Category / Technology
As has often been the case this year, the tires played a big part in the outcome of this Grand Prix. The Pirelli’s lasted well on some cars, but got ripped to shreds on others. The Mercedes cars, for example, know how to utilize the tires to maximum effect during qualifying, which resulted in them being on the front row of the grid. However, during the race the Mercs kept dropping back while the Ferraris, Lotus Renaults and Red Bulls came steaming by. In the end it was Fernando Alonso who got to raise his home flag for the win.
Simple and efficient, rail travel nonetheless inspires a sense of romance. By train, subway, and a seemingly endless variety of trams, trolleys, and coal shaft cars, we've moved on rails for hundreds of years. Industry too relies on the billions of tons of freight moved annually by rolling stock. Gathered here are images of rails in our lives, the third post in an occasional series on transport, following Automobiles and Pedal power.
Robotic probes launched by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and others are gathering information all across the solar system. We currently have spacecraft in orbit around the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and Saturn, and two operational rovers on Mars. Several others are on their way to smaller bodies, and a few are heading out of the solar system entirely. Although the Space Shuttle no longer flies, astronauts are still at work aboard the International Space Station, performing experiments and sending back amazing photos. With all these eyes in the sky, I'd like to take another opportunity to put together a recent photo album of our solar system -- a set of family portraits, of sorts -- as seen by our astronauts and mechanical emissaries. This time, we have a great shot of comet Pan-STARRS between the Earth and Sun, some very sharp images from Mars rover Curiosity, a preview image of Comet ISON, potentially the "comet of the century", when it approaches in November, intriguing glimpses of Saturn and its moons, and, of course, lovely images of our home, planet Earth.
Back in November, the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) began Expedition 34, and entered into the 13th year of its continuous human habitation. Some of the research goals for Expedition 34 included investigations into the human cardiovascular system in microgravity, the gravity-sensing systems of fish, and the impact of changes in the sun's electromagnetic radiation on Earth's climate. The crew of six astronauts from the United States, Russia, and Canada also took hundreds of photographs of life aboard the ISS and the spectacular views from orbit. Collected here are scenes from Expedition 34, and a few from the current mission, Expedition 35.
Scientists in both the United States and Morocco are studying what it would be like for human beings to live on Mars. Reuters photographer Jim Urquhart spent time in the Utah desert at the Mars Desert Research Station observing a crew simulate what conditions would be like on the red planet. Researchers with the Austrian Space Forum in partnership with the Ibn Battuta Center spent time in the northern Sahara conducting experiments in engineering, planetary surface operations, astrobiology, and geophysics.
The second race of the 2013 Formula One season was another exciting affair. Rain, heat and sunshine were all invited to the party and especially the rain played it’s part in shaping the start of the race with Alonso driving into the back of Vettel’s Red Bull. It meant the Ferrari driver had to retire from the race.
Loads of tire changes and overtaking later Vettel was still leading but his team mate Webber was right behind him and the faster driver on the day. Red Bull, however, would not allow Mark to overtake Sebastian and a similar scenario was being played out between Hamilton in third and Rosberg in fourth. It meant a rather subdued podium and some much needed making up before the next race.
The Formula One season kicked off in style in Australia this weekend. The new cars and drivers posed for photographs before showing the world who was hot and who was not, but not before torrential rains forced qualifying to be postponed to the morning of the race. The race saw a little bit of rain, but not enough to turn it upside down. After all the laps had been raced Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen crossed the line first followed by Vettel and Alonso.
In the vast open spaces of southern Utah, Reuters photographer Jim Urquhart recently paid a visit to the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS). Built and operated by a space advocacy group called the Mars Society, the research facility is investigating the feasibility of human exploration of Mars, using the Utah desert's Mars-like terrain to simulate working conditions on the red planet. Since 2000, more than 100 small crews have served two-week rotations in the MDRS, conducting research in an on-site greenhouse, observatory, engineering area, and living space. Urquhart was able to accompany members of the Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission inside the MDRS facility, and on a simulated trip to collect Martian geological samples.
NASA's Mars rover Opportunity just celebrated its ninth anniversary on Mars - a mission that was originally meant to last just 90 days. Although recently eclipsed in the news by its bigger brother Curiosity, Opportunity is still going strong and making valuable scientific discoveries. Launched into space in 2003, Opportunity bounced to a hole-in-one landing in a small crater on Mars' Meridiani Planum on January 25, 2004. It has since spent 3,212 Martian days, or sols, on the surface, slowly moving from target to target, exploring craters, meteorites, unusual rock formations, and finding evidence of past water activity. Over the past 108 months, Opportunity has driven a total of 35.48 kilometers (22.05 miles) across Mars -- not bad for a mission designed to last only three months.
The lure of a good story on a big screen remains universal. Though we watch movies in new ways made possible by mobile devices, streaming services, and private copies, the social experience of gathering in the dark to be transported together in collective imagination is undiminished. Almost every country has an awards ceremony or film festival, making the upcoming Academy Awards just one of an endless parade for film lovers. Gathered here are images showing us watching, making, and celebrating the motion picture.