Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space Science

Earth Departure Movie From MESSENGER Spacecraft 193

Posted by Hemos
from the pretty-things-to-watch dept.
A reader writes:"The Mercury-bound MESSENGER spacecraft took 358 images during a gravity assist swingby of Earth on Aug. 2, 2005. Those images were sequenced into an MPEG movie showing the view from MESSENGER as it departed Earth."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Earth Departure Movie From MESSENGER Spacecraft

Comments Filter:
  • Cool, I guess.. This really isn't news, but eh, it's still pretty neat.

    Sad to say I've never even heard of the MESSENGER spacecraft before today.
    • Me neither. The page linked to in the article (if the server doesn't melt) shows "2 Clicks Today (Updated Hourly)" for the MESSENGER link. I'm interested to see just how much that number will increase after a slashdotting. Although given our love for not RTFA, I don't suppose it'll move much at all.
    • Cool, I guess.. This really isn't news, but eh, it's still pretty neat.

      It's not news, it's fark... oh wrong site.
  • Mirror (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 05, 2005 @09:41AM (#13482724)
    Corale Cache everyone!!! MESSENGER Flyby [nyud.net]
  • by nystagman (603173) on Monday September 05, 2005 @09:42AM (#13482729)
    I count a grand total of one reply in this thread, and already the site seems to be slashdotted. I guess this just proves that the existence of the silent majority of ./ readers who actually try to RTFA before they post. My faith in humanity is restored!
  • by wschalle (790478) on Monday September 05, 2005 @09:43AM (#13482732)
    Here's the cache. Movie [nyud.net]
  • Mirror (Score:2, Informative)

    by dr_d_19 (206418)
    Since the editors still think that 640kb of memory should be enough for everyone (including themselves, considering dupes and always forgetting about mirrors), here's the Coral cache [nyud.net].
  • Beautiful.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ClaraBow (212734) on Monday September 05, 2005 @09:45AM (#13482744)
    These images have a calming, peaceful effect. It is amazing how beautiful the earth looks from a far and how chaotic it seems when your in it! Get me out of here :)
    • by Haydn Fenton (752330) <no.spam.for.haydn@gmail.com> on Monday September 05, 2005 @09:53AM (#13482776)
      1. Phone NASA. Their phone number is (713) 483-3111. Explain that it's very important that you get away as soon as possible.
      2. If they do not cooperate, phone any friend you may have in the White House -- (202) 456-1414 -- to have a word on your behalf with the guys at NASA.
      3. If you don't have any friends in the White House, phone the Kremlin (ask the overseas operator for 0107-095-295-9051). They don't have any friends there either (at least, none to speak of), but they do seem to have a little influence, so you may as well try.
      4. If that also fails, phone the Pope for guidance. His telephone number is 011-39-6-6982, and I gather his switchboard is infallible.
      5. If all these attemps fail, flag down a passing flying saucer and explain that it's vitally important you get away before your phone bill arrives.
    • Re:Beautiful.... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BewireNomali (618969)
      I agree. this is the most beautiful thing I've seen in a long while.

      • Re:Beautiful.... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mikerich (120257)
        Wow - that is stunning!

        I couldn't help but think of a short essay written by Carl Sagan after he saw an image of the Earth [planetary.org] taken by Voyager. It's spine-tingling stuff:

        'Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and c

  • Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slavemowgli (585321) on Monday September 05, 2005 @09:45AM (#13482745) Homepage
    Interesting. If I didn't know better, I would've said that this is a POV-Ray animation...
    • I agree, it really looks like a 3D animation. How come that the reflection of the sun (?) is so regular, no matter if water or mountains are below it? Does it reflect off the athmosphere?
      • Because the mountains are really really small compared to the Earth.
        • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

          by alfboggis (528706) on Monday September 05, 2005 @10:41AM (#13483009)
          Yeah, the earth is actually pretty smooth. Its diameter is 13,000 km, while Mount Everest is only about 9km high -- just 0.07%. Clouds cling very close to the surface at about 5km. That's about the thickness of a piece of paper compared to a basket ball.
          • To put things in perspective with regard to just how "round" the earth actually is; if you were to take a standard pool ball and blow it up to the same size as the earth it would have deeper valley's and higher peaks. The earth is pretty damn round/smooth :)
      • The reflection is in the wrong place to be the sun - look, the earth is less than half full, which means that the sun is on the other side of the earth from the sun. My guess is that it's a reflection of the moon; looking at Celestia, I think the angle's right. Anyone who knows what they're talking about care to correct this?
        • The reflection is in the wrong place to be the sun - look, the earth is less than half full, which means that the sun is on the other side of the earth from the sun. My guess is that it's a reflection of the moon; looking at Celestia, I think the angle's right. Anyone who knows what they're talking about care to correct this?

          The very fact that you can see an illuminated portion of a sphere indicates that, if the sphere is sufficiently reflective, you will see a reflection of the light source. The only way

        • Anyone who knows what they're talking about care to correct this?

          Sure, I'll correct you. That reflection is the Sun. You can prove it to yourself. Draw a circle on a piect of paper to represent the Earth. Draw a bunch of parallel lines that represent sunlight heading towards your cicrular earth and when they hit the edge, reflect them off at the same angle they hit (We're pretending the Earth is a spherical mirror here). Note that, from the angle of the spaceship, you'll get a bright "hot spot" about where
      • Someone, less lazy that I, should check weather records to confirm. Also, I thought that night-side lights were supposed to be visible.
    • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Queer Boy (451309) *
      If I didn't know better, I would've said that this is a POV-Ray animation...

      Really, because I didn't know that the sun made such a "hotspot" reflection on the earth. Interesting. All the other pictures I've seen from outer space of the earth make it look less "plastic".

      • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Informative)

        by BenJeremy (181303)
        The "hotspot" is from the oceans. Pay attention and you'll see, toward the very end of the clip, that the land mass glides through the edge of the hot spot.

        Also, while most cloud formations are not in the light long enough to see real change, one formation does appear to dissipate before hitting the terminator.

        This appears to be quite real.
    • First thing I though when seeing it was that if I made a 3D animation looking exactly like that, people would say that it looks too fake... :) Goes to show that when you do 3D imagery things don't have to be like they really are, but how people would expect them to be... :)
  • un /.'ed version (Score:5, Informative)

    by smoondog (85133) on Monday September 05, 2005 @09:45AM (#13482747)
    Can be found here [nasa.gov]

    -Sean (OutdoorDB [outdoordb.org] - The Outdoor Wiki
  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Monday September 05, 2005 @09:49AM (#13482759) Homepage
    "The MESSENGER MPEG-hosting server took 358 images during a slashdot assist launch off of Earth on Sep. 5, 2005. Those images were sequenced into an MPEG movie showing the view from the MESSENGER MPEG-hosting server as it departed Earth."
  • by xtal (49134) on Monday September 05, 2005 @09:54AM (#13482779)
    I'm assuming the earth was probably too bright to get stars .. and it looks like this might have been inside the moon's orbit.

    Breathtaking video though. Very cool.
  • Impressive! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Henriok (6762) on Monday September 05, 2005 @09:54AM (#13482781)
    This is the real deal! The Earth is getting smaller in a realistic manner witch I've never seen before. I wonder what kind of acceleration and speed we are taling about here? These would be completely different figures in the movie and the real event. Someone care to do the math?

    Don't you just love the reflection of the Sun? And the absence of a "glowing" atmosphere halo? This is what the Earth really look like. Please render planets like this when you do SciFi flicks in the future!
    • Re:Impressive! (Score:4, Informative)

      by stupid_is (716292) on Monday September 05, 2005 @10:18AM (#13482887) Homepage
      From TFA:

      The movie starts when MESSENGER was 40,761 miles (65,598 kilometers) above South America on Aug. 2. It ends when the probe was 270,847 miles (435,885 kilometers) away from Earth - farther than the Moon's orbit - on Aug. 3.

      Looking at the mpeg with the timestamps, it was pretty much exactly (8mins out) 24 hours, so that makes it travelling at an average speed of roughly 4.29 km/s.

    • by BACPro (206388)
      Pretty static weather as well.
      They forgot to make the clouds move.
      • "They forgot to make the clouds move."

        There's a movie on MST3K that showed an OLD Universal logo without any clouds. Crow said "It's the best weather Earth has ever had!"
  • BitTorrent! (Score:4, Informative)

    by mwilliamson (672411) on Monday September 05, 2005 @09:54AM (#13482784) Homepage Journal
  • I think slashdot news posters must *love* to get people posting comments about their links getting slashdotted. So, here is another rant... "ah, slashdotted already".

    Either that or they have a running king-of-the-hill contest on who can slashdot a site the fastest.
  • No sound?!? (Score:5, Funny)

    by jemnery (562697) on Monday September 05, 2005 @09:56AM (#13482791)
    I don't get it - where is the audio on this thing? In the background there must have been either:

    1. A swooshy spaceship noice

    or

    2. The opening bars of the Star Trek: TNG theme tune
  • Underwhelmed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Linker3000 (626634) on Monday September 05, 2005 @09:58AM (#13482793) Journal
    With the current state of CGI and a world awash with 'fake' scifi images running all the way back to 2001: A space Odyssey, it's a shame that this footage just looks so 'plain' even though it's 'the real thing'. Mind you, I find Google Earth [google.com] truly fascinating.
    • ...the Hollywood version probably cost less too. Still, pretty neat.
    • The real thing always looks more plain than the fake scifi images. That's why they can't get 3D models to look human, they make them too perfect. It's too bad that we're so used to the fake images that the real ones look fake in comparison.
    • " With the current state of CGI and a world awash with 'fake' scifi images running all the way back to 2001: A space Odyssey, "

      Interesting choice of movie examples. They actually changed the visual effects to more resemble the Voyager footage that was just coming in at the time. In fact, the Voyager probes are why the Discovery when to Jupiter instead of Saturn (like they did in the book).
      • Re:Underwhelmed (Score:3, Informative)

        by ashitaka (27544)
        Much misinformation here and in other replies.

        1) The Voyager probes were launched 9 years after 2001 came out.

        2) Kubrick wasn't happy with the look of the effects of Saturn produced by Doug Trumbell so the destination was switched to Jupiter.

        3) Doug got better at producing Saturn imagery and used it in "Silent Running".

  • His is a torrent

    mdis_depart.mpeg.torrent [hedges.net]
  • by N8F8 (4562)
    Anyone know how tp reverse the video? I think it would look cool zooming into Earth too.
  • by emptybody (12341) on Monday September 05, 2005 @10:01AM (#13482815) Homepage Journal
    go frame by frame for some interesting events.
    most spectacular is the flash 27 frames from the end. looks like it could be lightning or a large meteor.
  • by JeffSh (71237)
    i would've liked to see the entire approach as well, did they not take pictures of it? that would've been awesome.
  • I love when nasa release pictures like these. As with many of the pictures the rovers have taken the scientific benifit is not very apparent (well to me anyway..) Often they're just cool pictures.

    I'm sure they could be taken as simply a successful test of the probes systems, but they also capture peoples imagination and help keep the space program going.

  • Greasemonkey [mozilla.org]
    Script [dunck.us] to auto add mirrordot and coralcache links to stories.

    Seriously, stop whining and take matters into your own hands.
  • by kanweg (771128)
    Is that our planet? It is quite hard to distinguish anything.

    I think I can see the north-west part of Australia at about 1/3rd of the movie, the land being amazingly black. At about 2/3rds one can see (in the topleft "corner") Saudi-Arabia, followed by northern Africa, both golden/yellowish. Now why is that so much brighter than the deserts of Australia.

    I'm also surprised by the fact that we see the line where the sun goes down, which suggests that the Messenger is going into a retrograde direction. Isn't t
    • I'm also surprised by the fact that we see the line where the sun goes down, which suggests that the Messenger is going into a retrograde direction. Isn't that unusual?

      Now that you mention it, yes. It's definitely heading clockwise away from Earth. The Earth's phase indicates that it's also headed slightly radially outward from the sun. Odd.

      A few days ago my intro to planetary prof. was telling us how it was thought for quite some time that getting an orbiter to Mercury (as opposed to flyby
  • by flinxmeister (601654) on Monday September 05, 2005 @10:26AM (#13482918) Homepage
    Has anyone played with that Orbetor Simulator [ucl.ac.uk]?

    Seeing this animation made me realize just how good that programmer is. The visualizations on that simulator nailed it pretty well. And it's free too!
  • Question! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nherm (889807) on Monday September 05, 2005 @10:31AM (#13482948) Journal

    Ok I got a question about the spacecraft's orbit!

    From the video, the spacecraft seems to be travelling at the opposite direction of earth's translation (i.e. clockwise in the ecliptic plane, viewing from sun's north to south hemisphere), because the dayside is at the left, and the Earth is, well, becoming smaller...

    But, this [wikipedia.org] diagram of messenger's orbit from the article [wikipedia.org] in wikipedia shows that the spacecraft travells in the counter-clockwise direction (same as the planets)... so, I would conclude that the spacecraft speed is less than the Earth's orbital speed.

    Question: is that correct?

    • Re:Question! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jrboatright (843291) on Monday September 05, 2005 @11:11AM (#13483189) Homepage
      Orbital mechanics is "not obvious."

      as an object drops into a lower orbit they orbit in fewer seconds. Venus goes around the sun in fewer days than earth does, as does mercury...

      HOWEVER, the linear velocity of an inner orbit is slower than the linear velocity of an outer orbit.

      So, to go in, you slow down. Which results in dropping to a lower orbit, which results in your pulling out "in front" of the object you're seperating from leaving it both "above" you and "behind" you.

      So, accelerating spinwise is out, and slower.

      Accelerating anti-spinwise is in, and faster

      let us not get into what happens when you accelerate OUT or IN....
      • HOWEVER, the linear velocity of an inner orbit is slower than the linear velocity of an outer orbit.

        Actually, the linear velocity for an inner orbit is faster than for an outer orbit, on average. Earth is going 30 km/s around the Sun, while Mercury varies between 39 km/s (at its farthest to the Sun) and 59 km/s (at its closest).

        However, if a probe similar to Messenger were in an orbit that gets as far out as Earth, and as close in as Mercury, then it would be going much slower than Earth at Earth's distanc
    • I'm pretty sure you nailed it. That would get it headed into the inner solar system, too. I feel stupid for not thinking of that earlier, actually (see post above).

  • That artifact in the middle of the earth that
    looks like the reflection of a window. Is that
    supposed to be the sun? It looks more like a window to me. I can even see someone looking in.
  • occlusion (Score:3, Funny)

    by dankelley (573611) on Monday September 05, 2005 @11:10AM (#13483180)
    It's almost as if posting to /. increases the traffic on a site, making that site useless for a while. I wonder if anyone has invented a name for this effect?
    • Yes ... technically it is known as a "Distributed Denial of Service Attack". Which is illegal in this country so I figure most of us should under arrest momentarily.
  • Where are the stars in the background? (this link [demon.co.uk] is for those who can't tell I'm joking)

    I do think it's amazing how quickly it's moving though; the visible weather patterns shown don't really change much...
  • Quite obviously this was mocked up in a hideaway
    in the arizona desert where they faked the moon
    landings too. How stupid do they think we are?
    Everyone knows the earth is flat and was made in 7 days anyway. Pah, spacecraft my holy ass!
  • by Rocketguy2 (912655) on Monday September 05, 2005 @11:29AM (#13483323)
    I was one of the team that worked hard to sequence this spacecraft operation, and I can assure you, it is quite real! MESSENGER, a NASA Discover program, was developed and is operated by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, is headed to the planet Mercury; not an easy place to get to. This flyby is the first of 6 (1 Earth, 2 Venus, 3 Mercury) that are required to put the spacecraft into Mercury orbit. Once there, the spacecraft will go into an elliptical orbit and commence a series of science observations. The extensive payload includes the following: narrow and wide angle imagers, LIDAR, X-ray, gamma-ray, and neutron sensors, magnetometer, visible, near IR and UV spectrometers, energetic particle and plasma sensors. The spacecraft did not take an approach video for two reasons. First, there were extensive instrument calibration efforts going on during that time (e.g. lunar and magnetospheric observations) that required specific spacecraft pointing. In addition, the solid state recorder space is limited, so we chose to get the single 24-hour sequence you see in the movie.
    • messenger at nasa.gov [nasa.gov]

      MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging mission.

      No wonder space research costs so much - it isn't easy to come up with these names!

      • MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging mission.

        Why do government agencies feel the need to "retronym" every project name into an acronym? The name is obviously derived from its association with the mythological Mercury, messenger of the gods. Then, probably some mid level management PHB comes along and says "let's put a team together to turn that into an acronym". Apollo didn't need to be an acronym. Nor Voyager. Nor Pioneer. These childish acronyms are ridiculous. Have some digity

        • Have some digity!

          Not to mention composre and decorm! ;)
          • Have some digity!

            Not to mention composre and decorm! ;)

            Heh. Not sure what composre and decorm mean*, but I think "having some digity" means to posess a plurality of fingers.

            * they sound like they might be UNIX utilities. e.g. "run 'composre -w -all' to flush the /dev/null cache", and "decorm functions just like rm, only with a 1930's architechtural flair"....

          • Mmm... the tingling sensatin of liquid behind expelled from one's nostrils... thanks! :D
  • by YA_Python_dev (885173) on Monday September 05, 2005 @11:40AM (#13483395) Journal

    If you watch this with mplayer (at least version 1.0pre7), it will wrongly assume that the aspect ratio is 4:3. Just use the -noaspect option.

    I don't know whose fault this is, but I suspect that the movie is badly encoded.

  • by aztektum (170569) on Monday September 05, 2005 @01:28PM (#13484004)
    Look there are no stars in the background! It's the same as with the moon landing videos! Space is filled with billions of stars! Where are they? I demand an investigation into what NASA is really spending our money on!!!
  • This thing zooms by way too fast! It was done before I had a chance to resize my window! Play at half or even quarter speed to get a better experience.
  • by heroine (1220) on Monday September 05, 2005 @08:35PM (#13486299) Homepage
    It's hard to believe those images came from Messenger. We've never seen a view of Earth by an interplanetary spaceship flying by in such clarity. Normally the cameras are fixed to the exact focus needed by the mission and only record a few colors.
  • by rew (6140)
    On the NASA site, a version is available with micro-second-resolution timestamps in the bottom of the frame.

    I deduce that the images were timestamped on the spaceship: The 3 millisecond longer speed-of-light delay for successive images to reach earth would have been very measurable.

"The vast majority of successful major crimes against property are perpetrated by individuals abusing positions of trust." -- Lawrence Dalzell

Working...