Much as I want to see other worlds, they will have a hard time competing with the spectacular visage that is Earth. #
The aurora is nothing short of occipital ecstasy. It is always moving, always changing, and like snowflakes, no two displays are the same. The glowing red and green forms meander like celestial amoebas crawling across some great petri dish. One time our orbit took us through the center of an auroral display. It was as if we were in a glowing fog of red and green. Had we been shrunk down and inserted into the tube of a neon sign? It looked like it was just on the other side of the windowpane. I wanted to reach out and touch, but of course I couldn’t. Afterwards, I had to clean nose prints from the window.
Astronaut Don Pettit in Fragile Oasis
I had to excerpt only a small bit of this post, but it is well worth reading all of what Pettit wrote about viewing the Earth from the International Space Station. While you’re at it, check out his other posts on Fragile Oasis; they are all spectacularly worthwhile reading!
A timelapse flyover of the Earth put together from astronaut imagery on the International Space Station. You need to watch this. It will boggle your mind. (via Phil Plait)
As is so very often the case, Neil deGrasse Tyson is completely correct. Whenever people bemoan the state of the American space program to me (and trust me, it happens all the time), they usually do it without any understanding of the context of where all of it fits into the grand scheme of things. We do not spend a lot of money on space. Yes, $6 billion sounds like a heck of a lot, but that’s money spent over years. That’s money that’s gone to American scientists and engineers and companies. Money spent on the space program is spent here on Earth. We don’t load it onto a rocket and send it into space.
I love the way the clouds undulate in the valleys. #