Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
The Yaak Valley, one of the most remote places in the United States, is nestled in the northwest corner of Montana bordering Idaho and Canada, where the Rockies meet the Pacific Northwest. It’s a wilderness filled with incredible biodiversity — trees, rare orchids, wildflowers, grizzlies, wolves, coyotes, elk, moose and caribou. Bass, a geologist turned naturalist and short story writer, is one of only a hundred people who call the Yaak home. In this, his tenth book, Bass takes the reader on long walks through what can only be described as a spiritual place. With detail-rich prose, he relates the delicate rhythms that the valley’s fauna, fish, wildlife — as well as various human recluses — go through over the course of brutal winters, short, spectacular springs and picturesque summers and falls.
In these interconnected essays Bass shows how the Yaak forms a vital link to other near and far wild areas, one absolutely necessary for the survival of the migratory animals he has tracked over the years. Then he introduces us to the land-rapists. Pushed out of the Pacific Northwest, multi-national lumber conglomerates have recently become hellbent on clear-cutting the old growth in this unique but tourist-unfriendly valley, a place not deemed worthy of governmental protection. Bass describes how the United States Forest Service uses tax dollars to build roads into pristine forests so that logging companies can denude whole hillsides, then send the logs out of state, and frequently out of the country. Local communities are given a short-term economic boost, but then are saddled with long-term ecological disaster.
While this book is a cry for help, it is also a meditation, one often worthy of Thoreau. Bass, having moved to the wilderness to pursue a solitary life of art, wonders what happens when the last wild areas are destroyed, whether one can live and create without the “grace and magic” that exist only in wild ecosystems. He worries that when a society destroys all that is mysterious, it dooms itself. “We need wilderness to protect us from ourselves,” Bass warns in this passionate love letter to one of our last pristine lands, a paradise deserving of a country’s respect and protection.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.