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French Scientist Apologises After 'James Webb Image' Revealed As Chorizo – NDTV





Picture shows a fiery red ball with light spots shining in a pitch-black background.

A French scientist who tweeted a picture of a slice of chorizo and claimed it was an image of a far-off star acquired by the James Webb Space Telescope has issued an apology.


The image of the spicy Spanish sausage was shared by prominent French physicist named Etienne Klein on Twitter on July 31 claiming that it was the most recent image captured by American Space Agency NASA’s James Webb Telescope. Mr Klein is the director at France’s Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission.

While sharing the image, he wrote, “Photo of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, located 4.2 light years from us. It was taken by the JWST. This level of detail… A new world is revealed day after day.”

The image that went viral on social media resembled a fiery red ball with light spots that were shining in a terrifying manner on a pitch-black background. Mr Klien has more than 93,000 followers.

The post received more than 15,000 likes and over 2,000 retweets. Some Twitter users ddi not fall for the scientist’s joke and flooded the comment section with remarks.

“Stop lying to us! It’s a slice of chorizo! I love conspiracy… Suuuuper,” wrote a user.

Another said, “Flat Earthers are going to develop a new theory. The stars are actually chorizo.”

Mr Klien later admitted that the image is indeed that of a sausage. “Well, when it’s time for the aperitif, cognitive biases seem to have a field day… Beware, then, of them. According to contemporary cosmology, no object belonging to Spanish charcuterie exists anywhere but on Earth.”

“In view of some comments, I feel compelled to clarify that this tweet showing an alleged snapshot of Proxima Centauri was a form of amusement. Let us learn to be wary of arguments from authority as much as of the spontaneous eloquence of certain images,” he added.

Later on Thursday, the scientist took to Twitter to write an apology. “I come to present my apologies to those whom my hoax, which had nothing original about it, may have shocked.”

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lunar landing: U.S. spacecraft enters orbit around moon




A private U.S. lunar lander reached the moon and eased into a low orbit Wednesday, a day before it will attempt an even greater feat — landing on the gray, dusty surface.

A smooth touchdown would put the U.S. back in business on the moon for the first time since NASA astronauts closed out the Apollo program in 1972. The company, if successful, also would become the first private outfit to ace a moon landing.

Launched last week, Intuitive Machines’ lander fired its engine on the back side of the moon while out of contact with Earth. Flight controllers at the company’s Houston headquarters had to wait until the spacecraft emerged to learn whether the lander was in orbit or hurtling aimlessly away.


Intuitive Machines confirmed its lander, nicknamed Odysseus, was circling the moon with experiments from NASA and other clients. The lander is part of a NASA program to kickstart the lunar economy; the space agency is paying $118 million to get its experiments on the moon on this mission.

On Thursday, controllers will lower the orbit from just under 60 miles (92 kilometres) to 6 miles (10 kilometeres) — a crucial maneuver occurring again on the moon’s far side — before aiming for a touchdown near the moon’s south pole. It’s a dicey place to land with all the craters and cliffs, but deemed prime real estate for astronauts since the permanently shadowed craters are believed to hold frozen water.

The moon is littered with wreckage from failed landings. Some missions never even got that far. Another U.S. company — Astrobotic Technology — tried to send a lander to the moon last month, but it didn’t get there because of a fuel leak.

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Satellite ERS-2 falling towards reentry to Earth Wednesday: ESA



After spending over a decade on a mission in space, a now-defunct satellite is projected to return to Earth on Wednesday.

ERS-2, one of the European Space Agency’s first advanced Earth observing satellites, will make a “natural” reentry after staying in space for 16 years.

Live updates from ESA

According to live updates from the ESA, the agency predicts the reentry will occur at 12:05 p.m. EST, with an uncertainty of plus-or-minus 30 minutes, but we are now passed the center of the reentry window.

ERS-2 launched in 1995 and was initially planned to serve the ESA for three years. However, it remained in operation until 2011, providing data for over 5,000 projects, including tracking Earth’s shrinking polar ice, sea levels and atmospheric make-up.


The majority of the 2.5 ton satellite will disintegrate in Earth’s atmosphere, according to the agency. Remaining debris is likely to land in a body of water, though the agency does not have a prediction on where it will land.

Graphics:A dead satellite will crash back to Earth this Wednesday. What to know.

Where will the satellite reenter?

In its latest update, the ESA identified a projected reentry point roughly 50 miles over the Pacific Ocean. Upon reentry, the ESA predicts the satellite will begin to break up and the majority of it will burn, with any remaining pieces to be spread out “somewhat randomly” over a span of hundreds of kilometers (1 kilometer = 0.62 miles).

The ESA stresses the point of reentry is not certain due to the difficulty of forecasting the density of air through which the object is passing.

How ERS-2 spent its time in space

The space agency used the satellite to track the Earth’s decreasing polar ice, shifting land masses, rising sea levels, warming oceans and changing atmospheric chemistry. Since the satellite’s retirement, the agency has been slowly lowering its altitude.

An infographic detailing the reentry of ERS-2

Contributing: James Powel, USA TODAY staff

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Space debris: 'Grandfather satellite' due to fall to Earth – Yahoo News Canada



Artwork: Europe’s Earth Remote Sensing satellites weighed about 2.5 tonnes at launch

A pioneering European satellite is due to fall to Earth in the coming hours.

ERS-2 was a cutting-edge observation platform when it launched in 1995, forging technologies that are now used routinely to monitor the planet.

It’s been gradually descending since ending operations in 2011 and will take an uncontrolled, fiery plunge into the atmosphere some time on Wednesday.


The European Space Agency (Esa) says most of the two-tonne satellite will burn up on the way down.

It’s possible some more robust parts may withstand the intense heating generated during the high-speed dive, but the chances of these fragments hitting populated areas and causing damage are slim.

They could land almost anywhere in the world but with most of the Earth’s surface covered by ocean, whatever debris survives to the surface is most likely to be lost at sea.

“And it’s worth highlighting that none of the elements that might re-enter the atmosphere (and reach the surface) are radioactive or toxic,” said Mirko Albani from Esa’s Earth Observation Ground Segment Department.

Sea-surface temperatureSea-surface temperature

Sea-surface temperature: Today’s climate monitoring owes a debt to the ERS programme

The agency launched two near-identical Earth Remote Sensing (ERS) satellites in the 1990s. They were the most sophisticated planetary observers of their day, carrying a suite of instruments to track changes on the land, in the oceans and in the air.

They monitored floods, measured continental and ocean-surface temperatures, traced the movement of ice fields, and sensed the ground buckle during earthquakes.

And ERS-2, specifically, introduced a new ability to assess Earth’s protective ozone layer.

The pair have been described as the “grandfathers of Earth observation in Europe”.

“Absolutely,” said Dr Ralph Cordey. “In terms of technology, you can draw a direct line from ERS all the way through to Europe’s Copernicus/Sentinel satellites that monitor the planet today. ERS is where it all started,” the Airbus Earth observation business development manager told BBC News.

Dr Ruth Mottram is a glaciologist with Danish Meteorological Institute. She recalled the revolution ERS brought to her discipline.

“When I was a university student in the 90s, we were told that the ice sheets were very cold and stable, and they weren’t going to change much; it would take decades before we saw any of the kinds of changes we expected to see as a result of climate change. And ERS really showed that this wasn’t true, and that there were big changes happening already.”


Germany’s Dornier company (now Airbus) led the assembly of the ERS satellites

ERS-2 is the first of the duo to come home. Originally placed 780km above the Earth, engineers used its final fuel reserves in 2011 to lower its altitude to 570km. The expectation was that the upper atmosphere would then drag the spacecraft down to destruction in about 15 years.

This prediction will hold true on Wednesday afternoon, GMT.

Precisely when and where is difficult to say. Much will depend on the density of the upper atmosphere, something which is influenced by solar activity.

What can be said with certainty is that the re-entry will occur between 82 degrees North and South, as this was the extent of the satellite’s orbit around the Earth.

Esa’s space debris experts calculate little of ERS-2’s mass will endure to the Earth’s surface.

ERS-2 pictured about 250km above the EarthERS-2 pictured about 250km above the Earth

Australian tracking company HEO is following the descent of ERS-2

Those fragments that do impact the planet might include internal panelling and some metal parts, such as fuel and pressure tanks.

The element with potentially the highest probability of making it through the atmosphere in some form is the antenna for the synthetic aperture radar system, which was built in the UK. The antenna has a carbon-fibre construction that can tolerate high temperatures.

When ERS-2 was launched, the space debris mitigation guidelines were much more relaxed. Bringing home a redundant spacecraft within 25 years of end of operations was deemed acceptable.

Esa’s new Zero Debris Charter recommends the disposal grace period now not exceed five years. And its future satellites will be launched with the necessary fuel and capability to propulsively de-orbit themselves in short order.

The rationale is obvious: with so many satellites now being launched to orbit, the potential for collisions is increasing. ERS-1 failed suddenly before engineers could lower its altitude. It is still more than 700km above the Earth. At that height it could be 100 years before it naturally falls down.

Radar interferogramRadar interferogram

California’s Hayward fault: ERS pioneered radar interferometry and the mapping of rock movement

The American company SpaceX, which operates most of the functional satellites currently in orbit (more than 5,400), recently announced it would be bringing down 100 of them after discovering a fault that “could increase the probability of failure in the future”. It wants to remove the spacecraft before any problems make the task more difficult.

Last week, the Secure World Foundation, an advocacy group for the sustainable use of space, and LeoLabs, a US company that tracks space debris, issued a pressing statement on the need to remove redundant orbital hardware.

They said: “The accumulation of massive derelict objects in low Earth orbit continues unabated; 28% of the current long-lived massive derelicts were left in orbit since the turn of the century.

“These clusters of uncontrollable mass pose the greatest debris-generating potential to the thousands of newly deployed satellites that are fuelling the global space economy.”

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