Thursday, January 03, 2008

Carnival of Space #35

Dawn at Ceres - Ion Engine Firing
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.


Ed said...

You might want to look through your spam bin for more carnival of space entries. I suspect my carnival entry got routed to your spam bin.

Anonymous said...

I sent in something that seems to have gone astray too...


brian wang said...

Me too

FlyingSinger said...

Sorry folks - Fraser now gets all the mail and manually forwards it to the current host (he doesn't re-route the gmail address as Henry used to do). I wrote up everything I received from him. I can't rule out that my company-level spam filters might have grabbed some of his and not others, but there's nothing trapped in my local spam/junk folders. I will let Fraser know about the problem and I'm sure he will forward your posts to next week's (TBD) host.


Gaetano Marano said...


the "Carnival of Space" suggests that we will soon FLY in Space nearly every week...

but the Space Shuttle will be retired in 2010 and the Orion will fly (a few times per year) from 2016 ...that IF the Ares rockets will fly... that's NOT sure:

so, fly in Space, seems to become a "DREAM" rather than a "Carnival"...


FlyingSinger said...

A weekly space carnival only suggests that there is something interesting happening in space every week, and since we are open to everything from shuttle missions to SETI, NASA and private space, robotic and manned missions, not to mention every part of astronomy, there's a lot of "space" for a weekly space carnival.

There is also no shortage of space cynics and non-believers in VSE/ESAS/NASA or human space flight or whatever you name. I think NASA does a lot of good stuff, and also a lot of stupid, industry-driven, and short-sighted bureaucratic stuff too. You seem to be quite skeptical of NASA's VSE plans, Ares, Constellation, etc. and that's fine - at least you seem to also make constructive suggestions (like your VME with a fleet of robotic rovers all over the Moon). So feel free to submit blog posts to the carnival whenever you like. All viewpoints on space are welcome, as long as you're interested in space in some way (and if you're not, you wouldn't be reading and writing this stuff).

I happen to believe that humans belong in space, that we will eventually live in various places besides Earth's surface. Will NASA get us to that future? Certainly not on its own, which is why I hope that SpaceX and other private space ventures will succeed, and many more after them. There is also plenty of room for robotic explorers - whatever is best for the job. But I think humans should visit their future homes as soon as they practically can, and learn to really live and work in space. Scientific exploration is important, but it's not the only reason to be in space.

Anyway, thanks for your comments, and I hope you submit some posts to future carnivals, even before we are flying every week.


Gaetano Marano said...



you're right about the fact that we have good research and discovery from Earth's telescopes, small probes and rovers like Spirit and Opportunity (while hoping that Phoenix will send us good news from Mars this year...) and the always young Hubble

most of the problems come from the (poor and slow) manned spaceflights plans... 2016 to launch the first Orion... 2022 to land again on the moon...

but the Ares & C. problems affect also the future unmanned probes and rovers projects since they need rocket to fly, so, "small rockets" means "small probes"

now, the payload limits are around 21 mT (from Russia) and 24 mT (from USA) while the Ares-1 should launch over 25 mT from 2016 and the Ares-5 up to 130 mT from 2020-2022 (with China that will have a new 25 mT launcher around 2011)

the Ares-5 could be a great rocket to launch bigger space telescopes and very complex and advanced probes and rovers, but, unfortunately, it will be ready only around 2022, the first units will be used for moon missions, and, when some extra Ares-5 will be available (around 2025-2030) they will result too expensive to launch (e.g.) a big Mars rover

this is the reality of facts and that's why'll have no big "Carnivals" in our future in Space

however, the "Carnival of Space #35" has had at least one good result for me, that's to discover your intersting blog (so I've added a button/link on the ghostNASA home page to visit and post again on your blog)



accommodation in albury said...

Hello Flying Singer. Wow! You sure have a lot of Carnival of Space blog posts under your sleeves. Spill it out. Thanks so much.