Science, Space, Health & Robotics News - Page 159
NASA has launched a sounding rocket from Norway to help understand the dense region of the upper atmosphere on Earth's sun-facing side.
There is a gap in Earth's magnetic field in a region known as the polar cusp. This gap allows solar winds from the sun to reach Earth's atmosphere, causes radio and GPS signals to behave strangely, and slows down spacecraft as they pass through this region. The air in this region is denser than elsewhere in spacecrafts' orbits around Earth, but it is not understood how or why.
The Cusp Region Experiment-2 (CREX-2) is funded by NASA and headed by Mark Conde from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute. The mission aims to understand the dynamics in the cusp, first set to do so in 2019 as part of The Grand Challenge Initiative's Project CUSP. However, it was delayed due to little solar activity, and the Covid-19 pandemic only served to delay the flight further. Now, CREX-2 was finally able to launch on December 1st from a launchpad in Andenes, Norway, at 3:25 a.m. EST.
On December 7th, 2021, NASA plans to launch and test its $320 million high-speed laser communications device.
The experimental device will be launched aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rocket as part of a US Space Force mission. It is attached to a Space Force STPSat 6 satellite, the primary payload for the Atlas 5 rocket, which is destined for a geosynchronous orbit above Earth.
Lift-off is due for a two-hour launch window opening at 09:04 UTC on Tuesday, December 7th, from Cape Canaveral. Previously scheduled for December 5th, the launch was delayed due to a leak in the launch pad's kerosene fuel storage system.
Researchers have recently used soft X-ray tomography (SXT) to render a high-resolution model of a cell and its internal structures in minutes.
Scanning electron microscopy is often used in cell imaging because it provides high-resolution nanoscale images. However, using scanning electron microscopes takes around a week to scan an individual cell, generating an enormous amount of data to analyze and interpret.
With SXT, scientists can create tomograms of a cell within five to ten minutes. When studying numerous cells, the significantly higher throughput makes SXT a much more practical analysis tool than the more data and time-intensive alternatives.
NASA has signed agreements with three separate U.S. companies to develop private commercial space stations.
Northrop Grumman's space station concept.
Blue Origin, Nanoracks, and Northrop Grumman have all been awarded contracts worth a combined $415.6 million. They come as part of NASA's Commercial Low Earth Orbit Destinations (CLD) program, which seeks to help the development of private space stations that may one day succeed the aging International Space Station (ISS).
"Building on our successful initiatives to partner with private industry to deliver cargo, and now our NASA astronauts, to the International Space Station, NASA is once again leading the way to commercialize space activities. With commercial companies now providing transportation to low Earth orbit in place, we are partnering with U.S. companies to develop the space destinations where people can visit, live, and work, enabling NASA to continue forging a path in space for the benefit of humanity while fostering commercial activity in space," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
Switzerland has officially approved the use of a coffin-shaped suicide machine that allows people to decide to kill themselves.
According to the company behind the machine, Exit International, the machine is called Sarco, which is short for sarcophagus and allows users to lay down in a coffin-shaped capsule that then reduces oxygen levels to fatal levels once the user initiates the process. The process takes less than a minute, and after the minute duration, death occurs through hypoxia and hypocapnia, which the Independent reports, "is intended to allow a person to die relatively peacefully and painlessly."
For those that don't know, assisted suicide is completely legal in Switzerland, as services such as Dignitas and Exit provide users with a digestible liquid drug that puts users in a deep coma that eventually results in death. Now, reports indicate that the Sacro has passed legal review, and according to Dr. Philip Nitschke, the creator of the Sacro, also dubbed "Dr. Death", "there are no legal issues at all" with the product and that discussions are currently underway with the goal to roll out the service to the public next year.
NASA is currently tracking on route to enter Earth's orbit, and it's estimated to be worth more than $5 billion.
The asteroid is dubbed "potentially dangerous," as is any space rock or comet that comes within the 4.65 million miles of Earth. The asteroid is dubbed 4660 Nereus, and while it is categorized as a "potentially hazardous" object, it will safely pass by Earth. The asteroid has a diameter of 1,085 feet and will break into Earth's orbit at a speed of 14,700 mph on Saturday, December 11, marking the closest the asteroid has come to Earth within 20 years.
When 4660 Nereus passes by Earth, it will be at a distance of 2.4 million miles, which is around 10 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon (238,855 miles). While 2.4 million miles sounds like an enormous distance when speaking in astronomical terms, it's quite small. According to the Asterank database that is currently tracking more than 60,000 asteroids, 4660 Nereus is estimated to contain $4.71 billion worth of nickel, iron, and cobalt.
For the entire duration of human existence, we have been trying to make sense of the planet we have been living on, called Earth.
Humans have come quite far in understanding the small blue planet we call home, and the solar system it resides in, but there is still a lot of questions that need answers. Researchers have discovered some quite outrageous facts about Earth throughout their research, and some of these discoveries have broken previously established understandings of our planet.
Below you will find five facts about Earth that aren't common knowledge, and some of them may even break preconceived ideas that teachers established during your early schooling years.
Reports indicate that there has been several eruptions on the surface of the Sun, and that a large magnetic filament has exploded.
According to Spaceweather.com, the Sun featured eruptive activity on its departing southern limb, with a northern coronal hole passing centrally. The eruptive activity that was seen in the Sun's southern hemisphere that was departing can be attributed to sunspots that caused an M-class flare and plasma ejecta to be launched into space. The charged particles from the sunspot eruptive activity are not on track to collide with Earth.
However, a magnetic plasma filament located on the Sun's southern hemisphere snapped and exploded, which may cause a coronal mass ejection (CME) to impact Earth Wednesday or Thursday, according to SpaceWeatherNews.com. It should be noted, however, that the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration Space Weather Prediction Center (NOAA) is currently running computer models to see if the a CME will hit, with nothing being confirmed as of yet.
A company is trying to create a faster and cheaper method of putting satellites in orbit, and the design the company has gone with literally flings satellites.
Most companies that are looking to get satellites into orbit decide to use rockets, which is an extremely expensive and costly environmental process. While the cost of launching a rocket was dramatically reduced with the introduction of reusable rockets, the expense of a launch is still very high. For these aforementioned reasons, California-based spaceflight startup SpinLaunch is currently testing out a different method that involves spinning satellites at very high speeds and releasing them through a small chute towards space.
On October 22, SpinLaunch tested its "suborbital accelerator", which measures in at 165 feet, taller than the Statue of Liberty, by spinning a 10-foot-long projectile to speeds of "many thousands of miles an hour," according to SpinLaunch's CEO Jonathan Yaney. After gaining extreme speeds, the projectile was released out of the barrel and ascended to "tens of thousands of feet." SpinLaunch plans on conducting around thirty more test flights within the next eight months at its suborbital accelerator in New Mexico.
NASA has set a goal of getting a sustainable colony of humans on Mars by 2030, and in the years leading up to 2030 the space agency is collecting any relevant information that will assist them in the pursuit.
A big part of the data collection aspect of the mission is NASA's Mars rovers, Perseverance and Curiosity. Perseverance landed on the Red Planet on February 18, 2021 and has since been inspecting the Jezero Crater for any signs of ancient microbial life. Curiosity landed on Mars on August 6, 2012 and has been studying the geology of Mars for quite some time. Recently, Curiosity snapped an incredible view of the Martian landscape, check it out here.
Since the pursuit of Mars has begun there have been several notable discoveries, and some of them have happened in 2021. Below you will find five recent incredible discoveries about Mars that will assist the human civilization in creating a sustainable presence on Mars.