We’ve long been fans of the data-rich illustrations produced by Pop Chart Lab, and this new print is no exception. The Chart of Cosmic Exploration documents every exploratory endeavor into space spanning Luna 2 in 1959 to DSCOVR in 2015. The elegantly dense chart not only depicts the flight paths and orbits around planets, moons, comets, and asteroids, but also takes pains to illustrate some 100 exploratory instruments. The result is a shockingly clear overview of an immensely complex topic. The print is now available for preorder and begins shipping next week. (via Mental_Floss)
Update: The Chart of Cosmic Exploration is now available in the Colossal Shop.
As part of a new series of experiments aboard the International Space Station to study how plants grow in microgravity, astronauts have planted and cultivated an entire flower garden. This weekend, astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted a signficant step in their research: this firey zinnia bloom, the first flower grown entirely in space. Plants like lettuce have aready been grown and eaten aboard the ISS, but the VEG-01 project is meant to explore how astronauts will eventually grow more complex foods like tomatoes. (via Neatorama)
Trying to imagine the scope of the cosmos is nearly impossible, but musician and artist Pablo Carlos Budassi decided to make a visual attempt by cramming the entire known universe into a single image. Using scores of satellite images and photos snapped from NASA’s rovers, he painstakingly pieced together many of the prominent features of the universe as observed from our solar system in the form of a logarithmic map. Logarithms are useful for understanding large numbers or distances, so in Budassi’s map each consecutive ‘ring’ around the circle represents several orders of magnitude further than the one before it.
Budassi was aided by similar (though less visually stunning) logarithmic maps produced by astronomers at Princeton back in 2005. In this map, our sun and solar system are seen in the middle, followed by the Milky Way Galaxy, another ring of nearby galaxies like Andromeda, all the way out to cosmic radiation and plasma generated by the bing bang on the furthest outskirts of the image.
Photographer Navid Baraty was looking for a new side project and decided to pickup up cross stitching. His current goal is to make the entire solar system with thread and he’s already finished Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto (!), each of which requires anywhere from 20 to 35 different colors. If you’re a stitcher yourself, his different patterns are currently available on Etsy. (via mental_floss)
Glass artist Satoshi Tomizu sculpts small glass spheres that appear to contain entire solar systems and galaxies. Planets made of opals, flecks of real gold, and trails of colored glass seem to spin and loop like twists in the Milky Way. While photographed here in a macro view, the pieces are actually quite small and include a small glass loop so each piece can be turned into a pendant. I can’t help but be reminded of this pivotal scene from the acclaimed Men in Black film.
Astronaut John L. Swigert, Jr., Apollo 13 Command Module Pilot, holds the “mailbox,” a makeshift device used to purge carbon dioxide from the Lunar Module that played a significant role in saving the doomed astronauts lives. Apollo 13 Hasselblad image from film magazine.
During the course of the Apollo space program astronauts were charged with enduring unknown perils, conducting science experiments, piloting spacecraft, walking on the surface of the moon, and comprehending sights, sounds, and physical stresses never before experienced by humans. All the while, they were also asked to snap a couple thousands photographs of practically every moment with a modified Hasselblad camera.
While we’re all used to seeing the more iconic photos like Blue Marble, the Apollo 11 bootprint, or this image of Buzz Aldrin, this random assortment of mundane moments and blurry horizons seems to highlight the humanity of the entire endeavor. Collected here are a few of our favorite shots, and you can see thousands more organized by mission on Flickr. Digg and PetaPixel also have collections of their favorites.