May 30, 2022

Has An Ancient Doorway Been Found On Mars – Well No!

SpaceTime Series 25 Episode 58
*Has an ancient doorway been found on Mars – well no!
NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has taken an image of what looks like a doorway leading into a secret alien temple hidden in a cliff face on the red planet.

SpaceTime Series 25 Episode 58
*Has an ancient doorway been found on Mars – well no!
NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has taken an image of what looks like a doorway leading into a secret alien temple hidden in a cliff face on the red planet.
*The largest asteroid to approach Earth this year
The Earth has just been visited by the largest asteroid to approach the planet this year.
*Starliner completes its second orbital test flight
After a string of failures and other technical issues Boeing has successfully completed the second orbital test flight of NASA’s new Starliner CST-100 spacecraft.
*The Science Report
Concern continuing to mount globally over the increasing number of cases of Monkeypox.
Vaccinated people who catch COVID tend to spread less virus.
Archaeologists discover vibrantly-coloured frescoes in an ancient temple at Esna.
Skeptic's guide to manmade weather events
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The Astronomy, Space, Technology & Science News Podcast.


Stuart: This is Spacetime Series 25, Episode 58. Coming up on Spacetime has an ancient doorway being found on Mars, the largest asteroid to approach Earth this year, and Starliner finally completes a successful orbital test flight. All that and more coming up on um Space Time. Welcome to Space Time with Stewart Gary. Well, the Internet has certainly um been abuzz this week with news that NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover has taken an image of what looks like a doorway on the Red Planet. Is it the entrance to a secret passage, maybe leading to an ancient underground alien temple just waiting for Arnold Schwarzenegger to activate its power? Or maybe it's some sort of secret military bunker hidden in the cliff face? Certainly the conspiracy theorists have been busy typing away in their parents basements with all sorts of possible explanations. The image of the doorway like formation was taken on May 7. It's smooth, straight lines and overhanging uh lentil, quickly catching people's attention. Now, in reality, it's simply an eroded rock face that had broken away, leaving a rectangular doorshaped crevice in the exposed surface. Curiosity mission managers with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, see material between two vertical fractures in the rock, formed from ancient sand dunes, had simply split away over centuries, leaving the altcove behind. In fact, similar vertical fractures were found in lots of other rocks at the same location. But the image was just right to send social media viral with claims that finally there was proof that an ancient Martian civilization once inhabited the Red Planet. Of course, they left out the fact that the opening was less than a meter high. So the Martians must have been really short, sort of like Marvin, rather than tall, like the Predator.

Speaker J: I claim this planet in the name of Mars.

Speaker A: Isn't that lovely? Of course, the whole thing is very reminiscent of the famous Sphinxlike face on Mars, seen from orbit in the Sadonia region of the Red Planet by NASA's Viking One spacecraft in 1976. The angle of the sun was just right to cast shadows across the two kilometer long Mesa, giving uh it an airy, human face like appearance. And the fact that there was a large nearby mountain which looked like a five sided pyramid didn't help Northern a pile of boulders in the area, which quickly earned the name of the ruined city because it looks like the remains of an ancient Egyptian temple complex. Conspiracy theorists claim that these features, too, were proof of a long lost Martian civilization.

Speaker J: And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords like to remind them that as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others.

Speaker A: Attempts by scientists to explain them as nothing more than tricks of light and shade, together with the effects of pareidolia, were quickly dismissed as part of a giant cover up. In fact, it wasn't until 20 years later when NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, together with the European Space Agency's Mars Express mission, each in turn flew over the Sadonia region, taking far higher resolution images of the face on Mars, the pyramid and the ruined city, proving once and for all they really were just natural geological formations. So the speculation finally ended. Or has it? In 2021, China's U two Rover spotted uh what looks like a Cube on the moon that turned out to be just a rock. And just last week, the interwebs marveled at claw like scratches stretched across Mars Western hemisphere. They turned out to be Fort Lines. Astronomer and Distinguished Professor Steven Tingay from Curtin University says there are far better explanations out there than aliens.

Speaker B: I think uh any reasonable human observer of the photograph would say that's a door in the face of that rock face, but it's not. So I need to say I'm not a geologist, I'm an astrophysicist, but I've read the geologist explanations and, yeah, it's a chunk of rock that's fallen out of the space and produced an opening that, to us looks a bit like a door, but not a door.

Speaker A: And the bitter rock that's fallen out, I guess it could have been billions of years ago. And the chunk of rock that's fallen off has been covered by sand.

Speaker B: Yeah. Fallen off, rolled away, broken up.

Speaker A: Does it amuse you when things like this appear? We have the same thing with a face on Mars, didn't we?

Speaker B: Yeah. The face on Mars is a pretty famous example. That was a while ago now, and from an orbit up, I was working at JPL at that period, so, yeah, that was in all the newspapers, but from a later mission with a much higher resolution image that just turned out to be a bunch of rocks. And that's why we do that. So I can't say I'm amused, because as humans, we seem to be particularly wired to recognize patterns of that nature, and that's just part of our evolutionary makeup. Yeah. So it's not surprising. I mean, maybe what I find a little bit surprising is that some fraction of people jump to the most extreme, speculative cause for these things without thinking through some of the basic evidence.

Speaker A: It's always interesting when an image comes up which has 1000 explanations, but the immediate one is that's got to be a UFO without looking at all the other possibilities. Just UFO.

Speaker B: Yeah, um no, I agree. So I like talking about this subject because I think it's a good opportunity for scientists to talk about science and the scientific method and the nature of evidence and the nature of conclusion. And if you want to make an absolutely Earth shaking conclusion, you need pretty Earth shaking evidence.

Speaker A: What we're seeing here is this beautiful geologic strata of Mount Sharp as it's being investigated by the Curiosity Rover, and it's continuing its climb up the side of this mountain in the center of the crater. The science that we've got from it so far has been absolutely amazing.

Speaker UNK: Yeah.

Speaker B: It's pretty astonishing to think that we, as humans can send objects to another planet that roam around the surface and collect information and send that back to us and explore an entirely different planet completely remotely. That is astonishing. I think that's extraordinary that's the human endeavor, absolutely amazing.

Speaker A: Curiosity has proven to us not just that water existed on Mars, but that there was flowing in Rivers and streams because the rocks around it, the pebbles around where it was flowing.

Speaker B: Yes. Now there's all sorts of interesting evidence of that nature. And I guess the next step in the collection of that type of evidence is to send humans there, because as incredible as it is to send a Rover and get images, really, even now, there's still no substitute for the human eye and the human brain.

Speaker A: I guess the other big UFO news right now is the United States Congress. They've asked the Pentagon to investigate following all sorts of interesting little dots and tic TAC like objects that have been caught on various military cameras. Mike west, who's a huge skeptic, already examined a lot of these, and he's basically taking most of them off as being, yeah, this is caused by a weather balloon. This was caused by an apparition in the lens of the camera itself or the processing of the electronics within the fighter aircraft that led to this. And yet the push to try and find an extraterrestrial explanation for unidentified flying objects remains.

Speaker B: Yeah, no. Interesting. So um increasingly, the authorities won't talk about UFOs. The terminology has changed a bit. They're now referred to as unidentified aerial phenomena. And I guess there's a couple of reasons for the change, and one of them is probably to try and remove that long standing assumption of UFO equals alien. So as you say, most of these things can be fairly readily explained in most cases, and indeed, that's what usually happens. It's interesting that the Congress is examining some of the information that the US government holds in relation to unidentified aerial phenomena. I think they're quite open that even though you can explain a lot of things, some of the things are unidentified are unexplained. But again, going back to that discussion about conclusion and evidence, if you're going to claim that something is aliens, then you better have something a bit better than a fuzzy video.

Speaker A: I love to fly light aircraft, and whenever I uh get a chance to fly often ponder what would I do if I actually saw an unidentified flying object, something I couldn't explain? And I got to admit, I would probably keep it to myself. Maybe the uh change of name um may not be such a bad idea.

Speaker B: Yeah, I think so. It's a subtle shift in terminology, but words matter in a lot of cases, and it just underlines the fact that there are sightings um or observations um that are not easy to explain. But that's generally because there's really limited data or really limited information, and therefore it's really difficult to draw a conclusion about anything. But again, if you want to make a big conclusion, you need a lot of really good evidence and the simplest explanations of the best explanations to use that explain all the known facts, nothing.

Speaker A: More, nothing less comesra that's Professor Steven Tingay from Curtin University. The six wheeled car sized Mars Curiosity Rover landed in the Red Planet's 154 kilometer wide Gal crater back in August 2012, and it's been exploring the ancient impact crater ever since Curiosity arrived at the foothills of the crater's five and a half kilometer high central peak, Aiolos Mons, better known as Mount Sharp, in 2014. This is spacetime. Still to come, the largest asteroid to approach Earth in 2022 and Starlight completes its second orbital test flight. All that and more still to come on space time. The Earth has just been visited by the largest asteroid to approach the planet this year. The 1.8 kilometer wide space rock, the size of a mountain, flew past the planet at over 48,000 km an hour at a distance of roughly 4 million asteroid named 10 00 19 89, Ja was discovered in 1989 by astronomer Eleanor Helen at the Mount Palomar Observatory in Southern California. Even though this flyby was the closest the subject will get to Earth within the next 172 years, it's still classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid because its orbit crosses the orbit of Earth. Meanwhile, another potentially hazardous asteroid passed much closer to the Earth just a few days earlier. The University of New South Wales is asteroid 22 of UX 68 passed the Earth at a distance of just 941,000 km, traveling at 8 km/second. In order to better refine the asteroid's orbit, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the CSIRO uh attempted uh to track the 70 meters wide space rock using one of NASA's Canberra Deep Space Communications Network dishes at Tibin Billa and the Australia Telescope Compact Array Observatory near Narrabrii. However, these were both unsuccessful, as were Australian Optical Telescope observations due to the ongoing poor weather conditions along the Australian East Coast. Luckily, the weather was much better across the ditch in New Zealand, where optical telescopes were able to track the asteroid as it passed. 2012 UX 68 was discovered in October 2012. It orbits the sun every 416 days on a highly elliptical orbit ranging from an aphelion of 209,000,000 km down or perihelium of just 117,000,000. Ja 2012 UX 68 is classified as an Apollo Group asteroid, meaning its orbit crosses Earth's orbit around uh the sun. This is spacetime. Still to come, Boeing Starliner finally completes a successful orbital test flight and later on the Science report, growing concern globally over an increasing number of cases of monkey pox. All that and more still to come on space time. After a string of failures and other technical issues, Boeing has finally successfully completed an orbital test flight of NASA's new Starliner CST 100 spacecraft. The Starliner capsule touched down under parachutes on the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico 4 hours after undocking from the International Space Station. The unmanned orbital flight test, or oft two mission had taken off six days earlier aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas five central rocket from space launch complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Space in Florida.

Speaker D: Lc flight Starliner configured for terminal account. Roger. All steps are complete. Part of terminal count and Lauren with.

Speaker I: That call that all of the work is now complete and the computers are going to take over the automated account now. Ground system Morgan has been enabled.

Speaker D: Hydraulic.

Speaker I: The hydraulic steering system has been pressurized for flight decoring. Pressure in the Atlas has now completed and outflight level and topping is being terminated.

Speaker C: Launch and Abel OC is armed. Ses count started. Ed SSN eds armed and ready.

Speaker F: Means the emergency detection system is now armed.

Speaker C: Basically just means automatically would push itself far up and away from the rocket.

Speaker F: We're talking that mile up and a.

Speaker C: Mile out in just a matter of seconds. We certainly don't expect to see that today.

Speaker J: Atlas at flight press.

Speaker D: At flight press vehicles, not pressure.

Speaker I: As for flight status check.

Speaker D: Go Atlas, go center. Go Starliner.

Speaker I: All systems are go for liftoff.

Speaker C: Go Starliner ten, 987-6543 two.

Speaker F: And lift off. Uh starliner is headed back to space on the shoulders of Atlas, powered by.

Speaker C: A workforce dedicated to its success.

Speaker D: We have confirmation of a good M-E-T. Epoch time around for Atlas in preparation for Maxcue.

Speaker C: Right now, the highest Starliner Atlas will face up next investment to sell the rocket. Boosters will run out of fuel and.

Speaker I: Burnout and we have burnout on both.

Speaker D: Srbs good crew module. Ford link connection already rainy.

Speaker I: Is throttling back up to full thrust. Atlas five. No way. Just one half of what it didn't launch. Burning propellant at a rate of 2800 pounds per second. And we have indication of SR beaches.

Speaker D: Atlas continues to send using solely the sea level.

Speaker I: Already ready is throwing down slightly as expected. Response is good.

Speaker C: Teams here on the ground confirming Starliner has a good trajectory. Flying out an altitude of 56.

Speaker D: Next throttle down will be to control acceleration forces. Limit forces on the crew to below four G's. That is safe for an extended period of time. 1 minute remaining in this burn.

Speaker I: 1 minute to Bego already where it is now. Throttling to maintain 3.5 G acceleration on the vehicle.

Speaker C: Starliner flying off the East Coast this point uh at altitude of uh 80, moving at a rate of 1000, uh 187 mph.

Speaker D: It's just passing North Carolina, Virginia, off the northeastern seaboard. For those of you watching along the coastline, you might be able to see this launch.

Speaker I: We have Bego booster cut off. We have successful staging prestart on their all tens. We have mission on both our Altins centuries.

Speaker C: Loop steering just passed through several milestones. Teams are on the ground reporting that all are looking good ascent coverage in there that provided that area to the top of Starliner, protecting the docking equipment.

Speaker D: Doing this in now, the Starliner and Centre are free of the atmosphere well into the vacuum of space that Eriskirt has been jettisoned.

Speaker C: Now, six minutes into today's launch, Starline are continuing to accelerate up the North American Coast. Everything going smoothly so far. Starliner and center have been taking through their asset milestones right on track, including the booster, Sage separation center ignition and eraskirt jettison number of status. Calls will be listing for in the next several minutes. But if all continues to go well, the next major milestone to watch out for is the main engine cut off when Starliner will be officially in space.

Speaker D: We heard a report from ULA State and we had a little bit of an over performance on the booster. But the uh more than capable of adjusting on the fly and it's closed. Loot performance by control teams are also monitoring the performance of the sublimator on Star liner. Right now. The sublimator is what is used to control cabin temperatures going up to space and coming home. Normally, we use the radiators on the service module, but those are not powered up until we get into orbit. We heard confirmation that St John's abort zone is open. We pre select these splashdown zones in the case of any needed abort. The first one um would be the coast of St John's, Nova Scotia. Light dynamics officer report. Everything is pretty good.

Speaker C: Flight controllers here in mission control confirming that our main engine cut off time is looking stable. It is going to be eleven minutes and 50 seconds into the flight. We are now eight minutes and 50 seconds in. So that's still about three minutes to go until we hit that milestone.

Speaker D: Now, one of um the next calls that we will hear is that the Shannon abort zone will be open. We pre plan our flight trajectory so we would not abort uh accrue into the middle of the ocean. They'd be near enough to land for a quick and speedy recovery. So we're still in that St John's abort zone. Expect to hear that. Shannon open call coming.

Speaker C: Shannon now open. Sister Langer could potentially make that abort landing off coast of Ireland now if needed. But so far, no reason to think it will be. Starlink currently 153 km above the Atlantic Ocean. And that's about 95 miles.

Speaker D: We are eleven minutes into today's flight. Centaur and Starliner are passing 23. 23.3 encounter altitude of just under 150 km Miko's.

Speaker C: Main engine cut off when both of those RL tens are scheduled to shut down. That again is coming up at eleven minutes and 50 seconds. About 5 seconds away now.

Speaker I: And we have Miko one sent. Our engines have cut off.

Speaker C: Rcs is now a cut off right on time. Starliner is in space, but not done with the accent milestones hearing in the room that it wasn't good. Main engine cut off. The next milestone that will be looking for is launch vehicle separation when Starline will separate from Centaur booster and fly on its own. Even after that happens, we'll have about 15 minutes until our final major milestone in today's ascent. The orbital insertion burn that will raise Paragi or low point of Starliners orbit out of the Earth's atmosphere. So stick with us. We're not done yet. Now, twelve minutes and 30 seconds and.

Speaker D: Days like we just heard our Atlas Common position report a spacecraft separation for 1450 after launch, about two minutes away. Right now, you're confirming that sentiment and a good configuration for separation. Making sure that all of the pressures in the tank or stable and it will be able to conduct a property spoiler burnt later by control teams here in the room are moving to their insertion checklists.

Speaker I: 60 seconds to space separation attitude just.

Speaker C: Under a minute now and to go into a B launch vehicle separation team here on the ground reporting the Starliner and Centaur are both ready for it in the right orientation and on a stable trajectory.

Speaker D: Centaur is holding attitude for Starliner separation.

Speaker I: And we have confirmation of Starliner separation.

Speaker D: And Starliner is flying alone on its way to orbit. Confirm good LV separation. Thanks, ULA, for a smooth ride to space.

Speaker C: That milestone behind us. The next one will be watching for is that orbital insertion burn that is going to raise the perigee or the low point of Starliner's orbit out of the Earth's atmosphere. Putting it in space where it's uh full orbit. That's an important milestone to reach. It's going to be a 45 2nd burn. It'll change Starliner's velocity about 85 meters/second or 190. That's going to be coming up at the 30. 1 minute Mark in today's orbit. We're now just under 16 minutes into today's flight. So about 15 minutes to go for that.

Speaker D: So there's a number of things that flight controllers are working on right now. They're transitioning Starliner from its launch mode over to its orbit mode. That includes powering up things like antennas, heaters and those radiators that uh I mentioned earlier. We have good targeting for orbital insertion, a good Ford command link and a good Emmy TPOK timer. Starliner making its way over the North Atlantic. Some other things going on right now. They are powering down some what's called demonstration flight instrumentation. We have some extra sensors on there for these demonstration sites. We have more uh of them on during power to send, but we don't need some of those right now. So by controllers are powering some of those down. But some other things that are powering um on include those propulsion line heaters. When in the back of the space and in the Earth shadow it gets quite cold around negative 250 degrees. So we want to make sure those propulsion lines don't freeze and the radiators are those uh little small silver disks you might be able to see on the side of the service module. Uh if you remember your highest school physics, the only way you can get rid of heat in a vacuum is the radiation. And so that's a blender will be powering down and the radiators will be taking care of the heat management for the rest of the flight until we get ready to come home. Some RCS jet activations. Those are just helping a target for that orbital insertion burn. L plus 23. The team will transition Starliner into what's called fine pointing mode or thrust, a line mode. So those Jesse firing will hold a very specific attitude, which is exactly the attitude uh that we need for that orbital and search and burn, as Brandy mentioned earlier, want that 85 meters/second of Delta V to be going in exactly the right direction.

Speaker C: Starliner is currently coming up on the coast of Europe and is about 139 miles, 224 km above the Atlantic Ocean. As it makes its way to the topmost or highest part of this orbit. It will be heading Southeast over Europe and a little bit of Africa in the next few minutes as it begins its journey to start catching up with the International Space Station. Again, one of the major milestones coming up in preparation for that is the orbital insertion burn confirmation.

Speaker D: We still have a good Portland command connection, so we're about a minute away before the flight controllers put strategies thrust to line mode. Once again, just making sure that Starliner is pointed exactly at the right attitude for that orbital insertion burn. It's going to hold that attitude. Navigation control officer confirmed that Starliner is moving towards that attitude and will begin holding for Oregon. Starliner might have been pointed down towards the Earth, but that's actually the attitude that it needs to be, because as it orbits around the area, it will no longer be pointing out or it will be pointing at that specific point in space, the orbital and once again, there will be a lot of thrust or activity. We want those four halfFacing Omak agent. That's about one £200 of thrust each to be pushing in exactly the right direction.

Speaker C: Omaka orbital maneuvering and attitude Control. They're going to fire for 45 seconds for this burn, changing Starliner's velocity by 85 meters/second or 190 mph. Orbital insertion burn starting in 54321. Again, this burn is going to last for 45 seconds. Teams are on the ground reporting for good orbital maneuvering and attitude controlled breasters.

Speaker D: Oh, I cut off and 54321 and we have AI cutoff and we have confirmation from flight Director Mike Lammers. We have a good orbital insertion burn. Starliner is in a stable circular orbit on its way to the International Space Station.

Speaker A: Yeah, the mission still had its dramas. The spacecraft encountered some troubles during the ascent with two of the twelve orbital maneuvering and attitude control, or OMAC thrusters located on Starliner's aft side, initially firing but then suddenly shutting down, forcing a third to take up their slack, and then there was a second issue involving a sublimator which is uh responsible for cooling uh the spacecraft. It was initially slow to get started. Despite these problems, Starliner did successfully rendezvous with the International Space Station and performed a two hour station keeping maneuver 10 meters from the orbital outpost while mission managers check docking ring alignments before finally allowing the spacecraft to dock automatically. 26 hours after launch, the capsule delivered some 245 supplies, food and test equipment, including helmet water absorption pads, which will be fitted to the space station crew spacesuits following a number of water leaks in the suits during recent spacewalks. Nasa has been using the same spacesuit since the space Shuttle era, so they're getting a bit long in the tooth and NASA are planning to introduce new spacesuits for the Artemis missions. Also aboard Starliner was the test flight Mannequin Rosie, the Rocketeer. During the failed of T one mission, Rosie was outfitted with 15 sensors to collect data on what the astronauts will experience during their flights from Starliner. For oft two uh spacecraft data capture points previously connected to Rosie's, 15 sensors were used to collect data from sensors placed along the seat pallet, which is the infrastructure used to hold the crew seats in place once all the other supplies had been removed. Rosie was joined by 272 nitrogen oxygen recharge tanks for the journey back to Earth. The three tanks, which provide breathable air for station crew, will be refurbished on the ground and then flown back to the space station. Starliner undertook an automated undocking from the space station, followed by deorbit burn, successful separation of the spacecraft's service module, a smooth atmospheric reentry, a successful deployment of the three main parachutes and six airbags, and a precision target landing and recovery.

Speaker E: Once again receiving data from the uh Starliner now that it's passed through that plasma buildup, everything going well as um it makes its way across this track heading towards a landing uh in the New Mexico desert. Teams on the ground reporting good trajectory.

Speaker F: And the forward heat shield has now jettisoned. That heat shield protected the spacecraft through those thermal loads during reentry and drugs are out.

Speaker E: Two drug parachutes slowing Starliner speed and drag. They're going to Reef to a wider opening and slow Starliner down enough for the main chutes to deploy in less than a minute.

Speaker F: And mains are now out. We see three parachutes coming out here. Starliner has another 8000ft toward the landing. Those three parachutes are starting to inflate.

Speaker E: Now and the main parachutes reefing open right there. Continuous slowing Starliner down.

Speaker F: Three good main parachutes, looking good. And there goes the base heat shield just jettison. Falling away from the spacecraft. It will reveal the airbags that will cushion Starliner's landing and those airbags are now inflating. Starliner is two minutes, 40 seconds from landing.

Speaker E: Those will come in really handy when we have crew on board for the crew flight test of Starliner in a few months. Help ensure that the crew gets a nice soft touchdown, and those bags are.

Speaker F: Filled with nitrogen as they guide Starliners safely back to the desert floor. Flight controllers here in the room reporting good airbags. Everything going exactly how we want to hear it.

Speaker E: Exact touchdown time will vary a little bit depending on the winds and the landing site, but everything's going smoothly.

Speaker F: And touchdown, Starliner. We're touching down in the desert of New Mexico, marking the completion of orbital flight test two. And that touchdown coming at 05:49 p.m. Central time, almost exactly six days into the mission. Just a beautiful touchdown in White Sands this evening.

Speaker A: Starliner is meant to complement SpaceX's Dragon capsule in providing crew transportation services to and from the space station as part of NASA's Commercial Crew program. But Hulk Dragon has now undertaken six man space flights to the orbiting outpost, including five for NASA uh and one for Axiom Space, as well as another manned flight taking a group of space tourists into orbit. Starlider has been struggling with ongoing technical issues. Their first unmanned orbital demonstration test flight back in December 2019, failed to reach the space station because of a mission clock error, triggering an early orbital insertion burn, which resulted in the spacecraft entering orbit too low. Mission managers then found a software error which would have prevented docking even if the spacecraft had reached the orbital outpost. And it almost fell to make it back to the ground because of another software issue. This one would have caused the spacecraft service module to crash into the capsule during the return to Earth had the problem not being discovered and rectified at the last minute. A first attempt at a second unmanned orbital demonstration mission back in August last year was scrubbed after corrosion was discovered in 13 propulsion system valves due to moisture from a passing thunderstorm interacting with a propellant nitrogen titoxide oxidizer. The problem is the reaction had occurred deep inside the spacecraft, meaning it needed to be disassembled in order to reach the corotic components. Now, based on the data from this mostly successful oft two flight, a man test flight to the space station could happen by the end of the year, and if that works out successfully and Starlighter will join Dragon providing regular crew transport services to and from the International Space Station. This is space time and time now to take a brief look at some of the other stories making News Insights this week with a Science report. Concern is continuing to Mount globally over the increasing number of cases of monkey parks are being detected across Europe, the United States and Australia. The chickenpox like infection, which is normally endemic to Western and central Africa, has not been reported in more than 20 nonafrican countries. Monkeypox is a DNA based viral infection from the same family as smallpox. It's endemic to Africa with two strains described as the mild West African clade and the more severe Congo Basin clade. Monkey pox is usually spread through close contact with an infected person or by viruscontaminated objects such as bedding or clothing. The virus can enter the body through broken skin, a respiratory tract or through the eyes, nose or mouth. Following infection, and after a seven to 17 day incubation period, there's a flu like illness with high fevers, headaches, swellings, back pain and aching muscles for a few days before the rashes appear. It's quite an extensive rash that can last up to four weeks. It can be extremely itchy and painful. It changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab, which can lead to permanent disfigurement, pneumonia, diarrhea and eye issues can occur. The good news is the infection uh usually clears up on its own lasts between 14 um and 21 days. The smallpox vaccine provides some protection against monkey pox. Smallpox killed more than 500 million people during the 1009 hundreds. Meanwhile, a study of seven patients diagnosed with monkeypox in the UK between 2018 and 2021 suggests that some antiviral medications may have the potential to shorten symptoms and reduce the amount of time a patient is contagious. A new study has shown that vaccinated people who catch curb at 19 tend.

Speaker H: To spread the virus to fewer people.

Speaker A: And shed live virus for a shorter period of time than unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated people. The findings, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that vaccinated people passed the infection on just 7% of the time, compared to 26% of um the time for the Unvaccinated group. The study also found that fully vaccinated people shed live virus that could be grown in cell culture for four days after symptoms started, while partially vaccinated shed live virus for eight days and unvaccinated people for ten days after symptoms began. The authors say the study provides important evidence that although there is the possibility of breakthrough infections covered 19 vaccinations remain critically successful for controlling the spread of the virus. Over 6.3 million people have now been killed by the covert 19 coronavirus since it first appeared in the area surrounding China's Wuhan Institute of Biology back in September 2019. However, the World Health Organization says the uh true death toll is likely to be around 15 million, with well over half a billion confirmed cases globally. Archeologists have discovered a series of vibrantly colored frescoes in an ancient temple at Essena, 60 ancient Egyptian capital of Luxor. The ancient temple, dedicated to the Egyptian deity Kunam, was decorated mainly during the Roman um period between the first and third centuries. The spectacular roof is supported by 18 columns with varied floral capitals made to look like palm leaves, Lotus pots and papyrus fans, and bunches of grapes, which is the distinctively Roman feature. The images were discovered on the ceiling under a thick coating of dust um and soot and comprised 46 depictions of the Upper Egyptian Vulture got its nickbett and the Lower Egyptian serpent got us YT, both with outstretched wings, while Nick Bett is the head of a Vulture and the white Crown of Upper Egypt Wadite can be recognized by the Lower Egyptian Crown, topped with the Cobra. Victims of uh the devastating floods which recently ravaged parts of the Australia Pacific Coast around the New South Wales Northern Rivers region are now being inundated by conspiracy theorists claiming the deluge wasn't an act of nature or climate change, but rather a deliberately orchestrated campaign uh using cloud seeding to remove people from the area. It's all very reminiscent of American conspiracy theorists claiming aircraft convection trails are actually Chem trails comprising chemical or biological agents being sprayed by government for nefarious purposes. Tim Menham from Australian Skeptics says numerous um Facebook groups are now claiming that flooding is part of a man made weather event.

Speaker G: There are certain things in the skeptical spectrum that some things are fun. You get the other end of things where people start to take advantage of other people for their own personal agenda, and that's where it makes us get very upset. And this is about the recent floods up in Northern New South Wales, Southern Southeast Queensland, and what they're suggesting. These conspiracy followers are suggesting that the floods are manmade and manmade, as in controlling the weather.

Speaker J: The Harps seeing that, well, Harps doesn't.

Speaker G: Mention it much anymore because it's sort of closed down anyway. But the story um I've heard from.

Speaker J: People who are very close to me.

Speaker G: Was that basically it's cloud seeding and controlling the weather and that they are doing it to try and bring in a one world government or a control, at least of the individuals. And someone put it to me that the flooding around Byron Bay in the Northern New South Wales, which is the area around there, is a new agey, sort of more spiritual, hippie, hippy part of town.

Speaker UNK: Yeah.

Speaker G: Therefore, the weather is being controlled to flood them, to take away these alternative thinkers by force them to move into the cities where they can be more easily controlled. But the motivation to actually control people is insulting. These things are coming out within the 24 hours of the floods and people saying that this is government control, et cetera.

Speaker A: That's Tim Mendom from Australian Skeptics, and.

Speaker H: That'S the show for now, Space Time is available every Monday, Wednesday and Friday through Apple Podcast, itunes, Stitcher, Google Podcast, Pocket Casts, uh Spotify, Acast, Amazon Music, SoundCloud, YouTube, your favorite podcast download provider, and from Spacetime with Spacetime is also broadcast through the National Science Foundation on science owned radio and on both iHeartRadio and Tune In Radio. And you can help to support our show by visiting the Spacetime Store for a range of promotional merchandising. Goodies or by becoming a Spacetime patron, which gives you access to triple episode, commercial free versions of the show, as well as lots of bonus audio content, which doesn't go to air access to our exclusive Facebook group and other awards. Just go to Spacetime with for full details and if you um want more space time, please check out our blog where you'll find all the stuff we couldn't fit in the show as well as heaps of images, news stories, loads of videos and things on the web I find interesting or amusing. Just go to Spacetime with Stuartgary that's all one word and that's Tumblr without the e. You can also follow us through at Stewart Gary on Twitter, at Spacetime with Stewart Gary on Instagram, through our Spacetime YouTube channel and on Facebook. Just go to spacetime with Stuartgarry and Spacetime is brought to you in collaboration with Australian Sky and Telescope magazine. Your window on the universe you've been.

Speaker A: Listening to Space time with Stuart Gary. This has been another quality podcast production from

Tim MendhamProfile Photo

Tim Mendham


Editor with Australian Skeptics