Blue Origin set a new mark for recycling rockets Tuesday morning by sending the samespacecraft to the edge of space for the seventh time.
Thecompleted its 13th New Shepard mission from its private launch facility in west Texas while also testing some key equipment for future NASA missions to the moon.
The mission was originally set for late September from the Texas site, but was delayed multiple times due to weather and technical issues. It finally left Earth at 6:37 a.m. PT (8:37 a.m. Texas time) Tuesday and returned to land at the same facility in two pieces just about 10 minutes later.
A few minutes after blasting off, the crew capsule carrying most of the experiments separated from the rocket booster. The booster returned to the Earth for a precision landing, while the capsule drifted back to the surface with the help of parachutes a few minutes later.
In the future, Blue Origin is planning to sell trips to space for intrepid tourists who will take a ride in the crew capsule.
During its short time in microgravity, Mission NS-13 and its dozen payloads aim to gather scads of data for a number of tests and experiments, including a demonstration of a lunar landing sensor that will test technologies for future moon missions as part of .
The sensor is the first payload to ride mounted to the exterior of New Shepard rather than inside its capsule.
A few of the other payloads on board this flight of New Shepard include a test of a new system to autonomously grow aquatic plants that could supplement a crew’s diet and of a new cooling system developed by NASA for spacecraft electronics.
SpaceX, another commercial space outfit headed by a famous billionaire, in the form of Elon Musk, has so far used a single. It’s worth noting, though, that the Falcon 9 is a different class of rocket that is used for more technically complicated orbital missions.
You can watch a recording of the launch live feed below.
Guelph reports 17 new coronavirus cases from weekend, active cases at 42 – Global News
Guelph reported 17 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, bringing the city’s total to 406.
Monday’s data encompasses the entire weekend as active cases rose by 11 to 42, including two people being treated in the hospital.
The city has now seen 353 people recover from the disease, which is six more than Friday’s count. Guelph’s death toll of 11 has remained unchanged since June.
In one week, Guelph has added 34 cases of COVID-19 and 19 cases have been resolved.
As of Sunday, Guelph’s COVID-19 assessment centre has conducted just under 47,000 tests during the pandemic. Over 94 per cent of tests have come back negative, but 2,162 are still pending.
Wellington County added five cases from the weekend, for a total of 120. Five cases are currently active, 113 have been resolved and two people have died.
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Guelph and Wellington County school boards are reporting 10 cases in five schools.
There are currently no active COVID-19 outbreaks in any of Guelph’s or Wellington County’s schools and long-term care facilities.
Ontario reported 851 new cases on Monday and six more deaths. That brings the provincial total to 71,224 cases and 3,099 deaths.
Ontario has 295 people hospitalized due to COVID-19, which up by 17 from Sunday. Meanwhile, 60,839 Ontarians have recovered, which is up by 679 from Sunday.
— With files from Global News’ Gabby Rodrigues
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
These Tiny, Little-Winged Dinosaurs Were Probably Worse at Flying Than Chickens – ScienceAlert
The discovery of two small dinosaurs with bat-like wings a few years ago was a palaeontologist’s dream. Just how flight evolved in birds is something we’re still trying to nail down, and looking at this early evolution of bat-like wings in dinosaurs could give us a clue.
But a team of researchers has now pointed out that just because you have wings, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re actually any good at flying.
Yi qi and Ambopteryx longibrachium are two species of theropod dinosaurs that lived around 160 million years ago, both of which had unusually elongated fingers, and a skin membrane stretching between them, similar to a bat’s wing.
This is an entirely different kind of wing to the one theropod dinosaurs evolved to fly with – the dinosaurs that eventually became birds. And, unlike them, after only a few million years, Yi and Ambopteryx became extinct, which is the first hint that these unusual wings could not match those birds-to-be.
However, weird wings on extinct critters mean it’s likely multiple types of wings (and therefore flight) evolved over the years, and that Yi and Ambopteryx’s attempts were not the winning strategy.
But before you can write off Yi and Ambopteryx as complete evolutionary flight failures, you have to know how good (or bad, as the case may be) the two species were at flight.
In 2015, when Yi was found, that team of researchers suggested that the size of its wings and other flight characteristics could mean it was a gliding creature – however it’s unlike any other glider we know of, and its centre of mass might have made even gliding difficult. We just weren’t sure.
A new study, by researchers in the US and China, has now looked into the flight potential of Yi and Ambopteryx in a lot more detail, and come to the conclusion that they really weren’t good at getting their little feet off the trees they lived in.
“Using laser-stimulated fluorescence imaging, we re-evaluate their anatomy and perform aerodynamic calculations covering flight potential, other wing-based behaviours, and gliding capabilities,” the team writes.
“We find that Yi and Ambopteryx were likely arboreal, highly unlikely to have any form of powered flight, and had significant deficiencies in flapping-based locomotion and limited gliding abilities.”
The team’s analysis of the fossils (Yi pictured below) was able to pick up tiny details in soft-tissue that you can’t see with normal light.
Then the team modelled how the dinosaurs might have flown, adjusting for things such as weight, wingspan, and muscle placement (all stuff we can’t tell just from the fossils).
The results were… underwhelming.
“They really can’t do powered flight,” says first author, biologist Thomas Dececchi from Mount Marty University.
“You have to give them extremely generous assumptions in how they can flap their wings. You basically have to model them as the biggest bat, make them the lightest weight, make them flap as fast as a really fast bird, and give them muscles higher than they were likely to have had to cross that threshold. They could glide, but even their gliding wasn’t great.”
So, according to Dececchi and his team’s model, we’re looking at flying capabilities considerably worse than a chicken, perhaps worse than the flightless New Zealand parrot, the kakapo, which is also mostly limited to gliding from trees, but can at least flap to control descent.
But although it’s a bit sad for the Yi and Ambopteryx, it’s good news for us – the findings give even more evidence that dinosaurs evolved flight (or at least tried to) multiple times.
“We propose that this clade was an independent colonisation of the aerial realm for non-avialan theropods. If true, this would represent at least two, but more likely three or more attempts at flight (both powered and gliding) by small pennaraptoran theropods during the Mesozoic,” the team writes in their paper.
“Given the large number of independent occurrences of gliding flight within crown mammals, this should perhaps be unsurprising, but it does create a more complex picture of the aerial ecosystem.”
Seems like some things don’t change much, even in a hundred million years.
The research has been published in iScience.
NASA Spacecraft Osiris-Rex Extracts Samples From Asteroid Bennu, a First for US – The Daily Beast
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