Space News and Discussions

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Yuli Ban
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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future
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caltrek
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The James Webb Space Telescope Will be 100 times as Powerful as the Hubble
by Brian Resnick
September 22, 2021

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/ ... nce-hubble

Introduction:
(Vox) Exploring strange new worlds. Understanding the origins of the universe. Searching for life in the galaxy. These are not the plot of a new science fiction movie, but the mission objectives of the James Webb Space Telescope, the long-awaited successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA is building and launching the Webb in partnership with the European Space Agency and Canada.

The launch, which will propel the Webb to nearly a million miles away, is now scheduled for December 18, 2021. When it fully deploys in space, the Webb will usher in a new age of astronomy, scientists say, and show humanity things it has never seen before.

“The Webb represents the culmination of decades, if not centuries, of astronomy,” says Sara Seager, a planetary scientist and astrophysicist at MIT. “We’ve been waiting for this a very long time.”
Interesting Detail:
Upping the stakes is the fact that while Hubble was launched to around 340 miles above the Earth, Webb will be almost a million miles away — four times the distance from the Earth to the moon.
weatheriscool
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A new planet? Astronomers believe they’ve found proof
By MICHAEL BRESTOVANSKY Hawaii Tribune-Herald | Sunday, September 19, 2021, 12:05 a.m.
https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/20 ... und-proof/
Astronomers using the Subaru Telescope believe they have found evidence of a ninth planet in the solar system.

Astronomer Michael Brown and astrophysicist Konstantin Batygin, both professors at the California Institute of Technology, have after years of observations completed a study postulating that an unknown new planet might exist beyond the orbit of Neptune.

According to the study, which is to be published in a future edition of “The Astronomical Journal,” Brown and Batygin used the Subaru Telescope on Maunakea to observe the movements of several objects in the Kuiper Belt, a band of various icy celestial objects outside of Neptune’s orbit.

Nearly 20 years ago, certain objects in the Kuiper Belt were found to have strange orbits clustered together that could only be explained by an unknown massive object influencing them, although that did not necessarily suggest the existence of a ninth planet.

But in 2016 — 10 years after Brown’s research was used to demote the previous ninth planet, Pluto, to a dwarf planet — he announced that he believed there to be a Planet Nine roughly 10 times the size of the Earth orbiting 20 times farther from the Sun than Neptune.

Subaru astronomer Tsuyoshi Terai said Brown used Subaru’s Hyper Suprime-Cam, an extremely powerful wide-field digital camera, to conduct about 30 nights of observations between 2016 and 2019.

Although Terai said none of the observations revealed Planet Nine, by tracking 11 additional objects in the Kuiper Belt, Brown and Batygin have 99.6% confidence that the objects’ strange movements are not the result of some cosmic fluke and are caused by a yet-unseen large object.

Furthermore, according to the study, the two researchers have estimated the potential ranges of the hypothetical planet’s mass and orbital characteristics to within 95% probability.

Based on the results of 121 simulations performed during the study, Brown and Batygin conclude that Planet Nine is most likely a gas giant with an icy and rocky core and is about six times the mass of Earth. The simulations also predict, with a 95% probability, the region of the sky the planet may be found within.

Despite this, the planet has not been directly observed, and its existence remains conjecture.

Brown and Batygin write that based on the planet’s potential orbits and its reflectivity, directly observing it might require dedicated searches on 10-meter telescopes or larger.

Brown and Batygin also concede that the composition of the planet may be very different than their predictions, which would have wildly varying impacts on its detectability.

Terai said confirming the existence of a ninth planet would have significant impacts on the existing models of how the solar system was formed, and would raise questions such as how the planet was formed in the first place, how it ended up so far from the Sun, and how it has influenced the movements of other celestial objects over the eons.

Brown did not respond to requests for comment. However, he told National Geographic that he believes the ninth planet will be discovered soon.

“I think it’s within a year or two from being found,” he said, before adding: “I’ve made that statement every year for the past five years. I am super-optimistic.
weatheriscool
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Exotic mix in China's delivery of moon rocks
https://phys.org/news/2021-09-exotic-ch ... -moon.html
by Europlanet
On 16 December 2020 the Chang'e-5 mission, China's first sample return mission to the Moon, successfully delivered to Earth nearly two kilograms of rocky fragments and dust from our celestial companion. Chang'e-5 landed on an area of the Moon not sampled by the NASA Apollo or the Soviet Luna missions nearly 50 years ago, and retrieved fragments of the youngest lunar rocks ever brought back for analysis in laboratories on Earth. Early-stage findings, which use geological mapping to link 'exotic' fragments in the collected samples to features near the landing site, have been presented by Mr Yuqi Qian, a Ph.D. student at the China University of Geosciences, at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2021 virtual meeting.

The Chang'e-5 landing site is located on the western edge of the nearside of the Moon in the Northern Oceanus Procellarum. This is one of the youngest geological areas of the Moon with an age of roughly two billion years. The materials scraped from the surface comprise a loose soil that results from the fragmentation and powdering of lunar rocks over billions of years due to impacts of various sizes.
Nanotechandmorefuture
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wjfox wrote: Sun Jul 18, 2021 11:05 am
The better tech gets the more it seems there are not as many stars to explore within our galaxy. That is nice and should speed things up once humans can live longer. The fact that they can plot this out now looks great for the future.
wjfox wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 5:27 pm The first piece of the ISS to be decommissioned has just been deorbited. The PIRS module, seen here, had been in space since 2001. It was undocked attached to a Progress supply ship and burned up in the atmosphere.





It left space for the Russia-funded Nauka module, which successfully docked today –

I'm not a physicist so I do not know what the precise term for what this is called. I think this is one of the examples of general relativity I think? The space time rule where one observer sees things happening fast while a different observer sees it happening slow. It is amazing to think that on Earth this all happened fast while in space it took its time.
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wjfox
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Nanotechandmorefuture wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 3:36 am
The better tech gets the more it seems there are not as many stars to explore within our galaxy. That is nice and should speed things up once humans can live longer. The fact that they can plot this out now looks great for the future.

Or... maybe they just didn't include stars in that diagram.

Pretty sure there are millions of stars within 600ly of us. ;)
"Take it easy, nothing matters in the end."
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raklian
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To know is essentially the same as to not to know. The only thing that occurs is entropy.
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wjfox
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"Take it easy, nothing matters in the end."
– William Shatner
weatheriscool
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Astronomers Release First Full Global Map Of Titan
https://www.iflscience.com/space/astron ... X2NJtWGGsw
18 Nov 2019, 16:00
Astronomers have produced the first global map of the geology of Titan providing a complete look at the different environments present on the surface of this moon of Saturn. The paper, published in Nature Astronomy, highlights six key different environments and how the methane cycle shapes them.

Like water shapes Earth, on the way-below-freezing surface of Titan, it’s methane that rains down, creates rivers and lakes, and then evaporates back into the atmosphere. The combination of this cycle with winds, chemical reactions, and temperature differences creates complex environments across Titan.

“Most of the surface is covered by organic materials, particularly plains (65 percent) and dunes (17 percent)," lead author Dr Rosaly Lopes of NASA's Jet propulsion Laboratory told IFLScience. "These are formed, we think, by organic materials falling down from the atmosphere, and being moved around by wind. So this tells us that winds have been very important in shaping the surface of Titan.”

There is clear latitudinal variation between the different environments. The dunes are found near the equator, the organic plains are at mid-latitudes, and the poles are home to the famous methane lakes and peculiar labyrinth terrains. The other two terrains are ancient hills and mountains, which are described as "hummocky", and craters.
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caltrek
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BepiColombo Set to Make the First of Several Flybys Past Mercury
by Emily Lakdawalla
October 1, 2021

https://skyandtelescope.org/astronomy-n ... y-tonight/

Introduction:
(Sky & Telescope) On Friday night, October 1st, BepiColombo will finally reach Mercury – and shoot right past it.

BepiColombo, a European-Japanese collaboration, will ultimately whizz by Mercury five times before finally entering orbit on its sixth encounter more than four years from now. Friday’s encounter, at 23:34 UTC, will bring the spacecraft within 200 kilometers (120 miles) of the planet, giving a few of its instruments their first chance to study the innermost planet. More importantly, the close flyby will bend the path of BepiColombo’s orbit, setting up future close passes that will sequentially match the spacecraft’s orbit with Mercury’s.
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