Lost in Light

Lost in Light from Sriram Murali on Vimeo.

Lost in Light, a short film on how light pollution affects the view of the night skies. Shot mostly in California, the movie shows how the view gets progressively better as you move away from the lights. Finding locations to shoot at every level of light pollution was a challenge and getting to the darkest skies with no light pollution was a journey in itself. Here’s why I think we should care more.

The night skies remind us of our place in the Universe. Imagine if we lived under skies full of stars. That reminder we are a tiny part of this cosmos, the awe and a special connection with this remarkable world would make us much better beings – more thoughtful, inquisitive, empathetic, kind and caring. Imagine kids growing up passionate about astronomy looking for answers and how advanced humankind would be, how connected and caring we’d feel with one another, how noble and adventurous we’d be. How compassionate with fellow species on Earth and how one with Nature we’d feel. Imagine a world where happiness of the soul is more beautiful. Ah, I feel so close to inner peace. I can only wonder how my and millions of other lives would have changed.

But in reality, most of us live under heavily light polluted skies and some have never even seen the Milky Way. We take the skies for granted and are rather lost in our busy lives without much care for the view of the stars.

How does light pollution affect the night skies and quite possibly our lives?

(via Boing Boing)

America Celebrates Obama’s Peace Prize by Bombing the Moon

Cuz that’s how we roll.

NASA crashed a rocket and a satellite into the moon’s surface on Friday morning, a $79 million mission that could determine if there is water on the moon.

NASA televised live images of the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, as it crashed into a crater near the moon’s south pole.

NASA officials said it appeared to be a “successful impact,” although they could not immediately spot anticipated plumes of moon dust kicked up by the two crashes.

Minutes before its impact, the satellite guided a rocket into the Cabeus crater in an effort to kick up enough dust to help the LCROSS find whether there is any water in the moon’s soil.

The Centaur upper-stage rocket impacted the moon shortly after 7:30 a.m. ET, and the satellite followed it four minutes later.

One Giant Leap to Nowhere

Tom Wolfe:

WELL, let’s see now … That was a small step for Neil Armstrong, a giant leap for mankind and a real knee in the groin for NASA.

The American space program, the greatest, grandest, most Promethean — O.K. if I add “godlike”? — quest in the history of the world, died in infancy at 10:56 p.m. New York time on July 20, 1969, the moment the foot of Apollo 11’s Commander Armstrong touched the surface of the Moon.

It was no ordinary dead-and-be-done-with-it death. It was full-blown purgatory, purgatory being the holding pen for recently deceased but still restless souls awaiting judgment by a Higher Authority.

Like many another youngster at that time, or maybe retro-youngster in my case, I was fascinated by the astronauts after Apollo 11. I even dared to dream of writing a book about them someday. If anyone had told me in July 1969 that the sound of Neil Armstrong’s small step plus mankind’s big one was the shuffle of pallbearers at graveside, I would have averted my eyes and shaken my head in pity. Poor guy’s bucket’s got a hole in it.

Why, putting a man on the Moon was just the beginning, the prelude, the prologue! The Moon was nothing but a little satellite of Earth. The great adventure was going to be the exploration of the planets … Mars first, then Venus, then Pluto. Jupiter, Mercury, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus? NASA would figure out their slots in the schedule in due course. In any case, we Americans wouldn’t stop until we had explored the entire solar system. And after that … the galaxies beyond.

Apollo 11 Suiting Up Sketches

From CalleSpaceArt.com:

On July 16, 1969 Paul Calle was with the Apollo XI astronauts as they had breakfast and prepared for their historic journey to the Moon. Calle was the only artist to document the activities of Astronauts, Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins as they Suited Up for the Apollo XI Mission. His on-the-spot pen and ink sketches stand as an artistic impression of the final hours on Earth of three men as they journeyed into Space destined to make history for all mankind.