It’s time for another Carnival of Space! Articles this week cover topics from our own planet to other worlds light years away, and from past events to future endeavours. There’s a lot to think about this week. (This Carnival’s unrelated fun photo: Joe Kerwin give Pete Conrad a dental checkup during the Skylab 2 mission in 1973. This looks like a much easier, and more fun, way to have your teeth cleaned than having a dentist reaching over you and moving your head around for a half hour.)
Starting right here on Earth, Universe Today brings us an interview with Expedition 29 Commander Mike Fossum. The NASA astronaut answered readers’ questions about his time in the International Space Station and the future of spaceflight.
And speaking of the ISS, the mammoth space station recently had to take evasive action when debris from a collision two years ago threatened to return for another impact. Urban Astronomer gives us the details on its delicate manoeuvre.
One last stop in our own Solar System at Saturn’s moon Titan. The moon features rain, cloud, and fog all generated from its methane atmosphere that has puzzled scientists until now. Weird Warp shares a new computer model that sheds light on the moon’s mysterious atmospheric features.
Moving away from Earth to its possible extrasolar dopplegangers, The Next Big Future tells us that approximately one out of every ten stars has a planet roughly the size of the Earth with an orbit that, if it had water and an atmosphere, would create a temperature and climate roughly that same as on Earth. We, or at least our descendants, could live on these exoEarths!
Exoplanets aren’t the only possible destinations for future generations; exomoons are an equally appealing prospect. Simostronomy looks at some exomoons that lie in the “Goldilocks” zone.
To find these exoplanets, astronomers observe the stars around which they orbit. The latest exoplanet news has been all about Kepler’s discoveries, but there is plenty of other research going on. Astroswanny reviews the six year study of microlensing events that has found that there are more planets than stars in the Milky Way.
From stars to supernovas, Simostronomy gives us a look at the first named supernova of the year, SN 2012A, which was discovered on January 7.
And from stars to galaxies, scientists used the Chandra and optical telescopes to discover the distant galaxy cluster El Gordo. It’s some 7 billion light years away, and recent observations have revealed some of its properties: it’s the most massive, hottest, and gives off more X-rays than known cluster at its distance or beyond.
But sometimes searches for stars, planets, and galaxies falls a little flat. Astroblogger tells us about his latest brush with the mythical planet Nibiru — In Which I (Fail to) Discover Nibiru: Or Fakery is Flattery.
Looking forward in spaceflight, The Next Big Future looks at the technology behind the Falcon 9 rocket. Upgrades to the Merlin 1D engine will provide a vast improvement in performance, reliability and manufacturability – all of which could provide a timely boost to aiding the potential for success for this fully reusable vehicle. Continued developments would mean better one time rockets and more capacity for any potential reusable rocket.
Rounding out this week, we’ve got a couple of 2012 guides for the space enthusiast.
21st Century Waves gives us a top ten list of space-related trends to expect this year. Dr. Bruce Cordell anticipates 2012 will be a year of decisions in space.
Finally, Astronotes, the Armagh Planetarium’s blog, gives us a look at some exciting events and anniversaries we can look forward to celebrating this year.
That’s it for this week’s Carnival of Space.