Saturday, April 24, 2010

Reality, hand in hand with Imagination

NASA released some amazing photos today.

An hourglass nebula with a star in its center certainly shone down upon Tolkien. The eye of a guy who lost his ring couldnt be so bright.

Vincent Van Gogh must have been gazing upon this expanding halo of light around a distant star at the outer edge of our Milky Way

Terry Goodkind's artist copied columns of hydrogen gas, incubators for new stars, when he designed the cover for Pillars of Creation

This brightest star, Eta Carinae, survived a cloud burst 150 years ago, and inspired a character's name for a writer who never imagined it'd be this lovely.


  1. Wow--really beautiful pics! I especially like the hourglass nebula. It is breathtaking!

  2. See, when I see visuals like this, I can't help but wonder why more people don't fall in love with SF/SFR. Those pictures are amazing *and* romantic.

  3. Fantastic pictures!! it really is a whole new world out there but in our Sunday paper - Stephen Hawking says although he believes there IS life out there, we shouldn't go looking for it because it will just be trouble. Look at our record with sending settlers to the States and the effect on Native Americans.. so he reckons the most likely visitor will be fleets of huge ships who come to strip our reserves and leave -

    This is the article

  4. Scary article. Hawkin suggests if we search for intelligent life, arouse interest, it's out there and it's as self-centered as humans. I can't help but think the more knowledge the better, and that maybe, just maybe, it'd be Vulcans not brutal invaders like Independence Day.

  5. I've always thought that if intelligent life is out there, they would be pretty silly to come to a tiny rock in a backwater arm of the galaxy just to get a few minerals.

    If they've figured out how to traverse the light years between us, I can't imagine they need anything we have.

  6. Somewhere I read that, although it's very likely there's intelligent life out there, the sheer enormity of space makes it like trying to find a needle in a haystack the size of the Western Hemisphere. I think Hawking's point is that if that needle is sending out signals, the hunt becomes a whole lot easier.

    I'd like to think aliens advanced enough to make such a trip would be peaceful too, but my feelings are if they put the time and effort into crossing the immense expanses of space to come to our little blue planet, the point of such a journey isn't to shake our hands.

    We, as a species, are already turning a greedy eye on the planets of our own neighborhood wondering how we can harvest the resources there for our own gain. Although I thought the scenario presented in Avatar was a bit heavy-handed, I can see how humanity might exploit the resources of other planets even if they're inhabited. Would an alien's thinking be any different? That's the big question.

  7. I think Hawking makes a good point. While there might be some peaceful species out there, the probability of species looking for food, water, etc., without any regard for humanity (the "us or them" attitude) is just as viable.

    I can't wait to see the first episode of the Hawking series tonight (Discovery Channel).

  8. Has anyone read John Scalzi's Old Man's War trilogy? (It's SF more than SFR, although there is a thread of a romance that spans the three books.) It's an awesome story and really makes you think about how humanity might fit (or not) into the galactic neighborhood.

    Oh, and if you want to read a tale with an absolutely believable, lethal female character, Jane Sagan rocks.

  9. Oh I am so late here! But aren't we looking at the rest of the universe through out own limited eyes? We would exploit others, we would take over their planet. Why not a peaceful bunch looking to make contact and explore other cultures?


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