Here, we have the Saturn V rocket, housed inside the Apollo/Saturn V Center at Kennedy Space Center near Titusville, Florida, just a few miles from Launch complex 39, where these beasts once roared into the sky.

     When we look at the enormous first stage of the Saturn V rocket, called an S-IC, we think “spaceship”. Truthfully, the Saturn V first stage never actually made it into space. The stage only burned for the first 150 seconds of flight, then dropped away from the rest of the rocket, all while remaining totally inside Earth’s atmosphere. The S-IC stage is merely an aircraft.

     Even more truthfully, the S-IC stage displayed here at the Apollo/Saturn V Center at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, never flew at all. It is a static test article, fired while firmly attached to the ground, to make sure the rocket would actually hold together in flight. Obviously, these tests were successful, (e.g. she didn’t blow up), and she sits on our Apollo museum today. I wrote more about this particular stage in a previous post, (click here to view.)

     The rest of the rocket, the second and third stages, called the S-II and S-IVB stages, did fly into space. The S-II put the manned payload into orbit, and the S-IVB was responsible for initially propelling that payload from earth orbit to the moon, an act called “trans-lunar injection” (TLI).

     The particular rocket in this display, except for the first stage, is called SA-514. 514 was going to launch the cancelled Apollo 18 and 19 moon missions.

     The command/service module (CSM) in the photos is called CSM-119. This particular capsule is unique to the Apollo program, because it has five seats. All the others had three. 119 could launch with a crew of three, and land with five, because it was designed it for a possible Skylab rescue mission. It was later used it as a backup capsule for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.


Dan Holdsworth - Blackout (2010)

"…Iceland’s southern landscape, a place dominated by glaciers permeated with so much basalt-black dust and grit as to be dark, not light. In this harsh, vast landscape where tectonic plates rip the earth’s surface violently apart and volcanic ash and glaciers collide, the detritus of the past is literally frozen into the present.

These glaciers are, however, rapidly melting away, an event which acts as a powerful quantifier of the environmental conditions of our time.

Inspired by the 1965 New York blackout, this series sees Holdsworth execute a double inversion, making black glaciers white to craft an alter-reality within the negative frame. This is a modern measure of time, a phenomenological encounter in which distortion of light heightens the other senses, disrupts awareness of duration, and compels us engage with the world in an entirely new way. His decision to abstract an already incomprehensible terrain enhances its alien qualities: black skies and a landscape that appears illuminated from within portray a place that is, geologically and conceptually, more akin to a lunar landscape than our own planet.

These images are a digital rendering of the technological sublime, documents of a planetary surface that confront us with the Other, shifting perspective and forcing us to see ourselves anew.”


Joshua Dudley Greer - Somewhere Along the Line

Artist’s statement:

"Early settlers imagined the New World as a pristine, uninhabited wilderness – a landscape of unparalleled beauty, magnitude and possibility. Yet the driving impulse of expansion was rarely to commune with nature, but more often a desire to carve a garden from these wilds and create a new civilization, unique from all others. Lines began to be drawn, initially through agriculture and settlements, then railways and cities, and eventually the road.

Today, the American landscape is carved up by nearly 4,000,000 miles of roadways that lead us to just about anywhere we need or want to be. The Interstate Highway System in particular has permanently altered the way we experience the landscape and in turn, each other.

The ideas of mobility, prosperity, community and growth, cornerstones of the American Dream, still motivate many of us to strike out on the road in search of something beyond what our daily lives provide. For some it may be a job or a lifestyle, for others an escape. Whatever the motivation may be, we are all visitors somewhere.”


Wingtip vortices are a result of the finite length of a wing. Airplanes generate lift by having low-pressure air travelling over the top of the wing and higher pressure air along the bottom. If the wing were infinite, the two flows would remain separate. Instead, the high-pressure air from under the wing sneaks around the wingtip to reach the lower pressure region. This creates the vorticity that trails behind the aircraft. I was first introduced to the concept of wingtip vortices in my junior year during introductory fluid dynamics. As I recall, the concept was utterly bizarre and so difficult to wrap our heads around that everyone, including the TA, had trouble figuring out which way the vortices were supposed to spin. A few good photos and videos would have helped, I’m sure. (Photo credits: U.S. Coast Guard, S. Morris, Nat. Geo/BBC2)


Many thanks to @MikeatPrinceton for sending me this tumblr page, that will guide you to “Art of Science”, a  exhibition site from Princeton University that explores the interplay between science and art, exactly the same philosophy who inspire this very blog. So I picked out some nice pictures from the 2013 gallery for this post, precisely these (from top to bottom and left to right):

- Light eddies

- Bridging the gap

- The history of gliding

- Electron turnstile

- Worm water slide

- Conducting path

Blossoming flame

- Hoodoos

- Tropical sunset