SpaceX’s triumph, exoplanets and mysterious killer whales: This week in space and science

(CNN)This week saw the beginning of a new era of human spaceflight, thanks to the launch and return of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, the first commercially operated spacecraft designed to carry astronauts. It’s not shuttling humans just yet, but it did have some interesting cargo.

And there was the discovery of the tragic site of a mass sacrifice from the 15th century, involving 137 children and more than 200 juvenile llamas that may have had their hearts cut out. You may want to read that another time, when you’re not about to have brunch.
Here’s everything you missed this week in space and science. And don’t forget to move your clocks forward one hour this weekend!

    A big win for SpaceX, Ripley and Little Earth

    The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule launched March 2 and completed its historic mission Friday. The capsule docked at the International Space Station to deliver supplies, spent the week attached to the station and then splashed back down on Earth. It’s been designed to carry astronauts to the space station as early as June or July, but no humans were on board for this historic test flight.
    NASA astronaut Anne McClain tweeted that it was “the dawn of a new era in human spaceflight,” along with a photo of the capsule.
    Vice President Mike Pence called the astronauts on the station to congratulate them on this achievement and all that it implies for the future.
    But Crew Dragon wasn’t without its distracting delights. Along for the ride was Ripley, a space-suited dummy named for Ellen Ripley from the “Alien” films.
    Ripley was meant to make sure that the spacecraft would be safe and comfortable for humans. Ripley even has little sensors at key points like the head, neck and spine to see what the experience might be like for astronauts who could be using it later this year.
    And then there was Little Earth, an adorably wonderful plush toy representing our planet. Little Earth, also called Buddy, has enjoyed an eventful week tagging along with the astronauts. While Crew Dragon has returned to Earth with Ripley on board, Little Earth gets to enjoy an extended vacation until July. That means he’ll get to watch McClain and Christina Koch conduct the first all-female spacewalk this month.
    Throughout the week, McClain shared delightful photos on Twitter of the plushie accompanying her during tasks, experiments, workouts and even dinner.
    And of course, Little Earth got to see Big Earth from the best vantage point. “Yes, buddy, that’s your Mother Earth. Isn’t she beautiful?” McClain tweeted, accompanied by a picture that’s too cute for words.
    You can catch the full recap of his big week here. And don’t worry, we’ll keep reporting back on Little Earth’s shenanigans.

    Shockwaves are beautiful

    The speed of sound (not the Coldplay song) is associated with sonic booms and supersonic jets. But have you ever wondered what it looks like? Hint: You’ve never seen anything like it.
    It took 10 years to develop the technology that would allow air-to-air photography capturing the interaction of shockwaves from two supersonic planes. The two US Air Force T-38 supersonic jets performed a test flight in California flying 30 feet apart to create interacting shockwaves.
    A NASA B-200 King Air aircraft flew 2,000 feet below the planes and captured photos at 1,400 frames per second.
    The shockwaves seen in the photo create supersonic booms when they merge in the atmosphere, which breaks the sound barrier. Supersonic flights that don’t make this noise but rather more of a low rumble could lift the restrictions on supersonic flight over land. These photos can help researchers test and develop that technology.
    “I am ecstatic about how these images turned out,” J.T. Heineck, a scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, said in a statement. “We never dreamt that it would be this clear, this beautiful.”

    New whale, who dis?

    A new type of whale has been spotted, “Type D” to be exact. What does that mean? Well, Type D whales look like killer whales, or orcas, but they have a more rounded head, smaller white markings around the eyes and a different body shape.
    An international team of scientists spotted them off the coast of Cape Horn in Chile and took small biopsies to study them.
    “We are very excited about the genetic analyses to come,” Bob Pitman, a researcher from NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center, said in a release. “Type D killer whales could be the largest undescribed animal left on the planet and a clear indication of how little we know about life in our oceans.”

    Asteroid menace

    Besides the fact that Hollywood was totally wrong about what it might be like to fly through an asteroid field (thanks, “Star Wars”), the film industry was also wrong about how easy it might be to obliterate an asteroid (thanks, “Armageddon”).
    A new study simulated a small asteroid, with a diameter spanning just under a mile, colliding with a larger one about 16 miles across. The large asteroid was pretty much unharmed. Gravity could even help pull any disturbed fragments back together.
    So it’s going to take a lot more power and energy to destroy an asteroid that is, say, heading for Earth.
    For the sake of being able to sleep at night, NASA and other space organizations around the world are focused on detecting the threat of near-Earth objects, asteroids and comets whose orbits place them within 30 million miles of Earth.

    How much would the Milky Way weigh if the Milky Way could be weighed?

    Consider this your free trivia tip: The Milky Way is heavy. But now, scientists have a better idea of how heavy that is.
    It’s not as if the Milky Way, or even stars and planets, can be put on a scale. Using data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite, astronomers have determined the most accurate measurement of its mass: Our vast galaxy clocks in at 1.5 trillion solar masses.
    One solar mass is the mass of our sun, which is 2 times 10 to the 30th power kilograms.
    So where does all of that weight come from? Surprisingly, only a small percentage of this is due to the galaxy’s 200 billion stars and the 4 million-solar-mass supermassive black hole at the center. The rest of it is due to dark matter, that elusive substance that holds the universe together.
    Astronomers are still trying to find evidence of dark matter to see whether it’s a particle or something else. But they know that it’s present, even if it can’t be detected yet.
    And as far as galaxies go, ours is a heavy one compared with others, but it’s also appropriate considering how bright it is. Lighter galaxies weigh in at around a billion solar masses. The heaviest are 30 trillion solar masses.
    So, it’s as heavy as it needs to be.

    Hot Jupiters, so hot right now

    Congratulations are in order for Kepler-1658 b. It’s finally been deemed a planet after being discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope 10 years ago. Kepler’s mission revolutionized the search for other worlds outside our solar system and came to an end in October. Rest in peace, Kepler, and thanks for all the exoplanets.
    It’s rare, a hot Jupiter around an evolved subgiant star with an incredibly close orbit that flings it around every 3.8 days.
    Hot Jupiters — gas giants similar to our own system’s largest planet but much closer to their host stars — were common discoveries during the early days of exoplanet hunting because they were easy to find, but they represent only about 1% of known exoplanets now.
    The star has 50% more mass than our sun, and it’s three times larger. The planet orbits closely, only about twice the star’s diameter away from it. This makes the planet one of the closest to its host star, which is a more evolved star that mirrors what our sun will be like in the future.
    If you could stand on the planet, the star would seem 60 times larger in diameter than the sun does when we see it from Earth.
      Another study this week suggested that binary, or two-star, systems may host planets that are more likely to be in the habitable zone — that Goldilocks spot that isn’t too hot or cold and can support liquid water on the surface. It’s called the habitable zone because we equate the presence of water with the possibility for life.
      So that beautiful double sunset from “A New Hope” could mean there’s a better chance for life, even if “the sand gets everywhere” on Tatooine. At least there’s life.

      Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific


      Recommended PRODUCTS
    • Burn Away ALL Your Unwanted Stubborn Body Fat in Just 4 Weeks
    • A fool-proof, science-based diet that helps to lose as many as 23 pounds of fat in just 21 days.
    • A Foolproof, Science-Based System that's Guaranteed to Melt Away Body Fat in Just 14 Days.
    • The Fat Loss Results You've Been Searching For Are Only 21 Days Away..
    • Your Health And Fitness List Will Love This Complete Bodyweight Training Pgrm.
    • Download 60 Blues Backing Tracks That Even Clapton Would Be Proud Of
    • Creative Cooking and Recipes For Use With The 6 Week Body Makeover.
    • Gain Access To The Ground-Breaking Software That Made This Computer Science Graduate 234,089.65
    • Gives you the muscular size of a bodybuilder and the superhuman strength of a powerlifter
    • The foolproof weight loss action plan guaranteed to help you burn stubborn body fat in 6 weeks
    • Discover how a woman over 30 loses 16 pounds in 3 weeks without drugs or traditional exercise
    • Learn how to answer these job interview questions the right way so you can get hired.
    • Get Bar Brothers 12-Week calisthenics system for transforming your body And mind.
    • Learn HOW to START your OWN online Affiliate Marketing business.
    • Find out Putin's sickening strategy and how it will inevitably affect US citizens.
    • A progressive golf exercise plan, stretch program, cardio plan and nutrition program.
    • Five Fast and Easy Project Guides Hypothesis to Conclusion
    • Clickbank Ads
       
       


      RELATED PRODUCTS
    • The Fat Loss Results You've Been Searching For Are Only 21 Days Away..
    • A fool-proof, science-based diet that helps to lose as many as 23 pounds of fat in just 21 days.
    • A Foolproof, Science-Based System that's Guaranteed to Melt Away Body Fat in Just 14 Days.
    • Burn Away ALL Your Unwanted Stubborn Body Fat in Just 4 Weeks
    • The foolproof weight loss action plan guaranteed to help you burn stubborn body fat in 6 weeks
    • Gain Access To The Ground-Breaking Software That Made This Computer Science Graduate 234,089.65
    • How To Kill The Crowd With Your Wedding Speech Even If You've Never Spoke In Public
    • Five Fast and Easy Project Guides Hypothesis to Conclusion
    • Creative Cooking and Recipes For Use With The 6 Week Body Makeover.
    • Discover The Secrets To Get The Leanest, Best-performing and Most Athletic Body You've Ever Had.
    • A progressive golf exercise plan, stretch program, cardio plan and nutrition program.
    • Find out Putin's sickening strategy and how it will inevitably affect US citizens.
    • The ultimate guide to taboo physics, free energy and debunking mainstream pseudoscience.
    • Know The 5 Steps To Lasting Longer In Bed
    • Discover The Shocking Experimental Secrets That Proves The Existence Of Magic...
    • Learn how to answer these job interview questions the right way so you can get hired.
    • Downloadable e-book with step By step instructions for lots of easy science projects
    • Clickbank Ads
       

      Thank you for taking the time to read our article.

      If you enjoyed our content, we'd really appreciate some "love" with a share or two.

      And ... Don't forget to have fun!

      Recommended

      StockKosh - Gigantic Collection of Premium 35,000+ 100% Royalty Free Never Before Released Stock Gra

      StockKosh is the Biggest Ever Stock Content Launch in the History of Jvzoo. Featuring 115,000+ Images, 10,000+ Vectors, 665+ Transparent PNGs, 3,100+ HD Videos, 2,500+ HQ Clipart, 1,500+ Audio Tracks, 700+ Video Backgrounds, 8,000+ Animated Graphics and

      NinjaShoppe Three Store

      The MOST POWERFUL App on Planet That Builds a Fully Functional Affiliate Shoppe in 60 Seconds Flat That Gets You Products from Top E-com Giants, Unique Content, Video Reviews, TRAFFIC and COMMISSIONS, All Hands FREE…

      Leave a Reply