Six years of recording and analyzing the sounds made by bats in P.E.I. National Park has revealed more biodiversity in the park than was previously suspected.
The park first set up acoustic detectors, which record the echolocation calls bats use to hunt for food, in 2015 and has continued every year since. This year officials noticed eastern red bats in the recordings this year.
“Finding any new species is exciting, and just knowing that there’s another species of bat within Prince Edward Island really increases our knowledge of the biodiversity,” Kim Gamble, a resource management officer with Parks Canada, told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier.
Parks Canada is analyzing the calls with the help of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, and their detection skills have been improving since they started in 2015. Having noticed the red bat this year, they went back and listened to recordings from previous years and heard the red bat there too, confirming this year’s seasonal visitors were not a one-off appearance.
Gamble said it’s possible that they are hearing other species on the recordings that they haven’t yet identified.
“There’s also a couple of other species where their calls overlap a bit more and there’s less certainty in what those species are,” she said.
“But with the eastern red bat it’s distinct enough from the other species that we can tell, through acoustic detection that it is in fact the eastern red bat.”
No sighting of the red bat has been confirmed yet, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been seen. With the bats flying at night it is next to impossible to tell them apart unless they are captured.
Disease killing bats
The population of little brown bats on the Island has been decimated by white-nose syndrome.
Red bats can carry the fungus that causes the disease, said Gamble, but there is no evidence that the population is being affected. Because red bats roost alone in trees there is less opportunity for the fungus to spread than in little brown bats, which can roost together in colonies of thousands.
The sighting of any bat is important on the Island right now, said Gamble. People who see bats should let the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative know, she said.
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Some people in parts of Canada and the United States witnessed a massive fireball streak through the sky yesterday.
Witnesses reported seeing a flash of light, and the moment was also caught on camera.
A massive #fireball lit up the sky over parts of the United States and Canada earlier today. Check out this footage that was caught from our #EarthCam‘s in Toronto. Could it be a meteor?? 👀☄️ @TourCNTower pic.twitter.com/Qxdz168p0I
— EarthCam (@EarthCam) December 2, 2020
Footage from the EarthCam at the CN Tower in Toronto shows the flash of light and points out the meteor-like object soar through the sky.
The Geminid meteor shower is taking place this month, and promises to be one of the most active meteor showers of the year.
Nasa sets prices for Moon dust – Bangkok Post
WASHINGTON: The US space agency Nasa awarded contracts to four companies on Thursday to collect lunar samples for US$1 to $15,000, rock-bottom prices that are intended to set a precedent for future exploitation of space resources by the private sector.
“I think it’s kind of amazing that we can buy lunar regolith from four companies for a total of $25,001,” said Phil McAlister, director of Nasa’s Commercial Spaceflight Division.
The contracts are with Lunar Outpost of Golden, Colorado for $1; ispace Japan of Tokyo for $5,000; ispace Europe of Luxembourg for $5,000; and Masten Space Systems of Mojave, California for $15,000.
The companies plan to carry out the collection during already scheduled unmanned missions to the Moon in 2022 and 2023.
The firms are to collect a small amount of lunar soil known as regolith from the Moon and to provide imagery to NASA of the collection and the collected material.
Ownership of the lunar soil will then be transferred to NASA and it will become the “sole property of NASA for the agency’s use under the Artemis program.”
Under the Artemis program, Nasa plans to land a man and a woman on the Moon by 2024 and lay the groundwork for sustainable exploration and an eventual mission to Mars.
“The precedent is a very important part of what we’re doing today,” said Mike Gold, NASA’s acting associate administrator for international and interagency relations.
“We think it’s very important to establish the precedent that the private sector entities can extract, can take these resources but Nasa can purchase and utilize them to fuel not only NASA’s activities, but a whole new dynamic era of public and private development and exploration on the Moon,” Gold said.
“We must learn to generate our own water, air and even fuel,” he said. “Living off the land will enable ambitious exploration activities that will result in awe inspiring science and unprecedented discoveries.”
Any lessons learned on the Moon would be crucial to an eventual mission to Mars.
“Human mission to Mars will be even more demanding and challenging than our lunar operations, which is why it’s so critical to learn from our experiences on the Moon and apply those lessons to Mars,” Gold said.
“We want to demonstrate explicitly that you can extract, you can utilize resources, and that we will be conducting those activities in full compliance with the Outer Space Treaty,” he said. “That’s the precedent that’s important. It’s important for America to lead, not just in technology, but in policy.”
The United States is seeking to establish a precedent because there is currently no international consensus on property rights in space and China and Russia have not reached an understanding with the United States on the subject.
The 1967 Outer Space Treaty is vague but it deems outer space to be “not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.”
Chinese moon mission begins return to earth with lunar rocks – Global News
A Chinese spacecraft lifted off from the moon Thursday night with a load of lunar rocks, the first stage of its return to Earth, the government space agency reported.
Chang’e 5, the third Chinese spacecraft to land on the moon and the first to take off from it again, is the latest in a series of increasingly ambitious missions for Beijing’s space program, which also has an orbiter and rover headed to Mars.
The Chang’e 5 touched down Tuesday on the Sea of Storms on the moon’s near side. Its mission: collect about two kilograms (four pounds) of lunar rocks and bring them back to Earth, the first return of samples since Soviet spacecraft did so in the 1970s. Earlier, the U.S. Apollo astronauts brought back hundreds of pounds of moon rocks.
The landing site is near a formation called the Mons Rumker and may contain rocks billions of years younger than those retrieved earlier.
The ascent vehicle lifted off from the moon shortly after 11 p.m. Beijing time Thursday (1500 GMT) and was due to rendezvous with a return vehicle in lunar orbit, then transfer the samples to a capsule, according to the China National Space Administration. The moon rocks and debris were sealed inside a special canister to avoid contamination.
It wasn’t clear when the linkup would occur. After the transfer, the ascent module would be ejected and the capsule would remain in lunar orbit for about a week, awaiting the optimal time to make the trip back to Earth.
Chinese officials have said the capsule with the samples is due to land on Earth around the middle of the month. Touchdown is planned for the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, where China’s astronauts have made their return in Shenzhou spacecraft.
Chang’e 5’s lander, which remained on the moon, was capable of scooping samples from the surface and drilling two metres (about six feet).
While retrieving samples was its main task, the lander also was equipped to extensively photograph the area, map conditions below the surface with ground penetrating radar and analyze the lunar soil for minerals and water content.
Right before the ascent vehicle lifted off, the lander unfurled what the space administration called the first free-standing Chinese flag on the moon. The agency posted an image — apparently taken from the lander — of the ascend vehicle firing its engines as it took off.
Chang’e 5 has revived talk of China one day sending astronauts to the moon and possibly building a scientific base there, although no timeline has been proposed for such projects.
China launched its first temporary orbiting laboratory in 2011 and a second in 2016. Plans call for a permanent space station after 2022, possibly to be serviced by a reusable space plane.
While China is boosting co-operation with the European Space Agency and others, interactions with NASA are severely limited by U.S. concerns over the secretive nature and close military links of the Chinese program.
© 2020 The Canadian Press
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