Carnival of Space 387

The Carnival of Space 387 is up at Everyday spacer

Paul Scott Anderson | The Meridiani Journal – Kepler finds ‘super-Earth’ exoplanet in first discovery of new mission

The Kepler space telescope has found its first new exoplanet, a “super-Earth,” of its secondary mission phase. The discovery adds to a current tally of 996 confirmed exoplanets and 4,183 planetary candidates already found by the revolutionary planet-hunting telescope.

Universe Today – 10 Space Science Stories to Watch in 2015 Here are six of the ten

1. New Horizons at Pluto
2. Dawn at Ceres
3. Long Duration ISS Missions – Beginning in 2015, astronauts and cosmonauts will begin year-long stays aboard the ISS to study the effects of long duration space missions. In March of 2015, cosmonaut Mikhail Korniyenko and U.S. astronaut S
5. SpaceX will make multiple Attempts to Land on a Sea Platform [first one reached the platform but stuck the landing too hard, possibly ten more attempts]
6. Akatsuki at Venus – Japanese mission
9. Advanced LIGO – Earth based gravitational wave detector goes online
10. LISA Pathfinder – The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, and the Pathfinder mission will journey to the L1 Lagrange point between the Earth and the Sun to test key technologies. LISA Pathfinder will pave the way for the full fledged LISA space platform, a series of three free flying spacecraft proposed for launch in the 2030s.

The Meridiani Journal – Tilted aquaplanets might still be habitable, study suggests

Nextbigfuture – A detailed look at the Phase I report for Orbiting Rainbows. NASA provided the funding for a phase 2 study project. They would use several lasers to trap and shape billions of reflective dust particles into single or multiple lenses that could grow to reach tens of meters to thousands of kilometers in diameter. According to Swartzlander, the unprecedented resolution and detail might be great enough to spot clouds on exoplanets. The diameter of the lens would be similar to what hypertelescopes could achieve in space however, the laser shaped dust clouds could more cheaply have a filled in lens.

Nextbigfuture – NASA Dawn has entered its approach phase toward Ceres. The spacecraft will arrive at Ceres on March 6, 2015. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has entered an approach phase in which it will continue to close in on Ceres, a Texas-sized dwarf planet never before visited by a spacecraft. Dawn launched in 2007 and is scheduled to enter Ceres orbit in March 2015. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft came out of hibernation for the last time on Dec. 6. The Pluto-bound probe will have a six-month encounter with the dwarf planet that begins in January 15. New Horizons is healthy and cruising quietly through deep space – nearly three billion miles from home – but its rest is nearly over,” says Alice Bowman, New Horizons mission operations manager at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md. “It’s time for New Horizons to wake up, get to work, and start making history.

Nextbigfuture – Light combustion gas guns compared to railguns for military and space purposes

The long run potential of electrically powered magnetic gun is what matters. Light combustion technology is still limited as other chemical technology is nearing its limits. Ultimately magnetic technology can have far better power density than any chemical technology. The argument about light gas guns would be like an argument that repeater crossbows, improved long bows and improved arrow technology are better than flint lock guns. Early cannons would have been inferior to improved ballista’s.