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Teenage British activist stages climate protest on Arctic ice floe – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Natalie Thomas

ABOARD ‘ARCTIC SUNRISE’ (Reuters) – Like many of her generation, Mya-Rose Craig feels strongly that adults have failed to take the urgent action needed to tackle global warming and so she has headed to the Arctic Ocean to protest.

Armed with a placard reading ‘Youth Strike for Climate”, the 18-year-old British activist is staging the most northerly protest in a series of youth strikes worldwide.

The strikes, made famous by Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg, are resuming after a lull caused by the global coronavirus pandemic to draw public attention back to the threat posed by climate change.

“I’m here to… try and make a statement about how temporary this amazing landscape is and how our leaders have to make a decision now in order to save it,” she told Reuters Television as she stood with her placard on the edge of the Arctic sea ice.

“I absolutely think that my generation has always had to think about climate change… which is why as we’ve got older there’s been this massive wave of just this need for change, this demand for change when we realised the grown-ups aren’t going to solve this so we have to do it ourselves.”

Craig, from southwest England, is known as “Birdgirl” online, where her blog chronicling her bird-watching experiences has attracted thousands of followers.

She has travelled hundreds of miles above the Arctic Circle aboard a Greenpeace ship, Arctic Sunrise.

Climate data shows the Arctic is one of the fastest changing ecosystems on the planet, with serious consequences for wildlife from polar bears and seals to plankton and algae, while the melting sea ice contributes to rising sea levels worldwide.

Warming in the Arctic shrank the ice covering the polar ocean this year to its second-lowest extent in four decades, scientists said on Monday.

For Craig, getting to the ice floe involved a two-week quarantine in Germany, followed by a three-week voyage to the edge of the sea ice.

Craig said those who dismiss the youth protests as just a rebellious phase by her generation are wrong, and she wants those in power to stop treating climate change as a low-priority issue, raised only to appease “the lefties in the corner”.

“It’s everything now and it has to be treated like that,” she said.  

(Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Gareth Jones; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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Incredible moment Nasa probe lands on ‘doomsday asteroid’ Bennu to collect biggest Space sample since Apo – The Irish Sun

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REX spacecraft briefly touched down on the asteroid Bennu on Tuesday evening, tagging the surface as part of a collection mission that’s been 16 years in the making.

It is hoped that the any dirt collected will help with future research into our solar system – including how to potentially prevent an asteroid crashing into Earth.

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NASA’s scientists celebrated as the OSIRIS-REX spacecraft briefly touched down on the asteroid Bennu on Tuesday eveningCredit: Facebook

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The spacecraft made contact with the surface of Bennu shortly after 11pm GMT.

It is hoped that NASA will know by Saturday whether the extraction has been successful.

Any materials collected could help unlock secrets into how our solar system was formed 4.5 billion years ago.

Last December, scientists selected the sample site known as Nightingale – a fairly smooth patch on what is an asteroid strewn with boulders.

Measuring roughly 20 feet wide and is the size of an SUV, OSIRIS-REX was tasked with navigating a target site of just 26 feet in diameter.

The touchdown happened more than 200 million miles away from Earth

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The touchdown happened more than 200 million miles away from EarthCredit: AFP
NASA will know by Saturday whether their extraction has been successful

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NASA will know by Saturday whether their extraction has been successfulCredit: NASA

The mission has been 16 years in the making and was led by University of Arizona researchers.

The touchdown happened over 200 million miles away from Earth.

Bennu itself is travelling through space at a speed of 63,000 miles per hour.

Once landed, the spacecraft released an 11-foot-long robotic arm to collect a small sample of rubble.

Ahead of the landing, NASA scientists said it could take some time before they can identify just how much material has been collected.

The mission to Bennu, some 200 million miles from Earth, took 16 years in the making

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The mission to Bennu, some 200 million miles from Earth, took 16 years in the makingCredit: EPA
Scientist should know by Saturday how successful their extraction has been

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Scientist should know by Saturday how successful their extraction has beenCredit: AP:Associated Press
The spacecraft's landing was captured on a live stream, with NASA scientists explaining each step of the process

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The spacecraft’s landing was captured on a live stream, with NASA scientists explaining each step of the processCredit: Facebook

It will be flown back to Earth in 2023 if the sample is good enough and is expected to arrive in 2023.

We should then be able to unravel some of the mystery surrounding the asteroid and its origins.

The mission is uncharted territory, though, so smooth sailing is not guaranteed.

Why does Nasa want to study Bennu?

Ancient asteroid Bennu contains the ingredients for life, according to Nasa experts.

Ahead of the sampling, experts have been piecing together what they think they know so far about the near Earth asteroid.

Nasa explained: “NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission now knows much more about the material it’ll be collecting in just a few weeks.

“In a special collection of six papers published today in the journals Science and Science Advances, scientists on the OSIRIS-REx mission present new findings on asteroid Bennu’s surface material, geological characteristics, and dynamic history.

“They also suspect that the delivered sample of Bennu may be unlike anything we have in the meteorite collection on Earth.”

Nasa wants to sample a piece of the asteroid today

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Nasa wants to sample a piece of the asteroid todayCredit: Reuters

The researchers relied on high resolution mapping that has been done around Bennu since a spacecraft began to orbit it back in 2018.

It’s hoped that their work will fill in crucial gaps in our understanding of asteroids.

Nasa claims Bennu hosts ingredients that we know are essential for life on Earth.

It said: “One of the papers, led by Amy Simon from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, shows that carbon-bearing, organic material is widespread on the asteroid’s surface, including at the mission’s primary sample site, Nightingale, where OSIRIS-REx will make its first sample collection attempt on October 20.

“These findings indicate that hydrated minerals and organic material will likely be present in the collected sample.

“This organic matter may contain carbon in a form often found in biology or in compounds associated with biology.

“Scientists are planning detailed experiments on these organic molecules and expect that the returned sample will help answer complex questions about the origins of water and life on Earth.”

The asteroid has a rocky terrain as can be seen here in this coloured image

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The asteroid has a rocky terrain as can be seen here in this coloured imageCredit: NASA

There is a theory that life on Earth started because of an asteroid impact bringing water and the right organic molecules.

There’s also slight concern that an asteroid like Bennu could end lives on Earth.

Bennu is a possible security risk for our planet as there’s a 1 in 2,700 chance it could collide with us in the 2100s.

This may be a slim chance but it makes studying the asteroid even more important.

Bright ‘veins’ on the asteroid’s boulders are also being used to suggest Bennu formed when a larger watery asteroid was smashed into and broken up.

The water could have created the veins and left behind the patterns we can still see today.

Bennu – the key facts

Here’s what you need to know

  • 101955 Bennu is a large asteroid that was first discovered on September 11, 1999
  • It’s official designated as a “potentially hazardous object”, because it could one day hit Earth
  • Space scientists say it has a 1-in-2,700 change of impacting Earth between 2175 and 2199
  • It’s named after the Bennu, an Ancient Egyptian mythological bird associated with the Sun
  • The asteroid has an approximate diameter of 1,614 feet
  • Bennu is the target of the ongoing Osiris-Rex mission, which is designed to return samples from the asteroid to Earth in 2023
  • The Osiris-Rex spacecraft arrived at Bennu on December 3, 2018 – following a two-year journey
  • It will map out Bennu’s surface and orbit the asteroid to calculate its mass
  • An asteroid of Bennu’s size can be expected to hit Earth approximately once every 100,000 to 130,000 years
  • Bennu will make a close approach (460,000 miles) to Earth on September 23, 2060
Nasa probe to reveal secrets of doomsday asteroid Bennu that could crash into Earth

In other news, Elon Musk says his Starship rocket could fly to Mars in just over three years.

The Orionid meteor shower reaches its peak this week.

And, a Nasa rocket launched to the Moon in 1966 has hurtled back into view from Earth, according to scientists.


We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at tech@the-sun.co.uk


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Ultimate absentee ballot: US astronaut votes from space station – Phys.org

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Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

At least she didn’t have to wait in line.

A US astronaut cast her ballot from the International Space Station on Thursday, making her voice heard in the despite being 253 miles (408 kilometers) above the Earth.

“From the International Space Station: I voted today,” crew member Kate Rubins, who began a six-month stint aboard the orbiting station last week, said on US space agency NASA’s Twitter account.

The post featured a photograph of Rubins, her blonde hair floating in the zero-gravity environment, in front of a white enclosure with a paper sign that reads “ISS voting booth.”

Rubins and NASA described the process as a form of absentee voting.

A secure electronic ballot generated by a clerk’s office in Harris County, home of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, was sent up via email to the ISS.

Rubins filled out the ballot in the email and it was downlinked and delivered back to the clerk’s office.

She is no stranger to the process: Rubins cast her vote from the ISS during the 2016 election. Congress passed legislation in 1997 that made voting from space possible.

“We consider it an honor to be able to vote from space,” she said in a video before she and two Russian cosmonauts launched from the Russian-operated Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on October 14.

“If we can do it from space then I believe folks can do it from the ground too.”

Three other American astronauts were also expected to vote from space but their October 31 trip to the ISS was delayed.


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NASA astronaut casts lone vote from space


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OSIRIS-REx collects sample from Bennu asteroid after 2-year orbit – KOKI FOX 23

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“Even though we have some work ahead of us to determine the outcome of the event — the successful contact, the TAGSAM gas firing, and back-away from Bennu are major accomplishments for the team. I look forward to analyzing the data to determine the mass of sample collected,” Dante Lauretta said in a statement, according to CNN. Lauretta is the principal investigator for the mission and is a professor at the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.

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