Thursday, January 03, 2008
Carnival of Space #35
People have been busy with the usual late December holiday activities (or in my case, busy being not so busy), so you might have noticed that the Carnival of Space skipped a week. But now at least a few of our Intrepid Space Bloggers are back at their keyboards and mice, ready to take on the Universe, one post at a time. Welcome to Carnival of Space #35, our first blog carnival for 2008 (please also see this bonus post with a few more entries for today's carnival).
Should we try to wake the neighbors? In Active SETI and the Public, Centauri Dreams looks at the question of whether broadcasting to the stars is a sound supplement to existing SETI searches, which involve listening (or looking) only. This post examines the issue in connection with David Grinspoon's recent article on the topic in SEED Magazine, and the comments set off a lively debate on the merits and potential dangers of such transmissions.
Asteroid 2007 WD5 will have a (possibly very) close encounter with Mars later this month. This prompted A Babe in the Universe to riff a bit on the subject of asteroids (Asteroid Coming, Ready or Not). She writes, "Asteroid collisions are more fun to watch on someone else's planet. The Dawn spacecraft has begun its cruise to Vesta by 2011 and Ceres in 2015. A few scientists are proposing a crewed mission to a near-Earth asteroid using an Orion spacecraft. More than just big rocks, the asteroids are new worlds that could conceivably harbor life." The picture above is one of my Orbiter screen captures on Flickr, showing a simulated Dawn firing its ion engine near Ceres in 2015.
Speaking of close encounters, the Planetary Society Weblog reports that Earth itself had one just the other day (December 31). Fortunately it was one of our own exploratory spacecraft (Deep Impact) just passing by for a brief visit and to take a few special pictures of the Moon, as Emily explains.
Wondering where you are? Astropixie tells us that as of January 2, you’re as close to the sun as you ever get, here on earth at perihelion. She also explains why it’s still so darn cold (at least up here in the north) and shows some really cool analemma images.
Rainer Gerhard’s Spaceflight blog digs into the ongoing troubleshooting of sensor and feedthrough connector problems on the soon-to-launch (we hope) shuttle Atlantis. What do space shuttles and Christmas lights have in common? Read his post and find out! And if you want to learn something about where space shuttle External Tanks are produced, A Mars Odyssey has a profile of the Michoud Assembly Facility in eastern New Orleans.
Lest you get too happy or optimistic, even with a new year dawning and all, the Space Cynics have a quick lesson on the dangers of external market forces and how a downturn in the economy, being triggered by a housing market collapse, can dash the hopes of space enthusiasts (Housing, Homer, and Space...).
Of course it wouldn’t be a new year without a few looks back at the one just completed. Riding with Robots has a nice video collage of images of 2007. CollectSPACE tells us about the 70 or so books on space exploration history published in 2007 and noted by the American Astronautical Society History Committee. I did a bit of looking back myself, though I allowed Alan Boyle’s Cosmic Log to do the heavy lifting on summarizing the past year in space. I mostly summed up my own year in space, looked way back at Apollo 12 and 15, and flew a few simulated Apollo landings on the moon. And that's how I spent my winter vacation.
I hope you enjoyed this week's carnival (be sure to also see this bonus post with a few more entries for this week). If you are interested in participating in or hosting future carnivals, check out this page at Universe Today.