Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Mud Volcano from the Carnival of Wonders of the Solar System

I just wanted to throw up a few quick notes from the news and other blogs this Wednesday evening:

The Cumbrian Sky, a great astronomy blog by Stuart Atkinson, is this week's host of the Carnival of Space.  Check it out for some great photos taken over the last week from the Opportunity rover, still trucking along through Barsoom on its way to Endurance crater.  The Carnival of Space is a series of posts that is hosted each week by a different space or astronomy blog.  These posts highlight the best articles in the space and astronomy blogosphere that week.  This week, the Carnival of Space looks at the near-future of space exploration, the anniversary of the Voyager encounters with Saturn, and the distinction between Earth-like planets and Earth-sized planets (Stuart's own post on this latter topic has the funniest scientific graphic involving a kitten ever made).

Speaking of blogs, Emily Lakdawalla's Planetary Society blog has a new post up in reporting on the possibility of mud volcanoes in northern plains of Mars.  I personally assumed they were pingos, but Emily's article, covering a paper by Oehler and Allen, makes mud volcanoes as the origin of the many flat, rounded mounds that dot the lands seem pretty reasonable.  I am not a Martian geologist so I can provide any useful commentary, however.  Mud volcanoes are cool though.

Finally, the documentary series, Wonders of the Solar System, is premiering tonight here in the United States on the Science Channel.  I brought this up a couple of week ago on this blog, and you can see that original post to view a trailer for the five part series.  The show airs at 9pm EDT/6pm PDT, and re-airs for an encore at 12am EDT/9pm PDT.  The first episode is called, "The Empire of the Sun," and covers solar science and the long reach of the sun in the solar system through the solar wind and the Sun's magnetic field.  The other four episodes of the series air over the next four Wednesday at the same times.
  • Wednesday, August 11: "Order out of Chaos" - the formation of the Solar System; Saturn's rings
  • Wednesday, August 18: "The Thin Blue Line" - Planetary atmospheres
  • Wednesday, August 25: "Dead or Alive" - Planetary geology (impact cratering, volcanism, long segment on Io)
  • Wednesday, September 1: "Aliens" - Astrobiology, Water, the Mars/Europa episode
Link: Carnival of Space #165 []

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