The US space agency (Nasa) has formally outlined its $28bn (£22bn) plan to return to the Moon by 2024.
As part of a programme called Artemis, Nasa will send a man and a woman to the lunar surface in the first landing with humans since 1972.
But the agency’s timeline is contingent on Congress releasing $3.2bn for building a landing system.
Astronauts will travel in an Apollo-like capsule called Orion that will launch on a powerful rocket called SLS.
Speaking on Monday afternoon (US time), Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine said: “The $28bn represents the costs associated for the next four years in the Artemis programme to land on the Moon. SLS funding, Orion funding, the human landing system and of course the spacesuits – all of those things that are part of the Artemis programme are included.”
But he explained: “The budget request that we have before the House and the Senate right now includes $3.2bn for 2021 for the human landing system. It is critically important that we get that $3.2bn.”
The US House of Representatives has already passed a Bill allocating $600m towards the lunar lander. But Nasa will need more funds to develop the vehicle in full.
Mr Bridenstine added: “I want to be clear, we are exceptionally grateful to the House of Representatives that, in a bipartisan way, they have determined that funding a human landing system is important – that’s what that $600m represents. It is also true that we are asking for the full $3.2bn.”
The new document outlines Phase 1 of the plan, which includes an uncrewed test flight around the Moon – called Artemis-1 – in the autumn of 2021.
Nasa’s human spaceflight chief Kathy Lueders said that Artemis-1 would last for about a month to test out all the critical systems.
She said that demonstration flight would reduce the risk for Artemis-2, which will repeat the trip around the Moon with astronauts.
A new test has been added to this mission – a proximity operations demonstration. Shortly after Orion separates from the upper-stage of the SLS rocket – known as the interim cryogenic propulsion stage – astronauts will manually pilot the spacecraft as they approach and back away from the stage.
This will assess Orion’s handling qualities, along with the performance of the spacecraft’s hardware and software.
Artemis-3 will become the first mission to send astronauts to the lunar surface since Apollo 17 some 48 years ago.
Nasa has provided $967m (£763m) to several companies to work on designs for the landing vehicle that will take them there.
Later in the decade, the plan calls for Nasa to establish a base for humans, called Artemis Base Camp, that would include the infrastructure needed for long-term exploration of the Moon.
Scientists would like to extract water-ice from the lunar South Pole, because it could potentially be used to make rocket fuel on the Moon, at a lower cost than carrying it from Earth.
By comparison with Artemis, the Apollo programme in the 1960s and 70s cost upwards of $250bn in inflation-adjusted US dollars.
However, the $28bn for this new plan does not include money already spent developing the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.
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'One of the rarest species of shark in the world' captured in amazing video – CNET
Great whites might be the jumbo stars of the shark world, but there are some equally fascinating members on the other side of the size spectrum. The crew of the research vessel Falkor experienced the wonders of the deep when it spotted “one of the rarest species of sharks in the world” during a recent Schmidt Ocean Institute mission.
Shark expert Will White with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia’s national science research agency, identified the short-tail catshark Parmaturus bigus from footage captured during an exploration of the Great Barrier Reef on Oct. 17. Falkor’s remotely operated submersible SuBastian got a good look at the big-eyed creature.
Though you can chill out and enjoy the hours of underwater footage and scientific commentary, the shark appears a little over two hours into this video. “It’s a shark!” the scientists comment as they zoom in.
Researchers have collected only one specimen of Parmaturus bigus, which is held in the Australian National Fish Collection. The one spotted lounging on the sand was a male estimated to be around 20 inches (50 cm) long. The remotely operated vehicle was able to follow it as it swam off.
Even better, the ocean researchers discovered they had filmed another specimen during a dive back in May but hadn’t identified it at the time. The team also found footage of an egg case from the short-tail catshark, giving scientists a wealth of new information about the species and its habitat.
“Through the efforts of the Falkor team, we now have three more records of one of the world’s rarest sharks,” Schmidt Ocean said in a statement Monday, including “the first footage of a living specimen.”
Schmidt Ocean expeditions have gifted us some extraordinary views of the marvels of the deep in recent years, from ato a wild “ .” The catshark fits in beautifully with this impressive track record of discovery.
There will be a blue Hunter's Moon this Halloween – Yahoo Canada Sports
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The moon will not (sadly) be blue, but it’s the second full moon in the month which makes it a blue moon (by some definitions at least, see below). ” data-reactid=”33″>The moon will not (sadly) be blue, but it’s the second full moon in the month which makes it a blue moon (by some definitions at least, see below).
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Full moons are separated by 29 days, NASA says, and most months are 30 or 31 days long, so a “blue moon” happens every two and a half years on average. ” data-reactid=”34″>Full moons are separated by 29 days, NASA says, and most months are 30 or 31 days long, so a “blue moon” happens every two and a half years on average.
Full moons occur when the moon appears as a full circle in the sky, when the whole side of the moon facing the Earth is lit up by the sun.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more: Five moon myths (and how to disprove them yourself) ” data-reactid=”36″>Read more: Five moon myths (and how to disprove them yourself)
The moon will be full at 2.49pm on October 31, according to Royal Museums Greenwich.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="A blog post at Royal Museums Greenwich explains, “It may at first seem odd to think of a full Moon occurring during daylight hours.” data-reactid=”38″>A blog post at Royal Museums Greenwich explains, “It may at first seem odd to think of a full Moon occurring during daylight hours.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“The reason this happens is that the time refers to the exact moment when the Sun and Moon are aligned on opposite sides of the Earth.
“This moment is known as the ‘syzygy’ of the Sun-Earth-Moon system, and can happen at any time day or night.”” data-reactid=”39″>“The reason this happens is that the time refers to the exact moment when the Sun and Moon are aligned on opposite sides of the Earth.
“This moment is known as the ‘syzygy’ of the Sun-Earth-Moon system, and can happen at any time day or night.”
NASA expert Gordon Johnston explains that American names for Full Moons are derived from Native American folklore.
Johnston writes, “The Maine Farmer’s Almanac first published Native American names for the full Moons in the 1930s.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“Over time these names have become widely known and used.
“The Hunter’s Moon is the full Moon after the Harvest Moon. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, with the leaves falling and the deer fattened, it is time to hunt. ” data-reactid=”62″>“Over time these names have become widely known and used.
“The Hunter’s Moon is the full Moon after the Harvest Moon. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, with the leaves falling and the deer fattened, it is time to hunt.
“Since the harvesters have reaped the fields, hunters can easily see the animals that have come out to glean (and the foxes that have come out to prey on them).
“The earliest use of the term “Hunter’s Moon” cited in the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1710.”
Strictly speaking, the definition of a “blue moon” as the second full moon in a given month is wrong – but it is now widely used, says Royal Museums Greenwich.
Royal Museums Greenwich writes, ‘Traditionally the definition of a blue moon is the third full Moon in an astronomical season containing four full moons. The astronomical seasons begin and end at the equinoxes and solstices (e.g. the winter season begins at the winter solstice and ends at the spring equinox, the spring season begins at the spring equinox and ends at the summer solstice and so on).”
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“Another definition of the blue moon, perhaps the more commonly used due to its simplicity, is actually a mistake, made in the 1940s and perpetuated by radio shows and the Trivial Pursuit board game through the 1980s.
“This definition describes the blue moon as the second full Moon in any calendar month with two full moons.”” data-reactid=”68″>“Another definition of the blue moon, perhaps the more commonly used due to its simplicity, is actually a mistake, made in the 1940s and perpetuated by radio shows and the Trivial Pursuit board game through the 1980s.
“This definition describes the blue moon as the second full Moon in any calendar month with two full moons.”
'Massive' coral reef taller than the Empire State Building discovered in Australia – CTV News
A “massive” new reef measuring 500 metres has been discovered in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, making it taller than some of the world’s highest skyscrapers.
Scientists found the detached reef, which is the first to be discovered in more than 120 years, in waters off North Queensland while on an expedition aboard research vessel Falkor, ocean research organization Schmidt Ocean Institute announced Monday.
The reef was first discovered on October 20, as scientists completed an underwater mapping of the seafloor of the northern Great Barrier Reef.
At 500 metres high, it is taller than the Empire State Building (381 metres to the top floor), the Sydney Tower (305 metres) and the Petronas Twin Towers (451.9 metres.)
Using an underwater robot named SuBastian, the team explored the reef on Sunday, and live streamed footage of the exploration.
Experts say that the base of the “blade-like” reef measures 1.5 kilometres wide, rising 500 metres to its shallowest depth of 40 metres below the ocean surface.
There are seven other tall detached reefs in the area, including the reef at Raine Island — a significant green turtle nesting site.
Robin Beaman, who led the expedition, said he was “surprised” by the discovery.
“To not only 3D map the reef in detail, but also visually see this discovery with SuBastian is incredible,” he said in a statement.
“This unexpected discovery affirms that we continue to find unknown structures and new species in our ocean,” Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Ocean Institute, said in a statement.
“The state of our knowledge about what’s in the ocean has long been so limited. Thanks to new technologies that work as our eyes, ears and hands in the deep ocean, we have the capacity to explore like never before. New oceanscapes are opening to us, revealing the ecosystems and diverse life forms that share the planet with us.”
The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef, covers more than 214,000 square kilometres and is home to more than 1,500 species of fish, 411 species of hard corals and dozens of other species.
But the reef is facing a crisis — recent studies have shown that it has lost 50% of its coral populations in the last three decades, with climate change a key driver of reef disturbance.
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