Science, Space, Health & Robotics News - Page 3
A satellite flying overhead of an erupting volcano has captured stunning images of the rivers of lava spewing from the volcano's crater.
Credit: European Union, Copernicus Sentinel-X imagery
The volcano that is erupting is on the Spain's La Palma island which first began erupting on September 19. Since then, rivers of lava have been spewing out of the volcano causing residents in the local area to evacuate. The eruption has marked the first time in 50 years this volcano has erupted, and over the weekend reports surfaced of 3.8 earthquakes in the area - indicating that the volcanic eruption is far from over.
The European Earth-observing satellite Sentinel-2 managed to capture stunning images of the La Palma eruption on Sunday that show new lava streams being created after a part of its conical crater collapsed. The collapsed crater has caused the lava up to 2,264 degrees Fahrenheit to run in new directions downhill towards the coast. So far, the lava is moving at 1,640 feet to 2,300 feet per hour. Additionally, the rivers of hot lava have destroyed more than 1,186 buildings in the area and has covered nearly two square miles of land.
Mars is known for its barren wastelands and fine red sand, but that isn't all the planet has to offer, and new images released by a Mars orbiter proves that.
While known as the Red Planet, Mars offers more beauty than one might expect, and recently released images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showcase a multitude of colors that can be found throughout the surface. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter used the incredible HiRISE camera that it's equipped with to capture high-resolution images of the diverse nature of Mars' surface.
The HiRISE camera took images of the Kaiser Crater, which has a large number of giant dunes inside of it that have a variety of subsurface minerals that have eroded down the sides of the dunes. According to the team behind the images, "Some of these gullies produce a variety of colors that are highlighted on the west-facing (illuminated) slopes, where the gullies appear to be glowing in the winter light." The images found in this article are just some of what was taken. To view the full selection of images, check out this link here.
After multiple years of development and numerous setbacks, NASA's next-generation space telescope is inching closer to its launch date.
NASA's next-generation telescope is the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) that was originally proposed back in 1996 with a launch date of 2007. However, due to countless delays due to issues being found throughout testing the telescope, the launch had to be pushed back. Additionally, the JWST has cost NASA much more than what they originally intended to spend. In the US space agency's original proposal, JWST was going to cost $1 billion, but do delays and development costs that come with them, that number slowly rose to $9.7 billion.
Now, JWST has safely arrived at the last destination it will be on Earth, French Guiana, South America, which is the site of the space telescopes launch. Currently, JWST is undergoing final testing before its launch aboard the European Space Agency's (ESA) heavy-lift space launch vehicle developed by Arianespace called the Ariane 5 rocket. NASA and the ESA have selected the target launch date for December 18th, 2021 - 14 years after the originally proposed launch date.
William Shatner, along with the three other crew members, have safely made it back to the surface of Earth with Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin.
William Shatner, who played the iconic role of Captain Kirk in Star Trek, was joined by three other private citizens, Dr. Chris Boshuizen, Glen de Vries, and Audrey Powers, on Blue Origin's second successful human spaceflight aboard its New Shepard rocket. After stepping foot back on Earth, Shatner was completely lost for words as he attempted to describe his experience.
Captain Kirk tried to explain that what he experienced and said he was completely moved by it as it made him realize the fragility of Earth. It seems that what Shatner experienced was the Overview Effect that so many astronauts describe, which is a cognitive shift in awareness that happens when viewing Earth from outside of the atmosphere. To listen to what Shatner had to say, check out the above video and skip to 2:47:23.
Why do NASA and other space agencies want to explore the barren wasteland that is Mars? Is it because the planet was once like Earth?
NASA has taken to its YouTube channel to post a new video that's a part of its "We Asked a NASA Scientist" series that is curated around answering some of the biggest questions the agency gets and some of the most popular questions about the universe. In this week's episode, NASA astrobiologist Dr. Becky McCauley Rench said that Mars did once look like Earth billions of years ago when our solar system was forming.
The NASA astrobiologist goes on to say that today when we look at Mars, we see a dry planet, but there is evidence of Mars once having lakes and streams. This news of Mars having a lake was recently confirmed with NASA's Perseverance rover that captured images of a delta in the Jezero Crater, more on that story can be found here. Dr. Rench continued to explain that studying the Red Planet allows researchers to understand more about Mars' past/future as well as Earth's past/future.
NASA has announced it has partnered with the Australian Space Agency to construct a new rover that will assist in sustaining human presence on the Moon.
The announcement comes from the Australian Space Agency who has agreed to construct a 44-pound semi-autonomous lunar rover that is scheduled to go to the Moon as early as 2026. The new rover will search for oxygen and be capable of collecting soil that contains oxides that oxygen will be extracted from using separate NASA equipment.
According to the announcement, the rover will be used to extract oxygen from the lunar surface, which will then be used to support a sustained presence of human activity on the Moon and eventually support future missions to Mars. Anthony Murfett, the deputy head of the Australian Space Agency, said that NASA was impressed with the technology that's currently being used to remotely control trucks that transport iron ore from 1,000 miles away. For more information on this story, check out this link here.
A mysterious radio signal has been detected by astronomers that "fit no currently understood pattern of variable radio source".
An international Ph.D. student in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney, Ziteng Wang, explained in a new study published in the Astrophysical Journal that mysterious radio signals were detected using CSIRO's ASKAP radio telescope that's located in Western Australia. The Ph.D. student pointed the radio telescope towards the center of the Milky Way galaxy, and found "The brightness of the object also varies dramatically, by a factor of 100, and the signal switches on and off apparently at random. We've never seen anything like it."
The discovery of these unusual radio signals has suggested that it could be a new class of stellar object. Over the course of nine months, throughout 2020, more observations were conducted with international researchers, and in total, the astronomers were able to detect six radio signals from the source. Additionally, it should be noted that when the astronomers attempted to view the source of the radio signals in visible light, they saw nothing.
Researchers have used the world's most powerful radio antenna to detect signals from distant stars that suggest undiscovered planets are orbiting them.
The researcher was published in Nature Astronomy and details the use of the world's most powerful radio telescope dubbed LOFAR, or Low Frequency Array. Researcher at the University of Queensland, Dr. Benjamin Pope, along with other researchers from the Dutch national observatory ASTRON, discovered signals from nineteen distant red dwarf stars, four of the signals are best explained by "planets orbiting them", according to Dr. Pope.
Dr. Joseph Callingham at Leiden University and ASTRON, and lead author of the discovery, explained that the radio wave detection could be from the interaction between the red dwarf star and an orbiting planet, but this isn't 100% confirmed. However, Dr. Callingham says, "We can't be 100 percent sure that the four stars we think have planets are indeed planet hosts, but we can say that a planet-star interaction is the best explanation for what we're seeing."
If you happened to miss the news, William Shatner would be taking Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket to space very soon.
Shatner recently announced the news via Twitter, saying that he will be joining Blue Origin vice president of mission and flight operations and actor Audrey Powers on the mission. Originally, the launch for the mission was scheduled for October 12, but due to the bad weather conditions, Blue Origin announced the launch had to be pushed back by 24 hours.
In a video released by Blue Origin, Shatner said that he is very excited about the launch and that he plans to be looking out the window with his nose pressed up against it. In the same video, Shatner said that there is one thing he doesn't want to see, and that is gremlin looking back at him, which is a reference to the iconic 1963 episode of "The Twilight Zone" called "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet." During that episode, Shatner played a character on a flight to space that spots a gremlin on the wing of the plane.
NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are currently devising a plan to safely transport extraterrestrial cargo back to Earth.
NASA's Perseverance rover is collecting samples from the surface of Mars, and these samples will be stored on the rover until they are required to be transported back to Earth for analysis. This transportation process is no small feat and will require high levels of precision to pull off correctly and safely. The samples will be placed into sterilization storage containers that are sealed, preventing any contamination. The process of getting the samples back on Earth is a long one and will require several things to align correctly.
Perseverance is currently carrying Mars' samples, and when the time comes to send them back to Earth, the Mars rover will hand them over to a fetch rover that engineers are currently developing at NASA. This rover will then transport the samples to a lander that has a robotic arm that will place the samples into the head of a rocket. The rocket will then launch from the surface of Mars and transport the samples to an ESA orbiter that will prepare the samples for transportation back to Earth.