Saturday, July 2, 2011

Carnival of Space - Episode 204

Welcome to the Carnival of Space where we feature the very best of Space and Astronomy blogs each week. Also, I thought I'd share with you the latest fancy internet widget from Infomous [above]. Check it out, but make sure you come back and read our great line up today, with lots of great Solar System articles, and entries from a number of Continents. As it hosted from Australia this week - lets start in Sydney.

Astropixie this week covers the Astronomy conference in Sydney "Supernovae and their host galaxies". The event was sponsored by the AAO Australian Astronomical Observatory and the CSIRO. Amanda provides overviews of the conference presentations, top of mind was the very recent Supernova in M51 and the methods of observation required after such events.

At the Next Big Future, true to form, Brian covers all the stuff our grandchildren will take for granted. Keith Henson's studies of space-based solar power issues. Henson recently published a proposal to reduce the cost of getting payload to orbit by orders of magnitude . In an interview with Sander Olson, Henson describes using skylon rocket planes to release payloads at high altitudes. Are launch costs of $100 per Kilo possible - Henson thinks so!

NASA Engineer John Chapman has an aneutronic fusion reactor scheme, a commercially available benchtop laser starts the reaction. A beam with energy on the order of 2 x 10^18 watts per square centimeter, pulse frequencies up to 75 megahertz, and wavelengths between 1 and 10 micrometers is aimed at a two-layer, 20-centimeter-diameter target. Each pulse of the laser should generate roughly 100 000 particles. Read the article and find out just how you might generate 1 Megawatt per second.

Moon Express, Inc. (MoonEx) is targeting mining the moon. CTO Barney Pell gave a talk about the vision recently. Sounds like its only a matter of time before we have protesters throwing themselves in front of space tractors. ;-)

Speaking of Moons.....Jupiter is just showing off. The Urban Astronomer reports on the discovery of two more Jovian satellites taking the total to 65! That's enough for whole inter-lunar football league, with enough left over for an Ice Hockey league! I can see it now....the Europa Enforcers! Seriously though, the new moons are S/2010 J1 and S/2010 J2 and are unusual, so you have to visit the blog to find out why.

Still on Moons, Enceladus - now there is a place you could play some serious Icehockey! The Meridiani Journal looks into further evidence that salty oceans exist beneath the surface feeding its famous Geysers.

[Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute]

Onto Mars now, and Vintage Space reports on Robert Zubrin and the Mars Society suggesting that we are more ready to go to Mars now than we were to go to the moon in 1961. A closer look comparing lunar readiness then and Mars readiness now suggests that maybe we aren't.

Enter these co-ordinates into your Stargate: SAO + NASM = FETTSS @ SI, or you can just go to the Chandra Blog for a great report on the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and National Air and Space Museum's "From Earth to the Solar System" - a stunning photographic journey through the solar system. AmeƩ Salois even discusses iceskating on Europa (See... you thought I was being silly before!).

Photo Credit: Megan Watzke

The Panstarrs Blog covers some of their science strategies. Harvard postdoctoral researcher Darin Ragozzine describes the search for icy bodies in distant reaches of the solar system using Pan-STARRS1.

On a side note to this, the ubiquitous platform for Citizen Science - Zooniverse has added IceHunters to search for a suitable Kuiper Belt object for the New Horizions mission to go to after it passes Pluto. (So if you are bored with the ice at your local rink ..... alright enough on the Ice hockey analogies already!!)

The big news of the week, which made the mainstream media, was the close passage of tiny asteroid 2011 MD which passed at a very close distance of 1.8 earth Radii. Astroblogger provides commentary and discusses some of the images and techniques for capturing the near earth visitor.

Universe Today also covered Asteroid 2011 MD's approach. The article was linked by a number of main stream media houses. Senior Editor Nancy Atkinson also compiled a list of images here as well.

Ian O'Neil writing for the Discovery News asks the "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger question" protesting that he wished that 2011 MD had hit us, yes he's serious. He goes to great lengths to explain why - perhaps then there would be more serious funding from governments to address the problem.

Just in from our Spanish Desk: Vega 0.0 reports on the co-ordinates and skychart for observing Comet Elenin in October. Elenin is now a tough assignment as it is only about 30 degrees above the horizion at sunset.

Indian space entrepreneur, Susmita Mohanty gave a talk on the end of the Shuttle era at the American Center in Mumbai, India. Pradeep's Blog Pradx takes a look at the talk and the response from the Mumbai crowd. Thanks Pradeep, great to get some local news from Mumbai.

Weirdwarp poses the question, "What could an alien civilisation be able to do"? Well, as we have not found any alien civilisations then everything is guesswork based on the laws of physics and our experiences here on earth. This could be completely wrong or it could be completely right or it could be somewhere in between. Only Chris can stack rank an alien civilization!

Cheap Astronomy delivers a podcast, a highly summarized overview of astronomy at the various different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum..

Finally I leave you with my own video of 2011 MD as we wrap up this Solar System oriented webisode of Carnival of Space - 204.

The Carnival of Space is a community of interest blog carnival bringing together the best and brightest Astronomy & Space Blogs at a single point in space and time (commonly referred to as a web address) each week. Previous episodes can be found here. If you run an astronomy or space science blog you can contact to be added to the editorial circulation list.

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