Sept. 12, 2022

DART on Track for Asteroid Impact

The Astronomy, Technology, and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime Series 25 Episode 95
*DART on track for asteroid impact
Later this month NASA’s Dart mission will slam into a tiny near-Earth asteroid orbiting a slightly larger Near-Earth...

The Astronomy, Technology, and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime Series 25 Episode 95
*DART on track for asteroid impact
Later this month NASA’s Dart mission will slam into a tiny near-Earth asteroid orbiting a slightly larger Near-Earth asteroid to see what happens.
*NASA now looking at a potential Artemis 1 launch this month
NASA says it could target potential launch windows on September 23rd and 27th for the maiden test flight of its Artemis 1 Moon rocket.
*Growing Thale cress plants in lunar soil
A new study reported in the journal Nature Biology has shown that Lunar soil is worse for growing plants than volcanic ash.
*Blood flow disruption in microgravity
A new study has found that disrupted blood flow caused by the microgravity environment of space flight could be one of the factors damaging astronauts’ eyes.
*The Science Report
Two doses of the Pfizer vaccine found to dramatically reduce symptoms of long COVID.
An ancient reef-like landform hidden in plain sight on the Nullarbor Plain.
Evidence of the earliest known surgery.
Skeptic's guide to olive oil shots
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The Astronomy, Space, Technology & Science News Podcast.


S25E95 AI Transcript

Stuart: This is Spacetime series 25, episode 95, full broadcast on the 12. September 2022. Coming up on Space time, the Dark One mission on track for an asteroid impact. NASA still looking at a potential Artemis One launch date this month and growing plants in lunar soil. All that and more, coming up on Spacetime.

Booth Announcer: Welcome to spacetime with Stewart gary.

Stuart: Later this month, NASA's Dart mission was slam a spacecraft into a tiny near earth asteroid orbiting a slightly larger near Earth asteroid in order to see what happens. The target is the 170 meters wide, potentially hazardous, as asteroid dimorphus, originally called Diddymoon. It's orbiting a 780 meters wide, potentially hazardous asteroid called 65803 Diddy moss, which is part of the Apollo group of Earth crossing asteroids. The double asteroid redirection test or Dart Mission will slam into diamorphis on September 26. The mission is part of a Punetary defense exercise providing NASA and the European Space Agency with data about celestial bodies which could pose a threat to Earth. Uh, recently, six nights of observations by the Lowell Observatory in Arizona and the Magellan Telescope in Chile have confirmed earlier orbital calculations about the asteroid's current positions and their orbital trajectories, confirming that Dart, uh, is on target. Deadly moss and Diamorphos will make their closest approach to Earth in years. At the time of the collision, passing just 10.8 million. Our planet astronomers want to determine if the impact of the 610 kilogram Dart spacecraft crashing into Diamorphos at some 6.6 km/second orthos its orbit around Didymos, and how that ends in turn would affect the trajectory of both space rocks. Ten days prior to the impact, a small six unit cube set built by the Italian Space Agency called the Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging Asteroids, or Lysia cube, will be deployed from Dart to monitor the impact and collect data. The orbit of dimorphus around Diddy moss is expected to shorten by several minutes after the impact, as the moon moves closer to the bigger asteroid. By measuring the change with maximum precision, astronomers should be able to glean important information about Diddy moss's structure and properties and the materials it's made out of. In a collaborating project, the European Space Agency is developing Hera spacecraft that will be launched to Diddy moss in 2024, arriving there in 2027, five years after the Dark impact. It'll undertake, um, detailed reconnaissance and assessments, such as the detailed characterization of the impact rater, and to determine any longer term orbital changes, hera will carry two six unit CubeSats, milani will study the binary asteroid's composition, and Juventus will attempt to land on Dimorphis. This report from NASA TV.

Guest: In case there was an asteroid coming towards Earth and you're there, you can actually stop it. I mean, that's kind of fantastic.

Guest: NASA is crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid.

Guest: What you think science fiction, but this is real.

Guest: It's never in my life what I have thought I would take a couple of hundred million dollars spacecraft and crash it into an asteroid. My name is Michelle Chen.

Stuart: I'm Lena Adams.

Guest: My name is Kelly Staff.

Guest: I'm Andy Rifkin.

Guest: I'm Justina Sergey, and I help tell the story of the Dart mission.

Guest: I'm a planetary defender, and I study.

Guest: How the orbits of asteroids change after we hit them in the spacecraft.

Guest: My job was primarily to make sure all the systems on the spacecraft work together.

Guest: The Dark mission is NASA's first test of, uh, uh, planetary defense technique called kinetic impactor.

Guest: Dart is the double asteroid redirection test.

Guest: Is this a spacecraft that is going to go and smack an asteroid, the.

Guest: Moonlift Dimorphos, which orbits the, uh, asteroid.

Guest: Dynamos and see if we can change its trajectory just a little bit in.

Guest: Order to show that we can deflect incoming asteroids if we need to.

Guest: Dart will only be changing the period of the orbit of Dimorphos by a tiny amount.

Guest: But in space just a little bit, it's just enough to make an asteroid actually miss it.

Guest: In the event that an asteroid is discovered well ahead of time before it.

Guest: Might impact Earth, a spacecraft, it's really.

Guest: Cool to see it coming together in real life.

Guest: It is fantastic to see it in.

Guest: Real life, to see it turn from ideas into real pieces that are going to go into space.

Guest: The solar arrays will actually roll out to 28ft in length.

Guest: Once the solar arrays are deployed, it's going to be the size of a school bus. As the solar array opens up, it's going to swing out the asteroids. Only two football fields inside.

Guest: We're flying at over 6.

Guest: We see one pixel on our field of view.

Guest: They can see dinner most. And demorpos is one point of light.

Guest: About 4 hours out, our spacecraft becomes autonomous.

Guest: And then that's where everything gets really exciting.

Guest: You actually are seeing impact.

Guest: We're super excited and nervous as well.

Guest: I feel really honored and humbled to be working in an area of science that has such a broader impact, figuratively and literally.

Guest: The dinosaurs are made completely extinct by an asteroid impact so many years ago. Here we are. We can actually do something about it. I think this is just wonderful.

Stuart: This is space time. Still to come, NASA is still looking at a potential Artemis One launch date this month. And a new study looks at growing plants in Luda soil. All that and more still to come on, uh, space time. NASA says it's still looking at launch windows for the Artemis One mission for this month. The agency says it could target potential launch windows on September 23 or 27th for the maiden flight of the Artemis One moon rocket. This new speculation comes despite earlier reports by NASA suggesting any new launch date for the Artemis One mission is most likely to be in late October. The giant Space Launch System SLS moon rocket has already had two launch attempts scrubbed because of a faulty engine cooling system which turned out to be nothing more than a faulty sensor and a persistent leak in liquid hydrogen fuel line feeds. And with SpaceX about to send a new crew to the International Space Station from neighboring Pad 39 a any attempt to launch for the mighty Artemis One mission to the Moon was expected to be postponed until at least the end of next month. But it turns out a uh September launch date would still be possible dependent on resolving two key issues. Firstly, they've got to fix those persistent leaks which have been plaguing the launchpad's umbilical quick disconnect cryogenic fuel line system which cycles the -253 degrees celsius liquid hydrogen propellant into the rocket that will involve replacing a seal around a 20 centimeter fuel line and fixing a smaller leak on a connector. These would then need to be tested by conducting a wet fuel loading and cycling trial on the launcher. Filling its main tanks with 279 million liters of supercooled liquid hydrogen propellant and liquid oxygen oxidizer uh late last week, NASA decided to undertake the repairs and tests of its liquid hydrogen system on the launch pad rather than in the Vehicle Assembly Building, as that would allow the tests to be carried out under actual operational conditions. The second issue is totally out of NASA's control. It requires the United States Space Force agreeing to issue a waiver to extend the time needed before checking the batteries on the SLS flight Termination System. This is the system which triggers the selfdestruct mechanism to destroy the rocket if it veers off course during the launch. The US. Space Force requires the flight termination system to be tested every 25 days. And that would require returning the 98 meters tall rocket back to the Vehicle Assembly Building. Now, if NASA is able to pursue a September 23 launch for the Artemis One, it would need to lift off during a 120 minutes launch window slated to open at 1047 GMT. That would ultimately result in a return to Earth on October 18. On the other hand, a September 27 flight would have a smaller 70 minutes launch window opening at 1537 GMT, resulting in a return to Earth much later on November 5. Either way, the maiden flight of the Artemis One will test the SLS launch vehicle and its Orion spacecraft by undertaking an unmanned test flight beyond the Moon and back again. If successful, that will be followed by Artemis Two in 2024 on a manned mission around the Moon and back. And then Artemis Three in 2025 would take humans back to the lunar surface for the first time since the Apollo 17 mission back in 1972, some 53 years ago. We'll keep you updated. This is spacetime. Still to come, growing plants in lunar soil. And later in the Science report, discovery of an ancient reflect landform hidden in plain sight on the nullaboor plane. All that and more still to come on um, space time.

Booth Announcer: A new study.

Stuart: Reported in the journal Nature Biology has shown that lunar soil is worse for growing plants than even volcanic ash. Scientists tried to grow phal crest plants in soil taken from the moon and in volcanic ash from Earth. They found that, uh, while siblings did grow in the lunar soil it grew more slowly, took longer to develop expanded leaves, had more stunted roots and showed more stress related pigments than those grown in volcanic ash. The authors speculate that cosmic ray and solar wind damage of lunar soils as well as the presence of small iron particles in the soil could be causing extra stress in the plants, impairing their development. A new study has found that disrupted blood flow caused by the microgravity environment of space could be one of the factors damaging astronauts eyes. A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that swelling blood vessels in astronauts heads may be contributing to eye related problems. Researchers have previously found that astronauts returning from the International Space Station experience worsening eyesight, damage to the retina, uh, globe, flattening swirling optic nerves and mildly elevated intracranial pressure which collectively are now known as spaceflight associated neurooculous syndrome. The author studied twelve astronauts, finding they all had higher volumes of blood flow in their head and that suggests that this could be contributing to this spaceflight associated neuroculous syndrome diagnosis. This space, time and Time now to take a brief look at some of the other stories making news in Science this week with a science report. A new study has confirmed that being vaccinated with at least two doses of the pfizer mRNA vaccine can drastically reduce most of the long term symptoms which patients are reporting months after contracting to over 19. The findings reported in the journal Nature show that eight out of the ten most commonly reported symptoms were being reported between 50 and 80% less often among individuals who received at least two doses of the vaccine compared to those who received none. Nearly three and a half thousand outlets across Israel participated in the study, which was carried out between July and November 2021. More than half of the participants, some 2447 people, reported no previous SARS CoV two infection, while 151 had been previously infected. Of those infected, some 637 at 67%, had received at least two vaccine doses. Of the 2447 individuals reporting no previous infection, 21 that's just 0.9% received one dose 1195 or 48.8% received two doses 744 that's 30.4% received three doses and the rest, 19 9%, were unvaccinated. The authors found that vaccination with two or more doses of the pfizer vaccine was associated with a reduced risk of reporting the more common post covert symptoms. Among those in the current study's population, the most common symptoms are reported fatigue, headache, weakness of limbs and persistent muscle pain reduced by 62%, 50%, 62%, and 66%, respectively. Shortness of breath reduced by 80% and persistent muscle pain by 70%. So far, almost six 7 million people have been killed by the cobalt 19 coronavirus since it was first detected near China's Wuhan Institute of Virology logy around September 2019. However, the World Health Organization says the true death toll is likely to be almost double that, with some 613,000,000 confirmed cases. Globally, scientists have discovered an ancient reef like landform hidden in plain sight on the nullabor plain. Researchers from Curtin University who found the reef say it's been preserved for millions of years, since it first formed, when the nullarbor was still underwater. The discovery further challenges the understanding that the nullabor plain, which emerged from the ocean about 14 million years ago, is essentially flat and featureless. The authors say that unlike many parts of the world, large areas of the nullabor have remained virtually unchanged by weathering and erosion processes over millions of years, making it a unique geological canvas, recording ancient history in remarkable ways. Scientists used high resolution satellite imagery and fieldwork in order to identify the remnant of the original seabed structure preserved for millions of years, which is the first of this kind of landform discovered on the nullabor. Archaeologists from Griffith University have unearthed the skeletal remains of a young huntergatherer, uh, whose lower leg had been amputated by a prehistoric surgeon 310 years ago. The discovery, reported in the journal Nature, is thought to be the earliest known evidence of a complex medical act. The person whose remains were found in a limestone cave in Borneo appeased to survive for at least six to nine years after the surgery. The new findings predate other instances of Stone Age operations found at sites across Eurasia by tens of thousands of years. Well, it seems the latest health trend making the rounds out there involves consuming shot glasses full of olive oil. Olive oil is really healthy for you, especially in cooking and salad dressing. It is great antiinflammatory and antioxidant properties. If you already eat a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean meats and whole grains, a bit of olive oil will be good for you. But the scientific data, uh, doesn't suggest that you should be guzzling back shots of olive oil. Tim Mendel from Australian Skeptics says it's another case of people thinking if a little is good, a lot must be better. And that's simply not true in Mediterranean countries.

Booth Announcer: There has been a thing for olive oil as a cooking supplement and it's been around ages and used in a lot of cookery, especially, ah, with the Mediterranean diet inquiry that olive oils are pretty much a staple for that instead.

Stuart: Of sunflower and all the others yeah.

Booth Announcer: Against animal oils and that sort of stuff. But the thing is that what always happens is that and it seemed to be good, it seems to be healthy, it's good for, um, digestion. Olive oil has medical benefits. It's even perhaps good for general more serious health. Heart disease and even cancer has been claimed for it. But the thing is that what often happens is that something which is uh, a little bit of it is good for you. People then assume, well, a lot of it must be even better for me, but it doesn't necessarily work that way because, uh, basically the trend sounds the.

Stuart: Same for chocolate, unfortunately.

Booth Announcer: Yeah, I found the trend is that therefore, rather than have a little bit of olive oil in my food when I'm cooking it or whatever, making a salad, we'll drink it in a shot glass and basically you drink that once, twice, 3000 times a day, and if a little bit is good for you, a lot must be even better for you. But it doesn't work that way because a lot of it would just be passed straight out again. It's the same attitude towards vitamins and things. If I got vitamins in my food, I should add vitamins to my diet. Generally I'll take a lot of vitamin pills and that will make very nice color. So by and large, a lot of olive oil, apart from the fact m that I taste that good, drinking, it cannot do a lot of harm except it is a rich source of calories, right? So if you're trying to lose weight, having a shot of olive oil is probably not the best idea. And they say probably you get the same effect for your digestion, etc. Try alternatives to olive oil, you can try avocado and berries, things like that. So not a lot of evidence to show that having a glass full of olive oil on its own is going to help you a lot.

Stuart: That's Tim Mendom from Australian Skeptics.

Booth Announcer: And that's the show for now.

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Stuart: As lots of bonus audio content which.

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Stuart: Of images, news stories, loads of videos and things on the web I find interesting and amusing.

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Tim MendhamProfile Photo

Tim Mendham


Editor with Australian Skeptics