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Carnival of Space No. 381

Welcome to the latest edition of the amazing Carnival of Space. Each week the Carnival brings you a collection of articles about all things space. Tune in each week to learn the latest happenings in astronomy, space science and space flight. Are you ready for some science? Let’s go!

This weeks Carnival starts with this article from IO9 about the crew swap on the ISS:

It’s time for a crew swap on the International Space Station, with astronauts Reid Wiseman, Alexander Gerst, and Max Suraev returning home on an almost-perfect landing.

Next up, Universe Today has a pair of articles about planets. First a look at one in our solar system, followed by a look at the instruments we are building to find more:

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Gets Its Color From Sunlight, Study Suggests

NASA’s Next Exoplanet Hunter Moves Into Development

Continuing with the look at deep space, we move to the Chandra X-Ray Telescope’s page and their articles looking at Neutrinos and possible sources for them:

A Lighthouse at the Heart of the Milky Way: Hunting Cosmic Neutrinos

NASA X-ray Telescopes Find Black Hole May Be a Neutrino Factory

CosmoQuest also looks deep into the heavens by examining stars that apparently are not bound in a galaxy:

Cosmic Castaways’ Orphaned Stars Lighting Up the Universe in New Numbers

Returning to our Solar system, we find a great article over at the Meridian Journal that looks deeper into the Cassini mission’s study of Titan and its oceans:

Cassini plumbs the depths and new mysteries of Titan’s seas

Speaking of our planets, the Lunar and Planetary Institute has a few images up on their flickr account. These are NASA press release images along with captions:

10 NASA press release images with captions. Images of Mars, Mercury, the Moon, Saturn’s moons, and the Earth.

Everyday Spacer has a couple of great posts. Get your free printables and find out just how old you would be on other planets:

Just for fun this week, Everyday Spacer offers Free Printables in one post

And we write about our new app in another: When is Your Birthday? On Any Other Planet, it Would be Different!

What happens when we see quasars start lining up? The Space Writer take a look at this celestial event

Quasars Aligning: It’s not some New Age Stunt!

The space section over at has a great story on Comet 67 and the discoveries being made there:

A look at discoveries at Comet 67 by Carolyn Collins Petersen, Space/Astronomy Expert at

We cap off the Carnival with a pair of news items from Next Big Future. They take a look at synthetic biology and the rise of companies looking at incredible things such as life extension companies.

Synthetic biology can be very useful to harness available volatiles and waste resources on manned missions to explore the Moon and Mars…Because of the benign assumptions involved, the results provide a glimpse of the intriguing potential of ‘space synthetic biology’, and help focus related efforts for immediate, near-term impact.

“If the plans of Google and related companies and projects like Calico and the GoogleX and Solve for X projects, come to fruition then the influence of Great Companies will be far more important for shaping the future. Calico could be one of the companies that enables radical life extension…”

The amount of information packed into the articles this week has been amazing. If you missed last week’s episode, you can find it over at Links Through Space. Tune in next week for the next exciting Carnival hosted over at Everyday Spacer. I know those of us at Photos To Space will be tuning in. Until next time…



Carnival of Space Number 368

Last week, Everyday Spacer gave us a complete buffet of space happenings. This week we continue the trend with a plethora of space related articles. Grab your astronaut bib, favorite browser and enjoy the bounty!

First up, TheSpacewriter writes about the “Beam Me to Mars” shoutout fundraiser for science research and education.

Carolyn Collins Petersen presents a first look at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for readers of’s astronomy and space section.

Bruceleeeowe explores the possibilites of space colonization by sending SRSPs(Self Replicating Space Probes) into deep space.

The wonderful website, Universe Today brings us a couple of awesome articles:

When Saturn is at its closest to Earth, it’s three-quarters of a billion miles away — or more than a billion kilometers! That makes these raw images from the ringed planet all the more remarkable.

Calling all meteorite collectors and enthusiasts! There’s a hot space rock at large and, as Indiana Jones would say, it belongs in a museum. Perhaps you can help put it back in one.

Continuing the doubling trend we have a second set of twins. Along with other great news and reads from, comes this pair of stories:

Engineers unfolded the James Webb Space Telescope’s spine in the world’s largest clean room in preparation for decking it with mirrors like a giant, glittering Christmas tree.

While terrestrial humans tolerate stinky, sticky garbage trucks, our astronaut brethren opt for something much more beautiful for their disposal runs. This streak of fire across the night sky is the burning of the Cygnus spacecraft, dirty laundry, and other junk. On the flip side, garbage day is a lot less frequent.

From Stereo Moons comes this nice little read about how new science can come from old data:

Dr. Paul Schenk looks back at the Voyager Program. He announces a new Triton map and a movie recreating 1989 Voyager Flyby. Some great photos of the last days of involved in the Voyager Program’s grand tour.

The Meridian Journal continues its reporting on all things stellar by looking some amazing things going on at Saturn:

Space dust indicates ancient origin for Saturn’s rings.

Crossing just over the 50% mark on this week’s Carnival we have The Next Big Future with series of four of great science articles for your reading enjoyment.

1) Harold White spoke about his studies for NASA on creating detectable warps in space and on the Emdrive tests.

2) Dr. Gerald Cleaver discusses Matter-Antimatter Propulsion and Icarus Interstellar. He presented on the February 12th colloquium for the SAIC Technical Speaker Forum at NASA-Johnson Space Center in Clear Lake, Texas.

Cleaver had been requested to speak on two topics:
(i) Icarus Interstellar, including its history, mission and ongoing projects, and
(ii) his related past research with Richard Obousy on theoretical string theory realization of the Alcubierre warp effect and on his present research regarding in situ matter/antimatter production for starship thrust.

3) Seth Shostak describes a very large optical interferometry space telescope array:

“Using interferometry to pool data from thousands of small mirrors in space spread out over 100 million miles to image exoplanets 100 light years away down to 2 meter resolution.

“At 100 light-years, something the size of a Honda Accord subtends an angle of a half-trillionth of a second of arc. In case that number doesn’t speak to you, it’s roughly the apparent size of a cell nucleus on Pluto, as viewed from Earth.”

4) A 90 minute feature film quality production will be produced and it is funded by kickstarter. It is called Star Trek Axanar. It will show the Battle of Axanar which was mentioned in an old series episode. It is the story of Captain Garth. Garth of Izar.

CosmoQuest is bringing citizen science to DragonCon 2014! See where we’ll be Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, Georgia.

Steve Shurtleff at PhotosToSpace wraps up this week with a look at some of the reasons we go to great lengths to study the sky: On Male Bonding, Philosophical Voids, and the Magnetosphere

Whew! That’s a lot of great reading material. We hope you have enjoyed this week’s Carnival of Space. Tune in next week when Urban Astronomer will be hosting another round of space news and articles you are sure to love.


Is It Time To Feel Upbeat About Space Again?

When the Space Shuttle stopped flying a couple years ago, many in the public had the thought that space flight was over. Those in the industry knew that not to be the case, but in space, as in many situations, perception becomes the reality no matter how successful we may be. A lot of hard work has moved the bar forward with NASA’s work on the Space Launch System. SpaceX unveiled the Dragon Version 2 and Sierra Nevada has the DreamChaser. Additionally, the number of rocket companies adding to the ‘win’ column for progress continues to grow. That is the reality.

The perception is that space is passe or doomed. We are currently dependent on Russia to get our personnel to the space station. The current situation in the world has some worried that we won’t be able to launch space bound vehicles soon, as we can no longer get the rocket engines we need. Space, as the public has seen it, is not exciting any more.

That perception of space flight, coupled with the ugliness of reality – multiple wars, religious and political upheaval, as well as nature gone venge-binge on us humans – and the future seems very bleak indeed. The future it seems is not very bright.

Along comes a film…

The recent surprise hit, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, has struck a chord with the public. Here is a movie (I highly recommend seeing it) that turns the gloom and doom into something fun and exciting. This is a space film that gives a bit of hope. It is light hearted and carefree. Space is the backdrop to ordinary people doing incredible things. The movie magicians at Marvel created a film that resonates with its audience. This is having a rather interesting effect on the public’s view of the space community.

Star Wars, Take Two

We have been here before. The world seemed bleak and dreary once upon a time in the past, as it does again now. The war in Vietnam was a disaster, the Watergate scandal brought a U.S. President to his knees. The oil embargos had left many trapped in a dour reality. And then ‘Star Wars’ came out. It brought something the public had never seen before. It resonated the idea that space travel was something that could be done. It really did bring a sense of hope to public. The idea that people could live and work in space (despite the fantasy of it all) struck a chord. The world seemed a bit brighter after you saw the film.

Now, I am not saying that the world will change by watching a movie. Far from it. But a movie like ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, just like “Star Wars” before it, touches a nerve. They both bring back the idea that we can reach for the stars. This is where we belong. Living and working among the Cosmos.

Maybe it is just coincidence that the news about space seems to be looking up. The public is recognizing all the work that is going on – from building space craft to rovers on Mars to robots around comets. It seems Space is ‘cool’ again. And that is something to feel upbeat about.


Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment Group


Carnival Of Space Number 364

Welcome to the 364th edition of the Carnival of Space. We have a lot of great articles for you this week with more being added all the time. If you missed last week’s edition, you can check it over at the Chandra X-Ray Observatory’s web site.

We start this week off with an article from the Urban Astronomer. From the article:

“On 20 July, I joined a group of volunteers to time an asteroid occultation. In this article, I talk about the experience, what occultations are, why it’s useful to time them and how we managed to achieve such high precision.”

Next up, Universe Today has a trio of great articles for us to peruse. They cover everything from Mars, to Rosetta to the Dream chaser.

“NASA has no scheduled Mars science orbiters after MAVEN arrives on the Red Planet in the fall,” the agency warned in a press release. “This creates the need to identify cost-effective options to ensure continuity of reliable, high-performance telecommunications relay services for the future.”

ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft is just over a mere two weeks away from its arrival at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (which has recently surprised everyone with its binary “rubber duckie” shape) and the excitement continues to grow — and rightfully so, since after ten years traveling through the Solar System Rosetta is finally going to achieve its goal of being the first spacecraft to orbit a comet!

The winged Dream Chaser mini-shuttle under development by Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) has successfully completed a series of risk reduction milestone tests on key flight hardware systems thereby moving the private reusable spacecraft closer to its critical design review (CDR) and first flight under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program aimed at restoring America’s indigenous human spaceflight access to low Earth orbit and the space station.

After our big trio, we follow up with a pair of articles from last week’s Carnival host, Chandra X-Ray Observatory:

Reflections on Chandra’s 15th anniversary from former director Harvey Tananbaum.

A conversation with former Chandra X-ray Center director about his career before, during, and after Chandra.

In addition to the two articles from Chandra, they are also working with Smithsonian researchers to understand how color affects perception & aesthetic appreciation of astronomy images. They could use your help by taking a 10 minute survey.

Here. There. Everywhere. takes their exhibit to Sioux City, Iowa. The following write up covers what they did while visiting the city recognized as one of the best places to live.

Here, There & Everywhere Exhibit visited Sioux City, Iowa in April 2014

The article pairs just keep on coming! This next set is from CosmoQuest. The first one takes a look at the Dawn spacecraft data. That’s followed up with a look at the Night Sky Network.

Dawn data is used to take a peek at Vesta’s interior, and its structure continues to surprise us.

Calling all US astronomers! How can the Night Sky Network help your organization in the next few years?

Our final pair of articles comes from that wonder of the internet, They take a look at what NASA does to compete at Comic Con. They also take a look at the ISEE crowd sourced science space mission.

NASA competes with movie stars to fill a room to capacity at San Diego Comic Con. How? By talking about the Next Giant Leap in human space exploration with Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

ISEE-3 is now the first crowd funded, crowd sourced, citizen science space mission.

Coming into the home stretch we have Pam Hoffman of Everyday Spacer explaining the reasoning behind their Meetups:

“I want to spend more time and energy helping as many people as possible go there, and elsewhere, as soon as possible! That’s why I created the Everyday Spacer meetup. We find and create events and encourage members to participate in the exploration of space however they can.”

We finish this weeks Carnival with a Photos To Space look at what happens when movies and science collide.

Faster than a speeding bullet, huh? What do Superman, Indiana Jones and the USS Enterprise all have in common? Physics – and it’s all relative in this look at the Intuitor web site.

That’s it for the Carnival this week. Tune in next week when the AARTScope Blog will be hosting. Until then keep you eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground. Unless you want to be an astronaut. Astronauts are COOL! Just saying.



Carnival of Space Number 360

Welcome to the latest edition of Carnival of Space. This week’s collection of articles looks into our political past, explores deep space and looks at what the future may hold for humans. Let’s get started.

First up is an article about the political history of the Apollo program:

A brief political history of the Apollo program.

Universe Today brings us our next trio of articles, starting with a look at supermassive black holes:

In a galaxy four billion light-years away, three supermassive black holes are locked in a whirling embrace. It’s the tightest trio of black holes known to date and even suggests that these closely packed systems are more common than previously thought.

NASA’s Curiosity rover celebrated a milestone anniversary today, June 24 – 1 Martian Year on Mars!

The violent blazer 3C 454.3 is throwing a fit again, undergoing its most intense outburst seen since 2010. Normally it sleeps away the months around 17th magnitude but every few years, it can brighten up to 5 magnitudes and show in amateur telescopes.

What does it mean to be human when considering long term spaceflight? , Next Big Future takes a in-depth look into just that question:

Transhumanism is overly fixated on technology for the individual. etting big technology like reusable space craft, Spiderfab robotic construction in space, cheap nuclear fission and nuclear fusion for energy and propulsion would enable the survival of humanity against any natural disaster.

A Kardashev 1.5 civilization (ie with nuclear fusion propulsion and molecular nanotechnology) could not be killed even by a sun going Nova. Spaceships and powered asteroids could move away from the star and use water and materials in asteroids and comets.

The Enhancement of people and plants for space and for long duration space travel would be what matters, not temporary status inequality or democratic systems.

In the long run, getting and using the technology for easy and cheap interplanetary movement and then having the resources of a solar system (trillions of times what is on Earth) is what is needed to enable going interstellar.

A solar system economy trillions of times larger is one where individuals can reach greater heights. Earth is like a tiny Pacific island and the World is the solar system. A spacefaring, super high technology economy is where we will need enhanced people and systems.

Being able to do this is what can make human civilization immortal.

Enhanced individuals need to be within a technological civilization in order to keep getting the treatments for longevity. They must be within an immortal (growing, thriving and learning) technological civilization.

Next up, the Chandra X-Ray website brings us a pair of intriguing stories to read:

A new study reporting evidence for a mysterious X-ray signal in galaxy clusters

Mysterious X-Ray Signal Intrigues Astronomers

Carolyn over at brings us a great article on Dark Matter:

Dark Matter 2014: The Latest on this Mysterious, Invisible Cosmic “Stuff”

Finally we close this week with an article from discussing an impact of galatic proportions:

What happens when two galaxies collide. Let’s take a look at the Antennae galaxy!

That wraps up this edition of the Carnival hosted here at Photos to Space. Tune in next week for another exciting edition.


Carnival of Space Number 346

Welcome to the Carnival of Space, Episode 346.

There is a lot going on in our corner of the universe this week so let’s get right to it.

We star with an article from Dear Astronomer about some potentially bad news. Frequent visitors to the NASA Live ISS Telemetry website ( ) have spotted an official notice stating the site will be shutting down in two weeks. Learn how you can show your support for this site, and try to help prevent its shutdown.

Some stars take a licking and keep on ticking. The Chandra X-ray website looks at a star that took a beating and lived to tell the tale. Hardy Star Survives Supernova Blast.

The Chandra site also has news about their new leader. Dr. Belinda Wilkes Chosen To Lead The Chandra X-Ray Center.

The Urban Astroner takes some reader questions and provides some awesome answers. A reader wrote to ask whether space is a hot place, or cold. Urban Astronomer explains how it can be both.

Now that is what I call MEGA Pixel. Or in this case super-duper-mega-pixel. A mosaic composed from over 10,000 images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The LRO team reveals a Gigapan view of the Moon.

CosmoQuest continues with a look at the happenings at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Check out their MoonMappers results available at the site. CosmoQuest’s contributions to this week’s Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, plus where you can catch up on all the conference tweets.

Universe Today brings us a pair of near Earth articles. The first deals with the latest radiation findings in Earth orbit. Earth’s inner radiation belt displays a curiously zebra-esque striped pattern, according to the latest findings from NASA’s twin Van Allen Probes.

In space, life is a lot of hard work with a great view. But, when there’s a Dragon spacecraft coming your way at the International Space Station, you’d better be ready to grapple it with a robotic arm. For if there’s a crash, you will face “a very bad day. Universe today’s second article take at look at what goes into catching a Dragon.

The Meridian Journal takes a critical lens to the new Cosmos series. With all the hype surrounding it, does the show live up to its potential? Cosmos 2.0: a space science classic rebooted for the 21st century – a review.

Follow an Astronomy trip through the some of the most beautiful terrain on planet Earth. CAMBODIA POST #6 is the last in a series of 6 posts on Astronomy in Cambodia. Enjoy all the posts and pictures on Links Through Space.

Finally, we top of this week’s entries with another article from Urban Astronomer. This time an answer to a reader’s question about Blue Moons. The mystics and the prophets are making a lot of noise about Blood Moons. A reader wants to know what that is, and Urban Astronomer tries to figure it out.

That’s it for this edition. Be sure to look for more Carnival of Space – coming next week from a website near you!


Carnival of Space Number 341

Welcome to the Carnival of Space. Each week we explore the universe around us from Earth to the Moon and beyond. This week brings us many great and diverse articles from around the globe.

Sit back and enjoy the show!

First up we have a pair of articles from Universe Today discussing different aspects of Mars. One looks at the people daring to take a one way trip, the other looks at the evidence regarding a specific meteor impact.

Who Wants A One-Way Trip To Mars? Meet Three People Applying For Mars One

Experts Question Claim Tunguska Meteorite May Have Come from Mars

Moving on, we have a trifecta of space information provided by The Next Big Future. Two of the articles look at Escape Dynamics and their work. The third article looks at Elon Musk’s dream of getting to Mars.

Details on Escape Dynamics and their microwave power beaming approach to launching spacecraft single stage to orbit.

Escape Dynamics and their presentation at Google Solve for X.

Elon Musk describes his plans for a large Mars colonization rocket in about 2024. “Then we need to develop a much larger vehicle which would be sort of what I call a large colonial transport system. This would really be – we’re talking about rockets on a scale, a bigger scale than has ever been done before, that make the Apollo Moon rocket look small. And they would have to launch very frequently as well.”

There has been a lot of talk about water having once flowed on Mars. Rovers currently on the planet have discovered many places showing that water once flowed. The Meridian Journal looks at the evidence for water flowing on Mars right now.

New evidence for possible flowing water on Mars

Continuing the water theme, has a great article on the tantalizing evidence for water on worlds very far away.

Hubble Space Telescope observations have been used to find water on five different distant exoplanets

Despite the many advances in science and education, it seems some people still have trouble with basic facts. The Space Writer looks at some sobering facts.

TheSpacewriter asks how it is people don’t know Earth orbits the Sun?

The beauty of the night sky can be viewed by practically anyone, anywhere on this wonderful planet of ours. The web site Links Through Space brings a collection stories aout their clubs travels.

Follow our Astronomy club Toutatis in our travels through Cambodia. A series of 6 posts on 6 different topics related to Astronomy. Great posts and great pictures.

The concept of exploration is, as far as we can tell, a uniquely human trait. Kimberly Kowal Arcand of the Chandra X-ray Center brings us a blog entry showcasing student exploration.

The Clearwater Valley High School Library & Grangeville High School Library in Idaho hosted the Here, There & Everywhere exhibit for January 2014. Specifically focusing on how physics relates to our everyday world, the hands-on activities were the biggest hit with students and adults.

We close this week with a look out into deep space. Namely, how do we hope to get there? Photos To Space takes a reader suggestion and looks at the future of deep space transport.

What kind of starships will take us beyond the solar system? We take a look at some of the technology beinf developed to create engines that will drive future spacecraft.

The Carnival of Space is brought to you by a dedicated group of space enthusiasts. Check out previous issues and visit the host sites regularly. There is a lot going on in the Universe. The Carnival is a good way to keep up.

Until next time…


Carnival of Space Number 336

This week’s Carnival of Space is an abundant source of space goodness this week with no less than 18 great articles! There is so much to read about. Let’s get to it.

First up is a Spanish story about a soon to be supernova found by Hubble.

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, it has been discovered a star that will be a supernova in the future. It name is SBW1. The article speaks about it and the supernovae. The article is written in spanish.

The Google translation can be found here:

A little closer to Earth is a nice article about comet Siding Spring:

Astroswanny checks in on the progress of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring, and finds it sporting a nice little tail at Mag 14-15. Comet Siding Spring was the first comet discovered in 2013. The first Asteroid discovered in 2014 also made the headlines.

A pair of articles from Universe Today have a diverse set of offerings. One post covers an unusual stellar group while the second looks at NASA’s ISS extension.

If you’re looking for something truly unique, then check out the cosmic menage aux trois ferreted out by a team of international astronomers using the Green Bank Telescope (GBT). This unusual group located in the constellation of Taurus includes a pulsar which is orbited by a pair of white dwarf stars. It’s the first time researchers have identified a triple star system containing a pulsar and the team has already employed the clock-like precision of the pulsar’s beat to observe the effects of gravitational interactions.

NASA announced today that the Obama administration has approved NASA’s request for an extension of operations for the International Space Station for an additional four years to 2024. This means work on board the orbiting laboratory will continue at least for another decade.

Next Big Future provides the cosmic (comic) relief this week with a great article about some political encounters. It all sounds completely alien to me.

On a more serious note, NBF completes a quintet of articles covering advancements from Orbital, Golden Spike and SpaceX.

There has not been enough comedic material coming from the Crack Smoking mayor of Toronto Rob Ford in the last few days. So former Canadian politician Paul Hellyer is picking up the slack. It is also still being broadcast from Toronto. Former Canadian Defence minister Paul Hellyer went on television and declared that not only do aliens exist but that they walk amongst us and are responsible for some of our modern technology. Among these tech gifts are the microchip, LED light and Kevlar vest.

Hellyer, who served as Canada’s Minister of National Defence in the 1960s, went on Russia Today’s program SophieCo to speak more about extraterrestrials.

Hellyer’s claim that we don’t have more alien technology because we treat each other poorly. Hellyer claims that there are about 80 alien species with representatives on Earth.

Orbital Sciences successfully launched a resupply mission to the space station on Jan 9.

Golden spike is working on robotic lunar rovers

SpaceX had its second successful commercial launch in 35 days

Golden spike has details mission plans and cost estimates for returning to the moon using existing technology for about $6.4 billinon to replicate the Apollo 11 mission and $1.5 billion for the equivalent of each of the Apollo 12, 14, 15, 16, 17 missions.

And the specials at the Carnival just keep coming. This article details the power of black holes. Get it while it’s hot!

2-for-1 blog special! Peter Maksym and Davide Donato talk about evidence for a black hole ripping a star apart in a dwarf galaxy.

This next article covers a bit of innerspace and how we humans see patterns.

The phenomenon where our brains find seemingly significant patterns in images or sounds.

Could there be more than one Earth in the cosmos? Scientists may be closer to finding out.

‘Super-Earth’ exoplanets may be more Earth-like than previously thought

As we draw near to the close of the Carnival, Urban Astronomer has a pair of great articles for us.

The Dark Enrgy Survey, a project to map out the universe’s ancient structure in unprecedented detail to provide clues to the nature of Dark Energy, was recently launched.

Astronomers recently discovered another mystery: why do bipolar planetary nebula within the Milky Way’s galactic bulge tend to align along the same axis?

After a bit of a dry spell, sunspots are back in the news. This article take a close look at the latest one.

Sunspot AR 1944 is the largest sunspot to grace the face of the Sun for some time, it was visible without telescopic magnification. This post presents a portrait of the changing face of AR 1944 using simple amateur equipment.

Finally we have a pair of articles from our very own Steve Shurtleff at Photos To Space.

What does the consumer side of space look like once we have established a commercial presence in space?

We take a look back at the year 2013 for Photos To Space and what that means for the future.

That’s it for the Carnival this week. We hope you enjoy the variety of reading materials from around the globe. Remember the Carnival of Space runs weekly. Tune in next week for another dose of Space based goodness.


Carnival Of Space #331

Winter is peeking into the forecast in the Northern Hemisphere and that means cold, snow and warm friends and family. With the holiday season now upon us, the Carnival of Space continues giving amazing stories for your perusal. It’s time to curl up under a toasty blanket with nice warm beverage and your favorite electronic reading device. Off to the Carnival!

We start this week with an article about some amazing discoveries from the Chandra X-ray telescope:

Circinus X-1 had been a puzzle to X-ray astronomers almost from the moment of its discovery.

Chandra has been a busy craft here lately. Urban Astronomer takes a look at the different look Chandra gives us of exoplanets:

NASA’s Chandra X-ray telescope has been looking at its first exoplanet and found that the planet appeared three times in X-ray than when viewed in optical light.

The Next Big Future has a trio of articles for this week, starting with a look at Hubble:

Using the powerful eye of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, two teams of scientists have found faint signatures of water in the atmospheres of five distant planets. The presence of atmospheric water was reported previously on a few exoplanets orbiting stars beyond our solar system, but this is the first study to conclusively measure and compare the profiles and intensities of these signatures on multiple worlds.

Next they look at how SpaceX is preparing to test some new hardware concepts they are working on:

SpaceX plans to begin testing components of a methane-fueled engine called Raptor at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi early 2014. SpaceX will perform these tests at Stennis’ E-2 test facility, which will require an upgrade to accommodate the full Raptor engine – a closed-loop methane-oxygen concept SpaceX is working on for missions to deep space. The upgrades would be funded by SpaceX, NASA and the Mississippi Development Authority. SpaceX’s Raptor engine is designed to generate more than 661,000 pounds of thrust in a vacuum. The current Raptor concept “is a highly reusable methane staged-combustion engine that will power the next generation of SpaceX launch vehicles designed for the exploration and colonization of Mars,” Shanklin said. “The Raptor engine currently in development is the first in what we expect to be a family of engines.”

They wrap up their article sweep with a look at SpaceX’s latest successful launch:

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) successfully completed its first geostationary transfer mission, delivering the SES-8 satellite to its targeted 295 x 80,000 km orbit. Falcon 9 executed a picture-perfect flight, meeting 100% of mission objectives. Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at 5:41 PM Eastern Time. Approximately 185 seconds into flight, Falcon 9’s second stage’s single Merlin vacuum engine ignited to begin a five minute, 20 second burn that delivered the SES-8 satellite into its parking orbit. Eighteen minutes after injection into the parking orbit, the second stage engine relit for just over one minute to carry the SES-8 satellite to its final geostationary transfer orbit. The restart of the Falcon 9 second stage is a requirement for all geostationary transfer missions.

Photos to Space Brings us a pair of articles on life in space. The first looks at music and the role sound plays in space. The second takes a look at how to create gravity to help astronauts stay safe.

In space no one can hear you scream. But is that because it would be drowned out by the music of space? Sounds the Universe makes are the topic of this blog entry by Steve Shurtleff.

Space is a great place to work, except for the physiological changes. What ways can we reduce the difficulties that astronauts face? This article takes a fascinating look at spinning for gravity.

Speaking of gravity, Universe Today has a great article on research being done on the quantum level. Could this to a better understanding of what makes gravity work?

Julian Sonner, a senior postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, led research showing that when two of these quarks are created, string theory creates a wormhole linking the quarks.

That’s it for this week. We hope you enjoyed the reading. Remember the Carnival of Space is a great way to stay up to date with what is happening in Space and here on Earth. Be sure to support the blogs and websites that bring the Carnival to you each week.

Happy Holidays!


Carnival of Space #326

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Carnival of Space. Space is a really big and really busy place. Each week we find more to explore and more ways to explore what we find. Just when we think we might have it all figured out, something new appears on the horizon. There is a lot of space explore in episode 326 so let’s get started.

First up, from the The Chandra X-Ray Observatory Website there are two articles about the raw data behind their press releases and their archives. Some pretty amazing stuff.

In continued recogintion of American Archives month, we’ve dusted off some raw data from recent Chandra press releases over the past year for inclusion in our
openFITS collection.

The Chandra Data Archive (CDA) plays a central role in the mission by enabling the astronomical community – as well as the public – access to data collected by the observatory.

Next up, sometimes things don’t work out like you planned and that can be a good thing. Dr. Paul Spudis has his article at The Air & Space Smithsonian website.

Unplanned (But Controlled) Experiments: The Role of Serendipity by Dr. Paul Spudis discusses the LADEE Mission.

Space seems to be getting a little more crowded. The Meridian Journal covers the latest find of a rocky planet orbiting a distant star.

Astronomers confirm first Earth-sized rocky exoplanet.

While on the subject of planets, our own Steve Shurtleff of Photos To Space explores what scientists may (or may not) have found orbiting Alpha Centauri B.

To Bb or not to Bb? A question that may or may not be answered by science.

The power of two and the unpredictability of luck are recurring themes this week. We continue to explore that lucky idea in a second post from Photos To Space:

Then and Now: Planning is very important but sometimes luck can really make your day.

Space is incredible but how do we get there? These two articles from The Next Big Future looking at different space companies with big plans for the future. The first looks at a new type of launcher:

There is a design for a new space launch system that would leverage an inflatable tower design. Fisher Space Systems LLC has created the design for an inflated tower combined with a rotating system that will fling a reusable launch vehicle to space. It will only need a reusable upper stage. It could also be combined with a rotovator for the upper stage. Electricity can power the elevator ride up and power the rotating system.

The Space Track Launch System (STLS) is a two stage system. The first stage is a tall tower 100-150 km high. An electrically driven rotating truss at the top of the tower is attached to two sets of ribbons made of high strength fiber composites. Counterweights (CW) are attached to the end of each ribbon. The second stage is a reusable liquid fueled launch vehicle (LV) designed to launch form the STLS.

The system is unique for several reasons. First, the first stage is all electric and can be used up to three times a day. The electric motors restore rotational kinetic energy to the ribbons in approximately 8 hours. Second, the launch vehicle launches from a point along the ribbon as opposed to being released from the end of the ribbon. For a 30 ton launch vehicle, launching from the end of the ribbon produces a compressive shock wave that will destroy the ribbon and damage the tower.

And their second article examines the possible launch dates of Arkyd:

Planetary Resources, the asteroid mining company, will advance its mission to mine resource-rich near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) by launching the first in its Arkyd Series of spacecraft – the A3 – into low-Earth orbit as early as April 2014. The A3 is the Arkyd 100’s technology demonstrator, and the mission will provide for early testing and serve to validate the spacecraft’s core technology and software in the development of the program.

Continuing out into the solar system we have a look at the upcoming eclipse happening in November. Universe Today explains why this is a must see show.

This eclipse is of the rare hybrid variety— that is, it will be an annular eclipse along the very first 15 seconds of its track before transitioning to a total as the Moon’s shadow sweeps just close enough to the Earth to cover the disk of the Sun along the remainder of its track. Image Credit: Zeiler, @EclipseMaps

Beyond the eclipse but still close to home, we have a wonderful little article about a comet overshadowed by its siblings like ISON. AARTScope Blog has all the details:

Currently overshadowed a little by the 2012 comets, ISON, Lovejoy, Linear 2012 X1 and Enke all feature this month in the northern skies. Siding Spring will have to wait till next year for its fanfare as it does a very close approach to Mars just after the MAVEN space mission arrives to sample Mars atmosphere.

Have you ever wondered if there are like minded space enthusiasts in your corner of the Galaxy? Everyday Spacer covers the growing trend of meetups for coordinating like minded gatherings of the interstellar kind.

Are You Into Meetups?

That wraps it up for this week’s edition of the Carnival of Space. There is a lot to explore and learn from each of the articles presented here. Remember that you are a part of this amazing and exciting universe. Spread the work about the Carnival and let your friends get in on the fun and excitement too! And most important of all…


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