Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
The year 2013, if you choose to believe the rigorous data released yesterday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tied for the fourth-warmest on record. Although, if you listen to NASA instead, it was actually the seventh-hottest. Its precise ranking — influenced by differences in data processing — isn’t very important. When it comes down to it, both agencies are saying the same thing: Last year was unusually hot — one of the hottest since 1880 — and it followed a pattern in which unusually hot years are becoming the new normal.
Be it a polar vortex or a record-breaking heat wave, it’s not one unusual weather pattern we need to look at — it’s the progression of things getting more and more unusual over time. An animation of temperature anomalies over 130 years, provided by NASA, shows how that’s indisputably been the case. Note the growing number of red-colored zones where temperatures were warmer than average, which take over the map as time goes on. This is what scientists say when they emphasize the importance of long-term climate trends:
Lindsay Abrams is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email email@example.com.More Lindsay Abrams.
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.