Connect with us

Science

Canada's newest astronauts finish basic training at NASA in Texas – Canada.com

Published

 on



Canadian astronaut Jenni Sidey-Gibbons watches the launch of astronaut David Saint-Jacques for the international space station from Kazakhstan at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters Monday, December 3, 2018 in St. Hubert, Quebec. The two Albertans graduated Friday from NASA’s basic astronaut training, making them part of the next generation of space explorers hoping to return to Earth’s satellite and beyond.


Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS

It’s a small step toward the moon, but a giant leap for two Canadians.

Joshua Kudryk and Jenni Sidey-Gibbons graduated Friday along with 11 Americans from NASA’s basic astronaut training and will be part of the next generation of space explorers hoping to return to Earth’s satellite and beyond.

“We want to be part of the international collaboration that goes to the moon,” Sidey-Gibbons said in a phone interview from Houston. “My goal is to do that.”

Kudryk, 37, is from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., and Sidey-Gibbons, 31, is from Calgary. They have spent the last two years in Houston’s Johnson Space Centre, where they have studied everything from Russian to space-walking. There are at least another several years of training to come before either new astronaut gets a mission assignment.

Kudryk, a fighter test pilot and holder of three graduate degrees, said he can’t wait.

“I’m looking forward to carrying forward the torch of the Canadian space program. Considering our size, it has been immensely successful.”

That first look at Earth from above would be unforgettable, said Sidey-Gibbons, who holds a PhD in engineering and is a former lecturer at Cambridge University.

“Seeing Canada for the first time, looking back at the Earth, that is supposed to be a profound moment that is really life-changing. Being able to describe that to people and hopefully bring those photos back and share them with Canadians would be really special for me.”

The U.S. space program has committed to return to the moon by 2024 and perhaps set up a base there. It would serve as a platform for an eventual mission to Mars.

“It is happening,” Kudryk said. “Probably the best part of my job is working and getting to see that work being done every day.”

Canada, through the Lunar Gateway program, is part of that.

Both Canuck space travellers expect that the continuing space effort will spin off significant benefits for those remaining on Earth.

“The reason why we have that phone in our pocket is because of the miniaturization of electronics that began in the Apollo era,” said Sidey-Gibbons, referring to the U.S. effort that landed the first man on the moon in 1969.

“We solve problems in space that help us have better lives on Earth,” said Kudryk. “There are literally hundreds of experiments being done right now as we speak on the International Space Station that are specifically related to health care, to dealing with aging and diseases.”

Astronaut training is highly technical and physically draining. Sidey-Gibbons said the most valuable lesson she has learned is about humans.

“The most important thing I have learned is how to be an effective crew member. The communication and expeditionary skills the Canadian Space Agency and NASA have emphasized for us have been hugely helpful in learning how to live and work with other people.

“It’s been a priority of our class to have those skills and develop them together.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 10, 2020

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Guilt, grief and anxiety as young people fear for climate’s future

Published

 on

Overwhelmed, sad, guilty are some of the emotions young people say they feel when they think of  Climate Change and their concerns world leaders will fail to tackle it.

Broadly referred to as climate anxiety, research has stacked up to measure its prevalence ahead of the U.N. talks in Glasgow, which begin at the end of the month to thrash out how to put the 2015 Paris Agreement on curbing climate change into effect.

One of the biggest studies to date, funded by Avaaz, an online campaign network, and led by Britain’s University of Bath, surveyed 10,000 young people aged 16-25 years in 10 countries. It published its results in September.

It found around three quarters of those surveyed considered the future frightening, while a lack of action by governments and industry left 45% experiencing climate anxiety and distress that affected their daily lives and functioning.

Elouise Mayall, an ecology student at Britain’s University of East Anglia and member of the UK Youth Climate Coalition, told Reuters she had felt guilty and overwhelmed.

“What I’d be left with is maybe the sense of shame, like, ‘how dare you still want lovely things when the world is ending and you don’t even know if you’re going to have a safe world to grow old in’.”

She spoke of conflicting emotions.

“You might have sadness, there might be fear, there might be a kind of overwhelm,” she said. “And maybe even sometimes a quite like wild optimism.”

Caroline Hickman, a psychotherapist and lecturer at the University of Bath and one of the co-authors of the research published in September, is working to help young people manage climate-related emotions.

“They’re growing up with the grief and the fear and the anxiety about the future,” she told Reuters.

“SENSE OF MEANING”

London-based psychiatrist Alastair Santhouse sees climate change, as well as COVID-19, as potentially adding to the burden, especially for those pre-disposed to  anxiety .

For now, climate anxiety alone does not normally require psychiatric help. Painful as it is, it can be positive, provided it does not get out of control.

“Some anxiety about climate change is motivating. It’s just a question of how much anxiety is motivating and how much is unacceptable,” said Santhouse, author of a book that tackles how health services struggle to cope with complex mental issues.

“The worry is that as climate change sets in, there will be a more clear cut mental health impact,” he added.

Among some of the world’s communities that are already the most vulnerable, extreme weather events can also cause problems such as post traumatic stress disorder.

Leading climate campaigner Greta Thunberg, 18, has experienced severe climate anxiety.

“It’s a quite natural response, because, as you see, as the world is today, that no one seems to care about what’s happening, I think it’s only human to feel that way,” she said.

For now, however, she is hopeful because she is doing everything she possibly can.

“When you take action, you also get a sense of meaning that something is happening. If you want to get rid of that anxiety, you can take action against it,” she said.

 

(Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Alison Williams)

Continue Reading

Science

Rocket failure mars U.S. hypersonic weapon test as others succeed

Published

 on

The Pentagon ‘s hypersonic weapon programs suffered a setback on Thursday when a booster rocket carrying a hypersonic weapon failed, people briefed on the test result said.

The test was intended to validate aspects of one of the Pentagon’s hypersonic glide vehicles in development, two of the people said.

Hypersonic glide vehicles are launched from a rocket in the upper atmosphere before gliding to a target at speeds of more than five times the speed of sound, or about 3,853 miles (6,200 kilometers) per hour.

In a separate series of tests conducted on Wednesday, the U.S. Navy and Army tested hypersonic weapon component prototypes. That test successfully “demonstrated advanced hypersonic technologies, capabilities, and prototype systems in a realistic operating environment,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

The United States and its global rivals have quickened their pace to build hypersonic weapons – the next generation of arms that rob adversaries of reaction time and traditional defeat mechanisms.

U.S. President Joe Biden expressed concern on Wednesday about Chinese hypersonic missiles, days after a media report that Beijing had tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide weapon.

Glide bodies are different from their air-breathing hypersonic weapon cousins which use scramjet engine technology and the vehicle’s high speed to forcibly compress incoming air before combustion to enable sustained flight at hypersonic speeds. An air-breathing hypersonic weapon was successfully tested in September.

Companies such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies are working to develop the hypersonic weapon capability for the United States.

(Reporting by Mike Stone and Idrees Ali in Washington; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Continue Reading

Science

Patagonian fossils show Jurassic dinosaur had the herd mentality | Saltwire – SaltWire Network

Published

 on


By Will Dunham

(Reuters) – A vast trove of fossils unearthed in Argentina’s southern Patagonia region is offering the oldest-known evidence that some dinosaurs thrived in a complex and well-organized herd structure, with adults caring for the young and sharing a communal nesting ground.

Scientists said on Thursday the fossils include more than 100 dinosaur eggs and the bones of about 80 juveniles and adults of a Jurassic Period plant-eating species called Mussaurus patagonicus, including 20 remarkably complete skeletons. The animals experienced a mass-death event, probably caused by a drought, and their bodies were subsequently buried by wind-blown dust, the researchers said.

“It is a pretty dramatic scene from 193 million years ago that was frozen in time,” said paleontologist Diego Pol of the Egidio Feruglio Paleontological Museum in Trelew, Argentina, who led the research published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Mussaurus, which grew to about 20 feet (6 meters) long and about 1.5 tons, possessed a long neck and tail, with a small head. It was bipedal as an adult but newborns were quadrupedal. Mussaurus lived early in the Jurassic, the second of three periods comprising the age of dinosaurs. It was a relatively large beast for its time – much bigger than contemporaneous meat-eating dinosaurs. Dinosaurs became true giants later in the Jurassic.

“The site is one of a kind,” Pol said. “It preserves a dinosaur nesting ground including delicate and tiny dinosaur skeletons as well as eggs with embryos inside. The specimens we have found showed that herd behavior was present in long-necked dinosaurs since their early history. These were social animals, and we think this may be an important factor to explain their success.”

The animals were found to have been grouped by age at the time of their deaths, with hatchlings and eggs in one area while skeletons of juveniles were clustered nearby. The eggs were arranged in layers within trenches. Adults were found alone or in pairs.

This phenomenon, called “age segregation,” signals a complex social structure, the researchers said, including adults that foraged for meals and cared for the young. The researchers suspect that members of the herd returned to the same spot during successive seasons to form breeding colonies.

“The young were staying with the adults at least until they reached adulthood. It could be that they stayed in the same herd after reaching adulthood, but we don’t have information to corroborate that hypothesis,” said paleontologist and study co-author Vincent Fernandez of the Natural History Museum in London.

Herd behavior also can protect young and vulnerable individuals from attack by predators.

“It’s a strategy for the survival of a species,” Fernandez said.

The oldest previous evidence for dinosaur herd behavior was from about 150 million years ago.

The nesting ground was situated on the dry margins of a lake featuring ferns and conifers in a warm but seasonal climate. The eggs are about the size of a chicken’s, and the skeleton of a hatchling fits in the palm of a human hand. The adults got as heavy as a hippo.

A scanning method called high-resolution X-ray computed tomography confirmed that the embryos inside the eggs indeed were of Mussaurus.

Mussaurus was a type of dinosaur called a sauropodomorph, which represented the first great success story among herbivorous dinosaurs. Sauropodomorphs were an evolutionary forerunner to a group called sauropods known for long necks and tails and four pillar-like legs.

The largest land animals in Earth’s history were the sauropod successors of sauropodomorphs, as exemplified by a later denizen of Patagonia called Argentinosaurus that reached perhaps 118 feet (36 meters) in length and upwards of 70 tons.

(Reporting by Will Dunham in Washington, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending