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China's Long March 4B rocket booster explodes and crashes into town – Daily Mail

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China’s Long March 4B rocket booster explodes into a massive cloud of orange smoke after crashing into a nearby town and narrowly missing a school

  • China launched its Long March 4B rocket carrying a satellite into orbit Monday
  • Shortly after the launch, the rocket booster was spotted falling back to Earth
  • The booster veered off course and headed towards a nearby town
  • Just missing a school, the craft crashed and exploded into a massive cloud 

China launched its Long March 4B rocket Monday, sending an Earth observation satellite to orbit – but the booster’s return was not so successful.

Footage released after the launch shows the booster falling back to Earth, narrowly missing a school, before crashing and exploding in a nearby town.

The horrifying scene was captured near the Lilong village, Gaoyao Town in the Luonan county of Shaanxi province and the video surfaced on the Chinese social media site Weibo.

The booster was seen quickly falling from space, with bystanders yelling in the background after realized it had traveled off path and was heading towards a school.

China launched its Long March 4B rocket Monday, sending an Earth observation satellite to orbit - but the booster’s return was not so successful. Footage released after the launch shows the booster falling back to Earth, narrowly missing a school, before crashing and exploding in a nearby town

China launched its Long March 4B rocket Monday, sending an Earth observation satellite to orbit – but the booster’s return was not so successful. Footage released after the launch shows the booster falling back to Earth, narrowly missing a school, before crashing and exploding in a nearby town

China launched its remote sensing satellite, called Gaofen-11 (2), Monday morning, which will be used in land census, urban planning, road network design, crop estimation and disaster prevention, Space.com reported.

The satellite joins China’s High-resolution Earth Observation System, which began in 2010 and launched the first device in 2013.

China has kept a tight lid on its satellite constellation, but footage of the first Gaofen 11 in 2018 and previous footage suggests these specific technologies are part of a larger aperture telescope used to observe Earth.

And although Gaofen-11 (2) made its way to orbit, the Long Marc 4B rocket booster that took it there had a hard time returning home.

The horrifying scene was captured near the Lilong village, Gaoyao Town in the Luonan county of Shaanxi province and the video surfaced on the Chinese social media site Weibo

The horrifying scene was captured near the Lilong village, Gaoyao Town in the Luonan county of Shaanxi province and the video surfaced on the Chinese social media site Weibo

The horrifying scene was captured near the Lilong village, Gaoyao Town in the Luonan county of Shaanxi province and the video surfaced on the Chinese social media site Weibo

Footage surfaced shortly after the launch of the failing booster, which instantly exploded into a massive orange cloud after making a crash landing.

The video shows the booster off in a distance and bystanders watching who begin shouting once they see it is headed towards a nearby school.

The clip then shows a view from inside the town, with a massive orange and yellow cloud in the background – the booster luckily missed the school.

Although no injury reports have surfaced, the Long March 4B first stage is fuled with a toxic mixture of hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide that can causes serious health problems for those who come in contact with the concoction.

Footage surfaced shortly after the launch of the failing booster, which instantly exploded into a massive orange cloud after making a crash landing

Footage surfaced shortly after the launch of the failing booster, which instantly exploded into a massive orange cloud after making a crash landing

The rocket exploded into pieces once it crashed into the nearby town

The rocket exploded into pieces once it crashed into the nearby town

Footage surfaced shortly after the launch of the failing booster, which instantly exploded into a massive orange cloud after making a crash landing

Although this launch was not a complete success, China completed a separate one of Friday that took off without any problems

The country set off a reusable experimental spacecraft aboard its Long March 2-F carrier into orbit from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwestern Chinese region Inner Mongolia, reported state media Xinhua, without specifying the time of the launch.

No images of the spacecraft or its lift-off have yet to be released. Staff and visitors at the launch site were prevented from filming or discussing the project online, according to reports.

The reusable experimental spacecraft is currently in orbit and testing ‘reusable technologies during its flight, providing technological support for the peaceful use of space’, said Xinhua.

It is scheduled to return to a Chinese landing site at an unspecified date.

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Salty ponds found on Mars suggest stronger prospect of life on red planet, scientists say – CBC.ca

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A network of salty ponds may be gurgling beneath the South Pole on Mars, alongside a large underground lake, raising the prospect of tiny, swimming Martian life.

Italian scientists reported their findings Monday, two years after identifying what they believed to be a large buried lake. They widened their coverage area by a couple hundred miles, using even more data from a radar sounder on the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter.

In the latest study appearing in the journal Nature Astronomy, the scientists provide further evidence of this salty underground lake, estimated to be 20 to 30 kilometres across and buried 1.5 kilometres beneath the icy surface.

Even more tantalizing, they’ve also identified three smaller bodies of water surrounding the lake. These ponds appear to be of various sizes and are separate from the main lake.

Roughly four billion years ago, Mars was warm and wet, like Earth. But the red planet eventually morphed into the barren, dry world it is today.

The research team led by Roma Tre University’s Sebastian Emanuel Lauro used a method similar to those used on Earth to detect buried lakes in the Antarctic and Canadian Arctic. They based their findings on more than 100 radar observations by Mars Express from 2010 to 2019; the spacecraft was launched in 2003.

All this potential water raises the possibility of microbial life on — or inside — Mars. High concentrations of salt are likely keeping the water from freezing at this frigid location, the scientists noted. The surface temperature at the South Pole is an estimated -113 degrees C and gets gradually warmer with depth.

These bodies of water are potentially interesting biologically and the researchers wrote that “future missions to Mars should target this region.” 

Earlier this year, a new computer model by NASA scientists lent further support to the theory that the ocean beneath the thick, icy crust of Jupiter’s moon Europa could be habitable.

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Salty lake, ponds may be gurgling beneath South Pole on Mars – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press


Published Monday, September 28, 2020 7:46PM EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – A network of salty ponds may be gurgling beneath Mars’ South Pole alongside a large underground lake, raising the prospect of tiny, swimming Martian life.

Italian scientists reported their findings Monday, two years after identifying what they believed to be a large buried lake. They widened their coverage area by a couple hundred miles, using even more data from a radar sounder on the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter.

In the latest study appearing in the journal Nature Astronomy, the scientists provide further evidence of this salty underground lake, estimated to be 12 miles to 18 miles (20 kilometres to 30 kilometres) across and buried 1 mile (1.5 kilometres) beneath the icy surface.

Even more tantalizing, they’ve also identified three smaller bodies of water surrounding the lake. These ponds appear to be of various sizes and are separate from the main lake.

Roughly 4 billion years ago, Mars was warm and wet, like Earth. But the red planet eventually morphed into the barren, dry world it remains today.

The research team led by Roma Tre University’s Sebastian Emanuel Lauro used a method similar to what’s been used on Earth to detect buried lakes in the Antarctic and Canadian Arctic. They based their findings on more than 100 radar observations by Mars Express from 2010 to 2019; the spacecraft was launched in 2003.

All this potential water raises the possibility of microbial life on – or inside – Mars. High concentrations of salt are likely keeping the water from freezing at this frigid location, the scientists noted. The surface temperature at the South Pole is an estimated minus 172 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 113 degrees Celsius), and gets gradually warmer with depth.

These bodies of water are potentially interesting biologically and “future missions to Mars should target this region,” the researchers wrote.

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Another look at possible under-ice lakes on Mars: They’re still there – Ars Technica

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In recent decades, we’ve become aware of lots of water on Earth that’s deep under ice. In some cases, we’ve watched this water nervously, as it’s deep underneath ice sheets, where it could lubricate the sheets’ slide into the sea. But we’ve also discovered lakes that have been trapped under ice near the poles, possibly for millions of years, raising the prospect that they could harbor ancient ecosystems.

Now, researchers are applying some of the same techniques that we’ve used to find those under-ice lakes to data from Mars. And the results support an earlier claim that there are bodies of water trapped under the polar ice of the red planet.

Spotting liquids from orbit

Mars clearly has extensive water locked away in the forum of ice, and some of it cycles through the atmosphere as orbital cycles make one pole or the other a bit warmer. But there’s not going to be pure liquid water on Mars—the temperatures just aren’t high enough for very long, and the atmospheric pressures are far too low to keep any liquid water from boiling off into the atmosphere.

Calculations suggest, however, that liquid water is possible on Mars—just not on the surface. With enough dissolved salts, a water-rich brine could remain liquid at the temperatures prevalent on Mars—even in the polar areas. And if it’s trapped under the Martian surface, there might be enough pressure to keep it liquid despite the thin atmosphere. That surface could be Martian soil, and people are thinking about that possibility. But the surface could also be one of the ice sheets we’ve spotted on Mars.

That possibility helped motivate the design of the MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding) on the Mars Express orbiter. MARSIS is a radar device that uses wavelengths that water ice is transparent to. As a result, most of the photons that come back to the instrument are reflected by the interface between ice and something else: the atmosphere, the underlying bedrock, and potentially any interface between the ice and a liquid brine underneath it.

And that’s what the original results, published in 2018, seemed to indicate. In an area called Ultimi Scopuli near Mars’ south pole. The researchers saw a bright reflection, distinct from the one caused by the underlying bedrock, at some specific locations under the ice. And they interpreted this as indicating a boundary between ice and some liquid brines.

Now with more data

Two things have changed since those earlier results were done. One is that Mars Express has continued to pass over Mars’ polar regions, generating even more data for analysis. The second is that studies of ice-covered lakes on Earth have also advanced, with new ones identified from orbit using similar data. So some of the team behind the original work decided it was time to revisit the ice sheets at Ultimi Scopuli.

The analysis involves looking at details of the photons reflected back to the MARSIS instrument from a 250 x 300 square kilometer area. One aspect of that is the basic reflectivity of the different layers that can be discerned from the data. Other aspects of the signal can tell us about how smooth the surface of the reflective boundaries are and whether the nature of the boundary changes suddenly.

For example, the transition from an ice-bedrock boundary to an ice-brine one would cause a sudden shift from a relatively weak, uneven signal to a brighter and smoother one.

The researchers generated separate maps of the intensity and the smoothness of the signal and found that the maps largely overlapped, giving them confidence that they were identifying real transitions in the surfaces. A separate measure of the material (called permittivity) showed that it was high in the same location.

Overall, the researchers found that the largest area that’s likely to have water under the ice as about 20 by 30 kilometers. And it’s separated by bedrock features from a number of similar but smaller bodies. Calling these bodies “lakes” is speculative, given that we have no idea how deep they are. But the data certainly is consistent with some sort of under-ice feature—even if we use the standards of detection that have been used for under-ice lakes on Earth.

How did that get there?

The obvious question following the assumption that these bodies are filled with a watery brine is how that much liquid ended up there. We know that these salty solutions can stay liquid at temperatures far below the freezing point. But the conditions on Mars are such that most of minimum temperatures for water to remain liquid are right at the edge of the possible conditions at the site of the polar ice sheets. So some people have suggested geological activity as a possible source of heat to keep things liquid.

That’s not necessarily as unlikely as it may sound. Some groups have proposed that some features indicate that there was magma on the surface of Mars as recently as recently as 2 million years ago. But the researchers here argue that if things are on the edge of working under current climate conditions, there’s no need to resort to anything exceptional.

Instead, they suggest that the sorts of salts we already know are present on Mars can absorb water vapor out of the thin Martian atmosphere. Once formed, these can remain liquid down to 150 Kelvin, when the local temperatures at Ultimi Scopuli are likely to be in the area of 160 Kelvin and increase with depth.

And if that’s true, there could be liquid in many more locations at Mars’ poles. Not all of them are as amenable to orbital imaging as Ultimi Scopuli, but it’s a safe bet that this team will try to find additional ones.

Nature Astronomy, 2020. DOI: 10.1038/s41550-020-1200-6 (About DOIs).

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