It was in January 2005, when I—a planetary geologist only recently turned to writing about space for a living—was crammed along with two dozen other reporters into a room at the European Space Agency operations center in Germany.
Europe's Huygens probe had just completed its descent through Titan's atmosphere, and we knew the spacecraft had been working ESA had received its radio transmissions. But there was a delay and the pictures ...more »
Here's how Planetary Society Members answered...
Click through to read the full submission and comment.
What do you want to see next in space exploration?
A black-light portrait of the Great Galaxy in Andromeda at the Adler Planetarium first afforded me a vision of the immensity of the cosmos as a child. Later, a view of Saturn through a small telescope led me to commit myself to a career in astronomy. The most life-changing image, though, came to me in 1979 as an Assistant at the Cernan Earth and Space Theater of Triton College in ... more »
I was about 14 when the Pillars of Creation photo was captured by the Hubble telescope. The first time I saw it was actually as a poster on the wall while visiting the Naval Observatory in DC. The image itself was stunning, until somebody told me that the pillars themselves were some five light-years tall. It takes five whole years for light to travel from the bottom of the dust ... more »
It must have been spring in the southern hemisphere in 1956. I remember being pleased that the cold weather was ended for the time being, and to see the leaves growing on the deciduous trees in the church yard. I went to the library for the first time that I recall and browsed through the books. My grandparents had a lot of books, mostly about Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, the ... more »
The Mars Pathfinder was so cool - this low cost mission returned these images of a cute little toy-like rover rolling up to big rocks and leaving tracks in the dust. Forgetting about the hundreds of millions of kilometres between planets, this really brought a human scale to Mars exploration and made Mars rover exploration seem within our grasp, paving the way to subsequent rover missions which we're enjoying now. ... more »
In 1986 I bought a green hardcover book at Johnson Space Center of Mariner(I think) photos of Mars. When I saw clouds against the background of the planet I was blown away! It was as if I was in a spacecraft coming in over another world and I wanted to BE THERE. I could see that this is a world where we can actually live and work. This is a ... more »
If there is anything about space that has affected me, it's the computer assemblies of all the galaxies. It almost has a living pattern, although billions and billions of light years across. That is one view setup that has touched me more than anything, and we really have no idea how far it all goes. Totally, totally, AWESOME!!
This prompt got me thinking about a picture I first saw a couple of years ago. During its 489th sol on Mars, MER Spirit lifted its cameras to the sky and snapped this stunning photograph of the sun going down on the Martian horizon. Looking at it, I realized that Mars and the other bodies in the Solar System are worlds just like Earth- they have weather, seasons, night skies, ... more »
Like Dan Geraci, I think of myself as a child of the space age. At the age of two I was nearly killed by one of Werner von Braun's V2 rockets, as my family was living in London at the time (sept 1944). I later saw Chesley Bonestell's glorious paintings of the planets in "The Conquest of Space" (1952) and was instantly hooked. I have since followed every step of ... more »
Heinlein took many of us into Space with his stories of heroes and ordinary people forced to live in non-ordinary Places. The math he used to explain the process of escaping from planetary gravity was Spot on and inspiring. A huge admirer of planetary discovery and all other science disciplines. He brought Real Science to us as he used them to create believable scenes. He made it possible to see ... more »
Back in high school in 1982 the first and best color photos of Venus were captured by the Soviet Venera 13 lander. I was in awe. I thought to myself, "This is the surface of another world - totally alien to Earth, Wow!" Been a "Space Junky" every since.
The image of Astronaut James Irwin giving a lunar salute to the American Flag. It was 1971, and look at us, on the moon! Whatthis photo means to me personally is that there are times when the sky is not the limit. Human beings are quite capable of extraordinary things. In otherwords, don't give up.
I'd made arrangements with a friend of mine to tape with my VCR from his TV which was hooked to a satellite dish. I got the coordinates for NASA Select from the Planetary Society & was going to host a viewing of the Voyager-Neptune encounter live at the local junior college. I didn't know much about space but had subscriptions to the Planetary Report and Astronomy Magazine. For the first ... more »
The cosmic microwave background temperature anisotropy map is one of the greatest images ever created. The map shows minute variations in density fluctuations that existed about 380,000 years after the Big Bang event that have been stretched to the large-scale structures we see today. The pattern of anisotropies fit models of cosmological inflation very well, and represents the best evidence of the Big Bang standard cosmology we have to date.
Last century (is it so long ago now, I still miss you every day) a friend mine invited me around to his place for dinner. He'd been feeling a bit down over a messy personal break up, so I was more than happy to give him some company to try and cheer him up.
Over drinks he asked me what I had been reading and I started telling him about the ... more »
I saw this picture in a popular magazine when I was 14, courtesy of the Apollo 8 mission. These were the first photographs of Earth ever, and they were stunning. I've been enthralled by a great many pictures of space since then, but the effect of this one, looking down as it were on the home planet, has stayed with me.
The image that most inspired my interest in space was the photo taken by the crew of Apollo 8 of the earth rising over the moon’s horizon. When the US manned space program began, I was only 4 years old but would stay up late or wake up early with my dad to watch the news coverage by Walter Cronkite. I soon after received my first telescope and became an ... more »
Guess I'm showing my age, but the picture that most changed my life, as I hope it did for most of the world, was the picture sent back from the moon by the astronauts of Apollo 8, that first showed us the Earth as one world with no visible borders, floating alone in the blackness of space. Suddenly the world didn't seem so big and important in the overall scheme ... more »