Space News and Discussions

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Time_Traveller
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NASA awards contract to Northrop Grumman to build Gateway module
July 9, 2021

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WASHINGTON — NASA has awarded a contract worth $935 million to Northrop Grumman to build and integrate the first habitation module for the lunar Gateway.

NASA announced July 9 it finalized a contract with Northrop Grumman to build the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) module for the Gateway. That module, one of the first for the Gateway, will serve as a habitat for visiting astronauts and a command post for the lunar orbiting facility. It will have docking ports for Orion spacecraft, cargo vehicles like SpaceX’s Dragon XL and lunar landers, as well as for later modules to be added by international partners.

HALO is based on the Cygnus spacecraft that Northrop Grumman uses to transport cargo to the International Space Station, but extensively modified with docking ports, enhanced life support and other new subsystems. “By leveraging our active Cygnus production line, Northrop Grumman can uniquely provide an affordable and reliable HALO module in the time frame needed to support NASA’s Artemis program,” said Steve Krein, vice president of civil and commercial satellites at Northrop Grumman, in a company statement.

The fixed-firm-price contract covers assembly of HALO as well as integrating it with another Gateway module, the Maxar-built Power and Propulsion Element (PPE). Northrop will also be responsible under the contract for preparing the combined modules for launch on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy, as well as activation and checkout of HALO after launch.

“This action puts in place the final contract component of a diverse, multifaceted team — distributed across the country and within some international partner facilities — working together to create and implement the initial Gateway capability,” Jon Olansen, NASA manager of the HALO project, said in an agency statement.
https://spacenews.com/nasa-awards-contr ... ay-module/
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.” - Steven Moffat
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Scientists: Methane in Enceladus Geysers Could Come From Alien Life
https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/324 ... alien-life
By Ryan Whitwam on July 8, 2021 at 7:20 am

Saturn’s moon Enceladus doesn’t get as much attention as Europa, but it too has an internal liquid water ocean. It may also be more active than Europa with frequent geysers erupting from the surface. Years back, when NASA’s Cassini-Huygens probe explored the Saturnian system, scientists were fascinated to see how much methane was present in Enceladus’ geysers. At the time, it seemed feasible the methane was naturally occurring, but that’s less likely now that new research has ruled out all the known geochemical processes. That leaves biological sources—life—as a leading possibility.

Saturn is more distant than Jupiter, and thus its moons are even more frigid. However, like Jupiter, Saturn has a lot of gravity. As its moons orbit, the tug of Saturn’s gravity is so intense that it stretches the moon’s crust. This flexing heats the interior, a process known as tidal heating. Add together geological activity and a liquid ocean, and you have a perfect recipe for hydrothermal vents. Cassini-Huygens detected several compounds in the geyser plumes (including methane) associated with hydrothermal vents on Earth.
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Richard Branson and his Virgin Galactic crew safely back from space, ushering in a new era
Source: Washington Post
For 20 years, Richard Branson has yearned to ride his spaceplane to the edge of space. On Sunday, he did it.

The suborbital trip gave the British billionaire, his three crewmates and two pilots a glimpse of the Earth from more than 50 miles up and a few minutes of weightlessness before the vehicle they were traveling in, SpaceShipTwo Unity, glided back to Earth and a landing on the runway at Virgin Galactic’s facility here in the New Mexico desert.

It was SpaceShipTwo’s fourth trip to the edge of space since 2018, and Virgin Galactic, the company Branson founded in 2004, says it will soon start flying paying customers regularly on similar jaunts, opening a new era in human space exploration.
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technolo ... qZwJMITUNc
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raklian
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:shock: :shock: :shock:

To know is essentially the same as to not to know. The only thing that occurs is entropy.
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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future
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Teardrop star reveals hidden supernova doom
https://phys.org/news/2021-07-teardrop- ... rnova.html
by University of Warwick

Astronomers have made the rare sighting of two stars spiraling to their doom by spotting the tell-tale signs of a teardrop-shaped star.

The tragic shape is caused by a massive nearby white dwarf distorting the star with its intense gravity, which will also be the catalyst for an eventual supernova that will consume both. Found by an international team of astronomers and astrophysicists led by the University of Warwick, it is one of only very small number of star systems that has been discovered that will one day see a white dwarf star reignite its core.

New research published by the team today in Nature Astronomy confirms that the two stars are in the early stages of a spiral that will likely end in a Type Ia supernova, a type that helps astronomers determine how fast the universe is expanding.
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Surface of Jupiter's moon Europa churned by small impacts
https://phys.org/news/2021-07-surface-j ... urned.html
by Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jupiter's moon Europa and its global ocean may currently have conditions suitable for life. Scientists are studying processes on the icy surface as they prepare to explore.

It's easy to see the impact of space debris on our Moon, where the ancient, battered surface is covered with craters and scars. Jupiter's icy moon Europa withstands a similar trouncing—along with a punch of super-intense radiation. As the uppermost surface of the icy moon churns, material brought to the surface is zapped by high-energy electron radiation accelerated by Jupiter.

NASA-funded scientists are studying the cumulative effects of small impacts on Europa's surface as they prepare to explore the distant moon with the Europa Clipper mission and study the possibilities for a future lander mission. Europa is of particular scientific interest because its salty ocean, which lies beneath a thick layer of ice, may currently have conditions suitable for existing life. That water may even make its way into the icy crust and onto the moon's surface.
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New research suggests explosive volcanic activity on Venus

by Cornell University
https://phys.org/news/2021-07-explosive ... venus.html
Traces of the gas phosphine point to volcanic activity on Venus, according to new research from Cornell University.

Last autumn, scientists revealed that phosphine was found in trace amounts in the planet's upper atmosphere. That discovery promised the slim possibility that phosphine serves as a biological signature for the hot, toxic planet.

Now Cornell scientists say the chemical fingerprint support a different and important scientific find: a geological signature, showing evidence of explosive volcanoes on the mysterious planet.

"The phosphine is not telling us about the biology of Venus," said Jonathan Lunine, professor of physical sciences and chair of the astronomy department at Cornell. "It's telling us about the geology. Science is pointing to a planet that has active explosive volcanism today or in the very recent past."
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Startup behind 2019 crash landing moves ahead with new lunar mission
By Nick Lavars
July 13, 2021


Israeli startup SpaceIL is gearing up for a second attempt to land the first ever privately-funded spacecraft on the Moon, after securing funds for a new mission with even loftier goals. The announcement comes two years after the company's original Beresheet spacecraft crash-landed on the lunar surface, and is slated for launch in 2024.

The first Beresheet spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral in early 2019 and blazed a history-making trail into space, becoming the first private Moon mission to successfully lift off, and then the first private mission to enter the Moon's orbit. Its landing attempt in April that year ended in failure, however, crashing into the surface and leaving behind thousands of indestructible tardigrades.
https://newatlas.com/space/israel-beres ... ceil-moon/
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We Now Have Precise Math to Describe How Black Holes Reflect The Universe
13 JULY 2021

A new set of equations can precisely describe the reflections of the Universe that appear in the warped light around a black hole.

The proximity of each reflection is dependent on the angle of observation with respect to the black hole, and the rate of the black hole's spin, according to a mathematical solution worked out by physicist Albert Sneppen of the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark.

This is really cool, absolutely, but it's not just really cool. It also potentially gives us a new tool for probing the gravitational environment around these extreme objects.

"There is something fantastically beautiful in now understanding why the images repeat themselves in such an elegant way," Sneppen said. "On top of that, it provides new opportunities to test our understanding of gravity and black holes."

If there's one thing that black holes are famous for, it's their extreme gravity. Specifically that, beyond a certain radius, the fastest achievable velocity in the Universe, that of light in a vacuum, is insufficient to achieve escape velocity.
https://www.sciencealert.com/we-now-hav ... 8Kcz5c1zFQ
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.” - Steven Moffat
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