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Carnival of Space #80: Thanksgiving Edition

November 21, 2008 on 2:05 am | In Astronomy |

The harvests are all done all over the northern hemisphere, and it’s time for the American holiday of Thanksgiving, where we give thanks for all that the land has given us.

I’m not only hosting Thanksgiving this year, but I’ve designed this week’s Carnival of Space around an “Authentic” Thanksgiving menu. This has all the things you need to have a truly wonderful holiday next week. Let’s go through the menu for a truly awesome Thanksgiving feast:

There’s no way you’re going to get all those people to tolerate one another without some good social lubrication. Otherwise they fight with each other.

Take the new evidence for Oceans on Mars. Bad Astronomy is all for it, and is very excited about it. But the Martian Chronicles has a different take, and expresses skepticism about interpreting the evidence. The Meridiani Journal weighs in on this issue too, and shows optimism that there were, indeed, oceans there. You want to avoid a scene like this at your Thanksgiving, so you may want to go straight to the food.

Yeah, that’s right. It’s enticing to bring people home for Thanksgiving. Louise Riofrio tells a touching story of a team of Russian Cosmonauts’ homecoming, from Expedition 17 aboard the International Space Station.

So what are some great dishes to prepare to bring people together?

The centerpiece of every American Thanksgiving is the Turkey. Sometimes you’ve got to go a long way to get just the right one. And What’s up Astronomy understands that really well, telling you the right trip to take to get a gander at the Andromeda Galaxy.

But once you’ve got a turkey, you’ve still got to bake it. Who better to tell us how than our baking expert over at KYSat? Kentucky’s Space Program is gearing up for a launch next year, and they have step-by-step instructions with pictures on how they baked their circuit boards for the mission.

Still, turkeys are kind of blasé. I’m going all out for my Thanksgiving, Turducken style!

That’s right, it’s a mostly deboned turkey stuffed with a deboned duck stuffed with a deboned chicken. Delicious, excessive, and completely celebratory; it’s an avian trifecta!

What other things are we celebrating? How about the 10th birthday of the International Space Station, courtesy of the Music of the Spheres.

And that’s not all for the ISS, either. Ever wonder just how the Space Shuttle takes cargo up to and onto the space station? Orbital Hub has all the glorious answers for you, and you’d better not miss it, because the shuttle only has two more missions to the ISS before it’s decommissioned!

Once you’ve got your Thanksgiving centerpiece, it’s time for the side dishes.

Cranberry relish and candied yams with marshmallows, two of the classics. Like two of our closest neighbors, the Moon and Mars.

Let’s start with the Moon; our closest neighbor and the site of our first steps on another world. Getting around is hugely important, and so we’ve got an up-close look at the new Moon Rovers that NASA’s planning for the US’s return over at Potentia Tenebras Repellendi, which is a great name (Latin for “Power to repel the darkness”), and the motto of one of the first Ballistic-Missile Submarines.

The Moon was also visited by India’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. Emily over at the Planetary Society has all the info and pictures from its Moon Impact Probe, which is incredibly detailed and just breathtaking to look at.

Finally, the Moon has super long nights — one night on the Moon lasts about 330 hours. What’s going to light those nights? Next Big Future tells us that nuclear fission reactors ought to do the job. He does a really excellent job of outlining a timeline for a large-scale nuclear initiative on the Moon, and makes a reasonable case that we could be fully powered up there in less than a decade. Neat stuff!

Mars is next, and needs another side dish. My recommendation? Homemade baked macaroni and cheese.

How could we make Mars a habitable place? Altair VI takes a look back at the first serious scientific study of terraforming, going back to 1991. This is a really interesting read, and really gives you an appreciation for what a phenomenal undertaking changing the habitat of an entire planet would be.

We can get other planets in on the action, too. Even ones from outside the Solar System! Take a look over at Cosmic Ray’s site, where he shows you the first photos of planets in other Solar Systems, and gives the full report on them.

And do you think that one of these other planets, somewhere in the galaxy, might have intelligent life living on it? 21st Century Waves isn’t telling, but is telling you how we could spot them if they are out there. I’m personally pessimistic about those odds, but it would be truly shameful if we didn’t try!

Well, Thanksgiving’s looking good so far, but you forgot the entertainment! What are you going to do, watch a football game? It is an American tradition…

We’ve got better options for you. First off, there’s a new astronomy talk show out there thanks to Ian O’Neill, Astroengine Live! Catch an episode every Wednesday evening (including just before Thanksgiving), and get completely pumped for the big day.

Or you can go straight to the video, and watch the Sci-Fi movie When Worlds Collide, courtesy of Space Video of the Day. This is their pick for movie of the week!

So you’ve got your meal, you’ve got your entertainment. What about dessert?

Yeah. We did not come this far to sit around eating something as gross as pumpkin pie. So there will be a Key Lime Pie, at least, at my Thanksgiving this year. So, for a little sweeter fare, let’s take you deep into the nature of matter.

Centauri Dreams tells a tale of the making of antimatter here on Earth, as we get to read a great story about the (literally) billions of positrons created at Lawrence Livermore Labs.

And right here at Starts With A Bang, we’ve got a story on whether the LHC is more powerful than Cosmic Rays from space. For all the hoopla, it turns out that we’ve been getting hit by more powerful stuff for billions of years than the LHC will ever make.

Well, now you’re full of food and full of knowledge, but you want to avoid that overeating hangover. How to save yourself?

No, not Chuck Norris! Antacid. And the best antacid could be going for a walk and taking a look out at the wonders that are out there.

Mang’s Bat Page has all the things you need to prepare for Forecasting the Skies, with a great how-to guide on planning the best observing runs from anywhere in the world.

Once you know where you’re going, you’d better know how to brave the cold. Mike Simonsen at Simostronomy has everything you need to know about cold-weather observing, and you’d be a fool to pass up these helpful tips! (Seriously, don’t lick the telescope. This is Thanksgiving, not A Christmas Story.)

And finally, one of the best places to go observing? A special from One Astronomer’s Noise is up on Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia, which has some fantastic Radio Telescope work going on there.

And you put all this together, and what do you have at the end of the day?

That’s right, a turkey-induced coma. Hope you enjoyed the Carnival this week, and don’t forget to check out all previous Carnivals if you’re new here!

And finally, I am seriously going to have all of this stuff for Thankgiving. If you live within driving distance of Portland (Oregon, sorry Mainers) and want an invitation, leave me a comment and I’ll tell you how to get here!


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  1. Ethan thanks for the invite. As a Canadian I’m always up for 2nd Thanksgiving. Please let me know what I can bring anything. Canadian beer? Coffee?

    Darn the last Tim Hortin’s is in Ohio.

    Let’s see if I leave now it should only take 38 hours :)

    Comment by Mang — November 21, 2008 #

  2. Aaah, Molson Canadian or Labatt Blue? You Canadians are all right. Let me know if you’re ever in town.

    Comment by ethan — November 21, 2008 #

  3. I wish the fiance and I could come, but we live near Chicago. I enjoy your posts and keep up the good work with your halloween costumes, I can only imagine what you might be next year!

    Comment by Dan — November 21, 2008 #

  4. […] of space feasting. A prelude to the upcoming Thanks-giving festival here in the U.S., this weeks Carnival of Space has food, food, and more food, with more than a score of space links to explore before sinking into […]

    Pingback by The 80th Carnival of Space - Out of the Cradle — November 21, 2008 #

  5. What’s with the hate on the pumpkin pie?!

    Hehe, great carnival :-)

    Comment by Nicole — November 21, 2008 #

  6. Hi Ethan! Thanks for the post about Astroengine Live! I’ll be giving your excellent carnival a mention on the airwaves on Wednesday! Reading this made me very hungry…

    Given you a shout from my little corner of the web :-)

    Hope you are well!

    Cheers, Ian

    Comment by Ian O'Neill — November 22, 2008 #

  7. […] Carnival is up at Starts With a Bang with a Thanksgiving theme… a concept meaningless to an Aussie like […]

    Pingback by Crowlspace » Blog Archive » Carnival of Space #80 — November 22, 2008 #

  8. Ethan you should try Pumpkin pie with honey. (It’s an Ottawa valley thing as far as I can tell).

    Comment by Mang — November 22, 2008 #

  9. Thanks for hosting the Carnival. I hope you are enjoying Oregon. Did you attend Orycon?

    Comment by Louise — November 22, 2008 #

  10. […] November 2008 Carnival 80 Posted by catholicsensibility under Astronomy   Ethan hosts the 80th Carnival of Space, a veritable feast of astronomy posts. In other news, the Cassini space probe has just completed a 47th encounter with Saturn’s […]

    Pingback by Carnival 80 « Catholic Sensibility — November 22, 2008 #

  11. […] Carnival of Space, 80th edition, is not active over at Starts with a Bang.  Ethan has made this the Thanksgiving edition.   (This next Thursday is the Thanksgiving […]

    Pingback by Astroprof’s Page » CoS #80 — November 22, 2008 #

  12. Ian,

    Thanks for the good wishes! We haven’t spoken in awhile, but thanks; I’ve noticed that in a lot of ways, your site’s really been taking off. Well done, and congratulations!


    Pumpkin pie does need something sweet to set off the pumpkin flavor. But why not just have the sweet and get rid of the nasty pumpkin flavor?


    Thanks! Oregon is very good so far; I’ve had a lot of fun here. Sci-fi isn’t my thing so much — there are only 2 or 3 shows I’ve ever really gotten into (Firefly, BSG, and ST:TNG) — but thanks for the heads up about Orycon.

    Comment by ethan — November 22, 2008 #

  13. […] week’s Carnival of Space is at Starts With a Bang. So get started with your bang and read up on spacey […]

    Pingback by Weekend coolness | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine — November 22, 2008 #

  14. Yeah, I’m actually in Portland. Let me know!

    Comment by C — November 22, 2008 #

  15. […] Carnival of Space #80 is up at Starts With A Bang!. This edition of the Carnival of Space is orbiting around an Authentic […]

    Pingback by OrbitalHub » Carnival of Space #80 — November 22, 2008 #

  16. […] 80th Carnvial of Space is up. This week the big news is the subterranean glaciers on […]

    Pingback by This week’s blog carnivals « Archaeoastronomy — November 23, 2008 #

  17. […] Carnival of Space #80: Thanksgiving Edition […]

    Pingback by News Roundup for November 23 :: Riding with Robots on the High Frontier — November 23, 2008 #

  18. Aaah The Land of Milk & Honey
    Searching thru the vastness of space and all the time it was right here


    Comment by Quasar9 — November 24, 2008 #

  19. […] interesting from a SETI point of view? Bruce Cordell looks at the question in a post in the latest Carnival of Space, drawing on a JBIS article by Martin Beech (”Terraformed Planets and SETI,” February […]

    Pingback by Centauri Dreams » Blog Archive » Notes & Queries 11/24/08 — November 24, 2008 #

  20. […] Carnival of Space #80: Thanksgiving Edition […]

    Pingback by Sorting Out Science » Blog Archive » Carnivalia — 11/19 - 11/25 — November 26, 2008 #

  21. […] Carnival of Space #80 - The Thanksgiving Edition at Starts with a Bang […]

    Pingback by Carnival of Space #80, #81, #82, and #83Carni « Alice’s Astro Info — December 14, 2008 #

  22. […] around the internet and pull them together in one great extravaganza! I’ve gotten to host twice before, and this is a very special edition for astronomers. Why, you […]

    Pingback by ScienceBlogs Channel : Physical Science | BlogCABLE.COM — June 23, 2009 #

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  24. […] Carnival of Space #80: Thanksgiving Edition […]

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