Since we don't have the usual landmarks on Mars that we enjoy on Earth, it can be tough to get a sense of scale for the great shots we've seen from Mars rover Curiosity. In this photo of Mount Sharp--Curiosity's scientific destination--the mound in the center of the image is about 1,000 feet across and 300 feet high. Curiosity, relative to that, looks like a speck of dirt, as you can see after the jump.
As is the case every four years, only a lucky few will be able to see the summer Olympics live and in-person. The rest of us peasants will settle for watching and streaming the games from our homes. But if you want something that feels a little grander, maybe even cosmic, NASA has just released a series of satellite photos depicting past Olympic host cities from space. The earliest comes from 1997 and shows Atlanta, and the series goes all the way up to London 2012.
This week's roundup of the best science images fits in a wide range. Above, we have a striking (non-Photoshopped!) look at the results of a toxic red spill in Hungary. But we've also included the first photo ever put on the Web -- which has aged just about as poorly as you'd expect. Plus electrified fish, spacecraft in transit, and more.
Today's pretty space pic, of the dark, cloudy center of the Omega Nebula, strikes our fancy due to its ominous scratchiness, like a beautiful cerulean and red painting marred by handfuls of dirt scraped across its surface. The nebula is about 5,000 light-years away, and is a famous star-forming region--those individual little dots glowing through the haze are young stars. See more pretty space pics here. [via APOD]
The Space Shuttle Enterprise flew over New York today, piggyback-style, on its way to its retirement at the USS Intrepid Museum. PopPhoto's Dan Bracaglia, who lives in New Jersey, took these lovely photos as the shuttle and its 747 passed up the Hudson.
This morning, the space shuttle Discovery, riding atop a 747 shuttle-carrier, flew from Kennedy Space Center in Florida up to Washington, D.C. to its final resting place at the Smithsonian. Along the way it took a tour of the capital, where it was photographed by everyone with a camera, because how often do you see a space shuttle flying around? There aren't any pictures of the shuttle stopping to see the cherry blossoms, but there are plenty of it zooming past Washington landmarks. Check some out in our gallery below.
The New York Public Library has an archive of over 40,000 historical stereographs, many well over a hundred years old. Stereographs are regular photographs, except in pairs, with the perspective very slightly different. Essentially, stereographs are what you were looking at through your ViewMaster as a kid. And now the NYPL has created a pretty amazing tool they're calling the Stereogranimator that lets users create animated 3-D GIFs from the photos in the archive.