Science, Space, Health & Robotics News - Page 5
NASA is currently preparing to launch its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission that will send a spacecraft directly into an asteroid in an attempt to change the asteroid's orbit.
NASA is planning on launching its DART spacecraft from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California at 1:20 a.m. EST (0620 GMT) on Wednesday, Nov. 24. The idea behind the mission is to test planetary defense technologies in case they need to be used when a real threat reveals itself. The DART spacecraft will travel for ten months towards the asteroid named Dimorphos, where it will then collide with it at 15,000 mph.
Betsy Congdon, DART mechanical systems engineer, said during a news conference on Sunday that the last hour of the spacecraft's trip towards the asteroid will be the most vital part of the mission as the navigation instrument that DART is carrying, called DRACO that will need to begin angling the spacecraft towards Dimorphos when the asteroid will only be 1.4 pixels wide in the field of view. As the spacecraft continues to approach Dimorphos, it will have a better idea of the shape of the asteroid, and thus an easier time to navigate.
A NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) space telescope has captured a new image of a star-forming hundreds of light-years away from Earth.
The Hubble Space Telescope has zoomed in on a star being born in the reflection nebula IC 2631, which is a part of the Chamaeleon star-forming region in the southern constellation Chamaeleon. A new NASA blog post details the protostar and explains that stars are born from an accumulation of gas and dust. Clouds of gas and dust collapse under their own gravitation attraction, creating a dense, hot core that then gathers more dust and gas.
The gas and dust that is left over after the core of the star is formed can eventually become planets, asteroids, comets, or just remain as dust. As with most protostars, they are best observed in infrared light as they are known to emit a lot of heat energy. Additionally, observers using the visible light wavelength will have trouble locating a protostar as the star is obscured by large amounts of dust. If you are interested in reading more about this story, check out this link here.
On November 19, the longest partial lunar eclipse in the last 580 years happened, and if you missed it, mark your calendars for the next astronomical event.
Last Friday, the Moon entered Earth's shadow for nearly three and a half hours, and while the timeframe for viewing was small, many people managed to snap some awesome images of the event. If you were unlucky and didn't get to see the partial lunar eclipse in person, you will be pleased to know that another one is coming up, and this time it's a total lunar eclipse not a partial. For those that don't know, a lunar eclipse happens when the Earth passes between the Sun and the Moon. The Moon then enters Earth's shadow for a period of time.
So, why does the Moon appear red during a lunar eclipse? The Earth is blocking the majority of the Sun rays as it's in between the Moon and the Sun. However, some of the rays from the Sun go around the Earth and pass through Earth's atmosphere, which only lets long wavelengths of light such as red pass through. According to TimeandDate.com, the next lunar eclipse will happen between May 15 and 16, 2022. TimeandDate state that the total lunar eclipse will be visible for people in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia.
On November 19 an astronomical event that hasn't happened in 580 years took place and skywatchers around the world stopped to bare-witness the Beaver Moon.
On Friday morning the Moon passed into Earth's shadow for about three and a half hours and during that time 95% of it was covered in shadow, resulting in an eerie red to emerge. This event was the longest partial lunar eclipse to occur in 580 years, and was seen from all around the world as images of the spectacle were shared online.
So, why did the Moon turn red? Simple answer is Earth's atmosphere. Since the Earth is positioned in between the Sun and the Moon, the mass of Earth blocks out majority of the Sun rays, but some of these rays went around Earth, passing through our planet's atmosphere and letting only longer wavelengths of light, such as red, through to hit the Moon. This process is why we see a reddish hue on the surface of the Moon. Below are some images of the partial lunar eclipse from different parts of the world.
A man that was armed with a metal detector discovered a heavy rock that he believed was gold, but after further analysis, it was found to be much more valuable.
David Hole discovered the large rock back in 2015 when he was prospecting with a metal detector in Maryborough Regional Park near Melbourne, Australia. After finding the rock, he took it home and attempted to open it, thinking that there would be a gold nugget inside. Hole tried opening the rock with a rock saw, angle grinder, drill, and even acid. All of which didn't work. Years later, Hole took the rock to the Melbourne Museum for identification, and that's when he discovered what he found wasn't a heavy rock with gold potentially in the middle, but a large meteorite.
The meteorite weighed in at 37.5 pounds and after using a diamond saw to dissect a small portion of it, researchers discovered that its composition is a high percentage of iron, meaning that the meteorite is classified as a chondrite. Melbourne museum geologist Dermot Henry told The Sydney Morning Herald, "Meteorites provide the cheapest form of space exploration. They transport us back in time, providing clues to the age, formation, and chemistry of our Solar System (including Earth)."
A new study published in Nature Communications details the discovery of an enormous "barrier" located at the center of our Milky Way.
The team of astronomers behind the study from the Chinese Academy of Sciences located in Nanjing, looked at a map of gamma-rays in our galaxy. Space.com reports that gamma-rays are the highest-energy form of light in the universe and can originate when high-speed particles known as cosmic rays collide with matter. The map showed researchers that at the center of the Milky Way, there is something that is increasing the speed of particles, some even close to the speed of light.
Additionally, the map showed a large amount of cosmic and gamma rays just outside of the center of the galaxy. On top of that, the researchers detailed that while the galactic center of the Milky Way blasts out high-energy radiation into the space surrounding it, something is preventing large amounts of cosmic rays from entering. The researchers describe it as a "barriera" that appears to be wrapped around the center of the galaxy. This "barrier" keeps the density of cosmic rays within the region lower than the baseline amount seen throughout the rest of the Milky Way galaxy.
A group of astronomers discovered a hellish exoplanet where one year on the planet is really just a few days on Earth.
The team of astronomers from the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) published a study in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society back in October, and it details the discovery of exoplanet TOI 1789b. The exoplanet is estimated to be around 1.4 times the size of Jupiter, with around 70% of its mass. Additionally, TOI 1789b orbits its star extremely closely, completing one full rotation around the star in just 3.2 days.
Being so close to its host star, the planet gets extremely hot. The researchers estimate that the planet can reach temperatures up to 2,000 K, or 3,140 Fahrenheit. Planets such as TOI 1789b are referred to as a "hot Jupiter", as they are similar to Jupiter but have very short orbital periods around their host stars resulting in them being hot. If you are interested in reading more about this story, check out this link here.
In the coming days, the European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter will perform its riskiest fly-by of Earth yet as it makes its way towards the Sun.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has detailed on its website the upcoming mission for its Solar Orbiter. The satellite is returning back to Earth before it makes it way back towards the Sun to observe the fiery ball in an attempt to understand space weather better. Before it can measure the Sun, the Solar Orbiter must pass closely with Earth in order to slow down and be lined up for a close pass with the Sun.
During this maneuver, the Solar Orbiter will come within 286 miles of the planet's surface, which is only a little bit above where the International Space Station orbits (250 miles). However, that isn't where the risk lies. The ESA detail in the infographic found above that the Solar Orbiter will have to pass through two layers of space debris that could potentially damage the satellite.
Humans are looking towards Mars as the next spot to settle down on, but being a barren wasteland with minimal habitable options, the Red Planet is a bit of a fixer-upper.
A new paper spotted by Universe Today on the pre-print server arXiv looks at how humans can achieve a sustained presence on the Red Planet that would include factors such as travel, research, visiting, tourism, etc. The paper states that for that level of colonization to take place, Mars would need a strong magnetic field capable of deflecting solar wind blasts from the Sun, which are deadly to humans. Earth's magnetic field comes from its core, but Mars' core is different from Earth's and would require either its core to be started up (as its cooler) or an artificial magnetic field to be created around the planet's surface.
Since the latter of the two options is more feasible, the team of scientists, including NASA's own chief scientist James Lauer Green, proposes a ring of charged particles to be built around the planet. The study details using Mars' moon Phobos to create a magnetic field by ionizing particles from the moon's surface and then accelerating them to create a plasma torus, a doughnut-shaped region around the orbit that is filled with hot ionized gas (a plasma).
NASA is currently gearing up for its very first planetary defense mission that will include launching a spacecraft directly towards an asteroid in an attempt to redirect it.
NASA is targeting a binary asteroid system that features two asteroids; one smaller asteroid named Didymos and one larger asteroid named Dimorphos. Didymos, the smaller of the two asteroids, is orbiting its larger companion and will be the target of NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). The space agency plans to launch a vending machine-sized asteroid towards Didymos in an attempt to change its orbit slightly. The results from this test will answer the question if NASA is capable of redirecting an asteroid if it's on route to hit Earth.
The DART spacecraft will be traveling at 15,000 mph and will collide with Didymos, which is about the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza. NASA expects that the impact should change Didymos' orbit by more than 1%, and if it does, the mission is considered a success. As the DART spacecraft is flying towards the asteroid, it will be taking images rapidly and relaying them back to Earth before it's completely destroyed.