Ever since NASA established its history program in 1959, the agency has periodically compiled the world’s aeronautics advances into a single report. Assembled mostly from press releases and news stories, the documents recount coverage of budget negotiations alongside milestones like the shuttle program and the moon landing. Data illustrators at the Office for Creative Research distilled the trove of reports from 11,000 pages and 4.9 million words into just over 4,000 discrete phrases. Their illustration charts the frequency of some of the most important terms, colored by topic and arranged by time, and presents a new view of how NASA took humanity to the stars.
This a page from the Bible of Stephen Harding, a manuscript produced in the early 12th century (Dijon, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 14). These scenes, which recount the life of biblical King David, read like a contemporary comic book: from top to bottom and left to right, with captions on top of each image (and sometimes within the images). It is one of the earliest, and most striking, examples of comic-like medieval pages.
Today is your last chance to watch Venus cross the face of the Sun before 2117, so don’t miss it. The event occurs so infrequently that the last transit, prior to the one in 2004, occurred all the way back in 1882.
Until relatively recently, the most common way of capturing snapshots the sky was by means of glass, photographic plates. In 1882, astronomer David Peck Todd used a series of these plates to capture the transit of Venus. Over a century later, astronomers Anthony Misch and Bill Sheehan recovered these long-forgotten plates from storage, and combined them to form the video below, reanimating what they call “a moving record of an event seen by no one now living, and a preview of what millions” will soon see for the last time in their lives: