NASA mystery: Untested Mars rock samples opened after going untouched more than 40 years - Express.co.uk - Canadanewsmedia
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NASA mystery: Untested Mars rock samples opened after going untouched more than 40 years – Express.co.uk

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The space agency said it opened rock sample 73002 on November 5, in conjunction with its Apollo Next-Generation Sample Analysis (ANGSA) initiative, designed to use new technologies that were not around at the time the samples were collected. “We are able to make measurements today that were just not possible during the years of the Apollo program,” said ANGSA program scientist Sarah Noble, Ph.D., in a statement.

“The analysis of these samples will maximise the science return from Apollo, as well as enable a new generation of scientists and curators to refine their techniques and help prepare future explorers for lunar missions anticipated in the 2020s and beyond.”

Sample 73002 was one of two rock samples brought back from the Apollo 17 mission by astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison “Jack” Schmitt. It will be split up into parts for study, which NASA said “may allow scientists to gain insight into the origin of the lunar polar ice deposits, as well as other potential resources for future exploration”.

has opened samples of the Moon’s crust for the first time sealed away since 1972.

The samples were taken from the Moon in 1972 (Image: GETTY)

The samples should aid future space exploration

The samples should aid future space exploration (Image: GETTY)

The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, revealed it had opened samples of the Moon rock brought back from the Moon marking the first time they have ever been analysed.

The space agency opened sample 73002 in conjunction with its Apollo Next-Generation Sample Analysis (ANGSA) initiative, designed to use new technologies that were not around at the time the samples were collected.

ANGSA program scientist Sarah Noble, Ph.D., in a statement said: “We are able to make measurements today that were just not possible during the years of the Apollo program”

“The analysis of these samples will maximise the science return from Apollo, as well as enable a new generation of scientists and curators to refine their techniques and help prepare future explorers for lunar missions anticipated in the 2020s and beyond.”

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The Johnson Centre houses over 100,000 samples

The Johnson Centre houses over 100,000 samples (Image: GETTY)

Sample 73002 was one of two samples found on the Apollo 17 mission and its though study of it will aid future explorations on to the natural satellites surface.

NASA has said the insight provided will be invaluable with the splitting of the sample even possibly providing “insight into the origin of the lunar polar ice deposits“.

Other NASA scientists also heaped praise onto the new testing of the samples.
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“The findings from these samples will provide NASA new insights into the Moon, including the history of impacts on the lunar surface, how landslides occur on the lunar surface, and how the Moon’s crust has evolved over time,” Charles Shearer, science co-lead for ANGSA, added in the statement.

“This research will help NASA better understand how volatile reservoirs develop, evolve and interact on the Moon and other planetary bodies.”

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Astronauts will return t the Moon in 2024

Astronauts will return t the Moon in 2024 (Image: GETTY)

The Artemis Program

The Artemis Program (Image: GETTY)

The studying of the samples comes as a result of NASA’s $8 million (£6.2 million) funding given to scientists to better understand the Moon and prepare for future space exploration.

NASA is set to return to the Moon in 2024 as part of its Artemis program and the results of these tests may prove invaluable to the scientific potential of the trip.

Since the funding was allocated by NASA opened the locked vault in the Johnson Space Centre in Houston where the Apollo Moon rock samples were kept, where there are over 100,000 samples.

Vacuum-packed on the Moon, frozen or stored in gaseous helium some of these samples have never been exposed to Earth’s atmosphere and had previously remained untouched.

The preparation for the Artemis program comes as Boeing has submitted a lunar landing pitch for the mission it says will reach the Moon in the “fewest steps” possible.

Boeing believes its integrated Human Lander System (HLS) can either dock with the Gateway or dock directly with Orion to take astronauts directly to the lunar surface.

The descent stage and the ascent stage of its design can be launched on one rocket.

HLS also does not require an additional transfer stage to lower itself from lunar orbit.

Boeing said in a statement: “Using the lift capability of NASA’s Space Launch System Block 1B, we have developed a ‘Fewest Steps to the Moon’ approach that minimises mission complexity, while offering the safest and most direct path to the lunar surface.”

Astronauts will use the information on future missions

Astronauts will use the information on future missions (Image: GETTY)

The more powerful block 1B variant of the SLS should allow Boeing to blast the lander to space already fully assembled.

This will eliminate any requirements for multiple launches, massively streamlining the process.

Boeing added: ”This approach reduces the complexity and risk of sending multiple segments to orbit on multiple launches, enabling a crewed lunar surface landing with only five mission critical events instead of the 11 or more required by alternate strategies.”

NASA has already chosen Maxar to build the power-and-propulsion element for its moon Gateway and Northrop Grumman to build the station’s habitat module for astronauts.

The Canadian Space Agency will provide a robotic arm, while Japan and Australia have signed on to work with the US on Artemis.

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Look up! Northern lights to dance across Canada overnight – CTV News

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TORONTO – Forecasters say the northern lights will be unusually vibrant and visible Wednesday night and early Thursday morning across almost all of Canada.

This is because energy from a solar storm is expected to hit the earth Wednesday night, amplifying the usual aurora borealis.

According to the aurora forecast from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Canadians in cities including Edmonton and Winnipeg will see dazzling displays from the natural phenomenon, if the skies are clear.

The entire country will, weather permitting, potentially be able to see the lights low on the horizon. So will people in U.S. cities such as Boston, Chicago, Cleveland and Seattle.

Based on midday forecasts, cloud cover blocking the lights looked to be a serious concern in Winnipeg and Halifax, less serious in places such as Edmonton and Toronto, and not a concern at all in Vancouver and Montreal.

However, skywatchers whose plans are foiled by clouds on Wednesday may not be out of luck.

While the aurora borealis is expected to recede from its peak by Thursday night, it will still be visible in many of the same areas. People in parts of Nova Scotia, southern Ontario and Vancouver Island, however, will not be expected to see any sort of repeat performance.

Anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of the northern lights should head to a dark location far from the lights of the city, as light pollution can obscure the aurora. Peak viewing conditions are typically between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. local time, although the aurora can be visible anytime between sunset and sunrise.

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New SpaceX Starship prototype pops its top during test… literally – CNET

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Starship Mk1 experienced a bit of rapid disassembly.


LabPadre/Screenshot by CNET

It looks as though a little re-assembly may be required on the biggest prototype yet of Elon Musk’s Mars Starship

The early version of the next generation SpaceX rocket appeared to fail during a pressurization test, sending billowing clouds of gas and its hood miles into the air at the company’s Boca Chica, Texas test site on Wednesday.

A webcam streaming from nearby South Padre Island caught the “anomaly” that occurred at 3:27 p.m. Central Time.

A more distant view catches the sizable hood falling back to the ground:

“The purpose of today’s test was to pressurize systems to the max, so the outcome was not completely unexpected,” a SpaceX spokesperson told CNET. “There were no injuries, nor is this a serious setback.”

Fortunately, SpaceX also has another prototype – “Mk2” – at its Florida facilities, so we may still see the next phase of Starship development soon.   

On Twitter, Musk said SpaceX will take the opportunity to move on to its next iteration, “Mk3,” which he says will have a more advanced flight design.

It’s important to remember this in no way dooms Starship’s development and it’s not clear how much it may set the program back, if at all. It seems, however, that Mk1 is pretty much old news now with a SpaceX spokesperson telling CNET ” the decision had already been made to not fly this test article and the team is focused on the Mk3 builds, which are designed for orbit.”

The previous single-engine prototype, dubbed “Starhopper,” successfully performed a few very short hops, topping out at 150 meters (492 feet) earlier this year.  


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SpaceX aces Starhopper rocket test

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Updated 4:22 p.m. PT: Adds comment from SpaceX spokesperson.

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Six tips to get great photos of the northern lights tonight – County Weekly News

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Northern lights along the Red Deer River west of Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday March 18, 2015.

Mike Drew / Postmedia

The stars are aligning for a potentially great northern lights show in the skies above Calgary Wednesday night.

The aurora forecast from the University of Alaska is predicting activity of 4-to-5 out of 9 on the KP index, with anything 5 or above being considered a geomagnetic storm.

The predicted activity, coupled with a forecast of clear skies for Alberta and an early sunset means the odds of seeing the lights tonight are in your favour.

While seeing the northern lights should be on every Canadian’s bucket list, you’re going to want some photos of that potentially once-in-a-lifetime event.

We spoke with two seasoned photographers about their tips for capturing a solid shot of the aurora.

Get outta town

Postmedia photographer Mike Drew said getting away from light pollution will make all the difference.

“The best direction to go is northeast of the city, because there’s less light pollution out that way,” he said. “So out towards Beiseker or Irricana.”

Freelance photographer Christy Turner agreed with Drew, but noted it’s not impossible to see them from within the city.

“It definitely is possible, but you want to go somewhere where there’s little light pollution,” she said.


Christy Turner captured this amazing shot from a balcony in Mission, proving it is possible to get good northern lights photos without leaving the city.

Christy Turner /

Christy Turner Photography

“Even Nose Hill is a great spot because you can definitely see it from Nose Hill.”

Turner said those in the deep south of the city could just drive 10 minutes west or east (preferably east) outside the city limits to find some darker skies.

Be sure to look to the north and northeast to see the lights if they’re out.

Use a DSLR

Drew said the really new cell phones might get you an image of the lights, but really you’ll want a DSLR camera.

“If (the northern lights are) quite bright, the new iPhone 11 or the newest Google pixel phone, they should both give you something at least, but it won’t be as good as a DSLR,” he said.

Long exposure is key

The trick with the aurora is to let as much light as possible hit the camera sensor. Turner said for those familiar with manual setting on a DSLR, they need to use their lowest f-stop, start at an ISO of 1600, and have an exposure time of 12 seconds.

Drew said 15 seconds is not too long an exposure time. He also recommends a wide-angle lens, if you have one.

Both photographers agree that a tripod is a must, and a remote trigger is great to have if you want crisp photos. Turner suggested an easy workaround for those who don’t have a trigger.

“You can just put it on the self-timer for three seconds, and that way there’s no motion on the photo.”

Add a subject

Drew said getting shots of the sky is easy enough, but a true artist will want to add something to the foreground to make their photos really pop.

“Something like a barn, or something without a big yard light in it, so that when you have the picture you know where you are,” he said.


Adding something to the foreground of your shot can take a northern lights photo to the next level.

Christy Turner /

Christy Turner Photography

Safety first

If you spot the lights while driving, it could be tempting to just pull over and get out your camera, but Drew cautions against that.

“You have to be in a place that’s really safe to park. Try to get off to side roads – the roads less traveled.”

Turner said dressing for the weather is also an important part of safety. She recommends bringing hand warmers and blankets just in case you end up stuck and waiting for someone to come pick you up.

Ask for help

If it’s photos you’re after, Turner said you’re not alone in Alberta.

“My top tip would be to join Alberta Aurora Chasers on Facebook because there’s over 24,000 members spread across Alberta,” she said. “If there’s anything happening, they always start a thread and reports will come in from all over the province.”

If you capture a great aurora photo tonight, we’d love to see them. Send submissions to online@postmedia.comand we’ll create a gallery.

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