When you need a robotic arm in space, you call in the experts. Over the past several decades, the Canadian Space Agency has expertly provided robotic arms for the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. And now it will build the next-generation of robotic systems for going to the Moon, called Canadarm3.
The CSA says the new robotic arm will be Canada’s contribution to the Lunar Gateway for NASA’s Artemis program, which is becoming the next major international collaboration in human space exploration. CSA leaders add that this is another important step forward in the country’s participation in the next chapter of Moon exploration.
“Canada will continue to push the boundaries of human ambition in space exploration, and inspire generations of kids – and adults – to always aim higher and aspire to something greater,” said Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “Our commitment to contribute Canadarm3 to the Lunar Gateway will generate high-quality jobs and economic benefits for Canadians while ensuring that our space industry continues to lead and grow.”
Canadarm3 will be composed of several parts, including a large, 8.5-meter (28 feet) arm and a smaller, more dexterous arm, each with a set of detachable tools.
The main tasks of the arms will be to maintain, repair and inspect the Gateway as well as capturing visiting vehicles, relocating modules, assisting astronauts during spacewalks and enabling science both in lunar orbit and on the surface of the Moon, conducting research and experiments that can’t be done on Earth.
Each end of Canadarm3’s arms will be able to attach to the Gateway using specially designed interfaces on the Gateway’s exterior. Like robotic inchworms, each anchoring “hand” will plug into an interface that supplies power, data, and video connections. These interfaces will also allow the large and small arms to work together to accomplish tasks, and will help store tools when not in use.
The smaller arm will be equipped to transfer mission-critical material between the interior and the exterior of the space station. Also, the small arm will be able to help repair the larger arm in space if necessary. Therefore, Canadarm3 will be able to maintain itself in space – swapping out parts and keeping itself constantly ready to perform precise operations.
Like the Canadarm2 on the ISS, the new arms will have seven degrees of freedom, very similar to the movements of a human arm, with three joints in the shoulder, one joint in the elbow and three joints in the wrist. Each joint will be able to rotate almost 360 degrees.
The prime contractor for the new arm is MacDonald, Dettwiler, and Associates, Inc. (MDA), but hundreds of Canadian companies are expected to be involved in the development of Canadarm3.
Canadarm was the first Canadian robotic arm to go to space and was first tested and used on the space shuttle in 1981. Canadarm2 has been nobly servicing the International Space Station since 2001.
White-throated sparrows have changed their tune, BC study unveils – Terrace Standard
White-throated sparrows are changing their tune — an unprecedented development scientists say has caused them to sit up and take note.
Ken Otter, a biology professor at the University of Northern British Columbia, whose paper on the phenomenon was published on Thursday, said most bird species are slow to change their songs, preferring to stick with tried-and-true tunes to defend territories and attract females.
But the shift to this new tune went viral across Canada, travelling over 3,000 kilometres between 2000 and 2019 and wiping out a historic song ending in the process, he said.
“The song is always described as being ‘Oh My Sweet Canada Canada Canada Canada — so that Canada is three syllables. It’s a da-da-da, da-da-da, da-da-da, da-da-da sound. That’s the traditional description of the song going back into early 1900s,” Otter said in an interview Wednesday.
But now, the song has changed.
“The doublet sounds like Oh My Sweet Cana-Cana-Cana-da. They are stuttering and repeating the first two syllables and they are doing it very rapidly. It sounds very different.”
From British Columbia to central Ontario, these native birds have ditched their traditional three-note-ending song for a two-note-ending variant, he said, adding researchers still don’t know what has made the new tune so compelling.
Otter drew a comparison to people picking up the accent, phrases and pneumonics of a new area they move into.
“This is actually the opposite,” he said.
Male sparrows are showing up singing atypical songs but then others are starting to adopt that, and over time the dialect is actually changing within that site to the new type and replacing the old tune, he said.
“So it’s like somebody from Australia arriving in Toronto and people saying, ‘hey, that sounds really cool,’ mimicking an Australian accent and then after 10 years everybody in Toronto has an Australian accent,” he said.
“That’s why, at least within the scientific community, it’s getting so much interest. It is completely atypical to what you would predict around all the theories that you have about dialects.”
Otter and a team of citizen scientists have found that the new tune is not just more popular west of the Rocky Mountains, but was also spreading rapidly across Canada.
“Originally, we measured the dialect boundaries in 2004 and it stopped about halfway through Alberta,” he said in a news release.
“By 2014, every bird we recorded in Alberta was singing this western dialect, and we started to see it appearing in populations as far away as Ontario, which is 3,000 kilometres from us.”
The scientists predicted that the sparrows’ overwintering grounds were playing a role in the rapid spread of the two-note ending, he said.
Scientists believed that juvenile males may be able to pick up new song types if they overwinter with birds from other dialect areas, and take them to new locations when they return to breeding grounds, which could explain the spread, he said.
So they fitted the birds with geolocators — what Otter called “tiny backpacks” — to see if western sparrows that knew the new song might share overwintering grounds with eastern populations that would later adopt it.
“They found that they did,” he said in the release.
Otter said he does not know what has caused the change, and his team found that the new song didn’t give male birds a territorial advantage over others.
“In many previous studies, the females tend to prefer whatever the local song type is,” he said.
“But in white-throated sparrows, we might find a situation in which the females actually like songs that aren’t typical in their environment. If that’s the case, there’s a big advantage to any male who can sing a new song type.”
The new song can be chalked up to evolution, he said in the interview.
Otter said he prefers the two-note song because it sounds smoother.
“But I’m not a sparrow so it doesn’t really matter which one I prefer,” he said with a laugh.
But the tune may be continuing to change, he said adding scientists were supposed to study it this year but COVID-19 has put a damper on the field season.
“The two note is not the be all and end all because in the last five years we noticed a male that was singing something slightly different than the standard two note doublet song,” Otter said.
“And when we recorded it we noticed he was modifying the amplitude of the first note. And more of them are doing it now. We could be seeing waves of these things that we just never noticed before.”
Hina Alam, The Canadian Press
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Full buck moon with a lunar eclipse visible this weekend – BC News – Castanet.net
British Columbians were treated to a glorious full Strawberry Moon this June, but they’ll have the opportunity to view a magnificent full Buck Moon this July in addition to a lunar eclipse.
Named after the time of year when young bucks begin to grow new antlers from their foreheads, the July full moon marks a time of renewal. The full Buck Moon will be at its fullest on July 4.
As the full moon increases in fullness, British Columbians will also be able to view a “penumbral lunar eclipse.” Timeanddate.com explains is set to begin July 4 at 8:07 p.m. but that it won’t be directly visible at that time.
At 9:22 p.m., “it will be rising but the the combination of a very low moon and the total eclipse phase will make the moon so dim that it will be extremely difficult to view until moon gets higher in the sky or the total phase ends.”
The moon will be closest to the centre of shadow at 9:29 p.m. (-0.644 Magnitude). It will end at 10:52 p.m.
During this penumbral lunar eclipse, the Earth’s main shadow does not cover the Moon.
How to watch the Fourth of July weekend's "buck moon" lunar eclipse – CBS News
Fourth of July celebrations look a little bit different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but skywatchers are still in for a special Independence Day treat. The weekend brings not only a full moon, but also a lunar eclipse.
The “buck moon” lunar eclipse will be visible the night of July 4 into the morning of July 5. Viewers across most of North and South America, as well as parts of southwestern Europe and Africa, will be able to spot the celestial phenomenon.
The event will be a penumbral eclipse, not a total lunar eclipse, meaning part of the moon will pass through the outer part of Earth’s shadow.
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, July’s full moon is called the “buck moon,” because early summer is when male deer grow new antlers. It’s also called the thunder moon — because of summer storms that occur in July — the guru moon and the hay moon.
According to NASA, the full moon will peak early Sunday morning, at 12:30 a.m. EDT. At that time, about 35% of the moon will be in the partial shadow.
The full moon peaks just a few minutes later, appearing opposite the sun at 12:44 a.m. EDT. However, it will appear full all weekend, from Friday evening into Monday morning.
Clear skies will reveal the moon in all its glory, but moon gazers may need the help of a telescope or binoculars for the full effect. It’s also possible the events could be overshadowed by Fourth of July fireworks across the U.S. — despitefrom officials.
Not only does the Fourth of July weekend mark a full moon and lunar eclipse, it also highlights the closest grouping of Saturn, Jupiter and the moon, forming a triangle of celestial celebration.
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