Carnival of Space #387

Happy New Year!  We’re pleased and proud to host the first Carnival of Space for 2015.  What will this year bring?  So many new things are happening in space exploration and astronomy, it’s hard to imagine what is possible now.  We have so many opportunities to participate directly too!  Technology keeps moving forward – anything that can be linked to computers is now subject to an 18 month cycle of improvements.

So, step right up, be amazed and find your niche to do what you’ve been dreaming of doing. It’s possible now or will be soon. These bloggers have some ideas about getting there.

If you have an on-topic blog, you can start right here!

Science on the ISS podcast (Episode 10) Fish in Space
Steve Nerlich | Cheap Astronomy

…why the heck do fish get osteoporosis in microgravity? Fish don’t walk, they float. And they float whether they are down here on Earth
or up there in free fall within the ISS Aquatic Habitat, which is installed aboard the Japanese Kibo module.

Chandra Weighs Most Massive Galaxy Cluster in Distant Universe
Megan Watzke, CXC | Chandra X-Ray Observatory

A composite image shows the distant and massive galaxy cluster that is officially known as XDCP J0044.0-2033. Researchers, however, have nicknamed it “Gioiello”, which is Italian for “jewel”. They chose this name because an image of the cluster contains many sparkling colors from the hot, X-ray emitting gas and various star-forming galaxies within the cluster. Also, the research team met to discuss the Chandra data for the first time at Villa il Gioiello, a 15th century villa near the Observatory of Arcetri, which was the last residence of prominent Italian astronomer…

Galactic Get-Together has Impressive Light Display
Megan Watzke, CXC | Chandra X-Ray Observatory

Located about 130 million light years from Earth, in the constellation of Canis Major, this pair of spiral galaxies has been caught in a grazing encounter. NGC 2207 and IC 2163 have hosted three supernova explosions in the past 15 years and have produced one of the most bountiful collections of…

An “Hour of Code” with Color, Images, and Astronomy
Megan Watzke & Kim Arcand | Chandra X-Ray Observatory

Working with NASA and other data from exploded stars, to star-forming regions, to the area around black holes, students learn basic coding (for beginners – no experience required) and follow a video tutorial to create a real world application of science, technology and even art.

Tilted Aquaplanets Might Still be Habitable, Study Suggests
Paul Scott Anderson | The Meridiani Journal

With so many exoplanets now being discovered on a regular basis by astronomers, the focus has turned to what number of them might be habitable for some kind of life. For life as we know it at least, that depends on a number of factors, including being in the “habitable zone” of stars, where liquid water could exist on the surfaces of smaller, rocky planets like Earth. It has been thought that planets with extreme axial tilts, even horizontal to the plane of their orbits, would be less likely to host life. But now a new study suggests that they could still be…

Lasers in space could trap and shape reflective dust into telescopes with diameters wider than a planet for detailed imaging of exoplanets
Brian Wang | Next Big Future

A detailed look at the Phase I report for Orbiting Rainbows. NASA provided the funding for a phase 2 study project. They would use several lasers to trap and shape billions of reflective dust particles into single or multiple lenses that could grow to reach tens of meters to thousands of kilometers in diameter. According to Swartzlander, the unprecedented resolution and detail might be great enough to spot clouds on exoplanets. The diameter of the lens would be similar to what hypertelescopes could achieve in space however, the laser shaped dust clouds could more cheaply have a filled in lens.

NASA Dawn Spacecraft Nears Dwarf Planet Ceres and New Horizon begins observing Pluto Jan 15
Brian Wang | Next Big Future

NASA Dawn has entered its approach phase toward Ceres. The spacecraft will arrive at Ceres on March 6, 2015. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has entered an approach phase in which it will continue to close in on Ceres, a Texas-sized dwarf planet never before visited by a spacecraft. Dawn launched in 2007 and is scheduled to enter Ceres orbit in March 2015. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft came out of hibernation for the last time on Dec. 6. The Pluto-bound probe will have a six-month encounter with the dwarf planet that begins in January 15. New Horizons is healthy and cruising quietly through deep space – nearly three billion miles from home – but its rest is nearly over,” says Alice Bowman, New Horizons mission operations manager at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md. “It’s time for New Horizons to wake up, get to work, and start making history.”

2015 Expected to be a Record-Breaking Year for Soyuz-2 Workhorse
Matt Williams | Universe Today

2014 was a banner year the Russian Space Agency, with a record-setting fourteen launches of the next generation unmanned Soyuz-2 rocket. A number of other firsts took place in the course of the year as well, cementing the Soyuz family of rockets as the most…

10 Space Science Stories to Watch in 2015
David Dickinson | Universe Today

Humanity will get its first good look at Ceres and Pluto, giving us science writers some new pics to use instead of the same half dozen blurry dots and artist’s conceptions. SpaceX will also attempt a daring landing on a sea platform, and long duration missions aboard the International Space Station will get underway. And key technology headed to space and on Earth may lead the way to opening up the window of gravitational wave astronomy on the universe. Here’s 10 sure-fire bets to watch for in the coming year from Universe Today:

As usual, we’ll monitor the spreadsheet for any latecomers and add them to the list. Have a great Carnival!


To help out, we offered to host the articles from CoS #386. Stefan was on travel at the time so here they are…

Carnival of Space #386

Railguns are a better military project than improving chemical guns
Brian Wang | Next Big Future

The long run potential of electrically powered magnetic gun is what matters. Light combustion technology is still limited as other chemical technology is nearing its limits. Ultimately magnetic technology can have far better power density than any chemical technology. The argument about light gas guns would be like an argument that repeater crossbows, improved long bows and improved arrow technology are better than flint lock guns. Early cannons would have been inferior to improved ballista’s.

Arthur and the eclipse
Gianluigi Filippelli | Doc Madhattan

A brief biography of Arthur Eddington, the first to verify experimentally Einstein’s relativity

Destellos desde Vega: Nueva propuesta para explicar el origen del agua de los océanos terrestres
Fran Sevilla | Vega 0.0

This article presents a new study suggests that water in Earth’s oceans could have originated in the mantle. The article is written in Spanish.

Has Curiosity found evidence for ancient microbial life on Mars?
Paul Scott Anderson | The Meridiani Journal

Has Curiosity found evidence for ancient microbial life on Mars?

Kepler finds ‘super-Earth’ exoplanet in first discovery of new mission
Paul Scott Anderson | The Meridiani Journal

The Kepler space telescope has found its first new exoplanet, a “super-Earth,” of its secondary mission phase. The discovery adds to a current tally of 996 confirmed exoplanets and 4,183 planetary candidates already found by the revolutionary planet-hunting telescope.

Student Team Wants to Terraform Mars Using Cyanobacteria
Matt Williams | Universe Today

While scientists believe that at one time, billions of years ago, Mars had an atmosphere similar to Earth’s and was covered with flowing water, the reality today is quite different. In fact, the surface of Mars is so hostile that a vacation in Antarctica would seem pleasant by comparison.

Comet Q2 Lovejoy Loses Tail, Grows Another, Loses That One Too!
Bob King | Universe Today

Maybe you’ve seen Comet Q2 Lovejoy. It’s a big fuzzy ball in binoculars low in the southern sky in the little constellation Lepus the Hare. That’s the comet’s coma or temporary atmosphere of dust and gas that forms when ice vaporizes in sunlight from the nucleus. Until recently a faint 3° ion or gas tail trailed in the coma’s wake, but on and around December 23rd it snapped off and was ferried away by the solar wind. Just as quickly, Lovejoy re-grew a new ion tail but can’t seem to hold onto that one either. Like a feather in the wind, it’s in the process of being whisked away today.

Whew! Lots to absorb. Thank you for coming back to review the CoS #386 articles as well! Look for CoS #388 next time.

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