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Trio who spent six months on space station return to Earth safely – World News – Castanet.net

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A trio of space travellers safely returned to Earth on Thursday after a six-month mission on the International Space Station.

The Soyuz MS-16 capsule carrying NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, and Roscosmos’ Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner landed on the steppes of Kazakhstan southeast of the town of Dzhezkazgan Thursday. After a brief medical checkup, the three will be taken by helicopters to Dzhezkazgan, from where they will depart home.

Cassidy will board a NASA plane back to Houston, while Vagner and Ivanishin will fly home to Star City, Russia.

The crew smiled as they talked to masked members of the recovery team, and NASA and Roscosmos reported that they were in good condition.

As part of additional precautions due to the coronavirus, the rescue team members meeting the crew were tested for the virus and the number of people involved in the recovery effort was limited.

Cassidy, Ivanishin and Vagner spent 196 days in orbit, having arrived at the station on April 9. They left behind NASA’s Kate Rubins and Roscosmos’ Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, who arrived at the orbiting outpost a week ago for a six-month stay.

Cassidy, returning from his third space mission, has now spent a total of 378 days in space, the fifth highest among U.S. astronauts.

While serving as the station’s commander, Cassidy welcomed SpaceX Demo-2 crew Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, the first NASA astronauts to launch to the space station on an American spacecraft from American soil since the retirement of the space shuttle fleet in 2011.

Cassidy and Behnken completed four spacewalks for a total of 23 hours and 37 minutes, becoming two of only four U.S. astronauts to complete 10 spacewalks.

Before the crew’s departure, Russian cosmonauts were able to temporarily seal the air leak they tried to locate for several months. The small leak has posed no immediate danger to the station’s crew, and Roscosmos engineers have been working on a permanent seal.

In November, Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov are expected to greet NASA’s SpaceX first operational Crew Dragon mission comprising NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

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Iron hydroxide forms more easily on mineral surfaces than previously thought – MINING.com

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Knowing the exact moment when iron hydroxide forms on quartz substrates can support water quality processes at acid mine drainage sites

Nucleation and growth together are known as precipitation — and their sum has been used to predict iron hydroxide’s formation behaviour. But these predictions have largely omitted separate consideration of nucleation.

In Jun’s view, this means that previous results were not accurate enough.

“Our work provides an empirical, quantitative description of nucleation, not a computation, so we can provide scientific evidence about this missing link,” the researcher said.

By using X-rays and a novel experimental cell she developed to study environmentally relevant complex systems with plenty of water, ions and substrate material, Jun was able to observe nucleation in real-time.

The work consisted of employing an X-ray scattering technique called “grazing-incidence small-angle X-ray scattering.” By shining X-rays onto a substrate with a very shallow angle, close to the critical angle that allows total reflection of light, this technique can detect the first appearance of nanometer size particles on a surface.

The empirical measuring of the initial point of nucleation revealed that the general estimates scientists have been using overstate the amount of energy needed for this process.

“Iron hydroxide forms much more easily on mineral surfaces than scientists thought because less energy is needed for nucleation of highly hydrated solids on surfaces,” Jun said.

According to the scientist, her findings can help better understand processes related to water quality at acid mine drainage sites, the reduction of membrane fouling and pipeline scale formation, and the developing of more environmentally friendly superconductor materials.

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War in Space: Rules-based cooperation is only way to keep space peaceful – The Jerusalem Post

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In 2019, US President Donald Trump declared that “space is the new war-fighting domain.” This followed the creation of the US Space Force and a commitment to “American dominance” in outer space.Other space-faring nations, and those who fear the acceleration of an arms race in space, were greatly concerned. At the latest meeting of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, states noted with alarm that “preventing conflicts in outer space and preserving outer space for peaceful purposes” is more necessary than ever.The presumed election of Joe Biden as the next US president and Kamala Harris as vice-president suggests there is cause for hope. The future of space may look more like the recent launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station.Onboard were US and Japanese astronauts, who joined Russian and US crews already living aboard the ISS. As the Falcon 9 rocket soared into space, the collaborative, cooperative and commercial nature of space was once again clear for all to see.The incoming Biden-Harris administration appears more interested in international cooperation, and much more cognizant of the challenges of climate change, pandemics and other global issues. A carefully calibrated space policy can do much to address “terrestrial” challenges, while still allowing for many positive space activities.Since 1967, human activity in space has been guided by the widely accepted principles embedded in the Outer Space Treaty. Ratified or signed by more than 130 countries, it has ensured we have had no military conflict in space, and requires the exploration and use of space “for the benefit and in the interests of all countries.”Any alternative vision of the future of space is dreadful to consider. Rhetoric about the inevitability of “war in space” makes such conflict more likely and risks a “tragedy of the commons” in space.Any space war would have no clear winner. In a complex, globally shared arena such as space, it is important that states abide by accepted rules and established practices.The US has great scientific and technological advantages and a robust and competitive commercial space sector. Instead of seeking dominance, it can better serve the world (and itself) by focusing its leadership on harnessing space for the benefit of all humankind.In a promising sign, Biden and Harris’s NASA review team is composed of an outstanding group of space scientists as well as a former astronaut.The current administration re-established the National Space Council, which is chaired by the vice president, and this has reinvigorated American investment and leadership in space exploration. This includes an ambitious plan to return to the Moon under the terms of the Artemis Accords.To ensure that the fragile and shared domain of outer space does not become an arena for conflict, the rules that apply to any military uses of space need to be understood, respected and further developed. Failure to do so could lead to devastation, disruption and impact on civilian lives, particularly in the largest and most powerful countries like the US, whose economies and societies are heavily dependent on space infrastructure. Their access to space has given them the greatest competitive advantage, but they are therefore the most vulnerable if that access is compromised.Space is a “congested, contested and competitive” area where scientific, commercial and economic interests converge, as well as military and national security concerns. In this sense, space is like the radio frequency spectrum, which has been successfully regulated and managed for decades under international rules adopted through the International Telecommunication Union.But space is also much more. As the recent Crew-1 mission demonstrated, there are significant benefits when nations come together and cooperate. Enlightened leadership, guided by commonly agreed laws and practices – and a recognition that we share outer space as custodians for future generations – is the only realistic way forward.

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Brightly burning meteor seen across wide areas of Japan – CTV News

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TOKYO —
A brightly burning meteor was seen plunging from the sky in wide areas of Japan, capturing attention on television and social media.

The meteor glowed strongly as it rapidly descended through the Earth’s atmosphere on Sunday.

Many people in western Japan reported on social media seeing the rare sight.

NHK public television said its cameras in the central prefectures of Aichi, Mie and elsewhere captured the fireball in the southern sky.

A camera at Nagoya port showed the meteor shining as brightly as a full moon as it neared the Earth, the Asahi newspaper reported.

Some experts said small fragments of the meteorite might have reached the ground.

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