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Photos from outer space

Updated on July 17, 2012
Mars photo shows traces of coiled lava flow
Mars photo shows traces of coiled lava flow
Eros is a NEO (near Earth object)
Eros is a NEO (near Earth object)
Aurora Borealis over Badlands, South Dakota
Aurora Borealis over Badlands, South Dakota
Sunspot activity and the Earth's geomagnetic shield
Sunspot activity and the Earth's geomagnetic shield

$paced Out

Have you seen them? New photos from outer space? Or for that matter, inner space?

Space exploration in 2012 is alive and sputtering along -even if our present US of A leadership has cut the space budget to shreds (and a slew of jobs associated with it). But who am I to comment on the powers that be -and the ones that make short-sighted decisions regarding our planet's future. (I'm a VOTER -that's who!)

Nonetheless, the striking photos are wondrous and instructive. One major example of late, is the image of a segment on Mars that used to have volcanoes whose lava flow left a spiral-like trail as it flowed out of its source.

Another photo depicts an asteroid whose trajectory may come dangerously close to our planet. We are told, based on a recent survey, that there are likely no fewer than approximately 4,700 hazardous asteroids close enough to our planet to pose a "concern". Of these, only 30% have been identified (thanks to NASA's WISE telescope). Gosh I hope they don't cut that budget either! But just in case the "automatic tax-cuts" do go into effect, thank goodness that there are privately owned space research groups (The B612 Foundation) in the USA who are planning to build, launch and operate a privately funded space telescope to hunt for asteroids that may be on a collision course with Earth. As to just exactly what a privately owned group can do about averting one such dangerous instance is another blogging story.

And last but not least, the photos from our own planet can be extremely stunning as well. As the latest solar ejections (which we benignly call "sunspot activity") have reached our geomagnetic shield, the photos from the North Pole (i.e. the magnetic North Pole) show some astoundingly colorful effects. But don't be fooled by their beauty. Those beautiful multi-colored curtain like images can also signal some serious interruptions to our communications systems as well as frying some of our power grids. Can we have some more government funding to study these please... we really don't want our planet to have a "The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951 version)" blackout moment?!

The pictures are nice to have, for the present... but what we really need is an intelligent foresight from our planet's leaders to fund the discovery efforts in order to assure an uninterrupted path toward our future existence.


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