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Asteroid warning: NASA tracks a 'hazardous' asteroid barreling past Earth on Christmas – Express.co.uk

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An asteroid at the upper boundary of that estimate is comparable in height to Chicago’s Sears Tower.

But even at the lower end of the estimate, the imposing space rock is large enough to threaten millions of innocent lives.

NASA said: “Potentially hazardous asteroids are about 150 meters – almost 500ft – or larger, roughly twice as big as the Statue of Liberty is tall.

“They approach Earth’s orbit to within 7.5 million kilometres – about 4.6 million miles.

“By comparison, when Mars and Earth are at their closest, they are about 53 million kilometres – about 33 million miles – apart.”

“Potentially hazardous comets also get unusually close to Earth.”

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NASA's Ingenuity helicopter has flown a total of one mile on Mars – Yahoo Movies Canada

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NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter just marked an important milestone. Space.com reports that Ingenuity crossed the one-mile mark for total distance flown with its 10th flight on July 24th, when it traveled over the Jezero Crater’s “Raised Ridges” area. That may not sound like a lot of flying, but NASA was only planning a few test flights for Ingenuity before expanding the vehicle’s role — the robotic aircraft wouldn’t have covered nearly as much ground otherwise.

This was also the most ambitious flight to date. The helicopter had to swing past 10 different waypoints, and flew to a record-high altitude of 40ft during the 310ft journey. It also had to capture enough images to help NASA produce stereoscopic images of Raised Ridges and help inform a potential visit from the Perseverance rover.

It’s not clear just how many more miles Ingenuity can rack up. The helicopter is the first of its kind, and tends to push limits with each new flight. The one-mile threshold is significant by itself, though — it suggests the aircraft might accomplish a lot during Perserverance’s planned two-year mission, and possibly more.

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NASA awards SpaceX the contract to launch its Europa Clipper mission – Firstpost

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NASA on Friday said it had selected SpaceX to launch a planned voyage to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa, a huge win for Elon Musk’s company as it sets its sights deeper into the solar system.

The Europa Clipper mission will launch in October 2024 on a Falcon Heavy rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with the total contract worth $178 million.

This illustration, updated in December 2020, depicts NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft. With an internal global ocean twice the size of Earth’s oceans combined, Jupiter’s moon Europa may have the potential to harbor life. The Europa Clipper orbiter will swoop around Jupiter on an elliptical path, dipping close to the moon on each flyby to collect data.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The mission was previously supposed to take off on NASA’s own Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which has been plagued by delays and cost overruns, with critics calling it a “jobs program” for the state of Alabama where much of the development work is taking place.

While SLS isn’t yet operational, Falcon Heavy has deployed on both commercial and government missions since its maiden flight in 2018 when it carried Musk’s own Tesla Roadster into space.

It generates more than five million pounds of thrust (22 million Newtons) at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft.

The Europa clipper orbiter will make about 40 to 50 close passes over Europa to determine whether the icy moon could harbor conditions suitable for life.

Its payload will include cameras and spectrometers to produce high-resolution images and compositional maps of the surface and atmosphere, as well as radar to penetrate the ice layer to search for liquid water below.

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An ‘arm made for walking’ is about to arrive at the space station – Digital Trends

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The International Space Station (ISS) is preparing to take delivery of the European Robotic Arm (ERA) later this week.

The 11-meter-long robot launched on a Russian Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on July 21, and is scheduled to dock with the ISS on Thursday.

Due to its large size, the ERA was folded into a more compact shape prior to loading, and then attached to what will be its home base at the ISS — the new Multipurpose Laboratory Module, also called Nauka.

The space station is already home to two robotic arms — from Canada and Japan. While extremely useful for docking procedures and assisting astronauts on spacewalks, neither of these arms can reach the Russian segment of the orbiting outpost. But the ERA will be able to do just that.

According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the new robotic arm will also be the first with the ability to “walk” around the outside of the ISS by moving hand-over-hand between fixed base-points.

“Moving hand-over-hand around the Russian parts of the station, the ERA will bring more freedom, more flexibility, and more skills to space operations,” said David Parker, ESA director of human and robotic exploration.

It’ll also be the first robotic arm at the ISS that’s able to be controlled by crew members both inside and outside the station.

The robot’s main tasks will be to handle experiment payloads and other components; transport spacewalkers between locations outside the station “like a cherry-picker crane”; and carry out inspection work of the station’s exterior using its four built-in cameras. During its activities, the ERA will be able to handle components weighing up to 8,000 kg with an impressive 5 mm precision.

First, though, the ERA needs to be set up. Current ISS astronaut Thomas Pesquet will help prepare the robot for installation, with incoming astronauts Matthias Maurer and Samantha Cristoforetti conducting the first of five spacewalks to fully deploy the device..

The ERA is the work of a consortium of 22 European companies from seven countries. It was actually designed more than three decades ago and was supposed to head to the ISS long before now, but technical issues kept it grounded for longer than expected.

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