Science – Tech2.Org https://tech2.org Largest Nonprofit Digital Media. We work to Give a Voice to the powerless, to help Public & to Illuminate their lives. Sun, 15 Sep 2019 18:29:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 For NASA contractors, lunar landing faults in Israel and India hit near home – The Washington Post https://tech2.org/for-nasa-contractors-lunar-landing-faults-in-israel-and-india-hit-near-home-the-washington-post/ Sun, 15 Sep 2019 18:29:38 +0000 https://tech2.org/for-nasa-contractors-lunar-landing-faults-in-israel-and-india-hit-near-home-the-washington-post/

  1. For NASA contractors, lunar landing failures by Israel and India hit the Washington Post near home
  2. Going back to the moon requires speed and simplicity | The Hill The Hill
  3. See full coverage in Google News

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‘YAAAAAHOOOOOO’ … veteran astronaut recalls his first moments in space https://tech2.org/yaaaaahoooooo-veteran-astronaut-recalls-his-first-moments-in-space/ Sat, 14 Sep 2019 17:42:10 +0000 https://tech2.org/yaaaaahoooooo-veteran-astronaut-recalls-his-first-moments-in-space/

Former NASA astronaut Dr Don Thomas who will talk in Durban next week, recalls his first moments in space.

Durban – A space veteran of 692 space orbits of Earth, former Nasa astronaut Dr Don Thomas, will be in Durban next week as part of global celebrations around the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.

Hoping to inspire the “Mars generation,” Thomas who arrived in the country this week for the 2019 Living Maths Space Tour, said: “I'm confident that the first astronauts to Mars might be among the learners today.”

For the man whose first launch took place in July 1994, going into space for the first time was the most unforgettable moment in his life.

“After four years of training it was time to head to space. About three hours before launch, I strapped into my seat aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. I was lying on my back on top of a lumpy parachute and, while not very comfortable, it didn't matter to me one bit.

"It felt just like being in the simulators back at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and I had to remind myself a few times that this was not a simulator, but the real thing and I was about to launch into space. Six seconds before lift off, our three main engines ignited and came up to full power.

"Then right at the moment of lift-off, our two large and powerful solid rocket boosters ignited and we were on our way. Lying on my back strongly strapped to my seat, I could hear the roar of the engines and feel the shaking and vibration as the engines came up to full power.

“The lift-off felt as if someone had their hand in the middle of my back and was pushing me directly upward. Feeling this push, I knew I was finally on my way to space. After dreaming of being an astronaut for nearly 33 years, it was now my turn and I was on my way. For the first few seconds I was screaming inside my helmet ‘YAAAAAHOOOOOO’.

“Eight-and-a-half minutes later, the engines shut down right on schedule. It became eerily quiet. I unstrapped my seatbelt and floated out of my seat. I had made it to space. ”

And seeing our world “from a distance”, Thomas said that although he had seen many pictures of Earth taken from space, “the most surprising thing for me about being in space was the beauty of the Earth.

“I thought I pretty much knew what to expect when I would look back at my home planet with my own eyes from space. But I was totally wrong. When I first looked out of the window, I gasped at the beauty below.

“The sky in space was a much darker black color than I had ever seen before and meeting up with this blackness, was a bright blue, paper thin, layer surrounding our planet. I was looking at our atmosphere. It was an incredibly powerful moment and a view that I wish everyone from planet Earth could experience for themselves.

“The pictures we take of Earth from space just don't do it justice. It is a million times more beautiful when seen with your own eyes from space. It is a powerful and life-changing event to see Earth from above. ”

In the half-century since man first landed on the moon, Thomas highlighted that there had been so many successful missions, including “all the Mars rovers and landers, New Horizons journey to Pluto and beyond, Osiris Rex, the Hubble, the James Ellis telescope and the next generation rockets called the Space Launch System. ”

I've added that with regard to returning to the moon, a program called Artemis includes eight launches and a mini-station in lunar orbit by 2024.

He said Nasa was building bigger and better rockets with commercial partners, as well as reusable, 3D printed vertical rockets and boosters. This along with massive projects such as SKA going online and the commercial space travel industry expanding, Thomas predicted “this will be one of the fastest-growing industries in the world”.

But it was Mars which Thomas said was set to be the next major step into space.

“We could realistically see the first humans on Mars in the next 20 to 30 years. Nasa’s focus is to send astronauts to Mars and bring them back safely… I am confident that the first astronauts to Mars might be among the learners today. ”

He said that Nasa did not support one-way missions or immediate settlement.

He said living on Mars would be difficult. It has a largely carbon dioxide atmosphere, extreme weather temperatures and temperatures well below zero. NASA has set up sites around the world where scientists experience extreme conditions.

“The complexity is further compounded when you realize how far away Mars is and how difficult it would be to return to Earth in an emergency. We are hoping to identify all the major issues that future astronauts could face on Mars. You can never over prepare. ”

That includes issues such as living in isolation, growing food, creating oxygen from water on Mars, generating power and dealing with emergencies.

He said Earth was considered a “Goldilocks planet” in that it is the perfect distance from the sun. "We have found a few planets that fit this description, but they are too far away to explore them."

He said that with the rapid pace of technological change, the rarity of being an astronaut and working aboard an orbiting shuttle was set to change, while any space mission “is not about one or two astronauts. There are thousands of people behind every mission. ”

Thomas was in Cape Town this week and will be in Johannesburg on Monday (University of Pretoria) and Tuesday (Sakhikamva Foundation STREAM Lab, Lanseria Airport) and Roedean Senior School.

He will deliver his talk in Durban on Friday at St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls.
Tickets cost between R50 and R100. For more information, go to www.livingmaths.co, / living-maths-space-tour /.

The Independent on Saturday


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‘YAAAAAHOOOOOO’ … veteran astronaut recalls his first moments in space https://tech2.org/yaaaaahoooooo-veteran-astronaut-recalls-his-first-moments-in-space-2/ Sat, 14 Sep 2019 17:42:10 +0000 https://tech2.org/yaaaaahoooooo-veteran-astronaut-recalls-his-first-moments-in-space-2/

Former NASA astronaut Dr Don Thomas who will talk in Durban next week, recalls his first moments in space.

Durban – A space veteran of 692 space orbits of Earth, former Nasa astronaut Dr Don Thomas, will be in Durban next week as part of global celebrations around the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.

Hoping to inspire the “Mars generation,” Thomas who arrived in the country this week for the 2019 Living Maths Space Tour, said: “I'm confident that the first astronauts to Mars might be among the learners today.”

For the man whose first launch took place in July 1994, going into space for the first time was the most unforgettable moment in his life.

“After four years of training it was time to head to space. About three hours before launch, I strapped into my seat aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. I was lying on my back on top of a lumpy parachute and, while not very comfortable, it didn't matter to me one bit.

"It felt just like being in the simulators back at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and I had to remind myself a few times that this was not a simulator, but the real thing and I was about to launch into space. Six seconds before lift off, our three main engines ignited and came up to full power.

"Then right at the moment of lift-off, our two large and powerful solid rocket boosters ignited and we were on our way. Lying on my back strongly strapped to my seat, I could hear the roar of the engines and feel the shaking and vibration as the engines came up to full power.

“The lift-off felt as if someone had their hand in the middle of my back and was pushing me directly upward. Feeling this push, I knew I was finally on my way to space. After dreaming of being an astronaut for nearly 33 years, it was now my turn and I was on my way. For the first few seconds I was screaming inside my helmet ‘YAAAAAHOOOOOO’.

“Eight-and-a-half minutes later, the engines shut down right on schedule. It became eerily quiet. I unstrapped my seatbelt and floated out of my seat. I had made it to space. ”

And seeing our world “from a distance”, Thomas said that although he had seen many pictures of Earth taken from space, “the most surprising thing for me about being in space was the beauty of the Earth.

“I thought I pretty much knew what to expect when I would look back at my home planet with my own eyes from space. But I was totally wrong. When I first looked out of the window, I gasped at the beauty below.

“The sky in space was a much darker black color than I had ever seen before and meeting up with this blackness, was a bright blue, paper thin, layer surrounding our planet. I was looking at our atmosphere. It was an incredibly powerful moment and a view that I wish everyone from planet Earth could experience for themselves.

“The pictures we take of Earth from space just don't do it justice. It is a million times more beautiful when seen with your own eyes from space. It is a powerful and life-changing event to see Earth from above. ”

In the half-century since man first landed on the moon, Thomas highlighted that there had been so many successful missions, including “all the Mars rovers and landers, New Horizons journey to Pluto and beyond, Osiris Rex, the Hubble, the James Ellis telescope and the next generation rockets called the Space Launch System. ”

I've added that with regard to returning to the moon, a program called Artemis includes eight launches and a mini-station in lunar orbit by 2024.

He said Nasa was building bigger and better rockets with commercial partners, as well as reusable, 3D printed vertical rockets and boosters. This along with massive projects such as SKA going online and the commercial space travel industry expanding, Thomas predicted “this will be one of the fastest-growing industries in the world”.

But it was Mars which Thomas said was set to be the next major step into space.

“We could realistically see the first humans on Mars in the next 20 to 30 years. Nasa’s focus is to send astronauts to Mars and bring them back safely… I am confident that the first astronauts to Mars might be among the learners today. ”

He said that Nasa did not support one-way missions or immediate settlement.

He said living on Mars would be difficult. It has a largely carbon dioxide atmosphere, extreme weather temperatures and temperatures well below zero. NASA has set up sites around the world where scientists experience extreme conditions.

“The complexity is further compounded when you realize how far away Mars is and how difficult it would be to return to Earth in an emergency. We are hoping to identify all the major issues that future astronauts could face on Mars. You can never over prepare. ”

That includes issues such as living in isolation, growing food, creating oxygen from water on Mars, generating power and dealing with emergencies.

He said Earth was considered a “Goldilocks planet” in that it is the perfect distance from the sun. "We have found a few planets that fit this description, but they are too far away to explore them."

He said that with the rapid pace of technological change, the rarity of being an astronaut and working aboard an orbiting shuttle was set to change, while any space mission “is not about one or two astronauts. There are thousands of people behind every mission. ”

Thomas was in Cape Town this week and will be in Johannesburg on Monday (University of Pretoria) and Tuesday (Sakhikamva Foundation STREAM Lab, Lanseria Airport) and Roedean Senior School.

He will deliver his talk in Durban on Friday at St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls.
Tickets cost between R50 and R100. For more information, go to www.livingmaths.co, / living-maths-space-tour /.

The Independent on Saturday


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Hubble telescope spy water raining in distant world https://tech2.org/hubble-telescope-spy-water-raining-in-distant-world/ Wed, 11 Sep 2019 17:41:49 +0000 https://tech2.org/hubble-telescope-spy-water-raining-in-distant-world/

The Hubble Space Telescope after the fight of the giant observatory for the space shuttle Atlantis.

The Hubble Space Telescope can see exoplanets when they pass in front of their stars. Credit: NASA

Astronomers have seen signs of water rain in the atmosphere of a planet beyond the Solar System.

The discovery is a glimpse of water molecules around a distant world that is not much larger than Earth. Called K2-18 b, the planet is 34 parsecs (110 light years) from Earth in the constellation Leo. In particular, it is located in the "habitable zone" around its star, the distance at which liquid water could exist, making extraterrestrial life possible in its hydrogen-rich atmosphere.

"That's the exciting thing about this planet," says Björn Benneke, a planetary astronomer at the University of Montreal in Canada. He is the lead author of an article describing the discovery that was published on the arXiv prepress server on September 10.one.

A team of competing scientists reports their own analysis of the same planet on September 11 in Astronomy of naturetwo. The lead author of that article, planetary astronomer Angelos Tsairas, of University College London (UCL), says the finding is exciting because the planet is twice the diameter of the Earth and because little is known about the atmospheres of such small worlds .

Astronomers have previously found water in the atmospheres of giant gas exoplanets, but studying the atmosphere of a distant planet becomes more difficult as the planet gets smaller. Scientists have been pushing the limits to try to examine planets that are smaller than Neptune but larger than Earth, a category that turns out to be surprisingly common among the thousands of exoplanets found so far.

Flashing light

Benneke and his colleagues decided to watch K2-18b because it falls in that range. They used the Hubble Space Telescope to observe how the planet passed in front of its star, temporarily dimming its light, on eight different occasions.

The scientists analyzed how the color of the star's light changed as it filtered through the planet's atmosphere. They combined this with data from the Spitzer space telescope, which examines more wavelengths of light. The researchers concluded that they were seeing water vapor in the planet's atmosphere, as well as signs that that steam was condensing in liquid water.

It is the first time that astronomers see a water cycle of this type, which changes from gas to liquid and vice versa, in a small and distant world.

The UCL team that wrote the second article analyzed the Hubble data of the Benneke group. Observations were uploaded to a public access file immediately after being collected.

The UCL researchers proposed three possible explanations of what they were seeing, any of which is equally likely. In the first scenario, the planet has no clouds and 20–50% of its atmosphere is water. In the second and third scenario, involving different amounts of clouds and other molecules in the atmosphere, the planet's atmosphere contains between 0.01% and 12.5% ​​water.

More questions

But the presence of water alone does not mean that a planet is a good place to seek life, a point illustrated by one of the closest neighbors on Earth, Venus. It is a planet the size of the Earth in the habitable zone of its star that once had water vapor in its atmosphere, but the sun's rays have eliminated much of that water, leaving its sterile surface.

K2-18 b could be equally promising. "It is very unlikely that this world is habitable in any way that we understand as a function of life as we know it," says Hannah Wakeford, a planetary astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

Still, finding water in the planet's atmosphere is "extremely exciting," says Neale Gibson, an astrophysicist at Trinity College in Dublin, "and the fact that two teams find the same result is very encouraging." Future observations, such as the ones that the James Webb Space Telescope will pick up after its planned launch for 2021, should help pinpoint exactly what this distant world is like.


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42 is the sum of three cubes / Boing Boing https://tech2.org/42-is-the-sum-of-three-cubes-boing-boing/ Fri, 06 Sep 2019 17:41:36 +0000 https://tech2.org/42-is-the-sum-of-three-cubes-boing-boing/

42 is the sum of three cubes / Boing Boing

Robin Houston reports that 42 is the sum of three cubes. It is special in this respect, not because he is alone, but because it was for an obvious reason the last remaining number below 100 where the sum was not discovered.

42 = (-80538738812075974) ^ 3 + 80435758145817515 ^ 3 + 12602123297335631 ^ 3

This computational advance was achieved in a collaboration between Andrew Sutherland (MIT) and Andrew Booker (Bristol). They announced the result by replacing their home pages with the expression, with the title of the page Life, the universe and everything.

Each cube of an integer is within one of a multiple of nine, which means that a sum of three cubes must be within three of a multiple of nine. Therefore, the numbers of the form 9𝑘 + 4 or 9𝑘 + 5 cannot be written as the sum of three cubes.

In 1992, Roger Heath-Brown surmised that any other integer can be written as the sum of three cubes, in infinite different ways. Mathematicians in general seem to have been convinced by Heath-Brown's argument that this should be true, but actually finding ways to write any particular number as a sum of three cubes remains a difficult problem.

<! –

Rob Beschizza

Follow Rob @beschizza On twitter.

->



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Theories of 160 years of eminent scientists help the discovery of light waves https://tech2.org/theories-of-160-years-of-eminent-scientists-help-the-discovery-of-light-waves/ Tue, 03 Sep 2019 17:41:34 +0000 https://tech2.org/theories-of-160-years-of-eminent-scientists-help-the-discovery-of-light-waves/

light

Credit: Petr Kratochvil / Public Domain

The researchers discovered a previously unknown type of light wave, based on the pioneering work of a 19th century Scottish scientist.


The equations developed by the famous mathematician and physicist James Clerk Maxwell have helped reveal how crystals can be manipulated to produce a distinctive light waveform.

The phenomenon, recently called Dyakonov-Voigt waves, could have a range of useful applications, such as the improvement of biosensors used to detect blood samples or develop fiber optic circuits that transfer data more efficiently.

Scientists and engineers at the University of Edinburgh and the Pennsylvania State University made the discovery by analyzing how light, which travels in the form of waves, interacts with certain natural or artificial crystals.

They discovered that Dyakonov-Voigt waves occur in a specific region, known as an interface, where the crystals meet another material, such as oil or water. The researchers say that these waves can only be produced using certain types of glass whose optical properties depend on the direction in which the light passes through them.

The team identified the unique properties of the waves using mathematical models that incorporated equations developed by James Clerk Maxwell. Since the mid-1800s, research on how light interacts with crystals has been based on the work of Maxwell, who studied at the University of Edinburgh since the age of 16.

Dyakonov-Voigt waves, named after two leading scientists, decrease as they move away from the interface, a process called decay, and travel only in one direction, the team found. Other types of surface waves called decay faster and travel in multiple directions.

Dr. Tom Mackay, from the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh, who jointly led the study, said: "Dyakonov-Voigt waves represent a step forward in our understanding of how light interacts with complex materials and offer opportunities for a range of advanced technologies. "

The study is published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A.


Physicists discover the topological origin of surface electromagnetic waves


More information:
Tom G. Mackay and others, Dyakonov – Voigt surface waves, Proceedings of the Royal Society A: mathematics, physical sciences and engineering sciences (2019) DOI: 10.1098 / rspa.2019.0317

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Edinburgh University

Citation:
The theories of 160 years of eminent scientists help the discovery of light waves (September 3, 2019)
Retrieved on September 3, 2019
from https://phys.org/news/2019-09-eminent-scientist-year-old-theories-aid.html

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King Tides: Hurricane Dorian can hit Florida at the worst possible time for storm floods – Washington Post https://tech2.org/king-tides-hurricane-dorian-can-hit-florida-at-the-worst-possible-time-for-storm-floods-washington-post/ Fri, 30 Aug 2019 17:41:48 +0000 https://tech2.org/king-tides-hurricane-dorian-can-hit-florida-at-the-worst-possible-time-for-storm-floods-washington-post/

  1. King Tides: Hurricane Dorian can hit Florida at the worst possible time for storm floods Washington Post
  2. King's tides rise in Fort Lauderdale before Hurricane Dorian WSVN 7News | Miami news, weather, sports | Fort Lauderdale
  3. Miami Beach takes extra precautions in anticipation of severe flooding of royal tides, Dorian WPLG Local 10
  4. Hurricane Dorian could hit during King Tide, and Miami is preparing to flood the Miami Herald
  5. What are & # 39; King Tides & # 39; and why will they add to Dorian's destruction? WKMG News 6 and ClickOrlando
  6. See full coverage in Google News

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A rover has been built to search for life on Mars https://tech2.org/a-rover-has-been-built-to-search-for-life-on-mars/ Tue, 27 Aug 2019 17:41:33 +0000 https://tech2.org/a-rover-has-been-built-to-search-for-life-on-mars/

Of course, this is not really part of the nine-month trip of the ExoMars rover of the European Space Agency (ESA) to Mars, but it is where the vehicle will receive crucial tests, before leaving for space.

The first planetary rover in Europe, called "Rosalind Franklin", has been built and taken the next step towards space travel. The UK Airbus engineers showed the finished vehicle, scheduled to launch in July 2020, before sending it on its trip.

The rover has a clear mission: to discover if there is life on Mars.

"Seeing the Rosalind Franklin rover finally leave Airbus in Stevenage is a great moment, and I would like to thank all the teams involved for their efforts to make this happen," said Colin Paynter, managing director of Airbus Defense and Space UK.

The rover itself is a complicated combination of instruments, all tuned to help scientists explore the Martian surface step by step.

It is equipped with a 2-meter (6.6-foot) drill to help dig beneath the surface of Mars and discover parts of the planet unharmed by radiation. It is believed that the surface of Mars is very radioactive, which means that life on the surface is unlikely to be found.

And last week, the rover's eyes were tight. Or more precisely, the cameras that will help the vehicle to see and look for signs of life.

The PanCam The camera system that could help discover life on Mars.

The central design of the panoramic camera system called PanCam came from a team at University College London (UCL), who told CNN that his hard work was actually "surprisingly simple."

However, they had to overcome many challenges to design three cameras capable of resisting a trip to Mars.

If radiation and distance are not a sufficient concern, temperatures on Mars can drop to -130 degrees Celsius (184 ° F) at night and rise to 20 ° C (68 ° F) during the day, according to Mary Carter, Pan-Cam project manager.

Europe is sending an alien hunting camera to Mars

In Toulouse, the rover will be tested to ensure that it can survive its launch from Earth next summer and the extreme weather conditions of Mars when it lands on the planet in March 2021.

The United Kingdom Space Agency, the second largest European contributor to the ExoMars mission, having invested € 287 million ($ 318 million), praised the completion of the rover.

"While we deliver the rover to France for the final tests, we must celebrate the enormous efforts of the hundreds of people across the UK who have been involved in the design and construction of the rover and its instruments," said Dr. Graham Turnock , CEO of the United Kingdom Space Agency, said.

While the rover is only moving among European countries now, there is a real anticipation that discoveries can be made when he finally makes the trip to another planet.

"We are eager to complete the final rounds of testing before the rover is declared ready for the flight and closed inside the landing platform and the descent module that will take you safely to the surface of Mars," said Dr David Parker, director of humans and robots. exploration at the European Space Agency, he said.


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Hidden consequence of Amazon fires revealed by NASA satellite https://tech2.org/hidden-consequence-of-amazon-fires-revealed-by-nasa-satellite/ Mon, 26 Aug 2019 17:51:33 +0000 https://tech2.org/hidden-consequence-of-amazon-fires-revealed-by-nasa-satellite/

Fires in the Amazon continue to ignite and provoke outrage throughout the world. While images of smoke and undulating flames have taken center stage, recent fires have also unleashed a more stealthy danger: carbon monoxide.

NASA's Aqua Satellite has captured New data showing the movement of carbon monoxide associated with fires in the Amazon region of Brazil.

The map shows contaminant levels at an altitude of 5,500 meters (18,000 feet) between August 8 and 22, 2019. Green indicates concentrations of carbon monoxide at approximately 100 parts per billion per volume (ppbv); yellow, at approximately 120 ppbv; and red, at approximately 160 ppbv.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that occurs when anything made of carbon, be it vegetation or fossil fuel, is burned with an insufficient supply of air or oxygen. It is most often associated with gas fires in congested rooms, but it can also occur as result of forest fires.

Carbon monoxide associated with fires in the Amazon region in Brazil from August 8 to 22, 2019. NASA / JPL-Caltech

If you inhale carbon monoxide, especially in a closed interior space, you can enter the bloodstream and join the red blood cell oxygen carrier known as hemoglobin. When this happens, blood hemoglobin can no longer carry oxygen. Finally, lack of oxygen can cause the body's cells and tissues to fail and die. The gas is less dangerous in the outside air, since very high levels are unlikely to occur, although it is still considered a harmful air pollutant It damages the air quality. The high atmospheric levels are Especially worrying for people with some types of heart disease.

Carbon monoxide can also fan the flames of climate change. Although it is not strictly considered a greenhouse gas, its presence in the atmosphere can affect greenhouse gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide, so it can indirectly act as a climate change agent.

“A pollutant that can travel long distances, carbon monoxide can persist in the atmosphere for about a month. At the high altitude mapped in these images, the gas has little effect on the air we breathe; however, high winds can take it down, where it can significantly affect air quality, "NASA said in a statement. declaration. "Carbon monoxide plays a role in air pollution and climate change."

The Brazilian Amazon has experienced more than 41,850 fires so far this year, until August 24. The National Space Research Institute (INPE) of Brazil has detected 85 percent more forest fires this year than in the same period in 2018, however, the fires are well within the historical range of the last 20 years. INPE data, analyzed by Mongabay, shows that there were more fires in the Brazilian Amazon (from January to August) in the years 2010, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003 and 2002.

However, although this is becoming the new norm, it is no reason to be complacent. The Amazon rainforest is one of the most important biomes on our planet, it plays a key role in maintaining the natural processes on Earth. As these fires are a testament to this, the rainforest in Brazil is facing a growing crisis that will only deepen given the president's lax attitude towards environmental regulations and the close ties of his administration with agribusiness.


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NASA mission will visit Jupiter's moon Europe and move on to the final phase of construction https://tech2.org/nasa-mission-will-visit-jupiters-moon-europe-and-move-on-to-the-final-phase-of-construction/ Tue, 20 Aug 2019 17:41:31 +0000 https://tech2.org/nasa-mission-will-visit-jupiters-moon-europe-and-move-on-to-the-final-phase-of-construction/

Artistic concept of the Europa Clipper.
Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech

According to an announcement from NASA, a mission to test Jupiter's moon Europe in search of signs of life will pass to its final phase of design and construction.

Scientists have long wondered if the ice-covered moon could harbor life in an ocean of underground liquid water. NASA has committed to a preparation date for the launch in 2025, although the mission could be ready as early as 2023.

Europe is one of the many moons of Jupiter, about the size of the Earth's Moon. Planetary scientists have paid a lot of attention because it is believed to have a subsurface ocean and, of course, the presence of water is an important ingredient for life, at least as we know it here on Earth. A mission to fly across the planet and sample materials could provide evidence of the mysteries that the planet's ocean holds.

A Europe clipper mission would orbit Jupiter and fly repeatedly near Europe, measuring it with a suit of nine instruments, including cameras, a radar, a magnetic field detection instrument, a heat measuring device and a mass spectrometer to measure what Kind of matter the moon is ejected into space. Scientists operating the Hubble Space Telescope have already seen evidence that Europe casts a column of water vapor, and last year, scientists realized that Galileo's Jupiter Orbiter could have flown through one of those pens . Perhaps those pens have even deposited evidence of life, like amino acids, on the surface of Europe.

"Confirmation" is part of NASA's project management plan, which divides missions into separate phases by independent reviews. This decision moves the project from its preliminary design phase to its final design and construction phase, after which another revision would move it to the system assembly, testing and launch phase.

A European exploration mission has been in the minds of scientists for decades. The most recent mission has probably benefited from the defense of recently dismissed Congressman John Culberson, a Republican from the seventh district of the Texas Congress. A landing module on the surface of Europe was scheduled to closely follow the Clipper's heels, but plans for this were delayed until no earlier than 2030, Science reported.

This most recent announcement is an exciting step forward for those who wonder if there is extraterrestrial life here in our own solar system. Hopefully it takes off.


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