Tag - Space

Science

Tiny Soviet Moon Rocks Sell For Almost $1,000,000

When we hear that someone is selling ‘moon rocks’, we often imagine it’s the modern day snake oil. It’s just something that is hard to believe. If someone was the holder of some extraterrestrial rocks, then why would you ever choose to sell such an item?

It makes it easy to believe that they must be talking nonsense, then. However, with the help of an auction taking place at the moment, we might just get to see the real thing – actual moon rocks. This will go on sale at the Sotheby’s Auction House, and is expected to sell for as much as $1m when the auction takes place his week to come.

Indeed, according to Sotheby’s Auction House’ senior specialist for books and manuscripts, Cassandra Hatton, the product is legit. She said that: “You cannot buy or sell lunar material unless you have documentation proving that it can be owned by a private individual,

“As far as we know, this is the only lunar material that actually has that documentation, so it’s the only lunar sample that can be legally bought by a private individual.”

Where does it come from?

This particular lunar material is supposed to have been part of the 1970 lunar missions carried out by the Soviets. It was provided to the auction hose by Nina Ivanova Karoleva, the widow of Sergei Pavlovich Korolev. Korolev was the former director of the Soviet space program, and the rocks were then sold by Sotheby’s to an anonymous American for a fee of $442,500. These were sold in 1993, and now look to go for even more in 2018.

With a pre-sale estimate of $700,000-1m, they were auctioned on November 29th. In the end, the rocks eventually went for $855,000. This shows that the price and value of the rocks has almost doubled since they last went on sale in the 1990s.

This was not the first major sale this year either, in relation to the moon. A bag was sold by Sotheby’s last year which was supposed to have been laced with moon dust, and was used by US Astronaut Neil Armstrong during the first ever manned mission to the moon. It sold for around $1.8m.

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When we hear that someone is selling ‘moon rocks’, we often imagine it’s the modern day snake oil. It’s just something that is hard to believe. If someone was the holder of some extraterrestrial rocks, then why would you ever choose to sell such an...

Science

Today It’s Easier To Find Habitable Planets

For years, the search for habitable planets has gone on. However, there is often little to no genuine progress. one such change to that, though, has come from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), as well as the Paris Observatory. Working alongside NVIDIA, they have taken the move to try and ramp up the search for new planets which would be habitable.

This comes after a new demonstration of the Subaru Telescope, the 8.2-meter telescope owned by the NAOJ. Also, they are using development with astronomers from the KAUST Extreme Computing Research Center to develop new Extreme-AO algorithms. These will help to make the search for habitable planets much easier and should help to put a dent in what has been a huge barrier in the path to finding a potential new home in the centuries to come.

According to Dr. Hatem Ltaief, the Senior Research Scientist at ECRC: “Imaging exoplanets with large ground-based telescopes is very challenging due to the star/planet contrast and blurring induced by Earth’s atmosphere. Very high-performance adaptive optics—sometimes referred to as ‘Extreme-AO’—are required,”

The aim is to create more powerful control algorithms, with the aim being to help use high-powered NVIDIA GPU systems to help deliver continuous optimization of the system. This would even help to create a system that can anticipate quickly changing disturbances caused by the atmosphere of the Earth itself.

A step in the right direction

Professor Damien Gratadour, an astronomer at Paris Observatory, noted that “This fantastic new technology is already being used to take a closer look at exoplanets orbiting around nearby stars. With the larger 25-40 meter telescopes astronomers are currently building, new Earth-like planets orbiting nearby stars will be imaged and their atmospheric composition will be measured to look for signs of life such as oxygen, water or methane,”

By using the new Singular Value Decomposition (SVD) algorithms, there can be better control provided to account for atmospheric conditions. Indeed, the research itself was highly regarded, winning awards at the Platform for Advanced Scientific Computing Conference in Basel in 2018. Indeed, it’s already being used on the Subaru Telescope, located at 14,000ft, over in Hawaii.

While some get frustrated at stories like this, it’s obviously very cool. The world does need to act faster on saving our own planet, what with the whole 12-year warning recently from the IPCC. However, it’s important that we continue to develop aspects of science like this. Sadly, if humanity continues to show this same ravenous appetite for all things it shouldn’t touch, we might need a new planet one day.

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For years, the search for habitable planets has gone on. However, there is often little to no genuine progress. one such change to that, though, has come from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), as well as the Paris Observatory. Working...

Science

Elon Musk Signs up First SpaceX Customer

As one of the most commonly discussed (and maligned) organizations around, SpaceX is rarely out the news. Headed up by embattled billionaire Elon Musk, who has found 2018 to be a controversy-laden year, some good news finally can come from a Musk story: he’s got his first passenger signed up for a round-the-moon trip!

This is a huge leap forward for what many deem to be commercial space travel. While obviously some way off yet – don’t worry, Red Faction won’t be happening in the near future – it’s nice to see some form of legitimate progress on this front. The lucky person to be taking off as part of the SpaceX rocket, tipped for 2023, is to be Yusaku Maezawa.

Maezawa is a Japanese billionaire, and will become the first civilian passenger to have gone around the moon. The 18th richest man in Japan, he’s also known for his extravagant and varied collection of artworks. Indeed, he’s going to bring a team of six artists, designers and various other creatives with him on the week-long journey. He’ll become the first ‘tourist’ to leave the planet, and can add that to a list of growing accomplishments. Introduced by Elon Musk at the SpaceX California HQ, a visibly excited Maezawa said: “I choose to go to the moon,”

Speaking about his companions taking part in the trip with him, he said: “They will be asked to create something after they return to Earth,

“These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us.”

This will, of course, be the first humans to go to the moon since the Apollo mission in 1972. It’s a landmark moment, and it’s without doubt the first step to making travel to and from the Moon a reality for more than astronauts.

Richard Branson’ famous Virgin Galactic LLC program was another major step in trying to get space aviation to become a thing, with Branson himself wanting to be on a spaceship heading up to space before the end of the year.

Impressive progress

This comes after the successful satellite launch from Florida earlier in September, making it the 16th mission in just nine months of 2018. The fact that 2018 has been a controversial year for Musk has done nothing to slow down the progress at SpaceX, with many believing that is’ only going to get bigger and better as time goes on.

The BFR has been a secret project even though we knew the BFR would have unique designs. The media and interested people have been debating the new features SpaceX added to the BFR and the identity of the first passenger. Now the first images have revealed some features of the amazing rocket. It is a spaceship designed to accommodate a crew. The spacecraft also appears to feature three fins, and belly mounted heat shield.

A trip to the moon is expected to cost as high as $35million. It is surely a trip for very wealthy people. However, we are excited that there will soon be such a thing as ‘space tourism.’

We first heard about the planned SpaceX launch and the BFR rocket in 2016. The project was unveiled by Musk as a spacecraft that will be the first to carry human cargo to space commercially. The BFR has undergone a series of changes since its unveiling. Its huge size has the capacity to carry as many as one hundred people to space. The BFR is designed to launch with a booster that will propel the craft into the orbit.

According to Musk, the BFR will be the replacement for the Falcon 9 and other Falcon rockets previously developed by SpaceX. The BFR will be developed to reach the moon, mars, and other locations in space. In the long-term, the BFR is expected to be the first rocket to make an unpiloted flight to Mars by 2022.

We expect a second passenger to be announced by Musk very soon. This is in line with the announcement made in 2017 that there will be two passengers aboard the BFR for its first launch. However, these plans were made while the Falcon Heavy rocket was being developed by SpaceX.

They’ve also agreed a contract to help take astronauts from Earth up to the International Space Station in the future. After so much fanfare and build-up, then, Yusaku Maezawa will be the lucky person taking part in what will be landmark moment for civilian travel.

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As one of the most commonly discussed (and maligned) organizations around, SpaceX is rarely out the news. Headed up by embattled billionaire Elon Musk, who has found 2018 to be a controversy-laden year, some good news finally can come from a Musk story:...

Science

Billboards In Space: NASA Explores Placing Ads On Rockets

In the near future, you may conceivably see a spacecraft to Mars featuring a Mars chocolate bar logo plastered across its wings.

NASA recently called for a new committee of the NASA Advisory Council to explore the idea of branding and endorsement opportunities. Despite current regulations and laws seemingly prohibiting such activities, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine recently posed the question, “Is it possible for NASA to offset some of its costs by selling the naming rights to its spacecraft?” he asked during to a meeting of a council that advises NASA. “Or the naming rights to its rockets? I’m telling you, there is interest in that right now.”

As much as news of seeing astronauts in Coca-Cola commercials, or NASA’s Mars rover rebranded as Jordan’s brought to you by Nike, it will take some time before a decision can be made. “The question is: is it possible?” Bridenstine mentioned in a video broadcast on NASA TV and which question has been debated in press accounts since then. “The answer is: I don’t know, but we want somebody to give us advice on whether it is.”

Bridenstine also stated he would like to see astronauts participate in marketing and endorsement opportunities as well as transforming rockets into corporate billboards similar to ads on NASCAR racing cars. “I’d like to see kids growing up, instead of maybe wanting to be like a professional sports star, I’d like to see them grow up wanting to be a NASA astronaut or a NASA scientist,” he said. “I’d like to see, maybe one day, NASA astronauts on the cover of a cereal box, embedded into the American culture.”

The White House recently announced the establishment of a National Space Council last year, led by Vice President Mike Pence, and wants to see mankind return to the moon. However, the administration’s budget proposals so far suggest financing will remain flat through 2023, with wishes to end direct funding for the International Space Station and turn over its operations to a private entity. Bridenstine also said he wants the new committee to explore flying tourists to the International Space Station alongside government astronauts.

The committee, headed by Maxar Technologies’ Mike Gold, will pursue ways NASA could work with advertisers to brand its spacecraft and rockets as well as investigate how astronauts might engage in endorsements and media opportunities — both on and off Earth. He proposes that by allowing astronauts to do advertisements like appearing on cereal boxes, such endorsements will help “enhance the exposure of space activities in the popular culture,” according to Gold. One of Bridenstine’s goals is to offset the costs of NASA missions by selling the naming rights of its hardware to private companies.

Among the next steps are branding and advertising that future commercial space stations might tap into Bridenstine said. “This is yet another opportunity to prove out a market.” The newly appointed committee is likely to make recommendations at the next quarterly meeting of the NASA advisory council, he said.

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In the near future, you may conceivably see a spacecraft to Mars featuring a Mars chocolate bar logo plastered across its wings.
NASA recently called for a new committee of the NASA Advisory Council to explore the idea of branding and endorsement...

Science Tech News

Soon: “Normal” People Visiting Space. NASA Will Fly Us.

The facts are being revealed, and we are getting a clearer picture of how SpaceX plans to accomplish their first trip to space. Of course, they will be ‘borrowing’ some astronauts from NASA. This may go on for a while until the company trains its astronauts who can then manage the frequent trips to space.

SpaceX is obviously getting closer to achieving their goal, establishing a commercial shuttle to enable more people to visit space. Meetings are already taking place between the President of SpaceX Gwynne Shotwell and the proposed group of NASA astronauts. The Crew Dragon is being developed as a commercial crew spacecraft that can carry more people to visit space. The press was present at the meeting, and some of the preparations made for the astronauts to begin training were revealed by SpaceX.

With a few years to prepare for the historic event, it is the responsibility of SpaceX to provide the training equipment for the Crew Dragon. It has been revealed that two significant pieces of the simulation hardware are going to be made available to the astronauts. They will have their first encounter with the interior part of the capsule and eventually become familiar with SpaceX designs.

The simulator will feature the seating arrangement and controls for the commander and pilot in the capsule. It will also have touchscreen displays that are responsive to the gloves worn by the astronauts. The screens and buttons have been aligned in a way that the astronauts will find them easy to use during the training.

The touch screens in the Crew Dragon has been enhanced to have features such as the orbital flight tracking, and the display of the earth view in a flexible way according to the astronaut’s preferences. They will also be able to track the location and activate an altitude control view to control the navigation of the Crew Dragon in space manually. It is so sophisticated. Operations such as the altering of a course can be done with a single tap on the touchscreen.

It was also revealed the Crew Dragon features an eject button for emergencies. With a tap on the touchscreen, the astronauts can save themselves by igniting the engines on the capsule to propel it away from danger. The computer is programmed to show simple illustrations that can be used to monitor and ensure the entire system is functioning properly.

From all indications, the NASA astronauts will be using a fully automated spacecraft – the Crew Dragon for this experience. In the next months, they will begin training with the simulators that feature all the controls that are present in the real Crew Dragon.

During the simulation training, the astronauts will not be able to experience what it will feel like during the rocket flight when the capsule is attached to SpaceX’s Falcon 9. This is expected to be a rough ride, but the astronauts will be expected to rely on past experiences to get through this phase.

The NASA astronauts who will participate in SpaceX’s program are Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley, Mike Hopkins, and Victor Glover. They will be working with Garret Reisman who is a senior adviser at SpaceX, and Benjamin Reed, the director of crew mission management. Among the four NASA astronauts, Victor Glover stands out as the astronaut who will be making his first trip to space. The other three astronauts have been involved in earlier missions so it will not be a new experience for them. The Crew Dragon will be piloted by Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken who are veteran astronauts

The planned trip with the Crew Dragon is expected to last for two weeks. It is scheduled to happen in April 2019. It is important that this trip is successful which will confirm the readiness of the Crew Dragon for future commercial trips to space. After a successful trip, the crew Dragon will be prepared for its first operational flight to the ISS which is scheduled to last for one month.

During the press conference, the astronauts expressed their excitement about the planned trip. It will be a historical event, and they are happy to be chosen by NASA. They have been spending more time in Florida where the launch is expected to take place.

 

When asked whether the plans will go as scheduled, the spokesperson at SpaceX confirmed that all efforts are focused on ensuring that nothing prevents the scheduled launch from taking place next year. It was however revealed the company is taking the safety of the participants and crew very seriously. It is an indication that any changes in the plans may be due to some unexpected discovery that may render the craft unsafe for launch at the scheduled time.

It has been revealed that as many as 7,000 engineers are involved in this project. The idea is to ensure that everything is done to make the launch a success.

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The facts are being revealed, and we are getting a clearer picture of how SpaceX plans to accomplish their first trip to space. Of course, they will be ‘borrowing’ some astronauts from NASA. This may go on for a while until the company trains its...

Science

Century’s Longest Lunar Eclipse Happening This Weekend

This Friday, July 27, the earth will cast a shadow over the full moon  For almost two hours,  103 minutes to be exact, the usually silvery moon will turn blood red and ochre. It will be the longest “blood moon” lunar eclipse of the 21st century, lasting 26 minutes longer than the last total lunar eclipse that happened in January.

There are good news and bad news though, the good news is that unlike other eclipses this one will be visible to almost everyone around the globe. The bad news is that people in North America will not be able to see it at all (save for a slice of Newfoundland, Canada).

Sadly, by the time night falls in North America,  the eclipse will already have ended. The moon will have finished traversing Earth’s shadow, or umbra. The next time people in North America will be able to see a Lunar eclipse will be January 21, 2019.

For those that live in any other continent  all you have to do in order to see this natural marvel is to go outside at 17:14 Universal time (1:14 pm ET) and look for the moon. That’s when the partial phase of the eclipse starts. The full eclipse begins at 19:30 UTC and as stated before will last a full hour and 43 minutes! (Check out precisely when the eclipse will occur where you live on TimeandDate.com.)

If for some reason you can not go outside during this time you can of course stream the event, it is 2018 after all. The astronomy education website Slooh will live-stream coverage of the eclipse starting at 1 pm Eastern on July 27. Watch it right here.

For those who can’t wait here is a time laps video of the previous blood moon:

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This Friday, July 27, the earth will cast a shadow over the full moon  For almost two hours,  103 minutes to be exact, the usually silvery moon will turn blood red and ochre. It will be the longest “blood moon” lunar eclipse of the 21st century...

Science

Alien Life? The Right Stuff Was Found in Space

NASA is always up to working on to create conditions on other planets and moon for human survival other than the planet Earth. They send in stuff to space such as Salt, Silica, water and carbon-containing compounds. These ingredients are essential to life.

On Saturn’s small moon which is called Enceladus, NASA is currently working on a dead spacecraft. They have found the most complex heavy organic compounds ever, which contain numerous atoms which are arranged in chains and rings. These heavy organic compounds make life sustainable on moon beyond the earth.

A scientist from Cornell University named Jonathan Lunine says, “What we know today is telling us that Enceladus is an outstanding target to go look for life, and there may be microbes living in that ocean today”.

In 2005, a Cassini spacecraft went to explore Saturn and found out icy jets venting from Enceladus. These jets contained water which was underneath the moon’s icy shell. Scientists studied these jets and found out about their Salinity, acidity, heat energy and were also able to recognize compounds such as Methane.

However, the scientists are still not sure whether these compounds are an emblem of existence of aliens or they are just unresponsive chemistry, as the author of journal Nature, Frank Postberg of the University of Heidelberg says, “We cannot decide this hundred-million-dollar question, but it certainly shows that something is going on there, that complex organic chemistry is happening and that we can prove it from space, The moon freely delivers its organic inventory at high concentrations to the Cassini spacecraft. That’s just an amazing finding”.

DUST DETECTOR

Last September Cassini jumped into a ringed planet which contains data to be explored. Cassini moved towards the ring and collected some data by colliding with its particles. From 2004 to 2008, Postberg and his team studied the data from the E ring. They collected and examined approximately 10 thousand dust particles over the course of 15 separate intervals. 1% of those 10 thousand dust particles, were acknowledged as complex organic compounds. “It was kind of a needle in a haystack problem,” says Postberg.

FLOATING FILM

The molecules detected are as heavy as 200 atomic mass units. They contain carbon atoms, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen. This is the first time ever that such weighty organic compounds have been found. Morgan Cable of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory says, “While we have found large molecules outside of Earth before, this is the first time they have been detected emerging from a liquid water ocean…Many large organic molecules are not stable in liquid water for extended periods of time, so one of the next questions to ask is, where are these organic molecules coming from?”. 

Postman and his team try to answer the question in the following words, “Our oceans have a thin film of organic molecules floating on top—think ‘oil slick’ but made up of life and its byproducts—that covers the ocean to a significant extent,” Cable says. “Now it seems that Enceladus has this too. But is it also made by life?”

LYING IN WAIT

Furthermore, these compounds may not reflect life as Lunine says, “Are they being made by abiotic processing at the bottom of the ocean, where the rock and water meet, or are they the waste products of microbes? That’s the question, with a capital Q,”

The findings tell scientists that the icy shell may have properties that support life but this is a complex matter which is yet to be explored much in detail, As Lunine says, “We should try to go back to Enceladus as soon as we can, it’s waiting for us. It’s not going anywhere, and think of all that microbial poo that could be spewed out into space and analyzed today.”

NASA is planning to pause working on Enceladus and send a spacecraft to Europa which orbits Jupiter. Let’s see what they will find next. To find out more, stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you want a quick summary here is a great article by the Verge:

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NASA is always up to working on to create conditions on other planets and moon for human survival other than the planet Earth. They send in stuff to space such as Salt, Silica, water and carbon-containing compounds. These ingredients are essential to life.
On...

Science Tech News

New NASA Mars Lander Ready To GO!!

For some time now, NASA has been planning to send out a new probe to Mars. It would appear now that we’re in a position where takeoff is just around the corner. This awesome release is one of the best pieces of news that NASA has provided us with a little while: a genuinely awesome planetary exploration probe.

The probe has finally arrived at the launch site, and is planned to take off into the skies above the planet at some stage during May. While we’re still some way away from the release, we’re sure to get to enjoy a rather exciting and entertaining journey with the probe as it takes off. Known as the InSight Lander, this touched down at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, in late February. It is now ready to go, after being dropped off by a C-17 Cargo aircraft.

Having traveled from its base in Denver, the project is now one step closer to completion and moving that next step further to a new flight experience. This is going to be a very enjoyable thing to watch; the perfect example of new and improved space probe technology across the board.

NASA officials said that “The Air Force C-17 crew from the 21st Airlift Squadron gave us a great ride,” and that the project as moving alone swimmingly. Speaking from their Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California, project manager Tom Hoffman said that: “Next time InSight travels as high and as fast, it will be about 23 seconds into its launch, on the way to Mars.”

 

Isn’t that exciting? Ever since the landing on the Moon back in the day, there’s been a renewed desire to keep space interaction going further. This probe is just another part of the long-term plan to help humanity eventually fully understand the planets beyond our own.

InSight Lander Launch: What’s to Come

So, the launch is set to take place on May 5th, with the entire set-up going to take around five weeks for the project to complete. It will fly off using the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. This lifts off from Vandenberg, and is to become the first ever mission from the West Coast of the United States.

Everything else has usually launched from Florida, so this is a majorly positive experience for both NASA and the US West Coast.

Various tests will take place starting from today, with the aim to get it flight-perfect for the launch to take place on May 5th.

“One of the most important activities before launch is to load the spacecraft with the fuel needed for the journey to Mars,” Hoffman explained.

“After fuel loading, the spacecraft will undergo a spin-balance test to determine precisely the center of mass. This knowledge is needed to be sure the entry and descent into the Mars atmosphere go as planned.”

When the probe finally kicks off into space, we’ll be sure to bring you more details of this exciting part of space exploration history! 

We want to be better…So if you found a mistake in this article, please let us know

For some time now, NASA has been planning to send out a new probe to Mars. It would appear now that we’re in a position where takeoff is just around the corner. This awesome release is one of the best pieces of news that NASA has provided us with a little...