The Astronomy, Technology and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 67
*Abbot Point selected for orbital launch facility
Abbot Point on the North Queensland coast has been selected to host Gilmour Space Technologies new orbital launch...
The Astronomy, Technology and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 67
*Abbot Point selected for orbital launch facility
Abbot Point on the North Queensland coast has been selected to host Gilmour Space Technologies new orbital launch complex.
*Is Earth's core lopsided? Strange goings-on in our planet's interior
A new study claims the Earth’s solid inner core is solidifying faster on one side than the other.
*OSIRIS Rex heading home
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is on its way back to Earth following a smooth on course departure from the potentially hazardous near Earth asteroid Bennu.
*China’s new generation weather satellite
China has sent the first of a new generation of meteorological satellites into geostationary orbit.
*The Science Report
Lake water oxygen levels declined by an average of 18 per cent.
Australia’s largest dinosaur – a new species of sauropod unearthed in south western Queensland.
United Airlines to purchase supersonic airliners from aerospace start-up Boom.
Microsoft obediently censoring Tiananmen Square Massacre images under instructions from China.
Skeptic's guide to more problems at the University of Wollongong.
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SpaceTime S24E67 AI Transcript
[00:00:00] Stuart: [00:00:00] This is space time series 24, episode 67 for broadcast on the 14th of June, 2021. Coming up on space, time, Abbott points selected for Australia's next over the launch facility, strange ongoings in our planet's interior and it's Cyrus Rex. Finally heading back home, all that and more coming up. Um, space time.
VO Guy: [00:00:26] Welcome
to space time with
Stuart: [00:00:45] Abbott pointed north Queensland has been selected to host Gilmore space technologies new over the launch complex. The location next to the existing port facility and the nearby town of Bowen will allow equatorial launches to the east over the, [00:01:00] with Sundays and Pacific ocean on a range of inclinations and over the loud attitudes because of planet earth, rotation rockets, launching to the east from near the, get an additional boost in speed.
As the earth spins. This allows them to launch more payload for the same amount of fuel. Confirmation of Abbott point as Australia's next door. But the launch facility follows a $400,000 feasibility and technical study. The investigation found potential environmental impacts would be manageable and the drop zones for jettison rocket stages would be outside the great barrier reef world heritage area.
The complex would include a launchpad vehicle assembly, building fueling systems and storage facilities, a launch control center, as well as communications and meteorological services. Developing a loan site at Abbott point would also deliver a huge economic boost to the region. Creating hundreds of new jobs.
The first flights of Gilmore's areas, rocket are expected to take place next year with a [00:02:00] space machines, companies, space, taxi and fireball, internationals fire detection said light being the first launch customers. The companies already undertaken an extended series of successful tests of its new hybrid rocket engine.
Head of operations. James Gilmore says the company is also looking at a second launch facility. This one for Paula launches, most likely in south Australia, another company seven launch is already planning a polar or overlord facility at whalers way. And he port Lincoln on the air peninsula. Gilmore says it's part of the, company's all orbits, all planets vision, which was see sovereign space capability, launching Australian made rockets with Australian payloads, from an Australian lawn site,
Guest: [00:02:42] we're proposing a facility to support the light launches, which is essentially it gives us access.
To multiple lower trajectories. It's like catered within the avid point state development area within the Whitsundays regional council. So in tropical north
Stuart: [00:02:56] Queensland. So, um, some way near the coal loader or [00:03:00] that sort of
Guest: [00:03:00] it's actually, yeah, exactly. So it's just south, all the AVOD point terminal, and it's about 15 kilometers north of the bone
Stuart: [00:03:08] township.
Okay. And what sort of rockets we'll be flying from? Well,
Guest: [00:03:11] so rockets such as ours, which is called Eris and essentially that's a 23 Maydoff vehicle and fully feel that way about 33 tons that will deliver payloads to lower all that. How
Stuart: [00:03:23] big. Well, initially
Guest: [00:03:25] there'll be around 250 kilograms. And what is really exciting is that on our first vehicle, we'll be launching two Australian base payloads.
So customers, so this will be a significant demonstration of the sovereign space capability and Australian launch vehicle from an Australian launch facility. We want you to get Australian payload or facilitated by Australians. Can't get a better story than
Stuart: [00:03:46] that. Why was the site selected? Want to go further north in it?
Towards Cape York where you're closer to the equator. So you get more of a boost from the earth spin. Of
Guest: [00:03:54] course, that is a major consideration, but there are a number of considerations [00:04:00] that determine the suitability of a launch site. So access to critical infrastructure. That's a big one, but also rang safety is probably the biggest considerations.
So any further north and you start impacting potentially impacting our dear friends in the Solomon Islands. So after launch angle will be about 34 degrees and that's well away from the Solomon and then a lot to islands, other considerations, your access to people. You want people to be able to live near the area as well.
And the bone township is extremely suitable, uh, an activity such as that. And also you have to be away from sensitive receptors where the avid point does present an extremely suitable area, a proposed
Stuart: [00:04:41] development, such as this equatorial launch Australia and the Northern territory Southern launch in the peninsula.
Would it be an idea to sort of combine resources?
Guest: [00:04:52] Is very suitable for a suborbital. I haven't seen too much info regarding the orbital mechanics [00:05:00] or potentially some of the issues being in that location, launching equity, Loreal, and therefore affecting some of our Northern tips of Australia and unbelieving neighbors.
Now tell them is perfect. We're looking to work with them. We're looking to stand up an agreement shortly, but they can only handle Pola. So we need something that's complimentary. So we see avid point combined with wireless way to be a huge opportunity for us to deliver on our vision. And that's essentially to enable access to all of its old planning, the advancement, all of humanity
Stuart: [00:05:32] we seeing with, uh, electron from rocket labs in New Zealand.
Is a, a really high launch frequency. It seems to be a big business out there for a small payload capital. Definitely.
Guest: [00:05:44] There is just not enough supply to fill that demand. So they're a great company. They're the second essentially commercial organization to offer launches space. X has obviously the market later on that, that way of looking to make a really big impact on [00:06:00] that.
Our choice of technology is that at the Harvard wheel on track, Delivering a very safe and reliable and cost effective solution to the thousands of customers that need access to specific, um, orbits. So we're really excited and really bullish.
Stuart: [00:06:14] Tell me about the hybrid engine as it now stands that you'll be using,
Guest: [00:06:18] we don't have a name for that, but we're tag lining it as main engine thunder.
Cause when we actually tested it once it did bring the thunder and essentially that's about 120 kilo Newton, a single port hybrid rocket engine. And so I quite substantial and that will essentially make up, there'll be four of those engines on the first stage. And that will propel the vehicle. Hybrid rockets are extremely unique or they have Pauline capability.
I know the particular characteristics like safety, minimal environmental impacts all ye being a green propellant, lower the lifecycle costs responsiveness. So we're really excited about the potential that this can have, not just domestically,
Stuart: [00:06:57] but abroad the hybrid. [00:07:00] Being used as the solid fuel and then an oxidizer, is that the plan?
Guest: [00:07:04] we put the hydrogen peroxide through a catalyst and then that combusts with the solid fuel grind on, and essentially we can throttle by varying the oxygen mask fuller. Right. So I really exciting technology and it's. Right
Stuart: [00:07:18] here in Australia and you've been added check it to make sure it throttles up and down as needed to meet max Q requirements and things like this.
Guest: [00:07:25] the systems are actually very sophisticated, particularly the engine management systems and also the flight computer we're trying to do as much as we can with working with commercial off the shelf components, the G and T team and the software and avionics are doing a great job to develop a capability that's in line with the technology roadmap in some of those leading individuals are actually Australian.
Stuart: [00:07:46] this is great. What's the timeline. As
Guest: [00:07:49] per the system engineering project plan, we're probably looking at about mid next year. So launch countdown has been activated and we're really happy with this recent announcement [00:08:00] from the state government to green line added point for our proposed launch facility.
And so we're going to do whatever we can to make sure that we deliver this capability
Stuart: [00:08:09] mid next year. So the facility will you actually be building there? There'll be a hard stand. Uh, there'll be a strong base, essentially
Guest: [00:08:17] requirements. Uh, the vehicle assembly building that will be a small facility where we'll bring in the vehicle to reintegrate the vehicle and integrate the payload.
And then the other significant requirement is the launch pads. We'll have the propellant and oxidizes and gases that are required to facilitate the launch. And then there'll be fluid storage and utilities area. And then they'll also be a launch control that will be situated near the launch site. So minimal viable product.
All very achievable in the timeframe, but lays ahead
Stuart: [00:08:47] us operations, James Gilmore, and this is space time still. The calm is the Earth's core lopsided. The strange goings-on in our planets, interior and Osiris Rex [00:09:00] says bond via cash to Binu as it heads for home, all that, and more still to come on space time.
he study claims earth solid in a core is solidifying faster on one side than the other. The findings reported in the journal nature. Geo science also shows that the process has been going on ever since it first started to freeze out from the molten iron more than half a billion years ago. But interestingly, the faster growth which is taking place under Indonesia's band is C hasn't left the core lopsided that's because the planet's immense gravity evenly distributes the new growth of and crystals to maintain a spherical inner core that grows in radius by an average of a millimeter per year.
But the enhanced growth [00:10:00] on one side, suggest that there's something in earth, outer core or metal, something under Indonesia. That's removing hate from the inner core, at a faster rate than on the opposite side. On the Brazil. Quick at cooling on one side would accelerate iron crystallization in a coal growth on that side.
A missile has implications for Earth's magnetic field and its history because conviction in the article driven by hate from the inner core is one of the things driving the geo dynamo, which generates the magnetic field that protects the earth from the solar wind streaming out from the sun, as well as cosmic rays from deep space.
One of the study's authors, Barbara Romano edge from the university of California. Berkeley says the findings also help provide a rather loose boundary on the age of the inner core, placing it between half 1,000,000,001 and a half billion years. And that can help in the debate about how the magnetic field was generated prior to the existence of the solid inner core previous studies that were already sure that the magnetic field already existed 3 [00:11:00] billion years ago.
So other processes must have driven conviction and the outer core at that time. The youngest age of the inner core could mean that early in Earth's history, the heat boiling, the fluid came from lighter elements separating out from mine rather than from the crystallization of the iron scene today.
Asymmetric growth of the inner core also explains a three decade old mystery that the crystallized iron in the core seems to be preferentially aligned along the rotational axis of the earth. More so in the west than the east. Whereas one would expect the crystals to be randomly oriented. Evidence for this alignment comes from measurements of the travel time of seismic waves from earthquakes through the Earth's core seismic waves travel faster than the north south rotational axis.
And along the equator in a symmetry that geologists attributed to iron crystals, which are asymmetric, having their long axes, preferentially aligned along its axis. If the core is solid, crystalline iron, then how do I and crystals get oriented preferentially in one direction. In [00:12:00] an attempt to explain the observations.
Scientists created a computer model of crystal growth in the inner core, which incorporates geo dynamic growth models and the mineral physics of iron at high pressures and temperatures. The simplest model seemed a bit unusual, namely that the inner core is asymmetric with a west side, looking different from the east side, all the way to the center, not just at the top of the end.
Of course, some have suggested the only way scientists can explain that is by one side growing faster than the other. The model describes how asymmetric growth about 60% higher in the ACE than in the west in preferentially orient, iron crystals, along the rotational axis with more alignment in the west and the east, and explain the difference in seismic wave velocities cross the inner core planet earth interior is laid like an onion.
These solid I nickel in a core is about 1200 kilometers in radius. It's about three quarters of the size of the moon. Yeah, it's surrounded by a fluid, outer core of molten, iron and nickel. It's about [00:13:00] 2,400 kilometers thick. The outer core intern is surrounded by a mantle of hot rocks, some 2,900 kilometers thick, and that's taught by a thin cool Rocky crust on the surface conviction occurs both in the outer core, which slowly boils as heat from the crystallizing.
Iron comes out of the inner core. And in the mantle as hotter rock slowly, move upwards, carrying this hate from the center of the planet, to the surface, the vigorous balling motion and the liquid iron article combined with the Earth's rotation produces Earth's magnetic field. Now, according to the authors computer model, as the iron crystals grow gravity quickly redistributes the excess growth in the east, towards the west, within the inner core.
Now that movement of crystals within the rather soft solid of the inner core, which is close to the melting point of iron at these high pressures aligns the crystal lattice along the rotational axes of the earth to a greater degree in the west than in the east. The model [00:14:00] correctly predicts the researcher's new observations about seismic way of travel times through the inner core.
The anisotropy or difference in travel times, parallel and perpendicular to the rotational axis increases with depth. And the strongest anisotropy is offset to the west of earth rotational axis by about 400 kilometers. The model of inner core growth has also provided limits on the proportion of equal to iron at the center of the earth.
It wouldn't accurately reproduce seismic observations unless Nicole makes up only about four to 8% of the inner core, which is actually close to the proportion found in metallic meteorites, which are presumed to have originally been the cause of differentiated dwarf planets in our solar system. This space-time still the comm is Cyrus regs heading for home following its sample return mission to the asteroid.
Benu. And China launches the first of a new generation of weather satellites, all that have more still to come on space time.
[00:15:00] This is a Cyrus. Rick spacecraft is now on its way back home to worth following it. Smooth OnCourse departure from the potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroid, but new mission engineers had been planning to undertake a small thruster firing to ensure the spacecraft stays on the correct path back to earth.
But the seven minute full throttle engine burned departure maneuver on may the 10th time to match the alignment of burner with the earth was calculated and executed. So precisely which he manages, decided not to want to take a cleanup, a nerve root at this stage, the spacecraft's course is being primarily determined by the sun's gravity, but small course corrections will be made during the journey using engine burns.
The next possible course maneuver adjustment is likely to occur in [00:16:00] 2022. Right now, the probes already moved some 528,000 kilometers from Bonnaroo the 492 meter wide space rock 10, 19 55. Benu is what's known as a type B carbonaceous Apollo group asteroid. That means it's a Neo, a near earth object and its orbit intersects with and crosses Earth's orbit.
But the news orbit is also intrinsically dynamically, unstable and astronomers say that gives it a one in 2,700 chance of impacting the earth sometime between 2175 and 2199. Lawrence from Cape Canaveral in September, 2016, the 2,110 kilogram Sarah's Ric spacecraft arrived at Bonneau in October, 2018.
Spending three years orbiting the asteroid at altitudes as low as five kilometers mapping Binu surface and geology studying its evolution, composition, chemistry, and mineral ology. Well, the missions key objectives was understanding non [00:17:00] gravitational influences such as the effect and weight sunlight heats up.
The surface of an asteroid that hate is then radiated back out into space, providing a small amount of thrust as the asteroid rotates, knowing bitters physical properties and how that will be affected by the COVID ski effect is critical for astronomers, trying to determine the likelihood of the asteroid colliding with earth.
As part of that aim in July, 2020, Osiris-Rex use the robotic arm to collect 60 grams of regular from the asteroid surface. The two and a half year cruise phase back to earth was CSRs were ex swept or within 10,000 kilometers of earth in September, 2023. As it approaches the planet, the spacecraft will jettison it.
Sample return capsule. That'll parachute down onto the test and training range in Utah's west desert on September the 24th. Sarah Sarek still has plenty of fuel remaining mission managers having to preserve as much of that fuel as possible in order to use the spacecraft for a [00:18:00] potential extended mission to another asteroid.
We'll keep you informed. This is time still. The calm child launches. The first of a new generation of meteorological setup lights. And later in the science report, Australia's largest dinosaur and new species of Serra pod. I nursed in Southwestern Queensland. Oh, that is much more still to come on. Space time.
Professor Andrew Hopkins: [00:18:40] hi, this is Andrew Dunkley, the host of the space nuts podcast. Imagine if you could go back in time and change history, change the course of humanity. What would you do? One of the most talked about paradoxes in the world has been the Hitler paradox. What would have happened to the world. If someone had gone back in [00:19:00] time and bumped Hitler off and the Holocaust didn't happen, or the second world war didn't happen or something like that?
Well, I do explore that in my new book, the science fiction, novel, the Hiplet paradox. And I hope you'll give it a bit of a try and let me know what you think. It's just a play on the concept, but I've written it into a very entertaining and thought provoking novel set in the 23rd century, but it spans several time periods and looks at all the possibilities and probabilities and some of the dilemmas that are faced by those who plan.
The assassination of adult Hitler, it's called the Hitler paradox. It's my latest science fiction novel. And if you'd like to get hold of it, I do suggest you go to our podcast website space in that's podcast.com that's space, NATS podcast.com. Click on the shop. Button for links to all my books. And while you're there, check out the new space, nuts products it's called the Hiplet paradox available now in ebook, [00:20:00] paperback, hardcover, and soon to be in audio format.
Stuart: [00:20:04] listening to Springs time with Stewart,
VO Guy: [00:20:07] Gary
Stuart: [00:20:09] China. I sent the first of a new generation of me, right to go. Satellites did just stationary orbit. The thing young four B was launched about along March three, B rocket from the shy Chang satellite launch center in south Western China, Sichuan province.
Beijing says the new spacecraft will be used both for weather analysis and forecasting, as well as environmental and disaster monitoring, suggesting a broader role than just meteorology. The thing for B was Plaisted with 35,786 kilometer high GS stationary orbit, where it will compliment and eventually replace the earlier thing yang for a satellite, which was launched back in December, 2016, the 5,400 kilogram thing, yang four B will have a longest seven year service life with improved observing capabilities compared to the earlier fanging for a, which is expected to run out of [00:21:00] fuel sometime this year.
Thing yang four B science instrumentation package includes the GA stationary interferometric infrared sounder, and a radiation imager as well as the space environments package for sensing high, medium, low energy particles and imaging telescope for x-ray to extreme ultraviolet activity monitoring a geostationary high-speed imager and a lightning mapper.
The mission was the 372nd flight of a long March series rocket. This is space time.
And Tom had to take a brief look on some of the other stories making, using science this week with a science report, a new study warns oxygen levels in the deep waters of lakes around the world have declined by an average of 18%. The research reported in the journal nature, analyze some 400 lakes, finding the loss of dissolved oxygen [00:22:00] seriously affects the health of the lakes and could lead to global declines.
In biodiversity, the authors found human activity and warming temperatures caused oxygen levels to decline over time and suggest lake ecosystems need more rigorous management. Paleontologist have described Australia's largest dinosaur species of Sarah pot. I know then what is now Southwest in Queensland, the fossilized remains of the 30 meter long Austraila Titan Cooper answers or Southern tightened from the Cooper were first discovered in 2004.
Side. I spent the next 17 years painstakingly uncovering and describing the giant herbivore, which Roane, what were once forests and grasslands during the Cretaceous period between 92 and 96 million years ago. A report in the journal peer J claims are Titan Cooper. Insists is just the tip of the iceberg with evidence of numerous other dinosaur fossils scattered around the dig side.
United airlines [00:23:00] have signed up to purchase an initial 15 supersonic airliners from aerospace startup company. Boom, the new aircraft known as the overture is slated to begin flying in 2029. The 55 seat Delta wing three engine aircraft will be a smaller version of Concorde constructed out of composite materials and have a range of 8,300 kilometers at a top speed of more than Mac 1.7.
Predicted journey times could see New York to London in three and a half hours. San Francisco to tech you in six hours as for its predecessor. Concord began passenger services in 1976, carrying 120 passengers that more than Mack to twice. The speed of sound, the iconic supersonic transport was retired in 2003.
Well, it seems Microsoft has been kowtowing to the Chinese communist party, obediently censoring it's being search engines, iconic image of a lone man blocking a row of people's liberation [00:24:00] army tanks during the time of the 19 80, 90 Animan square massacre. The famous tank man photo as it's called was taken on June the fifth, 1989 by Jeff Wiener from associated press.
Uh, being searched for tank, man yielded no results yet. And identical search on Google produced hundreds of the iconic moments, the horrific Tiananmen square massacre, which happened 32 years ago this month. So hundreds, possibly thousands of democracy, freedom protestors killed by the Chinese military.
Many were shot at point blank range, but the exact number of dead is unknown. As many of the dead and injured were repeatedly run over by tanks and armored personnel carriers. It's widely believed that Microsoft have been censoring its content at the behest of the Chinese government. For men years, there seems has to be a real problem.
Somewhere in the university of Woolongong, universities are meant to be places of learning where science facts range [00:25:00] Supreme, but not the university of Woolongong. They're already notorious as a winner of an Australian skeptics Spence spoon award. For the most part Posterous piece of paranormal pseudoscientific pitfall after awarding a PhD for all things, an anti-vax thesis.
Now is Tim Mendham from Australian skeptics reveals gong university was planning to introduce a course on dousing. What a dividing using what the university was describing as earth, invisible energy. This story is in
Tim Mendham: [00:25:29] two parts. Okay. Obviously the university of Wollongong has a bit of a history with the skeptics because like I have a PhD on vaccination policy.
And we're supposed to be pointing out all the issues, including well conspiracy. So this sort of stuff, it was full of the most ridiculous comments and some of them were wrong and all sorts of things. We've done. A big study of this PhD. This was issued a number of years ago equals the soft in the scientific community.
Cause you're thinking it downgrades. All the other PhD is going to be an issued by the university of Wollongong. I said, send me the idea. That'd be upset. And the university is not very keen to actually take this [00:26:00] PhD away and we've actually asked them anyway, for that reason to base all the other PhDs, they've got to allow it that could already have happened.
Right. Recently university has these sort of school holiday. We came closest to kids. I love the universities, allowed different groups onto the premises to do with different courses. You could probably get to have a play bridge on a weekend course or something like that. Even amongst some fairly science-y sort of fun things for kids to do.
Hands-on science things. There was one program for teaching kids, how to do or what a dividing. And it was full of the most ridiculous shit I signed about together. We will be able to find earth, energies, and objects. We cannot see using thousands, thousands of ancient technique used to find things and solve problems.
We will be using a pendulum and some Elrod's, which is the big, why bits. To locate objects and spots of energy, no special power needed. As the thousand instruments respond to electromagnetic stuff, we cannot say there's a technical term for that, which is BS of the worst order. And this is actually on a university will and go on program [00:27:00] university, willing
Stuart: [00:27:00] on branding a library.
She's definitely something which can't be confused with a Harry Potter movie or something like that. A deliberate bit of pass mine for kids.
Tim Mendham: [00:27:10] Courses, they are about heavy products. They're looking at mythical creatures and that sort of stuff, which is fine. Okay. No problem is looking at mythical creatures.
I mean, no problem. We've actually doing a dance thing and say, does this work right? That'd be a different thing. Although I guess I must keep in three and four, not that fascinated by seeing if the housing works, but this implicitly housing works and it finds electric magnetic stuff, which is, you know, the interesting thing is we ran the story in our newsletter.
This is what's going on at Willingong that's suggesting perhaps they're coming from another been spoon nomination. A lot of people complained to the university and with one day the course was canceled. So it's gone. And I think by other realize that, oh my God, here we go again. Here we go again. And they canceled it within one day, trying to find out the background of the person who was putting on the course.
Stuart: [00:27:58] Doesn't that where, uh, the entire [00:28:00] university is getting blamed and it's usually just one or two people who are really behind it all. And they're the ones who really need to be looking for a more suitable. Sometimes
Tim Mendham: [00:28:10] you get the, the situation with, as I say that some of these little grips put on courses, holiday period, or something like that sort of one day a week for seven weeks or over a weekend or something like that, some of the adults actually learn to talk to spirits, that sort of stuff.
Most of them . Pretty straightforward, fun things to do history of this, et cetera, but usually the occasional one that put a snake and most of these are not done by the university that done by outside groups. And they just have a gathering in the university. He premises to put them up. This was a university thing.
This was actually done by the university of Wilmington. And I was just surprised that they allowed that through. Think really, it might be done by a bit of a fringe group within the university, but it was very weird. It was very weird and dated, but the effect was less skeptics action implemented quickly had an impact at Tanya little thing, if not the end of the world, [00:29:00] but it indicates something about the university of Woolongong that they should be
Stuart: [00:29:03] aware of.
That's Tim Mendham from Austra in skeptics.
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