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S2_03: An interstellar flower delivery, seared steak in space, and drops of Jupiter in her hair

S2_03: An interstellar flower delivery, seared steak in space, and drops of Jupiter in her hair

Hello and welcome to a special themed edition of Tiny Wonderful Things. This issue comes to you from outer space, where my head was at for the last few months while I worked on my first poetry project, a chapbook of 19 poems each inspired by a different image I found on NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day Archives (featured here back in season 1). It's out today and you can get it at interstellarflowerdelivery.com. That was a brief sponsored post by me, now let's get on to what you're here for.

Today's featured image is a collage of 100 nebula all inside our milky way galaxy, collected by astronomical image processor and multimedia artist Judy Schmidt. (And to try wonder on for size, our milky way is just one of an endless expanse of galaxies, this image covering a piece of the sky the size of a grain of sand from earth.) I thought this looked like coloured jewels. A Redditor says "This looks like a bunch of bacteria under a microscope, maybe our universe is just a spec of bacteria under a someone else's microscope." Ah, what tiny wonderful things we are.

What's do stars and the deep dark smell like?

Last week, I featured a Tiktoker named lc who shared her fantasy sci-fi perfume line. Today, we're continuing on adventures in scent, the sense most linked with memory, with a short roundup of perfumes inspired by outer space—some a bit more literal (the actual smell of space is more like burning metal, seared steak, and...raspberries?) and others more creative interpretations.

  • Eau de Space launched with a viral Kickstarter campaign. It was developed by Steve Pearce who was contracted by NASA to recreate the actual smell of space (see above), with part of the proceeds to support K-12 STEM education. Now there's Eau de Luna, too, capturing the smell of the moon.
  • Ellis Brooklyn's Sci Fi is less "metal and steak" and more an ode to stellar science fiction, with notes of vanilla, green tea, and citrus.
  • From indie fragrance houses: Death and Floral has a creatively themed Astronaut collection and Alkemia's "The Center of the Universe" is rum and raspberries. Yum.
  • Luxury perfume house Xerjoff's Shooting Stars Collection is inspired by falling meteorites: each of the 17 perfumes takes its name from an actual meteorite and includes a meteorite fragment with purchase.

Charting the stars, computing poetry

A planisphere is an object, a "star chart analog computing instrument" which uses adjustable disks that rotate to display the stars at any given date and time. This one is an art piece by visual poet Monica Ong, who wrote, designed, and typeset it to reveal poetry.

Building galaxies in Minecraft

Metaverse, meet the universe. Players are building cosmic worlds and they're pretty astounding.

Maya Angelou's poem that flew to space

A Brave and Startling Truth flew to outer space on the Orion spacecraft in 1995. The Marginalian covers its inspiration and legacy, from Carl Sagan's landmark "pale blue dot" speech and later book based off the now-iconic image of earth as a lonely dot suspended in a sunbeam.

Taylor Swift's forgotten cover of Drops of Jupiter

This was recorded in 2011, when Taylor Swift was still an ingenue country artist than pop queen. I remember Train's original version, a song written after vocalist Pat Monahan dreamed that his mother came to him after dying from cancer having travelled across the galaxy with "drops of Jupiter in her hair". I'm no music critic but there's something very atmospheric about the way Taylor's voice carries so clear here. I was too young to get what this song meant then, but I do now.

May I interest you in more space sounds?

October Bonus: The horrifying sound of space

Well, I did say it was October, month of spooky vibes, didn't I? I can't think of anything more simultaneously awe-inspiring and terrifying as deep space. As in: the most anxious I've ever been watching a movie might've been when Sandra Bullock was floating into nothingness in Gravity (I relived this horror in another space movie that I can't remember the name of but it had basically the exact same plot). So in our special edition x Halloween month mashup, I'm closing out this issue with this.

A disclaimer: this isn't what space really sounds like. It's mixed in with other data, but it's closer than the myth that space is silent.

Okay, I lied. One more thing because it just doesn't feel right to leave you with "the cries of countless souls trapped in eternal darkness". For something still a little bit disconcerting but hopefully a little less terrifying:

The moon is drifting away from us

Space reporter Marina Koren writes about how we're growing apart from our beloved moon, through the lens of both science and romance.

.txt messages

A.K.A. Snippets, sweet somethings, lyrics, and hums

We have calcium in our bones,
iron in our veins,
carbon in our souls,
and nitrogen in our brains.

93 percent stardust,
with souls made of flames,
we are all just stars
that have people names.
—"93 Percent Stardust", Nikita Gill

P.S. If any of this whet your wonder, I've got more for you. I've compiled a list of my favorite astronomy and space curiosities and resources here from websites to books to films in Wonder Machine's first Cabinet of Curiosities. Enjoy!