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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2019 11:56 am
 


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50 years after NASA discarded the wet workshop, a company aims to revive it

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An artist's concept of a spent upper stage of a rocket


In the 1960s, as it cast about for ideas about what to do after the Apollo Moon program, NASA considered re-using the spent upper stages of its large rockets as space stations. Ultimately, however, the agency dismissed this "wet workshop" concept and modified an upper stage on the ground for its Skylab program.

However, a Houston-based company named Nanoracks has revised the "wet workshop" concept, hoping to convert the spent upper stages of rockets into in-space habitats. "We are keen on bringing the wet lab back as an architecture," Adrian Mangiuca, who directs commerce for Nanoracks, said in an interview. "We think it is the future."

To that end, the company announced this week that it aims to perform a demonstration test in the fourth quarter of 2020. It will fly on a rocket—Mangiuca declined to name the launch provider—as as a secondary customer. After the primary mission, and other customers deploy their payloads, Nanoracks will attempt to heat and then cut three samples of metal used in upper stages. It will have about 30 minutes to an hour to perform these tasks with a robotic arm before the upper stage fires its engine to initiate a de-orbit burn.

. . .

However, Nanoracks also announced an agreement on Tuesday that will allow it to continue experimenting. A Canadian company, Maritime Launch Services, is working to bring the Ukrainian-built Cyclone-4M rocket to a launch site in Nova Scotia. This rocket has an upper stage with a diameter of 4 meters. Nanoracks said it has signed an agreement with Maritime Launch Services to experiment with re-purposing and re-using these spent upper stages.
Further Reading
The International Space Station will get a new, private airlock in 2019

“It’s Nanoracks vision to re-purpose upper stages of launch vehicles and convert them into Outposts," the company's chief executive, Jeff Manber, said in a statement. "We envision populating the solar system with efficient platforms, that can serve as hotels, research parks, fuel depots, storage centers and more."


https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/10 ... next-year/


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:23 am
 


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Some of the universe’s heavier elements are created by neutron star collisions

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Some of the heavier elements in the periodic table are created when pairs of neutron stars collide cataclysmically and explode, researchers have shown for the first time.

Light elements like hydrogen and helium formed during the big bang, and those up to iron are made by fusion in the cores of stars. Some heavier elements like gallium and bromine need something more, such as a supernova. Others—such as gold and uranium, which are the most neutron-rich—require a process called rapid neutron capture. Here, an atomic nucleus is bombarded with neutrons so it swells to an unstable size, but the whole thing happens so fast the element doesn’t have time to split apart.

Scientists have long suspected that neutron stars, the superdense remnants of burned out suns, are needed for this sort of rapid neutron capture. But until 2 years ago, they had never witnessed such an event. That’s when the GW170817 merger happened. Taking place 140 million light-years away (and imagined above, with strontium in yellow), astronomers first detected it from the gravitational waves generated by the stars crashing together.


https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/10 ... collisions


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:07 pm
 


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Menacing-Looking 'Face' Formed by Titanic Smashup Between Two Galaxies

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When astronomers peer deep into space, they don't expect to find something staring back at them.

In this new Hubble Space Telescope image, an uncanny pair of glowing eyes glares menacingly in our direction. The piercing "eyes" are the most prominent feature of what resembles the face of an otherworldly creature.

But this is no ghostly apparition. Hubble is looking at a titanic head-on collision between two galaxies.

Each "eye" is the bright core of a galaxy, one of which slammed into another. The outline of the face is a ring of young blue stars. Other clumps of new stars form a nose and mouth. The entire system is catalogued as Arp-Madore 2026-424 (AM 2026-424), from the Arp-Madore "Catalogue of Southern Peculiar Galaxies and Associations."

Although galaxy collisions are common — especially back in the young universe — most of them are not head-on smashups, like the collision that likely created this Arp-Madore system. The violent encounter gives the system an arresting "ring" structure for only a short amount of time, about 100 million years. The crash pulled and stretched the galaxies' disks of gas, dust and stars outward. This action formed the ring of intense star formation that shapes the nose and face.

Ring galaxies are rare; only a few hundred of them reside in our larger cosmic neighborhood. The galaxies have to collide at just the right orientation to create the ring. The galaxies will merge completely in about 1 to 2 billion years, hiding their messy past.


https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/godd ... o-galaxies


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:20 pm
 


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Voyager 2 reaches interstellar space: Scientists detect plasma density jump

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Iowa physicists have confirmed the spacecraft Voyager 2 has entered interstellar space, in effect leaving the solar system. Data from Voyager 2 has helped further characterize the structure of the heliosphere, structure of the heliosphere -- the wind sock-shaped region created by the sun's wind as it extends to the boundary of the solar system. Credit: NASA JPL


Voyager 1 has a companion in the realm of the stars.

Researchers at the University of Iowa report that the spacecraft Voyager 2 has entered the interstellar medium (ISM), the region of space outside the bubble-shaped boundary produced by wind streaming outward from the sun. Voyager 2, thus, becomes the second human-made object to journey out of our sun's influence, following Voyager 1's solar exit in 2012.

In a new study, the researchers confirm Voyager 2's passage on Nov. 5, 2018, into the ISM by noting a definitive jump in plasma density detected by an Iowa-led plasma wave instrument on the spacecraft. The marked increase in plasma density is evidence of Voyager 2 journeying from the hot, lower-density plasma characteristic of the solar wind to the cool, higher-density plasma of interstellar space. It's also similar to the plasma density jump experienced by Voyager 1 when it crossed into interstellar space.

"In a historical sense, the old idea that the solar wind will just be gradually whittled away as you go further into interstellar space is simply not true," says Iowa's Don Gurnett, corresponding author on the study, published in the journal Nature Astronomy. "We show with Voyager 2—and previously with Voyager 1—that there's a distinct boundary out there. It's just astonishing how fluids, including plasmas, form boundaries."

Gurnett, professor emeritus in the UI Department of Physics and Astronomy, is the principal investigator on the plasma wave instrument aboard Voyager 2. He is also the principal investigator on the plasma wave instrument aboard Voyager 1 and authored the 2013 study published in Science that confirmed Voyager 1 had entered the ISM.

Voyager 2's entry into the ISM occurred at 119.7 astronomical units (AU), or more than 11 billion miles from the sun. Voyager 1 passed into the ISM at 122.6 AU. The spacecraft were launched within weeks of each other in 1977, with different mission goals and trajectories through space. Yet they crossed into the ISM at basically the same distances from the sun.



https://phys.org/news/2019-11-voyager-i ... lasma.html


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:42 pm
 


Sense it's colder plasma the voyager 1 and 2 are hitting does that mean space is a bit denser thus harder for them to fly through. Sorry might not be wording it right but basically are space craft getting more resistance or less resistance in their flight path, or is it the same.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:43 pm
 


I'm just curious and you seem more well versed in this topic than anyone else on here.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:46 pm
 


stratos wrote:
Sense it's colder plasma the voyager 1 and 2 are hitting does that mean space is a bit denser thus harder for them to fly through. Sorry might not be wording it right but basically are space craft getting more resistance or less resistance in their flight path, or is it the same.


Basically, no resistance. The number of particles that actually hit them doesn't really add up to anything. There is like 1 particle per cubic meter in space.

Over the millions of years, it may add up, but it's way too small a force to notice at this point.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:52 pm
 


To infinity and beyond!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:02 am
 




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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:37 pm
 


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Runaway star – out of the galactic heart of darkness like a bat out of hell

The discovery of the star, known as S5-HVS1, was made by Sergey Koposov from Carnegie Mellon University as part of the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey (S5). Located in the constellation of Grus—the Crane—S5-HVS1 was found to be moving ten times faster than most stars in the Milky Way.

Astronomers have wondered about high velocity stars since their discovery only two decades ago. S5-HVS1 is unprecedented due to its high speed and close passage to the Earth, "only" 29 thousand light years away. With this information, astronomers could track its journey back right into the centre of the Milky Way, where a 4-million-solar-mass black hole known as Sagittarius A* lurks.

"This is super exciting, as we have long suspected that black holes can eject stars with very high velocities. However, we never had an unambiguous association of such a fast star with the Galactic Centre," said Sergey Koposov, the article's lead author. "We think the black hole ejected the star with a speed of thousands of kilometres per second about five million years ago. This ejection happened at the time when humanity's ancestors were just learning to walk on two feet."

Superfast stars can be ejected by black holes via the Hills Mechanism, proposed by astronomer Jack Hills thirty years ago. Originally, S5-HSV1 lived with a companion in a binary system, but they strayed too close to Sagittarius A*. In the gravitational tussle, the companion star was captured by the black hole, while S5-HVS1 was thrown out at extremely high speed.



https://phys.org/news/2019-11-runaway-s ... kness.html


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:59 am
 


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How to spot the SpaceX Starlink satellite train overhead this week

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At the start of the week, SpaceX launched its first 60 operational Starlink satellites—the company's 50th consecutive successful launch. And as innovative as this communication network's entire concept might be, many onlookers are curious for a much simpler reason.

You want to view—maybe even photograph—these things in the pre-dawn, post-sunset, or night sky, right? Well, you've come to the right place.

First, you'll want to be quick. Since separating from the upper stage on November 11 at about 11am Eastern Standard Time (Nov. 11, 16:00 UTC) and with each hour that passes, the satellites have been spreading out by individually raising their orbits to the correct height. And after a while, they will be on their own instead of appearing in this initially clustered formation.

At this point in the week, you still have a few options to try to find SpaceX's satellites overhead in the skies. You're only going to be able to see them ~30 minutes or earlier before sunrise, ~30 minutes or later after sunset, or at night when the sky is dark enough or the Sun is below your local horizon yet still illuminating these devices, since they are at a much higher altitude.

To help find the satellites within these limited windows, luckily, there are a few good resources available online.


https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/11 ... this-week/


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:43 am
 


Most distant world ever explored gets new name: Arrokoth
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The most distant world ever explored 4 billion miles away finally has an official name: Arrokoth.

That means "sky" in the language of the Native American Powhatan people, NASA said Tuesday.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/arro ... -1.5357552


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:00 am
 


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How Enceladus got its water-spewing tiger stripes



Enceladus is the only Solar System body with long, “tiger stripe” geysers.
NASA/ESA/JPL/SSI/Cassini Imaging Team
How Enceladus got its water-spewing tiger stripes

By Adam MannNov. 13, 2019 , 12:30 PM

Researchers say they have solved a long-standing mystery about Saturn’s tiny, frozen moon Enceladus: why its south pole features long, water-spewing geysers known as tiger stripes. The study could also help explain why these unique formations aren’t seen on any other satellite in the solar system.

Enceladus became a star attraction in 2005, when NASA’s Cassini mission photographed enormous jets of water ice and vapor emanating from four parallel slashes near its south pole. Since then, researchers have detected organic molecules and hydrogen in the jets—potential food for microbes—making Enceladus one of the top destinations in the search for life elsewhere in the Solar System. The stripes, named Baghdad, Cairo, Damascus, and Alexandria after locations in the One Thousand and One Nights collection of Middle Eastern folktales, are 130 kilometers long and are spaced roughly 35 kilometers apart—rather large features on a moon only 500 kilometers in diameter. Nobody quite understood their origin, or why they were only seen at one pole.

In 2006, planetary scientist Francis Nimmo of the University of California, Santa Cruz, posited that the stripes formed elsewhere on the moon and then migrated to the south pole after a hot spot welled up internally, creating a low-density bubble that knocked the world off kilter. But a paper posted this week on the preprint server arXiv tells a potentially more satisfying creation story.

As it orbits around Saturn, Enceladus experiences gravitational tidal forces that squeeze and heat it. Cassini data had already shown that a liquid water ocean sits underneath the outer ice shell, which is thinnest at the north and south poles. According to the new study, led by Douglas Hemingway of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., as the moon cooled over time and some of the ocean water refroze, the new ice generated strain that built up in the surface until it broke. “It’s like your pipes freezing on a cold day,” says Nimmo, who was not involved in the study.



https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/11 ... er-stripes


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 12:51 pm
 


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Blowtorch jets from a black hole drive starbirth

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Supermassive black holes, weighing millions or even billions of times our Sun's mass, are still only a tiny fraction of the mass of the galaxies they inhabit. But in some cases, the central black hole is the tail wagging the dog. It seems that black holes can run hot or cold when it comes to either enhancing or squelching star birth inside a cluster of galaxies.

Typically, giant black holes, pumping out energy via jets, keep interstellar gas too warm to condense and form stars. Now, astronomers have found a cluster of galaxies, called the Phoenix cluster, where stars are forming at a furious rate because of the black hole's influence. This stellar turboboost is apparently linked to less energetic jets from a central black hole that do not pump up the gas temperature. Instead, the gas loses energy as it glows in X-rays. The gas cools to where it can form large numbers of stars at a breathtaking rate. Where our Milky Way forms one star per year on average, newborn stars are popping out of this cool gas at a rate of about 500 solar masses per year in the Phoenix cluster.

Unraveling this mystery required the combined power of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Very Large Array (VLA) radio observatory near Socorro, New Mexico.

The VLA radio data reveals jets blasting out from the vicinity of the central black hole. These jets inflated bubbles in the hot gas that are detected in X-rays by Chandra. Hubble resolves bright blue filaments of newborn stars in cavities between the hot jet and gas clouds. As the black hole has grown more massive and more powerful, its influence has been increasing.

Astronomers have confirmed the first example of a galaxy cluster where large numbers of stars are being born at its core. Using data from NASA space telescopes and a National Science Foundation radio observatory, researchers have gathered new details about how the most massive black holes in the universe affect their host galaxies.





https://phys.org/news/2019-11-blowtorch ... birth.html


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:09 pm
 


First Global Geologic Map of Titan - click (twice) to see full-size image

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https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/de ... d=PIA23174


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