From the best photos of 2013 according to National Geographic
"As if she was saying goodbye, the last sperm whale we encountered on our expedition to Sri Lanka dives down to deep, dark depths." - Photographer Shane Gross
You may think you’re looking at photos of beautiful undersea invertebrates, but these delicate beauties are actually models made of clear, coloured, and painted glass. Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, a father and son team of master glassmakers (previously featured here), painstakingly created these extraordinary glass models of invertebrate animals (jellyfish, snails, sea anemones, corals, hidroids, starfish, sea-cucumbers, squid, seaslugs and bivalves) from the mid 1800s until the 1930s.
Photographer Guido Mocafico visited the natural history museums which still house collections of the Blaschka’s work, including Harvard University Herbaria, the Corning Museum of Glass/Cornell University, and the Natural History Museums in London and Ireland, in order to create a marvelous series of photographs celebrating these exquisite models. He set the pieces against dark backdrops and carefully lit them to emphasize their different colours and textures.
[via Faith is Torment]
NASA plans a robotic mission to search for life on Europa | io9
It looks like it’s finally going to happen, an actual mission to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa — one of the the solar system’s best candidates for hosting alien life.
Yesterday, NASA announced an injection of $17.5 billion from the federal government (down by $1.2 billion from its 2010 peak). Of this, $15 million will be allocated for “pre-formulation” work on a mission to Europa, with plans to make detailed observations from orbit and possibly sample its interior oceans with a robotic probe. Mission details are sparse, but if all goes well, it could be launched by 2025 and arriving in the early 2030s.
This is incredibly exciting. Recent evidence points to a reasonable chance of habitability. Its massive subsurface ocean contains almost twice as much water as found on Earth. The water is kept in liquid state owing to the gravitational forces exerted by Jupiter and the moon’s turbulent global ocean currents. The good news is that a probe may not have to dig very deep to conduct its search for life; the moon’s massive plumes are ejecting water directly onto the surface.
Wonderful Paintings by Scott Listfield
Scott Listfield isn’t from here. He approaches these paintings as an outsider observing human culture from the future. The mashups that he comes up with are quite memorable. A selection of paintings from the series "Dinosaur Astronaut" by American artist .
Photo-realistic and offset an astronaut sentenced to explore this world populated Starbucks, minivans, donuts and reality, after a childhood nurtured films and comics boasting us a world of paintings 2000 is flying cars, journeys in space and houses on the moon … We find in his paintings many references to science fiction “modern” Alien Star Wars through Futurama, Transformer or Jurassic Park … Sad future. For more of his work, check the website Astronaut Dinosaur.