The World’s First All-Female Spacewalk Will Happen March 29th

It’s been 55 years since Valentina Tereshkova became the world’s first female cosmonaut to ever step foot in space. After that happened, it took 20 years for Svetlana Savitskaya to become the second female cosmonaut in space. In fact, Svetlana Savitskaya also did a spacewalk two years later. Nonetheless, NASA has announced that on March 29th, the world’s first all-female spacewalk is going to take place.

The World’s First All-Female Spacewalk

There have been 213 space walks in total at the ISS since 1998. Theses spacewalks are used for maintenance, repairs and to test new technology or make science experiments. The teams that spacewalked were always all-male or male-female. Therefore, a big historic event is going to take place on March 29th when astronauts Christina Koch and Ann McClain will make the world’s first all-female spacewalk.

Their Mission

The two female astronauts will not be doing the spacewalk only to enjoy the view, they also have an important mission. Christina Koch and Ann McClain need to replace batteries on the ISS that were installed last summer. The two female astronauts are going to be assisted from the ground by flight director Mary Lawrence and Kristen Facciol of the Canadian Space Agency located in NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Texas.

As you can expect, the astronauts and flight directors are really excited for this event. They are going to make history and Kristen Facciol even made the following statement on her official Twitter account: “I cannot contain my excitement!”.

Stephanie Schierholz is a NASA public affairs officer and she had the following statement to make about the historic event that will take place on March 29th: “It definitely resonates with women around the agency that we’re at this point”. Stephanie Schierholz also let everyone know that having the first all-female spacewalk is important, what matters more is to make sure that this is not the last one.

A tumultuous future for the Milky Way: Study

As seen from the Earth, the Milky Way looks like a long white stripe, luminous and diffuse. Since humanity exists, it is there, peaceful and unchanged. This situation is only calm before the storm.

Galaxies frequently collide with each other. Our Milky Way is no different and will hit its neighbor Andromeda in about 4 billion years. However, researchers have discovered that another threat will upset our galaxy well before this terrible impact.

New data, obtained by researchers at the University of Durham (New Window) , in England, show that the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy on the outskirts of the Milky Way, will change course and hit us hard in a little over a billion years old.

The Milky Way will pass through this collision without much of the after-effects, but the upheavals we undergo will bring about profound changes, which will considerably change the view we have of the starry sky.

An unpredictable neighbor
Located 160,000 light-years away from the Milky Way, the Great Magellanic Cloud is the third closest galaxy to us, after the dwarf galaxies of Sagittarius and Great Dog.

It is said to be a dwarf galaxy, because it contains only thirty billion stars, a number much smaller than the hundreds of billions that are contained in conventional galaxies.

However, despite this number, recent observations have shown that the Great Magellanic Cloud is a more massive galaxy than previously estimated, a change that researchers explain by the fact that it has a large mass of dark matter.

This additional mass increases the effect of gravity between it and the Milky Way. According to the researchers’ calculations, although the Great Magellanic Cloud is now moving away from our galaxy, this force will slow our neighbor for hundreds of millions of years, until it makes her half turn, thus placing it directly in a path of fusion with the Milky Way, a billion years later.

A dazzling show
Although such impacts have the potential to radically transform the galaxies involved, these events are far from destructive.

These collisions make the resulting galaxies grow thanks to a supply of new stars. The turmoil and gravitational forces that shake the region also warm up gas clouds that collapse on themselves to create nurseries of stars.

According to the astrophysicists, if there is anyone left on Earth at that time, this person will be able to attend an amazing show!

While our galaxy will absorb its neighbor, a large amount of gas will flow directly to the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A, which hides in the center of the Milky Way. This input of material will make him take a size eight times larger than it currently has, in addition to generating a disk of superheated matter spinning towards the black hole. This phase of activity, called quasar, is one of the brightest phenomena in the universe.

There is usually no collision between the stars in these scenarios, because despite their considerable number, the distance between them is disproportionate.

However, the “brewing” suffered by the stars of the galaxy will eject several in the intergalactic vacuum. According to the researchers, there is a very slight probability that the Sun is among the unlucky ones. However, this is a minimal risk, and our “descendants” will have more chance to admire each night, an unprecedented light show.

The collision with Andromeda, a galaxy of a size similar to ours, a few billion years later, however, will not be so lenient.

New World on Edge of our Solar System discovered by Scientists

After many decades of star gazing, it often seems impossible to find new information about outer space. Fortunately, our scientists continue to amaze the world with new findings, including a new world close to our solar system. It is actually the second planet confirmed in the area, with the first being an unexpected dwarf planet that was confirmed in 2003. It is strongly suspected that the reason this planet took so long to be discovered is related to its light pink color.

This discovery is even more important than it seems at first, given the information that is currently known. Through email, senior research scientist at Yale University David Rabinowitz reported that there is reason to below that this new planet will offer access to a new population. He is likely to have access to that type of confidential information due to his position as a founder for a similar project. That project discovered an adjacent planet known as Sedna, but he had no direct relationship with this find.

It is interesting to note that after extensive research and on-going debate, this discovery has also suggests that there may soon be be verifiable proof of many other planets in the vicinity of the planet jokingly named “Biden”. It’s official name is 2012 VP113 and is a small planet, presenting with a measurement of less than 300 miles across.
It also possesses a unique rotation that is almost oval in design, with its farthest orbit extending a whopping 67.6 million kilometers from the sun.

At 12 billion kilometers from the sun, Biden is obviously a frozen planet. It is some distance from Pluto and a ground telescope featuring a new camera by scientists at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C. and the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii made this discovery.

NASA probe survives the furthest exploration of human history

NASA celebrated the New Year with the historic New Horizons spacecraft survey of the world’s farthest and perhaps the oldest surviving celestial object, Ultima Thule, located some 6.4 billion kilometers from the Earth, hoping to learn more about planet formation.

A series of eagerly awaited signals that the probe had survived its high-risk mission came on Tuesday shortly after 10:30 am (EST), prompting shouts of joy in the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland. It took nearly 10 hours for these signals to reach Earth, the US Space Agency said.

New Horizons “is in working order,” said Alice Bowman, a project manager. “We have just completed the furthest flight” ever done, she said.

Nearly ten hours ago, at 0 h 33, New Horizons turned its cameras on Ultima Thule, a frozen vestige of the formation of the solar system. The images and data collected by the probe will begin arriving later on Tuesday. New Horizons was to take 900 images in seconds during its flight over Ultima Thule at a distance of about 3500 kilometers.

Never before has a spacecraft explored an object so far away.

 Alan Stern, Scientific Director of the Mission

A first shot of Ultima Thule, taken 1.9 million kilometers “only”, has already delivered a first surprise: on this rather blurry image, this object of small size (20 to 30 km in diameter) seems to have a shape elongated rather than round.

On the left, the first image sent by New Horizons (1 pixel = 10 km). On the right, after a sharpening including several images, one sees a more elongated form. Photo: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

More photographs are expected to arrive on Earth for the next three days.

“Science will help us understand the origins of the solar system,” Bowman said.

“That’s one night that none of us will ever forget,” said Rock Queen guitarist Brian May, who also holds a PhD in astrophysics, who recorded a solo piece for opportunity.

A dangerous mission

The challenge of this mission is to understand how the planets were formed, often explained its director, Alan Stern.

“This object is so iced that it is kept in its original form,” he says. All that we will learn about Ultima – its composition, its geology, how it formed, whether it has satellites or the atmosphere – will tell us about the conditions of formation of solar system objects. “

Ultima Thule, discovered in 2014 by the Hubble Space Telescope, is located in the Kuiper belt, a vast cosmic disk, a remnant of the time of planet formation that astronomers sometimes call the “attic” of the solar system.

The scientists decided to send New Horizons to study it , after the spacecraft had completed in 2015 – nine years after its launch – its main mission: to send extremely detailed images of Pluto.

This time, “we will try to have Ultima images with a resolution three times that used for Pluto,” said Stern. If we get there, it will be spectacular. “

It’s the frontier of astronomy. We finally reached the limits of the solar system. These things have been there from the beginning, and we think they have not changed. We will check.

 Hal Weaver, Johns Hopkins University Scientist

51,500 kilometers per hour

The main structure of New Horizons is 0.7 meters high, 2.1 meters long and 2.7 meters wide. A parabolic antenna 2.1 meters in diameter is attached to the upper deck. The probe, the size of a grand piano, is piloted by Quebecer Frédéric Pelletier, an aerospace engineer. He positioned the probe to record the data.

“It is very far, it is very cold, and the celestial bodies are still in conditions that resemble those of the planets at the beginning of the formation of the solar system. It’s like a trip back in time, “he said about the mission on Friday at Gravel’s microphone in the morning .

New Horizons travels the universe to 51  500  kilometers per hour. At this pace, if it hit a debris as small as a grain of rice, it could be destroyed instantly. Every 20  minutes, infrared cameras and infrared sensors capture images from Ultima Thule to ”   as it turns and we get closer, we have good data from all parts,   ” says John Spencer, scientist of the Southwest Research Institute.

Ultima Thule was named after a distant island of medieval literature. “It means ” beyond Thule ” – beyond the known limits of our world, to symbolize exploration beyond the Kuiper belt,” says NASA.

Discovered in the 90s, this belt is some 4.8 billion kilometers from the Sun, beyond the orbit of Neptune, the planet that is the furthest away.

There are planets made of sapphires and rubies

A collaboration of researchers from the University of Zurich and Cambridge, studying the formation of exoplanets, may have discovered a new class of exotic exoplanet that would be part of HD219134 b. This exoplanet located in the constellation Cassiopeia is 21 light-years from Earth and could probably be covered with a carpet of rubies and sapphires.

super-earths like no other

As we pointed out in our previous paper about the hot Neptune desert induced by the transformation of this class of objects into super-Earths, the distant Universe would be populated for the most part by these exoplanets whose size does not exceed ten land masses. Although our solar system has none – the more massive planets than the Earth are gaseous giants like Jupiter and Saturn – it is different for extrasolar planets whose detections by the Kepler space telescope already count several hundred of this type exoplanet.

According to a study jointly conducted by researchers from the University of Zurich and Cambridge and published in the British journal MNRAS , HD219134 b – an exoplanet located in the constellation Cassiopeia with a mass of about 5 times that of the Earth – would part of a new category of exotic exoplanets. For the moment, scientists have relied solely on a theoretical model to explain the formation of this planet as well as the two other contenders WASP -47 e and 55 Cnc e .

A new class of exoplanets

These exoplanets covered with rubies and sapphires would be the result of a planetary formation different from that which researchers have so far been able to study, like the formation of rock planets similar to the Earth. According to Caroline Dorn of the University of Zurich, the very hot zones, close to a star, induce that “many elements are still in the gas phase and the planetary building blocks have a completely different composition” .

According to their theoretical model, the planets formed in these extremely hot regions are mainly composed of aluminum and calcium and do not have a ferrous core, which explains why”Why such planets can not, for example, have a magnetic field similar to the Earth” . In conclusion, the researchers believe that they are facing a new exotic class of exoplanets formed under very high temperatures and whose cooling behavior and atmosphere are very different from the super-Earths usually studied.

The three candidates for this new category are, as mentioned above, HD219134 b, WASP -47 e, as well as 55 Cnc e. The latter had been presented, in 2012, as “a diamond in the sky” , researchers are now correcting this information that had been relayed by the media worldwide: it would be rather rubies and sapphires rather than diamonds!

Nevertheless, do not expect other researchers to emit the idea of ​​exploiting these celestial ores as we read this week in the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report: 21 light years away and in an extremely hot environment, it may be a bit complicated!