Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

Analyzing the evolving “small” storms in Jupiter’s atmosphere

The vortices in Jupiter's polar regions
Click for full image.

The cool image to the right is another Juno photo of Jupiter enhanced by citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt. This time Eichstädt also did some analysis of the motions and interactions of many vortices found in the northern polar regions of Jupiter. The image to the right has been cropped and reduced to post here, with the state of Arizona, about 400 by 300 miles in size, added for scale. There is more annotation in the full image.

As Eichstädt writes:

Large vortices in an atmosphere layer of a rotating planet can be roughly split into two classes, cyclonic and anticyclonic vortices.

Based on this rough classification, two interacting vortices can either be of the same or of opposite sign. Tightly interacting vortices of opposite sign tend to mutually propel each other, hence the whole pair, if they are of similar strength and size.

Tightly interacting vortex pairs of the same sign tend to merge. More distant like-signed vortex pairs may essentially repel each other. Interacting vortices tend to create filaments, some of which may split into fragments and further collapse into streets of small eddies.

He also notes that in future orbits Juno will provide closer views of this stormy region, as with the orbit the closest point shifts northward.


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  • LocalFluff

    “- What unpaid people do have access to today, to look at this horrible unpredicted endless mess? Slaves, no. Women, no. Oh yeah, students! They could be forced to look at it, whatever good that does, and I will not graduate them unless they make something up that sounds nice.”

  • MadRocketSci

    “This high-passed, contrast-normalized, saturation-enhanced, rotated and sharpened crop of a north polar, equidistant azimuthal map of Jupiter is resolved with 60 pixels per planetocentric degree. It is derived from the raw PJ29 JunoCam image #”

    Oh good. These are all unbiased deterministic methods. I thought when you said “enchanced”, you might be talking about some of the new machine-learning infilling methods that people are playing with (videos on Youtube of those sorts of techniques).

    What I was going to say is that people need to realize that the machine-learning “enhancement” techniques only appear to be giving you more information than was present in the original image – they fill in the gaps with what is essentially a guess informed by bias in the model based on whatever it was trained on.

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