Friday, May 17, 2019

🚀 Artemis: Back to the Moon by 2024? Fly the Fastest Airplane in the World, Highest Atmospheric Carbon in Human History, and More...

The Moon


NASA's 2024 Moon Mission is called Artemis, and Will Need an Additional $1.6 Billion in Funding

The big news this week was, of course, the announcement that NASA will be sending humans back to the Moon, with a mission landing in 2024. In order to make this work, the White House is asking for an additional $1.6 billion in funding as a "downpayment" to purchase a lunar lander and make changes to the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft.

The main change is that the Gateway station nearby the Moon will only get one module constructed initially, with the rest waiting until after 2028.

Oh, and it's going to be called Artemis.

There are a lot of moving parts to make this happen, and almost anything could cause a delay. Of course, I'll keep you posted.

This video from NASA, narrated by William Shatner explains more.

Fraser Cain
Universe Today

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Hubble Legacy Field

16 Years of Hubble Data In One Incredible Picture: The Hubble Legacy Field

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope launched on April 24, 1990, and it's been hard at work ever since, studying the cosmos like no other observatory in human history. 

Several times in its journey, astronomers have called upon Hubble to study a single spot in the sky for weeks at a time, staring as far as it can, almost to the edge of the observable Universe.

These are the deep fields, including the most recent Hubble eXtreme Deep Field.

Now all of these data have been mashed together into a single image, spanning more than 250 days of observations. 

It's called the Hubble Legacy Field. 

It's full of galaxies.

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Square Kilometer Array

A Supercomputer has been Designed to run the World's Largest Radio Telescope

Astronomers are building an insanely large radio telescope in Australia and South Africa: the Square Kilometer Array. Like its name, it'll eventually have a total observing area of one square kilometer, and it'll generate an enormous amount of data. Astronomers have designed the computer that will control the telescope.


This Will Be the Fastest Airplane in the World

Does it take too long to fly? The supersonic Hermeus aircraft could seriously cut down flight times, going from New York to Paris in about 90 minutes. They intend to build a demonstration aircraft within the next 5 years that should achieve Mach 5, and get into commercial operations in the next 8-10 years from now.


The Moon Gets "Moonquakes" as it Continues to Shrink

Future colonists on the Moon will need to watch out for "moonquakes" from time to time. That's because the Moon is still cooling down and shrinking like a drying raisin. Instruments placed on the Moon during the Apollo missions have detected dozens of moonquakes, and new images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter show the fault lines on the Moon.

Double slit experiment

Antimatter Behaves Exactly the Same as Regular Matter in Double Slit Experiments

Antimatter behaves exactly like regular matter except that it seems to have negative charges. To further test this similarity, physicists were able to make some antimatter go through the double slit experiment, proving that it has the same particle/wave duality as regular matter. This is tricky work, since antimatter annihilates the moment it touches the sides of the experiment.



CO2 Levels are Higher Than All of Human History

On May 15, 2019 atmospheric carbon levels hit 415.70 parts per million, which is the highest in human history. Of course that record will be broken shortly as the amount of carbon in the atmosphere continues to rise. The last time humans ever experienced this level of carbon was never. And when it last happened to the Earth, there were trees at the south pole.


Beresheet landing

Here's Where Beresheet Crashed into the Moon

Poor Beresheet, that plucky private lunar lander from Israel that smashed into the surface of the Moon a couple of weeks ago. NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was able to take a picture of the crash site and show the aftermath of the overly aggressive landing. Here's hoping Beresheet 2 touches down more gently.

Move the Earth

Here's How to Actually Move the Earth

Have you had a chance to watch Wandering Earth on Netflix yet? It's the movie that made $700 million in China, and most people haven't even heard of it. A major plot point is to move planet Earth because the Sun is getting unstable. A scientist weighs in on the best ways to move planet Earth. Ones which convert the Earth's mass, and ones which don't. What's the best technique?

Dark matter

Is Dark Matter Made of Axions? Black Holes May Reveal the Answer

We're getting more and more accurate maps of the distribution of dark matter across the Universe, but we still have no idea what it actually is. One possible particle for dark matter is called "axions". We're not sure if they actually exist, their existence was speculated to explain a conundrum in high energy physics. There are observations going on right now that might get to the bottom of this, thanks to black holes.

Space station

The International Space Station Rides High Through the May Sky

This is a good month to go hunting for the International Space Station. That's because the station is going into a time called "high beta angle season", which means that it'll be illuminated for the full span of its orbit. Certain parts of the planet will be able to watch the station fly overhead multiple times in the same night.


Starlink Could Bring Back Net Neutrality

Starlink, of course, is the worldwide satellite network under development by SpaceX. It could bring internet to underserved places in the world, decrease connection times, and break the monopoly hold of traditional internet providers around the world. But it could also bring back net neutrality, allowing people to communicate without their traffic flowing through restricted networks. Pretty exciting idea.

Blue Moon

How Jeff Bezos Plans to Take Civilization to Space, Starting with Lunar Colony

Did you see Jeff Bezos' plans for sending a lander to the Moon and more? Want more context about what a Solar System civilization might look like? Alan Boyle from Geekwire sits down with Todd Bishop to discuss how Blue Moon will work, how a lunar colony could be developed, and why going to space will save the Earth.


Telescopes Could See the Glint of Oceans on Exoplanets

Although we know of planets in the habitable zone of other stars, we don't actually know if there's liquid water on those worlds. But the next generation of space telescopes could give us the answer. Telescopes like James Webb, HabEx or LUVOIR could be powerful enough to actually see the glint of water on the surface of a planet as it's orbiting the star. Amazing.

Other Interesting Space Stuff

Amazing Astrophotography on @universetoday

Carina Nebula

Do you recognize this nebula? I didn't at first. That's because it's the Carina Nebula, an object that's only visible to people with a view to the southern skies. Great work by @saml.au  

We have featured nearly 1,000 astrophotographers on our Instagram page, which has more than 170,000 followers. Want to do a takeover? Use the hashtag #universetoday and I'll check out your photos.


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