Awful puns aside, there are two photos this week that absolutely blew me away. The first is from the amazing Curiosity rover, beaming back high-res images from the surface of Mars. This week it took one at night:
It may not seem like much, but this is a picture taken in the absence of sunlight on a planet that is at least 34.6 million miles away. The idea is to see if anything fluoresces under ultraviolet light. That the camera is mounted on a nuclear-powered, laser-wielding robot car only adds to my awe at what Nasa and its engineers and contractors come up with.
The second photo is from a camera that spent a mere five minutes outside Earth’s atmosphere, strapped to a rocket. Five minutes is not enough to take a usable picture of my incessantly blinking extended family, but it was apparently enough for scientists to snap a 165-frame flipbook of ultraviolet radiation that was detailed enough to solve one of science’s weirder solar conundrums. Watch the video — that is the thing responsible for all life on this planet: