All posts by TopSpacer

Videos: “Space to Ground” & other space habitat reports – Dec.24.2021

Here is the latest episode in NASA’s Space to Ground weekly report on activities related to the International Space Station:

** Best Space Station Science Pictures of 2021 NASA Johnson

It has been a busy year of research aboard the International Space Station. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1, Crew-2, and Crew-3 missions supported hundreds of science experiments aboard the orbiting laboratory. Multiple Soyuz spacecrafts carried astronauts to and from station. An upgraded cargo Dragon spacecraft returned time sensitive research to scientists on the ground. Astronauts and cosmonauts conducted 13 spacewalks, and their work included installing new solar panels to augment and upgrade the station’s power supply. Chiles and lettuce were harvested as a part of plant research preparing us for deep space missions, and technologies were tested for the upcoming Artemis missions to the Moon. Look at some of the best photos of breakthrough investigations crew members worked on in 2021: https://go.nasa.gov/30Iy8d8

** 2021 International Space Station Year In Review – December 22, 2021 NASA Johnson

A review of missions, residents, and science on board the International Space Station in 2021.

** NASA Television VideoFile – Soyuz MS-20 Landing – December 20, 2021NASA Video

Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and two Japanese businessmen, Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano undocked from the International Space Station’s Poisk Module in their Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft December 19, returning to Earth a few hours later for a parachute-assisted landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan Dec. 20. Misurkin, Maezawa, and Hirano, were flying under a contract between Roscosmos and Space Adventures.

** NASA’s SpaceX 24th Commercial Resupply Services Mission: Broadcast BeginsNASA’s Kennedy Space Center

The broadcast show begins for NASA’s SpaceX 24th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station.

** Expedition 66 SpaceX CRS 24 Docking – December 22, 2022NASA Video

Loaded with scientific experiments and supplies, the unpiloted SpaceX CRS-24 cargo ship automatically docked to the International Space Station December 22. The SpaceX spacecraft linked up to the Harmony module after launching December 21 from Florida with several tons of experiments and hardware.

** SpaceX CRS24: Tide in SpaceISS National Lab – YouTube

Also on SpaceX CRS-24, Procter & Gamble—one of the leading consumer goods companies in the world—will send Tide Infinity, the first in a series of detergent systems being developed for NASA’s long duration space travel initiatives (through a Space Act Agreement with NASA) to understand the viability of cleaning clothes off planet. The Tide team intends to test the stability of cleaning ingredients under microgravity conditions and radiation exposure in space. In doing so, the company hopes to gain insights that could help in the development of a low-resource-use laundry solution for everyday use while meeting consumer demand for more sustainable products. Results could also further knowledge on the development of laundry detergent solutions to support future long-duration spaceflight missions. Learn more about this exciting investigation!

** NLRA 2022-5: Technology Development and Applied Research on the ISS National LabISS National Lab – YouTube

On December 15, 2021, the ISS National Lab held a webinar to provide further background on NLRA 2022-5 and to answer any questions.

space googlevesaire

** Cupola in 360° | Cosmic KissEuropean Space Agency, ESA on Youtube

Join ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer inside the seven-windowed cupola, the International Space Station’s “window to the world” and pan around to enjoy the view. The ESA – European Space Agency-built Cupola is the favourite place of many astronauts on the International Space Station. It serves not only as a unique photo spot, but also for observing robotic activities of the Canadian Space Agency’s robotic arm Canadarm2, arriving spacecraft and spacewalks. Just outside the cupola and behind Matthias is a portion of the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship docked to the Rassvet module and the Prichal docking module attached to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory service module. Matthias was launched to the International Space Station on Crew Dragon Endurance as part of Crew-3 at 02:03 GMT/03:03 CET Thursday 11 November. His ESA mission on board is known as Cosmic Kiss and will see him live and work for approximately six months in orbit. Follow Matthias: https://bit.ly/ESACosmicKiss

** Chinese Astronauts Show Process of Height Measurement in Space StationCCTV Video News Agency

The three Chinese astronauts of the Shenzhou-13 crewed space mission, demonstrated the process of measuring their height in a microgravity environment after traveling over two months aboard China’s space station core module Tianhe.

** How to receive SSTV images from the ISS – K7AGE

I show you how to receive Slow Scan TV (SSTV) images from the International Space Station (ISS). Several times a year SSTV images are sent from the ISS. In December 2021 from the 26th through the 31st SSTV images will be transmitted. A simple two-meter amateur radio, or scanner, is able to receive the signal on 145.800 MHz. You can receive the signal using the antenna on an HT, mobile antenna, or a vertical antenna mounted outside. I show you how to learn when the ISS will be in the range of your station. Heavens-Above is a good website to use and it will generate a list of passes for your station. To decode the SSTV signal you will need software on a computer or portable device. I show MMSSTV on my Windows computer decoding the SSTV signal. I also show decoding SSTV on my iPad …

====

=== Amazon Ads ===

LEGO Ideas International Space Station Building Kit,
Adult Set for Display,
Makes a Great Birthday Present
(864 Pieces)

====

Outpost in Orbit:
A Pictorial & Verbal History of the Space Station

ESO: Largest group yet of rogue planets discovered

The latest report from the European Southern Observatory (ESO):

ESO telescopes help uncover largest group of rogue planets yet

This artist’s impression shows an example of a rogue planet with the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex visible in the background. Rogue planets have masses comparable to those of the planets in our Solar System but do not orbit a star, instead roaming freely on their own.

Rogue planets are elusive cosmic objects that have masses comparable to those of the planets in our Solar System but do not orbit a star, instead roaming freely on their own. Not many were known until now, but a team of astronomers, using data from several European Southern Observatory (ESO) telescopes and other facilities, have just discovered at least 70 new rogue planets in our galaxy. This is the largest group of rogue planets ever discovered, an important step towards understanding the origins and features of these mysterious galactic nomads.

“We did not know how many to expect and are excited to have found so many,”

says Núria Miret-Roig, an astronomer at the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Bordeaux, France and the University of Vienna, Austria, and the first author of the new study published today in Nature Astronomy.

Rogue planets, lurking far away from any star illuminating them, would normally be impossible to image. However, Miret-Roig and her team took advantage of the fact that, in the few million years after their formation, these planets are still hot enough to glow, making them directly detectable by sensitive cameras on large telescopes. They found at least 70 new rogue planets with masses comparable to Jupiter’s in a star-forming region close to our Sun, located within the Scorpius and Ophiuchus constellations [1].

To spot so many rogue planets, the team used data spanning about 20 years from a number of telescopes on the ground and in space.

“We measured the tiny motions, the colours and luminosities of tens of millions of sources in a large area of the sky,” explains Miret-Roig. “These measurements allowed us to securely identify the faintest objects in this region, the rogue planets.”

The team used observations from ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA), the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) and the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope located in Chile, along with other facilities.

“The vast majority of our data come from ESO observatories, which were absolutely critical for this study. Their wide field of view and unique sensitivity were keys to our success,” explains Hervé Bouy, an astronomer at the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Bordeaux, France, and project leader of the new research. “We used tens of thousands of wide-field images from ESO facilities, corresponding to hundreds of hours of observations, and literally tens of terabytes of data.”

The team also used data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite, marking a huge success for the collaboration of ground- and space-based telescopes in the exploration and understanding of our Universe.

This image shows the locations of 115 potential rogue planets, highlighted with red circles, recently discovered by a team of astronomers in a region of the sky occupied by Upper Scorpius and Ophiucus. Rogue planets have masses comparable to those of the planets in our Solar System, but do not orbit a star and instead roam freely on their own. The exact number of rogue planets found by the team is between 70 and 170, depending on the age assumed for the study region. This image was created assuming an intermediate age, resulting in a number of planet candidates in between the two extremes of the study.

The study suggests there could be many more of these elusive, starless planets that we have yet to discover.

“There could be several billions of these free-floating giant planets roaming freely in the Milky Way without a host star,” Bouy explains.

By studying the newly found rogue planets, astronomers may find clues to how these mysterious objects form. Some scientists believe rogue planets can form from the collapse of a gas cloud that is too small to lead to the formation of a star, or that they could have been kicked out from their parent system. But which mechanism is more likely remains unknown.

Further advances in technology will be key to unlocking the mystery of these nomadic planets. The team hopes to continue to study them in greater detail with ESO’s forthcoming Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), currently under construction in the Chilean Atacama Desert and due to start observations later this decade.

“These objects are extremely faint and little can be done to study them with current facilities,” says Bouy. “The ELT will be absolutely crucial to gathering more information about most of the rogue planets we have found.”

Links

=== Amazon Ads ===

Asteroids: How Love, Fear, and Greed
Will Determine Our Future in Space

===

Extraterrestrial:
The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth

The Space Show this week – Dec.21.2021

The guests and topics of discussion on The Space Show this week:

1. Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021; 7 pm PST (9 pm CST, 10 pm EST): We welcome back Andrew Chanin of the UFO EFT for a summary of space finance 2021 and a look ahead to 2022.

2. Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021; 1:00 pm PST (3:00 pm CST, 4:00 pm EST) – Hotel MarsJohn Batchelor and Dr. David Livingston will review space developments in 2021.

3. Friday, Dec.24, 2021; 9:30-11 am PST (11:30 am-1 pm CST, 12:30-2 pm EST): No show for the Christmas holiday. Merry Christmas everyone.

4. Sunday, Dec.26, 2021; 12-1:30 pm PST (2-3:30 pm CST, 3-4:30 pm EST): We welcome back Leonard David to review special news stories of 2021 and a look ahead to 2022 for space.

Some recent shows:

** Sunday, Dec.19.2021Theresa Hitchenswas back with us to discuss national security space policy, main concerns, 2022 be on the look out for issues and more“.

** Friday, Dec.17.2021Dr. Lee Cronin from the University of Glasgow, Scotland spoke with David Livingston and co-host Bill Gowan about “his work in molecular complexity leading to his development of the Molecular Assembly index to help search for biomarkers and life on other planets“.

** Wednesday, Dec.15.2021 – Hotel Mars – Anatoly Zak, publisher of the Russian space news website www.russianspaceweb.com, gave John Batchelor and Dr. David Livingston an update “on Russian space news […] with a focus on the Russian parts to the ISS“.

** Tuesday, Dec.14.2021Gene Meyers discussed “Space Solar Power Sats, Gene’s unique advocacy for SSP, top policy makers and politicians through his White Paper, infrastructure and more“.

** See also:
* The Space Show Archives
* The Space Show Newsletter
* The Space Show Shop

The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.

The Space Show - David Livingston
The Space Show – Dr. David Livingston

=== Amazon Ads ===

Conscious Choice:
The Origins of Slavery in America and
Why it Matters Today and
for Our Future in Outer Space

===

Envisioning Exoplanets:
Searching for Life in the Galaxy

Videos: “Space to Ground” & other space habitat reports – Dec.17.2021

Here is the latest episode in NASA’s Space to Ground weekly report on activities related to the International Space Station:

** The AP Interview: Japanese billionaire in space – Associated Press

Japanese fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa has spoken to The Associated Press in his first interview from the International Space Station (Dec. 13).

** 【リアルガチ】無重力で遊んでみた 【FOR REAL】Playing Around in Zero Gravity – Yusaku Maezawa【MZ】

MZ is finally getting used to life in space, And what do you do in space? You play with zero gravity!! Staying still, paddling like a drowning dog, twirling around… See MZ playing around like a little kid. Also see MZ talk about the importance of gravity. For the 12 days in space, MZ and Yozo will attempt to film as many challenges and activities that people from all around the world had requested them to do in the ‘100 Things You Want MZ to Do in Space’.

** 【衝撃の一枚】宇宙から地球撮ってみた【A MIRACLE PIECE】Capturing Earth From Space – Yusaku Maezawa【MZ】

For today’s video, MZ attempts to take photos of the Earth using a camera with telescopic lens. You only have one chance with the button as the ISS moves very fast. MZ seems very proud of what he captured on his camera… For the 12 days in space, MZ and Yozo will attempt to film as many challenges and activities that people from all around the world had requested them to do in the ‘100 Things You Want MZ to Do in Space’. Please stay tuned!

** Expedition 66 PAO Minnesota Public Radio NPR – December 15, 2021NASA Video

Aboard the International Space Station, NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Tom Marshburn discussed living and working in space during an in-flight event December 15 with Minnesota Public Radio and NPR’s “Here and Now” program. Vande Hei and Marsburn are in the midst of long duration missions aboard the microgravity laboratory to advance scientific knowledge and demonstrate new technologies for future human and robotic exploration missions as part of NASA’s Moon and Mars exploration approach, including lunar missions through NASA’s Artemis program.

** Expedition 66 PAO KCRG-TV and Kitsap Sun Newspaper – December 13, 2021NASA Video

Aboard the International Space Station, NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Kayla Barron discussed living and working in space during an in-flight event December 13 with KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and the Kitsap Sun newspaper in Bremerton, Washington. Chari and Barron are in the midst of a six month mission aboard the microgravity laboratory to advance scientific knowledge and demonstrate new technologies for future human and robotic exploration missions as part of NASA’s Moon and Mars exploration approach, including lunar missions through NASA’s Artemis program.

** Spacex CRS 24 OverviewISS National Lab – YouTube

SpaceX’s 24th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the International Space Station (ISS) is slated for launch no earlier than December 21 at 5:06 a.m. ET from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The ISS National Laboratory is sponsoring multiple payloads on this mission that will bring value to our nation and drive a sustainable market in low Earth orbit. This video highlights two investigations launching on this mission from private-sector research partners Merck and Procter & Gamble.

** Chinese Astronauts Work Out in Space StationCCTV Video News Agency

The three astronauts on a six-month mission in China’s space station have been working out on a regular basis to prevent potential health hazards that might be caused by the microgravity environment.

** Chinese Astronauts Show Space Station Routine Cleaning Between DutiesCCTV Video News Agency

The three Chinese astronauts, traveling aboard China’s space station core module Tianhe showed routine cleaning between their duties to make their space home clean, tidy and comfortable.

====

=== Amazon Ads ===

LEGO Ideas International Space Station Building Kit,
Adult Set for Display,
Makes a Great Birthday Present
(864 Pieces)

====

Outpost in Orbit:
A Pictorial & Verbal History of the Space Station

ESO: Sharpest images yet of stars orbiting Milky Way’s supermassive black hole

A new report from the European Southern Observatory (Watch stars move around the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole in deepest images yet | ESO)

Watch stars move around the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole
in deepest images yet

These annotated images, obtained with the GRAVITY instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) between March and July 2021, show stars orbiting very close to Sgr A*, the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way. One of these stars, named S29, was observed as it was making its closest approach to the black hole at 13 billion kilometres, just 90 times the distance between the Sun and Earth. Another star, named S300, was detected for the first time in the new VLTI observations. To obtain the new images, the astronomers used a machine-learning technique, called Information Field Theory. They made a model of how the real sources may look, simulated how GRAVITY would see them, and compared this simulation with GRAVITY observations. This allowed them to find and track stars around Sagittarius A* with unparalleled depth and accuracy.

The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (ESO’s VLTI) has obtained the deepest and sharpest images to date of the region around the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy. The new images zoom in 20 times more than what was possible before the VLTI and have helped astronomers find a never-before-seen star close to the black hole. By tracking the orbits of stars at the centre of our Milky Way, the team has made the most precise measurement yet of the black hole’s mass.

We want to learn more about the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A*: How massive is it exactly? Does it rotate? Do stars around it behave exactly as we expect from Einstein’s general theory of relativity? The best way to answer these questions is to follow stars on orbits close to the supermassive black hole. And here we demonstrate that we can do that to a higher precision than ever before,”

explains Reinhard Genzel, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching, Germany who was awarded a Nobel Prize in 2020 for Sagittarius A* research. Genzel and his team’s latest results, which expand on their three-decade-long study of stars orbiting the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, are published today in two papers in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

On a quest to find even more stars close to the black hole, the team, known as the GRAVITY collaboration, developed a new analysis technique that has allowed them to obtain the deepest and sharpest images yet of our Galactic Centre.

The VLTI gives us this incredible spatial resolution and with the new images we reach deeper than ever before. We are stunned by their amount of detail, and by the action and number of stars they reveal around the black hole,”

explains Julia Stadler, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching who led the team’s imaging efforts during her time at MPE. Remarkably, they found a star, called S300, which had not been seen previously, showing how powerful this method is when it comes to spotting very faint objects close to Sagittarius A*.

With their latest observations, conducted between March and July 2021, the team focused on making precise measurements of stars as they approached the black hole. This includes the record-holder star S29, which made its nearest approach to the black hole in late May 2021. It passed it at a distance of just 13 billion kilometres, about 90 times the Sun-Earth distance, at the stunning speed of 8740 kilometres per second. No other star has ever been observed to pass that close to, or travel that fast around, the black hole.

The team’s measurements and images were made possible thanks to GRAVITY, a unique instrument that the collaboration developed for ESO’s VLTI, located in Chile. GRAVITY combines the light of all four 8.2-metre telescopes of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) using a technique called interferometry. This technique is complex,

“but in the end you arrive at images 20 times sharper than those from the individual VLT telescopes alone, revealing the secrets of the Galactic Centre,”

says Frank Eisenhauer from MPE, principal investigator of GRAVITY.

Following stars on close orbits around Sagittarius A* allows us to precisely probe the gravitational field around the closest massive black hole to Earth, to test General Relativity, and to determine the properties of the black hole,

explains Genzel. The new observations, combined with the team’s previous data, confirm that the stars follow paths exactly as predicted by General Relativity for objects moving around a black hole of mass 4.30 million times that of the Sun. This is the most precise estimate of the mass of the Milky Way’s central black hole to date. The researchers also managed to fine-tune the distance to Sagittarius A*, finding it to be 27 000 light-years away.

This visible light wide-field view shows the rich star clouds in the constellation of Sagittarius (the Archer) in the direction of the centre of our Milky Way galaxy. The entire image is filled with vast numbers of stars — but far more remain hidden behind clouds of dust and are only revealed in infrared images. This view was created from photographs in red and blue light and forming part of the Digitized Sky Survey 2. The field of view is approximately 3.5 degrees x 3.6 degrees.

To obtain the new images, the astronomers used a machine-learning technique, called Information Field Theory. They made a model of how the real sources may look, simulated how GRAVITY would see them, and compared this simulation with GRAVITY observations. This allowed them to find and track stars around Sagittarius A* with unparalleled depth and accuracy. In addition to the GRAVITY observations, the team also used data from NACO and SINFONI, two former VLT instruments, as well as measurements from the Keck Observatory and NOIRLab’s Gemini Observatory in the US.

GRAVITY will be updated later this decade to GRAVITY+, which will also be installed on ESO’s VLTI and will push the sensitivity further to reveal fainter stars even closer to the black hole. The team aims to eventually find stars so close that their orbits would feel the gravitational effects caused by the black hole’s rotation. ESO’s upcoming Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), under construction in the Chilean Atacama Desert, will further allow the team to measure the velocity of these stars with very high precision.

With GRAVITY+’s and the ELT’s powers combined, we will be able to find out how fast the black hole spins,” says Eisenhauer. “Nobody has been able to do that so far.

Links

=== Amazon Ads ===

The Planet Factory:
Exoplanets and the Search for a Second Earth

===

Envisioning Exoplanets:
Searching for Life in the Galaxy