Virgin Galactic - By the end of the decade, Virgin Galactic - the most exciting development in the story of modern space history - is planning to make it possible for almost anyone to visit the final frontier at an affordable price.
AstroMeeting - No, these gorgeous images are not from NASA or the Hubble telescope. They are courtesy of Stuttgart-based Stefan Seip, humble IT consultant by day and intrepid astronomy photog by night. His quest for the best images possible takes him to the depths of the Black Forest where ambient light isn't a factor. From his lonely perch he captured comets, shooting stars, the aurora borealis, and other atmospheric phenomena as well as the galactic "big guns" like supernova remnants, double stars, planetary nebulae, and pinwheel galaxies galore. Click the Perseid meteor showers and find his handy map of nearby constellations. Then click more to see what a little moonlighting can do for the soul. Yahoo! Picks description
NOVA: Origins - No TV event since Carl Sagan's unforgettable Cosmos series back in the '80s has come close to tackling the fundamental questions of the where everything comes from and why. Nova's two-part Origins tackles this astronomical undertaking with gusto. Bringing the latest findings on how life began, the history of the universe, and decoding the cosmic spectra, this series tries to untangle some galactic mysteries. Does Mars have life? Are we really alone? Where are the pillars of creation? Try the interactive displays, and then stay tuned. All this and more will be revealed. Yahoo! Picks description
Venus Transit 2004: Sun-Earth Day - Venus' serene brilliance as seen from Earth's night sky belies her truly tempestuous and deadly surface. Yet the namesake of the fairest Roman goddess promises to stage a unique celestial beauty pageant come tomorrow. The transit of Venus is the most rare of all eclipses -- no one living today has witnessed it -- and has occurred only six times since the invention of the telescope. Satellites and observatories alike will fix their powerful gazes toward our twin planet as she gracefully makes her way between the Earth and the Sun. The entire passage will take six hours, and in that time, gazers will see a hint of the raging Venusian atmosphere reflected off its shadow. If you plan to watch, take care to practice safe viewing techniques. Even from afar, beauty of this magnitude can truly be blinding. Yahoo! Picks description
Exploratorium: Journey to Mars - Unless you happen to be a roving robot with serious NASA connections, you probably won't be visiting Mars anytime soon. While no doubt a bummer to aspiring astronauts, there are ways to look for little green men without leaving the Earth's atmosphere. Journey to Mars, a kid-friendly site from San Francisco's Exploratorium, puts visitors close enough to the red planet that they'll likely accept their Earth-bound fate with good cheer. Visitors can start their adventure with an informative and fun look at how the "robotic scientists" do their job -- it's not easy being an explorer, chemist, geologist, meteorologist, and photographer. Of course, the photos and video section is required viewing. Spot any signs of life? For those still looking for more, these links should do the trick. Yahoo! Picks description
Enchanted Ceiling - As a metaphor, the sky stands for the great unknown, the space unexplored by our earthbound feet. The rapture of a beautiful outdoor vista is often difficult to describe. This site compiles photos that let the colors of the sky's palette do the talking. Fluffy clouds float by in many of the shots, inspiring viewers to gaze at their amorphous forms and truly get lost in their beauty. Some pictures are saturated with hues of purples and oranges, while others display the majesty of distant peaks looming on the horizon. There's nothing corny about any of these photos, although some of them are quite dreamy. You'll have nothin' but blue skies from now on. Yahoo! Picks description
NASA Sun-Earth Media Viewer - Great balls of fire! No, it's not images from Mars that have caught our fancy, but fiery portraits of our very own sun provided by NASA. That's right, as twin rovers romp around the red planet snapping up interplanetary postcards, the sun sends real-time greetings of its own in extreme UV imaging. What exactly is extreme UV light? It's the electromagnetic portion of the color spectrum between ultraviolet and X-ray that is not visible to the naked eye. UV imaging allows the volatile surface and textured weather patterns of our nearest and dearest hydrogen ball to be displayed without damaging our fragile peepers. Zoom, pan, and familiarize yourself with the surface of the sun, or take a look at detailed illustrations of its interior. Finally, don't miss movies of coronal mass ejections (aka magnetic blobs spewing from the sun's exterior), solar flares, and gigantic waves that roll over its surface. Why not soak up some sun? Yahoo! Picks description
SpaceRef.com - Mission: To provide the best space reference in the world
Commercial Space Watch - daily source for the latest commercial space news
NOVA: Mars Dead or Alive - It's been seven years since a robotic mission successfully touched down on Martian soil. With the possibility that Europe's Beagle 2 Mars probe is lost in space, NASA is betting the farm (and $800M tax dollars) that its twin rovers will safely touch down this January and find proof of life on Mars. To do that, the probes must first survive a fiery entry into Mars' atmosphere and parachute gently to terra firma. Each will then explore two regions believed most likely to reveal geologic clues of prior habitable conditions. "Spirit" will scout Gusev Crater, a possible ancient lake bed, while "Opportunity" will explore Meridiani Planum, a hematite-rich rock formation known to form near water. Why water? Because it's the source of life as we know it. Armed with many encouraging images that suggest a formerly wet planet, NASA's top brass hope 2004 will reveal an exciting new chapter in our quest for understanding life's origins. Yahoo! Picks description
The Best of Hubble - On April 24, 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope began its eye-popping mission after being launched into space by the shuttle Discovery. Since then, thousands of images of never-before-seen galaxies, stars, and celestial bodies have been sent back to Earth to be marveled at and studied. Unfortunately, the end of the Hubble's life is near -- its mission is scheduled to end in 2010, although many astronomers would like to see it refurbished and its mission extended. And after perusing the absolutely amazing photos on this site, you're sure to agree. The Flash presentation offers some of the telescope's most amazing photos, including a shot of the Monocerotis star, which suddenly brightened in January 2002 to become 600,000 times brighter than our sun. As the mysterious and beautiful photos roll by, you'll no doubt question our place in the universe. Just imagine what's to come in the future.
Explore Mars Now The dream of conquering the Red Planet has dazzled Earth-bound folks for many moons. To date, the closest we've come to real-life Mars habitation is via remote-controlled Mars rovers. For the Mars Society and the nonprofit Nexterra, this Flash simulation of a Mars-based habitat is a giant leap toward colonization by 2015. Your virtual tour starts with the hypothetical home base -- an air-tight, state-of-the-art fortress designed to withstand the exotic Martian terrain and its buffeting winds. Flanked by a greenhouse, pressurized rover, and red dirt roads, this is where a crew of six astronauts will spend the next 18 months. The base includes everything from secure airlocks, spartan galleys and sickbays, to sanitary toilets and private bunks for a little "R and R." Especially cool is the EVA (extra vehicular activity) dock. This is where the crew learns to breathe 100% oxygen and prepares to leave the safety of the base. Sound like science fiction? Visitors are invited to lend comments, critiques, and expertise to make this vision a science fact.
NOVA: Orchid Hunter - This companion to the PBS show explains why the orchid is nature's most highly evolved plant, one that author Susan Orlean describes as possessing a "clever and unplantlike determination to survive." An orchid has several tricks up its stamen. For instance, the plant often fools insects into pollinating it by masquerading as another insect or as an enemy. Some orchids give off pretty scents and others emit the odor of rotting meat, which draws carnivorous bugs. Many orchids release perfume only at night to bring in nocturnal bugs, while others simply have nectar or colors so alluring that few insects can resist. View a select 15 of the over 25,000 species of orchids, including the "Catasetum pileatum", which is pictured on Venezuela's currency and lasts only a few days. Learn about amateur scientists who, like orchid hunters, studied the fascinating flower despite their lack of formal training in the field. Even if you're not a floriculturist, we're sure you'll enjoy this ode to orchids.
NASA's Origins Program - NASA focuses its biggest telescopes on galaxies, stars, planets, and life itself. The Origins Program addresses two defining scientific questions: "Where do we come from? and "Are we alone?" Using both ground-based observatories and space-based missions like the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA scans the skies. Scientists want to find out how galaxies and planets evolved and created the right chemical conditions to support life on Earth. Knowing how our own planet developed helps scientists pinpoint other planets capable of sustaining life. For a look at planned spacecraft, check out the Origins video. Learn about ultra-lightweight telescopes and other new technology being developed for the project. The timeline of the universe gives a refresher course on the Big Bang and what came after. If an extraterrestrial is out there, the Origins Program may be the first to find it.
Nova: Why the Towers Fell - PBS presents yet another outstanding companion web site to one of its in-depth investigative programs -- an examination of the precise causes of the Twin Towers' collapse. Learn about the WTC towers and the engineering advances that made them possible, then get an engineer's perspective on why the towers survived the intitial impact but later collapsed, and finally read a personal account of one of only four individuals to escape from a floor above the point of impact. The site also examines firefighters and their gear, as well as the structure of metal and how it responds to heat. Although the motives behind the attacks and destruction of the buildings will never be fully understood, this site lucidly presents the facts of the skyscrapers' structural failure.
Mars 2001 Odyssey Thermal Emission Imaging System - Nearly 30 years ago, NASA's unmanned Voyager probes beamed the first grainy images of Mars back to Earth. Today, an even bolder mission takes place quietly and methodically above the red planet. It's called the Mars 2001 Odyssey, a project using thermal imagery to create detailed maps for future missions. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) systematically orbits Mars and captures never-before-seen peaks and valleys of our lonely neighbor. A new image taken by a visible light camera will be posted Monday through Friday, so check back often for a sightseeing trip to Mars.
Northern Lights - Fire in the sky. Aurora Borealis. Northern Lights. You don't need to travel to the Arctic Circle to see this fascinating display of colored lights in the night sky -- scan the skies with the help of this comprehensive site. View the gorgeous picture of the month, download video of the lights, listen to the auroral hiss, and learn what causes the Northern Lights. There are even travel tips for northern Norway, "the mild land of the northern lights," in case you want to see them live.
Planet Quest - While the majority of earthlings contemplate day-to-day life, the brainiacs at NASA and JPL are hot on the trail for elusive Earth-like exoplanets. This is a serious hunt for another Earth -- entailing light-seeking interferometers, interstellar telescopic wizardry, massive budgets, and a molten core of scientific passion that aims to rejuvenate the sometimes questionable space program. It's pretty heady stuff. But with our deepest fantasies and perhaps future survival at stake, this incredible undertaking could very well launch humanity into a new age (and solar system).
Aurora Gallery - recent images of Mother Nature's most brilliant light show.
The Night Sky in the World - If you can't see the Big Dipper for the neon Coke sign outside your apartment window, then this psychedelic collection of satellite images should provide some solace. You are not alone, starless urban dweller. Light pollution may not be on par with global warming, but an increasing percentage of humanity has never seen the Milky Way galaxy spreading across the night sky. These images from U.S. Meteorological satellites show the vast popularity that artificial light enjoys around the world -- The World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness, the centerpiece exhibit of the site, makes for great screen-saver material.
GRIN - Great Images in NASA From deep space studies to "Star Trek," the GRIN (Great Images in NASA) web site presents a wonderful photo collection related to air and space exploration. Peer into the heart of the Crab Nebula in Deep Space Studies. Enjoy celestial fireworks observed from that cosmic magnifying glass, the Hubble Telescope. View pictures of famous flyers such as Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, and the cast of the original "Star Trek" in the VIPs and People at NASA/NACA section. Most of these photos are copyright-free, so you can add a slice of space history on your own web site too.
Starmatt Astrophotography To paraphrase David Bowie, "There's a Starmatt waiting in the sky / He'd like to come and meet us / But he thinks he'd blow our minds." Matt BenDaniel is the "matt" in Starmatt Astrophotography, and his colorful photos of nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters really are mind blowing. Did you know that the night sky is blue? Matt knows, and he can tell you why. He even explains why the camera can pick up color when the human eye can't. Matt's not afraid to stare at sunspots, and he's really got heart -- well, the Heart Nebula anyway. So, if a psychedelic space trip isn't your thing, try Starmatt.
Interplanetary Internet (IPN): Research Draft Research for the IPN architecture is being done at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) operated by Caltech for NASA. Partial funding for the effort comes from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that sponsored the original Internet design work.
Internet Society IPN Special Interest Group Want to participate in the development of IPN? Join the IPN Special Interest Group and work with the folks who are turning this visionary Internet into reality. Non-members may also read (but not post to) the discussion boards.
NASA's Visible Earth - NASA redefines the phrase "global perspective" with hundreds of high-resolution snapshots taken from orbiting satellites. This "searchable directory of images, visualizations, and animations" is filled with beautiful and sobering images: oil spills in the Galapagos, smoggy haze over Eastern China, dust over the Red Sea, sea ice in Antarctica. Don't miss the Earth's city lights at night, which has been making the screen background rounds. We suggest you start at the browse page.
Lunar Orbiter Photographic Atlas of the Moon - Launched to snap high-resolution pictures of potential Apollo landing sites, the Lunar Orbiter missions brought back hundreds of crisp lunar photographs. Consider this your one-stop shop for massive digital images of creepy black and white moonscapes. You'll find all of your favorite lunar features here: Mont Blanc, the Sea of Tranquility, the Tycho Crater. And all of you Pink Floyd fans will appreciate several large glossies of the dark side of the moon! Needless to say, this makes excellent screensaver material.
Dreams of Space: Space Art in Children's Books from the Fifties to the Seventies - If you're a baby boomer, the child of a baby boomer, or just friends with one, you're bound to enjoy this whiz-bang collection of rocket ships, astronauts, and moon landings. America's fascination with space reached a fever pitch in the mid-Fifties, and many future NASA astronauts and engineers grew up on books with titles like Space Ship to the Moon and You and Space Travel. Many of the illustrations proved prescient -- witness the space shuttle-like rocketship on the cover of the 1956 book The Real Book About Space Travel.
Sky Screen Saver - shows the sky above any location on Earth, including stars (from the Yale Bright Star Catalogue of more than 9000 stars to the 7th magnitude), the Moon in its correct phase and position in the sky, and the position of the Sun and all the planets in the sky.
Outlines, boundaries, and names of constellations can be displayed, as well as names and Bayer/Flamsteed designations of stars brighter than a given threshold. A database of more than 500 deep-sky objects, including all the Messier objects and bright NGC objects can be plotted to a given magnitude. The ecliptic and celestial equator can be plotted, complete with co-ordinates.
SETI@home SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, wants you and all your spare CPUs. Astronomers scanning the universe for signs of life have designed this project to harness the processing power of more than half a million Internet-connected home computers all over the planet. As a volunteer participant you run a program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data. There's the glimmer of a chance that your computer might be the one to detect intelligent transmissions from a far-off world.
HubbleConstant.Com Another in the long line of awesome astronomy sites put out by the folks at NASA. This one focuses on "the Hubble Constant, Cosmology, and the Size and Age of the Universe." The Hubble Constant ("expressed in units of kilometers per second, per Megaparsec") measures the rate at which our ever-expanding universe is expanding. Read all about Edwin Hubble, peruse the latest deep space news, or catch up on the latest universal truths.
NASA Human Spaceflight After a couple of decades of planning, the International Space Station is starting to look a lot like a tangible reality. In fact, if you pick your spots, you should be able to see the station from Earth. For a list of such opportunities, plus real-time station tracking, a video scrapbook, and mission recaps, check of NASA's comprehensive Spaceflight site.
Earth and Sky Accompanying web site to the award-winning science radio show of the same name. Includes a cool collection of science links.
A Giant Leap for Mankind LIFE Magazine chronicles a fascinating chapter of the Cold War: the race to be first in space. With material from the magazine's archives, the site covers everything from Russia's Sputnik victory to the U.S. moon landing. (There's even a cool picture of Neil Armstrong's booted foot on lunar soil.) Fitting site, given that this week sees John Glenn return to space.
Hubble Heritage Project More from space, but this time a public archive of the Hubble space telescope's best photographs. Check in on the first Thursday of every month as the archive is updated. The first batch of images includes a look at Saturn (the planet not the car), NGC 7742 ("not a run-of-the-mill spiral galaxy")
Mars Pathfinder Mission
Life In The Universe - The contents of this site accompany the Stephen Hawking's "Life in the Universe" CD-ROM. Here you will find links to scientific websites as well as information relating to Cosmological, Organic, Astromony, and more.
Small Comets - learn more about the "snowballs" from space.
JPL's Comet Hale-Bopp Home Page - Millions of people have looked up in the sky for a glimpse of the Comet Hale-Bopp. Many have also turned to the Web, where NASA has assembled thousands of images of the comet. Not to mention a 1997 timeline.
Glacier - Brought to you by Rice University and the National Science Foundation, Glacier is an online trip to the "coldest, windiest, driest, and highest continent on Earth." Visitors here can experience an Expedition To Antarctica and learn about the people who work there, their jobs, and what it's like to live in a sub-zero climate. Also worth a look-see are the sections dedicated to Weather, Oceans, and Land.
West to Mars - West to Mars is a collaborative art site that explores the need to send manned missions to the red planet. Built around a slideshow of beautifully rendered speculative graphics, it represents the zenith of galactic wanderlust.
Science Learning Network - An online network of educators, students, schools, science museums, and related institutions. The main goal of the SLN is to promote Web-based teaching and learning in the sciences.
NOVA Online/Pyramids - The Inside Story - join the current Giza excavation
American Institute of Physics: The Physics Information NETsite
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Earth Sciences & Map Library
NSSDC Photo Gallery - photos of planets and more
Mount Wilson Observatory
Next Generation Space Telescope - objective: to explore the origins of the universe. Make it so.
Science - The Human Gene Map
Smithsonian Institution - Global Volcanism Program
US Geological Survey: Ask-A-Geologist - have you ever wondered why California has so many earthquakes, and New York does not? Why is there so much oil in Texas, but not in Wisconsin? What are the deepest canyons in the United States? Have you ever asked yourself a question about volcanoes, earthquakes, glaciers, maps, or rivers? Why not ask a geologist for an answer!
Invention Dimension - an information resource on the Web for anyone who wants to learn more about American inventors and their discoveries
Science On-Line - the global weekly of research, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science
The Martian Chronicle
Students for the Exploration and Development of Space
International Space Station
The Space Frontier Foundation
The Planetary Society
SEDS Space Images Archive
JPL Galileo Home Page
Introduction to Our Solar System
NASA Shuttle Page - all the info on shuttle missions!
Jet Propulsion Laboratory - the JPL home page with great links to other NASA sites, and terrific space images!
Astronomy Picture of the Day - Each day a different image or photograph, along with a brief explanation by a professtional astronomer
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