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Space News and Discussions

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#4481
Sciencerocks

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2018 April: First light from the starry sky for SPIRou

 


    Although still in a phase of technical characterization, SPIRou enjoyed a short period of star gazing on April 24 to 26 through the giant eye of the 3.6m Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), atop the dormant Maunakea volcano on the big island of Hawaii. The goal was to verify that SPIRou behaves as expected when staring at the sky rather than at calibration lamps

 

http://spirou.irap.o...ight-for-SPIRou



#4482
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"SpaceX makes rocket launches look easy, nails 25th Falcon 9 landing"

 

Link: https://www.digitalt...-bangabandhu-1/

 

I remember just a few years ago when SpaceX was always so close to landing a rocket, but it would result in a fireball every time, and the discussion back then was whether it could actually be done.

 

You know you're living in the future when that which was thought impossible just a few years ago is now routine.


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#4483
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Astronomers find fastest-growing black hole known in space
May 15, 2018, Australian National University

 

Astronomers at ANU have found the fastest-growing black hole known in the Universe, describing it as a monster that devours a mass equivalent to our sun every two days.

 

 

Read more at: https://phys.org/new...-space.html#jCp


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#4484
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Elon tweets about 60 space launches per year for five years and space colonization with BFR
brian wang | May 15, 2018

 

Elon Musk indicates that SpaceX will probably build 30 to 40 rocket cores for ~300 missions over 5 years. Then SpaceX BFR takes over and Falcon retires. The goal of SpaceX BFR is to enable anyone to move to moon, Mars And eventually outer planets.

 

https://www.nextbigf...n-with-bfr.html


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#4485
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Astronomers find vast ionized hydrogen cloud in 'Whirlpool Galaxy' using ultra-sensitive Arizona telescope
May 16, 2018, Case Western Reserve University

 

Astronomers have been keenly peering into M51, or the Whirlpool Galaxy, since the 1800s, its signature spiral structure informing the earliest debates over the nature of galaxies and the Cosmos at large.

 

Read more at: https://phys.org/new...-cloud.html#jCp



#4486
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Astronomers find evidence for stars forming just 250 million years after Big Bang
May 16, 2018, National Radio Astronomy Observatory

 

Not long after the Big Bang, the first generations of stars began altering the chemical make-up of primitive galaxies, slowly enriching the interstellar medium with basic elements such as oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen. Finding the earliest traces of these common elements would shed important light on the chemical evolution of galaxies, including our own.

 

Read more at: https://phys.org/new...iverse.html#jCp



#4487
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NASA's #1 says climate change is real and that humans are causing it in a major way:
 
https://www.theatlan...enstine/560642/

“I don’t deny that consensus that the climate is changing,” he said. “In fact, I fully believe and know that the climate is changing. I also know that we humans beings are contributing to it in a major way. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. We’re putting it into the atmosphere in volumes that we haven’t seen, and that greenhouse gas is warming the planet. That is absolutely happening, and we are responsible for it.”

Bridenstine did not say that humans are the main drivers of climate change. But his assertion that people are contributing to climate change “in a major way” marks his strongest support to date for the scientific consensus behind warming temperatures. And he went further than perhaps any other Trump-picked leader has.

Bridenstine went further on Thursday than he has in the past—even in the very recent past, like at his Senate confirmation hearing in November, which was convened a month after President Trump picked Bridenstine as his choice to lead nasa. When Brian Schatz, a Democratic senator from Hawaii, questioned Bridenstine about his views on climate change, Bridenstine said, “I believe carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. I believe that humans are contributing to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere."



#4488
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SpaceX will launch five Iridium next mobile satellites on May 22
brian wang | May 17, 2018
Launch site: SLC-4E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

 

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch five satellites for the Iridium next mobile communications fleet and two Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE Follow-On) satellites for NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ). The Falcon 9 rocket will launch with a previously-flown first stage.

 

https://www.nextbigf...-on-may-22.html



#4489
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NASA's new planet hunter snaps initial test image, swings by Moon toward final orbit
May 18, 2018 by Claire Saravia, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

 

NASA's next planet hunter, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), is one step closer to searching for new worlds after successfully completing a lunar flyby on May 17. The spacecraft passed about 5,000 miles from the Moon, which provided a gravity assist that helped TESS sail toward its final working orbit.

As part of camera commissioning, the science team snapped a two-second test exposure using one of the four TESS cameras. The image, centered on the southern constellation Centaurus, reveals more than 200,000 stars. The edge of the Coalsack Nebula is in the right upper corner and the bright star Beta Centauri is visible at the lower left edge. TESS is expected to cover more than 400 times as much sky as shown in this image with its four cameras during its initial two-year search for exoplanets. A science-quality image, also referred to as a "first light" image, is expected to be released in June.

 

Read more at: https://phys.org/new...-image.html#jCp



#4490
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NASA's Curiosity rover aims to get its rhythm back
May 18, 2018 by Andrew Good, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

 

Engineers have been working for the past year to restore the rover's full drilling capabilities, which were hampered in 2016 due to a mechanical problem. Later this weekend, they'll be adding percussion to a new technique already in use on Mars.

This new technique is called Feed Extended Drilling, or FED. It lets Curiosity drill more like the way a person would at home, using the force of its robotic arm to push its drill bit forward as it spins. The new version of FED adds a hammering force to the drill bit.

 

Read more at: https://phys.org/new...rhythm.html#jCp



#4491
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Hubble reveals the local universe in glorious ultraviolet detail

hubble-ultraviolet-survey-2.jpg?auto=for

An international team of astronomers has completed the most comprehensive ultraviolet survey of the local universe to date, with the help of the venerated Hubble Space Telescope. The newly-released survey data will help scientists to better understand how stars come to form, and the processes by which galaxies like our own Milky Way evolve over time.

 

https://newatlas.com...universe/54677/



#4492
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First radar-equipped CubeSat among three heading to the ISS
 

 

When NASA's latest Cygnus cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) lifts off on Monday, its manifest of experiments and general supplies will include three CubeSats, including the first equipped with radar. The size of three cereal boxes and weighing only 26 lb (11.8 kg) each, the miniature satellites will be used to demonstrate new technologies in orbit.

CubeSats have come a long way since they were first introduced as a platform for training future space engineers. Today, they are increasingly being used to track ships, gather low-Earth orbit data, and two are even now en route to the planet Mars. Not bad for spacecraft that consist of 4 x 4 x 4 in (10 x 10 x 10 cm) cubes stuck together and run by computers on the level of a smartphone.

 

https://newatlas.com...at-radar/54683/



#4493
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China’s first private rocket launch kicks off the country’s commercial space race

 

https://www.theverge...pace-satellites

 

Introduction:

 

(The Verge) China celebrated the country’s first rocket launch by a private spaceflight company this week. OneSpace Technologies, based out of Beijing, launched its OS-X rocket from an undisclosed location on a suborbital trajectory on Wednesday, reaching a reported altitude of 25 miles and traveling about 170 miles before falling back to Earth. It’s the first demonstration of what the company says will become a scalable business built around sending small satellites into space.

 

Until now, China’s space industry has been dominated by the government’s space agency, the China National Space Administration (CNSA). The agency has sent satellites, science missions, and even people to space. It has also put robots on the Moon, placed two space stations in orbit, and has big plans for the coming decades.

 

After about half a century of a national space program, China decided to get private enterprise into space, too. President Xi Jinping made it a particular priority for the country in 2012, when he said he wanted China to become a “spaceflight superpower.” And in 2014, the Chinese government formally allowed private companies to start working toward launching satellites.

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Photo by Wan Nan/Chongqing Daily/VCG via Getty Images


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#4494
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NASA just found evidence of a plume spewing from Europa — buried inside the data of an old spacecraft

 

https://www.theverge...-plumes-galileo

 

Introduction:

 

(The Verge) Scientists have uncovered the biggest evidence yet that water may be spewing from the surface of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa — a revelation that was buried deep within the archives of a long-dead NASA spacecraft. In 1997 the Jupiter probe, Galileo, flew near a geyser when it passed close by Europa, collecting data that went overlooked at the time. But now, the rendezvous has been unearthed 20 years later, and it provides scientists with their first up-close measurement of one of Europa’s water plumes.

 

Up until now, scientists have strongly suspected that water is pouring out from Europa, but the matter hasn’t been fully settled. The only evidence we have for these geysers comes from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, which captured images of water escaping from the distant moon in 2012 and 2016. But Hubble’s pictures were taken from afar and are pretty fuzzy; they haven’t been considered definitive proof. This discovery from Galileo, detailed today in Nature Astronomy, “is the strongest evidence we have so far in terms of seeing signatures of a plume at Europa,” Xianzhe Jia, a planetary scientist at the University of Michigan and lead author of the study, tells The Verge.

 

Europa’s plumes are thought to stem from a global saltwater ocean lurking underneath the moon’s crust. It’s a feature that’s made this icy world a prime candidate in the search for life elsewhere in our Solar System. Water is vital for life here on Earth, so many have wondered if organisms might be able to survive in Europa’s waters as well. And plumes offer a great opportunity for studying what’s inside this ocean. Scientists don’t need to send a spacecraft to land on the moon and drill into its icy surface; they can simply send a vehicle to fly by the moon and sample its plumes — a much easier type of mission to pull off.

 

That’s exactly the kind of mission NASA plans to do in the early 2020s. The space agency has been working on a robotic spacecraft called Europa Clipper, which will fly by Europa’s surface upward of 40 times to get a taste of these plumes. Before today’s findings, it was still somewhat unclear if Europa Clipper would actually see any plumes while it was out there.

pia19048_1.0.jpg

Jupiter’s moon Europa, as seen from NASA’s Galileo spacecraft

 Image: NASA


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls






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