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December 29, 2009

The blue clouds of the red planet

Emil Kraaikamp uses a 10″ telescope to capture astonishing images of Mars, Venus and Jupiter.

The fourth cloud to the lower right is actually marking the spot of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system. The image inset here is from NASA, showing Olympus Mons up close; but you don’t need to go to Mars to see it.

After all, it can be captured with a ten inch telescope.

Related: Joseph Shoer considers the physics of space battles, hoping modular spacecraft will be used for exploration, not for crushing the dreams of Martian colonists.

First, let me point out something that Ender's Game got right and something it got wrong. What it got right is the essentially three-dimensional nature of space combat, and how that would be fundamentally different from land, sea, and air combat. In principle, yes, your enemy could come at you from any direction at all. In practice, though, the Buggers are going to do no such thing. At least, not until someone invents an FTL drive, and we can actually pop our battle fleets into existence anywhere near our enemies. The marauding space fleets are going to be governed by orbit dynamics – not just of their own ships in orbit around planets and suns, but those planets' orbits.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at December 29, 2009 09:24 AM