Cassini’s Garden

Wallpaper - Cassini's Garden

Cassini’s Garden

Cassini’s Garden was originally created to commemorate the amazing probe that has been in space for almost 20 years and orbiting Saturn and collecting data since 2004. But, it’s not just the machine, it’s the international group of people that worked together to make the mission happen.

Originally known as Cassini-Huygens, which identifies the Huygens lander that was carried onboard Cassini and successfully touched down on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, on January 14, 2005. Huygens was provided by the European Space Agency (ESA) and along with the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI) and NASA formed the three partners for the mission. In total there were 17 countries involved in the mission. In all, over five thousand people have touched this mission since its development began in 1990; from engineers, technicians, designers, machinists, scientists, astronomers and a host of other specialists from around the world.

The Cassini mission has exemplified the best of what we can do when we cooperate together; something that is painfully lacking around the world today when it is needed most. The data produced by this mission is available to everyone – everybody on this planet benefits from the international cooperation that gave birth to Cassini-Huygens.

Cassini’s Garden shows a monument to the enduring probe that has been erected on Enceladus sometime in the future when we humans are no longer defined by our differences.

The probe has had a few problems during its tour but nothing that has diminished its mission nor prevented it from being extended two more times after its initial 4 year jaunt. The only thing that has forced Cassini to end its mission now is that it is running out of fuel, and to prevent it from potentially contaminating Titan or Enceladus with microbes from Earth, it will be directed to fly into Saturn on September 15, 2017. Truly a sad day for everyone involved with this noble machine or that have followed its mission over the years.

And, speaking of potential for life, a paper has recently been published discussing the data Cassini has collected from a fly-through of the plums of water ice and gas venting from the small moon Enceladus’ southern pole in October of 2015. This data revealed the presence of molecular hydrogen (H2) in the gas/ice cloud, which was mostly water.  The presence of hydrogen indicates that there may be hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor of Enceladus.  A chemical reaction between the water and the rocks on the ocean floor, driven by the heat could create the hydrogen. This in turn could be used by bacteria as a food source when combined with carbon dioxide dissolved in the water.

The H2 is not direct evidence of life, but compelling evidence that all the right ingredients are there to support life – probably bacterial – like we see around the hydrothermal vents in our oceans. One more feather in Cassini’s cap!  Check out NASA’s website for more information on this.

Cassini’s Finale – Plunging between the inner rings and Saturn’s atmosphere.

With Cassini setting up to dive between the planet and its inner rings later this month as a finale to its mission, we can expect to see some really amazing images and learn more about this majestic ringed planet than ever before. And, as the data is processed and digested we can expect more revelations about this planet in the years to come.

Thank you to the Cassini team for all their hard work and an amazing ride!

For more information check out Cassini’s Grand Finale.

Till next time,

RC Davison

Exile – Summer Solstice

A new wallpaper is up: Exile – Summer Solstice.  I’ve revisited the original Exile image seen below and given the prisoner a summer solstice to enjoy.

Exile - Wallpaper from orbitalmaneuvers

The prisoner in exile.

But as in most things in life, it is bittersweet, as it only serves as a reminder of his time away from the distant blue dot in the sky, his home planet.

Exile – Summer Solstice

Enjoy!

Till next time,

RC Davison

“Menagerie” – New Wallpaper Available

I only started this about a year ago and finally got around to finishing it!  That is after dozens of iterations and renderings.  I think it’s finally finished…I think…

The Visitor adds to his collection after another visit to Earth.  Magic or technology?  To us, it is one in the same.

Have they been here already?  Have they added to their collection one by one and we’ve not noticed?  Are they out there at all?  Maybe one day we’ll find out, until then, enjoy!

“Menagerie”

Till next time,

RC Davison

Orb – New Wallpaper

“Orb” evolved while while watching a presidential debate.  I think I was looking for a planet to escape to, but unfortunately the planet I created doesn’t really appear to be too hospitable to us humans.  (After the debate I think I was wiling to take a chance on it!)

Wallpaper - Orb

Orb

Our world, from its sapphire blue oceans to its emerald green forests, provides everything we need to exist.  Surely there are planets in this vast Universe–in our galaxy alone–that provide nurturing environments to their indigenous species. The resultant lifeforms may be so alien in nature to us that we may never find a common reference point to share our experiences.

We can’t communicate with the other intelligent species on this planet, so communicating with an alien race from another planet may be quite a challenge.  Although, one could reason that the aliens would be as motivated to establish communication as we would be.  One could also argue that dolphins and chimps (among other intelligent animals) don’t have anything to say to us.

Enjoy!

Till next time,

RC Davison

Blue Sunset

The sky is alive with colors all during the day and the clouds that decorate the sky just make it more interesting.

Typically we think of red with a sunset, but it depends on just when you see it and other factors like the amount of dust and smog in the atmosphere as well as clouds.  This picture was inspired by a beautiful picture taken by P-M Hedén and can be seen, along with other beautiful images at Clearskies in the Noctilucent Clouds Gallery. (Noctilucent clouds are clouds at very high altitude made of ice crystals that can be seen late into the twilight hours.)

Blue Sunset

As usual, you can check out  more wallpapers at the gallery page.

Enjoy!

Till next time,

RC Davison

 

“Exoplanet”

“Exoplanet”, the latest wallpaper to be added to the gallery on the website depicts a binary planetary system around a distant star hosting a living ecosystem.  This image has taken forever to produce thanks to some quirks with the Vue-Esprit software that was used to create it.  Hope you enjoy it!

Wallpaper - Exoplanet

Exoplanet

Check out the other Orbital Maneuvers’ wallpapers in the gallery.

Till next time,

RC Davison