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SpaceX launches 60 new Starlink satellites to orbit, nails rocket landing at sea – Space.com

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lit up the predawn sky early this morning (March 11) as it carried a new batch of 60 Starlink internet satellites into orbit, before nailing its landing on a floating platform at sea. 

The two-stage Falcon 9 booster lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 here at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 3:13 a.m. EST (0813 GMT). About 8.5 minutes later, the rocket’s reusable first stage returned to Earth for its sixth landing, touching down on one of SpaceX’s drone ships. The floating platform, called “Just Read the Instructions,” was stationed out in the Atlantic Ocean, about 400 miles (630 kilometers) downrange. 

It was a clear night in Florida for the mission’s second attempt. The launch was originally planned to occur on Monday night (March 9) but was pushed back so SpaceX could conduct more prelaunch checkouts. Weather forecasters at the U.S. Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron predicted a 90% chance of favorable conditions for launch this morning, and Mother Nature delivered. 

Related: SpaceX’s Starlink satellite megaconstellation launches in photos

The first stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sits on the company’s “Just Read the Instructions” drone ship shortly after landing successfully on March 11, 2021. (Image credit: SpaceX)

This latest liftoff marked SpaceX’s seventh mission of 2021 and the company’s 21st 60-satellite Starlink launch overall. It starred one of the better known Falcon 9 first stages in the fleet — B1058. 

Emblazoned with a now-sooty NASA worm logo, B1058 is the booster that delivered two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in May of last year, returning orbital human spaceflight to U.S. soil with SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission.

The veteran launcher also delivered a cargo Dragon spacecraft to the ISS, a communications satellite for South Korea’s military and the most satellites ever launched on a single mission (Transporter-1). Today, B1058 carried its second stack of Starlink satellites. 

The predawn spectacle marked the 110th overall flight of a Falcon 9 rocket and the 56th reflight of a Falcon 9 first stage. It was the sixth mission for this particular booster, and SpaceX set a new record for fastest turnaround time for a rocket with this many flights under its belt. 

B1058 last flew on Jan. 24, and it blasted off again from the same launch pad this morning, just 45 days later; the previous record for such a veteran booster was 59 days.  

SpaceX relies heavily on its fleet of veteran rockets, which have enabled the company to keep up with its launch ambitions. However, SpaceX has always stressed that, while booster recovery is beneficial, the main goal of each mission is to successfully deliver the payload to space. 

The company recovered a first stage for the first time in 2015, when a Falcon 9 booster touched down on terra firma at one of the company’s Florida landing pads. Ever since, SpaceX has been striving to better understand the recovery process and how much wear and tear each launch puts on the rocket. 

With each recovery attempt, the company has been able to refine its process and reduce times between flights. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has said that his long-term vision involves rockets that resemble airplanes, in the sense that they lift off, land, refuel and lift off again in short order. 

Musk has said, for example, that a goal of SpaceX is to launch, land, and then launch and land the same rocket again within 24 hours — a milestone that has not yet been reached.  

While SpaceX makes landing rockets look easy, a recent anomaly shows that it’s not always a slam dunk. On Feb. 15, the company broke a 24-booster recovery streak when a Falcon 9 first stage, designated B1059, failed to land on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean after launching a different batch of Starlink satellites into orbit. 

The mishap was attributed to “heat damage,” with company officials elaborating on that during a recent teleconference. Benji Reed, SpaceX’s senior director for human spaceflight, said that one of the booster’s protective engine covers failed, allowing hot gases from the engine to leak into places it wasn’t supposed to, causing an engine to shut down during flight. This shutdown ultimately caused the rocket to miss its mark on the drone ship.   

Related: See the evolution of SpaceX’s rockets in pictures

SpaceX upgraded its Falcon 9 rocket back in 2018, giving the vehicle a series of enhancements, including a more robust thermal protection system, titanium grid fins and a more durable interstage, to facilitate reuse. The upgrades enabled the rocket to refly multiple times with few refurbishments in between.

The company said that the Falcon 9 we see today could be capable of flying a minimum of 10 times with little to no refurbishment between flights and as many as 100 times overall before retirement. But such numbers may not be set in stone. Instead, those targets could be more of a guideline that changes as the company refines its refurbishment process.

SpaceX has two boosters that are close to the 10-mission milestone, having flown a record eight times, and it’s possible we could see one or both of those hit double digits this year. The company has big ambitions for 2021, with a goal of launching a total of 40 missions from its California and Florida launch pads.

This morning’s mission marked the 76th SpaceX booster landing to date, and the 19th for “Just Read the Instructions.”

To recover its returning boosters, SpaceX uses two massive floating landing platforms — “Of Course I Still Love You” and “Just Read the Instructions” — in addition to its landing pads, which allow the company to launch and land more rockets. Typically, the drone ships see most of the action, as it takes more fuel reserves to make it all the way back to land than it does to come down at sea.

“Just Read the Instructions” is the newer of the two ships. Originally stationed out in California, the ship was moved to the East Coast in 2020, to help with the increased launch cadence. 

SpaceX has been planning a third drone ship for some time now, and it’s possible that ship would service the West Coast as the company aims to increase launches from its facilities at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. There is no expected completion date on the third ship, but a recent company job opening for a drone ship recovery engineer suggests it could be sometime in the near future. 

Expanding the megaconstellation

With this morning’s successful liftoff, SpaceX has now launched more than 1,200 Starlink satellites into orbit, including some that are no longer operational. The company has planned for its initial Starlink constellation to be 1,440 strong but has sought approval for tens of thousands more. There are many more launches coming as SpaceX fills out this growing megaconstellation. 

The company launched its Starlink program with one major goal: to connect the globe. To that end, SpaceX designed a fleet of flat-paneled broadband satellites that fly over Earth, providing internet coverage to users around the world. 

SpaceX recently started taking preorders for its public rollout. Potential users could sign up for the service via a website, pay a deposit and then be notified when coverage is offered in their area. 

The rollout is on a first-come, first-serve basis while the company is conducting an extensive international and domestic beta-testing phase. In advance of this launch, SpaceX rolled out service to Germany and New Zealand and is working to expand its existing service in the United Kingdom. 

But that’s not all. Recent filings indicate that the company is seeking permission to expand its services to moving vehicles, including planes, boats and RVs. According to Musk, the current Starlink user terminals, which facilitate access to the satellites overhead, are too large to put in cars, so for now, it’s targeting bigger vehicles. 

SpaceX’s very big year: A 2020 of astronaut launches, Starship tests & more

Falling fairings

SpaceX’s dynamic fairing-catching boat duo, GO Ms Tree and GO Ms Chief, are still sidelined, undergoing maintenance in Florida’s Port Canaveral. As such, SpaceX deployed two of its Dragon recovery vessels, GO Searcher and GO Navigator, to the planned recovery site. 

The two boats received upgrades that allow them to scoop fairing pieces out of the water. The payload fairing is a clamshell-like piece of hardware designed to protect satellites as their rocket travels through the atmosphere. SpaceX fairings are composed of two halves. At a designated point after launch, the two pieces jettison and fall back to Earth. 

Historically, the payload fairing has been a one-and-done piece of hardware, discarded in the ocean after each mission. But SpaceX has been working to expand its reusability efforts and has had success recovering and reflying fairing pieces. 

For this mission, the active fairing (the half that has the motors that jettison it from the rocket) has flown once before, and the passive (or other half) has flown twice before. Once recovered from the ocean, SpaceX inspects and refurbishes each fairing piece. 

Up next for SpaceX is another Starlink mission, which could launch as soon as this weekend. The company is also preparing for its next astronaut mission, Crew-2, which is scheduled to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida no earlier than April 22. 

Follow Amy Thompson on Twitter @astrogingersnap. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.

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Breathtaking NASA Image Shows a Magical ‘Sea of Dunes’ on Mars

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On Thursday, NASA released a stunning photo of a sea of dunes on Mars.

It also shows wind-sculpted lines surrounding Mars’ frosty northern polar cap.

The section captured in the shot represents an area that is 31 kilometers (19 miles) wide, NASA said. The sea of dunes, however, actually covers an area as large as Texas.

The photo is a false color image, meaning that the colors are representative of temperatures. Blue represents cooler climes, and the shades of yellow mark out “sun-warmed dunes,” the US space agency wrote.

Sea of dark dunes surrounds Mars’ northern polar cap.(NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU)

The photo is made of a combination of images captured by the Thermal Emission Imaging System instrument on the Mars Odyssey orbiter, NASA wrote.

Captured during the period from December 2002 to November 2004, the breathtaking images have been released to mark the 20th anniversary of Odyssey.

The Mars Odyssey orbiter is a robotic spacecraft circling Mars that uses a thermal imager to detect evidence of water and ice on the planet.

It was launched in 2001, making it the longest-working Mars spacecraft in history.

Source:- ScienceAlert

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Humans actually hunted large animals and ate mostly meat for 2 millions years: study – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Despite a widespread belief that humans owe their evolution to the dietary flexibility in eating both meat and vegetables, researchers in Israel suggest that early humans were actually apex predators who hunted large animals for two million years before they sought vegetables to supplement their diet.

In a study recently published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, academics from Tel Aviv University in Israel and the University of Minho in Portugal examined modern biology to determine if stone-age humans were specialized carnivores or generalist omnivores.

“So far, attempts to reconstruct the diet of Stone-Age humans were mostly based on comparisons to 20th century hunter-gatherer societies,” one of the study’s authors, Miki Ben-Dor, a researcher at Tel Aviv University, said in a press release.

“This comparison is futile, however, because two million years ago hunter-gatherer societies could hunt and consume elephants and other large animals – while today’s hunter gatherers do not have access to such bounty.”

Instead, the researchers looked at approximately 400 previous scientific studies on human anatomy and physiology as well as archeological evidence from the Pleistocene period, or “Ice Age” period, which began about 2.6 million years ago, and lasted until 11,700 years ago.

“We decided to use other methods to reconstruct the diet of Stone-Age humans: to examine the memory preserved in our own bodies, our metabolism, genetics and physical build,” Ben-Dor said.

“Human behaviour changes rapidly, but evolution is slow. The body remembers.”

They discovered 25 lines of evidence from the studied papers on human biology that seem to show that earlier Homo sapiens were apex predators at the top of the food chain.

For example, the academics explained that humans have a high acidity in their stomachs when compared to omnivores or even other predators, which is important for consuming animal products.

“Strong acidity provides protection from harmful bacteria found in meat, and prehistoric humans, hunting large animals whose meat sufficed for days or even weeks, often consumed old meat containing large quantities of bacteria, and thus needed to maintain a high level of acidity,” Ben-Dor said.

Another piece of evidence, according to the study, is the structure of human fat cells.

“In the bodies of omnivores, fat is stored in a relatively small number of large fat cells, while in predators, including humans, it’s the other way around: we have a much larger number of smaller fat cells,” Ben-Dor said.

HUNTING EXPERTS

In addition to the evidence they collected by studying human biology, the researchers said archeological evidence from the Pleistocene period supports their theory.

In one example, the study’s authors examined stable isotopes in the bones of prehistoric humans as well as their hunting practices and concluded these early humans specialized in hunting large and medium-sized animals with high fat content.

“Comparing humans to large social predators of today, all of whom hunt large animals and obtain more than 70% of their energy from animal sources, reinforced the conclusion that humans specialized in hunting large animals and were in fact hypercarnivores,” the academics noted.

Ben-Dor said Stone-Age humans’ expertise in hunting large animals played a major role in the extinction of certain large animals, such as mammoths, mastodons, and giant sloths.

“Most probably, like in current-day predators, hunting itself was a focal human activity throughout most of human evolution. Other archeological evidence – like the fact that specialized tools for obtaining and processing vegetable foods only appeared in the later stages of human evolution – also supports the centrality of large animals in the human diet, throughout most of human history,” he said.

This is not to say, however, that humans during this period didn’t eat any plants. Ben-Dor said they also consumed plants, but they weren’t a major component of their diet until the end of the era when the decline of animal food sources led humans to increase their vegetable intake.

Eventually, the researchers said humans had no choice but to domesticate both plants and animals and become farmers.

Ran Barkai, one of the study’s authors and a professor at Tel Aviv University, said their findings have modern-day implications.

“For many people today, the Paleolithic diet is a critical issue, not only with regard to the past, but also concerning the present and future. It is hard to convince a devout vegetarian that his/her ancestors were not vegetarians, and people tend to confuse personal beliefs with scientific reality,” he said. 

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Marimaca Copper: First Drill Hole Intersects Broad Zone of Sulphide Copper Mineralization at Marimaca – Junior Mining Network

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 07, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Marimaca Copper Corp. (“Marimaca Copper” or the “Company”) (TSX: MARI) is pleased to announce the assay results of the first drill hole of a five-hole program targeting extensions of sulphide mineralization below the Company’s flagship Marimaca Oxide Deposit (“MOD”). Drilling encountered a broad zone of chalcopyrite and minor chalcocite, indicating potential for economic sulphide mineralization.

Highlights

  • Drill hole MAR-125 intersected 116m (expected approximate true width) at an average grade of 0.51% CuT from 162m, including two higher grade zones of:
    • 20m with an average grade of 0.77% CuT from 162m; and
    • 42m with an average grade of 0.92% CuT from 236m.
  • Intersection represents a significantly broader zone of mineralization than anticipated from earlier, nearby, sulphide drilling intersections
  • First drill hole of an initial five-hole campaign to test for extensions of mineralization at depth
    • First hole designed to extend mineralization closer to sulphide zones identified in historical drilling
    • Remaining four holes designed to test the limits of mineralization with step outs of approximately 300m at depth and between 400m and 700m along strike to the north and south of the first hole
  • Sulphide drilling to be completed shortly, with assay results on remaining holes expected by the end of April 2021
  • In response to escalating COVID situation in Chile, the Company has initiated a break in drilling which is not expected to impact the original target of testing all identified targets by the end of 1H 2021.

Sergio Rivera, VP Exploration of Marimaca Copper, commented:

“The results of the first hole of this initial campaign are extremely pleasing, exceeding both the widths and grades we had projected for this zone based on earlier drilling completed nearby. The broad intercept of chalcopyrite mineralization shows good continuity downhole, with potentially economic grades, especially at the bottom of the intercept.

“The drilling has also provided additional geological information, which we are using to refine our understanding of the controls of mineralization and to inform future drillhole locations, targeting mineralized extensions at depth and along strike.

“The next four holes are significant step outs from the known mineralized zones outside of the Mineral Resource Estimate area and are designed to test the limits of the mineralized body, both at depth and along strike. The second hole will be collared approximately 350m to the east of MAR-125, targeting mineralization up to 300m below the current deepest mineralization. The third, fourth and fifth holes will be located between 400m and 700m to the north and south of MAR-125, aiming to test for extensions along strike.

“This first hole has provided encouragement that there is potential for economically interesting sulphide mineralization at Marimaca, while the next four drill holes are designed to better delineate the tonnage potential of this.”

Discussion of Campaign Objectives and Results

The current five-hole drilling campaign at the Marimaca Copper Project is designed to test for extensions to mineralization below the MOD. Based on the structural controls of the mineralization, the results of previous geophysical campaigns and earlier drilling, which extended beyond the current Mineral Resource Estimate (“MRE”) area, the Company believes there is the potential for extensions of the mineralized body at depth across the full strike length of the MOD. All drill holes will be drilled at an azimuth of 270o and at -60o, roughly perpendicular to the north-south striking, easterly dipping mineralizing structures. Intercepts should, therefore, be relatively close to the true width of the mineralization.

The first drill hole (MAR-125) encountered a broad zone of dominantly chalcopyrite mineralization with some pyrite and minor chalcocite over a down hole width (expected to be equivalent to approximate true width) of 116m with an average grade of 0.51% CuT. This includes two zones of higher-grade mineralization including 20m with an average grade of 0.77% CuT and 42m with an average grade of 0.92% CuT at the end of the mineralized intercept. The hole was collared to test mineralization approximately 100m to the east of the earlier hole ATR-82, which intersected 44m of sulphide copper mineralization with an average grade of 1.05% CuT, and 200m and 300m east of holes ATR-93 and ATR-94 respectively, which both intersected mineralization with true widths of around 40m with average grades above 1.0% CuT. MAR-125 has demonstrated an extension to this higher-grade mineralization and provides further areas to target for follow up drilling.

MAR-125 is located in the center of the current MRE area, proximal to a zone of relatively high-grade sulphide mineralization intercepted in several drill holes over widths of between 30m and 50m. The remaining four drill holes have been located to test the limits of the mineralization by stepping out significantly at depth and along strike beyond the current MRE area. The collar of the second hole, MAS-03, is located approximately 100m to the south and 350m to the east of MAR-125 and is aimed to intersect mineralization approximately 300m below MAR-125. MAS-02 and MAS-04, located approximately 400m and 700m, respectively, south of MAR-125, and are planned as significant step outs along strike, targeting the conductivity high noted in the IP survey completed across the MOD

Figure 2

Sampling and Assay Protocol

True widths cannot be determined with the information available at this time. Marimaca Copper RC holes were sampled on a 2-metre continuous basis, with dry samples riffle split on site and one quarter sent to the Andes Analytical Assay preparation laboratory in Calama and the pulps then sent to the same company laboratory in Santiago for assaying. A second quarter was stored on site for reference. Samples were prepared using the following standard protocol: drying; crushing to better than 85% passing -10#; homogenizing; splitting; pulverizing a 500-700g subsample to 95% passing -150#; and a 125g split of this sent for assaying. All samples were assayed for CuT (total copper), CuS (acid soluble copper) by AAS. A full QA/QC program, involving insertion of appropriate blanks, standards and duplicates was employed with acceptable results. Pulps and sample rejects are stored by Marimaca Copper for future reference.

Qualified Person

The technical information in this news release, including the information that relates to geology, drilling and mineralization was prepared under the supervision of, or has been reviewed by Sergio Rivera, Vice President of Exploration, Marimaca Copper Corp, a geologist with more than 36 years of experience and a member of the Colegio de Geólogos de Chile and of the Institute of Mining Engineers of Chile, and who is the Qualified Person for the purposes of NI 43-101 responsible for the design and execution of the drilling program.

Mr. Rivera confirms that he has visited the Marimaca Project on numerous occasions, is responsible for the information contained in this news release and consents to its publication.

Contact Information
For further information please visit www.marimaca.com or contact:

Tavistock
+44 (0) 207 920 3150
Jos Simson/Emily Moss 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Forward Looking Statements

This news release includes certain “forward-looking statements” under applicable Canadian securities legislation. These statements relate to future events or the Company’s future performance, business prospects or opportunities. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the impact of a rebranding of the Company, the future development and exploration potential of the Marimaca Project. Actual future results may differ materially. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Forward-looking statements reflect the beliefs, opinions and projections on the date the statements are made and are based upon a number of assumptions and estimates that, while considered reasonable by Marimaca Copper, are inherently subject to significant business, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties and contingencies. Many factors, both known and unknown, could cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from the results, performance or achievements that are or may be expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements and the parties have made assumptions and estimates based on or related to many of these factors. Such factors include, without limitation: risks related to share price and market conditions, the inherent risks involved in the mining, exploration and development of mineral properties, the uncertainties involved in interpreting drilling results and other geological data, fluctuating metal prices, the possibility of project delays or cost overruns or unanticipated excessive operating costs and expenses, uncertainties related to the necessity of financing, the availability of and costs of financing needed in the future as well as those factors disclosed in the Company’s documents filed from time to time with the securities regulators in the Provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Marimaca Copper undertakes no obligation to update publicly or otherwise revise any forward-looking statements contained herein whether as a result of new information or future events or otherwise, except as may be required by law.


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