The transmission of information through space is particularly interesting to me. All those awesome photos from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Mercury MESSENGER mission, and the Mars probes; all of that information was sent through the depths of interplanetary space back to Earth.
Let’s put it another way. A small robot orbiting or sitting on the surface of a planet hundreds of thousands to millions of kilometers away snapped a picture. Then that information was encoded and beamed back to a small, rather insignificant chunk of rock circling a class G star. The target of this transmission is moving through space and doing so while the origin of the transmission also moves through space.
Then we get to see that information, or the results of the information, from the comfort of our computers via the Internet.
But what happens if we can’t understand what we see because it’s in another language?
We simply take the information and transform it. In this case, we can look at the spectacular final photos of the Kaguya lunar probe. Why are they the final photos? Because the Kaguya was purposefully forced to crash into our moon. Problem is, the website containing these images is, as you might imagine, in Japanese.
No problem, thanks to a web page translator. Google Language, in this case, does the job for us. And while the translation is admittedly imperfect, you can still look and understand.
In short, you’re able to look at a webpage with complex information like that generated by a lunar probe and, even though that website was written in a language you didn’t understand, you can now.
It’s stuff like that which makes an amateur astronomer and information scientist titter with glee.