Aug. 9, 2021

Astronomers Zero In on Source of the Impactor that Wiped Out the Dinosaurs

The Astronomy, Technology, and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 91
*Astronomers zero in on source of the impactor that wiped out the dinosaurs
A new study claims the impactor believed to have wiped out and 75 percent of all life...

The Astronomy, Technology, and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 91
*Astronomers zero in on source of the impactor that wiped out the dinosaurs
A new study claims the impactor believed to have wiped out and 75 percent of all life on Earth 66 million years ago including all the non-avian dinosaurs -- likely came from the outer half of the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
*Producing matter out of pure energy.
Scientists have directly converted pure light energy into matter in a single process for the first time.
The findings reported in the journal Physical Review Letters involved the creation of Electrons and their antimatter counter parts positrons -- by colliding quantum packets of photons – light particles.
*Discovery of a galactic stream of galaxy clusters
Astronomers have discovered a never-before-seen galaxy cluster with a black hole at its centre, travelling at high speed along an intergalactic road of matter.
*Solar Orbiter and BepiColombo making space history with double flyby of Venus
As we go to air tonight the European Space Agency is making space history with two of its space craft6 undertaking almost simultaneous flybys of the planet Venus.
*The Science Report
New US congressional report says COVID-19 leaked out of Chinese Government Wuhan Lab.
Wearing masks and social distancing even when vaccinated key to combat new COVID strains.
Rising sea levels may mean fewer eruptions from volcanic islands.
How slowing of the planet's rotation could have paved the way for life on Earth.
Skeptic's guide to low vaccination and low IQ.
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SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 91 AI Transcript

[00:00:00] Stuart: [00:00:00] This is space time series 24 episode 91, 4 broadcast on the 9th of August, 2021 coming up on space, time, astronomers, zero wind on the source of the impact that wiped out the dinosaurs producing matter out of pure energy and discovery of a galactic stream of galaxy clusters, all that, and more coming up.

On space time.

VO Guy: [00:00:27] Welcome to space time with Stuart Gary

Stuart: [00:00:47] A new study claims the impact. I believe to a wipe that 75% of all life on earth, 66 million years ago, including all the non avian dinosaurs most likely came from the outer half of the main [00:01:00] asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The findings reported in the journal. Licorice came as a surprise to scientists as its original space previously, not thought to produce many earth impact.

However computer modeling from the Southwest research Institute in San Antonio, Texas has shown that the processes that deliver large asteroids to earth from that region currently is 10 times more frequently than previously thought. They've also found that the composition of these bodies does match what scientists know about the dinosaur killing impact.

Researchers combined computer models of asteroid evolution with observations of known Astor to investigate the frequency of so-called chickson lube events over 66 million years ago, buddy estimated to be around 10 kilometers wide signed into what he's. Now Mexico's Yucatan peninsula for me, a 150 kilometer wide crater known these days as the chick siloed greater.

And it was this huge blast which triggered the mass [00:02:00] extinction event that ended the reign of the dinosaur. Over the last few decades, much has been learned about the chicks lube event, but every advance has led to new questions. One of the study's authors, William bikey from the Southwest research Institute says two critical questions remain unanswered.

Firstly, what was the source of the impact are? And secondly, how often do such impact events occur on earth to probe? The Chick-fil-A impact geologists had examined 66 million year old rock samples found on land and within drill core. The results indicate the impact of was similar to carbonaceous chondrites meteorite and that's some of the most pristine material in the solar system and curiously, while carbonaceous chondrites are common among the many kilometer wide bodies that approach the earth, none today are close enough in size to produce a  impact with any reasonable degree of probability.

To explain their absence. Several research groups have simulated lodge, asteroid and come at breakups in the inner solar [00:03:00] system. Looking for surges of impacts on earth with the largest ones, producing a chick's a lube event. While many of these models did have interesting properties, none provided a satisfying match to what authors know about asteroids and comets to solve this problem barking and colleagues use computer models to track how objects escape, the main asteroid.

They found that over eons thermal forces allowed these objects to drift into dynamic escape hatches places where the gravitational perturbation of planets could then push them into orbits. Nearing earth. Using NASA has played east supercomputer. The authors followed 130,000 model asteroids evolving in this slowly steady map or hundreds of millions of years.

Special attention was given to asteroids, uh, located in the outer half of the main asteroid belt. The part of that belt furthest away from the sun to their surprise. They found that 10 kilometer wide asteroids from this region strike the earth at least 10 times more often than previously [00:04:00] calculated.

The result is intriguing. Not only because he add a half of the asteroid boats home to large numbers of carbonaceous chondrites impactors, but also because the author simulations can for the first time reproduce the orbits of large asteroids on the verge of approaching earth. In fact, the explanation for the source of the Chick-fil-A impactor fits in beautifully with what astronomers already know about how asteroids evolve.

Overall, the authors found that 10 kilometer wide asteroid sot that was involved in the Chick-fil-A impact, hit the earth roughly once every 250 million years on average. And that's a timescale that yields reasonable odds that the chicks a lube crater occurred 66 million years ago. Moreover, nearly half of all impact as well from carbonaceous chondrites again, a good match with what's already known about the Chick-fil-A impact.

The new findings will hope astronomers better understand the nature of the Chick-fil-A impact while also telling scientists where other large impact is from a state past may have originated. [00:05:00] So what do we know about the story of the Chicxulub impact? Well, T's, that's correct term. It's the K or Cretaceous tertiary boundary event.

Although these days it's often referred to as the Cretaceous Paleogene extinction event. We know it occurred 66 million years ago when a 10 to 15 kilometer wide asteroid slammed into a shallow sea off the coast of what is now the Gulf of Mexico has Yucatan peninsula. The massive impact released as much energy as a hundred teratorns of TNT.

That's a billion times more energy than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs used to win world war II. The collision triggered one of the largest mass extinction events in Earth's history, wiping out some 75% of all life on the planet, including all the non avian dinosaurs, the initial impact, which created the Chicxulub crater through molten, ejector, and debris high into the atmosphere.

So high, some of it began orbiting the planet shockwaves from the [00:06:00] collision, circled the planet, triggering devastating earthquakes. And because it was over water, a massive tsunami, hundreds of meters high. The earthquakes are especially interesting. That was so powerful. They generated what scientists had terming Lance tsunamis, and they triggered volcanic eruptions, which literally shook the entire planet while burning debris from the impact.

Injector began raining back down onto the surface. And that caused an intense pulse of infrared radiation, which began cooking any life, exposed to it. And combined with the modern lava flowing from the volcanic eruptions, it's back global wildfires, which devastated vast areas of the earth, burning out vegetation and killing any animal life on the planet surface that had survived the initial blast wave.

Now all that's devastating enough, but it gets worse. The asteroid impacted the planet at a location rich in Sophora containing gypsum, which was initially vaporized and dispersed as an aerosol in [00:07:00] the atmosphere early to fall back down onto the surface is highly caustic acid rain burning, anything at touched and causing long term effects on the climate and food chain.

Smoke and Ash from the wildfires in volcanic eruptions together with dust from the injected debris initially created a blanket light greenhouse effect, preventing heat from escaping and causing surface temperatures to soar. Eventually temperatures cooled as the smoke Ash, Dustin ejected, a Bray blocked out sunlight for months.

If not years on end, this created what scientists determined an impact winter, which caused temperatures across the planet. Evidence of the global nature of the impact event can be seen around the planet in the form of a dark boundary line. And the geologic record then is the K T event boundary. It contains high levels of the metal Iridium, which is rare in the Earth's crust, but abandoned in asteroids while this massive impact destroyed an entire planetary ecosystem.

[00:08:00] It left the door open for a revolution in life. And of course that eventually led to homosapien. This is space time still the calm producing matter out of pure energy and discovery of a galactic stream of galaxy clusters, or that are more store to come on. Space time.

Ciders to have for the first time directly converted pure light energy to matter in a single process. The findings reported in the journal. Physical review letters involve the creation of electrons in their anti-medic cat abouts palsy, drones by colliding quantum packets of photons. In other words, light particles.

This conversion of light into matter is the direct consequence of Albert Einstein's [00:09:00] famous equation equals MC squared, which tells us that energy and matter are interchangeable. That historic experiment was undertaken at the us department of energy's relativistic heavy ion Collider at the Brookhaven national laboratory.

The results would arrived in detailed analysis of more than 6,000 pairs of electrons. And positrons produced in what's termed glancing Pedago collisions involving gold ions being accelerated to within 99.995%. The speed of light into accelerator rings. An ion is essentially an Adam stripped of its electrons.

A gold ion with 79 protons carries a powerful positive charge. And accelerating a charged heavy iron does such high speeds generates a powerful magnetic field that spirals around the spitting particles as travels like a current flowing through it. Wire. If the speed is high enough, the strength of the circular magnetic field can be equal to the strength of the perpendicular electrical field.

And that [00:10:00] arrangement of perpendicular electric and magnetic fields of equal strength is exactly what a photon is. A quantized paddock of light. So when the ions are moving close to the speed of light, there's a bunch of photons surrounding the gold nucleus, traveling with a, like a cloud scientists with a relativistic heavy iron Collider, then pushed to have these clouds of photons moving in opposite directions with enough energy and intensity that when the two ions graze past each other, without colliding the two clouds of photons interacted, producing electron positron pairs in the process.

In other words, producing matter. To show that these particles were indeed created out of pure light rather than other processes, such as what I'm photons popping briefly into and out of existence scientists analyze the angular distribution patterns of each electron relative to its partner positron.

See these patents differ for pairs produced by real photon interactions versus those produced by virtual photon. One of the study's authors, Daniel Brandenburg from the [00:11:00] Brookhaven lab, says the team also measured all the energy mass distribution and quantum numbers of the systems, finding them to be consistent with theory calculations for what should happen with real photons.

Other scientists have tried to create electron positron pairs from collisions of light using powerful lasers, but Brandenburg says the individual photons within these intense beams don't have enough energy yet. One experiment at the Stanford linear accelerator center in 1997, did succeed in producing matter out of energy using a nonlinear process, but scientists there first had a Boosie energy of the photons in one laser beam by colliding it with a powerful electron beam collisions of the boosted photons with moddable photon simultaneously in an enormous electromagnetic field created by another laser produced matter.

And anti-matter. But the Brookhaven results are different because they provide clear evidence of direct one-step creation of matter. Anti-matter pairs simply from collisions of light. This is time still the [00:12:00] calm discovery of galactic stream of galaxy clusters and solar orbiter, and baby Columbus spacecraft about to make history with a double Flybuys, Venus, all that, and more still to come.

On space-time

astronomy discovered and never before seen galaxy Costa with a black hole at its center, traveling at high speed along what can only be described as an intergalactic road of matter. The findings reported in the journalist Stromae and astrophysics support, existing theories that roads or threads of thin gas connect clusters of galaxies across the universe.

These threads are being difficult to prove until recently, because the matter they contain is so sparsely spread out it's eluded the gaze of even the most [00:13:00] sensitive instrument. However following last year's discovery of an intergalactic thread of gas, at least 50 million light years long astronomers were able to observe the cluster of galaxies, which were on this thread.

Plus does now be named the Northern clump, the Northern clumps smoothing along this thread or road at high speed towards two other much larger galaxy clusters, able 3, 3 9 1, and able 3, 3, 9, 5. By using data from the CSI arrows, Australia square kilometer array, Pathfinder radio telescope, and combining it with observations from the European space agencies, X, M M Newton, and that is Chandra space.

Telescopes scientists were able to single out one large galaxy in the middle of the clump complete with a supermassive black hole at its center. The observations also suggest that the Northern clump is losing matter as a travel. One of the study's authors, Angie Veronica from the university of bond says the observation showed jets of matter streaming behind the galaxy, like the braids of a running girl.

However, [00:14:00] there could also be smaller clumps of matter in the thread falling towards the Northern clump professor. Andrew Hopkins from Macquarie university is a leader of the Amy project, which contributed the Australian square kilometer array, Pathfinder data for the study. He says the shape and orientation of these jets provides important clues about the motion of the galaxy hosting, the black hole.

Overall, the observations confirmed the theoretical view that the guests filament is an intergalactic road of matter, transporting galaxies and even galaxy clusters towards the larger nodes of superclusters. Hopkins says the observation shows that matter, traveling along these threads is falling into the clusters and will continue to enlarge them.

Guest: [00:14:41] As cap has been taking observations for a while now, as part of its early science and pilot stage sort of observations in order to demonstrate the performance of the facility, the emus was in a position to take a number of observations as part of these. Uh, observations. And, uh, [00:15:00] one of the areas that we covered happened to include this pair of interacting clusters of galaxies.

It's quite a fascinating system. A galaxy cluster is a collection of galaxies, but, uh, all inhabiting the same region of space bound together by their mutual gravitational pool. And we expect over the history of the year. That's such large galaxy clusters formed as galaxy all together under the influence of gravity.

And of course, galaxy clusters can also fall. Yeah, they're under the influence that they're on gravity and in particular, this is, uh, a very real. System. It not only has two main galaxy clusters falling together themselves, but other smallest structures nearby full of galaxy groups and smaller clusters.

And, uh, this one particular feature, which is called the Northern clump has been identified as a particularly interesting area of study.

Stuart: [00:15:57] We'll be moving on that stream of matter towards [00:16:00] these two big galaxy clusters. That's

Guest: [00:16:01] exactly right. Uh, advantages of modern astronomy is being able to put together data from many different facilities, many different telescopes.

He were using data from a space telescope, Cody Rosita, which maps the universe x-ray wavelengths, and is very sensitive to the hot gas, which fills the space between galaxies and in particular galaxy clusters are known to have a lot of very hot casts, which is easily detectable at x-ray wavelengths.

They resonated data has met. Uh, this streamer of Matta, as you say, linking the Northern clump to the other galaxy clusters. And we're able to see how the Northern clump, the piece to be moving through that, or as part of that Springer of material kind of does indeed seem to be falling into the other larger galaxy clusters.

We would expect based on the simulations of the way normal and dark matter, interact over the history of the universe. It's actually quite remarkable how. [00:17:00] The system is to some of the predictions made in enrichment simulations, and it really strongly reinforces our understanding as the way matter is clumps together to form stars and galaxies and galaxy clusters over the history.

One of the ways that we can get a handle on how this clump, this collection of galaxies is moving is from the radio data from the survey, one of the larger galaxies in the class. Hosts supermassive black hole at its core. And we believe that we know this because of the presence of the radio jets that we see emanating from the gallery.

Normally these radio agents appear to come out in opposite directions from the poles of the black hole, kind of like the spillover of the material that the black hole is eating and think about it as a cookie monster, scattering crumbs everywhere, and the crumbs shoot out in opposite directions from the public of the black hole.

What we see in this particular galaxies, but the radio jets are not coming out [00:18:00] in opposing directions. All. But they are angled and this is to be expected if that material is being pushed back as the galaxy moves through hot dense gaseous, intergalactic, medium, such as the guests that we pick up with the x-ray data.

So this is a very striking telltale. Yeah. The light that the galaxy appears to be moving. And it's very much in line with our expectations. It's a very hot material though. And so, and that needs to be hot in order to generate the x-ray emission that we did spend the jets themselves. Definitely moving at a close to the speed of light are also quite tenuous in a sense they're made up of extremely energetic electrons and it's the electrons that produce the radio emission that we can detect with Pascal.

But those electrons are very easily influenced by, uh, Matt, let's say streaming through in the, uh, in the intergalactic medium. And, uh, it doesn't necessarily need to be incredibly dense, although it's definitely more dense than the intergalactic medium that we might find outside there.

[00:19:00] Stuart: [00:19:00] For example, that was going to be my next question.

How does this compare with something like the megillah and extreme or Magellanic bridge, which links to the large and small Magellanic clouds with each other and with the milk? Well, it's definitely similar

Guest: [00:19:11] in a sense, but on a much, much grander scale. And what we have in our neighborhood, the Milky way, of course, has the Magellanic clouds and many other, the Wolf galaxy neighbors.

But what we're seeing here, uh, large elliptical galaxies, but, uh, perhaps 10 times as massive as the Milky way itself that are streaming towards each other. So in a sense, there are some similarities, but on a much, much grander scale, everything. Right.

Stuart: [00:19:39] The same sort of stuff. Is that the ID that it's gas and Dustin and stars and that that's providing a magic carpet ride for one. Yeah,

Guest: [00:19:49] that's an excellent description. The main difference. But we're saying the signature of the radio jets from the supermassive black hole. We don't have that feature in the Milky way, uh, at all.

And this is something which is [00:20:00] tends to be more common in large elliptical galaxies with a supermassive black hole. That's being fed by a stream of gas, internal to the galaxy itself. Obviously there is a neutral hydrogen gas associated with these galaxies. Although, that's not part of the investigation that was just recently published, but that's the kind of material that we say in the Atlantic strain and the Mid-Atlantic bridge and that's gas.

That's being stripped from those dwarf galaxies as they fall into the Milky way. And that process will definitely be happening in these other systems, the Northern clump and, uh, Large galaxy clusters, because of course, each of those systems will have its own entourage, smaller dwarf galaxies. That will be progressively being gobbled up by the largest systems.

Although we're not seeing that explicitly

Stuart: [00:20:47] here. So the fact that the jets are being uttered, does that mean that there's ionization and the fact that you're getting lots of x-rays was by hate, that means this whole heavily INR. Yeah,

Guest: [00:20:58] very much so. And it's [00:21:00] fatal and I guess that is of particular interest in other respects as well.

One of the puzzles in astronomy, not only the question of dark matter and dark energy, which kind of like the background puzzles to keep everyone busy, but the normal matter, the baryonic matter that makes our planets and people and everything else is actually hard to track down believes that we can't account for something like 90% or maybe even more of the regular baryonic matter in the universe.

And one of the most likely explanation is that it lives in this phase that we call the warm. Intergalactic medium or the whim very whimsical name, but it's a particular site, which is very hard to detect observationally because it's not hot enough to produce the x-rays that we see in this very hot gas in these clusters.

But it's too hot to produce the kinds of emissions that we might expect from them. Uh, to take it with other kinds of telescopes, radio, telescopes, pickle, telescope. So it's another form of missing matter on leasing, but the fact that the motions of [00:22:00] the galaxies and the galaxy clusters in this system, so accurately mimic the predictions from the simulation.

That bad amount of missing baryonic matter Mustang,

Stuart: [00:22:14] seeing it in our own galaxy around nearby galaxies either. Right? That's exactly

Guest: [00:22:18] right. It's a, yet another one with the puzzles of the universe

Stuart: [00:22:22] picture is that this material is helping the Northern clump move towards these other large galaxy clusters.

Abel 3, 3 9 1 enable 3, 3, 9, 5, and it's smoothing the way for it, or are they all just moving? Direction because of the gravity there because other two clusters. So it's

Guest: [00:22:40] the mutual gravitational pull of all of the systems that are kind of drawing them all closer to each other. And I have a time that a little progressive, late settled into a gravitationally bound, super.

And we do see such superclusters elsewhere in the universe, but have been formed by these processes as well. And it tells us a lot about [00:23:00] the way that galaxies are influenced over the course of their history and their evolution by living in such extreme environments. And that Milky way itself doesn't leave in that kind of extreme supercluster.

We weave in a little look. Galaxy group, but it's nowhere near as busy residents as with one of these superclusters file systems to be a little like comparing a small Outback town to a massive urban center, like Sydney or New York, where in our own little Milky Wayne neighborhood kind of living out in a small country town in comparison.

And of course, galaxies evolve differently depending on the numbers of interactions that they have with their immediate neighbors. Besides of staff and mission, those kinds of interactions can also drive guests towards the center of the galaxy where the supermassive black hole resides, feeding that supermassive black hole and causing it to trigger these radio jets, which in turn can have an effect on future episodes of staff from action in a galaxy.

And so [00:24:00] putting together that broader picture of galaxy evolution is one of the key drivers of making observations like. No just understanding extreme systems like this one in particular, but putting together the whole picture of how galaxies  quite unlike lop Y has come into being, and they've changed over the history of the universe.

Stuart: [00:24:20] So based on your observations, does this suggest more that we're part of the cosmic web or that we're more likely to be at the edge of a voice? Uh, well, both

Guest: [00:24:30] the in fact, uh, so we are in a local reality group, so where we're not in avoid so much. Um, but of course the groups, uh, relatively low density environments compared to these extreme supercluster environments, we're certainly closer to, uh, living in avoid, uh, galaxies in these types of superclusters would be one of the goals with the Amy.

Using the ASCAP telescope is in fact, the largest number of [00:25:00] such cross the systems and to try out the cosmic web in both the nearby universe, but also at greater distances, higher Richie, so that we get an understanding of the way that, that cosmic structure it's so changing. A history at the end of the universe, we have a team of cosmologists as part of EMU who are looking in particular at the way, those types of measurements can be used to understand the properties of dark energy in more detail, for example.

So EMU is a very exciting project. We're looking at quite a bit. Variety of, uh, of different scientific areas ranging from cosmology to galaxy evolution and even looking in depth at our own Milky way itself.

Stuart: [00:25:39] Exactly where we are in the cosmic web would help us understand some of the properties of dark matter.


Guest: [00:25:46] Right. One of the other projects that I've been involved with is measuring the distances to galaxies from their optical spectrum to map the distribution of galaxies in the universe. A [00:26:00] way of getting a handle on the properties of dark matter, because the shape of that galaxy distribution, how tightly or loosely galaxies clump together in these clusters is one of the signatures of the way that dark matter operates and different models for dark matter.

Different predictions for how tightly or loosely bound. Those kinds of structures are a very exciting time and a very exciting opportunity to combine information from a variety of different surveys and different projects. Do we

Stuart: [00:26:31] understand gravity? We

Guest: [00:26:33] understand gravity pretty well. One way of thinking about that question is to, uh, do we understand gravity?

And he would have said absolutely. Yes. Every observation that he could make well that he had access to. And indeed that scientist several hundred years afterwards, was entirely consistent with Newtonian gravity. It really wasn't until, uh, Arnstein came along with the general relativity here. We were in a position [00:27:00] to identify the areas.

When you turn in gravity breaks down and where you need to invoke general relativity to understand those tiny, tiny discrepancies. One of the challenges now is that general relativity works very, very well for pretty much all of the cases that we can imagine. And it's not clear whether we need a new theory of gravity, but of course, one of the.

Discrepancy is the one that leads to the postulation of dock metal, then 8 25, the distance of additional mass in order to retain a general relativity correctness on very, very, very large scale kinds of scales of galaxies themselves. Of distances between galaxies. And this is where different theories of gravity start becoming potential alternative explanations as an alternative to dark matter,

Stuart: [00:27:50] the idea of gravity changing in strength at different distance.

That's exactly


Guest: [00:27:55] So regular gravity though, we believe that we understand [00:28:00] if I want to ever ask squared. In other words, if you double the distance between a pair of jeans, The strength of the gravity between them will decrease by sector reform and so on. But the problem is that as you measure, for example, the way that galaxies in around their axes, you can calculate the amount of expected MES needed to produce that spin and a difference from the amount of mass you can infer from the light coming from the stars within that galaxy.

And so either there's more mass there that you can't see. Doc metal or there's a change in the way that gravity works on those very, very large scale. And there are a number of alternative theories that have been proposed. One of the most common is called Mond, which stands for modified Newtonian dynamics.

There are many others now as well, but I use that same kind of principle and improve on it and refine it in various different ways. But I think the jury is still out as to whether we need a document. [00:29:00] It's so full. We need to change our understanding of gravity to it. Explain the way that

I think it's impossible to get a sense of how significant Feinstein. Discovery of general relativity was absolutely changed the nature of physics in a very fundamental sense. If there is actually a need to change the way that we understand gravity again, that would be an equally. But also understanding if dark matter is real and understanding what it is, how it operates in the sense of the physics of the dark matter, that would be equally momentous.

I think really nailing down the question, you know, the direction is the kind of Nobel prize worthy.

Stuart: [00:29:50] The standard model has so much to offer, but it doesn't offer everything.

Guest: [00:29:56] We continue to do astronomy, the excitement of [00:30:00] discovery and knowing that for every question that you might resolve to more pop up, there's always more to learn about a wonderful the universe.

Stuart: [00:30:07] Andrew Hopkins from Macquarie university and later the Amy project. This is space-time still the calm solar orbiter and baby Colombo making space history with a double fly by Venus and later in the science report and new United States congressional report finds that COVID-19 did leak out of the Chinese government's will handle a bar tree or that, or more stored account.

as we go to where tonight the European space agencies, making history with two of its spacecraft undertaking, almost simultaneous flybys at the planet. Venus. The two spacecraft, solar orbiter, and baby [00:31:00] Colombo need the gravitational swing by to help them lose a little orbital energy in order to reach their destinations towards the center of the solar system.

The double flyby also offers an unprecedented opportunity to study Venus's environment from different locations at the same time. And just as importantly, from locations that are not typically visited by a dedicated planetary orbit. The joint ISA NASA, solar obit emission is flying past Venus, right about now with its closest approach skimming just 7,995 kilometers above the planet.

Throughout its mission. Solar orbiter makes repeated gravity assist flybys of Venus. He voted to get closer and closer to the sun and to change its Oberlin inclination bursting it out of the ecliptic plane, the imaginary plane around which the planets orbit the sun and into a higher angle to give it a bit of you the first ever view, in fact of the son's pole.

Meanwhile, the baby Columbus spacecraft, I partnership between Acer and JAXA will fly by Venus in a few hours [00:32:00] time at an even low out that Judah, just 550 kilometers Pepe Columbus on its way to the nearest rock to the sun, the planet mercury, it needs to, to take flybys of the earth, Venus and mercury itself in order to help it achieve mercury orbit insertion against the immense gravitational pull of the sun.

Now while the twin flybys are spectacular there, sadly won't be any high resolution imagery of the event. Science cameras aboard solar orbit. It need to remain facing the sun. And the main camera board beBee Colombo is shielded by the transfer module. That's delivering the missions to planetary orbit as to mercury.

However, to have baby Columbus, three monitoring cameras, we'll be taking some photos around the time of close approach. Alison in the days after the planet fades from view. The camera's position or the mercury transfer module will provide black and white snapshots. And we'll also capture the spacecraft solar arrays and antennas.

During the closest approach, Venus will fill the entire field of view that as the spacecraft changes its [00:33:00] orientation, the planet will be same passing behind the spacecraft. Structural elements saw orbiter has been acquiring data nearly continuously since its launch in 2020 it's for in situ instruments and measuring the environment around the spacecraft itself.

Both solar orbiter, as well as Pippi. Combis two primary spacecraft, the mercury planetary orbiter and the mercury magnate is ferric orbiter. We'll be collecting data on the magnetic and plasma environment of Venus from different locations, solar, orbiter, and baby Colombo. Each have one more fly by this year.

At the start of October, epi Colombo will see its destination for the first time making the first of six flybys of mercury with this one from just 200 kilometers above its surface. The two planets, your orbiters will achieve mercury insertion in late 2025. Tasked with studying all aspects of this hate soaked world from its core right up to its surface processes.

It's magnetic field at its exosphere. In order to better understand the origin and evolution of the [00:34:00] planet close to its host star late November solar, it will make a final fly by of the earth flying some 460 kilometers above the planet. Surface kicking off the start of its main mission. Solar orbiter will continue making regular flybys of Venus designed to aggressively increase its Oberly inclination in order to ultimately allow to observe the sons unchartered polar regions, which are key to understanding the son's 11 year solar cycle and the space, whether it generates, which can have such a devastating effect here on earth.

This is space

VO Guy: [00:34:32] time.

Stuart: [00:34:42] And Tom out of take another brief, look at some of the other stories making using science this week with a science report, a United States congressional reporters confirm that Chinese scientists were manipulating lethal viruses and unsafe conditions at the Whitehead Institute of neurology prior to the Corona virus [00:35:00] outbreak, the findings of fueling further suspicions of the deadly pandemic was caused by a lab.

The report by minority staff at the house foreign affairs committee found that the war hand lab was engaged in dangerous genetic modification research on Corona viruses at unsafe bias safety levels. Congressional investigators say Wu Han researchers sanded alarms on the safety of the lab in medical journals.

Well, before the virus emerged, the lab was undertaking performance gain of function, research, a process by which viruses are made to be more powerful. The congressional report provides new information, indicating the Chinese government sought to mislead the world about the experiments taking place.

There aggressional investigators found that researchers at the lab had the ability to genetically modify crown viruses as early as 2016 without leaving any trace of that modification. In fact, during that same year 2016 French defense officials [00:36:00] voice concern that the wool Han lab would be used by the Chinese government for military purposes.

Now, none of this is new, but the congressional report goes further. It says there's Marty evidence of the COVID 19 Corona virus was accidentally released from the warhead lab prior to September the 12th, 2019, and possibly even as early as late August. The report says that when Beijing realized what had happened, Chinese communist party officials and scientists at the war hand lab began frantically covering up the leak, including taking their virus database offline in the middle of the night and requesting more than a million dollars in additional security.

The report says it's incumbent upon the United States and like-minded countries around the world to ensure accountability and implementation of the reforms necessary to prevent the Chinese communist party's malfeasance from giving rise to another pandemic. During the 21st century, the new information is likely to increase pressure on the U S government to sanction China and hold it accountable [00:37:00] for the Corona virus.

There are also calls for the Biden administration to demand a full-scale overhaul of the world health organization, which aided China and its coverup. The world health organization says more than 8 million people have been killed by the COVID-19 Corona virus with over 4.4 million confirmed fatalities and more than 205 million people infected since the deadly disease.

First spread at a warhead China. Meanwhile, a new study warrants that people need to keep wearing masks and social distancing, even after they're vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to help combat new vaccine resistant strains of the deli disease. The findings published in the journal scientific reports claim new models of the viruses mutation rate show that vaccine resistant strains are most likely to emerge.

Once we reach 60% vaccination level. The research has modeled the likelihood of a vaccine resistant strain emerging in a population of 10 million people. They found that if there's a [00:38:00] relaxation, they use of masks and social distancing, where most individuals in the population have vaccinated. The probability of the emergence of a resistant strain is greatly increased.

They also found that a fast vaccination rollout decreases the probability that a resistant strain may emerge. The author say measures such as mask wearing extensive testing or social distancing should be kept throughout the whole vaccination campaign in order to allow any emergent resistant strains to naturally become extinct.

And you study Combs rising sea levels may mean fewer eruptions of volcanic islands, but the findings are reported in the journal nature. Also warn the thread of larger options remain. And the authors reach their conclusions as to analyzing 360,000 years of eruption records from the Santa rainy volcano in Greece.

They then compare that data with high resolution sea level data. Finding that low sea levels resulted in more eruptions. The mathematical modeling [00:39:00] suggests that lowest C levels, places, less weight on top of magma chambers, thereby allowing magnetic crack upwards through the crust causing eruption. And you steady claims, increased oxygen levels caused by the slowing of Earth's rotation could have paved the way for life on earth to evolve the findings report of the journal nature, geo science theorize, that increased day lengths in the early areas of the earth.

As it gradually began to rotate more slowly allowed photosynthetic bacteria to release more oxygen in turn allowing for the evolution of the planet's diverse range of animal species. The theory comes from observation of a sinkhole 80 feet below the surface of lake Huron, where bacteria considered similar to the bacteria of the early earth still thrive site has found the longer the days, the more oxygen these bacteria release and you study claims.

There's a link between average IQ scores and vaccination rates. Research has found five out of the 10 [00:40:00] American states with the lowest IQs are also among the 10 states with the lowest rates of fully vaccinated adults and half of the 10 smarter states rank among the 10 most vaccinated ones. But Tim Mendham from Australian skeptic says, while he believes that getting vaccinated is better than not getting vaccinated.

He has concerns about the research and its methods. You're talking about American

Tim Mendham: [00:40:21] sites and average IQ levels in American states. And to me, there's always issues with measuring IQ anyway. Right. And then.

Stuart: [00:40:31] Well that's exactly

Tim Mendham: [00:40:32] right. It wasn't like most tests, et cetera. Yeah. And there was a lot of judgment put on top of these things and getting an average IQ doesn't mean a lot, but they're suggesting that the states in America with the lowest average IQ and that's to get the difference between the lowest and the highest was about 10 points.

Right. You're not talking genius level. Um, I forget what the actual terms are, clear idiot level or whatever. Interesting thing is that for the stipes that have a higher IQ, they tend to be absolute, but they tend to be in the highest [00:41:00] vaccination rates and that

Guest: [00:41:00] the states with the lowest IQ everyday cue.

GBS was that measured? My B have

Tim Mendham: [00:41:06] lower vaccination rates. Not all of them. It's not like the top 10 IQ has the top 10 vaccination rates that doesn't work out that way, but there's none of the ones in the top 10 IQ sitting in the lowest

Guest: [00:41:17] vaccination rates, for instance. Virtually all the

Tim Mendham: [00:41:20] states that are listed as the top 10 intelligence are in the east coast of the S so near the east end of the Eastern side of the U S except for one, which is Hawaii and California, doesn't write in the top 10, as far as I recall.

I mean, you could say that people with a, I don't even like using the term like

Guest: [00:41:37] you, I think it's a really, you know, it's a

Tim Mendham: [00:41:40] weird thing, lower education. And they also say in that course, that education is not necessarily the invitation divides queue. As we know that people with a higher education and not necessarily immune to.

The ideas, but the suggestion is that people with a slower scientific literacy, like they don't understand science as well as others might be anti-vaccine vaccine. They might be more primed [00:42:00] to conspiracy theories and misinformation and that sort of stuff. Not an absolute thing. It's just not sort of, yeah.

I mean, if you require low scientific literacy inside of that caused by low IQ. Well, you know, if you want to go down that track, you can go down that track. It's so many issues with that sort of study and the variables. It's interesting. Is it

Guest: [00:42:19] reliable

Stuart: [00:42:22] Mendham from Australian skeptics?

VO Guy: [00:42:40] And

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VO Guy: [00:44:14] You've been listening to space-time with Stuart Gary this has been another quality podcast production from

Tim Mendham


Editor with Australian Skeptics