Latest Space Missions (& Other Science Stuff)

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to see the comet :pensive:
Has anyone of you seen it?

Thanks for sharing info about STEREO

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Well, there won’t be much overweight issues. :grin:

But seriously, Earthling scientists have been wondering about this since it was discovered that Mars has about 37% Earth’s gravity or so. It’s less of an issue than zero G in space, but still a matter to deal with when Human bodies are used to the full 1.0 G. Bone density and muscle mass are just the beginning of the issues the new Martians will be facing. Over time, they will be learning all kinds of things about how our bodies respond to the new environment. The way tennis and golf will be played on Mars is going to be radically different, not to mention hockey! :sweat_smile:

For something a bit more scientifical, I stumbled onto something. As with many of my scientific finds, they end up being happy accidents. Here, I present to you - assuming this hasn’t been covered in the nearly 400 posts - one of the first glimpses of planets orbiting another star. All of three seconds, but I’m amazed we have this at all. Gleaned from observation of the star HR8799 with the Keck Telescope over seven years, one frame a year.

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Gravity should’nt be a big trouble for people if they die with the radiations. During the journey and on mars they will receive between 200 and 400 times the dose we receive on earth during the same period. (2.4 mSv/year on earth and between 500 and 1000 mSv in space or on Mars).
In just one trip, an astronaut could be exposed to at least 60% of the total radiation dose limit recommended for his entire career.

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Well, Mars astronauts would not, per se, drop dead due to radiation, that’s not what they are worried about. But they are expected to develop sensor/motor issues, bad eyesight, radiation sickness, and overall impaired performance (and that does not even mention psychological issues yet) — all things that you do not want during such a tough trip. And long term, their tumour risk increases drastically which lowers their life expectancy.

The crews on the ISS and Mir were testing methods how to keep muscles trained in low gravity. But these stations are still within the magnetic field, so they didn’t have the radiation to deal with.

Lead provides good protection but is too heavy for our propulsion systems. An artificial magnetic field has not been built yet at the necessary size, I think. What they currently look into is using water tanks somehow (water is needed by the Mars crew anyway, and it can also deflect radiation somehow).

Currently some pretend that a Mars mission is around the corner. It probably isn’t, we obviously haven’t solved all the open questions yet. On the other hand, visualising that you will do something “tomorrow” is an old human trick to get into gear… We don’t have to actually meet the deadline — no Mark Watney on Mars waiting for us. :wink: But without a deadline we won’t ever start looking into solutions. In that context, I’m fine with the unrealistic timeline, even if I don’t expect that the people currently training for it will be the actual crew in the end.

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That’s just the thing… we don’t know. We know that these are all issues in microgravity, but we have no idea how it the decay of bone density scales proportionally (it’s a pretty save guess that muscle atrophy will be proportional to the load they are bearing, since we actually can observe muscle atrophy on earth, but where bones are concerned, we simply don’t know). We’ll know more about that once we get a moonbase going and the first people spend a couple of months there…

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I know this was from that haha thread, but it fit better in here. This is a link I’m fond of, which is slightly out of date, but it provides a terrific overview of our universe from very close to Earth to as far as we can see pre-James Webb.

An Atlas of the Universe

I’m wondering if you meant brown dwarfs. I’m not sure how typical our local neighborhood is, but within 20 light years from the Sun, there are roughly 117 stars, and most of them are red dwarfs. There are two A Class white stars, six G Class and one F Class yellow dwarf stars like our Sun, sixteen K Class orange dwarfs, six D Class white dwarfs, eight L, M and T Class brown dwarfs - as of 2006, and the remaining 78 stars are M Class red dwarfs.

So, two thirds of our closest neighbors are red dwarfs. This may remain true for the whole of the Milky Way, but it may require Star Trek warp travel to confirm. :wink:

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Nope, JW with its IR camera should be able to confirm or deny that assumption. Might also be able to spot a couple brown dwarfs along the way, of course…

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It depends what Webb can see through in our galaxy. It’s rather cluttered with some rather opaque dust clouds, not to mention a mess of stars obscuring other stars. If JW can peek through a lot of that, it would be a godsend to astronomy. Which makes me wonder if it can help find more local dwarf galaxies near our own. They may have found all the detectable ones, but more is always merrier. We used to think there were one or two hundred million stars in the Milky Way, and we upped that a thousand times. :wink:

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Successful final unfolding. Now on its way to L2

James Webb Space Telescope has transformed into its final form. Now the greatest telescope of all time is on its way to Lagrange point 2.

First images are being waited in June, 2022.

A short video about Lagrange points for those who are interested in:

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Hopefully, sooner or later we will overcome this problem. Therefore, it could become a starting point for exploration of other planets. Just taking into consideration that fact that space travelling will become a common thing just blows my mind

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We will see. JWST is the greatest telescope we’ve ever had. It has much to show us.
Generally, its main goal is to show us the birth of galaxies and looking for planets to live on, which is as captivating as it could be. So, fingers crossed, waiting for June to see the first results

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I spent most of yesterday engrossed over that silly thing :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: though I learned a lot. One thing that’s fascinating is that anyone with a laptop or computer can propose a project for Webb, and if approved, they can use the telescope to take a closer look at whatever curiosity is out there.

I was disheartened to learn that the first photo albums won’t start filling till June or July, but this special doohickey is quite a bit more complex than Hubble, which will likely be tag teaming with Webb over the years. In order to start working, it has to “cure” in the shadow of its sunshield to a temp close to -400F, which is pretty close to absolute zero where molecules stop moving, but that will happen within two weeks. The engineering of getting all its parts to work right in such extreme cold is amazing itself. Then comes calibration, and this part amazed me. Not only does it have to focus all of its mirrors on the same subject, and the mirrors shaped with extremely precise tensors to make a true virtual parabola - well, this deserves its own little paragraph.

The devices which position and make sure these 18 mirrors are a proper optically perfect reflector must be so perfect that they can make movements 1/20,000th the width of a human hair - a few thousand molecules! So, not only the previous bit, but then it has to be super-precise for the kinds of observations asked of it. Now these mirrors have to be positioned so carefully, and shaped so carefully, that each wave of photons from the source reach the detector at the same time! This is crazy precise and will deliver unheard of resolution, but necessary to be able to look across the insane distances required to see a baby universe just 200 million years old, give or take a diaper.

And keep in mind what the crafters of this amazing piece of tech were facing. In essence, they were going to load this treasure of technology which puts a Swiss watch to shame, onto the equivalent of a truck going over the bumpiest road on Earth, at high speed. While possibly being shot at. So I can understand why they were all in conniptions over this all working out well. But wait, there’s more! The Ariane rocket flew so well - and through some iffy weather to boot on Christmas day - that only two course corrections had to be made. So the Webb will have a mission life of not ten years, but possibly twenty or more. Woo!

There are more telescopes in development, many of them Earth based with their own crazy tech, but Webb will be delivering ever more eye-popping images for years to come. Which is almost as cool as flying around the universe. :wink:

Now, for some creativity…

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In response to the earlier question about a possible collision with space debris (not full blown meteors) :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:
Futurism: NASA Says Space Debris Will Definitely Slam Into the James Webb Space Telescope.

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ISS Operations Extended 2030

https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/2021/12/31/biden-harris-administration-extends-space-station-operations-through-2030/

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I really do wonder if that concept’s going to work out. Having a tower in the way when trying to land a big-ass rocket still feels like the wrong idea to me…

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Oh boy… NASA Space Kids. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: I can tolerate… some of that, though I guess they’re only really obnoxious during Starship test flights. Mostly.

Edit: strike that, BocaChicaGal, no talking, she’s cool.

Many of us were betting against this. It makes a weird sort of logistical sense to have the landing weight on Earth rather than on the spacecraft, but the execution … well, we’ll find out how crazy those engineers are when the candle comes in for a catch. Wee. :no_mouth:

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Though, there is no need in panic. Its primary and secondary are ready for being slightly hit.

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Hubble’s picture of the deep space has turned out to be even more interesting!
The image revealed that some of the galaxies in the HUDF (Hubble Ultra-Deep Field*) view are nearly twice as big as it used to be thought.

Hubble Ultra-Deep Field* - Hubble combines a huge amount of pictures into one image.

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I’m sure everything is going to be OK. It’s said that JWST will be capable of lasting 20 years using its fuel

I have a hope it will last even longer than Voyagers :slight_smile: