Science, Space, Health & Robotics News - Page 257
A new paper that has appeared on the pre-print server arXiv has detailed the arrival time for what could be the largest comet humans have ever discovered.
The comet is Bernardinelli-Bernstein and researchers estimate that it is at least 62 miles in diameter, which is around 1,000 times larger than a typical comet. Researchers previously incorrectly estimated that Bernardinelli-Bernstein was a dwarf planet due to its size but later found out that it was a comet. Further analysis of the celestial object found that it's making its way towards the Sun.
At the moment, Bernardinelli-Bernstein is located in the Oort cloud, 29 astronomical units away from Earth. An astronomical unit is the distance between Earth and the Sun, which is about 93 million miles. Researchers detail in their paper that Bernardinelli-Bernstein will make its closest approach to Earth within 10.97 astronomical units, which will put it just outside of Saturn's orbit. The researchers estimate that Bernardinelli-Bernstein will make its closest approach with Earth 10 years from now.
The Hubble Space Telescope is at it again with another jaw-dropping image. This time the space telescope has snapped a photo of a celestial "eye".
The image is of a spiral galaxy dubbed NGC 5728 that's located around 130 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Libra. NGC 5728 is a Seyfert galaxy, which means it has an active nucleus at its center. According to Space.com, at the center of this galaxy, there is a black hole that has lots of gas and dust surrounding it, causing it to be bright.
The image was released by the European Space Agency, which co-operates the Hubble Space Telescope with NASA. According to European Space Agency, "As this image shows, NGC 5728 is clearly observable, and at optical and infrared wavelengths it looks quite normal. It is fascinating to know that the galaxy's centre is emitting vast amounts of light in parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that WFC3 [Wide Field Camera 3] just isn't sensitive to!"
A mystery that has spanned almost half a century has just been answered, according to a team of researchers.
The mystery involved the above image, which is a trace fossil. A trace fossil shows the activity of an animal rather than the animal themselves, and these types of fossils provide really valuable information to researchers looking to understand the evolution of complex life on Earth. The quartzite rock was discovered in Mount Barren in southwestern Australia, and the tracks embedded in it appear to have been made by crustaceans that burrow into the sand.
The only problem is, "quartzite is as hard as concrete and impossible for burrowing animals to penetrate. The traces would therefore have had to be made while the sand was still loose. But the sand was deposited 1.7 billion years ago - a billion years prior to the appearance of the first animals in the fossil record, and its transformation to quartzite occurred more than 1.2 billion years ago, much earlier than the oldest animal fossils, which are less than 0.6 billion years old," said paleontologist Bruce Runnegar from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
In a bombshell report from CBS Mornings, current and former Blue Origin employees have signed an essay that accuses Blue Origin of prioritizing speed over safety.
The report occurred on October 1st, and according to Alexandra Abrams, a former head of employee communications at Blue Origin, the company pushes employees to sign brutal nondisclosure agreements that infringe on rights, doesn't listen to any feedback, and disregards safety warnings provided by employees. On top of that, the essay, which was published on the website Lioness, details that the workplace environment at Blue Origin was "toxic" and an uncomfortable sexist climate for women.
Now, NASA has fired back at Blue Origin, saying that the company is threatening to destroy the "once-in-a-generation momentum" because it gambled on its original proposal for a new lunar lander and lost. NASA's lawyers stated in legal documents obtained by The Verge through the Freedom of Information Act that "Blue Origin made a bet, and it lost." Due to the legal battle between NASA and Blue Origin the construction of a new lunar lander has been put on hold which throws the 2024 date of the next Moon landing into jeopardy.
Yellowstone National Park, located mostly in Wyoming, is a 3,500 square-mile volcanic hotspot that is home to the world's largest active geyser.
The geyser named Steamboat Geyser has been observed for a number of years, along with the rest of the park, as researchers fear that one day the supervolcano located underneath the surface will erupt. Monitoring the geysers and the overall park will give researchers the data they need to be able to predict if an eruption is likely, which in turn will help save lives if an evacuation is needed.
As for Steamboat, onlookers of this active geyser will see water being shot out of the northern vent at heights of 300 feet to 400 feet. As with all geysers, Steamboat's eruptions go through cycles, and depending on what stage of the cycle the geyser is in will determine how active it is. In the past three years, there have been over 110 eruptions, leading some researchers to believe that Steamboat is slightly more active than what it usually is.
A team of researchers has achieved a world first by capturing the first footage of inside a Category 4 hurricane.
The footage has been released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and it shows the terrifying inside of Hurricane Sam that is currently causing havoc in the Atlantic Ocean. Researchers used a robotic surfboard that is called a Saildrone to capture the footage. In the below image, you can see that Saildrone has a thick surfboard as a base, a sail, and a camera arm.
The ocean craft measures at just 23 feet in length and features a "hurricane wing" that is designed to withstand the force of the elements. Saildrone is powered by solar and is designed to record important data such as wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, temperature, salinity, humidity, and more. According to NOAA scientist Greg Foltz, "We expect to improve forecast models that predict rapid intensification of hurricanes."
More than 20 people have signed an essay that describes Jeff Bezos' space company Blue Origin as a "toxic" workplace.
The essay was published Thursday on Lioness.co, and according to Alexandra Abrams, a former head of employee communications at Blue Origin, the company pushes employees to sign harsh nondisclosure agreements that infringe on rights, doesn't listen to internal feedback, disregards safety concerns despite numerous warnings and creates an uncomfortable sexist environment for women.
Abrams appeared on CBS Mornings to discuss the essay and said that 13 of 21 signees are engineers and that in 2018 a team of employees documented "more than 1,000 problem reports related to the engines that power Blue Origin's rockets, which had never been addressed." Additionally, CBS spoke to 5 of the co-authors of the essay that decided to remain anonymous out of fear of job security. According to CBS, these authors said that the private space race impacted safety concerns.
Officials have warned that a coronal mass ejection (CME) from the Sun is on its way to hit Earth, and it will be here very soon.
The Space Weather Prediction Center, along with the National Weather Service, rolled back the Geomagnetic Storm Watch they had in place for September 28 and September 29 but have dropped a new warning about October 1. According to reports, a sunspot called AR2871 erupted, causing two explosive blasts of particles to be shot out from the surface of the star.
Officials have cautioned that a G2-level geomagnetic storm is expected to hit Earth on Friday, October 1. This CME is minor, and as a result of that, its impact on Earth will also be minor. But what can a solar storm cause? Small solar storms such as this one may cause auroras in the sky, interruptions in communications, and satellite issues. Overall, this is a minor space weather event, but the Sun is about to enter the most dangerous part of its cycle. To read more on that, check out this link here.
SpaceX, along with Spaceflight Inc and depot start-up OrbitFab has revealed via a press release that the first orbit propellant depot will be shot into space relatively soon.
OrbitFab announced the news via a press release that details the development of a propellant tanker dubbed "Tanker-002" and how and why it will be the first propellant tanker to reach geostationary orbit. The tanker uses OrbitFab's "robust RAFTI (Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface) system" that was designed to refuel US Department of Defense and Intelligence Community assets in geostationary orbit. Tanker-002, along with Spaceflight's Sherpa-ES orbital transfer vehicle, will go around the back of the Moon to gain a gravitational assist.
For those that don't know what geostationary orbit is - it's when an object is stationed 22,236 miles in altitude and orbits Earth at the same speed Earth rotates. If an object is in geostationary orbit, its orbital period will be the same as Earth's single-day period - 23 hours and 56 minutes. It should also be noted that if an object, or in this instance Tanker-002, is in geostationary orbit, an observer on Earth would see the object remain stationary in the sky.
A former Google executive has dropped a warning that not many people want to hear, as what is being created may pose a serious threat to humanity.
According to Mo Gawdat, the Chief Business Officer for Google's moonshot organization called Google X, artificial general intelligence (AGI) poses a genuine threat to humanity. Gawdat dropped this warning in an interview with The Times and explained when he made the revelation that AGI was actually dangerous. Gawdat said he observed Google researchers build robot arms that were trained to grab objects such as balls and toys as a human would.
Gawdat said that he passed these robots fumbling with the objects for weeks, but one day one of the robot arms did something that shook the former Google X executive. Gawdat said that he observed one robot arm pick up the ball and then hold it up towards the researchers as if it was showing off what it had achieved. Gawdat said, "And I suddenly realized this is really scary. It completely froze me." Adding, "The reality is we're creating God."