Toggle light / dark theme

In a tenth of a second.

We’ve just taken another step toward comprehending enormous magnetar explosions.

For the first time, a group of international researchers was able to measure oscillations in the brightness of a magnetar during its most violent moments.

This was a brutal moment in time indeed, as in less than a tenth of a second, the magnetar expelled energy equivalent to that created by the sun in 100,000 years!

Why you should know about magnetars (and why they’re scary) A magnetar is a rare form of neutron star distinguished by an extremely powerful magnetic field. Its field is about 1,000 times stronger than that of a regular neutron star — a trillion times greater than that of the Earth! We only know about 30 of these objects, since detecting them is a difficult task for our current technologies. While they are known to suffer violent eruptions, we know relatively little due to their unexpected nature and their short duration time of barely tenths of a second.

Full Story:

Thanks to Ariane 5 rocket launching Webb on the right path.

After nearly 30 years of planning and thorough work, NASA finally got to launch its $10 billion next-generation space observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), on Christmas day. JWST is now headed on a long six-month trip until it can begin its science mission and start to conduct routine science operations.

Now, it turns out that JWST might be traveling and collecting data for much longer than initially expected. JWST was forecast to be operational for 5 to 10 years, but NASA’s latest analysis revealed that the observatory should have enough fuel to “allow support of science operations in orbit for significantly more than a 10-year science lifetime.”

Nebula [ neb-yuh-luh ]: star-forming cloud of gas and dust. Noun, plural neb·u·lae [neb-yuh-lee,-lahy]

These four nebulae are known for their breathtaking beauty: the Eagle Nebula (which contains the Pillars of Creation), the Omega Nebula, the Trifid Nebula, and the Lagoon Nebula. In the 1950s, a team of astronomers made rough distance measurements to some of the stars in these nebulae and were able to infer the existence of the Sagittarius Arm. Their work provided some of the first evidence of our galaxy’s spiral structure. In a new study, astronomers have shown that these nebulae are part of a substructure within the arm that is angled differently from the rest of the arm.

Webb, and Psychean editorial note by Adriano V. Autino.

We just attended the launch of the James Webb Telescope, headed to the Earth-Sun Lagrange point 2 (L2), at 1.5 kilometers from Earth. A very ambitious project, aimed to place a human eye in a location where it will be easier to investigate the origin and the meaningful life events of the universe, of our solar system and our mother planet. What raised some thoughts in my mind is one of the characteristics of this beautiful sample of human ingenuity and hunger for knowledge: the JWST mirror has been plated with gold, due to elements properties like a high reflection of infrared light and extreme un-reactivity. My aim is not to discuss this choice from the scientific point of view. It makes me rather think about the value of precious metals, that’s not only their beauty, nor the use we make of them to realize precious jewels.

While I was in space just with my mind, it was easy to go some more million kilometers further away, reaching to the 16 Psyche Asteroid. Psyche – an M-type asteroid, fragment of a proto-planet broken up during the birth of the solar system — dwells somewhere in the middle of the Asteroid Belt, between Mars and Jupiter. The distance from Earth ranges from 252 million to 645 million kilometers.

Why Psyche owns such a great reputation, among the space expansionist community, and the space miners subassembly, in a more specific way? Its diameter is estimated not less than 227 km. Due to the gravitational perturbations it causes among other asteroids in its surroundings, Psyche is kind of under special surveillance, since long time. Such perturbations are due to high mass and density, and such properties raised further analysis, by means of ultraviolet light observation. To make short a long research story, Psyche is likely mainly composed by iron and nichel, and its global value is estimated around $10 quintillion, a figure even hard to imagine.

China has taken a giant leap forward in one of its most ambitious space programs. It has advanced its future lunar base plan by eight years.

China and Russia presented a detailed plan for a joint lunar base called the International Lunar Research Station, in June 2021, challenging a similar plan by the US.

On December 27, Chinese space officials revealed a revised completion date for the unmanned lunar base. It aims to set up the facility by around 2027, previously scheduled for 2035.

Updating the goal of Chang’e 8 mission.

Chinese space authorities told state media South China Morning Post (SCMP) that the unmanned lunar station, jointly built with Russia, will be completed around 2027.

The new plan, which is eight years earlier than previously scheduled, will help China get ahead of the U.S. in the space race.

China’s Chang’e 8 moon landing mission was originally aimed to carry out scientific studies like 3D-printing lunar dust, but the Deputy Director of China National Space Administration (CNSA) Wu Yanhua announced that the new target of the administration is putting an unmanned research station on the lunar surface, which was previously scheduled for 2035.

Wu, while not disclosing the details behind the decision, underlined that the mission was to “build a solid foundation for the peaceful use of lunar resources”.

China’s lunar program has progressed steadily and at its own pace for years, with Chinese space authorities repeatedly claiming that the country was not interested in a space race like the one during the Cold War.

Full Story:

What does NASA have planned for 2021 other than the commissioning of the Webb telescope? What about SpaceX and Blue Origin? With the landing of the Perseverance rover on Mars, the launch of the Lucy and DART missions, and the Juno probe’s continuing incredible work at Jupiter, 2021 was a spectacular success. Expect the same, but different in the next 12 months, with a bigger focus on our nearest neighbor—the Moon.

Here’s everything you need to know about space exploration, NASA missions, and space tourism in 2022:

Full Story:

Could water-recycling suits help future astronauts survive on Mars?

It’s one of the most well-known pieces of speculative technology in science fiction: the Stillsuit.

As an essential feature of Frank Herbert’s Dune, the Stillsuit is the body-fluid recycling full-body suit worn by the Fremen of Arrakis, a technological adaptation to a desert world with almost no water but home to an extremely valuable resource that leads to human colonization of the barren planet.

While there isn’t any of the spice melange on Mars (at least none that we know of), Dune’s Arrakis has some very strong parallels to the red planet just down the way from us, and some important lessons to teach about survival in such an unforgiving environment.

Full Story: