Carnival of Space #333
Welcome to a special Christmas eve 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 Gravity (The Movie), Habitable Zones, Mars Exploration, and more!
First off, Next Big Future has a trio of articles covering China’s Lunar rover, Exoplanets, and the Big Bang. According to former astronaut/geologist Harrison Schmitt, China “has made no secret” of its interest in Helium-3. Schmitt observes, “I would assume that this mission is both a geopolitical statement and a test of some hardware and software related to mining and processing of the lunar regolith.” Read more at: http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/12/could-china-make-claims-to-moon-that.html
Next up, Physicists have long predicted that the universe may one day collapse, and that everything in it will be compressed to a small hard ball. New calculations from physicists at the University of Southern Denmark now confirm this prediction – and
they also conclude that the risk of a collapse is even greater than previously thought. Learn more at: http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/12/one-new-physics-theory-suggests-no-big.html
Last up from Next Big Future, Scientists at MIT have developed a new technique for determining the mass of exoplanets, using only their transit signal — dips in light as a planet passes in front of its star. Learn about this new method at: http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/12/new-technique-for-determining-mass-of.html
AM CVn are a rare class of objects where one white dwarf is pulling material from a compact companion star, such as a second white dwarf. Read the full story at: http://chandra.harvard.edu/blog/node/470
The evidence continues to mount in support of the existence of Dark Matter, but alternative explanations for the anomalous orbital speeds of stars within galaxies haven’t entirely been eliminated just yet. Modified Newtonian Dynamics is one of these alternatives, which recently was able to succesfully predict the motions of stars within a number of small satellite galaxies – a feat that no other model has yet achieved. Learn more at: http://www.urban-astronomer.com/article/mond-theory-gets-boost
This Hilarious Conversation With A Space Robot Makes Kirobo Seem Almost Human at: http://www.universetoday.com/107382/this-hilarious-conversation-with-a-space-robot-makes-kirobo-seem-almost-human/
ESA’s Gaia Mission Launches to Map the Milky Way, read more at: http://www.universetoday.com/107357/esas-gaia-mission-launches-to-map-the-milky-way/
A international team of astronomers has published a paper about the possible discovery of the first exomoon, using microlensing technique. Vega00 has coverage (In Spanish) at: http://www.vega00.com/2013/12/MOA-2011-BLG-262Lb-primera-exoluna.html
A new discovery around Fomalhaut C could explain why the ring of exocomets that surround Fomalhaut A is so bright. A team of astronomers has discovered a new ring of exocomets! Vega00 has coverage (In Spanish) at: http://www.vega00.com/2013/12/segundo-anillo-exocometas-fomalhaut.html
Within a year or two, the number of humans who have been to space may double to about 1100, says William Pomerantz of Virgin Galactic, the company who hopes to make that happen. Sometime in 2014, entrepreneur Richard Branson and his two children aim to be on the first commercial flight of SpaceShip Two, Virgin Galactic’s rocket for propelling eight people 100 kilometers above the Earth. Next Big Future has coverage at: http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/12/virgin-galactic-may-double-number-of.html
Last but not least, The Lego group recently announced the retail availability of the Curiosity Rover kit on Jan 1st. The kit is based on the winning Cuusoo fan-submitted design. Catch the Curiosity rover kit in action at: http://www.dearastronomer.com/2013/12/22/lego-curiosity-rover-in-action/
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.
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