Carnival of Space #179
December 1, 2010 8 Comments
Welcome to the carnival of space #179. If you have no idea what a carnival of space is, you can hit this page at Universe Today.
Imagine however a lunar base derived from S-IVB lander stages, as mentioned above. Each station would be the colonizable equivalent of Skylab on the ground– coverable with lunar regolith for radiation protection. With two men landing in the S-IVB, a very minimal 2 man personal reentry vehicle, imagine a version of the MOOSE (upper right) and a small two stage booster (perhaps the equivalent of the LESS on top of the MOBEV, see top center) with one of the reentry protection concepts from upper right, about 3.5 tons of the landed 7 ton payload would be the direct up return craft and reentry vehicle, (this is only HALF the weight of the 3 man Command Module alone that actually flew!) the rest supplies for expedition and colonizing the LASS lander.
Joseph Friedlander at Next Big Future site, talks about What was the best way to use the Saturn V to reach the Moon– in retrospect? An excellent discussion. Mr. Brian Wang discusses Vasimr 200 kilowatt plasma rocket achieves full power milestone.
To celebrate Mars Express’ recent mission extension to 2014, here[At Planetary Blog] are some cool pictures that it took of Mars’ inner and larger moon Phobos.
Steve Nerlich at Cheap Astronomy exudes a podcast on the origin of the oceans.
November 23rd, astronomers from the Asiago Novae and Symbiotic Stars collaboration announced recent changes in the symbiotic variable star, AX Persei, could indicate the onset of a rare eruption of this system. The last major eruption took place between 1988 and1992. In the (northern hemisphere) spring of 2009, AX Per underwent a short outburst that was the first time since 1992 this star had experienced a bright phase. Now AX Per is on the rise again. This has tempted astronomers to speculate that another major eruption could be in the making.
Symbiotic variable stars are binary systems whose members are a hot compact white dwarf in a wide orbit around a cool giant star. The orbital periods of symbiotic variables are between 100 and 2000 days. Unlike dwarf novae, compact binaries whose periods are measured in hours, where mass is transferred directly via an accretion disk around the white dwarf, siphoned directly from the surface of the secondary, in symbiotic variables the pair orbit each other far enough away that the mass exchanged between them comes from the strong stellar wind blowing off the red giant. Both stars reside within a shared cloud of gas and dust called a common envelope.
You can find more about it on Mike Simonsen’s blog Simostronomy.
Jupiter’s missing belt to return? by Ian Musgrave
Cepheids are not such eclipsing binaries, being intrinsically variable, that is their fluctuating brightness comes from some process inside them. Cepheids literally shrink as they dim and swell as they brighten. In 1908, Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1864-1921) discovered that Cepheids pulse at a rate governed by their brightness. This discovery, published in 1912, was based on painstaking measurements of 1777 stars’ characteristics recorded at Harvard College Observatory when Leavitt was employed as a ‘calculator’, a lowly paid female astronomer who performed mathematical calculations for the Observatory’s research staff. Sadly she received little credit for her work on Cepheids during her lifetime.
Colin Johnston has a excellent article on Cepheids which are massive, pulsating stars, valued by astronomers for the precise link between their brightness and steady pulsation. Let’s look at the history of Cepheid variables and how recent discoveries about these stars shatter established theories of stellar evolution.
The WISE mission has received a lot of press in terms of discovering nearby brown dwarfs, but it’s clear that finding low-temperature objects is a major investigation at many Earth-bound sites as well. That includes the UKIRT (United Kingdom Infrared Telescope) Deep Sky Survey’s project to find the coolest objects in our galaxy, an effort that has paid off in the form of a unique binary system. One of the stars here is a cool, methane-rich T-dwarf, while the other is a white dwarf, the two low-mass stars orbiting each other though separated by a quarter of a light year.
The twin objects are now known as LSPM 1459+0857 A and B, a binary that has held together despite the perturbations of the white dwarf’s history and the system’s own passage through the galactic disk. The paper notes that “This system is an example of how wide BD binary companions to white dwarfs make good benchmark objects, which will help test model atmospheres, and may provide independent means to calibrate BD properties of field objects.
Paul Gilster elucidates some fascinating features of Brown Dwarfs. Visit it at Centauri Dreams.
The Docrtine of Mutually Assured Exclusion, and what will happen to our dreams of being a spacefaring civilization if we blow up each others’ satellites during a war and the resulting debris field that will prevent *anyone* from leaving Earth for a long time to come…
It’s a good news for space geeks. US Postal Service revealed designs for 2011 space stamps. The stamp’s design, which was quietly released last week by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), shows Shepard from his shoulders up centered between images of his rocket lifting off and his capsule above the Earth. The pair — or “se-tenant” — of space-themed stamps was revealed in the USPS’s annual report for 2010, which was posted to the postal service’s website Nov. 15. The two stamps are displayed with other commemoratives planned for next year as a lead in to the report’s financial section.
You can find out more about it HERE.
What might we see at Santa Maria..? BY Stuart Atkinson |The Road To Endeavour
Despite uncertainties in budget, Lockheed engineers are still thinking of
missions for the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle. One possible mission would
take Orion to the Earth-Moon L2 point: Far side of the moon by Louise Riofrio
Another plan being discussed would launch Orion unmanned atop a Delta IV in 2013. If successful, this mission into high Earth orbit would clear the way for a human asteroid mission around 2015.