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Soyuz manned spacecraft docks to space station, setting record by speed of flight

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BAIKONUR /Kazakhstan/, October 14. /TASS/. The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft with three crew members reached the International Space Station (ISS) under the two-orbit scheme for the first time, setting a record by the speed of flight to the orbital outpost, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said in a live broadcast on Wednesday.

The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft with Russian cosmonauts Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov and US astronaut Kathleen Rubins docked to the Rassvet module of the ISS at 11:48 a.m. Moscow time. Therefore, the flight lasted three hours and three minutes, the live broadcast says.

Now the orbital outpost’s crew will check the air tightness of the docking, following which the air pressure will be leveled off between the manned spacecraft and the ISS. After that, Ryzhikov, Kud-Sverchkov and Rubins will be able to transfer to the space station.

A Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with the manned spacecraft blasted off from site No. 31 of the Baikonur spaceport at 08:45 a.m. Moscow time on Wednesday.

The crew will spend 177 days in outer space. During the new expedition, Russian cosmonauts Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov will carry out 55 scientific studies and experiments, including four new probes. Three scientific experiments will be carried out without the crew’s participation. They will also continue the work to trace an air leak in the transfer compartment of the Zvezda module.

The cosmonauts are also set to make two spacewalks. One of them will take place in November 2020 and the other in February 2021.

Both spacewalks will be needed for undocking and dumping the Pirs module next year. This is required for vacating the place for Russia’s new Nauka (Science) module that will be launched in April 2021.

Currently, Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy are working aboard the orbital outpost.

source: – TASS

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Researchers Worry Methane Discovery in Arctic Ocean Could Signal Dangerous New Climate Feedback Loop – Common Dreams

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An international team of researchers aboard a Russian research ship has discovered evidence that frozen methane deposits in the Arctic Ocean have been dispersing over a large area of Siberia, potentially fueling a dangerous new climate feedback loop. 

The Guardian reports the International Siberian Shelf Study (ISSS-2020) found that slope sediments spreading over much of the continental shelf are rich in frozen methane hydrates that have been detected to a depth of 1,150 feet in the Laptev Sea.

Although the scientists said that most of the methane hydrate bubbles are dissolving in the water, methane levels at the sea surface are four to eight times higher than normal and the gas is venting into the atmosphere. What makes methane especially dangerous is that its heating effect is 80 times stronger than CO2 over 20 years. The new discovery has raised serious concerns that a new climate feedback loop may be starting.

According to ISSS-2020:

One of the greatest uncertainties surrounding climate warming [concerns] the emission of naturally accurring greenhouse gases, such as methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide (N2O) from Arctic thawing permafrost, and collapsing methane hydrates—crystals made of methane gas molecules “caged” between solid water molecules—in the seabed north of Siberia will increase in the future.  

“At this moment, there is unlikely to be any major impact on global warming, but the point is that this process has now been triggered,” Stockholm University researcher Örjan Gustafsson told The Guardian. “This East Siberian slope methane hydrate system has been perturbed and the process will be ongoing.” 

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Gustafsson, a member of the research team, warned last month that “climate warming is awakening the ‘sleeping giants’ of the carbon cycle, namely permafrost and methane hydrates.”

“How much this will lead to added emissions of the strong greenhouse gas methane is poorly understood,” he said. “This is one of the grand challenges in current climate change research and a central goal of the expedition to address.” 

The chief scientist aboard the vessel, Igor Semiletov of the Russian Academy of Sciences, called the hydrate discharges “significantly larger” than anything previously seen. 

“The discovery of actively releasing shelf slope hydrates is very important and unknown until now,” Semiletov told The Guardian. “This is a new page. Potentially they can have serious climate consequences, but we need more study before we can confirm that.” 

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Scientists: 2018 Michigan Meteorite Was Filled With Organic Compounds – Futurism

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Clean Look

An unusual meteorite that streaked across the sky of Michigan as a fireball before landing on a frozen lake in 2018 has granted scientists with a peek at the things space rocks can ferry down to Earth.

Namely, the meteorite was chock full of organic compounds — carbon-containing molecules that serve as the building blocks of life on Earth — that had clear extraterrestrial origins, according to research accepted for publication in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science. In this case, scientists from Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History got to it so quickly that they were able to rule out the sorts of contamination that usually impedes meteorite research.

Elbow Grease

Typically meteorites are teeming with life, but only because they were sitting around long enough for Earthly microbes or lichens to move in and colonize them, lead study author Philipp Heck, a Field Museum curator and University of Chicago professor, explained in a press release.

“This meteorite is special because it fell onto a frozen lake and was recovered quickly,” Heck said. “It was very pristine. We could see the minerals weren’t much altered and later found that it contained a rich inventory of extraterrestrial organic compounds.”

Getting Started

It’s compounds like these that some scientists theorize kickstarted life on Earth after they were brought down by a series of ancient meteorite impacts.

“These kinds of organic compounds were likely delivered to the early Earth by meteorites and might have contributed to the ingredients of life,” Heck said in the release.

READ MORE: ‘Fireball’ meteorite contains pristine extraterrestrial organic compounds [Field Museum]

More on meteorites: Scientists: Life on Earth Likely Started in Meteor Craters

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Halloween Predictions: Much of British Columbia is eerily cold under a full moon – Aviation Analysis Wing

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Halloween Predictions: Much of British Columbia is eerily cold under a full moon

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While the weather is expected to be frighteningly cold in most parts of BC this Halloween, those who venture outside might be in for a place to have fun.

A rare full “blue” moon is expected Saturday night, and it is the second full moon this month.

The last time Trick-or-Treaters went out under a full moon in British Columbia was in 2001, but the last Halloween moon in all time zones was in 1944, according to a farmers’ calendar.

© Gideon Knight_Wildlife Photographer of the Year, The Young Grand Prix Winner: The Moon and the Raven. Photo by CB2 / ZOB /Gideon Knight / wildlife photographer

As for the weather, if you’re in Metro Vancouver, it will likely be clear and sunny during the day with temperatures as low as 11 degrees Celsius, then partly cloudy at night with temperatures as low as 5 degrees Celsius, according to the Canadian Department of Environment and Climate Change.

Elsewhere in British Columbia, areas of Prince George and Williams Lake should see a combination of sun and cloud with highs of 4 or 5 ° C and an overnight low of 2 ° C, while in the Okanagan it is likely overcast and 10 ° C low. Down to 4 degrees Celsius throughout the night with the chance of light showers.

In the northern region of Dis Lake, the weather appears sunny during the day and freezing at night, with the temperature dropping to minus 7 degrees Celsius throughout the night.

In central British Columbia, it may snow in some communities on Saturday. The agency expects a good chance of flash waves in Smithers during the day, but it will fall throughout the night.

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