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Space station cargo mission grounded by launch pad fire – Spaceflight Now

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The H-2B rocket during fueling before Tuesday’s launch pad fire. Credit: MHI

Japanese officials called off the launch of an H-2B rocket and HTV space station cargo ship Tuesday after a fire broke out on the launch pad at the Tanegashima Space Center.

The fire occurred at around 1805 GMT (2:05 p.m. EDT) Tuesday, or 3:05 a.m. local time Wednesday, around three-and-a-half hours before the H-2B launcher was scheduled to lift off with an automated supply ship bound for the International Space Station.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation when officials briefed reporters on the fire four hours after cameras first observed the blaze near the base of the 186-foot-tall (56.6-meter) rocket. The launch pad was evacuated at the time of the fire, and the rocket’s manufacturer, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, reported no injuries.

A live video feed of the launch pad showed a flash near the base of the H-2B rocket, followed by a cloud smoke. Water jets began spraying the launcher and its mobile platform around 15 minutes later.

Around 90 minutes later, a loudspeaker announcement at Tanegashima said the H-2B launch was postponed because of a “fire around a hole in the deck of the mobile launcher … We are trying to extinguish a fire.”

The fire occurred after the H-2B launch team filled the rocket with nearly 430,000 pounds (194 metric tons) of super-cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants.

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The flames were easily visible in the live video feed for several minutes before abating. But a hydrogen fire can be almost invisible, and water continued spraying on the launch pad for nearly three hours.

Detectors around the launch pad did not sense any leak of liquid hydrogen or liquid oxygen during the countdown, and MHI officials at Tanegashima told reporters a few hours after that fire that ground crews were still investigating the cause of the blaze.

No apparent damage to the rocket was visible after sunrise at Tanegashima.

Officials from MHI and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency did not announce a new target launch date, but the flight was expected to be postponed by at least several days.

The H-2B rocket was set to blast off with Japan’s eighth HTV resupply mission to the space station.

The eighth HTV spacecraft is packed with some 8,326 pounds (3,777 kilograms) of equipment, experiments and crew provisions for the space station, including six new lithium-ion batteries to update the orbiting research lab’s power system.

Around 5,313 pounds (2,410 kilograms) of cargo is loaded inside the HTV’s pressurized logistics carrier, including a Sony-developed laser communications experiment, hardware for a cellular biology research rack and fresh water.

Astronauts Nick Hague and Andrew Morgan on the space station planned to conduct at least two spacewalks Sept. 27 and Oct. 1 to begin installing the fresh batteries, which will replace aging and less-capable nickel-hydrogen batteries on the P6 solar array module on the far port side of the station’s truss backbone.

The spacewalk schedule may be impacted by the HTV launch delay, depending on how long the mission remains grounded.

Meanwhile, a Russian Soyuz crew ferry craft is set for liftoff from Kazakhstan on Sept. 25 with cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, and United Arab Emirates astronaut Hazzaa Ali Almansoori. The trio will arrive at the station the same day, and Ali Almansoori will return to Earth on Oct. 3 on a different Soyuz capsule with outgoing station crew members Alexey Ovchinin and Nick Hague.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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Human bodies keep moving for more than a year after death, researcher finds – Edmonton Sun

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The finding could ‘significantly’ change how post-mortem investigations are carried out, especially in cases of unexplained deaths

The zombies from ‘Walking Dead’ may be frighteningly closer to reality than you’d like to imagine. 

Australian researchers have observed human bodies moving for more than a year after death, a finding that can greatly change how post-mortem investigations are conducted, they say. 

Researchers at the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER), informally known as a body farm, used a time-lapse camera to take overhead pictures of a corpse every 30 minutes during daylight hours for 17 months. 

“What we found was that the arms were significantly moving, so that arms that started off down beside the body ended up out to the side of the body,” medical scientist Alyson Wilson told ABC Australia.   

While the team expected some post-mortem movement in the early stages of decomposition, the length at which they observed the body moving was a surprising find. 

These findings could “significantly” impact unexplained death investigations she added. Previously, forensic scientists assumed that the position of a discovered body was the position at time of death — if there was no evidence proving that the body was moved. 

“We think the movements relate to the process of decomposition, as the body mummifies and the ligaments dry out,” she explained. 

Wilson could not immediately be reached for comment.

However, Shari Forbes, director of Canada’s first body farm — and former director of AFTER — said the finding isn’t all that uncommon. “It’s well-known to researchers but not conveyed to police investigators,” she said, namely due to the lack of facilities around the world, outside of the U.S.

The reasons for prolonged movement aren’t all that mystifying either, she added. It could be a number of things — insect larvae, shrinkage of body tissue, scavenging.

Wilson also found, over the course of three years, that corpses left outdoors would mummify — the process by which the skin and flesh of a corpse is preserved — under the right circumstances.

“We used to think it could only happen in a hot-and-dry environment or cold-and-dry — the key word being dry,” explained Forbes. However, the research reveals that natural mummification isn’t necessarily dependent on environmental factors and could be due to anything drawing moisture out from the body such as insects, dry soil, solar radiation.

It would differ around the world, added Forbes. For example, the process of mummification in Canada could result in two extreme scenarios — the body would freeze during winter leading to some degree of mummification or rapidly decompose during the warm summers.

Wilson’s research also confirmed the value of a time-lapse camera to study the decomposition rate of a human body in any environment. In a study published last month, she used the camera to test whether a scientific equation used to estimate a body’s decomposition in the northern hemisphere could apply to an Australian environment.

“Until we had AFTER, most of the science on how bodies decomposed was based on the northern hemisphere, where the climate is different, the weather is different and even the insects can be different,” she said.

This is the “first time” such photos have been recorded, according to Dr. Xanthe Mallett, a forensic anthropologist and criminologist at the University of Newcastle. 

“Previously, if the police had asked me if a set of human remains were found and they were mummified, I would have said it’s likely that that person was left outside in autumn and winter,” added Mallett. The new data “opens up the entire year for mummification in the correct circumstances, and it stops us from going down the wrong path.”

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CINDY'S SNAPSHOT: A full Harvest Moon over Dominion, Cape Breton | The News – The News

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At 1:33 ADT (2:03 NDT) Saturday a.m., the September moon became the Full Harvest Moon. Corinne Reid took this stunning photo just hours before that, as Earth’s only natural satellite came up over Dominion Cape Breton, N.S. The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the fall equinox; some years, the full moon in October gets the honours of being called the Harvest Moon.



Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network

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Human bodies keep moving for more than a year after death, researcher finds – Montreal Gazette

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The finding could ‘significantly’ change how post-mortem investigations are carried out, especially in cases of unexplained deaths


A cadaver lies in an open locker. Researchers have found that that human bodies can move for more than a year after death.


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The zombies from ‘Walking Dead’ may be frighteningly closer to reality than you’d like to imagine. 

Australian researchers have observed human bodies moving for more than a year after death, a finding that can greatly change how post-mortem investigations are conducted, they say. 

Researchers at the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER), informally known as a body farm, used a time-lapse camera to take overhead pictures of a corpse every 30 minutes during daylight hours for 17 months. 

“What we found was that the arms were significantly moving, so that arms that started off down beside the body ended up out to the side of the body,” medical scientist Alyson Wilson told ABC Australia.   

While the team expected some post-mortem movement in the early stages of decomposition, the length at which they observed the body moving was a surprising find. 

These findings could “significantly” impact unexplained death investigations she added. Previously, forensic scientists assumed that the position of a discovered body was the position at time of death — if there was no evidence proving that the body was moved. 

“We think the movements relate to the process of decomposition, as the body mummifies and the ligaments dry out,” she explained. 

Wilson could not immediately be reached for comment.

However, Shari Forbes, director of Canada’s first body farm — and former director of AFTER — said the finding isn’t all that uncommon. “It’s well-known to researchers but not conveyed to police investigators,” she said, namely due to the lack of facilities around the world, outside of the U.S.

The reasons for prolonged movement aren’t all that mystifying either, she added. It could be a number of things — insect larvae, shrinkage of body tissue, scavenging.

Wilson also found, over the course of three years, that corpses left outdoors would mummify — the process by which the skin and flesh of a corpse is preserved — under the right circumstances.

“We used to think it could only happen in a hot-and-dry environment or cold-and-dry — the key word being dry,” explained Forbes. However, the research reveals that natural mummification isn’t necessarily dependent on environmental factors and could be due to anything drawing moisture out from the body such as insects, dry soil, solar radiation.

It would differ around the world, added Forbes. For example, the process of mummification in Canada could result in two extreme scenarios — the body would freeze during winter leading to some degree of mummification or rapidly decompose during the warm summers.

Wilson’s research also confirmed the value of a time-lapse camera to study the decomposition rate of a human body in any environment. In a study published last month, she used the camera to test whether a scientific equation used to estimate a body’s decomposition in the northern hemisphere could apply to an Australian environment.

“Until we had AFTER, most of the science on how bodies decomposed was based on the northern hemisphere, where the climate is different, the weather is different and even the insects can be different,” she said.

This is the “first time” such photos have been recorded, according to Dr. Xanthe Mallett, a forensic anthropologist and criminologist at the University of Newcastle. 

“Previously, if the police had asked me if a set of human remains were found and they were mummified, I would have said it’s likely that that person was left outside in autumn and winter,” added Mallett. The new data “opens up the entire year for mummification in the correct circumstances, and it stops us from going down the wrong path.”

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