Carnival of Space #256

Posted in Carnival of Space

Welcome to the 256th edition of the Carnival of Space. Your one stop shopping for all your astro-blog needs.

And welcome as well to the new home of the blog-formerly-known-as AstroWoW. Make yourself comfortable. While I figure out what to do with the place, hang out here and enjoy the carnival for a spell.

Starting with our nearest celestial neighbor: Moon Mappers needs your help! Stuart Robbins is presenting research on the craters around the Apollo landing site, and we need YOUR help to get it done. Here is how you can learn about the Moon and do science along the way.

Moving out a little farther, lots of news from the Red Planet this week. Over at Discovery News, Ian O’Neill asks if, instead of waiting for Martian life to walk up and introduce itself, could we try sniffing them out?

Looking for a Mars Curiosity landing cheat sheet? The rover makes its daring landing attempt in August. If you’re hoping to attend one of the many social events taking place to watch and celebrate the event—or even if you’re just following along at home—this one-page guide will make your planning easier.

Mars Curiosity

Happy Canada Day for all the Canadians in the world and beyond! The Canadian Space Agency is eager to see the rover Curiosity land on Mars. Find out why!

Finally, Bans Lansdorp is a European entrepreneur who wants to send humans on a one-way trip to Mars, and to pay for it as a media event. If Mr. Lansdorp meets his goals, the first four settlers will arrive on Mars in 2023, and four more settlers will join them every two years. Nextbigfuture has an interview with Mr. Lansdorp in which he and Sander Olson discuss the Mars One project, how he believes that the project could be done for $6 billion, and could eventually lead to a permanent manned presence on Mars.

Toy Viking and map

Expanding our scope to the rest of the solar system, Riding With Robots talks about how a set of beautiful old planetary maps changed the way he sees space exploration. Thera also some fun pictures of toy space probes!

You know those videos and pictures—pointing at or very close to the Sun—that purport to show unknown planets? Astroblog asks: if these objects really were planets—rather than lens flares, internal reflections, clouds or aircraft—why don’t we see them after sunset?

A second entry from Nextbigfuture: the B612 Foundation has unveiled its plans to build, launch, and operate the first privately funded deep space mission. SENTINEL is an infrared space telescope to be placed in solar orbit, ranging up to 170 million miles from Earth. The telescope’s mission is to protect humanity, map the inner solar system, and enable exploration.

NGC 2467

Moving out to the star forming regions of our own Galaxy, Silver Rockets is drawn to the vivid color of an archive Hubble Space Telescope image of NGC 2467.

Speaking of galaxies, why stop at the Milky Way’s edge? StarryCritters explores irregular dwarf galaxy DDO 82 in a new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. What shapes do you see in this salt and pepper cloud of stars?

Want to see all these celestial wonders for yourself? Maybe you should stop by the Virtual Star Party! Google made a lovely video about CosmoQuest’s weekly online star-gazing that brings people together from around the world. Won’t you join them?

If we’re looking out into the heavens, it’s not unreasonable to think about other civilizations looking back at us! Would it be possible to spot the light from Earth’s cities from light years away? Supernova Condensate ponders detecting extraterrestrial city lights, and the flipside of light pollution.

From the realm of technology developments: a blog post double feature! The arrival of a new pulsed energy device for testing in Huntsville has Centauri Dreams pondering fusion, its past and its future, in space propulsion systems.

Completing its Carnival trifecta, Nextbigfuture reports on exciting developments at SpaceX and Orbital, both of whom have recently fired their new engines! SpaceX’s Merlin 1D rumbled for a full mission duration firing, while Orbital’s AJ-26 continued its testing ahead of its debut on their Antares launch vehicle.

And finally, we’ll close the Carnival with some poetic inspiration and musings on the heavens. I’ve long maintained that art and science are intimately intertwined. Apparently, I’m not the only one. The good folks from the Chandra X-ray Observatory present us with the final two winning entries from their second successful AstroPoetry Competition.

Late addition special! It’s never too early to get a head start on the inevitable return of the annual Mars Hoax.  The good folks at The Venus Transit have had just about enough of this silliness and suggest how you can fight back!

Happy reading. And clear skies!

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