Agence France-PresseSep 28, 2020 10:50:29 IST
As the US prepares to return humans to the Moon this decade, one of the biggest dangers future astronauts will face is space radiation that can cause lasting health effects, from cataracts to cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
Though the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s proved it was safe for people to spend a few days on the lunar surface, NASA did not take daily radiation measurements that would help scientists quantify just how long crews could stay.
This question was resolved Friday after a Chinese-German team published in the journal Science Advances the results of an experiment carried out by China’s Chang’E 4 lander in 2019.
“The radiation of the Moon is between two and three times higher than what you have on the ISS (International Space Station),” co-author Robert Wimmer-Schweingruber, an astrophysicist at the University of Kiel told AFP.
“So that limits your stay to approximately two months on the surface of the Moon,” he added, once the radiation exposure from the roughly week-long journey there, and week back, is taken into account.
There are several sources of radiation exposure: galactic cosmic rays, sporadic solar particle events (for example from solar flares), and neutrons and gamma rays from interactions between space radiation and the lunar soil.
Radiation is measured using the unit sievert, which quantifies the amount absorbed by human tissues.
The team found that the radiation exposure on the Moon is 1,369 microsieverts per day – about 2.6 times higher than the International Space Station crew’s daily dose.
The reason for this is that the ISS is still partly shielded by the Earth’s protective magnetic bubble, called the magnetosphere, which deflects most radiation from space.
Earth’s atmosphere provides additional protection for humans on the surface, but we are more exposed the higher up we go.
“The radiation levels we measured on the Moon are about 200 times higher than on the surface of the Earth and five to 10 times higher than on a flight from New York to Frankfurt,” added Wimmer-Schweingruber.
NASA is planning to bring humans to the Moon by 2024 under the Artemis mission and has said it has plans for a long term presence that would include astronauts working and living on the surface.
For Wimmer-Schweingruber there is one work-around if we want humans to spend more than two or three months: build habitats that are shielded from radiation by coating them with 80 centimeters (30 inches) of lunar soil.
Asteroid samples successfully sealed in capsule to return to Earth, NASA says – Barrie 360 – Barrie 360
William Harwood – CBS News
An estimated two pounds or more of rock and soil collected from the asteroid Bennu by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft have been successfully sealed up in a protective re-entry capsule for return to Earth in 2023, project managers said Thursday.
While detailed hands-on analysis cannot begin until the samples are returned, scientists have already gained insights into the flaky nature of Bennu’s soil, or regolith, by watching how it behaved when the rocks and soil were collected on October 20.
And that is already feeding into discussions about how to possibly one day divert a threatening asteroid from a collision with Earth.
“The OSIRIS-REx mission has collected a phenomenal data set about asteroid Bennu, which is a potentially hazardous asteroid with approximately (a) 1-in-2,700 chance of impacting the Earth late in the 22nd century,” said Dante Lauretta, the mission’s principal investigator.
“The biggest uncertainties on the mission where the response of the regolith to the TAGSAM (sample collector) pressing down onto the surface. And I know already different groups within NASA and other agencies have been able to use our data set for scenarios of the kind that you’re describing.”
Said Lori Glaze, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters: “I think this information is going to be incredibly important as we think about how to mitigate future potential impacts from these potentially hazardous objects.”
But the primary goal of the OSIRIS-REx mission was to collect a minimum of 60 grams — 1.1 ounces — of rock and soil from Bennu, and the spacecraft appears to have far exceeded that modest requirement.
During a dramatic touch-and-go impact October 20, the spacecraft slowly descended to the surface of Bennu, pressing its TAGSAM collector down onto the soil as compressed nitrogen gas was released, stirring up a blizzard of rocks and fine-grained particles.
The collector was designed so the gas would drive small particles into internal chambers, capturing them for return to Earth. In fact, the TAGSAM captured so much material a flap intended to seal the material inside the collector was jammed open by a rock fragment, allowing small fragments to escape.
As a result, mission managers opted to stow the collector well ahead of schedule, foregoing plans to “weigh” the collected samples by slowly spinning the spacecraft and carefully analyzing its motion compared to earlier measurements when the sample collector was empty.
But with soil and small rock fragments working their way out of the collector, time was of the essence. Earlier this week, flight controllers carried out a 36-hour procedure to reposition OSIRIS-REx’s robot arm so the TAGSAM collector on the far end could be stowed and sealed inside a protective capsule.
If all goes well, OSIRIS-REx will begin the two-year trip back to Earth next spring. The sample capsule will be released in September 2023 for a parachute descent to Utah where recovery crews will be waiting to rush the material to a lab at the Johnson Space Center for initial analysis.
Because mission managers decided not to attempt weighing the collected samples, they do not know for sure how much material was captured. But based on the amount visible to OSIRIS-REx’s cameras, Lauretta said he is confident at last two pounds or rock and soil were scooped up as the TAGSAM pressed into and blow Bennu’s surface.
“There was very little resistance to the spacecraft’s downward motion from the asteroid regolith,” he said. “And so we were continuing to penetrate and burrow underneath the subsurface of the asteroid while the TAGSAM gas was being injected into the regolith.
“Current assessments are that we penetrated a minimum of 24 centimeters (9.4 inches) … and possibly as deep as over 48 centimeters (18.9 inches) with TAGSAM gas firing and collecting and driving material into the collection chamber during that entire time. So we are highly confident … the TAGSAM was was full to capacity.”
Even though a few “tens of grams” of material managed to float free of the sample collector before it could be stowed, Lauretta said he believes “we still have hundreds of grams of material in the sample collector head, probably over a kilogram easily.”
“But of course, we have to wait till 2023 to open up the TAGSAM and be sure.”
banner image via NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin
What you need to know about the rare Halloween full moon – Global News
This will be the first time a full moon has fallen on Halloween since 1974 and it won’t happen again until 2039, but there are a few other reasons why this October full moon will be extra spooky.
“You could call it a Boo-Blue-Super Mini-Hunter Full Moon,” said Rick Stankiewicz, publicity director for the Peterborough Astronomical Association.
Here is why Stankiewicz might say that:
- Boo: Full moon falls on Halloween
- Blue: Second full moon in the month.
- Super Mini: Furthest from Earth and appearing as the smallest full moon of 2020. The apogee — that is, when the moon’s orbit takes it furthest from Earth — technically occurs on Oct. 30, when the Moon will be 406,394 km away.
- Hunter Moon: The full moon that follows the Harvest Moon (Oct. 1, 2020), which is always the first Full Moon closest to the Fall Equinox. The Hunter Full Moon will usually be in October or November.
Stankiewicz said the blue moon part of the name is a bit deceiving. “It won’t look blue,” he said. “At moonrise, 6:24 p.m., it might look yellowish or orange if we are lucky.”
A rare blue moon will light up the sky on Halloween
He said the best time to see the Moon is shortly after moonrise, low in the eastern sky. That’s because it will be closer to the horizon. “The Moon will look a little bigger then,” he said. “The odds of having a hint of colour is always better when it is near the horizon because of the atmosphere it has to shine through.”
If you miss the view this time around, you’ll have to wait until 2039 to see it again.
“It is not the rarest celestial event because it does repeat itself every 19 years,” Stankiewicz said. “But let’s face it, there are lots of ‘stars aligning’ for all these moon-types to be coming together on a Halloween night.”
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
NASA plans to send a mission to an asteroid that is… – AlKhaleej Today
Dr. Tracy Baker, planetary researcher at the Southwest Research Institute, said, “We have seen meteorites, most of them metal, but 16 Psyche It might be unique in that it is an asteroid made entirely of iron and nickel in that planet Earth is a metal core, cap, and crust and it is possible that during the formation of a first planet with one another object collided in our solar system and lost its mantle and shell.
Experts predict that iron alone accounts for 16% Psyche It could be worth $ 10,000 quadrillion – if it could be brought to earth for comparison, the global economy was valued at $ 80,934,771,028,340 (£ 62,388,972,921,051.02) in 2017.
This means the asteroid could be worth 123,556.29 times the economy Global news In 2017 she said Lindy Elkins-Tanton NASA mission senior scientist and director of the College of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University: “Even if we could take a big coin and move back here, what would you do?” Could you sit down and hide it and the Control global resources as diamonds are institutionally controlled – and protect your market? What if you decide to return it one more time and solve mankind’s mineral resource problems at any time? It is clear that this is wild speculation.
NASA plans to visit the asteroid in 2022 in hopes of understanding how terrestrial planets like Earth first formed.
The spacecraft is scheduled to launch in 2022 before it reaches orbit Psyche In 2026, to orbit the asteroid for 21 months, map and study properties PsycheBefore they send their results back to Earth.
And NASA stated, “In the depths of the rocky and terrestrial planets – including the Earth – scientists infer the presence of metal cores, but these are far fetched under the rocky crusts of the planets and since we cannot see the heart of the planets Earth or measure it directly, Psyche It provides a unique window into the violent history of collisions and agglomerations that created the planets of the earth. ”
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