Carnival of Space #388
Welcome, everybody, to the second Carnival of Space for the year 2015. The carnival has been running for over six years now, and we continue to find new and amazing stories and contributors, so if you have any interest at all in space science or astronomy, this is the place to be! And if you’d like to join our stable of writers, just contact us via the link at the end to see if you qualify (spoiler: you do!)
We have a good turn-out this week, so let’s get started:First up, the ever-reliable official blog of the Chandra X-ray space telescope. Chandra might not be a household name like the Hubble, but is at least as important as its more famous neighbour. This week, NASA announced that Chandra has detected a record-breaking outburst from the Milky Way’s supermassive Black Hole.
The Lunar and Planetary Institute, your source for information on Planetary Science at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, have released the December 2014 issue of their Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin – click the link to download the entire issue in PDF format. They have also provided a calendar of astronomy events for the upcoming year, intended as a resource for educators.
Dr Schenk’s 3D House of Satellites looks at the issue of colour in scientific images, and how it differs from what our eyes could actually perceive in True Colors on Saturn’s Icy Moons.
Carnival regular, The Meridiani Journal, brings us exoplanet news. People are most interested in exoplanets that closely mirror Earth, because if we can find another Earth then perhaps we could find life and creatures similar to ourselves. That makes news of two recently discovered exoplanets that are quite similar to our own world especially interesting. This is presented in the context of the Kepler mission’s recent announcement that they have now confirmed (as opposed to merely “discovered”) over a thousand exoplanet discoveries!
The current home base of the Carnival of Space, Next Big Future, writes that while there may not be life on the surface of Mars at the present, this does not exclude the possibility that life may have thrived earlier on the Red Planet. The early history of Mars seems to have been very similar to that of Earth, especially with respect to the ancient hydrosphere. The sedimentary structures in the Gillespie Lake Member, Mars, constitute a promising set of potential biosignatures that compel further analyses by Mars rovers, including future sample return missions from Mars. The sandstone structures on Mars look like structures created by microbes on earth from 3.7 billion years ago.
Spacex will again try to launch what could be a rocket that will attempt to successfully land its first stage on a barge. This will enable recovery and reuse. This is the link to the livestream broadcast on Saturday Weather is currently 80% “GO” for Falcon 9 and Dragon’s launch attempt tomorrow. Liftoff is targeting 4:47am EST – set your alarms.
Elon Musk is developing rockets that could be reused, rather than burn up on re-entry to earth’s atmosphere, in the belief they’ll drastically reduce the cost of trips to Mars. Launch had been delayed until Saturday because of a glitch.
He could make history — and remake the space launch sector — when new technology that captures spent rocket segments is put to the test for the first time today.
Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. will try to land a Falcon 9 rocket atop an unanchored ocean platform bobbing in the Atlantic Ocean after the missile propels a cargo capsule towards a rendezvous with the International Space Station.
Astronomers announced today that they have found eight new planets in the “Goldilocks” zone of their stars, orbiting at a distance where liquid water can exist on the planet’s surface. This doubles the number of small planets (less than twice the diameter of Earth) believed to be in the habitable zone of their parent stars. Among these eight, the team identified two that are the most similar to Earth of any known exoplanets to date.
Universe Today brings two big news items. First, while we’ve all been excitedly watching SpaceX’s efforts to safely land the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket that recently launched a Dragon capsule to the ISS, the capsule itself has quietly and without fuss arrived at its destination with over two tonnes of critical supplies and science experiments for the astronauts to unload. And on the astronomy side, we get a guide on how to find and make the most of Comet Lovejoy.
Finally, this week’s host, Urban Astronomer, presents an older article that seems to have become popular recently. It’s certainly not news, being based on science that is hundreds of years old, but answers a question that a lot of people seem to be curious about: What do the colours of stars mean? And with that, we leave you, till next week when the Carnival of Space moves on to its next host. Till next time!
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