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SpaceX to Break Record with Booster's Sixth Flight – NASASpaceflight.com

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SpaceX to Break Record with Booster’s Sixth Flight – NASASpaceFlight.com

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MIT Researchers Say Their Fusion Reactor Is “Very Likely to Work” – Futurism

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A team of researchers at MIT and other institutions say their “SPARC” compact fusion reactor should actually work — at least in theory, as they argue in a series of recently released research papers.

In a total of seven papers penned by 47 researchers from 12 institutions, the team argues that no unexpected impediments or surprises have shown up during the planning stages.

In other words, the research “confirms that the design we’re working on is very likely to work,” Martin Greenwald, deputy director of MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center and project lead, told The New York Times.

Fusion power remains elusive, but the tech promises to one day become a safe and clean way of producing energy by fusing atomic nuclei together like the Sun. Despite almost a century of research, though, nobody has managed to pull it off yet.

SPARC, one of the largest privately funded project of its kind in the field, would be a first of its kind: a “burning plasma” reactor that fuses hydrogen isotopes to form helium, with no other input of energy needed.

Thanks to progress in the field of superconducting magnets, the team hopes to achieve the same performance as far larger reactors, such as the gigantic ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) reactor, which started assembly in July.

The magnets are used to contain the extremely hot and high pressure reactions going on inside the reactor, one of fusion’s greatest challenges.

According to the team’s calculations, SPARC should be able to produce twice as much fusion energy compared to the amount needed to generate the reaction. That would be a massive jump, since no researchers have managed to break even yet.

In fact, in the papers, the researchers note it could be theoretically possible to generate ten times the amount — though there’s plenty of work ahead before they could say that for sure.

The MIT team is hoping to construct its compact reactor over the next three to four years, with the eventual goal of generating electricity starting in 2035, the Times reports.

“What we’re trying to do is put the project on the firmest possible physics basis, so that we’re confident about how it’s going to perform, and then to provide guidance and answer questions for the engineering design as it proceeds,” Greenwald said in an official statement.

READ MORE: Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Is ‘Very Likely to Work,’ Studies Suggest [The New York Times]

More on fusion: Scientists Start Construction of World’s Largest Fusion Reactor

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Scientists Claim Discovery of Multiple Liquid Water Lakes on Mars – Voice of America

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A team of scientists studying data from a satellite orbiting Mars say they have discovered evidence of several lakes of what they believe is salty, liquid water beneath the surface of the planet’s south pole.

The discovery, detailed in a study published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy, expands upon a tentative finding in 2018, which was made using data from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express satellite.

A radar instrument known as the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding (MARSIS) produced evidence of what astronomers believed was a large saltwater lake under the ice at Mars’s south pole, a finding that was met with excitement and some skepticism at the time.

Since then, the same group of scientists examined 10 years’ worth of radar images sent from the spacecraft and found not only more evidence confirming the original salt lake, but enough for at least three more lying underneath the Martian surface.

Confirming the existence of liquid water on Mars is significant, in that it could provide a possible habitat for life.

The new evidence came after researchers examined over 100 radar images taken by the satellite from 2010 through 2019. The scientists saw what seemed to be several subglacial liquid bodies ranging in size from just over 19 kilometers across to as small as just under 5 kilometers.

The average temperature on Mars is around minus 26 degrees Celsius, far too cold for water to remain liquid at the surface. But the researchers believe the lakes maintain their liquid state due to their high concentrations of salt. 

Some scientists believe Mars was once a wet, warm world and may even have hosted life forms at some point in its early history. But over time, the planet’s atmosphere was stripped away because it lacks a magnetic field like Earth’s, making it seemingly inhospitable.

This latest discovery suggests that some pockets of the Martian terrain may be habitable and could contain some form of microbial life that escaped from the planet’s freezing surface to the waters beneath.

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Air leaking from International Space Station but no danger to crew: Roscosmos agency – Reuters Canada

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MOSCOW (Reuters) – The International Space Station is leaking air in above-normal volumes, but the leak presents no danger to the Russian-American crew, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said on Tuesday.

The leak has been localised to one section of a service module and the crew, made up of U.S. astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, plan to eliminate it in the coming days, Russia’s RIA news agency quoted Roscosmos executive director Sergei Krikalev as saying.

Roscosmos said additional air may be delivered to the station.

Reporting by Polina Devitt; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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