When NASA isn’t sending spacecraft into the great unknown or snapping jaw-dropping photos of Saturn, apparently the agency spends its free time making GIFs. At least that’s what we have to imagine, now that NASA has debuted its very own Giphy page complete with over 450 highly entertaining GIFs.
— NASA (@NASA) December 8, 2016
The images the agency has chosen to upload showcase everything from equipment testing and rocket launches to facepalms and, well, whatever the hell this thing is:
What makes the collection particularly interesting is that, because of how Giphy’s individual GIF pages work, there’s really no description of exactly what we’re seeing in any given image. Sure, there are tags, so you might be able to decipher the identity of a planet, but many of them are still pretty mysterious.
For example, what exactly is this, and why am I looking at it?
And this sorcery?
Is this some kind of strange Ebola mutation?
Thankfully, most of the GIFs come with a source link that you can trace back and hopefully get a better idea of exactly what it is you’re watching, and why it’s so dang mesmerizing. For example, apparently that giant yellow mess you see above is the sun, so if that’s what you guessed, go ahead and give yourself a hearty pat on the back.
The huge collection is notable not just for its entertainment value, but as a matter of archival record. The animated images serve as a living timeline of the agency’s extraterrestrial adventures, and hopefully it will be continually updated in the future.