Carnival of Space #484

The Carnival of Space may well be the only remaining ‘Carnival’ in the blogosphere today. It’s no surprise since we are all invested in things like investigating, exploring space and so on. Just as the settlers to the ‘New World’ (which became the United States of America) did in their covered wagons, we gather around to help and support one another in a protective circle of friends and collaborators.

Feeling all alone in the wilderness?

Feel free to join us!

Start your journey here and below.

New Theory of Gravity Does Away With Need for Dark Matter
Bob King | Universe Today

Let’s be honest. Dark matter’s a pain in the butt. Astronomers have gone to great lengths to explain why is must exist and exist in huge quantities, yet it remains hidden. Unknown. Emitting no visible energy yet apparently strong enough to keep galaxies in clusters from busting free like wild horses, it’s everywhere in vast…

Pluto Has a Subsurface ‘Antifreeze’ Ocean
Nancy Atkinson | Universe Today

The evidence keeps growing for a large subsurface ocean at Pluto, which also provides clues how the iconic ‘heart’ of Pluto was formed.

We reported in early October that thermal models of Pluto’s interior and tectonic evidence suggest an ocean may exist beneath Pluto’s heart-shaped Sputnik Planitia. Now, new research on data from the New Horizons mission shows more indications of an ocean just below Pluto’s surface that consists of a…

Kepler Mission Continues with Campaign 11 Observations After Short Delay
Paul Scott Anderson | Planetaria

The Kepler K2 mission has now resumed after a delay of three days, NASA has reported. The Kepler Space Telescope is currently in Campaign 11, during which it is observing a total of 14,250 new targets, including the Galactic Center as well as two of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus and Titan.

This current campaign phase began on Sept. 24 and will continue until Dec. 7. It was interrupted for three days, from Oct. 18-20, due to an imbalance caused by data being broadcast by a different antenna on the other side of the spacecraft. Kepler is very delicately balanced in its orbit and can turn slightly when switching from one antenna to another. Such precise balance is…

GOES-R Revolutionary Weather Satellite Launched into Earth Orbit
Mark Wittington | Blasting News

Weather satellites have revolutionized the science of forecasting. In times past, events such as storms, especially hurricanes, would beset a community with very little warning, leaving them unprepared. Now storms can be forecast a few days in advance and hurricanes can be tracked from their point of origin, allowing coastal communities days to prepare. Weather satellites have saved untold thousands of lives and many billions of dollars.

In what has been described as a quantum leap in the science of weather satellite technology, the latest in the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) series, the GOES-R was launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It will be part of a system of.

Newt Gingrich for NASA Administrator?
Mark Wittington | Blasting News

One of the parlor games being played around official Washington has been asking the question who will be President #Donald Trump’s NASA administrator. The question has some pertinence, considering the increased importance that the #Space agency is likely to play in the incoming president’s plan to “make America great again.” Will the new space agency chief be a visionary such as Jim Bridenstine, a former astronaut such as Eileen Collins, or a more institutional figure such as…

NASA Looking for Ways to Make Deep Space Exploration Cheaper
Mark Wittington | Blasting News

Eric Berger over at Ars Technica is reporting that NASA has issued a request for information about how to make its heavy lift #Space Launch System cheaper to build and operate. The RFI also allows respondents to suggest alternative launch vehicles. Those vehicles might include the SpaceX Falcon Heavy and the planned Blue Origin New Shepard and New Armstrong rockets.

The RFI makes sense for a number of reasons. The Space Launch System, while it is designed to launch as much as 130 metric tons into low Earth orbit, is expensive to operate because none of it is reusable, unlike the Falcon 9. NASA also envisions only launching…

Why a Really Visionary NASA Goal Would be Space Colonization not Just Exploration
Mark Wittington | Blasting News

While the expressed #Space policy goal of the incoming Trump administration has been to explore the solar system with astronauts by the end of the century is bold enough, people as varied as Stephen Hawking and Glenn Reynolds are thinking even more daring. They, as well as two rivals in the commercial space business, are urging that Earth starts colonizing space to preserve human civilization.

The number of things that could kill off the human race already is scary enough, ranging from asteroid strikes to nuclear war. As technology advances, the things that can wipe us out just begin to add up. Science fiction catastrophes like…

Bigelow Aerospace CEO Calls for Doubling of NASA Budget to 1% of Federal Budget
Brian Wang | Next Big Future

Space entrepreneur Robert Bigelow said Nov. 17 that he believes that the Trump administration should as much as double NASA’s budget in the coming years and make plans for a human return to the moon.

The Obama administration, in its fiscal year 2017 budget proposal, requested $19 billion for NASA, less than half a percent of the overall request of more than $4 trillion.

Only the Costs of the Space Launch System are Going to the Moon
Brian Wang | Next Big Future

NASA is requesting help to minimize the production, operations, and maintenance (POM) costs of the Space Launch System (SLS), Orion, and Exploration Ground Systems (EGS).

SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft are costing more than $3 billion per year in development costs.

The request would also look at other launch systems. Clearly Spacex offers a lower cost alternative

This request is likely a signal to the Trump administration that NASA is willing to look at other rockets instead of the ridiculously overpriced Space Launch System.

Planetary Resources And The Government Of Luxembourg Announce €25 Million Investment and Target 2020 Asteroid Mining Mission
Brian Wang | Next Big Future

Planetary Resources, Inc., the asteroid mining company, announced today that it has finalized a 25 million euro agreement that includes direct capital investment of 12 million euros and grants of 13 million euros from the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the banking institution Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement (SNCI). The funding will accelerate the company’s technical advancements with the aim of launching the first commercial asteroid prospecting mission by 2020.

Thus ends your Carnival of Space #484! Stay tuned for your next host, the Fabulous Mr. Allen Versfeld at Urban Astronomer!

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