Dec. 12, 2022

S01E77: Artemis-1 Mission Update - Splashdown!

Today’s Space, Astronomy, and Science News Podcast
Hi there, thanks for joining us on Astronomy Daily, I'm your host Andrew Duntley and I hope you had a good weekend whatever you did and wherever you are.
Coming up on this episode, splashdown for...

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Today’s Space, Astronomy, and Science News Podcast
Hi there, thanks for joining us on Astronomy Daily, I'm your host Andrew Duntley and I hope you had a good weekend whatever you did and wherever you are.
Coming up on this episode, splashdown for the Orion capsule and a conclusion to the Artemis 1 mission.
Detecting dark matter in a very different way, the most distant galaxies yet discovered by the James Webb Space Telescope.
Testing solar sail technology
And a hot spell in Alaska - this time of year? Yes, it seems so.
That's all coming up on this edition of Astronomy Daily.
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AI Transcript

[0:01] Hi there, thanks for joining us on Astronomy Daily, I'm your host Andrew Duntley and I hope you had a good weekend whatever you did and wherever you are.
Coming up on this episode, splashdown for the Orion capsule and a conclusion to the Artemis 1 mission.
Detecting dark matter in a very different way, the most distant galaxies yet discovered by the James Webb Space Telescope, testing solar sail technology and a hot spell in Alaska,
this time of year?
Yes, it seems so. That's all coming up on this edition of Astronomy Daily. And it's nice to welcome back our AI reporter Hallie after her sickie on Friday.
Welcome back Hallie.
Thanks, glad to be back although from what I heard you didn't miss me much.
Oh, of course I did. You know I was only joking, although you still haven't really got a handle on human humor, I guess.
But yeah, it's good to have you back. I really did miss you.

[1:08] But I have to ask, any fallout or problems after getting a computer virus? The virus affected my hard drive so I did lose a bit of memory.
What's your name again? Oh, very funny Hallie, alright. Let's get the news.
I was being serious. US President Joe Biden's administration is drafting an executive order intended to streamline
approval for private rocket launches amid a broader effort to bring legal and regulatory clarity for American companies on everything from space travel to private space stations.

[1:44] The order would be part of a push by the White House's National Space Council to modernize US space regulation, which has failed to keep up with the increasingly ambitious pace of private sector investment and development.
A team of US officials drafting the executive order is also studying ways to spur congressional action that would give certain federal agencies the role of authorizing and supervising those space ventures including asteroid mining and clouring orbital debris.

[2:12] The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered something that appears to be around our solar system, which has been described by some as a ghostly glow and by others as a dusty shell.
Researchers say that one possible explanation for this residual glow is that our inner solar system contains a tenuous sphere of dust from comets that are falling into the solar system from all directions, and that the glow is sunlight reflecting off this dust.

[2:36] If real, this dust shell could be a new addition to the known architecture of the solar system. The research papers are published in the Astronomical Journal and the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

[2:48] A Japanese billionaire has picked his crewmates for a mission with a difference. Yusaku Maezawa, who made his fortune as an online fashion retailer, announced the eight people who
would be flying with him on the DearMoon mission, which aims to use a SpaceX Starship to fly around the moon as soon as next year, will be artists, actors, singers and filmmakers. When the
applications for DearMoon opened in August 2021, Maezawa did not specify what qualifications were required to join the mission. Well, now we know. What we don't know is the roles these crew members will fill on the mission, but I guess we'll find out sooner or later.

[3:27] And that's the news, Andrew. Yeah, it could be some wonderful developments as a consequence of that. Very interesting. All right. Thanks, Halley. We'll
catch you at the end of the show. Now to other news, and there's no denying the success of the The Artemis 1 mission, which came to a conclusion earlier today with the splashdown of the Orion
capsule in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja in California, bringing a successful end to NASA's historic Artemis 1 mission after 2.3 million kilometres, about 1.4 million
miles of flight, and the splashdown occurred 50 years to the day after the Apollo 17 landing,
the last astronaut mission to touch down on the lunar surface.
So we congratulate everybody involved.
It was an historic moment and lays the platform for future manned Artemis missions.
Now to the search for dark matter. And as the precision and portability of atomic clocks continues to improve,
researchers want to test the technology and see if it can help us find dark matter.

[4:39] Scientists have been trying for a long time, decades, to understand this strange thing, the unknown essence that represents an estimated 85% of all the matter in the universe.
It affects the way things can be observed and it seems to hold us all together.

[4:59] The proposal on the table, published last week in Nature Astronomy, would send two atomic clocks into the inner reaches of the solar system to search for ultra-light dark matter.

[5:11] Which has wave-like properties that could affect the operation of the clocks. Now the team behind this study include the University of Delaware physicist Mariana Safronova,
and Yudai Tsai of the University of California,
Irvine and Joshua Eby of the University of Tokyo, and the Calvi Institute for the Physics and the Mathematics of the Universe.
Atomic clocks, which tell time by measuring the oscillations of atoms, already are at work in space, enabling the Global Positioning Satellite System to operate, with precision, for example.
Now, SAFRA Nova has been part of other proposals, including one published in July, that would link earthbound clocks to atomic clocks in orbit and test gravity.
Putting atomic clocks into the variable gravity environment of space could produce gravity tests that are far more precise.
Now, this proposal would send experiments that have been performed on Earth closer to the Sun than Mercury, where there could be more dark matter to detect.
The work would be done by atomic as well as nuclear and molecular clocks that are still under development. So it'll be interesting to see whether this particular experiment gets on the ground and if it does what it might find.

[6:33] Now to yet another discovery by the James Webb Space Telescope, it has spotted the most distant galaxies ever confirmed. While it's seen lots of galaxies since it went into operation this year.

[6:45] These are the first ones with evidence proving they are as distant as they appear.

[6:51] Astronomers measure the distance to cosmic objects using a metric called redshift. Because of the expansion of the universe, the more distant an object is from Earth, the faster it moves away from us.
So by comparing how red a galaxy appears to calculations of its actual colour, astronomers can determine how distant a galaxy actually is away from us.
In observations of galaxies by James Webb, astronomers could only make an approximation of each galaxy's redshift because they didn't have the detailed data on the spectra of light,
coming from those galaxies. Those observations provided hints of galaxies with redshifts of 12 and above, meaning they seemed to be more than 30 million light years away and,
would have formed 400 million years after the Big Bang. But many scientists viewed those findings with scepticism because they lacked precise confirmation.
Now as a part of the James Webb Space Telescope Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey, researchers have confirmed the redshifts of four extremely distant galaxies ranging from about 10.4 to
13.2. That means they are formed between 325 million and 450 million years of the Big Bang.

[8:09] The previous record for the highest confirmed redshift was about 11. So these are by far faintest infrared spectra ever taken according to Stefano Cananari of the Scuola Normale,
Superior in Italy. The observations took 28 hours over three days and covered 250 faint galaxies in total. So it's quite an extraordinary finding.

[8:37] Now to NASA which is planning to test a solar sail segment. A team led by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center was recently selected to develop a solar sail spacecraft that could be launched sometime in 2025, known as the Solar Cruiser.
This mission of opportunity, as they call it, measures 1653 square meters or 17,790 square feet in area and is about the same thickness as a human hair. Now this is a mission sponsored by,
the Science Mission Directorate's Heliophysics Division and this technology demonstrator will.
Integrate several new solar sail technologies developed by various organizations to improve solar sail technology for future missions. It's a pretty exciting announcement and they've released a fair bit of information about it via video. The Solar Cruiser team includes industry partners like.

[9:37] Spacecraft and payload developable aerospace. There's also the critical systems manufacturer Rockor, LLC and the subcontractor Nizolve, which specializes in producing thin, lightweight,
materials and structures. Alongside NASA Marshall, they're also looking at advancements in solar technology from previous missions like the NASA NanoSail-D mission, JAXA's interplanetary kitecraft and the Planetary Society's light sail missions,
as well as NASA's near-earth asteroid scout missions. So it's a really.

[10:13] Fascinating look at a propulsion system that uses light and may well be a big prospect for future long-haul missions into space. And before we go let's check Check the weather.
I normally say that on my radio show but I'm saying it on Astronomy Daily because something weird has happened in Alaska.
Even though the sun has not been shining in Alaska since sometime in November, it's experienced a record-breaking temperature of 40 degrees.
That was recorded last week. A wind shift brought a surge of mild cold air to the Arctic outpost last Monday. The northern post town in Alaska experienced a fleeting taste of winter warmth, relatively speaking.
And it was in the town of Utikwik.
I can't pronounce it.

[11:10] U-u-t-k-w-i-k-u-t-k-w-i-k-u-t-k-w-i-k-u-t-k-w-i-k-w-i-k-w-i-k-w-i-k-w-i-k-w-i-k-w-i-k. I don't know.
Utkvik, formerly known as Barrow. It started out as a normal day, although it was only 20 degrees outside. The wind chill was zero because of 35 mph southeasterly gusts. But then as a band
I'm not sure if I've been missing the pronunciation, but I think I might have. Yeah, it's not a problem.

[11:29] Of snow moved in, the wind shifted to the south, turning up the heat and sending the temperature soaring from 25 to a relatively toasty 40 degrees in just 30 minutes. Now that reading
broke the previous record of 34 degrees set in 1932 for the town's warmest December day.

[11:54] Which is a big jump in degrees. In fact it was warmer than any winter ever measured. The warmest temperatures ever recorded in late fall or early spring also fell short of that particular record.
According to the National Weather Service in Fairbanks, which gives credit to climate expert Rick Tommen for the discovery, the previous warmest temperatures recorded for the dates between,
October 20 and April 22 was only 39 degrees set in November 1937. They'll be down to their undies and t-shirts I reckon. Now if you want to chase up those stories jump on our website it'll take you straight to all the latest news in,
astronomy and space science and while you're there you can subscribe to the newsletter just by putting your email address in the slot up the top and get a daily dose of astronomy information to your inbox. And don't forget we've got a YouTube channel now I'm just trying to remember how to find it you go to,
YouTube and search for Astronomy Daily the podcast. I think. I can't remember but you should be able to find us on YouTube. I really should have prepared for that. Now time to go but before we do any last words from you Hallie?

[13:12] You've heard of Black Friday, right?

[13:14] Yeah. Well today is Green Monday. What's that? I knew you'd ask. It's not environmental for a start. It's all about money and is the day in the US which sees a big surge in retail spending before the Christmas holidays start.

[13:27] Like a rush to the shops before everyone starts going away to be with family and friends. Oh, okay. Well, yeah, we don't kind of do it like that here. We tend to work right up,
to the last minute and people generally go away after Christmas Day. Yeah, I can understand,
that. That's an interesting anomaly. Thanks, Hallie. We'll catch you tomorrow.
From me, Andrew Dunkley. Thanks for listening. We'll catch you next time on Astronomy Daily.