Connect with us

Science

SpaceX capsule leaves ISS as U.S. astronauts aim for splashdown off Florida coast – CBC.ca

Published

on


The first astronauts launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company departed the International Space Station on Saturday night for the final and most important part of their test flight: returning to Earth with a rare splashdown.

NASA’s Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken bid farewell to the three men left behind as their SpaceX Dragon capsule undocked and headed toward a Sunday afternoon descent by parachute into the Gulf of Mexico.

Despite tropical storm Isaias’s surge toward Florida’s Atlantic shore, NASA said the weather looked favourable off the coast of Pensacola on the extreme opposite side of the state.

It will be the first splashdown for astronauts in 45 years. The last time was following the joint U.S.-Soviet mission in 1975 known as Apollo-Soyuz.

Space station commander Chris Cassidy rang the ship’s bell as Dragon pulled away, 430 kilometres above Johannesburg, South Africa. Within a few minutes, all that could be seen of the capsule was a pair of flashing lights against the black void of space.

“It’s been a great two months, and we appreciate all you’ve done as a crew to help us prove out Dragon on its maiden flight,” Hurley radioed to the space station.

“Safe travels,” Cassidy replied, “and have a successful landing.”

The astronauts’ homecoming will cap a mission that ended a prolonged launch drought in the U.S., which has relied on Russian rockets to ferry astronauts to the space station since the end of the shuttle era.

SpaceX 1st private company to send people into orbit

In launching Americans Hurley and Behnken from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on May 30, SpaceX became the first private company to send people into orbit. Now SpaceX is on the verge of becoming the first company to bring people back from orbit.

“The hardest part was getting us launched, but the most important is bringing us home,” Behnken said several hours before strapping into the Dragon.

A successful splashdown, Behnken said, will bring U.S.-crew launching capability “full circle.”

Astronauts Bob Behnken, front left, and Doug Hurley, front right, are expected to splash down in the Atlantic off Florida on Sunday. (NASA/The Associated Press)

At a farewell ceremony earlier in the day, Cassidy, who will remain on board with two Russians until October, presented Hurley with the small U.S. flag left behind by the previous astronauts to launch to the space station from U.S. soil. Hurley was the pilot of that final shuttle mission in July 2011.

The flag — which also flew on the first shuttle flight in 1981 — became a prize for the company that launched astronauts first.

SpaceX easily beat Boeing, which isn’t expected to launch its first crew until next year and will land in the U.S. Southwest. The flag has one more flight after this one: to the moon on NASA’s Artemis program in the next few years.

“We’re a little sad to see them go,” Cassidy said, “but very excited for what it means to our international space program to add this capability” of commercial crew capsules. The next SpaceX crew flight is targeted for the end of September.

Hurley and Behnken also are bringing back a sparkly blue and purple dinosaur named Tremor. Their young sons chose the toy to accompany their fathers on the historic mission.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Climate change: Greenland's ice sheet has melted past the point of no return – FRANCE 24 English

Published

on


Issued on: 15/08/2020 – 14:58

Greenland’s ice sheet may have shrunk past the point of return, with the ice likely to melt away no matter how quickly the world reduces climate-warming emissions, new research suggests.

Advertising

Scientists studied data on 234 glaciers across the Arctic territory spanning 34 years through 2018 and found that annual snowfall was no longer enough to replenish glaciers of the snow and ice being lost to summertime melting.

That melting is already causing global seas to rise about a millimeter on average per year. If all of Greenland’s ice goes, the water released would push sea levels up by an average of 6 meters — enough to swamp many coastal cities around the world. This process, however, would take decades.

“Greenland is going to be the canary in the coal mine, and the canary is already pretty much dead at this point,” said glaciologist Ian Howat at Ohio State University. He and his colleagues published the study Thursday in the Nature Communications Earth & Environment journal.

The Arctic has been warming at least twice as fast as the rest of the world for the last 30 years, an observation referred to as Arctic amplification. The polar sea ice hit its lowest extent for July in 40 years.

The Arctic thaw has brought more water to the region, opening up routes for shipping traffic, as well as increased interest in extracting fossil fuels and other natural resources.

Greenland is strategically important for the U.S. military and its ballistic missile early warning system, as the shortest route from Europe to North America goes via the Arctic island.

Last year, President Donald Trump offered to buy Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory. But Denmark, a U.S. ally, rebuffed the offer. Then last month, the U.S. reopened a consulate in the territory’s capital of Nuuk, and Denmark reportedly said last week it was appointing an intermediary between Nuuk and Copenhagen some 3,500 kilometers away.

Scientists, however, have long worried about Greenland’s fate, given the amount of water locked into the ice.

The new study suggests the territory’s ice sheet will now gain mass only once every 100 years — a grim indicator of how difficult it is to re-grow glaciers once they hemorrhage ice.

In studying satellite images of the glaciers, the researchers noted that the glaciers had a 50% chance of regaining mass before 2000, with the odds declining since.

“We are still draining more ice now than what was gained through snow accumulation in ‘good’ years,” said lead author Michalea King, a glaciologist at Ohio State University.

The sobering findings should spur governments to prepare for sea-level rise, King said.

“Things that happen in the polar regions don’t stay in the polar region,” she said.

Still, the world can still bring down emissions to slow climate change, scientists said. Even if Greenland can’t regain the icy bulk that covered its 2 million square kilometers, containing the global temperature rise can slow the rate of ice loss.

“When we think about climate action, we’re not talking about building back the Greenland ice sheet,” said Twila Moon, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center who was not involved in the study. “We’re talking about how quickly rapid sea-level rise comes to our communities, our infrastructure, our homes, our military bases.”

(REUTERS)

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

Annual Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks This Week: How You Can Catch Some ‘Shooting Stars’ – … – Gizmo Posts 24

Published

on


Are you looking for fun?

Here, one of the best summertime fun The Perseid meteor.

Under the favorable conditions clear, moonless dark skies at its peak, the shower can produce up to 100 meteors an hour.

The meteor shower sprints from July 17 to August 26, with the peak occurring this year on the night of August 11-12.

When and Where To Watch:

In last year’s showers were hindered by an almost full moon, the good news was that this year, the moon only be 44 percent illuminates and rises after midnight.

The biggest way to enjoy a meteor shower is by getting away from light sources.

That means finding a good, dark sky location, such as a beach.

Moreover, stay away from mobile phones.

As it takes our eyes some time to modify to the dark, the mobile’s bright light will make it more difficult to do so.

It can take half an hour for your eyes to adjust.

The interesting thing about the meteor shower was that everyone can enjoy them.

Besides, there’s no need for binoculars and telescope.

All you need to do find a good place.

You may see some constellation from which the meteors seem to originate named radiant.

At 9.30 pm local time the constellation rises in the northern sky and continues to rise in the northeast.

Although, you don’t have to look in the exact direction.

As the constellation in higher in the sky, you may likely see more number of meteors.

As the constellations rise, so does the moon. That means that only the brightest meteors will visible.

The good thing was, the perseids do tend to put on a show with brilliant meteors caught over urban areas.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Science

‘Canary in the coal mine’: Greenland ice has shrunk beyond return, study finds – The Globe and Mail

Published

on


This early Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 file photo shows an aerial view of large Icebergs floating as the sun rises near Kulusuk, Greenland.

Felipe Dana/The Associated Press

Greenland’s ice sheet may have shrunk past the point of return, with the ice likely to melt away no matter how quickly the world reduces climate-warming emissions, new research suggests.

Scientists studied data on 234 glaciers across the Arctic territory spanning 34 years through 2018 and found that annual snowfall was no longer enough to replenish glaciers of the snow and ice being lost to summertime melting.

That melting is already causing global seas to rise about a millimetre on average per year. If all of Greenland’s ice goes, the water released would push sea levels up by an average of 6 meters – enough to swamp many coastal cities around the world. This process, however, would take decades.

Story continues below advertisement

“Greenland is going to be the canary in the coal mine, and the canary is already pretty much dead at this point,” said glaciologist Ian Howat at Ohio State University. He and his colleagues published the study Thursday in the Nature Communications Earth & Environment journal.

The Arctic has been warming at least twice as fast as the rest of the world for the last 30 years, an observation referred to as Arctic amplification. The polar sea ice hit its lowest extent for July in 40 years.

The Arctic thaw has brought more water to the region, opening up routes for shipping traffic, as well as increased interest in extracting fossil fuels and other natural resources.

Greenland is strategically important for the U.S. military and its ballistic missile early warning system, as the shortest route from Europe to North America goes via the Arctic island.

Last year, President Donald Trump offered to buy Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory. But Denmark, a U.S. ally, rebuffed the offer. Then last month, the U.S. reopened a consulate in the territory’s capital of Nuuk, and Denmark reportedly said last week it was appointing an intermediary between Nuuk and Copenhagen some 3,500 kilometres away.

Scientists, however, have long worried about Greenland’s fate, given the amount of water locked into the ice.

The new study suggests the territory’s ice sheet will now gain mass only once every 100 years – a grim indicator of how difficult it is to regrow glaciers once they hemorrhage ice.

Story continues below advertisement

In studying satellite images of the glaciers, the researchers noted that the glaciers had a 50% chance of regaining mass before 2000, with the odds declining since.

“We are still draining more ice now than what was gained through snow accumulation in ‘good’ years,” said lead author Michalea King, a glaciologist at Ohio State University.

The sobering findings should spur governments to prepare for sea-level rise, King said.

“Things that happen in the polar regions don’t stay in the polar region,” she said.

Still, the world can still bring down emissions to slow climate change, scientists said. Even if Greenland can’t regain the icy bulk that covered its 2 million square kilometres, containing the global temperature rise can slow the rate of ice loss.

“When we think about climate action, we’re not talking about building back the Greenland ice sheet,” said Twila Moon, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center who was not involved in the study. “We’re talking about how quickly rapid sea-level rise comes to our communities, our infrastructure, our homes, our military bases.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending