A tiny swarm of asteroids will come waltzing through our neck of the cosmic woods this weekend, as planet Earth is in for a series of close encounters on Saturday. Three space rocks are due to cruise by Earth tomorrow, in a multi-asteroid flyby that will bring one of the objects as close as 1.3 million miles from our planet’s surface. The three objects will swing by at different times throughout the day, each of them making an individual close approach rather than buzzing our planet as a group. The rocks couldn’t be more different from one another, as they vary in speed, size, and moment of discovery. However, these objects do share a common trait, as all of them are classified as Apollo-type asteroids.
The first one to make the trip through our corner of the solar system on December 21 is a 128-foot asteroid known as 2019 YM. The rock was discovered merely a day ago and is the smallest and fastest of the bunch. According to a report released yesterday by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the tiny asteroid orbits the sun once every 1,157 days, or 3.1 years, and is currently embarked on its second-ever flyby of Earth. The rock previously visited our planet in early December 2015, when it came within 17.1 million miles of the terrestrial surface. The object will creep in a lot closer to Earth tomorrow, marking the closest approach of the day.
The newfound space rock is expected to swing by in the early hours of the morning, reaching its closest point to Earth at 4:12 a.m. EST. The asteroid will safely hurtle past us at speeds of a little over 38,300 mph, flying as close as 5.5 times the distance between our planet and the moon.
After tomorrow’s close brush with Earth, it will be quite sometime before the rock returns to our corner of space. The asteroid will pass by Jupiter in 2021 as it treks the outer solar system and won’t double back until nearly four decades after, in 2058. Its next flyby of Earth will bring the rock only 7.1 million miles from our planet.
A little over 10 hours after asteroid 2019 YM darts past us on Saturday, a slightly larger Apollo asteroid will cruise by Earth in what will be the slowest and farthest approach of the day. Our second celestial visitor is called 2013 XY20 and is estimated to be about 154 feet wide. The space rock will gracefully float by at a speed of just 4,272 mph, or 5.5 times the speed of sound, reaching Earth’s vicinity at 2:35 p.m. EST. As it does so, the object will come within 4.3 million miles of our planet, or 18.2 times the distance to the moon.
As its name suggests, this second celestial interloper has been on NASA’s radar for quite some time. Asteroid 2013 XY20 was discovered six years ago, about three weeks before it swung by Earth in mid-December 2013. This Apollo asteroid circles the sun once every 439 days, or 1.2 years, frequently passing by our planet as it journeys around the giant star. Sometimes, the rock swings by on consecutive years; other times, it leaves a six-year gap between its visits.
NASA predicts that the asteroid will double back in six years’ time, making its next flyby of Earth in 2025. After that, the rock will return in 2026.
The third and final close encounter of the day will get planet Earth re-acquainted with another frequent traveler through our cosmic neighborhood — a 213-foot Apollo asteroid dubbed 2017 XQ60. The rock was first spotted two years ago, exactly one week before it buzzed Earth on December 21, 2017. The asteroid is gearing up for yet another December 21 close approach and will pop by in the late hours of the evening, flying past us at 9:10 p.m. EST. At the time, the rock will be some 2.6 million miles from Earth, or 11 times the lunar distance, cruising through space at a velocity of 19,800 mph.
JPL data shows that the asteroid, which is the heftiest of the group, takes around a year to complete a full orbit around the sun. The rock has been buzzing Earth on a yearly basis since 2001 and will continue its annual flybys up until the year 2037.
The multi-asteroid flyby comes hot on the heels of another close approach that occurred this morning, when planet Earth was visited by a massive 1,771-foot Apollo asteroid, as previously covered by The Inquisitr.
Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia targets net zero emissions by 2060
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince said on Saturday that the world’s top oil exporter aims to reach ‘net zero’ emissions of greenhouse gases – mostly produced by burning fossil fuels – by 2060 – 10 years later than the United States.
He also said it would double the emissions cuts it plans to achieve by 2030.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his energy minister said Saudi Arabia would tackle climate change, but also stressed the continued importance of hydrocarbons and said it would continue to ensure oil market stability.
They were speaking at the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) ahead of COP26, the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow at the end of the month, which hopes to agree deeper global emissions cuts to tackle global warming.
The United States, the world’s second biggest emitter, is committed to achieving ‘net zero’, meaning that it emits no more greenhouse gases than it can capture or absorb, by 2050. But China and India, the world’s biggest and third-biggest emitters, have not committed to this timeline.
Amin Nasser, chief executive of the state oil giant Saudi Aramco, said it was counterproductive to “demonise” hydrocarbons. He said Aramco aimed to expand its oil and gas production capacity while also achieving net zero emissions from its own operations by 2050.
He called for more global investment to ensure adequate crude oil supplies.
Prince Mohammed said in recorded remarks that the kingdom aimed to reach net zero by 2060 under its circular carbon economy programme, “while maintaining its leading role in strengthening security and stability of global oil markets”.
He said Saudi Arabia would join a global initiative on slashing emissions of methane by 30% from 2020 levels by 2030, which both the United States and the EU have been pressing.
‘HYDROCARBONS STILL NEEDED’
U.S. climate envoy John Kerry is due to attend a wider Middle East green summit in Riyadh on Monday.
The SGI aims to eliminate 278 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year by 2030, up from a previous target of 130 million tonnes. The crown prince said the SGI initiative would involve investments of over 700 billion riyals ($190 billion) in that time period.
Saudi Arabia’s economy remains heavily reliant on oil, although the crown prince is trying to promote diversification.
Energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said the world needed fossil fuels as well as renewables.
“It has to be a comprehensive solution,” he said. “We need to be inclusive, and inclusivity requires being open to accept others’ efforts as long as they are going to reduce emissions.”
He said the kingdom’s younger generation “will not wait for us to change their future”.
He said net zero might be achieved before 2060 but the kingdom needed time to do things “properly”.
Another Gulf oil producer, the United Arab Emirates, this month announced a plan for net zero emissions by 2050.
The non-profit Climate Action Tracker consortium gives Saudi Arabia its lowest possible ranking, “Critically insufficient”.
Saudi Arabia’s first renewable energy plant opened in April and its first wind farm began generating in August.
It does, however, have plans to build a $5 billion plant to produce hydrogen, a clean fuel, and state-linked entities are pivoting to green fundraising. ($1 = 3.7507 riyals)
(Reporting by Yousef Saba and Saeed Azhar in Riyadh, Marwa Rashad in London and Maher Chmaytelli in Dubai; additional reporting by Raya Jalbi in Dubai; writing by Ghaida Ghantous; editing by Jason Neely and Kevin Liffey)
Former NASA Administrator Says Flooding Of Orbit With Satellites Could Block Humanity From Space – Space Bollyinside – BollyInside
‘The U.S. government and governments around the world are failing to properly manage collision risk.’ ‘If not remedied, the consequence will be losing access to space entirely, devastating not only satellite communications, but also human spaceflight, national security, weather prediction, disaster relief, climate science, and so much more.’
Former NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine calls on the US government to mandate better regulations for launching satellites into orbit Amazon’s Kuiper Systems is looking to send 3,326 communication satellites and OneWeb is proposing to build a constellation of 648 devices.
The company has sent more than 1,700 Starlink satellites in orbit, but it hopes to have as many as 42,000 devices circling Earth. More than 3,000 communication satellites are orbiting Earth, but dozens of companies are seeking approval from the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) to launch thousands more. SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, is building a megaconstellation to provide internet service to even the most remote parts of the world
SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, is building a megaconstellation to provide its Starlink internet service to the most remote parts of the world. The development and use of satellite communications are advancing rapidly and transforming humanity.
However, these are just a few of the dozens of companies looking to achieve similar feats. Bridenstine said: ‘The US government and governments around the world are failing to properly manage collision risk.’ SpaceX has sent more than 1,700 Starlink satellites in orbit, but it hopes to have as many as 42,000 devices circling Earth
Bridenstine proposed solutions during the briefing, putting much of the responsibility on Congress and the FCC. ‘Dramatic increases in space collisions, and new space debris, are expected within just a few years,’ Bridenstine said during the briefing. ‘In the longer-term satellites are destroyed faster than they are launched.’
News Highlights Space
- Headline: Former NASA Administrator Says Flooding Of Orbit With Satellites Could Block Humanity From Space
- Check all news and articles from the Space news information updates.
Musk says Starship may be ready for orbital launch next month, but FAA review continues – Spaceflight Now – Spaceflight Now
Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of SpaceX, said Friday the company’s huge new Starship rocket could be ready for its first orbital test launch from South Texas as soon as November, but the schedule comes with two big uncertainties that may push the launch to next year.
“If all goes well, Starship will be ready for its first orbital launch attempt next month, pending regulatory approval,” Musk tweeted.
The new schedule update from Musk came the day after SpaceX test-fired the newest Starship vehicle, known as Ship 20 or SN20, at the company’s development facility near Boca Chica Beach east of Brownsville, Texas. A vacuum-rated Raptor engine, similar to the engines Starship will use in space, ignited for several seconds on a launching stand at SpaceX’s Starbase complex Thursday night.
SpaceX briefly fired the privately-developed rocket again later the same night.
It was the first test-firing of a Raptor vacuum engine mounted to a Starship rocket. The vacuum variant of the methane-fueled Raptor engine has a larger nozzle to improved performance in the airless environment of space.
Three vacuum-rated Raptor engines will fly on orbital-class Starship missions. Three sea level Raptor variants, with smaller nozzles, will be used for vertical Starship landings after returning from space.
Unlike the Starship prototypes flown on the recent atmospheric hops, Ship 20 is covered in thousands of heat-resistant tiles to protect the craft’s stainless steel structure from the scorching heat it will encounter during re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.
First firing of a Raptor vacuum engine integrated onto a Starship pic.twitter.com/uCNAt8Kwzo
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 22, 2021
The Starship will launch on top of a huge reusable first stage booster called the Super Heavy. Made of stainless steel, the entire stack stands 394 feet (120 meters) tall, higher than any rocket ever built.
Fitted with up to 33 Raptor engines, the Super Heavy will propel the Starship into space with twice the thrust of NASA’s Apollo-era Saturn 5 moon rocket, and nearly double the power of NASA’s Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket.
In August, SpaceX teams in South Texas briefly stacked the entire Starship rocket on a launch mount for a fit check and photo opportunity. At the time, SpaceX connected 29 Raptor engines — four fewer than the booster will use on an operational flight — to the Super Heavy and rolled the booster to the ever-expanding launch complex, just east of the company’s build site.
After the fit check, SpaceX removed the Raptor engines from the Super Heavy, designated Booster 4, as attention turned to preparing Ship 20 for cryogenic proof testing in September.
SpaceX then readied Starship for its first static fire tests this week. More test-firings may occur before Ship 20 is mounted on top of the Super Heavy booster again.
Meanwhile, SpaceX plans to perform cryogenic proof testing of Booster 4 some time in the coming weeks, likely followed by a series of test-firings, culminating in a static fire with its full complement of Raptor engines.
Outfitting of the launch pad tower at Boca Chica has also continued since its initial construction over the summer. Earlier this week, crews lifted massive arms, nicknamed “chopsticks,” onto the launch tower that SpaceX aims to use for catching descending Super Heavy boosters.
Although SpaceX has moved forward with great speed at Boca Chica, the chances of the Super Heavy and Starship vehicles being ready for flight next month are uncertain. Musk often sets aspirational schedule goals, and in September 2019 said he wanted to attempt the first orbital launch attempt with Starship within six months.
Another schedule hurdle might be the Federal Aviation Administration, which is reviewing the environmental impacts of SpaceX’s operations in South Texas. The FAA issued a draft environmental report last month after consultation with several federal and state agencies.
The draft report marks a re-evaluation of the FAA’s original environmental impact statement before SpaceX started construction of the Boca Chica site in 2014. At that time, SpaceX planned to launch Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets from South Texas, but the scope of the project has since changed to focus on development of Starship and Super Heavy.
The FAA held public hearings Monday and Wednesday, and some 120 people voiced their opinions on the project’s environmental impacts. The public comments were more than two-to-one in favor of the FAA finalizing the draft programmatic environment assessment, and issuing SpaceX a launch license for the Starship orbital test flight.
Many of the comments in favor of SpaceX came from members of the public outside Texas. The share of people who identified themselves as local residents and voiced opposition was higher.
Joyce Hamilton, who said she was a member of the local community, worried that SpaceX would damage the “fragile and unique coastline” at Boca Chica Beach.
“In fact, we’ve already seen the damaging impact of a recent launch failure with a wide and destructive debris field along the beach and surrounding wetlands,” Hamilton said. “I’d like to just end by urging the FAA to conduct a serious comprehensive environmental impact study.”
Rebecca Hinojosa, a Brownsville resident, said SpaceX has been a destructive influence on the community through gentrification, and displaced residents who once lived near the Boca Chica site. SpaceX bought out homes in the area as it constructed the facility.
Others were supportive of the FAA allowing SpaceX to go ahead with no delay, citing the positive economic effects of SpaceX’s presence in the Rio Grande Valley.
“Elon Musk chose our community to be the next home of his SpaceX operation, and very, very quickly after setting up, this area went from being one of the poorest areas, one of the most looked-down, in the entire nation … We’re no longer in that position. We’re now one of the most sought after zip codes to live and raise your children,” said Jessica Tetreau, a Brownsville city commissioner.
“I don’t just ask you,” she concluded. “I beg you to give them that permit.”
“As far as the environment goes, it seems to me that SpaceX has a good plan in place to mitigate the vast majority of environmental effects from the build and test sites,” said Michael O’Halloran, who did not identify himself as a local resident. “Starship and Super Heavy are clearly worth the gamble.”
The FAA is accepting written comments until Nov. 1, then will determine whether to finalize the draft environmental assessment or begin a new environmental impact statement if the environmental effects would be significant and could not be properly mitigated.
A new environmental impact statement would take months, or even years, to complete.
A decision by the FAA on which route to take is not expected immediately. The FAA said it is reviewing the environmental impacts from SpaceX’s Starship launch and re-entry operations, debris recovery, the launch pad integration tower and other launch-related construction, and local road closures at Boca Chica.
SpaceX can’t launch the Starship and Super Heavy vehicle until the FAA issues a license, which will only come after the completion of the environmental process.
NASA awarded SpaceX a contract to develop a version of the Starship rocket as a human-rated lander for the agency’s Artemis moon missions.
That contract award is currently on hold after Blue Origin, the space company founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, filed suit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. A ruling on the lawsuit could come next month.
SpaceX is developing the privately-owned Starship vehicle as a fully reusable launch and space transportation system capable of ferrying more than 100 metric tons of cargo into low Earth orbit, more than any other rocket in the world. SpaceX eventually aims to develop an in-space refueling capability to extend Starship’s heavy-duty cargo carrying range into the solar system.
During an orbital launch attempt, a reusable Super Heavy first stage booster will detach from the Starship and come back to Earth for a vertical landing. For the first orbital mission, SpaceX plans to guide the the booster to a water landing in the Gulf of Mexico.
SpaceX is also modifying offshore oil drilling rigs to serve as floating Starship launch and landing platforms.
The Starship will continue into orbit and deploy its payloads or travel to its deep space destination, and finally return to Earth to be flown again. The Starship vehicle doubles as an upper stage and a refillable transporter to ferry people and cargo through space to destinations in Earth orbit, the moon, Mars, and other distant locations.
The reusable architecture, which builds upon SpaceX’s partially reusable Falcon 9 rocket, is designed to reduce the cost of each flight.
The Starship’s first orbital test flight, though audacious in scale, will aim to prove out the rocket’s basic launch and re-entry capabilities without fully testing out the complicated landing and recovery systems, according to a SpaceX’s filing with the Federal Communications Commission earlier this year.
On the first orbital mission, SpaceX plans for the Starship to re-enter the atmosphere after one trip around Earth, heading for a controlled landing at sea in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii.
Email the author.
Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.
New migrant caravan in Mexico pushes past blockade to head north
Seven prisoners found dead in Ecuador jail affected by riots
Spain vows to speed up aid to volcano-hit La Palma
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Europe kicks off vaccination programs | All media content | DW | 27.12.2020 – Deutsche Welle
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
News23 hours ago
U.N. plane aborts landing as air strike hits Ethiopia’s Tigray
News16 hours ago
Coronavirus: Non-essential travel advisory lifts – CTV News
Art11 hours ago
Buffys awards returns to celebrate arts and culture scene of Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo – Fort McMurray Today
Media15 hours ago
Trump's Truth Social media platform is a perfect mess – MSNBC
News18 hours ago
Simmering Canada-US trade dispute erupts into the open – CBC.ca
Business18 hours ago
Job seekers mentally carry one of 2 narratives
Tech12 hours ago
Epic Games opposes Apple's effort to pause antitrust trial orders – Reuters
Sports17 hours ago
Unbeaten Sharks hand sluggish Maple Leafs second loss in a row – Sportsnet.ca