Keeping cool on Mars

high-latitude ice sheet on mars
"Scientists combined several images from Mars Express to create this 3-dimensional image of a 35-kilometer-wide, unnamed crater in the far northern hemisphere.

"Last week, ground controllers successfully deployed the second of two 20-meter-long booms belonging to MARSIS, the Mars Express' powerful ground-penetrating radar. The successful deployment of its third boom, which is seven meters long, could be announced very soon. Once science operations commence, that instrument could map water ice as much as several kilometers beneath the planet's surface.

"Meanwhile, the High Resolution Stereo Camera continues to take breathtaking images, like the one above. On February 2nd, the spacecraft flew over this 35-kilometer-wide crater in Vastitas Borealis, a broad plain that covers much of Mars's far northern latitudes. Back on Earth, scientists at Free University in Berlin, Germany, combined several HRSC images of the crater to create this three-dimensional picture. The image reveals a patch of ice that could be a few tens of centimeters thick. The ice itself overlies a dune field."


Nearly a New Moon, with new paradigms,
patterns and psychopyrotechnics
of which you will want to be aware.

The Inner Sky for July 2005
By Gretchen Lawlor

Danku, Barbie.

"The biggest astrological news of July is the shift of Saturn into Leo on July 16th. After two years in Cancer, Saturn completes its project of challenging us to handle our sensitivities with more personal responsibility. We have had to work hard to find comfort and refuge in these challenging times. The New Moon in Cancer on July 6 (5:02 a.m. PDT)* is an extremely powerful time to set intentions to stabilize our material and emotional homes, as it coincides with the last 10 days of Saturn in Cancer for 29 years.

"Saturn in Leo now shifts to molding our self-expressiveness, to how we are responsible for being the creators, the authors, and the sculptors of our own lives. Don't worry- we┬╣ll have until fall of 2007 to get it right.

"Initially, the strongest impression of this stellar shift may be a sense of not having much influence at all, acutely aware of where and how we have abdicated our personal authority and allowed others to define us. The wise soul will look to become more disciplined in any creative outlet, to taking seriously the urge to become more competent in some expressive field. Schedule time to connect with your playful heart.

"Also up is a responsibility to be wise leaders, parents, and/or lovers. Each requires patience and discipline to do well. When Saturn enters Leo, we become more aware of: where we control (or refuse to take control) from our paranoid fantasies, our inadequacies as parents or as lovers. The Full Moon on July 21 is a rare second Capricorn Full Moon for the year, illuminating opportunities to parent ourselves rather that expect that others will care for us (obviously we need the nudge as we also had a Capricorn Full Moon on June 21st).

"Mercury goes retrograde from July 23-August 15, a perfect time to review, reconsider, reorganize our thinking and our communications tools (including files and computers). Yes, it is true there can be heightened glitches and misunderstandings between people, so take extra care in those important exchanges. Plenty of internal dialogue and insight can occur; Mercury retrograde is brilliant for original thinking, which will be more effectively shared after August 15th. Mercury goes retrograde three times a year, providing a perfect stellar organizational tool, though with four other planets retrograde at this time, this Mercury Rx may be more potent than most. It may be wise to back up computer files before July 23.

"Uranus turned retrograde in mid-June (until mid Nov 2005) giving us time to review and integrate the paradigm shifts and awakenings of the last five months. In July we will be getting more comfortable with the Uranian acceleration of energy frequencies in our emotional bodies, which manifested in May and June as a significant upswing in collective anxiety and significant chaos. Quantum physics calls this chaos that precedes particles shifting into new coherent fields "phase transition." Focus your attention on the transitional moments in your day; give yourself stillpoints to allow for shift and reorientation. This will help you adjust your particles."

* - From Henry Seltzer's AstroGraph site:

"As the month begins, Mercury and Venus are in close conjunction in Leo, a conjunction that remains active for the first ten days of the month, until Mercury begins to slow down for its retrograde station that takes place on July 22nd.

"The most exciting moment of this weeks-long conjunction between Mercury and Venus occurs just at the time of the July 6th New Moon, when Mercury and Venus are separated by a mere half-degree... This very tight configuration, known as a Yod or 'Finger of God' formation, occurring precisely on the Cancer New Moon, presages some unexpected relationship oriented and largely positive events at this time that are likely to be productive of surprising epiphanies and insightful realizations.

"The days surrounding this New Moon, which include the July 4th holiday, therefore represent an excellent time to wed the heart and mind in a conscious association with each other, and to explore our relationships with others around us."


Men hit space rock
with giant marble;
elation ensues

comet tempel 1 before deep impact's impact
"This is a picture of Comet Tempel 1 taken by the Deep Impact probe's impactor targeting sensor. The probe collided with the comet at at 10:52 p.m. Pacific time, July 3 (1:52 a.m. Eastern time, July 4)."

Not everyone was thrilled with this achievement.


'White man's medicine' is secondary
to time-honored customs

"When a chronically depressed 9-year-old girl at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota became so sad that she stopped eating, Ethleen Iron Cloud-Two Dogs came up with a treatment plan: not antidepressant drugs, but a spiritual assessment, followed by a healing ceremony at a Lakota purification lodge that represents the womb.

"'There is a hole dug in the middle and rocks that are heated,' she said. 'Because we believe that everything has a spirit, rocks are addressed as grandfather spirits. The water is taken in and poured on the rocks -- the steam that results is the breath of the grandfathers which then purifies and renews us.'

"Over the next three months, the girl recovered, said Iron Cloud-Two Dogs, who treats emotionally disturbed and suicidal children at a federally funded Native American mental health program called Nagi Kicopi (Calling the Spirit Back).'The healer dismissed those who demand evidence that her techniques work.

"'They will say, "Where's the proof, where's the research base, how can you document this?'" -- all the Western aspects of clinical interventions,' she said. 'We understood from the beginning that we would get those reactions, so our stance is, "We are Lakota people and these are Lakota children, and we will use the methods that have worked for thousands of years and that's all there is to it."'"

via Magpie


Shy Dragonfly

dragonfly photo by dmitry konstantinov

Under the Tuscan Sun
[did i just type that?]

Sunflowers cover a field near the Tuscan city of Siena.


Caldera closeup

arsia mons volcano on mars
"Arsia Mons is the southernmost of the Tharsis volcanoes. It is 270 miles in diameter, almost 12 miles high, and the summit caldera is 72 miles wide. For comparison, the largest volcano on Earth is Mauna Loa. From its base on the sea floor, Mauna Loa measures only 6.3 miles high and 75 miles in diameter."

Monument Valley on Mars

"Northern Terra Meridiani, near the intersection of the martian equator and prime meridian, is a region of vast exposures of layered rock. A thermal image from the Phobos 2 orbiter in 1989 showed these materials to be anomalously cool during the daytime, an observation very suggestive of dense, hardened materials like rock. Mars Global Surveyor's Mars Orbiter Camera images of this region show layered material exposed in cliffs, buttes, and mesas that in some ways resemble the rock outcrops of northern Arizona and southeastern Utah (e.g., Monument Valley, Canyonlands, Zion National Park, Four Corners)."

Same scene,
different wavelengths

The Tofte Project:
Sustainable Design
+ Architecture

shell spiral system/tofte project
"The key to designing a sustainable dwelling lies in the unique connection between the inhabitant, the land, all who have lived on the site, and all who will be impacted by its construction and existence. This immersive tour will allow you to discover the principles of sustainable architecture through exploration of the cabin's design and construction, as well as take an in-depth look at its natural surroundings. The story of the Tofte cabin is told in the voices of those who were involved in its creation, so for the full experience please ensure your speakers are functioning."

A sunset on Mars

martian sunset
"On May 19th, 2005, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit captured this stunning view as the Sun sank below the rim of Gusev crater on Mars. This Panoramic Camera mosaic was taken around 6:07 in the evening of the rover's 489th martian day."


Solstice sunset

solstice sunset, arif ali
A flock of birds flies home as the sun sets,
ending the longest day of the year
in Lahore, Pakistan. (AFP/Arif Ali)

Scratch that solar sail
[but do try again]

Solar Sail Launch Attempt Fails in Russia

An attempt to launch the world's first solar sail spacecraft fizzled when a booster rocket failed less than two minutes after liftoff, showering debris over the Arctic Ocean, the Russian space agency said Wednesday.

The Cosmos 1 vehicle, a joint Russian-American project, was intended to show that a so-called solar sail can make a controlled flight. Solar sails are envisioned as a potential means for achieving interstellar flight, allowing spacecraft to gradually build up great velocity and cover large distances.

But the Volna booster rocket failed 83 seconds after its Tuesday launch from a Russian nuclear submarine in the Barents Sea, the Russian space agency said.

Several hours before the announcement in Russia, U.S. scientists at the California-based Planetary Society said they believed they had detected signals from the $4 million spacecraft and that it was in orbit.

Later, however, the Planetary Society conceded that if the rocket failed during first-stage firing, then "this would mean that Cosmos 1 is lost."

The society, which organized the mission, said earlier signals received from three ground tracking stations seemed to indicate the craft could have made it into orbit, but "the project team now considers this to be a very small probability."