Science, Space, Health & Robotics News - Page 1

All the latest Science, Space, Health & Robotics news with plenty of coverage on space launches, discoveries, rockets & plenty more.

NASA will visit its smallest asteroid yet alongside Artemis 1 mission

Adam Hunt | Fri, Jan 21 2022 6:00 AM CST

A small satellite tagging along on the Artemis 1 moon mission will seek out the asteroid.

NASA will visit its smallest asteroid yet alongside Artemis 1 mission 01 | TweakTown.com

The mission's target is 2020 GE, a near-Earth asteroid (NEA) less than 60 feet (18 meters) in size. To investigate it, the Near-Earth Asteroid Scout, or NEA Scout, the satellite will coast toward the satellite using solar sails. It will mark the first use of solar sails by NASA, and the first time an asteroid smaller than 330 feet (100 meters) across will be explored up close.

The camera aboard the NEA Scout has a resolution of fewer than 4 inches (10 centimeters) per pixel and will be used by scientists to determine the asteroid's size, shape, rotation and ascertain whether 2020 GE is solid or a conglomerate of smaller rocks and dust.

Continue reading: NASA will visit its smallest asteroid yet alongside Artemis 1 mission (full post)

Satellites watched a giant iceberg release 152 billion tons of water

Adam Hunt | Fri, Jan 21 2022 5:30 AM CST

The iceberg is named A68A, and it snapped off the Larsen-C Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula in July, 2017.

Satellites watched a giant iceberg release 152 billion tons of water 01 | TweakTown.com

The iceberg spanned 5719 square kilometers, one-quarter the size of Wales, making it the largest iceberg on Earth at the time it formed and the sixth-largest ever recorded. It traveled 4,000 kilometers across the Southern Ocean over three and a half years, drifting close to South Georgia at the end of 2020.

It avoided damaging the seafloor near South Georgia by melting sufficiently to reduce its size as it traveled from Antarctica. However, this melting meant it released 152 billion tons of fresh water into the ocean close to the island, potentially compromising the fragile marine ecosystem in the area. Five satellites were involved in tracking changes to A86A: Sentinel-1, Sentinel-3, MODIS, CryoSat-2, and ICESat-2.

Continue reading: Satellites watched a giant iceberg release 152 billion tons of water (full post)

NASA observatory put into safe mode after potential fault

Adam Hunt | Fri, Jan 21 2022 5:00 AM CST

NASA's Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory is in safe mode to allow the mission team to investigate the issue.

NASA observatory put into safe mode after potential fault 01 | TweakTown.com

On the evening of January 18th, the Swift observatory temporarily halted its science operations after potentially experiencing a reaction wheel failure. Swift has six reaction wheels, which are used to autonomously orient the telescope towards possible gamma-ray bursts (GRBs).

The suspected wheel has since been powered off by the mission team, with the observatory put into safe mode as a precaution while the team investigates the issue. The rest of the wheels and instruments aboard the observatory are operating as expected, so the team is working to restore science operations with five reaction wheels.

Continue reading: NASA observatory put into safe mode after potential fault (full post)

Doomsday Clock stuck at 100 seconds to midnight

Adam Hunt | Fri, Jan 21 2022 4:30 AM CST

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists hasn't moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock for another year.

Doomsday Clock stuck at 100 seconds to midnight 01 | TweakTown.com

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was founded in 1945 by scientists that worked on the Manhattan Project, including Albert Einstein and J. Robert Oppenheimer. In 1947, they introduced the Doomsday Clock to symbolize the world's proximity to catastrophe. Now, on the 75th anniversary of the clock's unveiling, the position of its hands has stayed unchanged since 2020, when they were moved to 100 seconds to midnight in 2020.

"If humanity is to avoid an existential catastrophe, one that would dwarf anything it has yet seen, national leaders must do a far better job of countering disinformation, heeding science and cooperating," said Rachel Bronson, president of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Continue reading: Doomsday Clock stuck at 100 seconds to midnight (full post)

Plans for the first film studio in space are underway

Adam Hunt | Fri, Jan 21 2022 4:00 AM CST

Axiom Space has been contracted to build the new orbital film studio.

Plans for the first film studio in space are underway 01 | TweakTown.com

It will be the first space-based "multipurpose entertainment and content studio," attached to the International Space Station (ISS) as a new commercial segment. Based out of the United Kingdom, Space Entertainment Enterprise (SEE) contracted Axiom Space to build the SEE-1, an inflatable module that will serve as the new segment.

"Axiom Station, the world's first commercial space station, is designed as the foundational infrastructure enabling a diverse economy in orbit. Adding a dedicated entertainment venue to Axiom Station's commercial capabilities in the form of SEE-1 will expand the station's utility as a platform for a global user base and highlight the range of opportunities the new space economy offers," said Axiom Space CEO Michael Suffredini in a press release.

Continue reading: Plans for the first film studio in space are underway (full post)

Quantum computing passes 99% error-free threshold, now fault tolerant

Adam Hunt | Thu, Jan 20 2022 6:00 AM CST

Three new studies published today in the journal Nature show independent achievements of highly reliable and robust quantum computing.

A team from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) achieved a 1-qubit operation fidelity of up to 99.95 percent and a 2-qubit fidelity of 99.37 percent. Their approach used silicon embedded with phosphorus atoms via ion implantation, a method used in producing all existing silicon computer chips, allowing their quantum breakthrough to be "compatible with the broader semiconductor industry."

"When the errors are so rare, it becomes possible to detect them and correct them when they occur. This shows that it is possible to build quantum computers that have enough scale, and enough power, to handle meaningful computation," said Professor Andrea Morello of UNSW regarding their breakthrough.

Continue reading: Quantum computing passes 99% error-free threshold, now fault tolerant (full post)

'Wet dress rehearsal' upcoming for NASA's Artemis 1 moon mission

Adam Hunt | Thu, Jan 20 2022 5:30 AM CST

NASA's Artemis 1 moon mission will soon be another step closer to launching for real.

'Wet dress rehearsal' upcoming for NASA's Artemis 1 moon mission 01 | TweakTown.com

Artemis 1 intends to launch an uncrewed spacecraft toward the moon later this year and has an upcoming "wet dress rehearsal" scheduled for late February. A simulated countdown will ensure the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) rocket are working as expected. The Orion spacecraft has flown only once before, and the Artemis 1 launch will mark the SLS rocket's first flight.

Since the new year, engineering tasks have readied the spacecraft, with the crew access arm for the Orion spacecraft being tested successfully on January 11th. The SLS also completed core stage engineering tests by January 14th, after replacing one of its four RS-25 engine controllers.

Continue reading: 'Wet dress rehearsal' upcoming for NASA's Artemis 1 moon mission (full post)

Classified satellite reaches space for China's first 2022 launch

Adam Hunt | Thu, Jan 20 2022 5:00 AM CST

The Shiyan 13 test satellite has a currently unknown mission.

Classified satellite reaches space for China's first 2022 launch 01 | TweakTown.com

The satellite was launched from the northern Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center (TSLC) on January 17th at 10:35 a.m. local time (02:35 UTC) aboard a Long March 2D rocket. The launch site temperature was recorded at -37 degrees Celsius (-35 degrees Fahrenheit), requiring the launch team to add "product sealing measures" to the rocket to ensure a successful launch.

"The Experiment No. 13 satellite is mainly used to carry out space environment detection and related technology experiments," the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) wrote in a statement.

Continue reading: Classified satellite reaches space for China's first 2022 launch (full post)

How this volcano eruption led to several hours of lightning

Adam Hunt | Thu, Jan 20 2022 4:30 AM CST

The new study was published in the Geological Society of America's journal Geology.

How this volcano eruption led to several hours of lightning 01 | TweakTown.com

The study focuses on the eruption of the Taal Volcano in the Philippines, which began a series of eruptions starting in January 2020, 43 years after its last eruption. The plume of volcanic ash rising led to thousands of land-to-ground lightning strikes occurring over several hours.

The electrical activity arises after the plume rises high enough in the atmosphere to freeze. Radio waves produced by lightning can be detected with remote sensing tools quickly, allowing scientists to collect data quickly. Along with lots of social media posts with pictures and videos of the event, scientists identified a "highly electrified region at the base of the umbrella cloud."

Continue reading: How this volcano eruption led to several hours of lightning (full post)

Hubble spots a black hole creating stars instead of destroying them

Adam Hunt | Thu, Jan 20 2022 4:00 AM CST

A new study on the observation has been published in the journal Nature.

Hubble spots a black hole creating stars instead of destroying them 01 | TweakTown.com

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) observed the dwarf starburst galaxy Henize 2-10, found 30 million light-years away in the constellation Pyxis. Hubble saw a gas outflow from the black hole at the center of the galaxy reaching into a star-forming region 230 light-years away and fostering the growth of stars, rather than suppressing it.

"From the beginning I knew something unusual and special was happening in Henize 2-10, and now Hubble has provided a very clear picture of the connection between the black hole and a neighboring star forming region located 230 light-years from the black hole," said Amy Reines, the principal investigator for the new Hubble observations.

Continue reading: Hubble spots a black hole creating stars instead of destroying them (full post)

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