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SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket Sunday that was historic for two reasons

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As a strengthening low pressure system crossed the Florida peninsula on Sunday, weather conditions at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station were poor all day. There were intermittent showers and plenty of lightning.

By mid-morning, SpaceX had already canceled one launch from Florida, a mission carrying five dozen Starlink satellites. But the company held out hope for getting the second flight of a planned doubleheader off on Sunday evening, and by the time the clock ticked down on the SAOCOM-1B mission, weather conditions began to marginally improve.

At 7:18 pm ET (23:18 UTC) launch-site weather had only just turned green, so a thrice-used Falcon 9 first stage took off on its fourth flight. And a historic one it was as SpaceX launched a rocket for the 100th time, and flew a rare polar corridor mission from Florida for Argentina’s space agency.

The century mark

SpaceX launched its first rocket in March, 2006. This was the small Falcon 1 rocket, which failed about half a minute into flight after its single Merlin engine caught on fire. After two more failed attempts SpaceX would reach orbit on September 28, 2008, with the Falcon 1 rocket.

The company then turned its attention toward developing the larger Falcon 9 rocket, which flew in 2010 for the first time. SpaceX launched its 10th overall mission in March, 2013.

Since then there has been an acceleration in launch cadence has SpaceX has developed five versions of its Falcon 9 rocket and the Falcon Heavy booster. The company required seven years to go from its first to its tenth launch. In seven more years SpaceX has gone from its 10th launch to its 100th.

Polar corridor

Sunday’s mission also represented the first time a rocket has launched from Florida—which is optimized for equatorial launches—into a polar orbit in 50 years. The last polar mission came in 1969, with a weather satellite launched for a forerunner of NOAA called the Environmental Science Services Administration.

A “polar” mission simply means that a rocket inserts a satellite into an orbit that passes over the poles rather than going around the earth following the equator. Most rockets bound for polar orbits launch from spaceports with north or south-facing corridors, such as Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The primary challenge of flying a polar mission from Florida is the potential fly over land. To reach orbit safely, the Falcon 9 rocket launched Sunday performed a “dog-leg” maneuver to the east to skirt the southeastern coast of Florida. Although the rocket’s second stage eventually did fly over Cuba, SpaceX and the 45th Space Wing determined there was no danger to the island nation given the second stage’s altitude.

Listing image by Trevor Mahlmann

Source:- Ars Technica

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'Most extreme planet discovered': Scientists find blistering exoplanet with temperatures near 3,200C – National Post

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As the study of planets outside our solar system continues, astronomers have discovered what they have described as the ‘most extreme planet’ ever observed, with surface temperatures more blistering than those of some stars.

Researchers at the University of Bern say that the exoplanet, dubbed WASP-189b, is a gaseous giant 1.6 times larger than Jupiter and can record temperatures of up to 3,200 degrees Celsius, hot enough enough to met all rocks and metal and turn them into gaseous form.

The planet, they said, orbits the star HD 133112, known to be one of the hottest stars with a planetary system 2,000 degrees Celsius hotter than our Sun.

Despite being an enormous gaseous giant, WASP-189b is situated much closer to its star than Jupiter is to the sun, and so only take 2.7 days to orbit its star, with one side experiencing a permanent ‘night’ and the other a permanent ‘day’.

“WASP-189b is especially interesting because it is a gas giant that orbits very close to its host star,” astrophysicist Monika Lendl said, according to the university’s press release. “It takes less than three days for it to circle its star, and it is 20 times closer to it than Earth is to the Sun.”

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A coronavirus ‘game changer’: Canadian company claims it can detect virus in the air – Global News

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Nova Scotia reported one new case of coronavirus on Wednesday, after it was identified the day before.

The province said the new case is in the Northern Zone and is related to travel outside of Canada. The individual has been self-isolating as required, the province said.

Two active cases of COVID-19 remain in the province as of Wednesday, with Nova Scotia Health’s labs having completed 870 Nova Scotia tests the day prior.


Click to play video 'When can Canadians expect a COVID-19 vaccine?'



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When can Canadians expect a COVID-19 vaccine?


When can Canadians expect a COVID-19 vaccine?

To date, Nova Scotia has 94,414 negative test results, 1,088 positive COVID-19 cases and 65 deaths.

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One person is currently hospitalized in ICU.

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According to the province, 1,021 cases are now considered resolved.

The province’s health officials urge anyone currently experiencing a fever or cough to visit the 811 website to see if an assessment is needed.

If anyone experiences two or more of the following symptoms, they should ask if an assessment is needed:

  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • headache
  • shortness of breath

Click to play video 'Nova Scotia granted three-quarters of all COVID-19 exemption requests between March and July'



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Nova Scotia granted three-quarters of all COVID-19 exemption requests between March and July


Nova Scotia granted three-quarters of all COVID-19 exemption requests between March and July

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Search for life on Mars accelerates as new bodies of water found below planet's surface – National Post

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According to the Independent, the MARSIS helped researchers make a previous breakthrough when a large underground lake was found during a study in 2018. However, at that time there was some skepticism regarding the findings and data collected. In order to clearly determine whether the body of water was liquid, researchers felt they needed to investigate further.

To do so, a team led by planetary scientist Elena Pettinelli from Roma Tre University looked to existing methods to study the lakes beneath Earth’s Antarctic glaciers, using satellites in orbit to bounce pulses back and forth. In doing so, they were able to compare data obtained from MARSIS of the area surrounding the body of water found on Mars, which allowed them to confirm that it was in fact liquid. The method also allowed researchers to locate a number of other wet patches around the larger body of water under Mars’s surface, suggesting a number of salty lakes. 

“Not only did we confirm the position, extent and strength of the reflector from our 2018 study but we found three new bright areas,” said Professor Pettinelli, who is also an author on the study published in Nature Astronomy.

“The main lake is surrounded by smaller bodies of liquid water, but because of the technical characteristics of the radar, and of its distance from the Martian surface, we cannot conclusively determine whether they are interconnected,” she said in a statement.

The subsurface lakes appear to be “hypersaline solutions” — extremely briney liquid with high concentrations of salt — which may explain why they are not frozen solid, given the extreme cold of Mars’ south pole. 

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