This natural color composite photo of Saturn was taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. (NASA)
A baby Adélie penguin nuzzles up to its mother inside one of three bird colonies on Ross Island near Antarctica. (Penguinscience.com)
This is Robonaut 2-R2, the first dexterous humanoid robot in space, in an image taken inside the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Kevin Ford’s reflection can be seen on R2’s helmet visor. (NASA)
Lava from a lava pond, below the peak, flows on the north side of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano. (USGS)
Photo illustration of the magnificent spiral galaxy M106, assembled using data from the Hubble Space Telescope. (NASA)
This photograph, taken through a microscope, is of a brown fat cell (brown adipocyte) taken from a muscle stem cell. (Alessandra Pasut, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute)
Technicians prepare NASA’s Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) satellite for its scheduled launch on Monday, Feb. 11 at 1800 UTC. (NASA)
Sockeye salmon migrate from salt water to fresh water in British Columbia’s Fraser River, changing from their silvery ocean colors to red in fresh water. (Tom Quinn, University of Washington)
The Orion nebula is showcased in this sweeping image from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). (NASA)
An Atlas V rocket carrying NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-K (TDRS-K) streaks past a building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA)
Thanks for these inspiring images. They take one’s mind off the chaos on earth, at least for a blissful while. I must still insist that exploring the vicinity of the speed of light is where our research resources should be concentrated. This may be a difficult very expensive terrain to explore, but then this is where the treasure cove of all discoveries lies. The mysteries of the universe remain hidden here, including that of life and death and eternity in a relativistic timeless world. Strangely enough this type of exploration would not require any space travels, just some supercomputing facilities and lots of imagination, weird unconventional imagination. We need lots of these if humanity is to break from its routine of exploring just matter, when the universe is clearly in two distinct interconnected parts, matter and non-matter.
The speed of light, even just the asymptotic approaches to it given that it is unattainable, is the only gateway between the two worlds, that of time-sequenced events of the physical world we exist in, and the dilated time or timeless world our minds are capable of accessing. Science now has the technology, and our civilization is uniquely qualified to throw open the lid of this unexplored world without losing any more time, an opportunity denied all previous civilizations. This is the only way we could explore anything outside our solar system, in a universe that is so vast we could never reach the nearest star of our own galaxy with billions of stars, being just one of billions of galaxies. It is like spending all our time examining, or exploring, a grain of sand on the sea shore, and being thrilled by the marvels of it. Perhaps more importantly, the problem of human mortality would come under the searchlight when time becomes dilated, or static, in the speed of light domain, and a homogeneous medium of past, present, and the future could be conceptualized as reality.
The writer is a science author
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