Science, Space, Health & Robotics News - Page 261
So, why was everyone on Earth stretched and compressed by an event that happened in space on January 5, 2020? An astrophysicist has answered that question.
Kirsten Banks, an Australian astrophysicist that graduated from the University of New South Wales, has replied to this question on her TikTok account, where she posts lots of digestible astronomy and space-related content. Banks explains that on January 5, 2020, gravitational waves traveled through the entire Earth and that these gravitational waves were caused by a black hole engulfing a neutron star. Video here.
Banks continues and says that these gravitational waves affect all of spacetime, and when the gravitational waves passed through Earth, for a fraction of a second, all human bodies were stretched and compressed by 1/10,000th of the size of a proton, or about 30% of the size of human sperm (if the cosmic event happened one-light year away from Earth). Additionally, Banks explains that this isn't the first time researchers have detected these gravitational waves, as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) has "detected more than 50 gravitational waves since the first detection in 2015."
SpaceX briefly assembled the newest prototype of Starship on August 6 and has broken the world record for the tallest rocket ever.
SpaceX engineers at the SpaceX Starbase facility located in Texas connected Starship SN20 to its Super Heavy booster for around an hour while checks to the fitting were made. Starship alone is 165 feet tall, and Super Heavy is 230 feet, together Starship and Super Heavy brought the total height to 395 feet, breaking the previous record set by NASA's Saturn V moon rocket that was 363 feet standing.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk celebrated the Starship being briefly assembled on Twitter, saying, "Dream come true". While Starship can be assembled, that doesn't mean it's completely ready, as Musk writes on Twitter that there are at least "4 significant items" it needs before it's ready for launch. Those "4 significant items" are heat shields to protect it from Earth's atmosphere, thermal protection for Super Heavy's 33 raptor engines, "ground system propellant storage tanks and a quick disconnect arm", according to Space.com.
Perseverance, NASA's newest Mars rover that landed on Mars in February this year, is about to begin its quest for finding evidence of alien life.
Perseverance has been observing the martian planes for many months now and has found its home in the Jezero Crater, where it will now begin drilling into the Red Planet's surface to collect rock samples that researchers back on Earth will inspect. Perseverance will collect rock samples, examine them, relay any data back to NASA and pass on the samples when they are picked up to be returned to Earth.
NASA believes that the Jezero Crater contained a large lake around 3.5 billion years ago, which could be conditions that supported life, hence Perseverance being stationed there. The Mars rover will drill a hole into the surface that will take about 11 days to complete and search for any signs of microbial life in the deep lake bed. NASA is expecting to collect around 30 martian samples and return them to Earth in the 2030s. For more information on this story, check out this link here.
NASA is showcasing some of the best achievements of its Hubble Space Telescope, and one image, in particular, contains 10,000 galaxies.
NASA is celebrating #DeepFieldWeek and has decided to take viewers for a trip down memory lane with some incredible images Hubble snapped, with the first being the original Hubble Deep Field. The tweets from the Hubble Twitter account continue, and with each new image, NASA explains which instrument was used and how many galaxies are contained within the image.
One image that is worth highlighting is from 2003 and 2004, where Hubble captured a million-second-long exposure to "create the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image, which contains about 10,000 galaxies!". In 2019, Hubble Legacy Field released and contained within it is data representing 16 years of the telescope's observations and "265,000 galaxies, and 13.3 billion years - making it the largest collection of galaxies documented by Hubble."
Scientists have poured years and years of time ironing out all of the details of launching the Hubble Space Telescopes successor, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).
The telescope has been under construction for many years now and has been cursed with numerous delays for various different reasons. Billions and billions of dollars have been poured into the telescope that is poised to unlock secrets of the universe for us, and now engineers, scientists, and NASA are approaching the end of the development runway and are almost ready for launch.
All of the years of work, money, and time developing JWST could all end in a matter of seconds if the launch on the Ariane 5 rocket fails. Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator for science missions at NASA, summed all of the risks JWST will endure from the moment it's about to launch to when it is successfully deployed and operational. Zurbuchen wrote, "Those who are not worried or even terrified about this are not understanding what we are trying to do."
Researchers have recently got their hands-on a long-lost fragment of Stonehenge that was taken from one of the pillars back in 1958.
Robert Phillips represented a drilling company back in 1958 that was restoring Stonehenge. While restoring the monuments, Phillips snagged a cylindrical core from of the pillars, Stone 58, and in the years later emigrated to the United States. Now, it's illegal to drill into the stones, but researchers in 2018 got a hold of Phillips cylindrical stone core sample and began to study it. Their findings have recently been published in the journal PLOS One on August 4.
Researchers put the core sample through many different scans and found that stone was 99.7% quartz, described as "quartz cement" and "an interlocking mosaic of crystals". On top of that, the researchers found that some of the sandy sediments contained in the sample dated back Paleogene period, 66 million to 23 million years ago.
A new study has explored the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a crucial circulation system that transports salty water from the tropics north and cold water southward.
Led author of the study, Niklas Boers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research located in Germany, said the AMOC is "one of our planet's key circulation systems", and according to the findings from the study, the AMOC is on the verge of collapsing, which would have major impacts around the world. The authors warn that if the AMOC halts, Europe and North America could begin to experience extremely cold weather, as well as parts of the US East Coast could see a rise in sea levels.
Boers goes on to explain that the results of the study indicate that the AMOC is approaching what is described as a "critical threshold", "beyond which the circulation system could collapse." The led author recognizes that the study's method doesn't provide a time for when the AMOC will collapse. However, Boers states that it provides enough evidence that the AMOC has lost its stability, "which I take as a warning that we might be closer to an AMOC tipping than we think", says Boers.
Astronomers believe they have located a planet that is showing promising signs of having an atmosphere that can support life.
A new study published in the Astronomy & Astrophysics journal has honed in on a planetary system dubbed L 98-59 after the star it orbits. The system contains a rocky planet that has half the mass of Venus and is believed to be an ocean world. The team of astronomers used the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile, and found evidence of a fifth planet in what is called the "habitable zone" of its local star.
The "habitable zone" is a location in space that is not too hot and not too cold to host life. While the results from the study are definitely significant, astronomers don't have the telescope resolution to be able to detect biosignatures on the planet, even though it's only 35 light-years away, which is quite a small distance when discussing distances in space.
Since being denied by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Blue Origin has been posting infographics that payout Elon Musk's SpaceX.
The beef between the two companies and NASA begun when NASA awarded SpaceX with a $2.9 billion contract for SpaceX to construct a lunar lander and a transportation method to the moon. Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin officially protested NASA's decisions, and after reviewing the protest, the GAO denied Blue Origin's request, which prompted SpaceX to continue working on its design.
Since these events transpired, Blue Origin has taken its emotions about the situation public with infographics comparing its own design to SpaceX's. Laura Seward Forczyk, the founder of space consulting firm Astralytical, spoke to Inverse about Blue Origin's argument in the most recent infographic seen below. She said, "it was quite the argument to make when Blue Origin has not yet launched anything to space", referencing how SpaceX has successfully transported astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station.
A tablet that dates back some 3700 years has been found to be the oldest example of applied geometry in the history of mathematics.
Australian mathematician Dr. Daniel Mansfield from UNSW Science's School of Mathematics and Statistics revealed the oldest known origins of applied geometry on a 3700-year-old clay tablet named Plimpton 322 that dates back to the Old Babylonian period between 1900 to 1600 BCE. According to a new study released on August 4 in Foundations of Science, the clay tablet was used to survey the land with "Pythagorean triples", which are used to make accurate right angles.
Dr. Mansfield says, "The discovery and analysis of the tablet have important implications for the history of mathematics. For instance, this is over a thousand years before Pythagoras was born." Dr. Mansfield added that "It is generally accepted that trigonometry-the branch of maths that is concerned with the study of triangles-was developed by the ancient Greeks studying the night sky in the second century BCE. But the Babylonians developed their own alternative 'proto-trigonometry' to solve problems related to measuring the ground, not the sky."