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Earth Departure Movie From MESSENGER Spacecraft

Hemos posted about 9 years ago | from the pretty-things-to-watch dept.

Space 193

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."

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Whitey on the moon ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13482702)

Negroes are drowning in New Orleans, while whitey's on the moon

Re:Whitey on the moon ... (1, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | about 9 years ago | (#13482725)

The way it should be. I'm so tired of this "oh the whiteman did this"...

You know what, I'm sorry but if you have a family and can't scrap up the 50$ for a bus ticket out of town then you're obviously not fit to be a parent.

This "oh it's my right" bullshit... Having a family is something you have to actually think about. If you can't afford it then clearly you're doing everyone a disservice. And if you're a negro, single with no kids, how can you not afford it? Whitey didn't put roadblocks up. Stupid [black and white] people who can't manage 50$ to their name and/or thought they could ride it out are to blame.

But I guess it's all to easy to sit on your ass, let the tide role in [literally] then blame everyone else for your problems. Seems to be the way of things [everywhere, not just in New Orleans].

That and what the fuck is with the shootings? Is that how you ensure you get timely help by trying to MURDER those who are bringing the help?


Re:Whitey on the moon ... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13482733)

Its a shame they were killed by an ACT OF GOD, jackhole. Maybe he doesn't think they sing too good.

Why isn't the GNAA active in New Orleans? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13482851)

I am quite disappointed by the complete lack of action of the GNAA [] with respect to the flooding of New Orleans. Where are they when their homosexual negro bretheren require bumsex and fellatio? Why aren't they providing such anal support to their comrades in need?

Ummm (0)

ciroknight (601098) | about 9 years ago | (#13482716)

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.

Re:Ummm (1)

Haydn Fenton (752330) | about 9 years ago | (#13482728)

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.

bittorent (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13482723)

thanks for placing a link to a movie file and without a link to a bittorrent or mirror of some kind.

Mirror (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13482724)

Corale Cache everyone!!! MESSENGER Flyby []

Another Mirror (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13482734)

Courtesy of []

Re:Another Mirror (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13482760)

Is that the new goatse?

Re:Mirror (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13483072)

Thanks! Did you happen to cache the other half of Earth as well?

Slashdotted already? (5, Funny)

nystagman (603173) | about 9 years ago | (#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!

Re:Slashdotted already? (2, Informative)

glesga_kiss (596639) | about 9 years ago | (#13482788)

already the site seems to be slashdotted

I just pulled the mpeg in at 600k/s, not bad for a 5 meg file on the front page of Slashdot.

Cool video. It's a keeper. Just gotta keep reminding yourself that it's real, not SFX.

Re:Slashdotted already? (1)

thiophene (216836) | about 9 years ago | (#13482813)

It was slashdotted when I tried to see it.

But then again, isn't that what mirrordot [] is for?

Re:Slashdotted already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13482931)

I wouldn't be so quick to define such a direct cause and effect link without further studies. It's quite possible that /. viewers click on the link and download TFA, but never actually read TFA.

Re:Slashdotted already? (1)

sfled (231432) | about 9 years ago | (#13483200)

Indeed. The site owners are getting their new movie ready, "A View of Earth Departure From Our Slashdotted Server".

And as always... Slashdotted into Oblivion. (5, Informative)

wschalle (790478) | about 9 years ago | (#13482732)

Here's the cache. Movie []

Mirror (2, Informative)

dr_d_19 (206418) | about 9 years ago | (#13482738)

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 [] .

Beautiful.... (5, Insightful)

ClaraBow (212734) | about 9 years ago | (#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 :)

Ob. DNA - How to Leave the Planet (4, Funny)

Haydn Fenton (752330) | about 9 years ago | (#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:Ob. DNA - How to Leave the Planet (1)

SpooForBrains (771537) | about 9 years ago | (#13483077)

Remember, Dentrassi hate Vogons. Don't forget your electronic sub-ether device, or your towel, and you're golden ...

Re:Beautiful.... (1, Insightful)

BewireNomali (618969) | about 9 years ago | (#13482780)

I agree. this is the most beautiful thing I've seen in a long while.

Re:Beautiful.... (2, Insightful)

mikerich (120257) | about 9 years ago | (#13482967)

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 [] 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 coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

'The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

'Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

'The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

'It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.'

Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994

Re:Beautiful.... (1)

concreationist (760560) | about 9 years ago | (#13482817)

Indeed, although I was a little disappointed that the footage was taken from so far away. What I would love to see is a continuous video from the start of a space craft until it is out in the blackness space.

Interesting (5, Insightful)

slavemowgli (585321) | about 9 years ago | (#13482745)

Interesting. If I didn't know better, I would've said that this is a POV-Ray animation...

Re:Interesting (1)

DaneelGiskard (222145) | about 9 years ago | (#13482769)

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?

Re:Interesting (1)

matman (71405) | about 9 years ago | (#13482789)

Because the mountains are really really small compared to the Earth.

Re:Interesting (5, Interesting)

alfboggis (528706) | about 9 years ago | (#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.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13483051)

Now I hate to be the one to quote Ani Difranco on slashdot, because it probably hasn't happened before, but here you go:

From the depth of the pacific
to the height of everest
and still the world is smoother
than a shiny ball-bearing
so i take a few steps back
and put on a wider lens
and it changes your skin,
your sex, and what your wearing
distance shows your silloutte
to be a lot like mine
like a sphere is a sphere
and all of us here
have been here all the time

Re:Interesting (1)

kalidasa (577403) | about 9 years ago | (#13483225)

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?

maybe you're rtight? is this fake? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13482803)

I couldnt help but notice that there was a spotlight effect on the center of the earth's sphere. I havent seen this in other images taken from spacecraft. Also the clouds dont seem to move at all ..though that part sort of makes sense .. i would expect to see some sort of minor relative movement .. though I havent examined this closely.

I am not a space photography expert .. or expert in anything for that matter. I also didnt RTFA.

Anyone else?

Re:maybe you're rtight? is this fake? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13482875)

other things to check for: there should be a 23 degree angle of rotation against sun. Land. land is significantly brifghter than ocean. I could see no signs of land.

experts plz weigh in.

Re:maybe you're rtight? is this fake? (4, Informative)

MidnightBrewer (97195) | about 9 years ago | (#13482917)

Actually, there was a great shot of Australia sweeping by and it was significantly darker before brightening again, because it has a relatively low specularity compared to the surrounding ocean (the hotspot was traveling over it.) The specular highlight was correct; the ocean does indeed have a highlight like that.

I think calculating a 23-degree angle with absolutely no point of reference would be a bit of a challenge (it assumes the probe's camera is aligned to the solar ecliptic, which is pretty unlikely.)

I think the problem is that most photos are very close and pretty much with the sun behind the photographer. Another good indication that this was real instead of animated - the complete lack of stars. Astronauts have commented that the reflected sunlight off of the earth completely drowns out the background stars - in other words, reality looks fake because it doesn't resemble the fake reality Hollywood has taught us to expect.

Re:maybe you're rtight? is this fake? (1)

Guinness2702 (840158) | about 9 years ago | (#13482883)

How fast does the earth rotate? How fast do clouds move? How many butterflies are flapping their wings on the other side of the planet?

Re:Interesting (2, Interesting)

Queer Boy (451309) | about 9 years ago | (#13482879)

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 (2, Informative)

BenJeremy (181303) | about 9 years ago | (#13482910)

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.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13482923)

No no--if you look closely, you can see my house. That's me in the backyard mooning the Messenger.

un /.'ed version (4, Informative)

smoondog (85133) | about 9 years ago | (#13482747)

Can be found here []

-Sean (OutdoorDB [] - The Outdoor Wiki


Albert Pussyjuice (675113) | about 9 years ago | (#13482749)

Oh look - Slashdot is still run by fucking morons who refuse to host content locally. For fuck's sake, these dumb shits must be insane.
CmdrTaco and the Gang:
"Hey guys, let's link to a really big file on someone else's website who doesn't get near the traffic of this site and see what happens! Last time the file almost immediately become unavailable to everyone but I bet something different will happen this time!

Although, this problem may solve itself soon. As people abandon Slashdot for the crap that it has become [ROT IN HELL ROB MALDA], the "Slashdot effect" may disappear.

In other news... (4, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 9 years ago | (#13482759)

"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."

Re:In other news... (1)

nherm (889807) | about 9 years ago | (#13483194)

An image of the slashdotted server viewed from MESSENGER spacecraft can be found here []

What's the second spot-light? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13482773)

The globe is illuminated by a spotlight so large that it has got it's own name, the sun. But a second and smaller bright spot reflects off the earth, located somewhere on the left of the craft, but not as far left as the sun.

What is this? A reflection of sunlight off of the moon? Some flaw in the camera?

Doesn't appear to be any stars or moon? (2, Interesting)

xtal (49134) | about 9 years ago | (#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.

It's a conspiracy I tell you (1)

sakahna (597647) | about 9 years ago | (#13482811)

There are no stars because the Earth isn't real!
This was filmed in some Hollywood studio!

The tin-foil department.

Impressive! (5, Interesting)

Henriok (6762) | about 9 years ago | (#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! (4, Informative)

stupid_is (716292) | about 9 years ago | (#13482887)

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.

Re:Impressive! (2, Funny)

BACPro (206388) | about 9 years ago | (#13483003)

Pretty static weather as well.
They forgot to make the clouds move.

BitTorrent! (3, Informative)

mwilliamson (672411) | about 9 years ago | (#13482784)

Re:BitTorrent! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13482890)

Do you want to add any more file extensions there?

I'd love to oblige (2, Funny)

vikstar (615372) | about 9 years ago | (#13482786)

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?!? (5, Funny)

jemnery (562697) | about 9 years ago | (#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


2. The opening bars of the Star Trek: TNG theme tune

Re:No sound?!? (4, Funny)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 9 years ago | (#13482812)

If it was from an alien spaceship, I would imagine something translated into...

"Are we there yet?


Are we there yet?

no ...

Are we there yet


Re:No sound?!? (2, Interesting)

gowen (141411) | about 9 years ago | (#13482865)

I just lowered the frame rate on the MPEG, and put the "Blue Danube Waltz" on the CD player...

Underwhelmed (4, Interesting)

Linker3000 (626634) | about 9 years ago | (#13482793)

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 [] truly fascinating.

Not to mention... (1)

mrjb (547783) | about 9 years ago | (#13482868)

...the Hollywood version probably cost less too. Still, pretty neat.

It always does. (1)

Poromenos1 (830658) | about 9 years ago | (#13482906)

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.

Reverse It (1)

N8F8 (4562) | about 9 years ago | (#13482804)

Anyone know how tp reverse the video? I think it would look cool zooming into Earth too.

Re:Reverse It (2, Funny)

glass_window (207262) | about 9 years ago | (#13483108)

Open the file in text editor and take all the characters from the end and put them one-by-one at the beginning until you've turned the entire file around.

AviSynth (1)

N8F8 (4562) | about 9 years ago | (#13483152)

I'm trying to reverse it using AviSynth but keep getting an error that says "filter graph manager won't talk to me". I think it may have to be a missing audio layer or an unsupported audio codec.

a=DirectShowSource("mdis_depart.mpeg", fps=25,seek=true,audio=false)
return Reverse(a)

Manual method (1)

glass_window (207262) | about 9 years ago | (#13483197)

Drag the progress bar from right to left?

What would I learn doing that? (1)

N8F8 (4562) | about 9 years ago | (#13483211)

I could, but what would I learn?

Re:Reverse It (1)

Kazymyr (190114) | about 9 years ago | (#13483158)

Not withstanding the wrong direction of rotation...

Re:Reverse It (1)

AsnFkr (545033) | about 9 years ago | (#13483178)

Then turn it upside down.

Re:Reverse It (1)

PinkX (607183) | about 9 years ago | (#13483238)

Dump it to a sequence of PNG files using mplayer and then reassemble it into a video using mencoder.

Or you could just use quicktime to play it forwards/backwards at will.

Re:Reverse It (1)

lxs (131946) | about 9 years ago | (#13483281)

I have it looping back and forth in the quicktime player, and it looks really nice.

Especially the East African lakes glistening in the sun at around 7 seconds.

collision 27th frame from end (4, Interesting)

emptybody (12341) | about 9 years ago | (#13482815)

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.

Re:collision 27th frame from end (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13482903)

Holy mother of god, if you zoom in on the earth at the flash point 27 frames from the end of the footage, you can just about make out (through the compression artifacts) the image of a Klingon battle cruiser breaking orbit and jumping to warp.

Re:collision 27th frame from end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13483067)

Thats really large. I tried to measure it on screen at 200% and got about 41mm polar diameter and 2.5mm length of the flare. Using a bit of math and wikipedia, the object is about (2.5mm/41mm*12713.6km) ~ 775km long!

Re:collision 27th frame from end (4, Informative)

Ariane 6 (248505) | about 9 years ago | (#13483148)

If by 'collision' you mean 'collision of a cosmic ray with the detector, then yes.

Any meteor big enough to be visible from that far away would have been noticed by a LOT of people.

There is a nice flash over southern Africa when the Sun's specular highlight hits lake Tangaynika, though.

Re:collision 27th frame from end (1)

kalidasa (577403) | about 9 years ago | (#13483314)

Given the phase, shouldn't the specular highlight of the sun be on the other side?

Slashdot gods: ever hear of coral cache? (-1, Redundant)

gregor-e (136142) | about 9 years ago | (#13482826)

Why dont' the gods of /. simply auto-coral-cachefy every link? Oh, then they wouldn't be the big-swinging-dicks of the internet with their dreaded /. effect anymore, huh?

neat (1)

JeffSh (71237) | about 9 years ago | (#13482847)

i would've liked to see the entire approach as well, did they not take pictures of it? that would've been awesome.

Re:neat (1)

FreakBoy (70961) | about 9 years ago | (#13482873)

Nope, the only color sequences were during the departure. There are tons of images during approach.

Re:neat (1)

Gilthalas (145182) | about 9 years ago | (#13482893)

Other science - including some MDIS imaging (i.e. non-movie taking) was done on the approach. The movie seen here was done (obviously) after closest approach. With the amount of calibration activities that they had to do for the swing by, there was only so much time they could devote to taking the movie.


Good for the industry (2, Insightful)

CubicleView (910143) | about 9 years ago | (#13482878)

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.

Stop whining, use greasemonkey (2, Informative)

eqisow (877574) | about 9 years ago | (#13482891)

Greasemonkey []
Script [] to auto add mirrordot and coralcache links to stories.

Seriously, stop whining and take matters into your own hands.

Re:Stop whining, use greasemonkey (1)

baadger (764884) | about 9 years ago | (#13483002)

Confirmed this works with Opera 8 except for the "" property for adding the coral cache link.

Also the graphics are pretty damn aweful.

What is there to see? (2, Interesting)

kanweg (771128) | about 9 years ago | (#13482907)

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 that unusual?

I'd expect a satellite that is to go to an inner orbit to pass outside the earth's orbit. That seems to pan out, because we start with something more like a sickle, going to "half earth".


Re:What is there to see? (1)

Ariane 6 (248505) | about 9 years ago | (#13483192)

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 flybys) was next to impossible with current technology. MESSENGER does follow quite an elaborate trajectory to pick up the necessary delta-v. I had never heard of a retrograde segment, however.

Looks like that Orbiter simulator (5, Interesting)

flinxmeister (601654) | about 9 years ago | (#13482918)

Has anyone played with that Orbetor Simulator [] ?

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!

Re:Looks like that Orbiter simulator (1)

Floody (153869) | about 9 years ago | (#13483202)

Has anyone played with that Orbetor Simulator?

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!

I concur, and have been an orbiter aficionado for years! While the rendering is certainly top-notch w/ a decent gl card, what I find incredibly remarkable about Dr. Schweiger's simulator is that it allows one to get the "feeling" of orbital mechanics beyond the pure math (as much as possible without the physical sensation of freefall).

For example, once you've simulated low-earth-orbit rendezvous between two craft, you more fully appreciate the complexities and just how non-intuitive it is. While LEO is certainly a micro-gravity environment due to freefall, two nearby unconnected objects have different centers of gravity, are in very slightly different orbits and experience different tidal forces. This means that delta V between the two tends to act in a non-intuitive fashion and you can't just "let newton do the driving." Slight drifting (small acceleration without control input) rapidly compounds over time such that constant correction is required to prevent things from getting out of hand. This is one reason that real-life rendezvous is a slow, methodical and very carefully monitored process.

Additionally, the simulator is very much like the "real thing" in this respect, because in real orbit you are in freefall and can't rely on the "seat of the pants" feeling pilots are accustomed to for attitude/velocity determination when flying terrestrial aircraft.

Well, that, and the fact that if you haven't gotten past the adaptation period, there's a good chance you're constantly fighting the urge to vomit. ;)

A quote once uttered by an ISS astronaut/cosmonaut seems particularly appropriate here:

(in the context of performing an EVA outside the ISS)
"It's kind of like trying to work while falling off a cliff which is itself falling and slowly tumbling end-over-end."

Well, the Earth is here, but... (1)

Karaman (873136) | about 9 years ago | (#13482926)

...where are the stars! Does anybody sees stars?! Anyone?

Re:Well, the Earth is here, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13482979)

More than likely the exposure time required to photograph for a bright earth would not be long enough to pick up the relatively dull stars.

Re:Well, the Earth is here, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13483079)

Its another NASA fake and they don't want to make the same mistakes they did with the moon landing simulation. There will most probably be government agents doing damage limitation with crazy stories about exposure and whatnot.

Re:Well, the Earth is here, but... (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | about 9 years ago | (#13483151)

You don't see the stars as the propbe has punched through the shell on which they are painted.

Question! (4, Interesting)

nherm (889807) | about 9 years ago | (#13482948)

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 [] diagram of messenger's orbit from the article [] 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! (5, Interesting)

jrboatright (843291) | about 9 years ago | (#13483189)

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....

Re:Question! (1)

Ariane 6 (248505) | about 9 years ago | (#13483286)

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).

around the universe in 80 days! (1)

xcentrics (903559) | about 9 years ago | (#13483030)

Impressive..I mean space travels may really change your point of view.

Buy the ticket today and change your point of view without reading any book and without installing unix!

window reflection (1)

thomasa (17495) | about 9 years ago | (#13483105)

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 (2, Funny)

dankelley (573611) | about 9 years ago | (#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?

Obvious hoax (1)

dagnabit (89294) | about 9 years ago | (#13483241)

Where are the stars in the background? (this link [] 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...

I thank you for 7our time (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13483243)

be forgotten t1n a

Funny... (1)

connah0047 (850585) | about 9 years ago | (#13483245)

Funny how those clouds aren't moving. Maybe they were glued on. If you look closely right at the end of the clip, you can see a reflection of Mickey Mouse waving.

Guess I'm spending too much time playing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13483288)

with Google Earth. I swear, I was trying so hard to stop that globe from spinning and zoom in again, clicking like crazy on it.

What no stars?? Its obviously a fake! (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 9 years ago | (#13483316)

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!

real pictures or not (1)

bjoeg (629707) | about 9 years ago | (#13483321)

I mean it looks beautiful and all, but as many have written, where are the stars, and for myself why does the cloud pattern in the lower part of the globe seem to stay the same?
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