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'Is COVID-19 a concern for astronauts?': Ottawa students chat with astronaut on space station – Newstalk 1010 (iHeartRadio)



It was an out of this world experience for a group of Ottawa students.

As students become used to learning and connecting virtually through technology, on Friday, seventeen students with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board used radio waves to connect live with the International Space Station.

They had an opportunity to ask questions to Mike S. Hopkins, as he was high above the earth.

Connecting through amateur radio, students asked a variety of questions during an approximately 10-minute window.  NASA says that as the space station travels at approximately eight kilometres per second, communication is only possible as the station is above our horizon.

“How does it feel to see the sun, earth, moon and stars from space?” asked Sham.

“It doesn’t seem real. I have to pinch myself every morning, because it’s amazing to me that I’m actually up in space orbiting the earth 250 miles up or 400 kilometres — over,” replied Hopkins.

“This is Alex, do you think extraterrestrial beings exist?” asked another student.

“It’s hard to believe that there are not extraterrestrial beings out there, with the billions and billions of stars that are there; so, I think there’s a likelihood, over,” replied Hopkins.

NASA selected Michael S. Hopkins as an astronaut in 2009. The Missouri native is currently serving as Commander on the Crew-1 SpaceX Crew Dragon, named Resilience, which launched Nov. 15, 2020, according to the NASA website.

The event took place for online learning students, and during COVID-19, it’s a topic that was asked by one student..

“Hello, this is Rowan. Is COVID-19 a concern for astronauts?”

Hopkins replied, “COVID-19 is absolutely a concern for astronauts; fortunately, all of us up here, though, we know that we don’t have COVID-19, so we’re pretty safe up here – but, when we return to earth, we have to be very careful – and, before we launch we have to protect ourselves by going into what we call quarantine.”

Six-year-old Samantha told CTV News Ottawa the question and answer session with the astronaut, “was just awesome.”

Ottawa Carleton Virtual School and NASA teacher co-ordinator Lori McFarlane says the 10-minute session was a success.

“I’ve had so many emailing saying that this was the highlight of the kids’ week, they just found it so interesting to be able to listen to an astronaut and hear what he has to say about the space station,” said McFarlane. “For some of them, it will ignite their interest in science and technology, and perhaps even space exploration or becoming an astronaut.”

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Some Of This Year's Official Hurricane Names Are Inspired By Frozen Characters –



The official start date of hurricane season is three months away as meteorologists expect a particularly active period this year when three of the anticipated massive storms will be named after Disney characters.  The World Meteorological Organization’s list of names for hurricanes in both the Atlantic and Pacific basins includes Olaf, Elsa, and Ana – three characters from Frozen.  The film was released in 2013, and the characters’ names were initially placed on the list of hurricane names by the WMO in 2015.  This year, the WMO and National Hurricane Center is recycling the list from 2015, as is custom every six years.  Names of hurricanes that are unusually destructive are retired and never to be used again.

For Hurricane name information, visit: NOAA (You will be redirected)

© 2021 Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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This Tourism Ad for Mars Wraps With a Bleak Jolt of Reality – Muse by Clio



Created by Fred & Farid Los Angeles, the ad begins with an aspirational voiceover: “After more than 5 million years of human existence on Earth, it’s time for a change. Mars: 56 million square miles of untouched land, breathtaking landscapes and incredible views.” You have to look at it from a certain angle—the opposite of Elon’s, really—to feel the irony in its premise. 

It ends with a forbidding statement: “And for the 99 percent who will stay on Earth … we’d better fix climate change.”

Ah, the catch: All these promises of adventure, and escape from our existential woes, will likely be reserved for the few who can afford it. (Unless you’re into the whole indentured servitude thing … and hey, if you’ve still got school loans, what’s a couple million more before you die?)

“We wanted to highlight pure nonsense,” said Fridays for Future. “Government-funded space programs and the world’s ultra-wealthy 1 percent are laser focused on Mars … and yet most humans will never get a chance to visit or live on Mars. This is not due to a lack of resources, but the fact that our global systems don’t care about us and refuse to take equitable action.”

To drive that point home, the organization points out that NASA’s Perseverance Rover cost $2.7 billion for development, launch, operations and analysis. While we’re hard-pressed to begrudge NASA a budget at the worst of times, it’s hard to look at that figure and think about the fact that we still haven’t figured out recycling.

The ad went live on Feb. 18, the day Perseverance landed on Mars. Contrast this date with another one, just a smidge down the road: Elon Musk is “highly confident” that SpaceX will get people there by 2026. (Though if that projection is anything like his Tesla ones, feel free to add 5-10 years to that with confidence.)

This marks Fred & Farid LA’s third collaboration with Fridays For Future. It follows “House on Fire” and “If You Don’t Believe in Global Warming, How About Local Warming?” The hope, in this case, is that some bleak sci-fi will finally be what motivates people to action.

Tell that to Greta Thunberg.

On the other hand, if you’d like some actual sci-fi with a spin on what happens to everybody on Earth when all the Well-Heeled People leave, we recommend N.K. Jemisin’s Emergency Skin. (Bonus points: Buy it at a Black-owned bookstore. Thanks to Oprah, you can find one by state.) It’s short and surprisingly optimistic—so optimistic that we actually worry the most exploitative wealthyfolk will instead choose to stay, which in our minds seems increasingly likely. 

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More images of Mars, Perseverance rover's exciting work to happen in coming weeks: NASA's Indo-American engineer – EdexLive



Vishnu Sridhar, a 27-year-old Indian-American lead system engineer with NASA’s Perseverance rover, has said that the most exciting work on the awe-inspiring Mars mission will happen in the coming weeks.

Sridhar, who is from Queens, New York, is a lead system engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California for SuperCam on the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, which is on a mission to search for signs of past life on the Red Planet.

He said some of the rover’s most exciting work will be done in the coming weeks.

“We’re going to be taking more images of Mars, we’re going to be shooting lasers with the SuperCam instrument, we’re going to be recording audio with our microphone, and eventually, soon in near future, we are going to deploy our helicopter, and do the first powered flight on Mars,” Sridhar told ABC7 channel.

SuperCam is a remote-sensing instrument that will use laser spectroscopy to analyse the chemical composition of rocks on the Martian surface.

It analyses terrain that the rover cannot reach. It is an instrument designed to scan rocks and minerals—from up to 20 feet away—to determine their chemical makeup. The Perseverance rover was launched on July 30 last year and successfully landed on Mars on February 18 this year.

The rover, the SuperCam, and its other devices together will help scientists search for clues of past life on Mars. Its predecessor Curiosity is still functioning eight years after landing on Mars.

The two-year Perseverance mission is NASA’s latest and most advanced mission to find evidence of past life on Mars.

Sridhar said it was important that the mission was happening despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“NASA missions are clearly trying to explore and answer the basic question.

Perseverance is also trying to seek that, and eventually answer the question that was there life on Mars, was there life outside Earth, and it was definitely a tough period for us during COVID-19 and for everyone else around the globe,” he said.

“And that’s why I love the name of Perseverance because we persevered through the pandemic and there was a paradigm shift, we learned a lot about how to do engineering remotely.

And we went through all that we learned and now we are successful on Mars and it’s a great achievement for humankind,” he said.

Sridhar’s time at JPL over the past five years has been dedicated to Mars and is currently the instrument engineer for SuperCam on the Mars 2020 Rover.

“Summer 2019 was when instruments came in from France and Los Alamos and when we physically integrated SuperCam with the Perseverance rover.

That’s something I will cherish for the rest of my life, to have touched and worked on a piece of hardware that’s on its way to Mars,” he reminisced.

The US space agency on Monday released the first audio from Mars, a faint recording of a gust of wind captured by the Perseverance rover.

Perseverance will attempt to collect 30 rock and soil samples in sealed tubes to be sent back to Earth sometime in the 2030s for lab analysis.

The rover is only the fifth to set its wheels down on Mars.

The feat was first accomplished in 1997, and all of them have been American.

The US is aiming for an eventual human mission to the planet, though planning remains preliminary.

Sridhar attended Aviation High School in Queens and grew up in Rego Park.

He graduated in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech and has always been fascinated by flight and space exploration.

“One of the key events that sparked my interest in space and exploration was watching National Geographic.

The Carl Sagan TV show Cosmos,” he said.

According to his NASA profile page, while in elementary school he wanted to become a National Geographic photographer and travel the world.

Indian-American woman scientist Swati Mohan had also played a key role in NASA Mars rover landing.

Mohan, who leads the guidance, navigation, and control operations of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, was the first to confirm that the rover had successfully touched down on the Martian surface.

“Touchdown confirmed! Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking signs of past life,” Mohan announced, prompting her colleagues at NASA to fist-bump and break into celebrations.

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