Space News

nivek

As Above So Below
Scientists discover new planet orbiting nearest star to solar system

Astronomers have found evidence for a new planet circling Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the sun.

The alien world is only a quarter of the mass of Earth and orbits extremely close to its parent star, at one tenth of the distance between the sun and Mercury, the solar system’s innermost planet.


Researchers spotted the new planet after studying tiny wobbles in the motion of Proxima Centauri caused by the gravitational pull it exerts as it swings around the star. Observations taken with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile suggest the planet completes a full orbit of the star every five days.

The discovery shows that our closest stellar neighbour is “packed with interesting new worlds” within reach of further study and future exploration, said João Faria, a researcher at the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Portugal and lead author on the study.

Scientists believe the planet orbits about 2.4m miles (4m km) from Proxima Centauri, meaning it is closer to the star than its habitable zone where the temperature range is just right for water to run freely. Details are published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Named Proxima d, the planet is the third – and the lightest – to be spotted around Proxima Centauri, which at four light years away is the closest star to the solar system. It joins Proxima b, a planet with a mass comparable to that of Earth, which completes an orbit every 11 days, and Proxima c, which is believed to take about five years to circle the star.

The first hints of the planet came in 2020 when astronomers were observing Proxima Centauri to confirm the existence of Proxima b. The measurements revealed a weak signal in the star’s motion that had the hallmarks of being caused by a planet orbiting every five days.

Further observations taken with an instrument on ESO’s telescope called Espresso confirmed astronomers’ suspicions that a planet was the cause and not changes in the star itself.

“This is a very low mass planet, and is the third candidate around the star closest to us,” Faria said. “It shows that these planets, similar to the Earth, may be common in our galaxy, and just close by. And it makes us wonder about the possible conditions for habitability in these planet systems and if it’s possible for life to appear in other places in the universe.”

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pigfarmer

tall, thin, irritable
I really have no idea but does anyone know if the James Webb telescope could actually literally see worlds that close ?
 

pigfarmer

tall, thin, irritable


I didn't sit through that video - too impatient - but they're still calibrating the damned thing. It first had to get down as close to absolute zero as possible for the electronics to function properly. They expected 18 different images of the same target star and got exactly that. One from each mirror. It'll take a few months to orient them all the tiny fractions necessary for a clear single image
 

nivek

As Above So Below
The March 13th CME did more than spark bright auroras. It also wiped out a lot of cosmic rays. Neutron monitors at the Sodankyla Geophysical Observatory in Oulu, Finland, recorded a sharp drop in cosmic radiation just after the CME arrived:



This is called a "Forbush decrease." It happens when a coronal mass ejection (CME) sweeps past Earth and pushes galactic cosmic rays away from our planet. Radiation from deep space that would normally pepper Earth's upper atmosphere is briefly wiped out.

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pigfarmer

tall, thin, irritable
Nasa's giant new SLS Moon rocket makes its debut

Nasa's giant new SLS Moon rocket makes its debut
Jonathan Amos Science correspondent @BBCAmoson Twitter
_123753172_51943922372_39c7ec0736_5k.jpg
Image source, NASA/Aubrey Gemignani
The American space agency has rolled out its new giant Moon rocket for the first time.

The vehicle, known as the Space Launch System (SLS), was taken to Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to conduct a dummy countdown.

If that goes well, the rocket will be declared ready for a mission in which it will send an uncrewed test capsule around the Moon.

This could happen in the next couple of months.


_123758109_51945173004_aa49fb3b67_k.jpg
Image source, NASA/Keegan Barber Image caption,
Bill Nelson was a prime mover behind the rocket when he was a US Senator
Ultimately, it's hoped astronauts would climb aboard later SLS rockets to return to the Moon's surface sometime in the second half of this decade.

These missions are part of what Nasa calls its Artemis programme.


Watching the roll-out, agency administrator Bill Nelson said we were entering a golden era of human space exploration.

"The Artemis generation is preparing to reach new frontiers," he told the spectator crowds gathered at Kennedy.

"This generation will return astronauts to the Moon and this time, we will land the first woman and the first person of colour on the surface, to conduct ground-breaking science.

"Nasa's Artemis programme will pave the way for humanity's giant leap (to) future missions to Mars."


_123753171_51945513720_96297556ea_5k.jpg
Image source, NASA/Aubrey Gemignani Image caption,
The Crawler Transporter is now more than 50 years old
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SLS is a colossus. A touch under 100m in height, it was designed to be more powerful than the Apollo Saturn vehicles of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

It will have the thrust to not only send astronauts far beyond Earth but additionally so much equipment and cargo that those crews could stay away for extended periods.


Thursday's rollout from Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) is the rocket's debut in the sense that it's the very first time everyone has got to see all its different elements fully stacked together.


_123749838_ksc-20220316-ph-geb01_0078large.jpg
Image source, NASA Image caption,
The rocket uses a lot of technology repurposed from the space shuttle programme
The SLS move from the VAB began 17:47 local Florida time.

The rocket came out attached to a support gantry known as the Mobile Launcher. This structure, which is itself 120m high and weighs 5,000 tonnes, was sitting atop the same mammoth tractor that used to move the Saturn Vs back in the day, and later the space shuttles.

The Crawler Transporter goes very slowly, with a cruising speed of just over 1km/h (under 1mph). And after engineers had stopped and started the tractor for various checks, it was 04:15 on Friday morning by the time the procession had reached Pad 39B. A total journey distance of 6.75km.

SLS will now be prepared for a "wet dress rehearsal", likely to occur on 3 April.


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This will see the rocket loaded with propellants and taken through a practice countdown all the way to a mere 9.4 seconds from the moment of lift-off. The "scrub" point is just before they would normally light the four big shuttle-era engines under the rocket.


Assuming everything proceeds to the satisfaction of the engineers, Nasa will then be able to set a flight date.

The end of May remains a possibility, but more likely it will be June or July.

This mission, dubbed Artemis-1, will propel the rocket's Orion crew capsule on a 26-day journey that includes an expanded orbit around the Moon. There will be no-one in the capsule for the test flight. This should happen on a second mission in a couple of years' time.


_123758111_51943921922_723e650785_k.jpg
Image source, NASA/Aubrey Gemignani Image caption,
The Moon is the initial target, but eventually Nasa wants to get people to Mars
While Nasa is developing the SLS, the American rocket entrepreneur Elon Musk is preparing an even larger vehicle at his R&D facility in Texas.

He calls his giant rocket the Starship. Like SLS it has yet to have a maiden flight. Unlike SLS, Starship has been designed to be totally reusable and ought therefore to be considerably cheaper to operate.

A recent assessment from the Office of Inspector General, which audits Nasa programmes, found that the first four SLS missions would each cost more than $4bn to execute - a sum of money that was described as "unsustainable".

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Image source, NASA/Joel Kowsky
 

1963

Noble
Why Are James Webb Space Telescope’s First Targets “Super-Secret”?

March 28, 2022 Albuquerque, New Mexico – NASA announced at a March 16, 2022, press conference that the first astronomical targets that Webb will aim at in June to July 2022 “have been chosen for the super-secret first images that will be released.” Why would publicly funded NASA start off with “super-secret” targets at the start of showing Earth humans the sharp eyes that Webb will have on this universe?
During the March 16, 2022, NASA press conference, Jane Rigby, Webb Operations Project Scientist, announced, “We’ve selected more than a full year of science. Those targets, those programs have been fully specified. The computer files that tell Webb how to take the data, we have all those in hand.
Why Are James Webb Space Telescope’s First Targets “Super-Secret”? – Earthfiles

... I know... it's a LMH article... but the question of "why super secret?" seems a little salient to me too. are they going to say that the telescope can make out artificial structures on these 'goldilocks planets?' ... [can the machine be that powerful?]... probably not! ... but why are they calling them 'Super Secret?'. :Unsure:

WebbTrappist7PlanetSolarSystem40Light-Years.jpg

D .. looks best bet to me. :Tongue:
WebbSevenTRAPPIST-1SolarSystem41LightYearsFromEarth.jpg




Cheers.
 

Non smoking gun

Honorable
Why Are James Webb Space Telescope’s First Targets “Super-Secret”?


Why Are James Webb Space Telescope’s First Targets “Super-Secret”? – Earthfiles

... I know... it's a LMH article... but the question of "why super secret?" seems a little salient to me too. are they going to say that the telescope can make out artificial structures on these 'goldilocks planets?' ... [can the machine be that powerful?]... probably not! ... but why are they calling them 'Super Secret?'

It may be related to the use of proprietary technologies. The current directors of the Hubble and other major space telescopes, such as NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory, do not have security clearances, the JWST director is required to have access to Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmented Information—the highest level of classified information, derived from intelligence sources and methods.
Wanted by NASA: Space Telescope Director with Spy Credentials

A NASA video that shows many of it's revolutionary technologies, including lightweight support structures, sensors, and more is deliberately burred in parts:
NASA is trying to keep part of its giant golden telescope a secret
We provided the first image to Lynn Chandler, a NASA representative for JWST, and asked why the part circled in red was blurred out.

"This technology is proprietary. The government must respect the intellectual property of its industry partners," Chandler told Business Insider in an email.

We then asked which company made the blurred-out part, and requested more details about it and its role in JWST's mission — which, by the way, is to study objects at the edge of the universe and quite possibly the air around Earth-like exoplanets.

"That is the secondary mirror support structure with the secondary mirror on it, which includes details of mirror mounts," Chandler said. "The secondary mirror relays light from the primary mirror and does optical correction."
 

nivek

As Above So Below
This is an extremely stupid idea...


Could Nasa trigger alien invasion? Plan to beam Earth's location into outer space could spark inadvertent contact with unknown civilisations, scientists warn

A Nasa plan to beam Earth’s location into outer space could inadvertently trigger an alien invasion, Oxford scientists have warned.

The binary-coded ‘Beacon In The Galaxy’ message will broadcast information about the solar system, Earth’s surface and humanity to a part of the Milky Way identified as the most likely home of extraterrestrial civilisations.

It is an updated version of the Arecibo message, which sent similar information into space in 1974 using a radio telescope in Puerto Rico.

However Anders Sandberg, a senior research fellow at Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute (FHI), warned sharing such information presents a risk.

He told The Daily Telegraph that, although the chance of the message reaching an alien civilisation was low, ‘it has such a high impact that you actually need to take it rather seriously’.

He said the ‘giggle factor’ surrounding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence meant that ‘many people just refuse to take anything related to it seriously, which is a shame because this is important stuff’.


(More on the link)

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Dejan Corovic

As above, so bellow
This is an extremely stupid idea...


Could Nasa trigger alien invasion? Plan to beam Earth's location into outer space could spark inadvertent contact with unknown civilisations, scientists warn

A Nasa plan to beam Earth’s location into outer space could inadvertently trigger an alien invasion, Oxford scientists have warned.

The binary-coded ‘Beacon In The Galaxy’ message will broadcast information about the solar system, Earth’s surface and humanity to a part of the Milky Way identified as the most likely home of extraterrestrial civilisations.

It is an updated version of the Arecibo message, which sent similar information into space in 1974 using a radio telescope in Puerto Rico.

However Anders Sandberg, a senior research fellow at Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute (FHI), warned sharing such information presents a risk.

He told The Daily Telegraph that, although the chance of the message reaching an alien civilisation was low, ‘it has such a high impact that you actually need to take it rather seriously’.

He said the ‘giggle factor’ surrounding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence meant that ‘many people just refuse to take anything related to it seriously, which is a shame because this is important stuff’.


(More on the link)

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That idea is neither here, nor there.

Alien civilisations that are behind us will completely miss the message, so no change, no harm there.

Those civilisations that are ahead of us don't need us to send them coordinates, they already had found us and are watching us for few thousand years if not few million years. They'll just laugh it off when they get the message. Again, no change.

Its actually sillier to think idea can cause us some harm, then the actual idea, which is quite silly by itself.
 

nivek

As Above So Below
The 15,000mph space crash that may help save the future of mankind: Suicide mission by craft the size of a golf cart is not just a self-indulgent experiment dreamed up by NASA, writes TOM LEONARD



One day in late September a box-shaped spacecraft weighing approximately half a ton will slam into an asteroid seven million miles away from Earth at a speed of 15,000mph, in a bid to knock it into a new orbit. This suicide mission by a craft the size of a golf cart is not just a self-indulgent experiment dreamed up by NASA scientists with money to burn. The very future of mankind could depend on its success because the $330 million (£269 million) Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART, for short) may well provide the answer to a problem that has preoccupied astronomers for centuries: what to do when an asteroid is on a collision course with our planet. 'This is a mission for planet Earth - all the peoples of Earth - because we would all be threatened,' said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, who added that Dart has 'turned science fiction into science fact'.

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pigfarmer

tall, thin, irritable
I guess it isn't made out of cheese after all.

You know - you know for sure - at some point in the future somebody will grow weed from Moon soil.

Moon soil used to grow plants for first time in breakthrough test

Moon soil used to grow plants for first time in breakthrough test

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Image source, UF/IFAS
Image caption,
Scientists were delighted that the lunar soil could sprout seeds (right), even if the growth was stunted
Scientists have grown plants in lunar soil for the first time, an important step towards making long-term stays on the moon possible.

Researchers used small samples of dust collected during the 1969-1972 Apollo missions to grow a type of cress.

Much to their surprise, the seeds sprouted after two days.

"I can't tell you how astonished we were," said Anna-Lisa Paul, a University of Florida professor who co-authored a paper on the findings.

"Every plant - whether in a lunar sample or in a control - looked the same up until about day six."

After that, differences emerged. The plants grown in moon soil started to show stress, developed more slowly and ended up stunted.

"This research is critical to Nasa's long-term human exploration goals as we'll need to use resources found on the Moon and Mars to develop food sources for future astronauts living and operating in deep space," said Nasa chief Bill Nelson.

"This fundamental plant growth research is also a key example of how Nasa is working to unlock agricultural innovations that could help us understand how plants might overcome stressful conditions in food-scarce areas here on Earth."

One challenge for researchers is that there simply is not much lunar soil to experiment with. Over a three-year period from 1969, Nasa astronauts brought back 382kg (842lb) of lunar rocks, core samples, pebbles, sand and dust from the lunar surface.

The University of Florida team were given just 1g of soil per plant for the experiment from the samples, which have been kept locked away for decades.

Nasa plans to land humans on the moon for the first time since 1972 in a mission scheduled for 2025.
 
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