Carnival of Space #274

Welcome to another installment of The Carnival of Space! Here’s some highlights of space and astronomy news from the past week. We’ve got great stories on Mars, Dragons, the scale of spiral-shaped objects and more!

First off, Nextbigfuture summarizes a NASA FISO presentation. This Way To Deep Space Electric Propulsion Human Missions to the Moon, Asteroids, and Mars (27 pages). New solar array technologies (e.g. ROSA, FAST, Ultraflex) could provide the power for a high-­‐power SEP stage (with specific powers of 130-­‐220 W/kg). Space Solar array technology has been doubling every four years. Improvement of Japan’s heliogyro thin film solar sail technology combined with ion drive could be about twenty times better with 6000 watts per kg. Read more at: http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/10/incremental-solar-electric-propulsion.html

Next up from the Chandra blog is a comparison of spiral-shaped objects on very different scales: Water, Hurricanes and Galaxies! Check it out at: http://www.chandra.si.edu/blog/node/404

Keep reading for more great highlights from the past week in space and astronomy news!

The Meridiani Journal looks at Curiosity’s latest findings about the Martian atmosphere and the search for methane. It hasn’t definitively found the methane yet, but it has raised more questions… Get the latest scoop on on the methane mystery on Mars at: http://themeridianijournal.com/2012/11/curiosity-rover-raises-questions-about-methane-on-mars/

Weirdwarp shows how NASA is known for landing people on the moon and helping an entire generation dream of new horizons. However, many people don’t realize how the space program has impacted nearly every facet of our society. Over the years, NASA’s technological advances have been quietly integrated into everyday life, fundamentally changing how people communicate, eat, sleep and travel. Learn how NASA technologies make our lives easier at: http://www.weirdwarp.com/2012/09/5-innovations-of-the-space-program-we-take-for-granted/

Centauri Dreams looks at Earth’s future in the context of what we might observe around other stars.G-class stars have a ‘window’ for complex life that closes as the star begins the changes that will turn it into a red giant. Statistically, we might expect most planets we find around such stars to have no more than unicellular life. But what about M-class dwarfs? Read the full post at: http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=25359

Image Credit: NASA/JSC

Last but not least, THAR BE DRAGONS!

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft returned to Earth from the International Space Station, safely splashing down approximately 250 miles off the coast of southern California. This restores the capability to return samples from the space station. Nextbigfuture has coverage. Some amazing, spacey feats of pumpkin carving!

What could be scarier than seven minutes of terror and Dragons?

Check out a gallery of awesome space-themed pumpkin carvings courtesy of my pals at Universe Today.

That’s it for this week’s Carnival of Space! Stay tuned for the next weekly showcase of articles written on the topic of space. If you have a science/space blog, joining the carnival is a good way to meet members of the space/science blogging community and help your site reach a wider audience.

If you’d like to be a host for the carnival, please send email to [email protected]

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