Greetings, fellow space nerds and geeks! For the US folks, I hope you have recovered from your turkey coma and are getting back to your regularly scheduled week. We’re getting ready to celebrate the longest night of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere, while you Southern Hemispherers approach summer. However you celebrate the impending holiday, I hope its a peaceful and cheery time! Now, on to the astronomical goodness…
Feeling generous? Help fellow astronomy blogger Ray Sanders win a blogging scholarship! Go over to Dear Astronomer for more details, and vote for Ray until November 30th. Ray also has an article on Universe Today this week exploring the bizarre magnetic properties of pulsars.
The exoplanet count tops 700 as Ian O’Neill examines what is counted as a planet and what is still in the candidate category at Discovery News. With all of these exoplanets, many have held out hope of finding evidence of extraterrestrial life in the galaxy. Paul Scott Anderson wonders if extraterrestrial artifacts are lurking in our own solar system, just waiting to be discovered, at Meridiani Journal. (Of course, there are those that believe such artifacts have already been discovered, but, unfortunately, their cases are less than convincing.)
Back in the 18th century, the Titus-Bode Law was used to study the distances between planets, as explained at Vega 0.0 (spanish). A new age of exploring Mars has begun this past weekend with the successful launch of the Mars Curiosity rover. Weird Warp has more on this car-sized robotic science lab, set to land in August 2012. Stuart Atkinson tells us more about the successful liftoff at The Road to Endeavor, while assuring Opportunity that we still love her, too! The landing for Curiosity is set to be pretty spectacular, with a parachute, rockets, AND a crane:
Though Mars gets much of the attention these days, Venus was once a prime target for robotic exploration. Vintage Space looks back at NASA’s very first interplanetary mission with Mariner 2 in 1962. In that same decade, the United States and Soviet Union were racing to get people into space and to the Moon. So why didn’t the Soviets win the Moon race? Colin explains at Astronotes.
Switching to future modes of transportation, listen to Steve Nerlich at Cheap Astronomy on why faster-than-light travel is, sadly, out of the question. Lest you suffer from buzzkill after that, check out a report on carbon nanotubes that may be used for deep space camouflage at Next Big Future. Cloaking devices, activate! Back to the present, Next Big Future also tells us about a report by the FAA on the US commercial suborbital industries.
Turns out, you don’t have to go far from our home planet to encounter bizarre scientific phenomena. Niall at We are all in the gutter explores terrestrial gamma-ray flashes and their somewhat unknown origin.
That’s it for this week’s Carnival of Space! I’ll leave you with a replay of Curiosity’s launch from Saturday morning: