Carolyn Crow, UCLA graduate student and center of the solar system.
Someday, when we have space telescopes that can narrow in on the exceedingly weak light from incredibly distant planets around other stars, what will we do with those precious photons?
If you want to know, read the latest web feature and watch the video from NASA Goddard. I wrote the feature, “Using planet colors to search for alien Earths.”
I also had a chance to sit in on the studio work that produced the video featuring Carolyn Crow, a young scientist who led the research on planet colors. (She is currently a graduate student at UCLA.) As commonplace as green-screen technology is today, it’s movie magic that never fails to impress — especially when used as cleverly as it is in this video.
Producer/director Scott Wiessinger created a colorful digital landscape in which Crow strolled among the planets of our solar system in a modern version of Gulliver’s Travels. NASA/Goddard astrophysics writer Frank Reddy provided a concise and clear script.
Here is a behind-the-scenes peek at the movie magic.
Carolyn Crow stands ready to gesture at imaginary planets on Goddard TV’s green screen stage. To eliminate shadows and get the best results from the green screen process, the stage is brightly lit.
Carolyn after being inserted into a digital landscape with starry background and planet Earth.
And here is the final result:
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________ OH AND DID I MENTION?All opinions and opinionlike objects in this blog are mine alone and NOT those of NASA or Goddard Space Flight Center. And while we’re at it, links to websites posted on this blog do not imply endorsement of those websites by NASA.
Mike A’Hearn at the University of Maryland headed the Deep Impact science team, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California managed the project. So why is gogblog nattering on about Deep Impact?
One Goddard connection to Deep Impact is asteroid and meteorite scientist Lucy McFadden. She was a member of the Deep Impact science team and led the mission’s education and public outreach effort. She recently joined Goddard as Chief of University and Post-doctoral Programs. Although her job here is administrative, she remains an active researcher.
In Deep Impact’s present configuration, the Goddard links increase.
First, some brief background. The spacecraft is very much alive, and it’s still working for planetary science. The reincarnation of Deep Impact is called EPOXI. It’s actually two missions in one: the Extrasolar Planet Observation and Characterization (EPOCh) mission and the Deep Impact Extended Investigation (DIXI).
EPOCh scrutinized a small number of stars in order to learn more about planets that we know are orbiting those stars, and to search for clues to other planets that might be orbiting the same stars. It also imaged Earth to get insights into how we might recognize an Earth-like world around another star. DIXI will study comet 103P/Hartley 2 during a November 2010 encounter.
McFadden is now working with EPOCh’s observations of Earth — more on this in a future blog post. And Goddard’s Drake Deming, a leading exoplanet scientist, heads the EPOCh component of EPOXI.
Yep, that’s a lot of acronyms. A little confusing, even. But stay tuned, because you’ll be seeing them more often in the future in the science press and on gogblog.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________ OH AND DID I MENTION?All opinions and opinionlike objects in this blog are mine alone and NOT those of NASA or Goddard Space Flight Center.