Going back to the moon: ‘This is Canada on the world stage, doing big things’
WASHINGTON — Ask Marc Garneau if he’d go back to space and the first Canadian to ever make the trip doesn’t hesitate: “In a wink.”
It’s another matter entirely, of course, whether the now-retired former astronaut and Quebec MP — at 74, he finally gave up his seat in the House of Commons just three weeks ago — still has the right stuff.
“You always wonder, when you reach a certain age, whether you would still have that capability that you had when you were younger,” said Garneau, who flew three Space Shuttle missions between 1984 and 2001.
“Having flown three times, I consider myself blessed beyond any reasonable expectation in life.”
Now the country’s pre-eminent “elder statesman” of space, Garneau has long waited for the day when he’ll be joined in the pantheon of pioneering explorers by the next astronaut to earn the “first Canadian” honorific.
Who will it be? The world finds out Monday.
That’s when NASA and the Canadian Space Agency will introduce the four astronauts — three from the U.S., one from Canada — who will steer the next stage of an ambitious plan to establish a long-term presence on the moon.
Scheduled to blast off as early as November 2024, Artemis II will be the first crewed mission to the moon since the final Apollo mission took flight in 1972. It will also be the first time a Canadian has ventured beyond Earth’s orbit.
Canada’s astronaut corps currently comprises four people, including David Saint-Jacques, an astrophysicist and medical doctor from Montreal and the only member of the group who’s already been to space.
Saint-Jacques, 53, flew to the International Space Station in 2018. He was selected for the corps in 2009 alongside Jeremy Hansen, 47, of London, Ont., a colonel and CF-18 pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Joining them in 2017 were test pilot and Air Force Lt.-Col. Joshua Kutryk, 41, from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., and Jennifer Sidey, 34, a mechanical engineer and Cambridge University lecturer from Calgary.
“I’m not in any way jealous or envious,” Garneau said. “I’m just so excited that we are now taking Canada on what I would say is a major, major step forward.”
It’s not quite the giant leap of 1969, but it’s close — about 7,400 kilometres away, to be precise.
The four Artemis astronauts will encircle their home planet before sling-shotting into deep space for a figure-8 manoeuvre around the moon, making Canada and the U.S. the only two countries to ever pass over the dark side of the lunar surface.
“When I think back on 1984, when I first flew, we didn’t know what might happen after that,” Garneau said.
“To now have the opportunity for Canada to be only the second country to have an astronaut go on a lunar mission — this is extraordinary.”
It’s also the product of a tremendous amount of hard work and investment, said Western University professor Gordon Osinski, director of the school’s Institute for Earth and Space Exploration.
Osinski spent the bulk of last week in Houston, taking part in simulated spacewalks to better learn and understand how best to conduct the geological work future astronauts will be required to do on the lunar surface.
While that research isn’t directly related to Artemis, it’s bound to be a key factor down the road as the ultimate mission continues to evolve into something that will bear little resemblance to its Apollo ancestors.
“I can do field geology on Earth with a Star Trek-like instrument that tells me the chemistry of a rock. It wasn’t even imagined 50 years ago,” Osinski said.
“So as we progress in the whole Artemis program, I think you’ll really see 21st-century space exploration like we might imagine from Star Trek and things.”
Even now, Osinski is still incredulous that Canada managed to secure a spot on Artemis II — and he credits everything from the country’s geographical and economic ties with the U.S. to the ongoing work of the Canadian astronaut corps.
Then there’s the Canadarm, the articulated remote manipulators that became a fixture of Space Shuttle and International Space Station missions and a point of national pride for countless Canadians of a certain age.
“The U.S. has let go and said, ‘OK, Canada, we trust you enough that we’ll literally put the lives of our astronauts in your hand,'” Osinski said.
“So that trust maybe goes a long way to explain how we did it.”
The plan is to put a man and woman on the moon in 2025 in service of the ultimate goal: eventually dispatching astronauts to Mars. And Canada is expected to play a critical role going forward.
“We’re going back to the moon. The moon, that’s a big thing,” Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne said last week.
“This is Canada on the world stage, doing big things.”
That, ultimately, could be Artemis II’s biggest legacy for Canada: inspiring the next generation of astronauts in much the same way that Apollo did all those years ago.
This time, though, the visuals will be spectacular.
“As much as we get excited about robots and the Canadarm and things, having a personal experience in that could be a huge moment and a big milestone for the Canadian space program,” Osinski said.
“There’s just something about having an astronaut do that.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2023.
James McCarten, The Canadian Press
New image from the James Webb Space Telescope shows thousands upon thousands of stars in a galaxy 17 million light years away – Yahoo Canada
The James Webb Space Telescope snapped a new image of a galaxy 17 million light-years away.
Thousands upon thousands of stars are visible, many of which are concentrated in the galaxy’s heart.
JWST is peering into the hearts of many galaxies to help scientists better understand star formation.
With the power of the James Webb Space Telescope, we can peer into the mysterious hearts of galaxies. And that’s exactly what you’re seeing here, in this new image from Webb of the galaxy NGC 5068.
NGC 5068 is located about 17 million light-years from Earth. For perspective, the Milky Way’s neighborhood of galaxies called the Local Group, is 5 million light-years away. So, this galaxy is beyond what we might consider close.
Each individual dot of white light you can see is a star, per Mashable. NASA said there are thousands upon thousands of stars in this image. And many of them are hanging out at the galaxy’s center, which you can see in the upper left as a bright bar of white light.
This region appears so bright because that’s where most of the stars are concentrated. That’s also where all the action is.
James Webb peers into the hearts of many galaxies to uncover their secrets
Most galaxies have an ultra-bright center due to warm dust that’s heated by massive bursts of star formation, according to the Harvard Smithsonian. And it’s this star formation that astronomers are interested in studying more with the help of JWST.
In fact, NGC 5068 is just one in a series of other galaxies Webb is observing for a project to help us better understand star formation. Webb has also taken images of the spiral galaxy IC 5332:
And the heart of galaxy M74, aka the “Phantom Galaxy”:
The James Webb Space Telescope has the advantage of seeing in the infrared.
Infrared wavelengths are too long for the human eye to detect. But they’re especially important for studying in space because they allow JWST to peer past obstructive visual light that would otherwise block our ability to see into the hearts of galaxies and their bustling environments of star formation.
“By observing the formation of stars in nearby galaxies, astronomers hope to kick-start major scientific advances with some of the first available data from Webb,” NASA said.
Watch a video of NGC 5068 below:
Read the original article on Business Insider
ESA – Nicolas Bobrinsky on innovation and risk management | ESA Masterclass – European Space Agency
Innovation is triggered by many drivers. One of these is the constant need for ESA to develop innovative solutions, such as unique spacecraft technologies.
In this first video, Nicolas recalls how he and his team had to think outside the box to find a solution for ESA to communicate with Ulysses. The spacecraft was flying around the north pole of the Sun, which is much farther in deep space than satellites had been launched up to that point.
The success of this solution motivated the decision to build ESA’s first deep-space communications antennas in New Norcia, in Australia, thus enabling many ESA scientific firsts in deep-space exploration.
The antennas would, some decades after, be critically important receivers for the messages sent by the very distant Rosetta probe, on its quest to find and land on the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, and other ESA science and exploration missions such as Mars Express, Venus Express and Cassini-Huygens.
With 35 years of experience at ESA, Nicolas Bobrinsky is the former Head of Ground Systems Engineering & Innovation Department. He initiated and further managed the Space Situational Awareness and later the ESA Space Safety Programme.
In four episodes of this new series of ESA Masterclass, Nicolas takes us through major events in his career at ESA, covering cornerstone missions, first attempts, overcoming technical challenges, leading diverse teams and solving the unexpected problems that are part of any space endeavour.
Access all episodes of ESA Masterclass with Nicolas Brobinsky.
Behind Galactic Bars: Webb Telescope Unlocks Secrets of Star Formation
<span class=”glossaryLink” aria-describedby=”tt” data-cmtooltip=”
” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”]”>NASA’s <span class=”glossaryLink” aria-describedby=”tt” data-cmtooltip=”
” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”]”>James Webb Space Telescope has captured a detailed image of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 5068. Part of a project to record star formation in nearby galaxies, this initiative provides significant insights into various astronomical fields. The telescope’s ability to see through gas and dust, typically hiding star formation processes, offers unique views into this crucial aspect of galactic evolution.
A delicate tracery of dust and bright star clusters threads across this image from the James Webb Space Telescope. The bright tendrils of gas and stars belong to the barred spiral galaxy NGC 5068, whose bright central bar is visible in the upper left of this image – a composite from two of Webb’s instruments. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson revealed the image on June 2 during an event with students at the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw, Poland.
NGC 5068 lies around 20 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo. This image of the central, bright star-forming regions of the galaxy is part of a campaign to create an astronomical treasure trove, a repository of observations of star formation in nearby galaxies. Previous gems from this collection can be seen here (IC 5332) and here (M74). These observations are particularly valuable to astronomers for two reasons. The first is because star formation underpins so many fields in astronomy, from the physics of the tenuous <span class=”glossaryLink” aria-describedby=”tt” data-cmtooltip=”
” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”]”>plasma that lies between stars to the evolution of entire galaxies. By observing the formation of stars in nearby galaxies, astronomers hope to kick-start major scientific advances with some of the first available data from Webb.
The second reason is that Webb’s observations build on other studies using telescopes including the Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based observatories. Webb collected images of 19 nearby star-forming galaxies which astronomers could then combine with Hubble images of 10,000 star clusters, spectroscopic mapping of 20,000 star-forming emission nebulae from the <span class=”glossaryLink” aria-describedby=”tt” data-cmtooltip=”
” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”]”>Very Large Telescope (VLT), and observations of 12,000 dark, dense molecular clouds identified by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). These observations span the electromagnetic spectrum and give astronomers an unprecedented opportunity to piece together the minutiae of star formation.
With its ability to peer through the gas and dust enshrouding newborn stars, Webb is particularly well-suited to explore the processes governing star formation. Stars and planetary systems are born amongst swirling clouds of gas and dust that are opaque to visible-light observatories like Hubble or the VLT. The keen vision at infrared wavelengths of two of Webb’s instruments — MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument) and NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) — allowed astronomers to see right through the gargantuan clouds of dust in NGC 5068 and capture the processes of star formation as they happened. This image combines the capabilities of these two instruments, providing a truly unique look at the composition of NGC 5068.
The James Webb Space Telescope stands as the apex of space science observatories worldwide. Tasked with demystifying enigmas within our own solar system, Webb will also extend its gaze beyond, seeking to observe distant worlds orbiting other stars. In addition to this, it aims to delve into the cryptic structures and the origins of our universe, thereby facilitating a deeper understanding of our position within the cosmic expanse. The Webb project is an international endeavor spearheaded by NASA, conducted in close partnership with the <span class=”glossaryLink” aria-describedby=”tt” data-cmtooltip=”
” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”]”>European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency.
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