Friday, February 10, 2012

Carnival of Space 236 - Feb 10 2012


Welcome to Carnival of Space 236!

What a webisode we have for you this week. Its been a busy week, so lets see if we can drag you away from your social media and blogs for a few minutes to check out what's going on in your community - Space and Astronomy.

Next Big Future explores propulsion systems this week. The key to Spacex reusable rockets, at least for the first stage. Its all about the price per pound, for the Falcon Heavy, that would mean a price per pound to orbit of less than $500."

Other alternatives include a water-electrolysis propulsion system for 3U CubeSats is proposed that could fill the gap in the available propulsion systems at this scale

NASA has a nuclear-propulsion project with a budget of US$3 million.

The Lithium Lorentz Force Accelerator (LiLFA) as one of the most promising candidates for planetary exploration and heavy payload orbit raising missions. It can have an exhaust velocity of 50 km/second and a thrust density of 100,000 newtons per square meter

In an interview with Sander Olson, fission propulsion advocate Tabitha Smith argues that fission rockets could be rapidly developed and become the enabling technology for opening up the solar system for human exploration. Tabitha is in charge of the Bifrost project.


The Cosmic Log
found skywatchers on Earth oohed and ahhed over the northern lights that were sparked by January's solar activity, but a new crop of videos makes it clear that the astronauts on the International Space Station had the best seats in the house.

Commercial space ventures are taking small steps toward giant achievements ranging from suborbital space flights to trips around the moon.

After struggling through some legal glitches, skydiver Felix Baumgartner and his team say they're back on track for a 120,000-foot jump that will break a record that's stood for 52 years and blaze a trail for future space adventurers.

Simostronomy reports that 88 years after it was initially discovered, Hubble's 1923 nova in the Andromeda galaxy has erupted again, making it one of a rare class of recurrent novae.

Discovery News takes us through a spaghetti diagram. OK, so it's not real spaghetti -- it's a computer visualization of the complex magnetic field that creates Earth's magnetosphere -- but it sure looks tangled.

Guest contributor Pat Galea discusses how a starship may transmit signals across the light-years between the stars.

The Urban Astronomer checks in on JAXA's announcement that they will be launching a successor to the embattled Hayabusa probe, with the same mission goals but hopefully using more reliable technology!

Emma from We're all in the Gutter outlines her plan for improving the popular TV show MasterChef with a technique commonly used in astronomy.


Links Through Space launches to the Moon which has been in all facet's of culture through out all the Civilisations on Earth and there is no doubt that it affects us in a way or another. Here is a documentary of the BBC that let us see how the Moon is so important to us in so many ways.

Gadi Eidelheit from the Venus Transit blog, describes why the moon brightness is so variable during a lunar month.


Vintage Space grabs a brush and describes a brief history of the paint scheme of space race rockets inspired by my recent introduction to the world of model building.

The Chandra Team are no "flash in the pan" a long term contributor to COS, report on a new study suggests mysterious X-ray flares caught by Chandra may be asteroids falling into the Milky Way's giant black hole.


Announcing the reboot of a long defunct blog: the Astronomy Word of the Week (AstroWoW). Starting with the letter 'A', this week's entry is brought to you by the word 'aberration'.

Starry Critters reports on Sea mon­sters, birds and mys­tic moun­tains hiding in this highly detailed infrared image of the star-making Carina Neb­ula from ESO’s Very Large Telescope.



For the A-Z of all things space ZME Science looks at the longest drought on record - 600 million years on Mars. Others have been playing with water droplets on the International space station. Water droplets orbiting a knitting needle - take a look!


Armagh Planetarium brings us the legend - centuries ago a Chinese official named Wan Hu attempted to visit the Moon. His spacecraft was a large wicker chair to which were fastened 47 large rockets. His underlings rushed forward to light the fuses then retreated. A moment later there was a mighty bang and flash accompanied by thick clouds of smoke. When the smoke had cleared, Wan Hu was gone without a trace. This story is repeated time and time again but is it true?

Finally here at AARTScope (below also) I cover one of the southern beauties that many of you eclipse hunters, planning a pilgrimage to Australia for the Solar Eclipse in November, will want to take a look at. The ESO released last week a new image of the Gabriela Mistral Nebula NGC 3324.



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 carnivalofspace @ gmail.com to be added to the editorial circulation list.

[Photo credits listed in the relevant articles]

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