Going stir crazy? Then train like an astronaut, mimic space
By MARCIA DUNN
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Isolated at home? Then train like an astronaut.
That’s the inspirational advice from a public engagement specialist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Astronaut wannabe Rachel Zimmerman-Brachman said Friday that isolation is a lot like astronaut training. So she came up with this positive message and launched it via Facebook on Thursday:
“Attitude is everything: I’m on an adventure in a confined space with a small crew for a long duration mission, with occasional space walks and resupply missions. Sounds like astronaut training to me.”
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The private spaceflight company SpaceX will launch 60 new Starlink satellites to join its ever-growing broadband internet megaconstellation Sunday (March 15) and you can watch it live online.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Starlink mission from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Liftoff is scheduled for no earlier than 9:22 a.m. EST (1322 GMT).
This is SpaceX’s sixth launch of the year and the sixth Starlink launch to date. The mission will star a veteran Falcon 9 rocket that will do what no other Falcon has done before: launch and land five times. The booster, dubbed B1048.5, previously launched a bevy of satellites including part of the Iridium NEXT constellations, an Israeli lunar lander a communications satellites for Argentina and Indonesia, and a previous Starlink mission.
Northrop Grumman launched a Cygnus spacecraft filled with NASA supplies (and some tasty treats) to the International Space Station Saturday (Feb. 15) in an afternoon liftoff that had some impeccable timing.
An Antares rocket (also built by Northrop Grumman) launched the uncrewed Cygnus NG-13 spacecraft at 3:21 p.m. EST (2043 GMT) — that’s “3-2-1” for a liftoff time — from Pad-0A of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.
“Awesome launch today,” Joel Montalbano, NASA’s deputy program manager for the International Space Station, said just after launch during live commentary.
NASA has confirmed that an asteroid larger than the tallest man-made structure in the world is currently travelling towards Earth at a speed of almost 34,000 miles per hour. Thankfully, it’ll likely miss us by a few million miles.According to International Business Times, NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) identified that the “potentially hazardous” asteroid could come close to intersecting with our planet’s path on February 15, 2020, at 6:05 a.m. (EST)
A commercial space launch industry, with companies such as SpaceX and Boeing competing against one another, has every potential to lower the cost of space travel.
The commercial spaceflight company launched a Falcon 9 rocket with a crewed Dragon on top. About 90 seconds into the flight, the Falcon 9’s engines switched off. Detecting that an anomaly had taken place, the Crewed Dragon fired its Draco rocket engines, separating it from the Falcon 9. As the Falcon 9 broke apart in midflight, the crewed Dragon soared away in safety. The spacecraft eventually splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean using parachutes. NASA and SpaceX will spend the next several months examining data garnered by the flight.
While the possibility of an inflight abort is an extreme event, it is not a theoretical one. In October 2018, a crewed Soyuz launch suffered an unplanned inflight abort. After the booster failed, the Soyuz capsule broke away and eventually landed near the launch site with its crewmembers, Russian cosmonaut Alexsey Ovchinin and American astronaut Nick Hague, shaken but alive and well.
Researchers recently released simulations of the Large Magellanic Cloud — a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way — and found that cosmic rays from a starburst event are starting to rip it apart.
Cosmic rays are tiny charged particles accelerated to nearly the speed of light through some of the most violent events in the universe. By themselves they’re not too awful, but in big enough numbers they can start to wreak havoc on entire galaxies.
A team of researchers recently released simulations of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) — a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way — and found that cosmic rays from a starburst event are starting to rip it apart. For now, thankfully, the LMC seems to be holding itself together.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has given us insight on how solar winds occur
Surprisingly, the results contradicted some expectations that scientists had regarding how solar winds behave. According to the results, there are flips in the Sun’s magnetic field direction called “switchbacks”, which can sometimes even point the winds back at the Sun. At the moment, the cause of these “switchbacks” is still unknown to scientists, but through the understanding of them, we could learn a deeper understanding of how stars are born. Scientists were again shocked at the discovery of solar winds traveling at speeds that are “nearly ten times larger than predicted by the standard models”, said Justin Kasper, principal investigator at the University of Michigan. Scientists also discovered that the Sun’s radiation vaporizes dust particles at about 3.5 million miles around itself. The Parker Probe is at the moment suffering in terribly hot conditions, but scientists say the information that it is providing them is revolutionary.
NASA’S asteroid trackers keep a watchful eye on the skies above Earth but one scientist has warned the space agency has “no insight” into the behaviour of at least 20,000 asteroids.
Knowing how these so-called Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) behave could one day save our planet from a devastating impact. But a peculiar cosmic phenomenon known as the Yarkovsky effect renders some of NASA’s asteroid tracking efforts futile. Thanks to the Yarkovsky effect, NASA scientist Steve Chesley said there are thousands of asteroids that could potentially change their orbit.
Humanity first left the solar system in 2012 when the Voyager 1 probe passed into interstellar space decades after leaving the planets behind. Now, there’s a second spacecraft beyond the limits of our solar system: Voyager 2. Luckily, Voyager 2’s instruments are in somewhat better shape than Voyager 1’s, so scientists were able to observe the transition from the heliosphere, which is dominated by the sun, to the interstellar medium (ISM).
Both Voyager probes launched in 1977, with Voyager 2 heading into space a few weeks before Voyager 1. The two probes are physically identical, but they took different paths through the solar system. They took advantage of the “Grand Tour,” an alignment of the planets that occurs only once every 175 years. Voyager 1 visited and got gravity assists from Jupiter and Saturn before heading off toward the edge of the solar system. Voyager 2 swung past Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus. It made its last planetary observation of Uranus in 1989, almost a decade after Voyager 1 had started its long march toward the edge of the solar system.
When Voyager 1 reached the edge of our solar system, known as the heliopause, it no longer had a functional plasma spectrometer. As a result, there was some debate about when, exactly, the probe left our solar system. So, we missed the expected transition from warm solar plasma to the denser cold plasma of the ISM. Eventually, measurements of local electrons and magnetic field shifts confirmed it was in interstellar space.
The Voyager 2 mission has released its first scientific measurements of interstellar space, according to newly published research.
Only two spacecraft have ever escaped our solar system to dip into interstellar space. Now NASA wants to go back—and soon.
Interstellar space exploration has long been the stuff of science fiction, a technological challenge that many engineers believe humans just aren’t up to yet. But an ongoing study by a group of NASA-affiliated researchers is challenging this assumption. The researchers have a vision for a mission that could be built with existing technology. Indeed, the group says that if their mission is selected by NASA it could fly as soon as 2030.
“This is humanity’s first explicit step into interstellar space,” says Pontus Brandt, a physicist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory who is working on the interstellar probe study.
The lab kicked off its Interstellar Probe study last summer at the behest of NASA’s Heliophysics division. A year in, they are now hashing out the nitty-gritty engineering details of such a mission. At the end of 2021, Brandt and his colleagues will submit it for inclusion in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Heliophysics decadal survey, which determines sun-related mission priorities for the next 10 years.
The basic idea for the interstellar mission is to launch a spacecraft weighing less than 1,700 pounds on NASA’s massive Space Launch System rocket, which is expected to be ready by 2021. That will get it traveling across our solar system like any other probe. To give it another boost, it will then use a gravity assist to sling the craft to speeds well over 100,000 miles per hour. The team at the Applied Physics Lab is currently considering two types of gravity assists—a “plain vanilla” assist that swings the probe around Jupiter and another that swings it around the sun.
The Full Hunter’s Moon may appear larger and more orange than a normal full moon due to the so-called moon illusion.
Full moons occur roughly every once a month when the Earth is positioned directly between the sun and the moon. In these instances, it is fully illuminated, appearing like a perfect circle.
The October full moon will reach its peak on Sunday, October 13, at 5:08 p.m. EDT, although it will appear full to the naked eye for about a day on either side of this date, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
The moon will only be really visible after sunset, however, and it will set close to sunrise the next day. (On that date, sunset in New York, for example, occurs at around 6:20 p.m.) In fact, the night of October 13 and 14 is the only one of the month in which the moon will remain in the sky from sunrise to sunset.
This Full Hunter’s Moon is particularly intriguing because it may appear larger and more orange than a normal full moon due to the fact that it rises around sunset.
OCTOBER’S Full Moon, the Hunter’s Moon, peaks this weekend – but when exactly is the Full Moon and what is the meaning behind its name.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac said: “Some folks believe that this Full Moon was called the Full Hunter’s Moon because it signalled the time to go hunting in preparation for winter.
“Since the harvesters had recently reaped the fields under the Harvest Moon, hunters could easily see the fattened deer and other animals that had come out to glean – and the foxes and wolves that had come out to prey on them.
What just happened? On Saturday at the Boca Chica Beach, Texas, Elon Musk showed off the first shiny steel prototype of SpaceX’s deep-space bound ‘Starship’ rocket, just a few moments after the company’s employees had finished assembling it. Musk gave a presentation on “the most powerful rocket in history” and discussed Starship’s stainless steel design as it stood next to the Falcon 1, the company’s first rocket that made it to orbit eleven years ago.
Earlier this month, SpaceX confirmed plans to begin testing its orbital-class ‘Starship’ rocket whose first prototype was completed over the weekend. A 200-ton, 165 ft-tall stainless steel rocket that will use three of SpaceX’s next-gen Raptor engines to test out its flight capabilities through a series of propulsive landing tests.
This weekend you can see live telescope views of an asteroid hurtling past Earth, thanks to astronomy broadcaster Slooh.
You can start watching the asteroid online in the hour before it gets closest to Earth on Saturday at 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT)
An asteroid known as 2000 QW7 is expected to pass by Earth closely, but safely, at 3.3 million miles (5.3 million kilometers) from Earth, or about 14 times the average distance between Earth and the moon. (NASA sent out a statement reassuring people that this happens all the time, and there’s no need to panic.) The asteroid’s closest approach will be at 7:54 p.m. EDT (2354 GMT) on Saturday (Sept. 14).
The president’s “Space Force” must receive congressional approval
President Trump is holding a Rose Garden event to commemorate the establishment of the U.S. Space Command, as the president pushes for the creation of his sixth branch of the military, the Space Force.
Since the Space Force the president wants to create requires congressional authorization, the administration is establishing a U.S. Space Command that will draw from other parts of the armed forces. One “Space Command” already exists. The Air Force Space Command reports to STRATCOM, which reports to the Pentagon, just as the Pacific Command and the European Command do.
AIR FORCE SPACE COMMAND FACTS
Air Force Space Command, activated Sept. 1, 1982, is a major command with headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. AFSPC provides military focused space capabilities with a global perspective to the joint warfighting team.
Priorities 1. Build Combat Readiness
2. Innovate and Accelerate to Win
3. Develop Joint Warfighters
4. Organize for Sustained Success
People More than 26,000 space professionals worldwide.