My name is Wayne Hall and I work with the Kentucky space program. Huh? Kentucky what?!
Suffice it to say that a group of talented people are out to change the perception of what's possible in the commonwealth of Kentucky by doing hands-on space science. The very first project of this ambitious enterprise is a cooperative, student-led effort to design, build and fly a CubeSat that kids from the eastern mountains to the western Mississippi river shore can figuratively reach out and touch from classrooms all over the state. The first of many planned efforts, it will rocket to orbit sometime late this year or early next. And with that,
Welcome to the 50th edition of the Carnival of Space! From rocket racing to astronomy to particle physics to the search for intelligent life, this week features a wide variety of space-related topics. So let's dive right in.
New Frontiers has news about the Rocket Racing League and its announcement about upcoming exhibition race dates. Meanwhile, Space Transport News discusses Red Bull air races and the differences and similarities to rocket racing as well as taking some notes from the news conference.
The Planetary Society's Emily Stewart Lakdawalla notes the stunning images of Phobos available from the Mars Express image catalog. A Babe in the Universe follows suit, pointing out that the crater Stickney is 9 km across on a moon only 22 km long. Speaking as a blogger who makes liberal use of CICLOPS and HiRISE images, the pictures coming from current robotic missions are spectacular. I'm looking forward to what MESSENGER and New Horizons might reveal.
Fraser explains why Pluto is no longer a planet. Let's just say that the region beyond Neptune is awfully interesting.
Of the many satellites that dance around Sun, Neptune's Triton is probably not a world that tickles one's imagination when envisioning space colonization. But while it may be ignored as scientists chase after Mars and Titan, Neptune's Triton may in the distant future become a prime location at the edge of our solar system. Colony Worlds asks: Neptune's Triton: Is It Worth Billions, Or Trillions?
At Next Big Future, Brian Wang asks whether a $153 million Thin Film Dome inflated over cities might protect against nuclear weapons or perhaps substitute for communication satellites. Russian inventor and researcher Alexander Bolonkin has developed an interesting technology that suggests all kinds of commercial possibilities.
Can Dark Matter be directly detected? Anticipating such an announcement, astrophysicist Ethan Siegel expresses his doubts at Starts with a Bang! It's a question I've also put to Star Stryder, Pamela Gay.
Astronomer Robert Simpson at Orbiting Frog contributes a post to the 50th carnival on Nebulae in 3D. He nominated another post about the late John Wheeler from Daniel Holz at the wonderful group blog Cosmic Variance. Holz movingly recalls his time with the physicist, who was conversant in biology, history and poetry. Please give it a read.
At Centauri Dreams, Paul Gilster, who is surely link-weary from the attention this blog has paid to him, posts a story about "Life as Rarity in the Cosmos," which looks at new research suggesting that we are living rather late in the history of Earth's biosphere. If so, it might have implications for the possibility of intelligent life elsewhere. Bottom line: we might find that life itself is rather common, but intelligent life? Not so much.
Do we have anything to worry about from the Large Hadron Collider? Ian O'Neill explains that "an Earth-eating black hole is pretty much impossible."
Ever-prepared, Scouts Canada describes a variety of methods for finding direction without a compass or GPS by using the sun, stars and moon. In practical fashion, Scouts blogger Mang also lends some context to astronomical distances - the discussion includes a scale overlay of the solar system on the City of Toronto using a standard marble for Earth - and writes about modeling a micro-satellite, the Microvariability & Oscillations of STars (MOST) satellite. The MOST team has opened target proposals to the public.
Space Cynics, meanwhile, wonders how prepared Gen-Y is to contribute to the national space program.
Tyler Nordgren is educating visitors about what they learn about the solar system and universe through what they can see for themselves in the dark starry skies above the parks, as well as on the ground around them in the wonderful geological processes and features the parks protect. The most recent entry from this week at Arches National Park is found here.
Finally, at Music of the Spheres, Bruce Irving asks Why Space?, a theme that the Martian Chronicles also picks up on this week, along with providing some great Cape Verde images as seen from everyone's favorite Martian rover.
Why explore indeed! And since it's THAT time again, perhaps it's appropriate that John Benac contribute a post about Political Action for Space, the first space political action committee.
It's been a blast to host the carnival at Kentucky's space program blog this week. KySat hopes to make its own news in the near future. So please come back and please visit all the great blogs and bloggers you see listed here!