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Elon Musk's SpaceX has recorded another success for placing a satellite in orbit above the Earth. SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket after an early delay this week. The Falcon rocket placed the AsiaSat 8 satellite into orbit without further issues.
The launch of the rocket was delayed from 1:25 am EST to 4am EST due to a last minute issue with the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket. The first stage issue was fixed, and the launch went off without a hitch. AsiaSat 8 was placed in orbit 22,300 miles above the Earth.
At that altitude, the satellite will be used to provide satellite TV service and telecom service to customers in China, India, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East for the next 15 years. SpaceX will launch another AsiaSat later this month.
The Earth is one of the most volcanically active bodies in our solar system, but it's not alone in having volcanic activity. Jupiter's moon Io is one of the most volcanically active bodies scientists have ever observed and three massive eruptions were discovered on the surface of the moon. These three major events were imaged in August 2013, but the images have only now been released.
The trio of eruptions was recorded in a two-week span, surprising researchers because only 13 major eruptions have been recording between 1978 and 2006. Scientists expect a massive outburst once every one or two years. This event recorded three extremely bright outbursts in a span of two weeks.
The scientists believe that these outbursts show that if they looked at Io more frequently, more outbursts would be noted. Io is only 2300 miles wide, making it about the same size as the Earth's moon. The volcanic activity is the result of Jupiter and neighboring moons pulling on Io causing its insides to heat up.
NASA has announced that it plans to send several pieces of equipment to Mars early in the next decade. The gear will include seven instruments that will be placed on a Martian rover, with two of the devices designed specifically to see if the atmosphere on the planet can be used to make oxygen.
The oxygen NASA wants to generate isn't for some sort of terraforming of the planet, rather NASA wants to generate the oxygen for use in making rocket fuel. The goal of the oxygen-making instrument is to see if NASA might be able to support bigger missions to Mars in the future.
Astronauts that eventually walk the surface of Mars could also use the oxygen made to breathe while on the planet. The test device being sent to mars will be called Moxie and has the ability to make three quarters of an ounce of oxygen an hour. If the process works, a device one hundred times the size will travel to Mars in the 2030s.
Elon Musk has founded some of the biggest companies involving technology, such as PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors. Musk thinks we need to build a home for humans on Mars as soon as possible, but when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), he has his reservations.
Over the weekend, Musk tweeted about a book recommendation, but after that he said: "We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes." Musk isn't new to his stance on AI, where back in June the SpaceX founder said he has even considred the possibility of a 'Terminator'-like scenario. Musk has also admitted that he's even invested money into AI companies, where he wants to keep an eye on where AI is going.
Reuters is reporting that the wreckage of a crashed drone was found outside of a maximum security prison in South Carolina, where it is believed that the drone was attempting to deliver contraband into the prison.
The UAV was reportedly delivering phones, marijuana, tobacco and more into the Lee Correctional Institution. The discovery of the drone wreckage eventually lead to the arrest of 28-year-old Brenton Lee Doyle, and a search for a second suspect. Stephanie Givens, the spokeswoman for the State Department of Corrections has said: "officials believe it was the first time an unmanned aircraft had been used in an effort to breach prison walls in the state."
This is a first for South Carolina, but it's nothing new for some other prisons around the world. Down in my part of the world, Australian authorities arrested a man who was controlling a drug-packed drone, and before that four people were arrested in Georgia on charges of delivering tobacco into a prison yard with a drone.
The International Space Station requires a constant stream of new components, food, and water to remain in operation. Sometimes the US send up supplies and scientific gear and sometimes the resupply ships come from Europe. A new supply mission is underway from the ESA that sent an Ariane 5 rocket into space with a cargo ship aboard to resupply the ISS.
This particular resupply mission had something onboard that astronauts on the ISS will really appreciate, cappuccino and tiramisu. The resupply ship is set to dock with the ISS on August 12 at about 9:30 am. This is the last resupply mission that the ESA will perform.
After this resupply mission all future resupply will be handled by Russian Progress spacecraft and the Japanese HTC cargo ships. In the US resupply, missions will be handled by SpaceX and Orbital Sciences. Among the 5941 pounds of material on the resupply ship are cappuccino, water, oxygen, air, research gear, and spare parts. The cargo ship also contains 1896 pounds of fuel to be used by the Russian thrusters aboard the ISS.
There has been a bit of debate over the years amongst scientists and astronomers on how exactly the Moon was formed. A detailed study of the shape of the moon has revealed some new details on its shape, which in turn shed a bit of light on how the moon may have formed.
When you look at the night sky, the moon appears to be a sphere. However, the analysis of the shape of the moon shows that it is actually slightly lemon-shaped. This study looked at the Moon as it would be if millions of meteorites hadn't hit the surface and knocked chunks off it.
"If you imagine spinning a water balloon, it will start to flatten at the poles and bulge at the equator," Ian Garrick-Bethell said. "On top of that you have tides due to the gravitational pull of the Earth, and that creates sort of a lemon shape with the long axis of the lemon pointing at the Earth."
"The moon that faced us a long time ago has shifted, so we're no longer looking at the primordial face of the moon," Garrick-Bethell said. "Changes in the mass distribution shifted the orientation of the moon. The craters removed some mass, and there were also internal changes, probably related to when the moon became volcanically active."
One of the big mysteries that remained after the September 11 attacks was an old wooden ship that was discovered under where the towers once stood during clean up. While excavating the site, a wooden ship was discovered in the earth leaving scientists to wonder where the ship came from and what it was doing there.
Scientists have used tree rings in the lumber used to build the ship to learn something about where it came from and when it was built. The rings in the lumber reveal that the trees matched other lumber that was cut down about 280 years ago near Philadelphia. The researchers believe the wood was harvested in 1773 and was cut down somewhere around the time of the Boston Tea Party.
The rings in the lumber help the scientists pinpoint its year and location of origin while providing a bit of history about the climate in the area where it was harvested. The ship is believed to have been constructed by a small shipyard, because details in the design of the ship are unlike those used by larger shipyards. The ship is believed to have been retired in the city, coved by garbage and landfill, and then the Twin Towers were built over it.
Historically much of the Arctic Ocean is covered in ice, even in the summer. Scientists say with global warming that ice pack is starting to melt. Arctic Sea ice faces another way that ice may break up and melt faster, massive waves.
Typically, with ice covering the surface of the ocean, waves aren't recorded. Scientists have recently measured record setting waves in the Arctic Ocean. Sensors under the water that communicate via satellite have recorded swells in the Arctic Ocean of around 16-feet high.
The largest wave measured was 29-feet high. The scientists say these massive and uncommon waves could break ice up and make it melt faster than it would from global warming alone. These waves were measured in a part of the Arctic Ocean near Alaska called the Beaufort Sea.
Space travel has a variety of restrictions, especially when it comes to humans making that trip across the sea of stars. Humans rely on oxygen to live, and so do other things like trees and plants.
Julian Melchiorri, a graduate from the Royal College of Art, has created the very first man-made, biologically functional leaf that is capable of taking in carbon dioxide, water, and light and releases oxygen. This leaf features chloroplasts, which are the part of a plant cell where photosynthesis happens, suspended in body made of silk protein.
Melchiorri explains: "This material has an amazing property of stabilizing (the chloroplast) organelles. As an outcome I have the first photosynthetic material that is living and breathing as a leaf does". Most can see the potentials of this for space travel, but it has big potential here on Earth, too. We could see front of buildings and lampshades made from the material, where it would exhale fresh air with just a thin coating of this new leaf material.