As the mercury ticked upward in Portland, Ore., last month, I braced for my apartment to become unbearable.
Normally, my un-air-conditioned basement unit would be fine for the Pacific Northwest’s temperate summers. But these are not normal times.
Climate change has lengthened and intensified heat waves, pushing temperatures to unheard-of extremes. In Portland, a new all-time high was set three days in a row: First, 108 degrees Fahrenheit. Then 113 degrees. Then 116.
To my astonishment, the apartment stayed tolerable all weekend. The tile floors seemed to emanate coolness. The greenery surrounding my windows blocked direct sunlight and helped bring down the temperature of the outside air. I didn’t have a thermometer, but my guess is that the temperature inside never got above 80 degrees.
The following is a guest post by Micah Messenheimer, Curator of Photography, Prints & Photographs Division.
This week’s anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing provides a perfect opportunity to explore our holdings of lunar photography in the Prints & Photographs Division.
From the medium’s beginnings, the moon fascinated photographers as both a subject of scientific inquiry and as poetic muse. Early efforts to photograph the moon were often met with failure due to the low sensitivity of available materials.
Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre attempted photographs in his eponymous process around 1838 that were described as “fuzzy and low in details,” by his advocate, François Arago. Successful photographs of the moon using the daguerreotype process would not be made until over a dozen years later, when the celebrated Boston portrait photographer John Adams Whipple sought the assistance of Harvard astronomer William Cranch Bond and his son, George Phillips Bond.
Using the college observatory’s Great Refractor telescope, they captured the sphere in its waxing gibbous phase on March 14, 1851.
While humans have been struggling to control the Covid-19 pandemic, baking in record heat, and trying to figure out how not to run out of water, our spacecraft on Mars have been enjoying a rather more tranquil existence.
(Not needing to breathe helps.) Parked on the Martian surface, the InSight lander is listening for marsquakes, while the Perseverance rover is rolling around in search of life.
This week, scientists are dropping an Olympus Mons of findings from the two brave robots. In three papers published today in the journal Science—each authored by dozens of scientists from around the world—researchers detail the clever ways they used InSight’s seismometer to peer deep into the Red Planet, giving them an unprecedented understanding of its crust, mantle, and core.
It’s the first time scientists have mapped the interior of a planet other than Earth. And yesterday, another group of scientists held a press conference to announce early research results from Perseverance, and the next steps the rover will take to explore the surface of Jezero Crater, once a lake that could have been home to ancient microbial life.