Connect with us

Science

NASA Continues to Try and Rescue Failing Hubble – Universe Today

Published

 on


Things are not looking very good for the Hubble Space Telescope right now. On Sunday, June 13th, the telescope’s payload computer suddenly stopped working, prompting the main computer to put the telescope into safe mode. While the telescope itself and its science instruments remain in working order, science operations have been suspended until the operations team can figure out how to get the payload computer back online.

While attempting to restart the computer, the operations team has also tried to trace the issue to specific components in the payload computer and switch to their backup modules. As of June 30th, the team began looking into the Command Unit/Science Data Formatter (CU/SDF) and the Power Control Unit (PCU). Meanwhile, NASA is busy preparing and testing procedures to switch to backup hardware if either of these components are the culprit.

The payload computer is part of the Science Instrument Command and Data Handling (SI C&DH) unit, where it is responsible for controlling and coordinating the scientific instruments aboard the spacecraft. The current issues began when the main computer stopped receiving the “keep-alive” signal from the payload computer – which lets the main computer know that everything is working.

The Hubble Space Telescope being released from the cargo bay of the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1990. Credit: NASA

That’s when the operations team began investigating different pieces of hardware on the SI C&DH as the possible source. Based on the available data, the team initially thought that the problem was due to a degrading memory module and tried to switch to one of the module’s multiple backups – but met with failure. On the evening of Thursday, June 17th, another attempt was made to bring both modules back online, but these attempts also led to failure.

At that point, they began looking into other possibles sources of the shutdown, like the Standard Interface (STINT) hardware. This component is responsible for bridging communications between the computer’s Central Processing Module (CPM), which they began investigating as well. Now, the team is investigating the Command Unit/Science Data Formatter (CU/SDF) and a power regulator within the Power Control Unit (PCU).

Whereas the CU/SDF sends and formats commands and data while the PCU is designed to ensure a steady voltage supply to the payload computer’s hardware. If either of these systems is responsible for the shutdown, then the team must once again go through an operations procedure to switch to the backup units. This time, however, the procedure is more complex and risky than the ones the team executed last time.

Mainly, switching to the backup CU/SDF or backup power regulator requires that several other hardware boxes need to be switched to their backups because of the way they are connected to the SI C&DH unit. The last time the operations team performed this task was back in 2008, which was the last time the CU/SDF module failed. This is what prompted the final servicing mission in 2009, which replaced the entire SI C&DH unit.

Astronaut Mike Good working to repair the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) during the final Hubble servicing mission in May 2009. Credit: NASA

Given the complexity of switching multiple systems over to their backups, the operations team is currently reviewing and updating all of Hubble‘s operations procedures, commands, and all other items relating to switching to backup hardware. When they are finished (expected for next week) the team will run a high-fidelity simulator to test their plan of execution and see if they can pull it off.

Since Hubble first launched in 1990, it has taken over 1.5 million images, and more than 600,000 of those were taken since its last servicing mission in 2009. These images are some of the most breathtaking views of the Universe ever taken and have led to substantial discoveries about the nature of our Universe. Here at home, it has deepened our understanding of the Kuiper Belt and Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs) like Pluto and Eris.

In 2014, it also observed the farthest object to ever be visited by a spacecraft – the Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) Arrokoth, which the New Horizons mission made a close pass with on Jan. 1st, 2019. It also observed aurora in the atmospheres of Jupiter, and Saturn, as well as Jupiter’s moon Ganymede. Hubble is also responsible for providing the data that led astronomers to conclude that Ganymede likely contains a large saltwater ocean in its interior.

Beyond the Solar System, Hubble has aided in the first atmospheric studies of exoplanets, helped constrain the size and mass of the Milky Way, the evolution of galaxies over time, revealed the accelerating expansion of the Universe (leading to the theory of Dark Energy), and aided in the study of Dark Matter. These and other accomplishments are all part of Hubble‘s legacy as it celebrates being in space for 31 years, 2 months, and either days.

I think I speak for everyone when I wish Hubble a speedy recovery and hope it has a few more years left in her!

[embedded content]

Further Reading: NASA

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

'There is contact!': Russia's new Nauka space module docks with ISS – Ottawa Sun

Published

 on


Article content

MOSCOW — Russia upgraded its capabilities on the International Space Station on Thursday after its new Nauka module, set to serve as a research lab, storage unit and airlock, successfully docked with it after a nervy journey from Earth.

A live broadcast from Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, showed the module, a multipurpose laboratory named after the Russian word for ‘science’, docking with the ISS at 1329 GMT, a few minutes later than scheduled.

“According to telemetry data and reports from the ISS crew, the onboard systems of the station and the Nauka module are operating normally,” Roscosmos said in a statement.

“There is contact!!!” Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, wrote on Twitter moments after the docking.

Since it launch last week from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome, the module had suffered a series of glitches that had raised concerns about whether the docking procedure would go smoothly.

Article content

Thursday’s development suggests Russia is interested in maintaining the ISS despite previous comments from Rogozin who last month suggested Moscow would withdraw from it in 2025 unless Washington lifted sanctions on the space sector that he said were hampering Russian satellite launches.

Launched in 1998, the ISS is a multinational project and comprises two segments, a Russian one and another one used by the United States and other space agencies.

“After its commissioning, the Russian segment will receive additional room for arranging workplaces, storing cargo and housing water and oxygen regeneration equipment,” Roscosmos said its statement.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Russian module knocks International Space Station out of position – Euronews

Published

 on


A Russian module knocked the International Space Station out of position briefly on Thursday, after it accidentally fired its thrusters.

For 47 minutes, the space station lost control of its orientation when the firing occurred a few hours after docking, pushing the orbiting complex from its normal configuration.

The station’s position is key for getting power from solar panels and or communications. Communications with ground controllers also blipped out twice for a few minutes.

Flight controllers regained control using thrusters on other Russian components at the station to right the ship, and it is now stable and safe, NASA said.

“We haven’t noticed any damage,” space station program manager Joel Montalbano said in a late afternoon press conference.

“There was no immediate danger at any time to the crew.”

Montalbano said the crew didn’t really feel any movement or any shaking. NASA said the station moved 45 degrees out of attitude, about one-eighth of a complete circle.

The complex was never spinning, NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs said.

NASA’s human spaceflight chief Kathy Lueders called it “a pretty exciting hour.”

The incident caused NASA to postpone a repeat test flight for Boeing’s crew capsule that had been set for Friday afternoon from Florida.

It will be Boeing’s second attempt to reach the 250-mile-high station before putting astronauts on board; software problems botched the first test.

Russia’s long-delayed 22-ton (20-metric-ton) lab called Nauka arrived earlier on Thursday, eight days after it launched from the Russian launch facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

The launch of Nauka, which will provide more room for scientific experiments and space for the crew, had been repeatedly delayed because of technical problems. It was initially scheduled to go up in 2007.

In 2013, experts found contamination in its fuel system, resulting in a long and costly replacement. Other Nauka systems also underwent modernization or repairs.

Stretching 43 feet (13 meters) long, Nauka became the first new compartment for the Russian segment of the outpost since 2010.

On Monday, one of the older Russian units, the Pirs spacewalking compartment, undocked from the station to free up room for the new lab.

Nauka will require many maneuvers, including up to 11 spacewalks beginning in early September, to prepare it for operation.

The space station is currently operated by NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur; Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov of Russia’s Roscosmos space corporation; Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

In 1998, Russia launched the station’s first compartment, Zarya, which was followed in 2000 by another big piece, Zvezda, and three smaller modules in the following years. The last of them, Rassvet, arrived at the station in 2010.

Russian space officials downplayed the incident with Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, tweeting: “All in order at the ISS. The crew is resting, which is what I advise you to do as well.”

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Warming Planet Means 83 Million Face Death From Heat This Century – Financial Post

Published

 on


Article content

(Bloomberg) — A population equivalent to that of Germany — 83 million people — could be killed this century because of rising temperatures caused by greenhouse-gas emissions, according to a new study that might influence how markets price carbon pollution.

The research from Columbia University’s Earth Institute introduces a new metric to help companies and governments assess damages wrought by climate change. Accounting for the “mortality cost of carbon” could give polluters new reasons to clean up by dramatically raising the cost of emissions.

Advertisement

Article content

“Based on the decisions made by individuals, businesses or governments, this tells you how many lives will be lost or saved,” said Columbia’s Daniel Bressler, whose research was published Thursday in the journal Nature Communications. “It quantifies the mortality impact of those decisions” by reducing questions down “to a more personal, understandable level.”

Read more: How Biden Is Putting a Number on Carbon’s True Cost: QuickTake 

Adapting models developed by Yale climate economist and Nobel Prize winner William Nordhaus, Bressler calculated the number of direct heat deaths that will be caused by current global-warming trajectories. His calculations don’t include the number of people who might die from rising seas, superstorms, crop failures or changing disease patterns affected by atmospheric warming. That means that the estimated deaths — which approximates the number of people killed in World War 2 — could still be a “vast underestimate,” Bressler said.

Advertisement

Article content

Every 4,434 tons of carbon spewed in 2020 into the Earth’s atmosphere will kill one person this century, according to the peer-reviewed calculations that see the planet warming 4.1 degrees Celsius by 2100. So far the planet has warmed about 1.1 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial times. 

The volume of pollution emitted over the lifetime of three average U.S. residents is estimated to contribute to the death of another person. Bressler said the highest mortality rates can be expected in Earth’s hottest and poorest regions in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

Read more: Life and Death in Our Hot Future Will be Shaped by Today’s Income Inequality

The new metric could significantly affect how economies calculate the so-called social cost of carbon, which U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration set at $51 a ton in February. That price on pollution, which complements carbon markets like the European Union’s Emissions Trading System, helps governments set policy by accounting for future damages. But the scale revealed by Bressler’s research suggests the social cost of carbon should be significantly higher, at about $258 a ton, if the world’s economies want to reduce deaths caused by global warming.

Advertisement

Article content

A higher cost on carbon pollution could immediately induce larger emission cuts, which in turn could save lives. Capping global average temperature increase to 2.4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, compared with modest emissions reductions that would warm the planet 3.4 degrees Celsius, could save 74 million people from dying of heat.

“People shouldn’t take their per-person mortality emissions too personally,” said Bressler. Governments need to mobilize “large-scale policies such as carbon pricing, cap and trade and investments in low carbon technologies and energy storage.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Bloomberg.com

Advertisement

In-depth reporting on the innovation economy from The Logic, brought to you in partnership with the Financial Post.

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending