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Japanese Researchers Are Making Wooden Satellites Because We Have a Space Trash Problem – Gizmodo

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Image: Sumitomo Forestry

Floating around the Earth is a bunch of satellites. Cool for GPS, monitoring weather patterns, and the internet—not so cool for space junk. This is why Sumitomo Forestry and Kyoto University are teaming up to create the world’s first wooden satellites by 2023.

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You might think metal satellites burn up on re-entry, but as it turns out, it’s not that simple. “We are very concerned with the fact that all the satellites which re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere burn and create tiny alumina particles which will float in the upper atmosphere for many years,” Takao Doi, an astronaut and Kyoto University professor, told the BBC when speaking about the project. “Eventually it will affect the environment of the Earth.”

Wood, however, would entirely burn up upon re-entry without leaving harmful substances in the atmosphere—or perhaps scattering dangerous debris. According to Nikkei Asia, another reason the researchers are experimenting with wood is that it doesn’t block electromagnetic waves or the Earth’s own magnetic field. That means wooden satellites could have simpler builds, as components like antennas could be placed inside the satellite itself.

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As for the type of wood, Sumitomo Forestry is keeping mum. The company merely told the BBC it was an “R&D” secret, but that it would be resistant to temperature changes, sunlight, and extreme weather conditions. Sumitomo Forestry and Kyoto University also said that they’d also study the feasibility of building wooden structures in space through March 2024.

For now, Sumitomo Forestry and Kyoto University are aiming to create a “proof of concept” and research tree growth and how wood materials behave in space. The next step, according to Doi, is to create an engineering model for the satellite, followed by a flight model. But even if wooden satellites don’t become a thing, it’s possible that whatever wood is developed could be used in more extreme environments on Earth.

According to the World Economic Forum, there are roughly 6,000 satellites currently in orbit, of which 60% are actually defunct. Meanwhile, 990 satellites are estimated to be launched every year for the next decade. The WEF also notes that there are more than half a million pieces of space trash larger than a marble currently floating around the Earth and 20,000 pieces of debris that are larger than a softball. These pieces of trash aren’t static. They are actually moving at speeds up to 17,500 miles per hour, the speed necessary to remain in orbit and not fall back to the Earth itself. According to NASA, more space junk presents an increasing danger of collision to all types of spacecraft, including the International Space Station, shuttles, and any other type of vessel that may carry humans. (In fact, the NASA and Russian flight controllers regularly practice avoidance maneuvers to protect the ISS from space junk.) The debris doesn’t even need to be particularly large to cause damage—even paint flecks have been shown to damage space shuttle windows.

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The problem of space clutter is only getting worse, as both Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Amazon’s Project Kuiper race to launch thousands of satellites into orbit to provide low-cost internet. Meanwhile, astronomers have also expressed concern that these satellite constellations could potentially disrupt their ability to observe the cosmos. It’s unclear how much wooden satellites would alleviate the problem, but hey, it’s gotta be better than sticking more metal junk up there.

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Dinosaur fossils could belong to the world's largest ever creature – msnNOW

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Experts have uncovered the remains of a gigantic dinosaur in Argentina, and believe it could be one of the largest creatures to have ever walked the Earth.






© Alejandro Otero and José Luis Carballido
Paleontologists discovered the fossilized remains of a 98 million-year-old titanosaur in Neuquén Province in Argentina’s northwest Patagonia.

Paleontologists discovered the fossilized remains of a 98 million-year-old titanosaur in Neuquén Province in Argentina’s northwest Patagonia, in thick, sedimentary deposits known as the Candeleros Formation.

The 24 vertebrae of the tail and elements of the pelvic and pectoral girdle discovered are thought to belong to a titanosaur, a diverse group of sauropod dinosaurs, characterized by their large size, a long neck and tail, and four-legged stance.

In research published in the journal Cretaceous Research, experts say they believe the creature to be “one of the largest sauropods ever found” and could exceed the size of a Patagotitan, a species which lived 100 million to 95 million years ago and measured up to a staggering 37.2 meters (122 feet) long.



a close up of an animal: The newly discovered dinosaur is thought to have a body mass exceeding or comparable to an Argentinosaurus, which measured up to 40 meters and weighed up to 110 tons.


© Nobumichi Tamura/STKRF/AP Photo/Stocktrek Images
The newly discovered dinosaur is thought to have a body mass exceeding or comparable to an Argentinosaurus, which measured up to 40 meters and weighed up to 110 tons.

“It is a huge dinosaur, but we expect to find much more of the skeleton in future field trips, so we’ll have the possibility to address with confidence how really big it was,” Alejandro Otero, a paleontologist with Argentina’s Museo de La Plata, told CNN via email.

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Titanosaur fossils have been found on all continents except Antarctica. But the biggest “multi-ton” varieties of the species — including those titanosaurs exceeding 40 tons — have mostly been discovered in Patagonia.

Without analyzing the dinosaur’s humerus or femur, experts say it is not yet possible to say how much the creature weighs. However, the partially recovered dinosaur “can be considered one of the largest titanosaurs,” experts said, with a probable body mass exceeding or comparable to that of a Patagotitan or Argentinosaurus.

Patagotitans may have been the world’s largest terrestrial animal of all time, and weighed up to 77 tons, while Argentinosaurus were similarly gargantuan, and measured up to 40 meters (131 feet) and weighed up to 110 tons — weighing more than 12 times more than an African elephant (up to 9 tons).

Experts believe that the specimen strongly suggests the co-existence of larger titanosaurs together with medium-sized titanosaurs and small-sized rebbachisaurids at the beginning of the Late Cretaceous period, which began 101 million years ago.

“These size differences could indeed explain the existence of such sauropod diversity in the Neuquén Basin during the Late Cretaceous in terms of niche partitioning,” they wrote.

Researchers said that, while they don’t believe the creature to belong to a new species, they have so far been unable to assign it to a known genus of dinosaur.

The research was conducted by Argentina’s The Zapala Museum, Museo de La Plata, Museo Egidio Feruglio and the universities of Río Negro and Zaragoza.

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Home-based Heart Monitoring Now Available to All Canadians Through Icentia Canadian company drives at-home cardiac monitoring nationwide during pandemic – Financial Post

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QUEBEC CITY, Jan. 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Icentia Inc., a leading Canadian technology company—specialised in cardiac ambulatory monitoring—will be providing a new home-based service nationwide that will enable patients with heart rhythm disorders to have access to an ambulatory cardiac test from the safety of their homes while the pandemic surges on.

Icentia enables at-home tests through its CardioSTAT® device, a Canadian designed and manufactured, proven alternative to traditional Holter monitor tests. Since its introduction in 2015, the CardioSTAT test has become the tool of choice for hundreds of physicians across Canada and the United Kingdom for the detection of heart rhythm disorders. This inventive and life-saving solution is now being implemented nationally for at-home tests in much needed times.

As the pandemic rages on, wait times in the Canadian healthcare system are becoming a serious issue. Backlogs for all procedures, including ECG monitoring, continue to grow. Social distancing and contamination risk requirements have increased the burden on hospitals and clinics, bolstering the demand for home-based tests. “The pandemic is forcing our healthcare system to evolve and adapt. This smart and accurate cardiac monitoring technology is what Canadians need right now to stay safe and keep healthy,” explains Dr. Marko Mrkobrada, Internist, London Health Sciences Centre, London, ON.

This new home-based solution, where no visit to health care facility for hook up or device return is required, promises to lighten the load on medical staff while also increasing safety for all. “We are glad to relieve some of the pressure on our healthcare system and to contribute to more safety through our home-based, patient-initiated tests. CardioSTAT test, which has proven to be easy to use, reliable and safe over the past years, makes even more sense in today’s context,” says Icentia CEO Pierre Paquet.

About CardioSTAT

The CardioSTAT test relies on a unique single-use electrocardiography monitoring device designed to be comfortably worn on the upper chest for up to 14 days. It has the potential to reduce lead times to diagnosis, while providing the patient with a greatly improved experience. Quick and easy to install, it avoids the inconvenience and discomfort caused by multiple skin adhesive electrodes wired to Holter monitors. The result is a highly efficient, yet comfortable and very discrete, wire-free cardiac monitor that does not restrict patients from showering or doing physical activity. Upon complete analysis of the recording by Icentia, results are reviewed by a certified cardiologist before being reported to the patient’s prescribing doctor. For more information, visit cardiostat.com.

About Icentia

Based in Canada, Icentia is a combined medical device and service company. Icentia pioneers innovative solutions for healthcare institutions in the field of medical testing. Icentia aims to help healthcare institutions in becoming more efficient while providing patients with the ease, comfort, peace of mind and safety of reliable at-home medical monitoring through technological advances. For more information, visit icentia.com.

Icentia Inc. 1 800 431 9148 info@icentia.com 

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Why a faster spinning Earth is expected to make 2021 the shortest year on record – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Scientists say 2021 is expected to be a shorter year than normal with the Earth spinning at a faster rate than it has in the last 50 years.

York University astronomy and physics professor Paul Delaney explained to CTV’s Your Morning that as the Earth’s rotation speeds up, the shift means that time is slowing on the planet’s surface, making each day a “fraction of a second” shorter than 24 hours.

He said in an interview on Tuesday that this phenomenon is likely being caused by climate change.

“There is such [sic] a lot of ice that is becoming liquid and is flowing into the oceans, as a consequence of that you’re changing the way the mass on the surface of the Earth is situated. Instead of a really heavy mass around the pole, you’re melting it and [spreading] it all around the planet, and that is changing the way we are rotating on our axis,” Delaney said.

“When you bring the amount of material, the amount of mass, closer to our rotation axis that actually spins up our rotation rate a little bit faster.”

Delaney compared this shift in the Earth’s mass to that of figure skaters pulling their arms in closer to their body in order to spin faster.

However, he says this change does not mean the timing of one’s day-to-day activities will change.

“We’re talking about a fraction of a second here. People shouldn’t think they’re about to get an hour’s extra sleep as a result of this, but it really is associated with the melting of the polar ice caps,” he said.

While the planet’s rotational speed often drifts around slightly, Delaney said the melting of the ice caps with climate change can alter the global time frame as well as the marking of days.

Due to this increase in rotation speed, scientists report that the average day in 2021 is expected to be 0.05 milliseconds shorter than the 86,400 seconds that normally make up the 24-hour period.

Delaney says adding an extra second to clocks in what is called a leap second can help with this.

“The fraction of a second per day is not going to make much of a difference to you and me, but things like leap seconds have been introduced over the last sort of 40 to 50 years to compensate for this change in the Earth’s rotation rate compared to what we call our fixed frame,” Delaney said.

Delaney explained that leap seconds are irregular, with one second added to the last minute of a given calendar year. Since 1972, scientists have added leap seconds about every year-and-a-half, on average, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

But with the Earth rotating faster over recent years, the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) says no leap seconds have been necessary since 2016.

IERS announced in July that no leap second would be added to the world’s official timekeeping in December 2020. However, a second may actually have to be subtracted in the future in what is known as a negative leap second, which would be a first for the IERS.

While the change in time may not affect every day activities, Delaney says atomic clocks used in GPS satellites do not consider the planet’s evolving motion, which can cause potentially confusing implications for smartphones, computers, and communications systems that synchronize with Network Time Protocol (NTP) servers.

“Most computer systems are expecting 60 seconds in a minute and when you get 61 seconds in a minute, then you can cause computer crashes, so it’s a little bit like having Y2K thrown around in a way that you just don’t expect,” Delaney said.

Because leap seconds are irregular, he says there may be only a “few weeks or a few months notice” that time will be added or subtracted. This can lead to computer glitches and crashes, which Delaney said is a “big problem in our very computerized society.”

Delaney added that this can also be a problem for stock markets. For example, he noted that the New York Stock Exchange went down for over an hour on June 30, 2015 because of a leap second.

“If you’re the person who is on the selling floor trying to transact millions if not billions of dollars, and the stock market disappears on you, you’re not going to be a very happy camper. So there is financial issues that are driving this whole question of leap seconds, and that brings into sharper focus the changing of the day,” Delaney said.

So, what can be done to help adjust the Earth’s rotation? Delaney said there isn’t much people can do.

“The Earth is doing what it wants to do. As we move around the sun, as we rotate on our axis, the rate at which we are rotating is completely independent of what you and I are wanting to do,” he said.

With ice caps melting as a result of climate change, Delaney said the “easy answer” would be to stop the global warming of the planet.

“Let’s keep the ice where it should be so that the rate of rotation is retained in the way that we’re expecting it to be,” he said.

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