Epic zoom – atom to galaxy

Animation, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Space

Animation of a zoom out from the inside of a single atom to the entire galaxy.

The first scene shows a single quark, one of three making up a proton (red) in the nucleus of an atom. The nucleus is surrounded by electron shells (blue). The atom is one making up one of the bases (green) in a DNA molecule, which itself makes up a chromosome (X shape) inside the nucleus (white) of a human cell (red). The cell is part of the heart, and the view pulls back from the person’s body showing the streets and buildings of Manhattan, New York City, USA. The pull back continues to show the Earth in its orbit around the Sun, with the orbits of the other planets shown. The Sun is just one of some 500 billion stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. The Milky Way is thought to be some 120,000 light years in diameter (about 1.14 zettametres, or 1.14×101 metres). The proton has a charge radius of between 0.84-0.88 femtometres, or 8.4×1016 metres.

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SPL’s clip of the week (space debris)

Animation, In the press, Space

Our visualisation of space debris has just been chosen as Science Photo Library‘s clip of the week.
Satellites are shown in red, everything else in blue (ranging from flecks of paint to entire discarded rocket stages). The space between geostationary orbit and the near-Earth orbits is relatively empty, but in the close-up at the end the number of pieces of debris and junk around the Earth is seen to be vast. This animation is created from data of 13,977 actual objects tracked by NORAD and is shown correct for 30th May 2013.

SPL’s Clip of the Week
Our stock images at SPL
Our stock animations at SPL – part 1
Our stock animations at SPL – part 2

Europa Penetrator animation

Animation, Engineering, In the press, Space

We’ve just finished this HD animation showing Astrium‘s design for a Europa Penetrator mission. The penetrator will be released from an altitude of around 200km, and after a de-orbit burn to cancel the orbital velocity, it goes into freefall, spins up for stability, and impacts into Europa at around 300mph. Once under the surface, the suite of on board instruments begin work (having survived the 25,000g of impact), including a drill to take samples, a microscope and mass spectrometer to analyse samples, as well as seismometers and radiation detectors.

Read more about the mission on Jonathan Amos’ blog at the BBC.

STRaND-1 nano-satellite

Animation, Engineering, Space

Our latest animation for Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, showing their STRaND-1 “nano-satellite” (34x10x10 cm).  It is powered by a HTC Nexus One smartphone, and this type of satellite is a low-cost technology test-bed for trialling new space hardware. It’s small enough to piggy-back on other satellites for launch.

Read more about STRaND-1