Science, Space, Health & Robotics News - Page 263
The space race is certainly heating up, and now that there are lawsuits on the table and some companies are upset with decisions made, we are starting to see words fly from the higher-ups.
The context for the feud that is currently occurring between SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos is that NASA awarded SpaceX with a $2.9 billion contract to build the next lunar lander for NASA's Artemis program that has scheduled a human return to the moon by 2024. NASA originally said it was going to award two companies the contract but later decided to award just SpaceX due to budgeting problems.
Blue Origin moved to contest the decision with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), pausing SpaceX's construction of the lunar lander until the GAO made a decision. Recently, Blue Origin is moving to sue NASA for the decision, which has further delayed SpaceX's construction of the lander, and as a result, there is now concern about the likelihood of NASA being able to put humans back on the moon in 2024.
A new report claims that eight Virgin Galactic officials that are "knowledgeable about the program" have leaked information about Richard Branson's flight to space aboard the VSS Unity.
The eight Virgin Galactic officials decided to remain anonymous when they spoke to The New Yorker and said that the pilots aboard the VSS Unity experienced two warning lights flashing throughout the flight. The officials state that after around one minute of the VSS Unity's engine burn, the pilots were alerted to a yellow warning light that indicated the spaceplane was veering off its designated course and outside of its mandated airspace.
The New Yorker report reads, "The light was a warning to the pilots that their flight path was too shallow and the nose of the ship was insufficiently vertical. If they didn't fix it, they risked a perilous emergency landing in the desert on their descent." Additionally, the officials stated that the pilots experienced a red light which represented an "entry glide cone warning", referring to the trajectory of the cone throughout its descent.
Richard Branson was deemed the first billionaire to make it space with a company that he founded. While the mission was an overall success, in some areas, it didn't go as planned as previously thought.
On July 11, Richard Branson boarded his company Virgin Galactic's spaceplane called VSS Unity. Branson and the passengers aboard the VSS Unity eventually climbed to an altitude of 50,000 feet with the assistance of the aircraft called WhiteKnightTwo. The VSS Unity reached an altitude of 53 miles, and the crew aboard the plane were able to experience weightlessness for around 4 minutes before they began their descent.
Now, reports are surfacing regarding some of the problems the pilots faced while operating the VSS Unity. The New Yorker talked to eight anonymous Virgin Galactic officials and reported that close to one minute in the VSS Unity's powered flight, the pilots noticed a yellow warning light that was alerting the pilots that the craft was veering off its routed course. The report from the New Yorker states, "The light was a warning to the pilots that their flight path was too shallow and the nose of the ship was insufficiently vertical. If they didn't fix it, they risked a perilous emergency landing in the desert on their descent."
Hurricane Ida is currently causing havoc across many southern U.S. states, bringing incredibly high forced winds and torrential rainfall.
The tropical storm is rolling throughout the country, causing mass damage wherever it goes, and according to Al Jazeera, it has caused $18 billion in damages in Louisiana that will have to be paid out by insurers. NASA has used the GOES-East satellite that is partner-operated by the space agency and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to photograph the storm from above.
Ida reached U.S. soil on August 29 and was deemed a Category 4 hurricane, and from the above image, you can understand that categorization is certainly not an understatement of hurricanes power. NOAA representatives said on Tuesday, "Imagery from this morning is compared to August 9, and shows a significant drop in nighttime lights around New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Slidell, and Hammond, LA." If you are interested in reading more about this story, check out this link here.
If you have never heard of the US Space Force's secret X-37B space plane, then the Space Force has achieved what it set out to do - keeping the planes a secret as much as possible.
Publicly, we know of two space planes that are currently in use by the United States Space Force, however, the missions of these planes have been kept under wraps since they begun flying secret missions in 2010. So far, there have been six Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) missions for X-37B space planes; in April 2010, March 2011, December 2012, May 2015 and September 2017, per Space.com.
While the missions and the plane itself have been kept relatively under wraps, there are some known facts about it. Below I have outlined ten known facts about the space planes.
Fifteen buildings were just demolished simultaneously, and the destruction was caught on video from multiple angles.
The demolition was a controlled one, and according to Taiwan news, the buildings that met their end were included in the Liyang Star City Phase II project, which was originally conceived back in 2011. The project has experienced several delays due to changes in the planning over the years, with it only resuming progress late last year.
As for the demolished buildings, they weren't finished, and the foundations for each of the buildings were exposed to rainwater and beyond repair, hence the decision to bring them down. Engineers used 4.6 tons of explosives for the controlled demolition, and the blast from the buildings coming down covered approximately 5.38 million square feet. If you are interested in reading more about this story, check out this link here.
According to an announcement from the National National Weather Service's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), a solar blast is on its way towards Earth.
The solar blast was caused by an eruption of the sunspot area 2859 on the Sun, which resulted in a coronal-magnetic-ejection (CME) and the triggering of a "solar tsunami". How can there be tsunami's on the Sun? Well, the tsunami that occurs on the Sun is not an ocean of water, it's instead an ocean of hot plasma and magnetism that can reach incredible heights of 62,000 miles and can travel at 560,000 mph.
The Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a G2 geomagnetic storm warning for 01, and 02 September, 2021 as two CMEs are headed towards Earth. The Prediction Center states, "Should these CMEs materialize, combined effects from the two transients have the potential to result in G1-G2 storm conditions. Forecast confidence is low, however, due to the nature of these faint and somewhat ambiguous CMEs."
The space tourism industry is only just taking its first steps into existence as companies such as Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, and SpaceX are on the precipice of a whole new meaning to the word "tourism".
All of the aforementioned companies specialize on transporting humans to space via rockets, but that isn't the only way "space tourism" can happen. Japanese researchers are currently working on a new form of space tourism that was demonstrated aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in November last year. The "Space Avatar Project" is a conjoined effort between avatarin Inc. and Japanese space agency JAXA.
November last year, a publicly accessible avatar was selected and was used to communicate with astronauts aboard the ISS. Since the success of the demonstration, the two companies have said that further development with the new form of communication technology will enable "remote space travel, remote work assistance, and remote space-themed experiences." So, how does it work? Users would select an avatar that is "remotely controlled from Earth", but is capable "to move freely within the [ISS] space facility."
In our solar system, there are four gas giants, and considering that they are gas and not solid, would it be possible for humans to send a space probe through one?
NASA has posed the question to themselves in the past with the perishing of Galileo and Cassini, two space probes sent to monitor Jupiter and Saturn, respectively. Galileo was close to the end of its mission when NASA intentionally sent it to its doom inside Jupiter's atmosphere, and it plummeted for about an hour before NASA lost signal at around 93 miles inside gas giants atmosphere.
So, would it be possible to fly a specifically designed space probe through a gas giant? According to Leigh Fletcher, who's an associate professor of planetary science at the University of Leicester, UK, "no" and for a few reasons. Fletcher explains that the pressure close to Jupiter's center is around 10x the pressure recorded at the bottom of Earth's Mariana Trench. Additionally, Jupiter's temperatures are extreme, reaching tens of thousands of Kelvins.
Black holes are certainly one of the most incredible creations of the universe, perplexing scientists and our general understanding of how physics works.
However, humans have come a long way in our understanding of black holes and the general way the universe functions, but now we are at the point where we have gathered enough data to create simulations of these celestial phenomena. Claude-Andre Faucher-Giguere, a physicist at Northwestern University and the lead author on a new paper that has simulated a black hole, said, "The reason supermassive black holes are so difficult to explain is that forming them requires cramming a huge amount of matter into a tiny space."
Adding, "How does the universe manage to do that? Until now, theorists developed explanations relying on patching together different ideas for how matter in galaxies gets crammed into the innermost one millionth of a galaxy's size." In the above video, you will be able to see a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy called NGC 1566 and how all of the gas is consumed by the massive structure.