Carnival of Space #149

Step right up; no need to crowd. Be one of the first to revel in all the strange and won­drous sights the uni­verse has to offer. For you, my friends, are about to expe­ri­ence the best astro news gath­ered from Earth’s inter­net, with a com­plete archive here.

If this is your first time at Star­ryCrit­ters, wel­come! Stick around for awhile and explore the uni­verse. Share with us what you see in the night sky. If you host a sci­ence or astronomy-related blog, you can take the big hat by host­ing the Car­ni­val of Space. Just write to our gra­cious host Fraser Cain of Uni­ver­se­To­day at info [at] uni­ver­se­to­day [dot] com. It’s a great way to par­tic­i­pate in a grow­ing com­mu­nity, and reach a wider audi­ence with your writing.

Now, right this way into the Car­ni­val of Space #149.

Space Shut­tle Dis­cov­ery and crew of STS-131 lifted off at 6:21 a.m. Mon­day, April 5th from the Kennedy Space Cen­ter, tak­ing a unique plug-and-play space tech­nol­ogy devel­oped by Ken­tucky Space and NanoRacks LLC. With reg­u­lar access to the sta­tion, Ken­tucky Space says they think the plat­form will give many more orga­ni­za­tions a chance to do low cost, repeat­able micro­grav­ity research.

Astro­engine and Dis­cov­ery Space pro­ducer, Dr. Ian O’Neill, also talks about these unique labs.

Also arriv­ing at the space sta­tion with Dis­cov­ery are Klin­gon, cook­ies and class projects. Robert Pearl­man of col­lect­Space gives us the skinny. Qapla’!

For all the Moon-related news this week, we have a nested car­ni­val of the Egg Moon, this week only, over at Out of the Cra­dle.

Alan Boyle hawks a full cart of astro good­ies at Cos­mi­cLog with Spaceflight’s past and future: Lookin’ at Yuri’s Night and the expec­ta­tions for Obama’s space sum­mit, A dif­fer­ent breed of planet? It’s small enough to be a planet, but formed like a star, and The shut­tle shuf­fle: What’s going to hap­pen to the shut­tles after they’re done flying?

Over at Why­Home­school, Henry cap­tures the major announce­ments at Space Access 2010,
a space con­fer­ence for the entre­pre­neurs in the space industry.

[UPDATE]Can you imag­ine a swarm of cheap com­puter chips work­ing as a huge and pow­er­ful tele­scope array or act­ing as plan­e­tary sen­sors? Brian Wang at NextBig­Fu­ture explores the idea of a space­craft on a com­puter chip. The pro­to­type should be launched this year. Brian also delves into the intri­ca­cies of worm­hole research sug­gest­ing that uni­verses are nested like Russ­ian Dolls. Our uni­verse could be a worm­hole in a black­hole of another universe.

You won’t believe your eyes with this act. Steve Til­ford at Steve’s Astro­corner shares with us the plea­sure of the Messier Tor­ture Ses­sion, bet­ter known as the Messier Marathon.

It amazes me that some news out­lets report that only one per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion has seen the planet Mer­cury. Stu­art at Cum­brian Sky offers a tan­ta­liz­ing observ­ing report of one of the great­est sun­set shows of Venus and Mercury.

While most eyes are watch­ing a bit far­ther out into the solar sys­tem fol­low­ing the amaz­ing sci­ence and images from Cassini at Sat­urn and HiRise at Mars, Venus Express may help sci­en­tists rewrite the book on Venu­sian geol­ogy. Both Emily Lak­dawalla of Plan­e­tary Soci­ety Blog and Phil Plait of Bad Astron­omy report that Venus may not be the hot, geo­log­i­cally dead world we thought we knew.

It’s avalanche sea­son here in Col­orado and on Mars. The­S­paceWriter, Car­olyn Petersen, mar­vels at the reg­u­lar­ity HiRISE has been spot­ting avalanches dur­ing Mars’ spring thaw.

Step back a bit and take in the glo­ries of outer plan­ets. Weird­Warp stud­ies the atmos­pheres of these giants.

Blast­ing way out there, the Chan­draBlog offers a Q&A about supernovae.

Hop right into the captain’s seat at Star­ryCrit­ters and explore the odd­ball, asym­met­ri­cal spi­ral galaxy of M66 in the Leo Triplet in this new image from NASA’s Hub­ble Space Telescope.

Need a stretch? Sit back as Cheap Astron­omy com­pletes its epic two-part pod­cast on the shape of space. No read­ing required.

James and Gre­gory Ben­ford look at how an inter­stel­lar bea­con might be con­structed in an arti­cle respond­ing to an ear­lier post on Cen­tauri Dreams. Bea­cons turn out to be fab­u­lously expen­sive, under the Ben­fords’ assump­tions, but their analy­sis also offers up an opti­mized way to pur­sue the SETI search.

Weird­Sciences helps us under­stand the ways and rea­sons of why aliens might con­tact us. They prob­a­bly don’t want Earth for the ho-hum views and dwin­dling resources. Maybe they want to help us sur­vive at the end of the cos­mos.

So long. Thanks for all the fish.

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The ancient peo­ples saw pic­tures in the sky. From those pat­terns in the heav­ens, ancient sto­ry­tellers cre­ated leg­ends about heroes, maid­ens, drag­ons, bears, cen­taurs, dogs and myth­i­cal crea­tures…
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