Exoplanets

Sometimes an infographic needs to put us in our place. Humanity is but one of many species on one of many planets in one solar system. Over at xkcd, we can see how only now are we beginning to expand our knowledge of how many other solar systems and planets there are (and that are just waiting to be discovered).

Exoplanets
Exoplanets

Credit for the piece goes to Randall Munroe.

Revisiting the End of the Shuttles

This is a post that goes back a little bit in time, but that I stumbled upon and found worth a post. Last summer the United States ended the Space Shuttle programme by retiring all of our orbiters. And of course this prompted many to attempt infographics about the history of bringing liberty and freedom to space.

Amidst the fond farewells, I missed this interactive piece from the Philadelphia Inquirer about the history and the future of Americans in space.

Interactive history
Interactive history

The interactive piece contains three separate sections. The first looks at the individual Americans who made it into space. The second compares the Space Shuttle to the Russian Soyuz craft that we now must use to get into space. The third looks at the future, and what we might use.

But, the Inquirer also had a print edition to worry about, and published a static version of the piece. Is it perhaps a bit cluttered, yes, but the addition of the photographs and the annotations (even though the annotations are available as rollover conditions in the interactive piece) makes the print version more welcoming to explore and read at leisure. Additionally, the difference in scale of the three segments of the piece give a clear importance to the individuals rather than to the technology. This distinction is lost in the interactive piece because each segment is the same size and receives the same scale of treatment.

Static shuttle
Static shuttle

Credit for the interactive piece goes to Kevin Burkett and Rob Kandel. Credit for the print piece goes to Kevin Burkett.

It’s Neither a Bird Nor a Plane. It’s a Space Shuttle. On Top of a Plane.

I loved the space shuttle. I mean how awesome is it that the lead ship of the class is named after the Enterprise from Star Trek. But seriously, it was a brick with little stub wings for gliding. It was not meant for flying. So now that all the shuttles are all retired—that’s a whole separate issue—how do they get from Kennedy Space Center to the various museums and installations?

Piggy back rides. On massive 747s. The Los Angeles Times made an infographic to explain just how the process works.

How to attach a space shuttle to a 747
How to attach a space shuttle to a 747

Credit for the piece goes to Tom Reinken, Raoul Ranoa, and Anthony Pesce.