Carnival of Space 551

1. Universe Today – Special Skinsuits Could Help Astronauts Avoid Back Pain When Their Spines Expand In Space

In microgravity, the spine of an astronaut is never compressed by gravity, and stays unloaded. The resulting expansion causes pain. As Green says, “In space there’s no gravitational loading. Thus the discs in your spine may continue to swell, the natural curves of the spine may be reduced and the supporting ligaments and muscles — no longer required to resist gravity – may become loose and weak.”

The SkinSuit being developed by the Space Medicine Office of ESA’s European Astronaut Centre and the King’s College in London is based on work done by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It’s a spandex-based garment that simulates gravity by squeezing the body from the shoulders to the feet.

2. Cosmoquest – A Major Update to a Classic! CosmoQuest releases Mappers 2.0

3. Cosmoquest – AUsing Astronaut Photos of Urban Development as an Instructional Tool

4. Universe Today – This was Exactly Where Cassini Crashed into Saturn

5. Universe Today – 22 Years Of The Sun From Soho

6. Chandra X-ray Space Telescope blog – ULX in M51: Beaming with the Light of Millions of Suns

7. Nextbigfuture – SpaceX Texas launch facility would massively increase the number of SpaceX launches

SpaceX is building a private spaceport in Boca Chica Village, Texas and the rocket launch facility should be ready around September 2018.

The Boca Chica will be a testing facility for the SpaceX BFR rocket. True orbital launch operations are unlikely to begin at Boca Chica any earlier than mid-to-late 2019.

8. Nextbigfuture – TESS space telescope will find many Earth and Super-Earth like Exoplanets starting this year

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) will discover thousands of exoplanets in orbit around the brightest stars in the sky. In a two-year survey of the solar neighborhood, TESS will monitor more than 200,000 stars for temporary drops in brightness caused by planetary transits. This first-ever spaceborne all-sky transit survey will identify planets ranging from Earth-sized to gas giants, around a wide range of stellar types and orbital distances. No ground-based survey can achieve this feat.

Launch Readiness Date – The TESS launch date is NLT June 2018 (the current working launch date is March 2018). A SpaceX Falcon 9 will launch the space telescope.

9. Nextbigfuture – Hawking talks about no clear Big Bang and no boundary to space-time

Stephen Hawking describes what came before the big bang.

Hawking says the universe had no clear “bang.” You can wind back the clock to the edges of those first moments of existence, but asking what came before would be like asking why you can keep walking north when you get to the North Pole. Time, as we define it, loses its meaning as the universe shrinks down.

It never quite narrows to a single point

10. Nextbigfuture – Exoplanet found with a lot more water than expected