Science, Space & Robotics News - Page 4
At the end of last month, SpaceX successfully completed their escape test of Crew Dragon. Now rumors are flying about when their next demo flight will be.
According to Ars Technica's Senior Space Editor, Eric Berger, who took to Twitter this past Monday and said that SpaceX's Demo-2 mission is scheduled for May 7th. Berger also states in his tweet that Dragon is "in good shape" and that the specific launch date is "fluid" due to a "number of variables not hardware-related". Berger also mentions that the launch date may move into late April or push into early May, hence the May 7th date.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said that you can expect that the first crewed mission will take place sometime throughout the second quarter of 2020. This means that it will happen sometime in either April, May or June, which coincides with what Berger is talking about. I wouldn't be surprised if SpaceX pushes the launch date back into the middle of May, just to make sure everything is right for a successful launch.
The Trump administration is moving full steam ahead with their plan to put American's back on the Moon and eventually on Mars in the coming years.
In its annual budget request, which was released just this past Monday, the White House has requested that Congress increase NASA's funding to more than $25 billion in the 2021 fiscal year. The report also states that $12.4 billion will be allocated for the coming 'Artemis' Moon landing program that is scheduled to happen in 2024.
It isn't set in stone that Congress will approve the request, but what we do know is that the White House's recent proposal gives Congress a more detailed evaluation of where the money will be spent and when. An example of this is that $3.4 billion is being asked to be laid aside for the construction of a lunar Human Landing System, "the first directed funding for such a system since Apollo". There are critics of the Artemis program, and if you'd like to read up on that, check out this link here.
With the coronavirus causing severe concern around the globe about safety, now is probably not the best time to do pranks about it. That train of thought didn't occur to two teens who are now facing police charges.
The two teens are 19-year-old man Tyler Wallace and his 17-year-old friend of Wallace, who wasn't named. Wallace and his friend were caught in Walmart, holding a sign that said "I have the coronavirus", and also spraying Lysol on produce, clothing, and other products. Wallace is being charged with disorderly conduct, retail theft, and criminal trespass. Wallace's friend is being charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespass.
Police have said that they don't believe either of the teens actually has the coronavirus called 2019-nCoV. Walmart also said that it had cost them $7,300 to replace all of the produce, and a further $2,400 to clean up the store after the "prank". If you are interested in checking out more news surrounding the coronavirus, click this link here.
Who doesn't love a good map? I know I certainly do, and the more detailed the map, the better it is. So how about a map of our solar system?
Don't worry. Biologist Eleanor Lutz has gone out of her way to map out every single known object in our solar system greater than 10km in diameter. How did she do this? Well, the data was taken from NASA's five separate categories; TNO and Centaur Diameters, Small-body Database Search Engine, Planetary Satellite Physical Parameters, Planets, and Pluto Physical Characteristics and Horizons Batch-Interface.
Using this data, Lutz was able to map out all of the orbits of over 18,000 asteroids that are currently present in our solar system. She was also able to map out at least 10,000 asteroids that were bigger than 10km in diameter, and about 8,000 known objects of unknown size/diameter. It should be noted that this map shows the position of asteroids on New Year's Eve 1999.
The European Space Agency is launching a new Sun probe that is estimated to relay back to Earth unprecedented information about our star.
The mission in collaboration with NASA and the European Space Agency was set to launch the Solar Orbiter on February 9th from Florida's Cape Canaveral. The probe is equipped with bleeding edge instruments that will allow researchers and scientists to gain a better understanding of the Sun's polar regions and magnetic environment.
Once the orbiter is launched and it passes Venus and Mercury, it will reach a maximum speed of 150,000 mph before entering the orbit of our Sun. Once it's there, it's titanium heat shield that is designed to withstand temperatures as high as 930 Fahrenheit will protect its vital instruments from particle radiation and any coronal magnetic ejections.
At the end of last month, a new solar telescope produced the highest-resolution images of the Sun's surface ever. Now, we have a video to look at.
The new solar telescope that did the hard work of relaying these images and videos of the Sun's surface is called the NSF's Inouye Solar Telescope. This solar telescope is designed to give scientists and researchers unprecedented information regarding the Sun's surface and magnetic fields. Researchers believe that with this new information, they will be able to predict solar weather much better.
In the above video, we can see small sections that are divided up by black lines -- these are called cells. Each of the cells is about the size of Texas, and the video we are watching is taken at a wavelength of 705nm over a period of 10 minutes. The surface is seen as "boiling" solar material called "plasma". I'd recommend that when watching the video to reduce the sped down to 0.75 speed to really enjoy the movement.
The medical science field is pushing further and further into technology that is going to benefit everyone in the future. New discoveries happen all the time, sometimes they come in the form of vaccines or medical research, but today it's a handheld skin dispenser.
Scientists out of the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), Center for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research (CIEMAT) have managed to create a printer that is able to print human skin. The first rendition of this new device was created back in 2017, then in 2018 Canadian scientists built upon the device and created a new device that was able to print sheets of artificial skin directly onto burn victim wounds.
The results, which were recently published in the Biofabrication journal stated that the bio-printed skin contains healing properties and smesenchymal stromal cells, which assist the body in cellular re-growth of the affected area. The researchers tested this device on pig skin that had severe burns and the results were very successful. Marc Jeschke, a researcher who worked on the paper said, "We found the device successfully deposited the 'skin sheets' onto the wounds uniformly, safely and reliably, and the sheets stayed in place with only very minimal movement".
The coronavirus has taken more lives, as a report from The New York Times states that the death toll in China has surpassed 600.
China is now facing more lives lost as the Wuhan coronavirus has spread, claiming what is now to believed as 636 lives. The NYT has reported that the total number of infected cases has risen to 31,161. Doctors and officials are also stating that this number of 636 is most likely higher as hospitals and laboratories are under extreme strain from the number of infection cases.
The NYT also reports that a senior Chinese official has been ordered by Chinese authorities from the city of Wuhan to "round up" all residents who have been infected by the coronavirus and place them into isolation, quarantine or designated hospitals. Sun Chunlan, a vice premier who is in control of the government's response to the outbreak, has said, "Set up a 24-hour duty system. During these wartime conditions, there must be no deserters, or they will be nailed to the pillar of historical shame forever". More information about the coronavirus outbreak can be found here.
Just this past Thursday, NASA's Christina Koch made a safe return back down to Earth's surface after breaking the spaceflight record for a female astronaut.
Christina Koch was aboard the International Space Station for almost 11 months, she returned back down to Earth and touched down at precisely 0912 GMT. Koch spent a total of 328 days in space, accompanied by Luca Parmitano from the European Space Agency and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian Space Agency, who also touched down with her.
Back on December 28th last year, Koch beat the previous record for a single spaceflight by a women of 289 days. This record was set by Peggy Whitson during her stay between 2016 and 2017. Koch is now scheduled to return back to NASA's headquarters for a medical examination. The results will be extremely important as NASA will use them to design future plans for elongated missions to Mars.
There are countless galaxies out there in the infinite vastness of space, and astronomers are constantly looking for new ones to study. Sometimes the ones they find aren't alive anymore and have perished long ago, being deemed 'inactive'.
Unfortunately, this was the case for astronomers out of the University of California who described in a new paper published in The Astrophysical Journal, a galaxy called XMM-2599. XMM-2599 is shockingly old and has unfortunately fallen into the "inactive" category, but during its time alive, the galaxy pumped out an astonishing amount of suns. Lead author on the paper, Benjamin Forrest said, "Even before the universe was 2 billion years old, XMM-2599 had already formed a mass of more than 300 billion suns, making it an ultramassive galaxy."
What is even more interesting about XMM-2599 is that most of the suns it made happened in a relatively short amount of time. "More remarkably, we show that XMM-2599 formed most of its stars in a huge frenzy when the universe was less than 1 billion years old, and then became inactive by the time the universe was only 1.8 billion years old" said Forrest. The team of astronomers calculated that during XMM-2599's most active sun producing time, it was pumping out around 1,000 solar masses worth of stars per year.