« Creating Multilingual Web Documents with Apache HTTPD | Main | Tom Swift and His Electric Runabout Now Online »

Sunday, January 16, 2005

A World, at Last

The images of Titan from Huygens are mind-boggling. I was there when Viking 1 landed on Mars (well, not on Mars, more's the pity, but in the Caltech auditorium where the first image came in line by line), and having seen the first Ranger and Surveyor images from the Moon, then, years later, the Soviet Venera images from Venus, one expected another tedious dead dry rock.


Here is a world where you look at the shoreline across the ocean (having no idea, so far, what liquid fills it, nor what solid upon which its waves break), and almost see where the cities would be at the mouths of the great rivers. After forty years of dessicated cratered deserts, blazing Hellscapes, and iceballs, here's a world with landscapes which invite you to found cities on the coast--time to re-read Clarke's Imperial Earth!

If you've seen only the processed, published images, you've missed the wonder of this world you'll see over the next few days. To explore it on your own, download the Zipped archive of images, extracted from the triplet raw images. Some of these images are blank, and most can be best viewed, before any custom image processing, by performing a histogram stretch or normalise, which will give you an idea what's in the image that less brutal processing can tease out.

Posted at January 16, 2005 02:15