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Asteroid Could Strike Earth One Day before the Election: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson

According to Neil deGrasse Tyson, an asteroid of the size of a refrigerator might strike the Earth one day before the November election. However, the diameter isn’t that big of a deal, so no serious damage is expected. The popular astrophysicist said that this space rock is known as 2018VP1 and that it’s coming towards the Earth at 25,000 miles per hour with the potential to clip the planet. He took to Instagram to share his findings, saying that it may buzz-cut the Earth on 2nd November.However, as mentioned earlier, it is not big enough to cause harm. He joked in the end, suggesting that if the world ends in 2020, it won’t exactly be the fault of the universe. NASA identified the asteroid earlier and claimed that the asteroid rocketing towards the Earth has less than one percent chances of an actual strike. “It currently has a 0.41% chance of entering our planet’s atmosphere, but if it did, it would disintegrate due to its extremely small size.”– said the space agency.  

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Boeing astronaut is stepping down from the first crewed test flight of passenger spacecraft

It’s quite unusual to hear about an astronaut withdrawing himself from the historic space mission, but that's exactly what NASA’s Christopher Ferguson decided to do on Wednesday. In a video posted on Twitter, the experienced astronaut announced that he will not command the Boeing’s new passenger spacecraft's first crewed test flight, the CST-100 Starliner which is scheduled to lift off next year.Ferguson said that abandoning the flight was a personal and difficult decision. He said that for him next year is quite important in terms of family as he has some commitments which cannot be missed. He said that he is just not going into space in the coming year. Ferguson has been a key player in the Boeing Starliner's development, a privately produced crew capsule created to transport astronauts into orbit. He also led the NASA’s Space Shuttle's last flight in 2011, prior to taking retirement from the organization in the same year. Then, he got on-board with Boeing and was appointed as a director of mission systems and crew for the Starliner program. Back in 2018, Ferguson was made the Commander of the Starliner's first crewed flight test, with astronauts Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann who would be accompanying him as crewmates. After his withdrawal announcement, NASA astronaut Barry “Butch” Wilmore has taken over Ferguson’s place, who will be riding along with the two other NASA astronauts already tasked to the mission.Ferguson isn’t stepping down from the team entirely, though, as he’ll be using his skills and knowledge to serve as the Director of Mission Integration and Operations. He will continue his services to the mission, making sure that the Starliner and its training system meets the needs of NASA’s astronauts.Boeing’s Starliner is similar to Space’s X Crew Dragon, aiming for a similar goal to transport astronauts to-and-from the International Space Station (ISS). After some delays due to software problems in the Starline system, the first crewed orbital test flight of Boeing is scheduled to take place in June 2021.

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Mars Comes Closest To Earth; Here’s How You Can See It

This week, the popular Red planet is coming closer to saying ‘Hi' to earthlings!So, it turns out Mars is not just closest to our heart but also to our actual planet of residence! This week, Mars is at its closest to Earth, giving you a golden opportunity to marvel at the Red Planet with your own eyes.On October 6th, Mars nosedived within 38,568,816 miles of Earth (62,070,493 kilometers), making a smooth, close approach. This is the closest it will be for the next 15 years or until September 2035.The Red Planet is quite visible, high in the eastern sky. It seems like a mesmerizing reddish light if the weather in your region permits to see it.NASA wrote in a sky watching guide that October is the best month to view Mars. The red planet remains visible the entire night these days as it reaches the topmost point in our sky. Earth and Mars move around the sun in an elliptical manner, orbiting in the same direction but at different speeds and at different distances from our stars. With this pattern, every 780 days, or every two years, Mars and Earth come closest to each other. So, this week they will be at their closest!On October 13th, the Earth comes between the sun and Mars and they all line up in their respective orbits. According to the Earthsky.org; when both the Mars and earth perfectly circles the sun and on the same plane, the Earth and Mars' distance becomes least on the Mars' opposition day. However, we don't live a perfectly symmetrical universe.  If you’re confused with the phenomenon, here’s a better explanation:It was in 2018 when the last time Mars got closest to our planet; it was even closer in 2003—the pair made a historic approach.Though the planet is still not as close as our moon is to Earth, it will not appear to be as big as the moon in the sky. But the Red planet will have an additional glow this October.In fact, the brighter it gets, the more it will be visible as the moon in the sky. You just have to look up, and spot the red glowing planet somewhere in the sky. This week is a once-in-years opportunity that we probably won’t get again until 2035. Don't forget to wave ‘Hi’ to Mars as it goes past you!

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Four American Astronauts to Vote from Space This Year

It’s becoming increasingly important to use our power and vote out the people who currently sit in the Oval Office. So whether you’re present somewhere down in America or in another orbit outside the surface of Earth – just vote!Up to four American astronauts plan to vote in the general election as they realize the significance of this moment. They’ve decided to vote during the general election from the outer hemisphere – continuing the longstanding tradition of people casting votes from space. The first astronaut to cast in her vote at the ISS is Kate Rubins. She’ll be launching on a Russian Soyuz rocket on the 14th of October with two Russian cosmonauts. She says that it is highly important for people to vote. If people can vote from the space then folks can do it too from the ground.Rubins will be followed by Mike Hopkins, Viktor Glover, and Shannon Walker – currently, on the second flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, they’ll be catching up with her at the ISS on the 31st of October. A Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi will be in their company as well. They all plan to vote from the orbit this year. This will be the second time that Walker will be voting from the orbit. She did it the first time during her International Space Station trip back in 2010.She says that all of them are going to vote from the space. She says that NASA goes well with various election organizations as we all vote in various counties. Contrary to popular belief, casting a ballot from space is a fairly straightforward process. There’s been a continuous human presence on the International Space Station for the past two decades all thanks to NASA and its consistent efforts. So basically, before they take off, NASA astronauts are asked to fill out a Federal Post Card Application – the same form that military members use in case of absence due to deployment during the election. If it’s approved, the county clerks overseeing the election within each applicant’s home counties send out test ballots to NASA. The agency also checks whether or not the ballots can be filled in space. If confirmed, the NASA’s Mission Control Center emails them ballots on the Election Day. The rest of the process is as usual.Of course, the process may be simple but nothing about voting from space is ordinary. Whether you’re in space or in the USA, you know that this year specifically has been a rough year for Americans, thus the SpaceX’s Crew Dragon is aptly named Resilience. “That means functioning well in times of stress or overcoming adverse events. I think all of us can agree that 2020 has certainly been a challenging year: a global pandemic, economic hardships, civil unrest, and isolation.” – Said Hopkins about the name. Let’s take inspiration from these bright minds and cast in our votes on the Election Day!  

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Japanese Giant Gundam Robot Comes To Life

At least now, we have something to fight against Godzilla!Based on an iconic anime series, a giant robot, Gundam has made its first move in the Japanese city of Yokohama.It weighs 25 tonnes and stands just over 18 meters tall. After years of arduous work, the giant Japanese robot showed its fans that it can actually move! Inspired by a robot from “Mobile Suit Gundam,” an infamous TV series from the late 1970s, this massive machine was seen walking, kneeling, and waving in a video of the test uploaded on Twitter on Monday.This life-sized robot was ready for becoming the main feature of Gundam Factor Yokohama, south of Tokyo on 1 October, but thanks to the ongoing pandemic, the official unveiling is not going to be until later this year, according to the company’s website.“We apologize to all of our fans who were looking forward to our grand opening and ask for your understanding. In the meantime, we will be making preparations so that all of our visitors can enjoy themselves in safety.”The engineer of the multibillion-dollar company Gundam franchise reportedly initiated the designing process six years ago to make sure each piece adjusts to the weight limit, to prevent its limbs from buckling, and to ensure all the parts move smoothly.The anime genre rose to drastic popularity in the early 1900s, when Japanese artists like Oten Shimokawa started experimenting to produce animated short films.And till this day, fans across the world are completely head over heels for the anime series. So, who’s heading to Yokohama to visit the giant robot? 

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The International Space Station is about to get its first commercially-built Airlock

Source: TheVergeLater this year, Space X's Falcon 9 rocket will be taking off from central Florida. It will be carrying a huge metal cup which will soon be the first-ever privately built InternationalSpace Station’s airlock. The first commercial airlock, known as Bishop, is the first-of-its-kind commercial airlock, designed to get payloads from the space station into the vacuum of space.It’s like a Bell-shaped airlock that fixes itself to the space station's exterior using a few latches and clamps. It is the product of an aerospace company, which aids private companies to get passage to space.As of now, the company has produced smaller space-bound hardware, including standardized research boxes that companies can utilize to carry out experiments in the microgravity environment of the space station. The company has also established its own satellite deployers that are used to push tiny spacecraft into orbit, both from the ISS and smaller free-flying spaceships. Bishop seems to be the most determined piece of hardware that the company has ever built.Once the Nanorack's bishop is there, consider it extra real estate till we actually wish to use it. it can be used in various ways and the foremost is to bring stuff outside- says Mike Lewis, Nanoracks’s chief innovation officer. First, payloads are attached to the inner part of Bishop. The hatches are then closed by the astronauts, reducing the airlock's inside air. The entire assembly from the station will then be detached through a robotic arm. Lewis said that the whole experience is like of a submarine as you go into the water but here you are heading into the vacuum.Currently, The ISS has three airlocks in total, out of which only two are functional for allowing people to exit the station. One of them is the Japanese Experiment Module, used to release payloads. GITAI, a Japanese startup is already seeking to experiment its robotic arm inside Nanoracks’ airlock. Bishop is scheduled to head to the space station in mid-November.

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