The Art World
For the past four decades, robotic spacecraft have been taking snapshots of our solar system, mostly with a scientific agenda—to gather data about our celestial neighborhood. But as writer and filmmaker Michael Benson shows in Beyond: Visions of the Interplanetary Probes (Abrams, $55), these images are also works of art. For the most part, Benson lets the pictures (295 of them) speak for themselves, but he also offers some explanations and reflections in a few short chapters at the end of the book. It’s a dramatic presentation.
Image at right: Dual crescents of Neptune and Triton, taken by Voyager 2.
Images at bottom, left to right: the enormous "Valley of the Mariner" canyon system on Mars, taken by Viking Orbiter 1; Jupiter with Io and Europa, taken by Voyager 1; the Great Lakes, taken by OrbView-2.
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Happy Birthday to Alvin! August 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Alvin, the submersible that has been so influential in ocean research, including the discovery of hydrothermal vents. In 2014, a retrofitted Alvin also took its first test cruise.
Heather Olins, a doctoral candidate at Harvard, studies microbial ecology at deep sea hydrothermal vents with the help of Alvin, and shares her personal tribute to the submersible on these landmark occasions.
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