This Space for Rent

Not Science Fiction

New Horizons takes a parting snapshot of Io and Europa

If someone had shown me this picture when I was a kid, it would have been impossible to convince me that it was anything other than a painting like you'd find on the cover of Analog (a magazine that, despite occasionally wandering off into some incredibly stupid pseudoscience, had a house style that very closely resembled this photo.) If you'd said "no, really, it's a picture that was sent back from an Earth spaceship," I would have laughed and made rude comments regarding ponies.

Well, things have changed and pictures like this are starting to become routine. This is a picture that New Horizons took a month ago as it headed away from Jupiter on the next stage of its trip out to Pluto and the Kuiper belt. There may not be any Martian princesses in our solar system, and Venus has proven to be just a little bit too warm to have the jungles that ERB wrote about, but there are still wonderful things that, provided we don't kill ourselves with global warming, my children might actually have a chance to see up close one day.

(via James Nicoll)