that Cernan just came in from a shift at the coal mine rather than a jaunt across the surface of the Moon.
At the Life, Unbounded blog, Caleb Scharf writes about the Moon dust you can see clinging to Cernan, describing it as sticky, abrasive, and gunpowder-scented. It's also not something we totally understand yet — at least, we still have a lot to learn about how Moon dust behaves on the Moon. On September 6, NASA is launching a satellite to study this very phenomenon. One thing it might figure out: Whether electrically charged particles of Moon dust might form an extremely thin and vanishingly temporary "atmosphere" that hovers and falls over the Moon's surface. Read the rest
Mars One wants to send human beings on a one-way trip to Mars by 2023, funding the mission via the proceeds of a reality television show about human settlers on Mars. If you're like me, part of your brain is going "Awesome!" and part of it is going "Aw, hell no!" And there's good reason to listen to your pessimistic side, says space junkie Amy Shira Teitel. If Mars One actually happens, there are many ways this could go horribly wrong — from the funding model to the technology
. Read the rest
When one of Caroline Paul's cats disappeared for 5.5 weeks, it inspired her to find out what Tibula (the cat) was really up to when he left home. The process of this is pretty fascinating
. The outcome is, well, kind of cat like. What was Tibula doing when he wasn't at home? Avoiding the house and staring at himself in windows, apparently. Read the rest
A television company in Holland is seeking volunteers for a one-way trip to Mars.
There will be no bacon on Elon Musk's Mars
Elon Musk would like you to know that he is not trying to be the Emperor of Mars
and has no authority to ban meat there. (Thanks Carl Franzen!) Read the rest
Space is full of radiation. It's impossible to escape. Imagine standing in the middle of a dust storm, with bits of gravel constantly swirling around you, whizzing by, pinging against your skin. That's what radiation is like in space. The problem is that, unlike a pebble or a speck of dirt, ionizing radiation doesn't bounce off human flesh. It goes right through, like a cannonball through the side of the building, leaving damage behind.