The Astronomy, Technology, and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 73
*Hubble computer crash
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has dropped into safe mode following a major onboard computer crash.
*Southern Launch gets approval for its...
The Astronomy, Technology, and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 73
*Hubble computer crash
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has dropped into safe mode following a major onboard computer crash.
*Southern Launch gets approval for its South Australian orbital launch complex
Southern Launch’s new Whaler’s Way orbital launch complex is a step closer to fruition with formal approval now given for construction to begin.
*New Oort Cloud object on its way
Astronomers have discovered a large Oort Cloud object -- several hundred kilometres wide – which is heading for the inner solar system.
*A new instrument to make one of the world’s biggest telescopes even better
Scientists are developing a new instrument for one of the world’s biggest telescopes that will allow it to peer even further back in space and time.
*The Science Report
New Study claims using Pfizer as the second shot after an initial AstraZeneca jab offers better protection.
UNESCO recommends the Great Barrier Reef be placed on an in danger list.
Bruce Pascoe’s controversial Dark Emu slammed by leading scientists.
A new study may have discovered why people are afraid of the dark.
Skeptic's guide to India’s strange humanoid creatures.
For more from SpaceTime and all our show links: https://linktr.ee/biteszHQ
SpaceTime S24E73 AI Transcript
[00:00:00] This is space time series 24 episode 73, 4 broadcast on the 28th of June, 2021. Coming up on space time. The Hubble space telescope drops into safe mode. Following a major onboard computer crash. Southern launch gets approval for it's south Australian over the launch complex and a strange new object from the Oort cloud on its way to our solar system.
All that and more coming up. On space time. Welcome to space time with steward Gary
messages. Hubble space telescope is dropped into safe mode. Following a K on board, computer crash. All cameras and scientific instruments. Now [00:01:00] offline and astronomical programs have been halted as mission managers at NASA Goddard space flight center in Greenbelt, Maryland, try to determine what's gone wrong and rectify the problem.
Mission managers originally thought that a bad memory board in one of the orbiting observatories, 1980s vintage computers, which control the science instruments may have caused the shutdown. Flight controllers tried to restart that computer, but it crashed again after performing tests on several of the computer's memory modules, the results indicate that a different piece of computer hardware must have caused the problem with a memory errors, simply being a symptom technicians, and now planning to switch to a backup memory.
Yeah. Yeah, operations teams investigating whether what's known as standard interface hardware, which bridges the communications between the computer central processing module and other components or the central processing module itself is responsible for the issue. If the problem with the computer can't be fixed, the [00:02:00] operations team was switched to a backup payload computer.
The team's already conducted ground test and operations procedure reviews needed to verify all the commanding requirements needed to perform the switch on the spacecraft. If the backup payload computers, hardware is turned on several days will be required to assess the computer's performance and restore normal science operations.
However, the backup computer is not being powered on since its installation in 2009. Imagine the hours of updates you'd be after if it was your lab. NASA says the computer was thoroughly tested on the ground prior to its installation on the spacecraft. The payload computer is a NASA standard spacecraft computer.
One system built in the 1980s. That's located on the science instrument, command and data handling unit. After 18 years in orbit, the original science instrument command and data handling unit experience the failure in 2008, that delayed the final servicing mission to Hubble. While a replacement was prepared for flight.
[00:03:00] In May, 2009 STS 1 25 was launched and the astronauts installed the existing unit. As the backup, the replacement contains the original hardware from the 1980s complete with four independent 60 4k memory modules of complimentary metal oxide, semiconductor memory. Only one memory module is used operationally where the other three serving as backup.
All four modules can be used in access from either of the redundant payload computers launched in 1990. With more than 30 years of operations. Now behind it, the Hubble space telescope made observations which have captured the world's imagination and deepen Sach's understanding of the cost. This is space time still.
The come Southern launch gets approval for its new south Australian over the launch. And a mysterious new Oort cloud object on its way to our solar system, all that, and more still to come on [00:04:00] space time.
Southern launches, new whalers way over the launch complex is a step closer to fruition with formal approval. Now, given for construction to begin initial approval, we'll see the construction of a temporary launch and support facilities needed to conduct three test flights designed to gather data, to validate computational noise and vibration modeling for the site, which is located on south Australia's air peninsula near the fishing town of port Lincoln.
The contract calls for the test flight program to begin before the 31st of December Southern launch has spent the past eight months working with government and independent agencies to put together their development proposal. The launch complex covers approximately 1200 hectares of open land, [00:05:00] including over six kilometers of ocean frontage for Southwood launch trajectories.
The company says, well, as we could eventually carry out 40 or below launches a year. Rockets will fly south of the great Southern ocean into polar orbits Korean space company, pair of JIRAs spaces already sign up to use the facility with eight launches. Now on it sorta books before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the company had planned to launch its first rocket blue.
Well, one from the whale is way complex, almost exactly a year ago. The eight and a half meter tall, 1,790 kilogram to stage a launch vehicle backed by Samsung is designed to deliver a 150 kilogram payload into a 500 kilometer high sun synchronous orbit once blue world one's operational paradigm plans that have a larger rocket capable of carrying payloads of up to 300 kilograms in lower Thor.
Southern launch already operates a separate rocket test range on Aboriginal attic in EMBA 40 [00:06:00] kilometers from Sygenta on the south Australian west coast, which is used to trial launch vehicle. Meanwhile a second company, equatorial launch Australia plans to provide loan services for sounding rocket flights for NASA from the new purpose-built items space center, launch complex ne Nolan boy, 700 kilometers south east of the Northern territory Capitol down.
The suborbital flights will use black brand rockets to carry a series of scientific payloads, including spectrometers the, that of the light spectrums from the alpha centaury triple star system, looking for atmospheres around exoplanets and to detect interstellar gas. So it's to better understand the structure and evolution of galaxies.
And of course, last month, the third company Gilmore space technologies reached an agreement to devolve its own launch complex at Abbott point near Bowen in tropical north Queensland. Well undertake orbital launches on equatorial trajectories using their new areas. Rocket Gilmore, also plans to make use of the whale as [00:07:00] way launch complex.
Once it's built for areas, rockets on polar flights, this space-time still the calm, a mysterious new Oort cloud object on its way. And, and you instrument to make one of the world's biggest telescopes, even better, all that and more store to account. On space time.
Jonathan has have discovered a large old cloud object, several hundred kilometers wide, which is heading for the inner solar system. Early estimates suggest the object, which has been named 2014, UN 2 71 is between 103 hundred and 70 kilometers across placing it somewhere between a really big comment and it really small to off planet either way.
It makes it one of the largest known or cloud objects ever observed. [00:08:00] The Oort cloud is a theoretical sphere of comets, frozen worlds and icy debris extending from around 300 billion kilometers out to over a light year from the sun, deep into interstellar space. The region contains objects, which were either created early in the solar system's history, or which originated from beyond our solar system and which had become gravitationally bound to the sun.
The cloud was first postulated in 1950, by the Dutch astronomy Yan Henrik it, you don't have to explain why they continue to be new comments with elongated orbits in our solar system. The odd clouds thought to be different from the capability, the ring of frozen worlds, comments and icy debris. Circling the sun beyond the orbit of Neptune thought will have been formed out of the builder's rebel leftover from the formation of the solar system.
4.6 billion years ago. 2014, you went to 71 was discovered in archival images collected for the dark energy survey between 2014 and [00:09:00] 2018 astronomers found it was on a 612,190 year orbit stretching from the Oort cloud to the inner solar system, which is almost perpendicular to the ecliptic. The plane created by the planets as they orbit the sun.
It's currently on it's inbound. Part of that journey about 22 astronomical units out from the sun, which is closer than the orbit of Neptune and astronomical unit being the average distance between the earth and the sun, which equates to 150 million kilometers or 8.3 light minutes. In the past seven years, 2014, you went to 71 has traveled about seven astronomical units.
It'll make its closest approach to the earth and the sun in 2031. When after flying over the sun, it'll swing around near the orbit of satin at about 10.9 astronomical units before heading back out again. Well, too small to see with the unaided eye 2014, you went to 71 should appear as bright as Pluto in telescopes.
It might even begin to [00:10:00] resemble a comment with a Cameron tail as its icy surface begins to evaporate. And it's worth pondering that the last time this particular object was this close to the earth was at a time when the first Neanderthals may have started walking on the earth surface and a time long before the first homosapiens existed.
This is space time still the com a new instrument to make one of the world's biggest telescopes, even better. And later on the science report, Bruce Pascoes controversial book, dark EMU slam by leading scientists, all that and more store to cart.
scientists are developing a new instrument for one of the world's biggest telescopes that will allow it to peer even further back in space and [00:11:00] time. The instrument is called the multi conjugate adaptive optics, assistant, visible imager, and spectrograph or mailers. For short, it combines adaptive optics and spectroscopy.
While at the same time, extending its range over more frequencies in the visible light regime, Mavis will be fitted to one of the four 8.2 meter telescopes that make up the European Southern observatory is very large telescope array or VLT in cello. Once fitted, it will produce images three times sharper than those are the Hubble space telescope, allowing astronomers to see furthering clearer unlocking mysteries of the early universe, the $57 million seven year project to build the instrument is being led by the Australian national university with a consortium, including Macquarie university.
Put simply Mavis were removed. The blurring from images caused by turbulence in its atmosphere, in the process, pushing back the cosmic frontier of what's [00:12:00] visible Mavis project scientist, associate professor Richard McDermott from Macquarie university says the ability to deliver corrected optical images over a wide field of view.
Using one of the world's largest telescopes is what makes Mavis a first of its kind instantly. He says the new technology on Mavis will allow astronomers to see further back in time than ever before, allowing them to explore how the first stars will form more than 13 billion years ago. And even how weather changes on distant planets and moons.
That's going to be attached to a telescope in Chile. The special thing about this instrument is that it's going to allow that telescope to correct for the effects of atmosphere and give us a sharper view of the night skies. And we've been able to obtain before. In fact, we expect it to be even sharper and cleaner than the Hubble space telescope.
Right. Yeah. So Mavis is actually an acronym and it stands for a multi conjugate, adaptive optics, assisted visible imager, [00:13:00] and spectrograph, it shortens the Navy and the first part of the acronyms and multicom to get adopted optics. That's a relatively new way of doing what I said, you know, correcting for atmosphere and doing that through this technique.
Adaptive optics and it's doing it in a way that allows us to actually correct a larger field of view for the instrument. That's the multi conjugant part. We get to correct for actually different layers in our atmosphere. And that allows us to deliver a very sharp and a very large field of view to this instrument.
Yeah. Adaptive optics. As we know it today, doesn't enhance the entire. Visual spectrum only a part of it. And this extends that to a larger area of the electromagnetic spectrum. Correct? So the, the technique of adaptive optics, and maybe I should explain what, what adaptive optics is. When we look out into space from the ground, we have to look through.
And of course the atmosphere is a very dynamic entity and there's turbulence there's wins, and those effects, uh, change the path of the light that comes towards us. [00:14:00] And it does not in very short timescales that we can see that effect, but with the naked eye, when we see stars twinkling, but twinkling effect is the effect of our sadness fear.
But when you look around with a large telescope that shows up as a kind of a blurring of the image. And so that's why that develops six helps us to correct for. No with me, this we're pushing this technique to what we call the visible light spectrum, or it's a kind of light that our eyes are sensitive.
So existing adaptive optics has typically been known that longer wavelengths, infrared wavelengths, and it's a bit easier to make these corrections at those wavelengths, um, for various reasons. But basically the effect is varies less quickly on the overall the optics that we have to use a longer wave lens can be larger and easier to.
But with Mavis, we're trying to push this to shorter wavelengths into the visible, whereas you were doing that for a number of reasons. The most obvious one is that the, the visible light spectrum has a lot of information and a lot of rich chemical and dynamical information that we can get for astrophysical objects.
So it's a very information rich region, but it's very hard to work in with the set up to the Baltics because the timescales are [00:15:00] very short. And the manufacturer of the optics that we have to make is very challenging, but we're confident that we can do this with Mavis. And that's one of the new areas that this instrument is going to appreciate the, from a technology.
So it works by shining a laser up into the sky and it hits sodium atoms that are at a reasonably high altitude where any distortion is picked up by a computer that affects actuators on the mirror itself. That's correct. Yes. As I said, you know, with adaptive optics, we're basically measuring what the atmosphere is doing.
On very short timescales. So we have to measure those under 2000 times per second. And so, because we need to make those measurements, we need the right sources to look at, and those will give us the photons of light and let us make those measurements, but bright stars on everywhere in the sky. And so instead we shine bright lasers up on the Mandy to stimulate a part of the atmosphere that's rich and sodium, and basically fluoresces or lights up and creates a point of light at around a hundred kilometers.
And we can look at that as a probe of what the atmosphere is doing. That's what we measure, what the atmosphere is thing [00:16:00] with these so-called laser guide stars. And then we changed the shape of a mirror. It's called a deformable mirror. There's actually three of them in may, which has a shape for the matter of which basically does the reverse distortion to the light.
What the atmosphere did. And once the light comes off of those matters is basically corrected for the distortions caused by your son this year. So yeah, we have big lasers. We have these large so-called deformable mirrors, which are moving, you know, at a thousand times per second, we're measuring the atmosphere at the same rate and on all of that has to come together and work, and that will deliver these sort of beautiful corrected images.
That's correct. So all this talked about is the adaptive optics part. That's basically cleaning up the image and sharpening it up and correct atmosphere, but they want to look at that light and we want to analyze it and make measurements. And that's where the science comes in. Maybe this is going to have an imager.
So it's just taking kind of a. Images, but also has what we call an integral field spectrograph and that is kind of like an immature, but [00:17:00] imagine an image where every pixel has a rainbow spectrum behind it. And so that breaks up the Lantis constituent wavelength, and that's where we get these chemical and dynamical fingerprints from the astrophysical sources that we're looking at.
This equipment will be fitted to one of the full eight meter telescopes on the VLT. That's correct. Uh, one of the reasons we're so proud and excited to be working on Mavis is that it's actually an Australian. Project. And so it's an international consortium. We have partners in Italy and France are helping us build nevus, but that group is led by teams here in Australia.
And the reason that we're able to lead such an instrument for the European Southern observatory is because in 2017, the Australian government started a 10 year partnership with the European Southern observatory. Brings in Australia, almost like a, like a full partner for that consortium. And that gives us access to the telescopes.
So Australian researchers can use those telescopes, but it also lets us lead and develop technology for those telescopes. And that's a really exciting benefit to this partnership that we've turned on. You have. So yes, we'll [00:18:00] be building the nevus between the groups here in Australia and in Italy and we bring it all together.
Chile where it gets installed in the telescope
project scientist associate professor Richard McDermott from Macquarie university and this space-time
and Tom medal. Take a brief look at some of the other stories making using science this week with a science report. A new study, which has yet to be peer reviewed, suggest that people who second shot as the Pfizer vaccine, after a first show of the AstraZeneca, jab may develop better immune protection than those given to AstraZeneca doses.
Now it's important to point out that these are only preliminary results and then from a very small study, but they do follow several other studies from the UK, Spain and Germany, which has produced similar positive, [00:19:00] preliminary findings on the immune response. However scientists warn that all these studies are still far too small to provide a definitive recommendation.
The findings come in the wake of Canada's decision to change its recommendation on mixing vaccines, and now recommend that people who receive AstraZeneca as the first dose should get Pfizer Alma Dern up for their second shot. Australia recently announced that it was phasing out the AstraZeneca vaccine, following TJ approval of Medina and access to additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine, the world health organization.
Now estimates more than 8 million people have been killed by the COVID-19 Corona virus with more than 4 million confirmed fatalities and more than 180 million people infected since the deadly disease for spread out of Western China. UNESCO has recommended that the great barrier reef should be placed on a list of world heritage sites that are in danger.
The world's largest coal reef has suffered three [00:20:00] major bleaching events since 2015, due to global warming UNESCO says the riff should be placed on the list at the ward heritage committee meeting. Next month, the recommendation also urges Australia to take accelerated action at all possible levels on polluted water from runoff and on climate change.
The latter, a rather interesting request included at the insistence of China, which currently hits UNESCO, especially considering China produces a third of the world's greenhouse gases and Australia's entire annual greenhouse gas output is lower than China's annual increase in carbon oxide production for his past.
This goes controversial book, dark, Amy. It looks like it has no feathers after being slammed by some of Australia's leading scientists. M that Australian anthropologists paid a satin and respected food archeologists. Karen Walsh supported by many other academics have produced. What many are calling the definitive critique of Pascoes dark EMU, the eminent scientist, new book, farmers, or hunter [00:21:00] gatherers that dark EMU debate meticulously eviscerates Pascoes book, forensically examining the claims he makes and accusing him of a lack of true scholarship, ignoring Aboriginal opinions and traditional Aboriginal culture.
They accused Pascoe of editing the original colonial observations until they fitted his personal narrative. They say that while Darcie me purports to be factual, it is in fact littered with unsourced material. It's poorly researched it distorts and exaggerates many points. It selectively emphasizes evidence to suit the author's opinions and it ignores large bodies of information that don't support Pascal narrative.
That's also a view supported by Peter O'Brien's book, bitter harvest the illusion of Aboriginal agriculture in Bruce Pascoes dark EMU, bitter harvest was another forensic examination, which showed that Bruce Pascoe emits the Stuart's and mischaracterizes important formation to such an extent that as purported [00:22:00] history, dark EMEA was worthless and promotes a divisive victim based agenda that pits one Australian against another.
The far left wing Australian broadcasting corporation, the ABC has strongly backed Pascoes book with at least 26, ABC journalism, broadcasters promoting Pascoes claims index. I gave you, however, in an article conversation, honoree, senior Australian national university electric, Christine Judith Nichols says the willingness to accept Pascoes argument reveals a systematic area of failure in the Australian education system.
She points out that while some have described dark, Amy was fabrication Sutton and Walter more measured pathetically showing that in dark EMU Pesco has removed significant passages from publication, which contradict his major objectives. This cherry picking is designed to support Pascoes contention, that Aboriginal people were farmers, and they took sophisticated aquaculture and lived in houses in towns of a thousand [00:23:00] people.
Nicole says that on the basis of long-term research and observation, Sutton and wars portray classical Australian Aboriginal people as highly successful hunter gatherers and fishers, she says in their book, they assert that there wasn't is nothing simple or primitive about hunter gatherer, fishers labor practices, which has a complexity that was, and in many cases still is underpinned by high levels of spiritual and cultural beliefs.
A new study has discovered why people are afraid of the dark. Other that isn't the fear of what could be lurking their wedding to harm you a report in the journal. Plus one has found that a section of the brain used for processing immersions could be the reason for your fear of the dark scientists that Monash university found the amygdala, a collection of brain cells that plays a role in regulating emotion and fear could be the key.
Research is scan the brain activity of 24 people as they're exposed to light and dark and found that light was suppressing activity in the [00:24:00] amygdala and allows for greater connection to other sections of the brain that assists in regularity and expressing fear or forget COVID-19 international politics.
When it comes to internet clickbait, it's hard to beat stories on alien life and flying sources. And proof of that is the latest video that's been doing the rounds on the net in India. Tim minim from Australian skeptics says the vision shows what looks like a strange alien, like humanoid creature walking on the side of a road.
Okay. I wrote in India at night and some motorcyclists were driving past and, uh, In the headlights, the vision limited, but they can say this person this and see got long legs, long, very white walking along the road. And some people looked and ran away or drive away, drive away and came back again. And I was filmed and it was a typical not functioning filming.
But they got closer. And so the usual viral video went viral [00:25:00] around the world. People said, look, I only improve the Miami and walking on the road, looking back over their shoulder, occasionally. And that sort of thing. So I'm looking at this person. Who's obviously fallen in a, in a box of flower, walking along a road in India.
Uh, why is this? And within the bed, um, minutes, these viral videos. The bunch by some, a journalist who had the nerve to actually talk to the witnesses with people on the bikes. And I said, yeah, we'd definitely be back there and had a look. And there was a rather distressed naked lady, but that doesn't stop the video from going viral.
And that's when we saw her say that she, that science traveled a lot more quickly than, than real time stuff. It looked good. I mean, as far as of videos of aliens walking on a road, it's not perfectly clear. It's filmed at night in the headlight of a couple of motorbikes. Why should I care about it? Right?
Is that some sort of a ceremony? Okay. No, not naked, not in my mind, just a very pale person and in a bright light and a headlight, they look white. It might've been prominent. Yeah. It was talking to someone who was disturbed. Okay. They were that they escaped from someplace where [00:26:00] they'd been kept. They were just a very white person.
So naked. From Australian skeptics.
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