It’s been an impossibly busy few weeks at Urban Astronomer headquarters. So busy that no astronomy has happened at all, apart from a few stolen glances upwards at the night sky while feeding the dog. Thankfully, they’ve let me keep my Carnival hosting privileges, and so I still get to bring you the 418th Carnival of Space!
I’m obviously not the only busy one, though, as we’ve had very few submissions this week, and only one from a regular contributor. So if you normally find the full carnival to be too long to read in a single sitting, then you’re in luck because we’re keeping it short and sweet today!
First up, Gadi Eidelheit from The Venus Transit explaining a science image that has been doing the rounds on social media recently. It shows a very unfamiliar view of Earth and the Moon, which few people recognise because it necessarily shows the remote far side of the Moon. The image was taken by the DISCOVR spacecraft from its position at the Lagrange Point between the Sun and Earth. DISCOVR’s mission is to study space weather caused by the Sun and its effect on the Earth.
Our second submission is from Planetaria (formerly known as The Meridiani Journal). Author Paul Scott Anderson tells us about a new study linking certain Near Earth Objects (NEOs) to the Euphrosyne family of dark asteroids. A certain portion of those asteroids which pass close to the Earth’s orbit (NEOs) are very dark in colour, making them especially difficult to see. The study suggests that these objects are actually members of the Euphrosyne family, which are normally found in highly inclined orbits near the outer edge of the main Asteroid Belt. These particular objects would have been gradually nudged into their new Earth-buzzing orbits by the repeated gravitational influence of distant Saturn.
Then an interesting piece from Daily Planet, the Smithsonian Air&Space magazine’s newsfeed, on the possibility of drones on the Moon. The idea seems silly at first – drones as we know them today require an atmosphere – but some serious thought has been put into ways of using the drone concept to cheaply explore Lunar features that have draw our attention.
Closing the Carnival for this week, another article from Planetaria commemorating the 3rd anniversary of the landing of the Mars Science Laboratory, better known as the Curiosity Rover. Curiosity landed in Gale crater on Aug. 5, 2012, and since then has made some incredible science discoveries. With its plutonium powered energy reserves, it will be exploring the Martian surface for many years to come, but it has already accomplished its primary mission and vastly expanded our knowledge of the history of Mars.
And that wraps up the Carnival of Space for this week. If you would like to participate in the Carnival by sharing some of your own astronomy or space science writing, let us know at [email protected] and we’ll tell you where to send your work.