Science, Space, Health & Robotics News - Page 7
Scientists speculate that underground fungal networks are a critical but largely overlooked component of global climate change and are looking to change that.
Researchers aim to collect ten thousand DNA samples from fungi by working with local communities worldwide, hoping to determine how their networks are being affected by human activity like global warming. With this, the researchers want to construct a global map of the networks.
"Fungi are invisible ecosystem engineers, and their loss has gone largely unnoticed by the public. New research and climate models are providing irrefutable evidence that the Earth's survival is linked to the underground," said Toby Kiers, a professor of evolutionary biology at Amsterdam's Free University and co-founder of the non-profit Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN), the organization coordinating the effort.
Understanding how climate change affects fungal networks or mycelia is vital in ensuring their survival and the preservation of the ecosystems they exist within. Some fungi can help combat global warming by facilitating carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere by storing it in their roots underground. Providing nutrients to other plants also helps their growth, allowing them to sap more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Some fungi can instead produce carbon dioxide as they decompose organic matter for food, which helps to fuel global warming.
On November 30th, during the 181st Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Angeles Salles of Johns Hopkins University will discuss how bats use echolocation to find prey and track and predict its trajectory.
Bats use echolocation to create echo snapshots of their environment, capturing it in discrete stages. They generate the sounds used for echolocation from their larynx or by clicking their tongues and process the echoes that return after sending out those noises. These noises are typically ultrasonic, so humans are unable to hear them.
Unlike predators that rely on visual cues, this allows bats to hunt in total darkness. Because they cannot track prey continuously as a predator would visually, the echo snapshots provide staggered sensory information on the prey as it moves through space. The bat's brain creates a predictive model that allows it to extrapolate the prey's trajectory based on its movement through the snapshots it receives.
"We think this is an innate capability, such as humans can predict where a ball will land when it is tossed at them. Once a bat has located a target, it uses the acoustic information to calculate the speed of the prey and anticipate where it will be next," said Salles.
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is set to revolutionize in-space astronomy, picking up where Hubble will leave off with a host of new technologies.
One of the instruments about the JWST is the Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI), which requires special cooling down to 6 Kelvin, something that engineers cannot fully test here on Earth. Hubble observes the universe in the ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, up to about 1.8-micrometer wavelengths. MIRI, as the name implies, sees into the mid-infrared part of the spectrum and beyond. MIRI will be able to see between 5 and 28-micron wavelength light.
"It's a different way of looking at the universe. And every time you look in a new way, you find stuff that you had no idea was out there," said Dr. Ressler of the ESA.
Every object the has warmth emits infrared radiation, and room temperature objects emit at ten microns. This radiation presents issues for MIRI, as its operation at such temperatures would radiate mid-infrared wavelengths that interfere with its ability to perceive the same wavelengths coming from space.
"And so we need to have the telescope cold so that it doesn't glow. Our instrument enclosure and all our optics need to be very cold so that they don't glow. And then just the technology, the detectors themselves require them to be very cold. Everything has to be so cold simply so that we're not washed out by this background from everything being warm," said Ressler.
Following an internal SpaceX email obtained by Space Explored that revealed SpaceX CEO Elon Musk saying SpaceX could face bankruptcy in the future, a leaked video of the interior of Starship has surfaced.
The leaked email purportedly from Elon Musk states that Starship, the biggest rocket ever, is needed to get V2 Starlink internet satellites into orbit, and to get Starship operational, the production of Raptor engines needs to increase drastically. Musk describes the Raptor engine production situation as a "crisis", and writes, "What it comes down to, is that we face a genuine risk of bankruptcy if we can't achieve a Starship flight rate of at least once every two weeks next year."
Now, a leaked video also obtained by Space Explored showcases a rare look inside of the Starship launch vehicle. According to the publication, the video showcases a SpaceX employee recording the interior of the nosecone and that the interior is recognizable from exploded Starship prototypes. It should be noted that at the time of writing this SpaceX, nor Elon Musk has denied or confirmed the leaked stories are legitimate. If you are interested in reading more on this story, check out this link here.
According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the production of SpaceX's Raptor engines that will be equipped to its upcoming launch vehicle called Starship may cause SpaceX to face bankruptcy.
In an email obtained by Space Explored that was sent out to SpaceX staff over the Thanksgiving weekend by Musk, the CEO explains that the lack of Raptor engine product has caused a situation that has turned into something much worse than it was a few weeks ago. Musk describes the situation as a "crisis", and says he will be working on the Raptor production over the Thanksgiving weekend and requests any SpaceX staff that have free time to assist him.
"Unless you have critical family matters or cannot physically return to Hawthorne, we will need all hands-on deck to recover from what is, quite frankly, a disaster", reads the email. The email continues and mentions that the Raptor engines required to launch Starship is needed to launch V2 Starlink internet satellites as V2 Starlink satellites cannot be attached to SpaceX's current launch vehicle workhorse the Falcon 9. Starlink is needed to get V2 Starlinks into orbit, which SpaceX is relying on as cash inflow.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has chimed in on the recent controversy surrounding space debris caused by a Russian anti-satellite missile test.
On November 15, Russia tested an anti-satellite missile on one of its own satellites, which caused thousands of new space debris to emerge in Earth's orbit. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) can be heard being told by NASA Headquarters to prepare to launch back down to Earth and take shelter in spaceships such as SpaceX's Crew Dragon. NASA condemned the actions by Russia, to which the country responded by defending its actions with the minister-general Sergei Shoigu saying that the debris "don't pose any threat to space activities."
Currently, 1,500 pieces of space debris are being tracked. However, they all haven't been found and may take some time to be found. Astronomer Jonathan McDowell, who tracks satellites and debris objects, spoke to Insider and said, "If [a satellite] gets hit by one of the bigger pieces of debris... it could completely destroy the satellite into thousands of more pieces. You could see debris hitting the satellites, causing more debris that then hits more satellites."
NASA announced the cancellation of a scheduled spacewalk for astronauts aboard the International Space Station out of fear of space debris.
The space agency announced via its Twitter account that the spacewalk was canceled as there was a potential threat of space debris being a danger for astronauts Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron. The ISS astronauts were going on a spacewalk to replace a faulty antenna system. NASA has provided updates to its blog post on its website, where it writes that it received a "debris notification" before the spacewalk was meant to take place and decided to postpone the walk until further assessment of the situation has been done.
NASA has provided an update and wrote, "After receiving additional information about a late notification debris event on Monday, NASA determined the orbit of the debris does not pose a risk to a scheduled spacewalk by Thomas Marshburn and Kayla Barron or to International Space Station operations. Delaying the spacewalk provided an opportunity for NASA to evaluate the risk from the debris notification. The spacewalk to replace a faulty antenna system on the station's truss structure now is planned for Thursday, Dec. 2."
A new release from the European Space Agency (ESA) has detailed the discovery of the closest pair of merging supermassive black holes to Earth.
The team of researchers behind the study that's been published in Astronomy & Astrophysics state that they have never found a pair of merging supermassive black holes as close as the pair that reside in the center of the galaxy NGC 7727. The galaxy resides in the constellation Aquarius and is around 89 million light-years away from Earth. Research indicates that the two supermassive black holes will become one in around 250 million years.
The lead author on the new study, Karina Voggel, an astronomer at the Strasbourg Observatory in France, says that merging black holes within NGC 7727 has broken the record for the closest pair of merging black holes to Earth by more than half the previous record holder. The record that was just broken was held by a pair of merging black holes 470 million light-years away from Earth, which is more than five times the distance than the two that were recently discovered.
A team of researchers have analyzed samples from an asteroid and found evidence that suggests Earth's earliest water came from space rocks and the Sun.
The team of researchers published a paper in the journal Nature Astronomy, and it outlines an isotopic analysis of samples from the asteroid Itokawa. This asteroid orbits the Sun every eighteen months, and researchers were interested in its isotopic composition to answer the question about how Earth's surface became 70% water.
For some time, scientists have thought that carbon-rich asteroids brought water to Earth, but the chemical fingerprint of the asteroids didn't quite match Earth's, hence why researchers are looking into different asteroids. The researchers in the recently published study found that the interaction between solar wind that's constantly produced by the Sun and dust particles from the asteroid samples caused the earliest water to begin forming on Earth.
Bernardinelli-Bernstein (BB) is the largest comet ever observed, and new research from the University of Maryland shows it may have been active a lot longer than previously thought.
Comets are conglomerations of ice and dust left over from the formation of a solar system, and as one approaches a star, it will warm and begin to vaporize. A comet is active when the ice vaporizes, creating an envelope of dust and vapor around it known as the coma. The ice within the comet could be frozen water, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, or several other compounds, all requiring different conditions to vaporize.
BB is massive, at 100 kilometers across, and exists in our solar system further from the Sun than Uranus. Using the Transient Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) to examine previous observations of BB, researchers determined from its distance from the Sun and its size, BB's coma is made primarily from carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide can begin to vaporize up to five times farther from the Sun than where BB was first observed, suggesting BB has been active for significantly longer.