Another dragon. Canson makes a pretty great mixed media sketchbook — a nice surface for pencils that erases well, while just heavy enough to accept washes.
Some dragon designs for a new project I’ve started. Still deciding whether I want to go digital or traditional for this one. Flexibility versus comfort, same old battle.
Bluebirds at Huron Natural Area:
Warblers on the Bruce Peninsula:
Long-tailed Ducks on Colpoy’s Bay:
Thrushes and Northern Flicker:
Eastern Meadowlark and Savannah Sparrow from Grass Lake this past weekend.
White-throated Sparrows and a newly arrived Towhee made an appearance under the feeder yesterday.
“The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. On this shore, we’ve learned most of what we know. Recently, we’ve waded a little way out, maybe ankle-deep, and the water seems inviting. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”– Carl Sagan, Cosmos
Happy Carl Sagan Day! Apple pie and cosmos for all.
A handful of sketches from my holidays last week, fit in during the little bit of decent weather that broke on Friday. Fox Sparrows were a nice surprise.
At 10:31 PST on the evening of August 5th, 2012, the rover Curiosity will be gently lowered to the surface of Mars by a team of NASA-trained astropigeons.
Wait … that’s not right. She’ll hit the Martian atmosphere travelling at over 13,000 miles per hour, deploy a supersonic parachute 7 miles above the surface, shed her aeroshell (charred by the intense 2100°C atmospheric compression experienced during the descent), fire up a set of retrorockets to further slow herself down, navigate to her landing site, lower herself on a set of cables down to the surface from the hovering sky crane, and then simultaneously cut all of her tethers so that the rocket pack can safely fling itself off into the distance. And since it takes a good 14 minutes for signals from Mars to reach Earth, she’ll need to handle the full 7 minute landing sequence entirely on her own.
It’s going to be frikkin’ awesome.
There are a lot of potential points of failure here, and the whole process sounds completely insane to me. But it’s necessary to get the car-sized rover down to the surface — she’s just too big to rely on previous methods. Curiosity will be our best bet yet for finding evidence of life (past or present) on Mars, and she’s got some pretty cool toys on board. I am seriously looking forward to some HD video of Martian dust devils.
“Houston, Station, it looks like we got us a Dragon by the tail.” — Don Pettit, May 25, 2012
History was made yesterday as the SpaceX Dragon became the first commercial spacecraft to dock with the ISS (it was also the first American craft to arrive at the station since the retirement of the Shuttle program last year). Though this has been a demonstrational flight, the Dragon capsule also delivered supplies and hopes to begin carrying astronauts to the ISS within three years. The era of private spaceflight has officially begun. Exciting stuff!
Artwork done in PaintTool SAI. Textures courtesy of BittBox.