I’m delighted to host the 42nd (42nd!) edition of the Carnival of Space, the largest and (even if we do say so ourselves) the best collection of astronomy and space writing on the web. Thanks to everyone who sent entries in – I had an excellent time sorting through them.
I thought we’d start as far away as possible today, and head toward Earth. When traveling about the Universe, it’s best to bear in mind that we can’t see most of what’s there (not matter how hard we try) as Starts with a Bang reminds us. Speaking of the invisible, there’s bad news from the observatory that discovered the first black hole.
We are making progress in exploring the nearby Universe, though, and APOD have the details on a familiar-looking solar system.
Entering the solar system, we pass an unremarkable point some 550 times as far from the Sun as the Earth is. Unremarkable, that is, apart from the fact that, as Centauri Dreams reports, it could be the destination for the FOCAL mission to create the world’s most powerful telescope. For basic navigation, Phil’s found someone to give him a hand.
My favourite post of the week is from Emily at the Planetary Society, who spent some time taking a good, hard look at Saturn’s moons. So should you. And while we’re here, join Catholic sensibility in taking a good long look at Tethys, the ‘Jan Brady of the Saturnian system’.
Anyone flying about the crowded inner solar system better have a better grasp of celestial mechanics than even that 7-year-old, and Ian Musgrave’s explanation of why Venus doesn’t reach greatest elongation in 2008 is a good place to start.
Any traveller visiting the solar system for the first time would be stuck by the Earth’s unusually large neighbour, the Moon. I’m convinced that watching the subtle drama of a lunar eclipse would rank high on any guidebook’s list of ‘must sees’. Of course, you haven’t lived untyil you’ve seen one from the Moon, and Rob at Orbiting Frog has a sneak preview.
On the way into the atmosphere, be careful to dodge the remnants of the American spy satellite which had an encounter with a guided missile last night. Astroprof’s article, here, discusses hydrazine’s role in
spacecraft. As you might expect, shooting down spacecraft also provides fodder for the space cynic, and Mars Odyssey joins in too.
After all that traveling, it’s good to hear about a safe return to Earth. Visual astronomy has a shuttle’s eye video for you. If all of that whets your appetite for more space travel, then Next Big Future has details of the development of private manned spaceflight.
Or if you’d rather stick to good ol’ government work, here’s New Frontiers on NASA’s Orion spacecraft. Orion will be launched on top of their new Ares boosters, and Robot Guy says they’re having some problems. The astropixie, meanwhile, tells us about the NASA logo which comes free with every purchase of a NASA system. But why stick to rockets from the USA? Pradeep has a round up of essential reading. Or if you want to check out your options, why homeschool wants your help (in Phoenix at the end of March).
Whatever spacecraft you choose, drive safely, watch out for missiles, and see you at next week’s Carnival of Space.