NASA’s Perseverance rover just scored another first on Mars, one that may help make ready for astronauts to explore the Red Planet sometime in the future.
The rover effectively utilized its MOXIE instrument to generate oxygen from the thin, carbon dioxide-dominated Martian atmosphere for the first time, demonstrating technology that could both assist astronauts with breathing and help propel the rockets that get them back home to Earth.
The MOXIE milestone happened on Tuesday (April 20), only one day after Perseverance looked after another epic Martian first — the first Mars flight of NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter, which rode to the Red Planeton the rover’s belly.
“This is a critical first step at converting carbon dioxide to oxygen on Mars,” Jim Reuter, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, said in a statement today (April 21). “MOXIE has more work to do, but the results from this technology demonstration are full of promise as we move toward our goal of one day seeing humans on Mars.”
Making Mars oxygen
The toaster-sized MOXIE (another way to say “Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment”) produces oxygen from carbon dioxide, expelling carbon monoxide as a waste product. The conversion process happens at temperatures around 1,470 degrees Fahrenheit (800 degrees Celsius), so MOXIE is made of heat-tolerant materials and features a thin gold coating to keep conceivably damaging heat from radiating outward into Perseverance’s body.
The MOXIE team warmed the instrument awake for two hours yesterday, at that point had it wrench out oxygen for 60 minutes. MOXIE created 5.4 grams of oxygen during that length, about enough to keep a astronaut breathing effectively for 10 minutes, NASA authorities said.
That first effort didn’t maximize MOXIE; it can generate around 10 grams of oxygen each hour. The instrument may arrive at such levels at last, for the team plans to conduct around nine additional runs throughout the course of one Mars year (around 687 Earth days).
These trials will be grouped into three phases, NASA authorities said. The first phase is checking and characterizing the instrument, and the second will assess MOXIE’s performance in varying atmospheric conditions. During the third and final phase, “we’ll push the envelope,” MOXIE principal investigator Michael Hecht said in the same statement.
Pushing the envelope will probably include testing new operating modes or adding “new wrinkles, such as a run where we compare operations at three or more different temperatures,” added Hecht, who’s based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Haystack Observatory.
MOXIE and humanity’s future on Mars
MOXIE itself can’t cannot produce enough oxygen to have an effect for future exploration efforts. For instance, launching four astronauts off the Martian surface would almost certainly need around 15,000 lbs. (7,000 kilograms) of rocket fuel and 55,000 lbs. (25,000 kg) of oxygen, NASA officials said. (Rocket propellant consists of fuel and an oxidizer that helps it burn.)
However, a lot bigger MOXIE successors might actually be great exploration enablers, permitting Mars astronauts to “live off the land” as opposed to rely upon exorbitant and infrequent resupply from Earth, agency officials have said.
Perseverance touched down inside the 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, entrusted with hunting for signs of ancient Mars life and collecting samples for future re-visitation of Earth. The rover will be able to focus fully on those core jobs in about two weeks, when Ingenuity’s month-long flight window reaches a end.
Also, MOXIE will keep on doing its thing in the background, pumping little puffs of carbon monoxide into the dusty Mars air sometimes to animate the six-wheeled robot’s considerable labors.
Weird science facts
Usually, with science homework help you learn some essential facts about life like about forces that work in our world or molecular structure. But it is often very formal and not exciting. What about fun facts that will make science more interesting?
1. Babies have more bones than adults
At birth, babies have approximately 300 bones and cartilage between them. This flexibility allows them to pass through the birth canal, and also allows them to grow quickly. Many bones fuse with age. There are 206 bones in an average adult skeleton.
2. During the summer, the Eiffel Tower can reach 15 cm higher
Thermal expansion is the movement of particles in a substance when it is heated up. This is what is called a thermal expansion. A drop in temperature can cause it to contract. For example, the mercury level in a thermometer will rise and fall as the mercury volume changes with the temperature. This effect is strongest in gases, but it also occurs in liquids and solids like iron. This is why large structures like bridges have expansion joints that allow them to expand and contract without causing damage.
3. The Amazon rainforest produces 20% of Earth’s oxygen
The atmosphere is composed of approximately 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. There are also small amounts of other gases. Most living organisms on Earth require oxygen for survival. They convert it into carbon dioxide when they breathe. Photosynthesis is a way for plants to replenish oxygen levels on the planet. This process converts carbon dioxide and water into energy and releases oxygen as a byproduct. The Amazon rainforest covers 5.5 million km2 (2.1 million sq miles). It absorbs large amounts of carbon dioxide and cycles significant quantities of oxygen.
4. Some metals explode when they come in contact with water
Certain metals, such as potassium, sodium and rubidium, oxidize (or tarnish) quickly when exposed to oxygen. Dropping them in water can cause explosions. Chemical stability is a goal for all elements. This means that they must have an outer electron shell. Metals are known to lose electrons in order to achieve this. Alkali metals only have one electron in their outer shell, which makes them extremely eager to pass this unwelcome passenger on to another element through bonding. They form compounds with other elements so easily that they can’t exist in their own right.
5. 6 billion tonnes for a teaspoonful of neutron stars
A neutron star is a remnant of a large star that has run out of fuel. A supernova occurs when a dying star explodes, and its core collapses under gravity to form a super-dense neutron star. The staggeringly large solar masses of galaxies or stars are measured by astronomers in solar masses. This is equivalent to 2 x 1030 kg/4.4 x 1030 lbs. The typical neutron star has a mass up to three solar masses. This is compressed into a sphere of approximately ten kilometers (6.2 miles), which results in some of the most dense matter in the universe.
6. Every year, Hawaii moves 7.5 cm closer to Alaska
The Earth’s crust has been split into huge pieces known as tectonic plates. These plates move in constant motion due to currents in Earth’s upper crust. Hotter, denser rock rises and then cools and sinks. This creates circular convection currents that act as giant conveyor belts that slowly shift the tectonic plates. Hawaii is located in the middle Pacific Plate. It slowly drifts north-west towards the North American Plate and back to Alaska. The speed of the plates is similar to how fast our fingernails grow.
7. Chalk is made of trillions upon trillions of microscopic plankton fossils
Coccolithophores are tiny single-celled algae that have been living in the oceans of Earth for over 200 million years. They surround themselves with tiny plates of calcite (coccoliths), which is unlike any other marine plant. Coccolithophores formed in thick layers on ocean floors, covering them with a white ooze. This was just 100 million years ago. The pressure from the ocean floor pushed the coccoliths into rock. This created chalk deposits like the Dover white cliffs. Coccolithophores is just one example of many prehistoric species that are preserved in fossil form. But how can we determine how old they really are? Rock forms in horizontal layers over time. Older rocks are at the bottom, while younger rocks are near the top. Paleontologists can approximate the age of a fossil by studying the rock from which it is found. Based on radioactive elements like carbon-14, carbon dating gives a more precise estimate of a fossil’s age.
8. It will be too hot to sustain life on Earth in 2.3 billion years
The Sun will get brighter and more intense over the next hundreds of millions of year. Temperatures will rise to the point that our oceans will evaporate in just 2 billion years. This will make it impossible for Earthlings to live. Our planet will soon become a desert like Mars. Scientists predict that Earth will eventually be engulfed by the Sun as it grows into a red giant over the next few billion years.
9. Infrared cameras are almost impossible to detect polar bears
The heat that is lost by a subject can be detected using thermal cameras, but polar bears have mastered the art of conserving heat. A thick layer of blubber beneath the skin keeps bears warm. They can withstand even the coldest Arctic days thanks to their dense fur coat.
10. It takes light 8 minutes and 19 seconds to travel from Earth to Sun
Light travels 300,000 km (186,000 miles per second) in space. It takes a lot of time to cover the 150 million kilometres (93,000,000 miles) between us, the Sun, and this speed. Eight minutes is still a lot compared to the five-and-a-half hours required for the Sun’s light to reach Pluto.
11. The human race could be reduced to the size of a sugar cube if all the space in our atoms was removed
Although the atoms that make up our world appear solid, they are actually 99.99999 percent empty space. An atom is composed of a small, dense nucleus, surrounded by electrons and spread over a large area. Because electrons behave like waves, they are particles as well. The crests and the troughs of these waves are what make electrons exist. Instead of being located in a single point, electrons are distributed over multiple probabilities. This is called an orbital. These electrons occupy huge amounts of space.
12. Stomach acid can dissolve stainless steel
The highly corrosive acid hydrochloric acid, which has a pH between 2 and 3, affects the digestion of food. Your stomach lining is also affected by this acid. It secretes an alkali bicarbonate solution to protect itself. It is necessary to replace the lining every day, and it completely renews itself every four.
13. The Earth is a huge magnet
The Earth’s inner core is made up of a sphere filled with solid iron and surrounded by liquid iron. Temperature and density variations create currents in the iron that in turn produces electrical currents. These currents, paired up by the Earth’s rotation, create a magnetic field that is used worldwide by compass needles.
14. Venus is the only planet that can spin clockwise
Our Solar System began as a swirling cloud made of gas and dust. It eventually became a spinning disc with our Sun at its centre. All the planets orbit the Sun in roughly the same direction because of this common origin. They all also spin in the same direction (counterclockwise, if observed from above), except Uranus & Venus. Uranus spins on its back, while Venus spins in the opposite direction. These planetary anomalies are most likely caused by gigantic asteroids that have thrown them off track in the distant past.
15. A flea can accelerate quicker than the Space Shuttle
Jumping fleas can reach heights of eight centimetres (three in) in one millisecond. Acceleration refers to the change in speed over time. It is often measured in ‘gs. One g equals the acceleration caused on Earth by gravity (9.8m/32.2ft per square second). Fleas can experience 100g while the Space Shuttle was able to reach around 5g. This is due to a rubber-like protein that allows it to store and release energy just like a spring.
SpaceX dispatches second committed rideshare mission
SpaceX dispatched 88 satellites on a Falcon 9 June 30 on the organization’s second devoted smallsat rideshare mission.
The Falcon 9 took off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 3:31 p.m. Eastern, more than most of the way into an almost hourlong dispatch window due to climate. A dispatch endeavor the day preceding was cleaned when a private helicopter entered limited airspace minutes before the planned takeoff.
Sending of the payload of 88 satellites began almost 58 minutes after takeoff, when the upper stage played out a second consume of its motor to put it’s anything but a sun-coordinated circle at an elevation of almost 550 kilometers. The satellites, from an assortment of government and business clients, were delivered over 30 minutes.
The mission, named Transporter-2 by SpaceX, was the organization’s second committed smallsat rideshare mission, after the Transporter-1 mission in January. The prior flight conveyed 143 satellites, yet SpaceX said the absolute payload mass for Transporter-2 was more prominent than that of Transporter-1. The organization didn’t uncover explicit payload mass figures for one or the other mission.
The Transporter-2 payload show included manufactured gap radar (SAR) satellites from three contending organizations: Capella, Iceye and Umbra. HawkEye 360 and Kleos, two organizations conveying heavenly bodies to perform radio-recurrence following, each had satellites on this mission, as did PlanetIQ and Spire, which gather GPS radio occultation information for use in climate anticipating.
SpaceX successfully launches 5th GPS satellite aboard reused rocket for US Space Force
SpaceX has successfully launched the fifth GPS satellite for the U.S. military.
The GPS III SV05 satellite – nicknamed for NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong – launched on board the 227-foot-tall Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, taking off at 12:09 p.m. ET.
“We have liftoff! The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the latest GPS III satellite has launched!” the Space Force Space and Missiles Systems Center said, retweeting SpaceX’s Twitter video of the moment.
Arrangement of the Lockheed Martin-assembled satellite was affirmed over 90 minutes after the fact.
It is expected to maneuver into a 12,550-mile-high orbit, as indicated by Spaceflight Now, and join the current constellation of satellites.
Three advanced GPS III missions have recently launched on Falcon 9 rockets throughout the most recent few years and Space.com revealed Thursday that the U.S, military intends to dispatch a sum of 10 redesigned GPS satellites to replace some older ones effectively in space.
The next-generation satellites will include “new technology and advanced capabilities” and meet the “needs of the military to mitigate threats” to GPS infrastructure, as indicated by Lockheed Martin.
The aerospace defense organization said that the satellites are the “most powerful GPS satellite ever built,” with multiple times times greater accuracy and up to multiple times expanded enemy of jam insurance.
“GPS III was also intentionally created with a modular design so that new technology and capabilities could be added as technology changes or new mission needs change,” it noted.
The following GPS III mission – likewise contracted to the Elon Musk-founded company – is scheduled for at some point in 2022.
Notwithstanding the satellite, the pre-owned rocket flew a payload for the first time.
It was SpaceX’s 19th mission this year and its 89th successful booster recovery, with Falcon 9’s first stage arriving at around 12:19 p.m. ET on the Just Read the Instructions droneship positioned in the Atlantic Ocean.
In another first, SpaceX’s recovery vessel HOS Briarwood would make its debut to recuperate the payload fairings after they fall back to Earth.
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