WASHINGTON, Dec. 31, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Filled with almost 3,600 pounds of valuable scientific experiments and other cargo, a SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft is set to leave the International Space Station Sunday, Jan. 5. NASA Television and the agency’s website will broadcast its departure live beginning at 9:15 p.m. EST.
Robotic flight controllers at mission control in Houston will issue remote commands at 9:41 p.m. to release Dragon using the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm. Expedition 61 Station Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) will back up the ground controllers and monitor Dragon’s systems as it departs the orbital laboratory.
Dragon will fire its thrusters to move a safe distance from the station, then execute a deorbit burn as it heads for a parachute-assisted splashdown around 3:04 a.m. Monday, Jan. 6, in the Pacific Ocean southwest of Long Beach, California. The splashdown will not air on NASA TV.
A key component returning aboard Dragon is a faulty battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU), which failed to activate following the Oct. 11 installation of new lithium-ion batteries on the space station’s truss. Expedition 61 flight engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir of NASA removed and replaced the BCDU was during a spacewalk Oct. 18. The unit will be returned to teams on Earth for evaluation and repair.
Dragon launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Dec. 5 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and arrived at the space station two days later.
Some of the scientific investigations Dragon will return to Earth include:
Tiny Radiation Resistors
Rotifer-B1 examines the effects of spaceflight on tiny aquatic animals, called rotifers, which are found in freshwater ecosystems and soil and are highly resistant to radiation on Earth. The investigation specifically looks at the metabolism and genome of the rotifer Adineta vaga to determine whether they have similar adaptation mechanisms in microgravity.
Mice in Space
Rodent Research-19 examines myostatin and activin, molecular signaling pathways that influence muscle degradation, as possible targets for preventing muscle and bone loss during spaceflight and enhancing recovery following return to Earth. This study also could support the development of therapies for a wide range of conditions that cause muscle and bone loss on Earth.
Finding the Perfect Solution
On Earth, our bodies deal with low-level radiation through a naturally occurring protein that helps our body safely process it. The Growth of Large, Perfect Protein Crystals for Neutron Crystallography (Perfect Crystals) study, aims to help scientists find a way to deal with the problem of radiation during long-duration spaceflight missions using the same protein that is already at work in our bodies.
Convection and Crystallization in Microgravity
The Polymer Convection study examines the effects of gravity on formation and crystallization of Broadband Angular Selective Material (BASM), an optical material with the ability to control the reflection and absorption of light. BASM has applications in polymer packaging, optical films, solar power and electronic displays.
These are just a few of the hundreds of investigations providing opportunities for U.S. government agencies, private industry, and academic and research institutions to conduct microgravity research that leads to new technologies, medical treatments and products that improve life on Earth. Conducting science aboard the orbiting laboratory will help us learn how to keep astronauts healthy during long-duration space travel and demonstrate technologies for future human and robotic exploration beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars.
For almost 20 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space. As a global endeavor, more than 230 people from 18 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 2,500 research investigations from researchers in 106 countries.
NASA finds rare metal asteroid worth more than global economy – MINING.com
16 Psyche was actually discovered in 1852, but this is the first time scientists get a closer look. What makes it special is that, unlike most asteroids that are either rocky or icy, 16 Psyche is made almost entirely of iron and nickel, a study published this week in The Planetary Science Journal shows.
Tracy Becker, a planetary scientist and author of the paper, says the asteroid is likely the leftover core of a planet that never properly formed because it was hit by objects in our solar system and effectively lost its mantle and crust.
While Hubble has been able to get clear images of 16 Psyche, only a visit to its surface will reveal what it’s really like. Fortunately, NASA already has plans to do just that as part of its Discovery Program, with an orbiter set to launch from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center in August 2022.
The mission would arrive at 16 Psyche in January 2026 and spend at least 21 months mapping and studying the asteroid’s unique properties.
“To understand what really makes up a planet and to potentially see the inside of a planet is fascinating,” says Becker, who works at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. “Once we get to Psyche, we’re really going to understand if that’s the case, even if it doesn’t turn out as we expect.”
If the mission could kindly bring the asteroid back to Earth, every person on the planet — all 7.8 billion of us — would get roughly $1.2 billion, based on current metal prices.
Two Canadian technologies are going to the Moon – Canada NewsWire
LONGUEUIL, QC, Oct. 29, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is helping prepare Canada’s space industry for future missions to the Moon. The CSA is awarding $3.3 million in contributions to support the demonstration of two lunar technology payloads and their launch to the Moon.
This is the first time Canada will conduct a technology demonstration in lunar orbit and on the Moon’s surface. It represents a significant step in Canada’s participation in the next chapter of Moon exploration.
The demonstrations are:
- Ontario company Canadensys Aerospace Corporation will develop, launch and test a lightweight and energy-efficient 360° camera that will capture stunning panoramic images of the lunar surface.
- Quebec-based NGC Aerospace Ltd. will demonstrate a planetary navigation system similar to the GPS technology used on Earth. The system will use features on the surface of the Moon to guide and land a lunar vehicle safely, in a precise location.
These innovative technologies will enable new commercial opportunities and position the Canadian space industry for the future economy created by Moon exploration. The CSA will continue to support Canadian organizations by providing a wide range of opportunities for Canadian science and technology activities in lunar orbit, on the Moon’s surface, and beyond.
“In supporting the Canadian space sector, our Government is committed to the growth and career development of tomorrow’s industry leaders. Not only will this funding put Canada on the Moon, but it will also help strengthen Canada’s R&D capabilities, advance our scientific knowledge, and put Canada in a prime position for further space exploration.”
The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
- Canadensys Aerospace Corporation is receiving a contribution of $2.49 million.
- NGC Aerospace Ltd. is receiving a contribution of $840,153.
- The two technologies will launch to the Moon by April 2024.
- Funding for these projects stems from the CSA’s Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP). LEAP is preparing Canada’s space sector for humanity’s return to the Moon by earmarking $150 million over five years to help small and medium-sized businesses in Canada develop new technologies to be used and tested in lunar orbit and on the Moon’s surface in fields that include artificial intelligence, robotics, and health.
- The two contributions are the first awarded as part of the LEAP Capability Demonstration Announcement of Opportunity.
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SOURCE Canadian Space Agency
For further information: Canadian Space Agency, Media Relations Office, Telephone: 450-926-4370, Website: http://asc-csa.gc.ca, Email: [email protected]
New coral reef taller than Eiffel Tower found off Australian coast – CBC.ca
Australian scientists found a detached coral reef on the Great Barrier Reef that exceeds the height of the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower, the Schmidt Ocean Institute said this week, the first such discovery in over 100 years.
The “blade like” reef is nearly 500 metres tall and 1.5 kilometres wide, said the institute founded by ex-Google boss Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy. That’s nearly as tall as the CN Tower, whose antenna reaches a height of 553 metres.
On October 20th, scientists with the <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/EdgeGBR?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#EdgeGBR</a> expedition uncovered a new detached reef to be added to the <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/GreatBarrierReef?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#GreatBarrierReef</a>. The reef is 500m high, taller than the Eiffel Tower. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/OzOceans2020?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#OzOceans2020</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NewReefGBR?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NewReefGBR</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/KeepExploring?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#KeepExploring</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NewDiscovery?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NewDiscovery</a> <a href=”https://t.co/oiu0tVPe5B”>pic.twitter.com/oiu0tVPe5B</a>
The reef lies 40 metres below the ocean surface and about six kilometres from the edge of Great Barrier Reef.
A team of scientists from James Cook University, led by Robin Beaman, were mapping the northern sea floor of the Great Barrier Reef on board the institute’s research vessel Falkor, when they found the reef on Oct. 20. “We are surprised and elated by what we have found,” said Beaman.
He said it was the first detached reef of that size to be discovered in over 120 years and that it was thriving with a “blizzard of fish” in a healthy ecosystem.
The discovery comes after a study earlier this month found the Great Barrier Reef had lost more than half its coral in the last three decades.
WATCH | Scientists explore the huge, newly discovered reef
Reef explored by robot
Using the underwater robot known as SuBastian, the scientists filmed their exploration of the new reef, collecting marine samples on the way, which will be archived and placed in the Queensland Museum and the Museum of Tropical Queensland.
“To not only 3D map the reef in detail, but also visually see this discovery with SuBastian is incredible,” Beaman added.
Although the northern section of the Great Barrier Reef suffered from bleaching in 2016, Beaman said this detached reef didn’t display any evidence of damage.
Bleaching occurs when the water is too warm, forcing coral to expel living algae and causing it to calcify and turn white.
Irridescent cuttlefish hanging out along the bottom edge of this newly discovered reef. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/EdgeGBR?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#EdgeGBR</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/OzOceans2020?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#OzOceans2020</a> <a href=”https://t.co/r2ENBzqHg2″>https://t.co/r2ENBzqHg2</a> <a href=”https://t.co/O5R4nEDuda”>pic.twitter.com/O5R4nEDuda</a>
The Great Barrier Reef runs 2,300 km (1,429 miles) down Australia’s northeast coast spanning an area half the size of Texas. It was world heritage listed in 1981 by UNESCO as the most extensive and spectacular coral reef ecosystem on the planet.
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