Tagged: planet

Artist impression of the "Belgian" planet Nervia, portrayed as a gas giant in the black, yellow and red of the national flag, with some moons, a ring and the star Neburonia

The Chronicles of Nervia

A few weeks ago I made an artist impression of the “Dutch” planet Nachtwacht as a red, white and blue, Jupiter-like gas giant. But such a planetary image in the national colors can of course be made for our southern neighbors as well. After all, also Belgium has recently acquired a planet and a star. As part of the NameExoWorlds project of the International Astronomical Union, the Belgian public could name this piece of real estate in the Milky Way galaxy Gaul The name the Belgians have given to “their” planet sounds a lot more euphonious than the guttural Dutch… Read More

Artist impression of the planet Nachtwacht (Night Watch), a red, white and blue gas giant, with two of ots moons as well as parent star Sterrennacht (Starry Night)

Holland in the Sky: Night Watch and Starry Night

Since December 17, 2019, the Netherlands has two new far outposts: the planet Night Watch and the star Starry Night. The IAU, the International Astronomical Union, asked us to come up with a name for those two celestial bodies, which were previously known under the somewhat boring character combinations HAT-P-6 and HAT-P-6b. Inhabitants of the 111 other countries affiliated with the IAU were also assigned a cosmic duo, as part of the NameExoWorlds campaign. The Dutch public came up with some interesting suggestions for “our” planet and star Rembrandt and Van Gogh Out of 6,000 suggestions submitted, the national jury… Read More

Artist impression of the ESA probe Huygens, landing on Titan, largest moon of the planet Saturn, in january 2005

Space Quotes

This collection of space quotes, cosmic wisecracks and universal oneliners was originally tweeted from the, nowadays pretty dormant, Modified Mars Twitteraccount. I felt they deserved a more permanent location; after all, colonizing the Galaxy is a long term project. Some of these quotes are funny, others are dead serious; occasionally they’re both. They all are, sometimes very obvious, in other cases rather remotely, linked to themes like Mars, spaceflight, astronomy or the universe in general. And since I call this an image blog, I mix the quotes with some space art I’ve produced over the years. “We are all in the… Read More

The Dry Earth: Reversed Terraforming

After terraforming Mars quite a few times, I’ve now done the reverse thing: martifying our own planet. What would Earth look like without a drop of water? When all lakes, seas and oceans suddenly disappeared? Our world would become a Pale Yellow Marble, a kind of cross-over between the Moon and Mars. Warming Exactly how much water is there on Earth? According to recent estimates, we’re talking about 1400 million cubic kilometers. That is a cube with sides of about 1,100 kilometers. The vast majority of that amount, 97 percent, is salt water. The other three percent consists of fresh… Read More

The Drowned Earth: a world map as it looks after the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica have melted, around 4000 AD

The Drowned Earth: 4000 AD, After The Thaw

What happens when all the polar ice melt? What would the world map look like after a maximum sea level rise? And how long does it take to get there? These are interesting questions now that climate change is – finally – on the political agenda. And as a cartographer, I could not resist the temptation to visualize the worst case scenario. Gravity When the Greenland ice sheet melts, the sea level rises 7 meters, when the ice melts in Antarctica it causes a rise of 58 meters. So together that makes 65 meters. But that is an average. Because… Read More

The planets Earth and Mars represented by two beach balls in the sand, on the right scale ratio to each other.

Two planets on the beach

When comparing the scale of the Earth and Mars, it’s always a good idea to include objects that everyone knows. At the beginning of this century, I sometimes put a two euro coin and a euro cent on the table as a size comparison. The Earth is the two euro coin and Mars is the cent. And to extend the analogy a little further: Pluto is the dot on the cent. But since 2006 Pluto is officially no longer a planet. And I think it was about the same time that the euro cent disappeared from our wallets. That takes… Read More

Atmospheric nocturnal picture of a terraformed Moon, low above the horizon, that shines its green-yellow light on a slightly undulating water surface with a sailboat on it

Getting Used to a Terraformed Moon

Could the Moon be terraformed? The spelling checker does not even know the word terraforming, but in science-fiction one can read it quite often: it’s about making other planets more friendly for lifeforms from Earth by adjusting the temperature and the atmosphere. The concept of terraforming is often conntected with Mars, sometimes with Venus, but rarely with the Moon. That’s a good reason to take a look at that improbable option. Mars and Venus The terraforming of Mars is actually not that complicated. Simply pumping CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere will start a runaway greenhouse effect that… Read More

Planetary road sign in a museum-like setting showing the directions and distances to the sun, the moon and the seven planets

Building a Planetary Road Sign

There must be many of them: those funny signposts that indicate the direction and the distance to places that are usually quite far away. Tokio 9597 kilometers, Kinshasa 6379 kilometers, Mahabalipuram 8106 kilometers. Wouldn’t it be nice, I thought a few weeks ago, if there was a signpost like that showing the directions and distances for the sun, the moon and the planets? Why doesn’t such a planetary road sign actually exist? Of course I immediately knew the answer. The planets all have their orbits around the sun and the moon revolves around one of those planets: the Earth. And… Read More

An old and rustyCitroën Deux Chevaux, launched with a Falcon Heavy rocket by SpaceX, en route to Mars

Chasing Elon Musk in an old French car

On February 6, 2018, SpaceX, one of the companies owned by Elon Musk, managed to launch the first Falcon Heavy. A giant leap for mankind, like Neil Armstrong would have said. Because with this rocket, manned missions to the Moon (once again) and to Mars become possible. And those missions also become a lot cheaper than before, because large parts of the rocket return to Earth and can therefore be used again. Starman On such a first test flight you don’t take expensive satellites. Usually a block of concrete is used as ballast, but Elon had a better idea: he… Read More

Artist impression of Terminator, the city moving accross Mercury from the science fiction novel 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

Terminator, Urbanism on Mercury

A few days ago American writer Kim Stanley Robinson shared on his Facebook page an artist impression that I made a few years ago, featuring Terminator, the mobile city on Mercury from his science fiction novel 2312. Robinson called it a beautiful visualization; or well, actually his literary agent called it that, but of course she wouldn’t have done so if the author didn’t agree. Enthusiasm by the creator of the concept, that is of course a nice compliment for an impression artist. I made the illustration two years ago after reading 2312. For some reason Robinson’s work often inspires… Read More