The sky (no) is the limit | Asteroid Apophis, Meteorite in MG and more!


The long awaited moment came when the Canaltech summarizes the most bombastic scientific news of the past seven days, especially everything that matters most in the field of astronomy, as well as space issues in general. Thus, those who have little time in the running routine to follow the news, are very well informed in a few minutes of reading.

So, without hesitation, let’s move on to today’s “summary”!

The asteroid Apophis on its way to Earth?

Image of Apophis captured by ESA’s Herschel space observatory, during its approach to Earth on 5-6 January 2013. This image shows the asteroid in three wavelengths (Image: Reproduction / ESA / Herschel / PACS / MACH – 11 / MPE / B. Altieri / C. Kiss)

The asteroid Apophis is one of those known to be potentially dangerous to us, with some risk of hitting Earth in 2068. Now, astronomers show that its approach to the Sun can warm it up so that it can deviate from a relatively safe course to us. . In other words: Our Sun could be responsible for driving the 370-meter asteroid towards us.

This heating can occur unevenly on the asteroid, causing it to radiate thermal energy asymmetrically, that is, unevenly on each of its sides. This can cause it to gain momentum in a certain direction – this effect is called Yarkovsky acceleration.

For more details on this potential hazard, click here.

The meteorite that fell in MG came from the asteroid Vesta

And speaking of asteroids … a meteorite that fell in Tiros (Minas Gerais) in May has just been better analyzed and the researchers concluded that the space rock came from the asteroid Vesta, one of the largest known in the Solar System.

The analysis of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro showed that the Tiros meteorite is a eucrite-type achondrite, i.e. a rocky meteorite that came from the depths of the crust of one of the largest asteroids in the Solar System, and was probably launched at cause of great impact on the south pole of the asteroid. Eucrite is the most common type of achondrite, the rocks that have undergone melting and recrystallization. They are very similar to basalts and, because they are rich in calcium, they are lighter in color.

More details on this story can be found here.

Radio astronomers worried about lunar 4G

Artistic concept of the lunar lander from Nokia and Vodafone (Image: Reproduction / Vodafone)

Nokia was chosen by NASA in October to build a 4G network on the Moon, thus ensuring communication between rovers with navigation. But the idea is for radio astronomers, who fear the novelty will cause interference in their work.

The concern stems from the enormous sensitivity of radio telescopes – for example, visitors approaching the Jodrell Bank observatory are asked to turn off their cell phones, because the Lovell telescope is so sensitive that it could even detect a cell phone signal on Mars. The sensitivity of these instruments is such that, if a radio telescope were positioned on the far side of the Moon and, therefore, protected from the various signals coming from the Earth, it would be possible to observe more clearly the lower radio frequencies that, on our planet, are affected. from the ionosphere. With a 4G network on our natural satellite, this could all be threatened.

You are curious? Click here to find out more!

The last reversal of the Earth’s magnetic poles occurred 773,000 years ago

The magnetic field is a true protector of the Earth (Image: Reproduction / NASA)

Our planet’s magnetic poles are not always aligned with geographic poles, with magnetic ones slowly moving and eventually reversing. The last time this happened was 773,000 years ago, and researchers have now released more details about this event – an event that, according to scientists, took 20,000 years to happen.

Our planet has a core made up of constantly moving and electrically charged iron. It is thanks to these electric currents that we have a magnetic field around the Earth that protects us from solar radiation. However, the magnetosphere (that magnetic “bubble” that protects us) is not static – it changes constantly. Currently, the magnetic north pole is located in Siberia.

By clicking here, you will find more details on the subject.

Sahara Desert, a good analogue for the terrain of Mars

Sahara Desert seen from space (Image: Reproduction / NASA)

Scientists are studying the Sahara Desert, which is the driest place on Earth, to find out how and where to look for life on Mars. The Sahara has sub-surface regions that are moist and alive, and similar formations on Mars could also contain microorganisms, if found.

The team collected samples of the Sahara soil from a depth of 30 centimeters, uncovering a layer of moist clay inhabited by at least 30 species of microorganisms. This discovery reinforces that Mars, in its first billions of years, had also protected habitable niches – says Alberto G. Fairén, corresponding author of the study: “our discovery suggests that something similar could have happened billions of years ago – or even happen. – on Mars, “he said.

You are curious? Click here to find out more!

Exoplanet with oceans of lava, rain of rocks and infernal heat

This depiction of the planet and its star shows molten rocks evaporating into the atmosphere in the region closest to the star (Image: Reproduction / Julie Roussy, McGill Graphic Design, and Getty Images)

Some exoplanets are so close to their stars that their oceans are likely formed from lava. One such world is K2-141b, discovered in 2017, which is now being better studied to predict conditions in a world as strange as this appears to be.

The planet has an orbit so close to the star that it makes a few turns around it every Earth day, always with the same surface facing the star. In this, the night side of the planet has a temperature below -200 ° C, while the illuminated side reaches 3,000 ° C, a temperature high enough to melt and vaporize the rocks. In addition to not being hospitable at all, the planet’s surface, ocean and atmosphere can be made of rocks.

Find out more about this curious exoplanet by clicking here.

Bennu, a fragile and empty asteroid within it

According to researchers who analyzed data from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission, the asteroid Bennu appears to be extremely fragile, even empty inside. That’s right: vacuum – and that would explain its low gravitational influence.

As for its fragility, the explanation is as follows: when OSIRIS-REx touched the ground to collect samples, more than expected crumbled under the collection tool, revealing that the surface is quite smooth. There was so much material of dust and stones that moved with the nitrogen blast from the ship, that the collection tool was left open, allowing some of the sample to escape into space.

Here you can find more details about this new study.

Crew 1 astronauts are ready for launch

The four astronauts who will fly to the ISS aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft in the Crew-1 mission, SpaceX’s first manned operational mission with NASA, have already arrived at the Kennedy Space Center, awaiting launch scheduled for next Saturday. (14).

Crew 1 crew includes Commander Michael Hopkins, Pilot Victor Glover, and Mission Specialist Shannon Walker, all from the United States. They will travel with Soichi Noguchi, an astronaut from JAXA (the Japanese space agency) and a mission specialist, who will be the first Japanese astronaut to take a spacewalk outside the station. Glover will have his first experience in space.

OR Canaltech will cover all live moments here on the site, but for now find out more about the mission by clicking here.

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