This is just one of eight terrific Mars exploration posters available for FREE DOWNLOAD from NASA. Which one is your favorite?
Per aspera ad astra or Ad astra per aspera is a Latin phrase which means any of the following: “Through hardships to the stars”, “A rough road leads to the stars” or “To the stars through difficulties”.
And… we’re back! (Is anyone still here? Did you miss me?)
I have taken the name Silver Rockets as my web design business rebrand, but want to preserve the decade of posts here — and hey, occasionally post more! — so I have combined the two into what you see here now. (Like the rockets?? Quite the upgrade from version 1.)
Anyway, glad to be back, I hope some of my readers will return, and more spacey goodness will be rolling out shortly!
I’d be remiss in my space-celebrating duties if I did not mention Draplin Design Co.‘s wonderful Space Shuttle Poster. (I own the 4th edition — it’s gorgeous — and I’m dying to own the 9th edition. And the 10th edition, the original colorway.)
Your wall simply isn’t complete without one, and with so many colorways, why not order one today? (And while you’re at it, if you like thick lines and amazing design, you should pick up Draplin’s new book. I’m enjoying it immensely!)
A long time ago (2005, I think), on an internet far, far away, I had this idea to start a space blog. I loved spaceflight, and I had opinions on what directions and destinations we should move toward. I bought a domain name (orbital-maneuvers.com, defunct) and started writing. I quickly discovered, however, that a lot of what there was to discuss involved politics, and I quickly got bored by that. Never have liked politics.
After closing that blog in 2006, I had two other ideas: to focus more on spaceflight as it influences our culture, and to focus more on spaceflight opportunities for the “common man”. At this point, I had walked away from a career track that I hoped would lead to astronaut candidacy; I had a lot of personal interest in the average Joe going to space. Those ideas became two blogs: Common Space (private citizen spaceflight), and Common Themes (cultural influences), both at common-space.net (defunct), both launching July 2006.
Originally, I intended to write articles on spaceflight and culture, but found I was far more inclined to post pictures, not text: terrific space images, retro/quirky objects, and artwork. I posted whatever delighted me, be that a Hubble image, salt shakers, album covers, or Apollo Program stamps from some tiny country I’d never heard of. The Common Space blog didn’t last as long (bogged down by various things), but Common Themes persisted.
I rebranded it as Silver Rockets in October 2009, and moved to this domain. The change to Silver Rockets refocused the blog in just the right way. I have an eclectic passion for space, both real and fictional, and the concept of “silver rockets” sums up my tastes pretty well. (I like my rockets shiny, balanced on impossibly pointy fins. Deal with it.)
I got a Twitter account to go along with the blog (@silverrockets.) I was introduced to the Space Tweep Society, and met the first of many spacetweep friends. In 2010, I was thrilled to be chosen to attend the STS-133 NASA Tweetup, made more friends, and gained more readers. Instead of posting other people’s pictures of spaceflight happenings, I posted my own. And I had someone walk up to me, one night at the tweetup, and say something I never thought I’d hear: “I love your blog.” Brian, thank you for saying that. It really meant a lot to me, and still does!
Well, anyway. That sums up my adventures in space blogging. This is attempt #4 (arguably, the only successful one.)
And this is no longer 2010. (What, no monolith eating Jupiter?? DANGIT.) Life goes on. New passions eclipse old ones. The Space Shuttle retired, and I’m still in mourning. And it’s gotten harder and harder to post here.
I still love space, but I have to admit, I’ve moved on from Silver Rockets. I’ve found my true calling: not in spaceflight, but in gemstones and jewelry. For the past two years, I’ve been working towards my Graduate Gemologist diploma, and learning more about jewelry-making. I can talk at length on those two subjects, which is what I intend to do, more often, over here. I’m also starting a blog and visual archive focusing on old jewelry — ancient through antique — called Topazius (it’s not really done yet.)
This will be my last post here at Silver Rockets (#990!) Thank you for reading this blog, and I hope to see you again at my other blogs! You’re welcome to follow me on Twitter at @manyfaceted. (I’m consolidating accounts; @silverrockets will be mothballed in the near future.)
Once upon a time (okay, five years ago), I found a terrific Lomo photograph of a spacey, retro sign, and posted it. Today, I’m posting another photo of said sign, because it a) shows more of the sign (what’s better than Apollo Liquors? Apollo Liquors & SUPERETTE), and b) it shows what amazing condition the sign is in. Also, c) it’s a great picture with wonderful color, and d) it has the back story of why someone would name a liquor store Apollo in the first place. Hop over to Recapturist and read on. And while you’re there, browse his other fantastic photography of vintage America. You’ll be glad you did!
Another beautiful image from Terry Hancock at Down Under Observatory.
7000 light-years distant in the constellation of Cassiopeia lies the emission nebula colloquially known as the Soul Nebula. The gasses (mostly hydrogen) that comprise the nebula are being ionized by the stars within the region and as a result, the gasses glow, much like a neon sign.
The pressures exerted upon the material by the stars nearby are causing the material to become compressed. When enough of the gas becomes highly compacted, it triggers the birth of new stars. In effect, this is a beautiful snapshot of a multimillion-year process of an enormous cloud of dust and gas transforming itself into new stars.
— written by Adam Stirek
Lately I’ve been reading about luxury timepieces, and every so often, I come across a really cool sky-themed watch, or one with an interesting moon-phase indicator. While these are beyond the monetary realm of most space nerds, myself included, they’re still pretty to look at! I’m not kidding, by the by: let’s see, buy a watch or buy a car, buy a watch or buy a house… or multiple houses. Who buys these things? NO IDEA. Elon Musk?
Without further ado… [Read more…] about Moon Watching
In honor of today’s fireball, this seemed like an appropriate image to post (from February 9th’s APOD.)
One hundred years ago today [February 9, 2013] the Great Meteor Procession of 1913 occurred, a sky event described by some as “magnificent” and “entrancing” and which left people feeling “spellbound” and “privileged”. Because one had to be in a right location, outside, and under clear skies, only about 1,000 people noted seeing the procession. Lucky sky gazers — particularly those near Toronto, Canada — had their eyes drawn to an amazing train of bright meteors streaming across the sky, in groups, over the course of a few minutes. A current leading progenitor hypothesis is that a single large meteor once grazed the Earth’s atmosphere and broke up. When the resulting pieces next encountered the Earth, they came in over south-central Canada, traveled thousands of kilometers as they crossed over the northeastern USA, and eventually fell into the central Atlantic ocean. Pictured above is a digital scan of a halftone hand-tinted image by the artist Gustav Hahn who was fortunate enough to witness the event first hand. Although nothing quite like the Great Meteor Procession of 1913 has been reported since, numerous bright fireballs — themselves pretty spectacular — have since been recorded, some even on video.
It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since we lost Columbia and her crew. I think people are affected most by the accidents they can remember personally, and for me, Columbia is that accident. My classroom was not watching Challenger’s launch, and I was sheltered from the news, so I don’t remember it as clearly as others do.
Ten years ago today, as I remember many others doing, I turned my personal websites black, in remembrance of the crew of STS-107. (Unlike many others, I left them that way for a month. Overkill? I don’t regret it.) I had a pin badge of the mission logo on my favorite pullover. And I faithfully wore my gray Return to Flight bracelet every day, until we did. Hard to believe that was a decade ago.
Godspeed, Rick D. Husband, William C. McCool, David Brown, Laurel Blair Salton Clark, Michael P. Anderson, Ilan Ramon, and Kalpana Chawla.
The Columbia STS-107 mission lifted off on January 16, 2003, for a 17-day science mission featuring numerous microgravity experiments. Upon reentering the atmosphere on February 1, 2003, the Columbia orbiter suffered a catastrophic failure due to a breach that occurred during launch when falling foam from the External Tank struck the Reinforced Carbon Carbon panels on the underside of the left wing. The orbiter and its seven crewmembers (Rick D. Husband, William C. McCool, David Brown, Laurel Blair Salton Clark, Michael P. Anderson, Ilan Ramon, and Kalpana Chawla) were lost approximately 15 minutes before Columbia was scheduled to touch down at Kennedy Space Center.
Today we remember space shuttle Challenger, and the crew of STS-51L. Godspeed, Francis R. Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Judith A. Resnik, Ellison S. Onizuka, Ronald E. McNair, Gregory B. Jarvis and Sharon Christa McAuliffe.
The NASA family lost seven of its own on the morning of Jan. 28, 1986, when a booster engine failed, causing the Shuttle Challenger to break apart just 73 seconds after launch.
In this photo from Jan. 9, 1986, the Challenger crew takes a break during countdown training at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Left to right are Teacher-in-Space payload specialist Sharon Christa McAuliffe; payload specialist Gregory Jarvis; and astronauts Judith A. Resnik, mission specialist; Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, mission commander; Ronald E. McNair, mission specialist; Mike J. Smith, pilot; and Ellison S. Onizuka, mission specialist.