What Is This?

I thought it was a new image from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Then I zoomed out and screamed, running in circles like a headless chicken. It's not an image from the Moon. It's just something gross.

This is an Eutetramorium Mocquerysi, an ant from Madagascar—one of my future holiday destinations in Africa. We all have seen images of insects under the electronic microscope, but what makes this special is how it was made—using 400 high resolution pictures using a 400x electron microscope—and how you can zoom in and out of it—using Gigapan.

Gigapan—and the NanoGigaPan project—is like a Google Maps of extremely tiny things, a tool that allows you to zoom in the smallest of subjects until you can see all their naughty bits so close you can lick them. You can play with the ant here. [Nanogigapan via DRB]

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