Carnival of Space 343

The Carnival of Space 343 is up at the Urban Astronomer

The Meridiani Journal – Is this new evidence for ancient life on Mars?

Studies of a Martian meteorite, known as Yamato 000593 (Y000593), have revealed signs of past liquid water activity as well as possible evidence of actual biological processes.

From the press release: “The team reports that newly discovered different structures and compositional features within the larger Yamato meteorite suggest biological processes might have been at work on Mars hundreds of millions of years ago.”

Scanning electron microscope image from inside the Martian meteorite Yamato 000593 (Y000593), showing the tunnels and micro-tunnels. Credit: NASA

Nextbigfuture – NASA’s Kepler Space telescope has confirmed..715 new planets… orbiting 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system. Nearly 95 percent of these planets are smaller than Neptune, which is almost four times the size of Earth.

Nextbigfuture – The next commercial SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that’s set to launch in March carrying an unmanned Dragon cargo vessel will also be equipped with a quartet of landing legs in a key test that will one day lead to cheaper, reusable boosters, announced Elon Musk, the company’s founder and CEO.

Nextbigfuture – Space Exploration Technologies Corp., the start-up rocket-maker headed by billionaire Elon Musk, moved a step closer to launching military and spy satellites this week.

The U.S. Air Force said the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company known as SpaceX has completed the first of three missions needed to qualify for carrying military and intelligence satellites, which are generally bigger and more expensive than their commercial counterparts.

Nextbigfuture – The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is an Explorer-class planet finder. In the first-ever spaceborne all-sky transit survey, TESS will identify planets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, orbiting a wide range of stellar types and orbital distances. The principal goal of the TESS mission is to detect small planets with bright host stars in the solar neighborhood, so that detailed characterizations of the planets and their atmospheres can be performed. TESS, along with the Neutron star Interior Composition ExploreR (NICER), had been selected for launch in 2017. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), previously known as Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST), is a planned space telescope (with a launch target 2018) optimized for observations in the infrared, and a scientific successor to the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope. The main technical features are a large and very cold 6.5-meter (21 ft) diameter mirror and four specialized instruments at an observing position far from Earth, orbiting the Earth–Sun L2 point. The combination of these features will give JWST unprecedented resolution and sensitivity from long-wavelength visible to the mid-infrared, enabling its two main scientific goals – studying the birth and evolution of galaxies, and the formation of stars and planets.

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