Some very exciting things going on in space right now, and this week’s carnival is bringing you a slice of the action. From lakes on Titan to strange formations on Mars and Chinese women in space, it’s a good week for space enthusiasts. (This edition’s fun vintage space photo is astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. chomping on a cigar after Gemini 6’s successful liftoff. At the time, Shepard was grounded with Meniere’s Disease and serving as chief of the astronaut office at NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston. December 15, 1965. Credit: NASA)
Cheap Astronomy’s latest 365 days of astronomy podcast answers some recent listener questions about good old fashioned physics. Incidentally, 365 days is still going strong and in its fourth year now.
Cosmoquest’s Pamela Gay answers the question ‘What is the Solstice?’ and explains that the axial tilt is the reason for the season, hot or cold.
From Earth to Mars, The Meridiani Journal’s Paul Scott Anderson tells us about the latest on our cosmic neighbour. This week, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter discovered hundreds of odd spiral patterns on the red planet that may have been formed by either ancient lava flows or by ice.
Speaking of Mars, Dutch company Mars One is hoping to establish the first human settlement on the red planet by 2013. Bruce Cordell at 21st Century Waves has the details on this audacious plan.
Supernova Condensate brings us a different kind of liquid formation relating to the astrobiology of Titan. Could the recently discovered methane lakes on Saturn’s icy little moon Titan could be associated with some form of life?
Exploring planets and moons first hand is still our of our reach as Robert Zubrin is wont to point out. Nextbigfuture relays Zubrin’s argument that technology has been slowing down for the last 60 years. We need technology to achieve abundance, he says, and not have advances slowed by political controversy.
One technology that is steadily advancing is robotics. Centauri Dreams thinks about Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics in the context of new work from Cornell University that’s helping robots understand the relationship between people and objects.
Perhaps the biggest story on the spaceflight front this week is China’s ongoing Shenzhou 9 mission with astronauts aboard the Tiangong 1 space station. Air & Space’s Once and Future Moon tells us about China and the Moon since the world’s attention is once again focused on China’s flourishing space program.
But it’s not just the mission that’s exciting, the crew is causing a stir. One of Shenzhou 9’s taikonauts is the first Chinese woman to go into space. Nextbigfuture tells us about Liu Yang, a veteran pilot with 1,680 hours of flying experience who excelled in space testing after two years of training, and Chinese women’s push for a place in space. NBF also shares a video from the Shenzhou mission.
A blast from the past, Air & Space’s Once and Future Moon brings us a look artist Chesley Bonestell iconic landscapes of the Moon.
Painting and space don’t seem like an odd pair, but astronomy and poetry? Venus Transit’s Gadi Eidelheit tells us about the strong, if unexpected, connection between the two.
Dear Astronomer’s Ray Sanders recently toured the historic 60″ reflector at Mt. Wilson Observatory and brings us a brief history of the telescope and what the instrument is being currently used for.
Speaking of imaging the night sky, Nextbigfuture tells us about a 50 gigapixel camera made with available parts that will be very useful to astronomy and other space applications. They will also make it easier for robotic and artificial intelligence systems to do things.
Rounding out this week’s carnival, Astroblogger brings us some shots of the night sky. Specifically, a round up of stunning images from the June 16 aurora event.