Carnival of Space 389

1. Universe Today – Some of the Best Pictures of the Planets in our Solar System

Saturn and its rings, as seen from above the planet by the Cassini spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute/Gordan Ugarkovic

2. Universe Today – Beagle 2: Found on Mars After An 11 Year Hunt The Beagle 2 landed in one piece on Mars but the solar power panels did not deploy, so it could not establish communications.

The Beagle-2 lander on the plains of Isidis Planitia. Credit & Copyright: HiRISE/NASA/Leicester.

3. Fracknoi – This blog entry describes Comet Lovejoy, a comet that passed closest to the Earth this week, explains why astronomers are interested in comets, and shows a beautiful new image of the comet taken by Gerald Rhemann, an Austrian astrophotographer.

4. The Venus Transit – Seeing the ISS is not rare at all but seeing it crossing the moon requires to be at the right place at the right time. Luckily I was there in late December. Watch how I capture the ISS crossing the moon on video

The ISS and the moon just after the pass

5. Stereo Moons – Year of the ‘Dwarves’: Ceres and Pluto Get Their Due by Dr. Paul Schenk

6. The Meridiani Journal – Has Curiosity found evidence for ancient microbial life on Mars? Maybe, says noted geobiologist

7. Vega00 – A new study by Chinese astronomers suggest that one of the arms of the Milky Way could completely surround our galaxy. The article is written in Spanish

8. “Nextbigfuture -Spacex has an aggressive launch schedule for 2015. They are going to try to launch about once per month. They plan to ramp to twice per month launches.

The Spacex manifest of upcoming missions does not include the planned dates

The Christian Science Monitor notes how Spacex is 12 years old but still has the agility and spirit of a startup company. Spacex is also close to being certified for big defense contract missions.

9. Nextbigfuture – SpaceX lofted a Dragon cargo capsule on its way to the International Space Station early Saturday, but a highly anticipated attempt to land a Falcon 9 rocket booster on an ocean platform ended with the stage smashing into the barge. The primary mission though was to place a Dragon capsule in orbit that is carrying more than 5,000 pounds of food, supplies and science experiments to the station and its six-person crew.

SpaceX could follow as soon as Jan. 29 with another Falcon 9 launch of a government science satellite, and possibly another landing attempt, if the drone ship can be repaired quickly.