Sketchbook Page #3

In 1772, Captain James Cook set out on his second voyage of discovery aboard HMS Resolution.

vintage map
A chart of the south polar region by James Cook, tracing his second voyage of discovery, 1772–75.

In 1997, the women and men of the Cassini mission sent their spacecraft on its way to Saturn, where it explored a small, enigmatic moon. Enceladus. Simply, in my opinion, the most interesting place beyond Earth that we know of.

multimedia art
Location: Saturn | Mission: Cassini | Date: April 8, 2018 | Credit: Bill Dunford. Click to enlarge.

Sketchbook Page #2

When I came across this photo a few weeks ago it made me sigh. It contains the planet Saturn and, unseen, the Cassini spacecraft nearby. Three months later, to the day, the Cassini mission ended when the spacecraft intentionally plunged into the planet, never to return.

Like many who worked on the mission, my heart remains broken even now in a way that still surprises me.

mixed media page
Location: Earth (looking toward Saturn) | Mission: Cassini | Date: April 4, 2018. Credit: Bill Dunford. Click to enlarge.

Sketchbook Page #1

Consider the sky, shot through with stars, and–drifting unseen among them–the little mechanical ships we’ve set adrift like messages in a bottle.

mixed media art
Location: Earth (looking toward Pluto) | Mission: New Horizons | Date: March 28, 2018 | Credit: Bill Dunford. Click to enlarge.

Terra Cognita – Updated

See below for July 2015 update

When I first made this graphic, it included two unexplored worlds: Ceres and Pluto, and 2015 seemed impossibly far away.

Now here we are, and only one remains. Of course, all these places have centuries of exploration ahead, but the era of unveiling major worlds in our solar system for the first time is reaching its twilight, right before our eyes. I almost don’t want it to end.

Almost.

Terra Cognita
Some worlds of the solar system before and after they were explored by recent spacecraft.

Updated July 2015

Now this chart is complete. (But the exploration of the solar system is not.)

before and after
Some worlds of the solar system before and after they were explored by recent spacecraft.