Sunday, February 24, 2013

Carnival of Space #290

Welcome to Carnival of space # 290. The carnival is a collection from high quality blogs and websites dealing with space and astronomy. Just to open this Carnival I will mention that the publish day of this Carnival is the Jewish holiday of Purim, as you can read all about in the book of Esther. In the book of Esther there are some remarks for astronomers and astrologist (Which was more or less the same 2000 years ago in Persia). For example look at chapter 1 verse 13 (I am using a Jewish translation so there will probably be some differences from your version): "Then the king said to the wise men, who knew the times--for so was the king's manner toward all that knew law and judgment". It is clear that the wise men who knew the times were the astronomers tracking the motion of the planets... If you happen to know Hebrew or want to check if Google translate will manage to translate it to your mother tongue, try reading the Hebrew version of "Astronomy and Purim".

And here are the articles for this carnival:

The Once and Future Moon, part of Air&Space magazine writes about Geological sampling and planetary exploration.

Next big Future writes about Dennis Tito which is planning a space mission that would involve a flyby of Mars with a free return back to Earth, without stopping. That type of low-energy trajectory requires a special set of orbital circumstances: The presentation says those circumstances exist for the 2018 opportunity but won't repeat until 2031. Two astronauts living in spartan conditions could make the 501-day trip in a modified SpaceX Dragon capsule, launched by SpaceX's yet-to-be-flown Falcon Heavy rocket.

Another item from Next big future is about Carver Mead that said that we're all taught that there was a revolution in scientific thought that started with relativity and quantum mechanics. "Actually, that's not the case," he said. "A revolution is when something goes clear around. And what happened starting in the first 25 years of the 20th century was that there was the beginning of a revolution, and it got stuck about a quarter of the way around."

From Computer pioneer Carver Mead's point of view, the key to a more intuitive explanation of the universe lies in not only the interrelationships of matter and
forces, but also a better understanding of the electron. "We need to treat the wave functions of our electrons as real wave functions," he said. "I have found personally that I had to go all the way back and reformulate the laws of electromagnetism, starting with the quantum nature of the electron as the foundation."

A more holistic approach was suggested by none other than the Austrian physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach. As Mead tells it, Mach "took Newton to task. He said, 'Look, your idea of absolute motion is a stupid idea. Motion can only have meaning when what it is that's moving is moving relative to other matter in the universe'."

And the last item from Next Big future is about the question are we alone? Although hundreds of planets orbiting other stars have been discovered in the past 15 years, we cannot yet answer the age-old question of whether any of these planets are capable of sustaining life. However, new NASA technology may change that, by giving us our first look at distant planets that not only are the right size and traveling in the temperate habitable zone of their host star, but also show signs of potential life, such as atmospheric oxygen and liquid water.

3D printing is a genuinely incredible new technology. After taking off in the 21st century on Earth, it looks set to become one of the defining technologies in human space travel and colonization. Could 3D printed food provide astronauts with the meals of the future? Find out in this fine article by Markus Hammonds from Discovery new.

The Meridian Journal also writes about the possibility of finding life on exoplanets. Colourful exoplanets may be first to show evidence of alien life.

Everyday Spacer writes to increase awareness about a science fair which is in jeopardy.

And if you need some reading recommendations, Catholicsensibility send us his impressions of the book "The Brightest Stars".

Did you manage to See 2012 DA14? I didn't although other people in my area did. Astro Swanny's AAArtscope blog summarize the close approach of the asteroid. And Astroblog Ian Musgrav sends us his superb pictures of the flyby!

Our last item for this week from L. Riofrio gives tribute to his colleague David S. McKay who trained Apollo astronauts in geology and found signs of life in a Martian meteorite, passed away this week.

That's all for the week, May your days be long and your nights clear!