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Archive for August, 2007

A Mixed Bag for August

Friday, August 31st, 2007
Dunes of Mars
Dunes of Mars by Jim Plaxco

Did you ever notice how time can just slip away from you? That’s what happened to me this month. So here I sit at 11:30pm on a Friday night working up a posting just so August does not pass without my having said anything.

So what have I been doing? Well following my last post here, I wrote a book review for the National Space Society’s web site which was the featured Non-fiction Book of the Month. The book that I reviewed, Utilization of Space, was a rather arduous read but well worth it. I just finished writing another book review – this time ISScapades: The Crippling of America’s Space Program by Donald A. Beattie. That review should be up on the NSS web site some time in the next several days.

Graphically, my time was split between experimenting with graphics effects using Photoshop, creating a digital painting of a total solar eclipse, and working with both Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter image files.

The image above, “Dunes of Mars”, is a Mars Global Surveyor Narrow Angle Camera image of dunes near the north pole of Mars. For this image, I spent most of my time experimenting with coloring methods as all MGS NA images are 8 bit grayscales. All work was performed using Adobe Photoshop. In the end I was quite pleased with the colorization I achieved. My next task is to update my Mars Art Gallery for which I have a rather large backlog of MGS and MRO images waiting to be posted.

To close, I would like to quote from science fiction author and visionary Arthur C. Clarke: “The astronomical artist will always be far ahead of the explorer. They can depict scenes that no human eye will ever see, because of their danger, or their remoteness in time and space.” Fortunately Mars no longer falls into this category.

Ad Astra, Jim

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