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.