Visitor Pictures: No fancy DSLR, no problem. Camera phones have been known to capture the beauty of the New England Aquarium just fine—from Leidy’s comb jellies to sea turtles to dwarf seahorses.
Gillian Anderson Malone Photo Shoot
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft orbited the massive asteroid Vesta in 2011 and 2012, sending back data on landscape, craters and mineral composition.
Using data from the mission, scientists at Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany have produced a [false-color] view of this otherwise bland landscape.
- Dawn’s camera system is equipped with seven filters, each filter sensitive to a specific wavelength of light.
- Normally, Vesta would look gray to the naked eye,
- but when analyzing the ratios of light through Vesta’s filters,
the landscape pops with color,
- each shade representing different kinds of minerals.
- (Different minerals reflect and absorb different wavelengths of light,)
 A “global” model of Vesta shows the abundance of hydrogen on Vesta’s surface … likely from hydroxyl or water bound to minerals in the surface.
- It is because of its non-ellipsoid shape that Vesta is not labelled a ‘dwarf planet' like Ceres.
 The flow of material inside and outside a crater called Aelia is demonstrated. Each color represents a different kind of mineral.
 Antonia, a crater located inside the huge Rheasilvia basin in the southern hemisphere of Vesta.
 The impact crater Sextilia can be seen in the lower right of this image. The mottled dark patches are likely impact ejecta from a massive impact and the reddish regions are thought to be rock that melted during the impact. The diversity of the mineralogy is obvious here.
 This is the distinctive Oppia crater, an impact that occurred on a slope. This produced an asymmetric ejecta distribution around the crater — the red/orange ejecta material is more abundant around the downward slope than around the upward portion.
ALL IMAGES: NASA/JPL-CALTECH/UCLAMPS/DLR/IDA
SOURCE for images and text: Discovery News
If there are millions of technical civilizations in the milky way, each capable of radio astronomy, how far away is the nearest one? If they’re distributed more or less randomly through space, then the nearest one will be some two-hundred light-years away, but within two-hundred light years, there are hundreds of thousands of stars. To find the needle in this haystack requires a dedicated and systematic search.
There are many cosmic radio sources having nothing to do with intelligent life, so how would we know that we were receiving a message? The transmitting civilization could make it very easy for us if they wished. Imagine we’re in the course of a systematic search, or in the midst of some more conventional radio observations, and suppose one day we find a strong signal slowly emerging. Not just some background hiss, but a methodical series of pulses. The numbers: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13. A signal made of prime numbers; numbers divisible only by one and themselves. There is no natural astrophysical process that generates prime numbers. We would have to conclude that someone fond of elementary mathematics was saying, “Hello.” This would be no more than a beacon to attract our attention. The main message would be subtler, more hidden, far richer. We may have to work hard to find it.
But the beacon’s signal alone would be profoundly significant. It would mean that someone had learned to survive technological adolescence, that self-destruction is not inevitable, that we also may have a future. Such knowledge, it seems to me, might be worth a great price.