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High wind delays SpaceX crew homecoming after 6 months aloft – CTV News

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CAPE CANAVERAL, FLA. —
High wind off the Florida coast has prompted SpaceX to delay the return of four space station astronauts in orbit since spring.

The U.S., French and Japanese astronauts were supposed to leave the International Space Station on Sunday, with their capsule splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday morning.

But with gusts exceeding safety limits, SpaceX bumped the departure to Monday afternoon, with a nighttime return to conclude their six-month mission.

The good news is that their trip home will now last eight hours, less than half as long as before. The toilet in their capsule is broken, and so the four will need to rely on diapers while flying home.

SpaceX still is aiming for a Wednesday night launch, at the earliest, of their replacements.

This flight also has been delayed by bad weather, as well as an astronaut’s undisclosed medical issue. The issue, described as minor, should be resolved by launch time, officials said.

Last week, SpaceX and NASA flipped the order of the launch and landing because of the deteriorating weather and the looming deadline to get the capsule back from the space station.

SpaceX capsules are certified for a maximum 210 days in orbit, and the one up there now is approaching 200 days.

——

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Space can help to solve the biggest challenges facing our planet. Here’s how – Euronews

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

In Earth’s more than four billion years of existence, it has had so many monumental moments.

The first human to discover the use of fire, the first to invent the wheel. The first human to walk on the Moon, the creation of the internet. So much evolution. Earth has witnessed the formation of life, the destruction of species, advancements in technology and society, and, ultimately, the regression of its own health.

We are at a historical cornerstone in time right now. As forests burn with fire and cities flood with water, unprecedented challenges are facing Europe and the world at large. Right now is the moment to contribute with bold, shared ambitions to solutions enabled by space.

Ambition: More important than ever

Ambition. It’s a word I use a lot. Ambition is what has driven humans to achieve the momentous, the impossible, the unimaginable.

It is what drove Europeans to explore and cross the Atlantic to new lands and later to send the first radio signals across the same body of water. It drove Europeans to discover the antibiotic penicillin and to save millions of lives with it thereafter.

To discover the theory of general relativity. To send the first space probe to perform a detailed study of a comet, dispatch a lander to its surface, and in a spectacular finale, land on the comet itself.

Ambition. Our planet’s youth is bursting with ambition (mixed with disappointment, anger, and a smudge of hope, admittedly and, well, understandably), as we saw recently in the streets of Glasgow and beyond during COP-26.

It’s been said that ‘ambition is the road to success. But persistence is the vehicle you arrive in’.

Space missions need the strength of a united Europe

So, we must move from ambition to persistence and action on what was laid out in Agenda 2025 (the strategy I developed to raise Europe’s game in space). A strategy that moves towards tangible, programmatic, and systematic commitments that create dialogue, inspiration, and change.

This is precisely what the Matosinhos Manifesto, the resolution adopted unanimously on 19 November 2021 at the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Intermediate Ministerial Meeting in Portugal, does.

It represents strength in numbers. The strength of a united Europe to deliver services to its citizens by accelerating space for the betterment and advancement of its people and of the planet overall.

A Europe that puts the user and citizen at the centre of its space activities.

Three initiatives to drive missions forward

The Manifesto is a commitment to focus on three initiatives called “Accelerators”, to speed up the use of space to solve today’s biggest challenges. To focus on space for a green future, to better understand the current state of Earth, to develop scenarios and solutions for sustainable life on this planet and to contribute effectively to achieving climate neutrality.

Then we must move from studying, observing, and understanding the planet towards action based on the deep knowledge that we gain. This is where the second Accelerator comes into play: The need to develop a rapid and resilient crisis response system to support stakeholders to decisively act on crises facing Europe.

And we cannot focus on the first two without ensuring their protection. Therein lies the third Accelerator: the protection of space assets to contribute to safeguarding and protecting our assets from space debris and space weather threats.

Beyond this, we also need our own ‘giant leap’ moment to inspire young Europeans to become more inquisitive about STEM topics so that we can continue to strengthen and enhance these fields for future generations.

New space economy

Inspirational missions will help drive innovation in the new space economy that is beginning to take shape. The Inspirators mission is to catapult Europe’s position as a global leader in space technology, innovation and deep-space scientific exploration.

To promote commercialisation, a modern, forward-looking European entrepreneurial landscape, multilateral cooperation, education, the development of human capital and STEM.

Think missions to icy moons, to unveil secrets about the origins of life or space exploration to take European astronauts beyond the International Space Station.

The passing of the Matosinhos Manifesto recently has created the necessary momentum to reach beyond our ambitions and jump-start into action.

The next steps and decisions will be formulated and taken at the European Space Summit and the ESA Council Meeting at ministerial level, both to be held in 2022.

  • Josef Aschbacher is the European Space Agency’s Director General. To learn more about the Accelerators and the Matosinhos Manifesto, please visit vision.esa.int

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We Asked a NASA Expert: Is NASA Aware of Any Earth-Threatening Asteroids? [Video] – SciTechDaily

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NASA
Established in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. It’s vision is "To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity."

“>NASA aware of any Earth-threatening asteroids? Luckily there are no known asteroid threats to Earth for at least 100 years. But that doesn’t mean we’re not looking. Asteroid expert Davide Farnocchia of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory breaks it down:

[embedded content]

Video Transcript:

Is NASA Aware of Any Earth-Threatening Asteroids? We Asked a NASA Scientist.

No, there is no asteroid that we know of that is concerning in terms of impact hazard.

Now, we know that asteroid impacts have happened in the past and can certainly happen in the future. But we should keep in mind that those are rare events.

An asteroid impact that could cause serious regional damage only happens every few thousand years or longer.

Still, it’s a good idea to protect us against that possibility and the rule of the game is find asteroids before they find us.

And that’s why for over 20 years, NASA has been funding search programs to observe the sky pretty much every single night to find and track asteroids.

And we’ve been doing a pretty good job at that. So far, we’ve discovered more than a million asteroids, including 95 percent of the asteroids that are greater than one kilometer and that could come close to the Earth.

Once we discover an asteroid, we project its motion into the future to assess the possibility of an impact with Earth.

We have a scale called Torino scale that helps us rank the risk coming from each asteroid. It goes from zero, which is lowest risk, to 10, which is highest risk.

And the good news is that for all the asteroids that we’ve discovered so far, the Torino scale is zero — so, lowest risk for the next hundred years.

So, is NASA aware of any Earth-threatening asteroids?

No. But we will keep searching the skies just in case.

We Asked a NASA Scientist.

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BEYOND LOCAL: NASA launches spacecraft to test asteroid defense concept – BayToday

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — NASA launched a spacecraft Tuesday night on a mission to smash into an asteroid and test whether it would be possible to knock a speeding space rock off course if one were to threaten Earth.

The DART spacecraft, short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test, lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in a $330 million project with echoes of the Bruce Willis movie “Armageddon.”

If all goes well, the boxy, 1,200-pound (540-kilogram) craft will slam head-on into Dimorphos, an asteroid 525 feet (160 meters) across, at 15,000 mph (24,139 kph) next September.

“This isn’t going to destroy the asteroid. It’s just going to give it a small nudge,” said mission official Nancy Chabot of Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, which is managing the project.

Dimorphos orbits a much larger asteroid called Didymos. The pair are no danger to Earth but offer scientists a better way to measure the effectiveness of a collision than a single asteroid flying through space.

Dimorphos completes one orbit of Didymos every 11 hours, 55 minutes. DART’s goal is a crash that will slow Dimorphos down and cause it to fall closer toward the bigger asteroid, shaving 10 minutes off its orbit.

The change in the orbital period will be measured by telescopes on Earth. The minimum change for the mission to be considered a success is 73 seconds.

The DART technique could prove useful for altering the course of an asteroid years or decades before it bears down on Earth with the potential for catastrophe.

A small nudge “would add up to a big change in its future position, and then the asteroid and the Earth wouldn’t be on a collision course,” Chabot said.

Scientists constantly search for asteroids and plot their courses to determine whether they could hit the planet.

“Although there isn’t a currently known asteroid that’s on an impact course with the Earth, we do know that there is a large population of near-Earth asteroids out there,” said Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer at NASA. “The key to planetary defense is finding them well before they are an impact threat.”

DART will take 10 months to reach the asteroid pair. The collision will occur about 6.8 million miles (11 million kilometers) from Earth.

Ten days beforehand, DART will release a tiny observation spacecraft supplied by the Italian space agency that will follow it.

DART will stream video until it is destroyed on impact. Three minutes later, the trailing craft will make images of the impact site and material that is ejected.

John Antczak, The Associated Press

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