Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lunar News

A few weeks ago, I was amazed by this oblique image of the highlands in the center of crater Tycho taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Oblique view of central highlands in Tycho crater, 6/10/11
The peak rises out of the floor over 6,500 feet.

I have always been interested in the space program and lunar exploration. I was at the USGS for short time in 1997, working with an energized group of scientists modeling the impacts of El Nino on Bay Area hillsides (ofr97-745). One of the scientists was an Apollo-era terrain expert concerned with the engineering properties of the lunar surface. I wrote about that earlier this year.

My first glimpses of the far side of the moon were from lunar orbiter images, a photographic feat I discussed here. At that time I also borrowed a wonderful oversized book by Don Wilhelms, The Geologic History of the Moon. I had not seen such amazing lunar images and pored through them after work, night after night. (See the Atlas of the Moon) I was fascinated by the far side of the moon and it’s rugged difference to the near side.

There have been several stories emerging from the far side. Last week was about more recent, but still very ancient volcanos. On his weekly podcast, my good friend Todd Bishop covered a beat about Bill Nye the Science Guy fielding questions from an impossibly misaligned news anchor. New orbiter data is offering new ways to study the moon, including an article published on 8.3.11 about a secondary moon impact accretion. It wasn’t long ago that accretion theory for the moon was laughed at. I forget the guy’s name, but he was discussing the gradual acceptance of his idea in a BBC documentary series called The Planets.

In a lecture by Joseph Campbell, I heard the wonderful story of Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti as he watched the first astronaut step out onto the lunar surface.

“There never was a night like this before in the history of the world.”



One thing I always wondered about the lunar landings were the unusual, chest level cameras worn by the astronauts. Some kind of NASA space camera? They were actually medium format cameras made be Hasselblad. Earlier this year, an enthusiast put together a book called Hasselblad and the Moon. These cameras produce wonderful images on a 6x6cm negative. It sure would be fun to try out one of them (500C/M, 80mm lens and a couple of A12 backs, please)!

So with the retirement of the space shuttle fleet and the new stories from LRO data, the light-hearted inclusion of Lego minifigs in the upcoming Jupiter mission appealed to my sense of whimsy. The aluminum Lego Zeus, Juno, and Galileo will launch on top of an Atlas V with Juno, Friday, August 5th.

Also on Friday, Blue Moon Camera is opening a gallery of work from the staff, including Hasselblad shooter Zeb Andrews, and Kendall Stewart, who processed and printed my expired 110 rolls. See their calendar for details.

I went for a walk on Tuesday evening and tried a new photo challenge: to not take pictures. But as I contemplated my next move, and the seriousness of my situation, I was hit with the impulse to photograph. My only camera was the iphone. Enjoy!


North beach at Sisters Rocks, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron©8/2/11
The Hipstamatic is quite slow on my 3g, and I rarely review the pics, preferring to move on as the shot is processed in the phone. I forgot that I put on the surreal Salvador84 lens, which produces unpredictable reflections in the final image.
Sun has set Sisters Rocks, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron©8/2/11
The stones are all gray, beaten-up boulders. But these orange ones were sitting here, just like this, as I walked by. Kaimal Mark II for effect.
As found littles stones, Sisters Rocks, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron©8/2/11
I am so many versions behind now. Synthetic Corp just released version 2.21 (7/29/11), but there is still no self timer.
Pennyroyal above Sisters Rocks, Curry County, OR, Andrew D. Barron©8/2/11

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