On April 16, the European Space Agency will launch the most powerful infrared telescope ever cobbled together by mankind: Herschel. (Yeah, I’m kinda underwhelmed by the name, too.) Taking off from the ESA’s spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana, Herschel will scan the cosmos in search of water, on the assumption that H20=potential planets inhabited by little green men. The telescope will also study forming stars throughout the Milky Way and beyond, in an attempt to learn more about the life cycles of the universe’s glowing engines.
Video mock-ups of Herschel in action can be found here. And in case you missed, check out this awesome New York Times dispatch from the jungles outside Kourou, where the French Foreign Legion trains to protect the spaceport. Remember, no matter how awful things get during Depression v2.0, the Legion is always as an option—as long as you’re not afraid of caimans.