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Unexplained Radio Signal from 500 Million Light Years Away is Repeating Every 16 Days – News18

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Earlier this week, a group of scientists revealed the detection of a repeating radio signal from outer space. While such radio signals are not entirely unprecedented, what makes the latest finding all the more interesting is that for the very first time, these radio signals appeared to repeat themselves uniformly, and in clear intervals. With outer space research always being a matter of great intrigue, the latest discovery has sparked off expected discourse among conspiracy theorists and space enthusiasts regarding a hint of extraterrestrial life.

In reality, there might be multiple explanations for the occurrence of such signals. Referred to as Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), radio signals originating in space are known to only be milliseconds long, and are typically sporadic in nature. The repeating signals in question were reportedly detected by collaborating scientists between the FRB Project and the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, more commonly known as the Chime telescope. According to their paper that is yet to be peer-reviewed, and has been made available to the public on Arxiv, the radio signals were detected for a consistent period between September 16, 2018 and October 30, 2019.

During the period of the repeating signals, the FRBs would be consistently received once every hour or two for a period of four days, following which things would go quiet for 12 days. The pattern would repeat itself after an exact period of 16.35 days, and the incident continued for over one year. Post discovery, the signal was assigned nomenclature of FRB 180916, and was one of eight new FRBs that we at Earth detected. The source of the signal in question is believed to be in the spiralling, star-forming arm of a galaxy that is nearly half a billion light years away.

The researchers have noted the enigma of the uniformly repeating radio signals, stating that the clue behind tracing and studying the signals further would lie in their repeating pattern. Plausible clues that have been discussed on paper include the interaction between a star’s orbit and a nearby celestial body. Alternately, this might also signify a binary star unit within the galaxy’s cluster, such as a dense neutron star and a massive, supergiant star. Theoretically, based on scientific observations made so far, it is possible for such binary star units to exist in unison, and generate a rhythmic signal.

While further details of the study are yet to shed light upon this rather mysterious and unexplained discovery, a portion of hopefuls would not entirely give up the dystopian melancholy of an existence such as Miller’s planet from Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. Was this a last ditch, desperate attempt from a spaceship belonging to a faraway civilisation, as it traversed outer space trying to find sources of life elsewhere? Science fiction aside, the forever intriguing nature of space research means that until an occurrence is clearly studied, one may never know for sure.

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Here's NASA's new idea to get its stubborn Martian drill to work – Mashable

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The InSight lander’s robotic arm.
Image: nasa jpl

Well over a year after NASA’s InSight lander parachuted down to the Martian surface, the space agency still hasn’t been able to drill too far into the red soil. 

NASA has tried a few different techniques to get the drill, known as the “mole,” deeper into the ground to measure the desert planet’s inner temperature —  with the greater goal of understanding geologic activity on Mars. 

On Friday, NASA announced a new idea. From tens of millions of miles away, the space agency will direct the InSight lander to take its robotic arm (which has a black shovel on the end), to “push” on top of the drill. 

“The InSight team hopes that pushing on this location will help the mole it bury itself and enable the heat probe to take Mars’ temperature,” NASA said.  

Eventually, NASA hopes the mole will drill down 16 feet. So far, however, the agency hasn’t gone much more than a foot.

The new extraterrestrial operation is expected to take a few weeks, if it works at all. 

“We’re cautiously optimistic that one day we’ll get the mole working again,” Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu, the lead InSight arm engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said five months ago, when attempting another drilling scheme.  

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U of A scientist lands spot on NASA Mars 2020 rover mission

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Local scientist Chris Herd is part of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, the first attempt to collect samples from the red planet for a possible return to Earth.

He will be lending his expertise in the analysis of rocks and meteorites and select samples that may provide information about the geological history of Mars.

“Mars 2020 will let us choose where to collect samples and will allow us to get context for the rocks that are collected — their location, surrounding features, and more,” said Herd in a news release Thursday.

His role in the mission is making operational and scientific decisions for the mission’s rover to collect and store samples from the surface of Mars.

“Returning samples with that context is the holy grail of Mars exploration. That’s the reason why it’s so important to collect these with an eye to bringing them back,” said Herd.

The objective of the mission is learning about the climate, geology and signs of past microbial life. He was chosen by NASA as one of 10 experts to help to ensure the samples collected will be as useful as possible. He’s also the only Canadian on the team.

“This is a dream come true for me. I will be helping select which rocks might someday be analyzed in labs on Earth,” said Herd.

The launch window for the mission is July 17-Aug. 5, 2020, landing on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021, a mission that will take 687 Earth days.

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U of A scientist lands spot on NASA Mars 2020 rover mission – Calgary Herald

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In this illustration, NASA’s Mars 2020 rover uses its drill to core a rock sample on Mars.


supplied / NASA

Local scientist Chris Herd is part of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, the first attempt to collect samples from the red planet for a possible return to Earth.

He will be lending his expertise in the analysis of rocks and meteorites and select samples that may provide information about the geological history of Mars.

“Mars 2020 will let us choose where to collect samples and will allow us to get context for the rocks that are collected — their location, surrounding features, and more,” said Herd in a news release Thursday.

His role in the mission is making operational and scientific decisions for the mission’s rover to collect and store samples from the surface of Mars.

“Returning samples with that context is the holy grail of Mars exploration. That’s the reason why it’s so important to collect these with an eye to bringing them back,” said Herd.

The objective of the mission is learning about the climate, geology and signs of past microbial life. He was chosen by NASA as one of 10 experts to help to ensure the samples collected will be as useful as possible. He’s also the only Canadian on the team.

“This is a dream come true for me. I will be helping select which rocks might someday be analyzed in labs on Earth,” said Herd.

The launch window for the mission is July 17-Aug. 5, 2020, landing on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021, a mission that will take 687 Earth days.

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