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Boeing to launch NASA astronaut capsule on final uncrewed test flight – CTV News

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A spacecraft built by Boeing will launch a milestone test flight Friday in what could be the last major step in a long-running mission to once again launch humans from U.S. soil.

The capsule, called Starliner, is scheduled to launch into space and dock with the International Space Station over the weekend, mimicking the flight path it will take when it flies its first crewed mission next year. Liftoff is slated for 6:36 am ET.

Aboard the capsule will be a dummy nicknamed Rosie, after Rosie the Riveter, which will be outfitted with dozens of sensors to measure the G-forces astronauts will endure.

Exactly when Starliner will make its historic first flight with people on board is not clear. Boeing will work closely with NASA to review data from Friday’s mission, and both parties must deem the spacecraft ready.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a press conference Thursday that he expects the vehicle to be ready in “the first part” of next year.

Also racing to meet that timeline is SpaceX, the rocket company started by tech billionaire Elon Musk. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule completed its uncrewed test flight earlier this year, but still must pass another test of the capsule’s emergency abort system before it’s ready to fly.

It’s not clear which capsule will launch first with astronauts aboard. Such a flight will mark the first time a human has flown into orbit from the United States since NASA’s Space Shuttle program was retired in 2011.

NASA allotted SpaceX US$2.6 billion and Boeing US$4.2 billion in 2014 for the Commercial Crew Program, the formal name of the program that will launch the Crew Dragon and Starliner, representing a new approach for the space agency. While NASA has long worked with private sector contractors to build spacecraft, the organization does not typically hand over design, operation and testing duties to the companies.

Commercial Crew was modeled after a similar program that delivers uncrewed cargo missions to the International Space Station. SpaceX won that contract, alongside Northrop Grumman, and its Dragon capsule has been flying supplies to and from the space station for years. But the company has yet to fly humans.

The space agency originally predicted Starliner and Crew Dragon would be up and running by 2017, but both vehicles are years behind schedule.

NASA , as well as federal lawmakers, are anxious to speed things up. Since 2011, the space agency has paid Russia up to $86 million and $55.4 million on average for seats aboard Russian spacecraft.

Some cargo will ride to space on Friday alongside Rosie, the test dummy, “including some holiday presents, but don’t tell anybody,” joked NASA astronaut Michael Fincke during a press conference.

Fincke is one of three astronauts selected to be on Starliner’s first crewed launch, along with NASA’s Nicole Mann, and Chris Ferguson, a retired NASA astronaut who led the final 2011 Space Shuttle mission, and who will fly as a commercial astronaut on behalf of Boeing.

So far, Ferguson is the only non-government astronaut signed up to fly on Crew Dragon or Starliner. But NASA has suggested allowing people with various backgrounds to train and fly to space alongside members of its astronaut corps.

Ferguson said during Thursday’s press conference that “opportunities abound” to fly astronauts from foreign space agencies and, one day, “customers who might come from any walk of life.”

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Large meteor lights up skies in Norway – CTV News

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HELSINKI —
Norwegian experts say an unusually large meteor was visible over large parts of southern Scandinavia and illuminated southeast Norway with a powerful flash of light for a few seconds as many observers were reported to also hear a roaring sound afterwards.

“The meteor appeared at 1:08 a.m. on the night of July 25 and was visible for approximately for 5 seconds,” said the network said, which had posted a video on the phenomenon on its Twitter site.

Sightings of meteors, space rocks that burn brightly after entering the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed, aren’t uncommon over Norway and the Norwegian Meteor Network has a number of cameras continuously monitoring the sky.

A meteor that survives passage to the ground is known as a meteorite.

Preliminary data suggested a meteorite may have hit Earth in a large forested area, Finnemarka, not far from Oslo, the Norwegian Meteor Network said.

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One in 10 young Black adults have contracted COVID-19 in Canada: survey – Montreal Gazette

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It’s almost three times as much as the general population.

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At least one in 10 young Black adults across Canada has reported contracting the coronavirus during the pandemic — a rate that is two and a half times that of the general population, a new survey has found.

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Researchers from McGill University and the Black Community Resource Centre of Montreal commissioned the Léger polling firm to conduct a national survey in January of 346 Black-identifying Canadians between the ages of 18 and 35. Most of the respondents of the online survey came from Ontario, 43 per cent, followed by Quebec at 35 per cent.

The survey sought to assess family and peer support among young Black adults during the twin crises of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement following the choking death of George Floyd by a police officer.

“Regarding participants’ experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic, 10 per cent reported having contracted the virus and 36 per cent reported that someone they knew personally had contracted the (coronavirus),” the study notes. “Furthermore, 36 per cent of participants reported being an essential worker — for example, nurses, physicians, psychologists, etc — and another 35 per cent reported that a family member was an essential worker.”

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Richard Koestner, one of the authors of the study and the director of the McGill Human Motivation Lab, said the 10-per-cent figure among Black Canadians is likely an under-estimate. The preprint of the study is under review by the Journal of Black Psychology.

To date, testing has confirmed COVID-19 in 3.75 per cent of the Canadian population, according to the latest government figures. In Quebec, the rate is 4.38 per cent.

The findings of the study add to a body of research that the pandemic has disproportionately harmed racialized communities around the world. Koestner and his colleagues alluded to U.S. research that found that COVID-19 infection rates in Black communities have been twice as high and death rates three times as high as the general population.

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“There is growing concern that racial and ethnic minority communities around the world are experiencing a disproportionate burden of morbidity and mortality from (COVID-19),” conclude the authors of a separate study that examined the impact of the pandemic on U.S. veterans.

And in a study released this month by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the authors renew calls for the collection of racial data not only to better study COVID-19 but to go “beyond the scope of the pandemic to identify disparities in health care and find solutions to minimize this gap.”

“Increased risk of COVID-19 infection has frequently been linked with socioeconomic factors such as poor housing and precarious employment,” the authors add. “The intersection of race, socioeconomic status and health is of particular importance to racialized persons, who consistently report higher rates of working poverty, below-standard housing and lower income.”

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Seeta Ramdass, a longtime patient-rights advocate in Montreal, noted that unconscious bias often creeps into health care. She cited as an example the pulse oximeter placed on a patient’s finger to detect oxygen saturation in the blood. Such devices are considered less accurate when measuring black and brown skin.

“The refusal and failure to collect sociocultural data is systemic racism,” Ramdass said. “By failing to acknowledge and to document the inequitable experiences of racialized and marginalized people, how can you even begin to put the corrective measures in place that will make society more inclusive and responsive toevery person of every community?”

  1. A new study looked into how the coronavirus pandemic affected Canada's Black population specifically.

    The grim impact of COVID-19 on Black Canadians

  2. As of mid-February, Quebec expects more than 700,000 vaccine doses over next seven weeks.

    Montreal groups to call for release of race-based COVID-19 data

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NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has discovered water vapor on Jupiter's ocean moon Ganymede for the first time – Yahoo News

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Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter and the largest moon in the Solar System, 2001. Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Astronomers have discovered evidence of water vapor in the atmosphere of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede for the first time.

Ganymede, the largest moon in the solar system, is covered in an icy crust. Scientists believe Ganymede may have a liquid ocean 100 miles beneath its surface, and that such an ocean could host aquatic alien life.

On Monday NASA announced that, by looking through the last two decades of data from the Hubble Space Telescope, researchers had discovered evidence of water vapor in the Jupiter moon’s thin atmosphere. This water probably doesn’t come from the underground ocean, though. Instead, it’s likely ice vaporizing from the moon’s surface.

Even though it doesn’t say much about the moon’s potential for alien life, this water vapor adds to scientists’ understanding of Ganymede’s atmosphere. Previously, they only knew that it contained oxygen.

“So far only the molecular oxygen had been observed,” Lorenz Roth of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, who led the team who found the vapor, told NASA. “This is produced when charged particles erode the ice surface.”

The research and datasets were published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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