Saturday, February 20, 2010

Star Wars is real!

Star Wars is real. It's our future, and we're starting to work our way into that future already. Proof? o.k:

On 8th February of this year, the ESA-built module "Cupola" was launched into space and fixed into place as part of the International Space Station (ISS)*. From the outside, it looks like this (that cheeky monkey in both pics is NASA mission specialist Nicholas Patrick):

From the inside it looks like this (that cheeky land feature is the Sahara Desert):

Does that remind you of anything? This is the view from a Tie Fighter cockpit (not sure which cheeky monkey is the poor sap about to be blown-up roughly from behind in the X-Wing):

Woah**. The future is here.

As if these pictures aren't proof enough that we are thundering towards our own future, and that it's Star Wars shaped, how's this for a deal-clincher? Mimas is one of Saturn's moons, discovered in 1789 by William Herschel, but not properly imaged until Cassini got there in 2005 and took this:

Remind you of anything? No? Well how about this:

And no, the Death Star wasn't based on images of Mimas: Herschel Crater (that bloody great dent in Mimas- the 'main weapon') hadn't been discovered by the time Star Wars was made.

As always, if you're interested in any astronomy or space-related stuff, get yourself over to Blogstronomy, have a look round, and maybe even ask a question (please ask a question- that's what makes it work).

* Cupola's role will centre around allowing a better view (and therefore better control) of the ISS remote manipulator system and external viewing of Earth. If you'd like to know more about this or any other issue in astronomy, head over to Blogstronomy and ask me a question there!
** Expression of amazement copyrighted to Keanu Reeves.