Mushroom Cabins On The Moon


If space agencies want boots on the Moon constructing homes/research facilities is their first hurdle. Traditional building materials create payload challenges, heavy metal and glass take up a lot of room. All that weight puts a strain on fuel requirements. Enter synthetic biology, the study of how we can use life in technology – in this case fungus, as in mushrooms used to grow self repairing, self replicating habitats.

NASA researchers call it myco-architecture. Exploring the potential of Mycelia in fungus – tiny nutrient absorbing underground threads combining with precision and networking to build complex structures we recognize as mushrooms. A statement from NASA –

Ultimately, the project envisions a future where human explorers can bring a compact habitat built out of a lightweight material with dormant fungi that will last on long journeys to places like Mars. Upon arrival, by unfolding that basic structure and simply adding water, the fungi will be able to grow around that framework into a fully functional human habitat – all while being safely contained within the habitat to avoid contaminating the Martian environment.”

Black-gloved hands holding small round dish with branching fibers on it.

A researcher holding a petri dish containing mycelia – the underground threads that make up the main part of a fungus – growing in simulated Martian soil, also known as Martian regolith. Image via NASA/ Ames Research Center/ Lynn Rothschild

A short, gray, bumpy squarish column.

A stool constructed out of mycelia after two weeks of growth. The next step is a baking process that leads to a clean and functional piece of furniture. The myco-architecture project seeks to design not only for habitats, but for the furniture that could be grown inside them as well. Image via 2018 Stanford-Brown-RISD iGEM Team/ NASA.

Could future moon homes be made of fungi?

Next time you brown bag mushrooms in the produce aisle, take a moment to ponder remarkable legions off unseen mycelia that one day might create mushroom cabins on the Moon.

Entre Ciel Et Terre – Between The Sky And Earth


I can’t think of a better way to welcome the new year than gorgeous timelapse from Adrien Mauduit at Night Lights Films. Timelapse photography is a immensely powerful artform, one capable of reinventing personal definitions of this place called Earth. Few do it better than Adrien Mauduit. Happy New Year from Notes.

In the words of Adrien Mauduit at Night Lights Films –

“There are only a few regions in the world where the skies meet the Earth with almost no distinction between the two. La Palma in the Canary islands is one of them. ‘Entre Ciel et Terre’ literally means ‘Between the sky and Earth’ and was a perfect fit here. While most of the volcanic island is isolated under a thick layer of clouds, the tip of its crater often punches through it and allows you to be one step closer to the Heavens. At an altitude of about 2300 meters above sea level you feel so far removed from any kind of civilization especially because of the cloud inversion. The air is thin and pristine and the living conditions are harsh but that’s the reason why the ORM (Observatory Roque de Los Muchachos) -operated by the IAC (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias) and part of the European Northern Observatory, was built up there. The summit of La Palma’s caldera benefits from dry and clear skies almost year round with almost no light pollution to disturb it, and only rare Calima (this dusty wind coming from the Sahara desert). It’s safe to say that the ‘Isla Bonita’ is one of the top places in the world to observe the northern hemisphere’s night sky!

The purpose of this short was to capture that special place from a different perspective. I really wanted to give the audience sort of a confusion as to where they are because that’s precisely the feeling you get when you look up at the stars from the mountains. You somehow lose sense of any orientation as if you were lost in the immensity of the universe! One image that I had in my head to describe La Palma’s summit was Asgard or Mount Olympus, where all the elements are united and blend together divinely. Even life found a way to survive in this environment bombarded by high-energy rays during the day and battered by cold winds at night. One highlighted species is the fascinating and mind-boggling Tajinaste flower. Also called Tenerife Bugloss or tower of jewels, this docile and resilient endemic plant can endure extreme drought. I included it in the movie because it looks majestic and prehistoric. It really adds something special to the special atmosphere I wanted to convey, especially when the milky way galaxy and the sea of clouds move in the background! By tracking the night sky or displaying the sequences upside-down I was able to give that impression of the Earth floating and rotating in the void of the cosmos. The unusual but innovative close-up views of some parts of the milky way (including the core, Rho Ophiuchi or Cygnus) moving behind the operating telescopes of the OMC helped me give that only human dimension to the movie. The use of an astro-modified camera also enabled me to almost get the full range of colors a DSLR can pick up on single frames from nebulae.

I already traveled to La Palma island in November 2017 but I really wanted to shoot there again for several reasons. First I really wanted to get more shots of the core region that would be less spoiled by light pollution than the ones I recently took on Tenerife. Secondly I desperately wanted to meet the extremely talented photographer Alyn Wallace (check him out: alynwallacephotography.com) and do a collaboration with him on the island. Thirdly I am still on my way of perfecting the novel art of deep-sky time-lapse and I wanted to reshoot some sequences that didn’t give satisfying results in the past. Finally I wanted to personally experience the Spring vibe of the island when all the plants are blooming and give that sweet smell to the air. I am absolutely thrilled to have met all my expectations (and more!), and I really believe the results look stunning!

Everything was recorded with the Canon 6D Baader modified, the Sony a7s, the Sony a7rII and a variety of bright lenses ranging from 14mm to 300mm. I used the Lonely Speck Pure Night and Matt Aust Light pollution filters to reduce light pollution and increase details, and also the Vixen Polarie to track the stars and get cleaner shots. Syrp Genie 3 axis system was used for motion control. All post production was made in Lr with the special timelapse plus plugin, Sequence for mac, TLDF, and final production was made in FCPX. I hope you like the movie as much as I liked shooting and processing it and I thank everyone of you for your support. All content is of course copyrighted AMP&F (except sountrack licensed through Envato Market), and no footage can be used in any way without the author’s permission. Please contact me for media and purchase inquiry. Please share and comment if you liked the video and follow me for more videos like this one! More at adphotography-online.com.”

Hunter’s Moon 2019


In honour of the full Hunter’s Moon this weekend – timelapse from Adrien Mauduit at Night Lights Films – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCC0CLzCpM6nuLSAi1JNBjkA

Hunter’s is an autumn moon, the first full moon of fall following the Harvest (full moon closest to the fall equinox) moon. https://earthsky.org/tonight/full-hunters-moon-from-dusk-till-dawn?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=45a5e032e7-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_02_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-45a5e032e7-393970565

Ponder origin of all named moons at the link below –

https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/moon/full-moon-names.html

Black Hole Visualization


This week NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center released a black hole visualization. Jeremy Schnittman, astrophysicist specializing in computational modeling of black hole accretion flows enlisted computer software to animate black hole glory. From https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2019/nasa-visualization-shows-a-black-hole-s-warped-world

Viewed from the side, the disk looks brighter on the left than it does on the right. Glowing gas on the left side of the disk moves toward us so fast that the effects of Einstein’s relativity give it a boost in brightness; the opposite happens on the right side, where gas moving away us becomes slightly dimmer. This asymmetry disappears when we see the disk exactly face on because, from that perspective, none of the material is moving along our line of sight.

Closest to the black hole, the gravitational light-bending becomes so excessive that we can see the underside of the disk as a bright ring of light seemingly outlining the black hole. This so-called “photon ring” is composed of multiple rings, which grow progressively fainter and thinner, from light that has circled the black hole two, three, or even more times before escaping to reach our eyes. Because the black hole modeled in this visualization is spherical, the photon ring looks nearly circular and identical from any viewing angle. Inside the photon ring is the black hole’s shadow, an area roughly twice the size of the event horizon — its point of no return.

“Simulations and movies like these really help us visualize what Einstein meant when he said that gravity warps the fabric of space and time,” Jeremy Schnittman, who created the images at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in a statement.

Simulated black hole.

Click in to see more angles. | The black hole is seen nearly edgewise in this new visualization from NASA. The turbulent disk of gas around the hole takes on a double-humped appearance. The black hole’s extreme gravity alters the paths of light coming from different parts of the disk, producing the warped image. “What we see depends on our viewing angle,” NASA said. Image via NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Jeremy Schnittman.

NASA creates stunning new black hole visualization

Hello Again, You Perfect Moon


Somewhere beyond rivulets of torrential rain assaulting the bedroom window, a full, plump harvest moon prickles with sunlit illumination. Consumed by late night melancholy, my heart aches for restorative lunar wonder. Doesn’t matter to me how often I’ve posted this video. I’ll do it again, and again and again because it makes me smile. This is my happy place – have you ever really seen the Moon?