Nov. 10, 2021

Hubble Space Telescope Moves into Safe Mode

The Astronomy, Technology, and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 128
*Hubble Space Telescope moves into safe mode
The iconic Hubble Space Telescope is back in Safe Mode today after the Earth orbiting observatory suddenly issued a...


The Astronomy, Technology, and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 128
*Hubble Space Telescope moves into safe mode
The iconic Hubble Space Telescope is back in Safe Mode today after the Earth orbiting observatory suddenly issued a series of error codes suspending all science operations.
*Getting ready to launch the James Webb Space Telescope
All systems are go for next month’s launch of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. The six and a half tonne observatory is slated to launch aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from the European Space Agency’s Kourou Space Port in French Guyana on December the 18th.
*Ingenuity undertakes its 14th flight on Mars
NASA’s Mars Ingenuity helicopter has undertaken a successful 14th flight over the red planet’s Jezero Crater.

*The Science Report
COVID-19 survivors with two vaccination shots show higher spike antibody levels.
Flying foxes learning to survive in suburbia.
Dairy cows have a natural drive to groom themselves and to scratch those hard-to-reach places.
Alex on Tech: Starlink passes a major milestone.
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The Astronomy, Space, Technology & Science News Podcast.

Transcript

SpaceTime S24E128 AI Transcript

This is time series 24 episode 128 for broadcast on the 10th of November, 2021. Coming up on spacetime masses, Hubble space telescope forced into safe mode. Again, getting ready to launch the James Webb space telescope and ingenuity undertakes its 14th flight on the red planet. Mars. All that and more coming up on space time.

Welcome to space time with Stuart Gary

The iconic Hubble space telescope has switched itself into safe mode. After suddenly generating a series of Erik codes, suspending all science operations, mission managers say the safe mode configuration was triggered because of a loss of specific synchronization. Its message provides timing information.

The instruments used to correctly respond to data requests and command. Mission managers have reset the instruments and they have resumed science operations. While they try to determine exactly what's happening. This latest glitch, full the triggering of similar science instrument error codes indicating multiple losses of synchronization of board Hubble a week ago.

As a result, the science instruments are autonomously programmed to enter a safe mode. Still. Mission managers are now evaluating the space, craft data and system diagrams to better understand the synchronization issue and how to address it. They're also developing a testing procedures to collect additional data from the orbiting observatory activities, which are expected to take about a week.

Now, if all this sounds a little bit deja VU Jewish, it is it's the second major issue affecting Hubble this year. The telescope was offline for nearly five weeks back in June when a payload computer, which commands the scientific instruments, suddenly malfunctioned that forced the mission managers to perform a complete transition to a backup computer howl was launched to boot the special discovery on SDS 31 back in April, 1990, more than 30 years ago, that 11,110 kilograms school by size observatory is in the 540 kilometer high or.

It's 2.4 meter mirror studies, the university near infrared, visible ultraviolet light. Lucky Martin built the telescope, which is based on the national reconnaissance offices, crystal care GLF and spy satellites. The first of which was launched in December, 1976. This space-time still the comm getting ready to launch the James Webb space teller.

And ingenuity undertakes its 40th flight above the surface of the red planet, MAs all that and most of the come on space time.

Well, it looks like all systems are go for next month. Launch of masses, James Webb space. Tell us. The six and a half ton observatory slated to launch a board, an Aryan five rocket from the European space agencies, kuru space boat and French Guiana. And December the 18th, James work will be placed in the sun earth, a grand grungy and L to position 1.5 billion kilometers away on the Earth's night side.

The James Webb is designed to succeed the iconic Hubble space telescope. It's primary mirror comprises 18 hexagonal mirror segments made of gold plated beryllium which combined to create a six and a half meter diameter mirror unlikeable, which studies the universe primarily invisible light wavelength dipping into the near infrared and near ultraviolet.

James Webb will observe primarily in mid infrared Richie only slowly into longer wavelengths of visible. That's because James Webb's designed to look further back in space, time than hobble going back more than 13.4 billion years, where it should be at is the ultraviolet light coming from some of the universe's very first stars.

Now this light will have been stretched or redshifted into the infrared range of the spectrum by the physical expansion of space-time itself. It'll allow the James Webb to study astronomy and cosmology and unprecedented detail observing some of the most distant events and objects in the universe, including the formation of the very first galaxies.

But getting James Webb into space will be a complicated procedure. James Webb is the largest, the most complex telescope ever sent it a space. It's a technological Marvel and by necessity, getting it up there will also be an unprecedented rate. Webs launch will trigger 29 days of events during which thousands of parts need to work correctly and in sequence in order to unfold the telescope and put it into its final configuration.

Each step will be controlled meticulously by mission managers on the ground. As this report from NASA TV explains, this is the science mission on par with the Apollo missions space shuttle international space station and Hubble missions for nearly two decades. Thousands of people around the world. Many of spending their entire careers built the James Webb space telescope.

Once we launched the James Webb space telescope, there are no second chances. We have 300 single point failure items and they all have to work, right. When you're a million miles away from the earth, you can't send someone to fix it.

We've never put that telescope this large, since. We want to see these parts of the universe. Humans have never seen before. Looking back in time, almost 14 billion years to see the first galaxies that form after the big bang. And we want to search for the building blocks of life in the atmospheres of planets, orbiting distant stars to unfold the history of the universe with mass first for.

This is the largest primary mirror, the largest sunshield and the most powerful space telescope ever built. And yet this large telescope needs to fit inside a 5.4 meter diamond, a rocket. That's the largest fearing size available on any rocket. And it's the fairing size on our ride to space. The area and five provided by the European space agency is one of the world's most powerful rockets to cheat the fairing size limit.

We build web two fold like origami to fit inside the rocket bear. And this brings us to our most challenging part of this mission on folding it. Okay.

Thank God. You're taking this extraordinarily delicate, precise state-of-the-art scientific instrument. You're slapping it on a rocket. And for the next eight minutes, you exposure from that. Rocket is following you in outer space,

vibrating, shaking,

everything that goes in outer space has to live through this environment and work. Once it gets there. Out having someone come to fix it

two weeks. That's how long it will take to fully deploy the web telescope. We can take longer if we need to. For those two weeks after launch are going to be nail biters. This is the mission operation center at the space telescope science Institute in Baltimore. Those two weeks after launch, you'll be like our Superbowl world cup.

You pick the analogy years of training comes down to these moments,

the web observatory, as 50 major deployments, 50, depending on how you categorize them. And 178 release mechanisms must work to deploy those 50 parks. Every single one of them must work. Unfolding. Web is hands down the most complicated spacecraft activity we've ever done. Then again, nothing about web is easy.

We've never done any of this before. There's nothing simple about sending anything in space. You can't do it without taking risks.

This mission is squarely in new spacecraft territory. Web is the perfect thing. Of science desire drive the engineering capability to new frontiers Webb's unique design was born from reason engineering to accomplish its science goals.

here's the plan shortly after launch, we in full web solar panel for power in our high-gain antenna for community. About 12 hours later, we have an important engine firing that sends web on the proper course towards its orbital destination about a million miles away. That's where, where we'll do its science.

When we'll be moving so fast, it passes the moon's orbit and one and a half days, half the time it took a Paula. Reach lunar orbit. First we lower the sunshield out. Ben raised webs, primary mirror and instruments away from the sun. The solar wind will push us around with the sunshield open. So what unfolded trim tab to help keep us stable?

We got these huge, iconic golden segmented mirrors that will help us deliver amazing new images from the cost books. But in some ways the sunshield is a lot more complicated and it's just as. Without it, nothing works here. We've got five sunshield layers, approximately 8,900 square feet, almost a size of three tennis courts, a very thin captain material about one to two thousands of an inch thick making them go where you want them to go in zero G is extremely challenging.

The sun shield shaped the telescope from the heat of the. Earth and moon, the concept is simple, but there was nothing simple about the design or operation, especially when you get. Well, the sunshield assembly includes 140 release mechanisms, approximately 70 hinge assemblies, eight deployment motors bearing sprays gears about 400 poolees and 90 cables.

Totally 1,312 feet. All this, just to keep the sun shield under control. As it unfolds first, we release these special restraints that protect the sunshield during the. They roll out of the way, but not all the way until we are ready to deploy a side. Next, we release a set of hovers over the core region.

Now comes the critical point all hundred and seven sunshield release mechanisms need to fire on. 107, they free the five central layers allowing them to extend as the mid boost boy with the sunshield fully deployed, we start setting up the optics. First, the secondary mirror is extended and locked into place.

The special radiator behind weds extended, which helps further lower the temperature. The science instruments finally open the primary mirrors means and lock them in place that done web is in its final configuration, but we're not done yet after 47. And accomplishing the hardest spacecraft unfolding folding NASA has ever done web still.

Won't be ready for science, all the instruments. Cool. We'll control motors behind each of webs, 18 milliseconds, secondary mirror, and the fine steering room located inside the center of the primary mirror.

We aligned the neuroscience to form a perfect mirror. Ben Webb will be ready to explore the cosmos.

And in that report from massive TV, we heard from web program director, Greg Robinson, where mission lead systems, engineer, Mike Manziel, web mission instrument systems engineer began a Veela web deployment systems, lead Alfonso steward and web deputy director for vehicle engineering. Amy Lowe this time still the calm, ingenuity, undetected 14 flat on Mars and later in the science.

COVID-19 survivors with two vaccination shots, show our highest spike antibody level, all that and more store to come on. Space time.

NASA is ingenuity helicopter as undertaken a successful 14th flight over the red planet's Jethro crater. The mission saw the tissue box size twin rotor copter undertake its first 2,700 RPM test flight designed to test the ability of the aircraft to fly during the change of seasons on Mars, which is seeing a drop in air density as the Jethro crater region.

And it's a relatively warm mash in summer. The 23 second test flight saw the 1.8 kilogram chopper climbed to an altitude of five meters with a small sideways translation of two meters in order to avoid nearby sand dunes. And for the first time, the flight also took a stream of black and white navigation camera images at a faster rate of seven frames per second.

These tests have been designed to see how the aerial reconnaissance platform performs under more extreme conditions. You need to remember that ingenuity was originally designed to undertake just five flights in a program expected to only last a few months, following perseverance as landing back in February, master technicians, therefore developed the rotor copter specifically to operate at atmospheric densities of between 0.0145 and 0.0185 kilograms per cubic meter that's equivalent to around 1.2% of its atmospheric density.

It's Sila. But with the mission now, continuing well beyond its original design parameters, it densities in crater, a dropping to just 1% of air density on earth. Now the difference may seem small, but it has a significant impact on engineer city's ability to fly. You see the chopper has a thrust margin of around 30%.

That's the additional thrust beyond Hoffer needed to take off climate and the news. But if the Martian atmosphere density drops too far in coming months, then the rodeo copters thrust marching could drop as low as 8%, which means that ingenuity will be operating close to what's called aerodynamic stall.

One way of tackling this problem is to increase the rotor speed from the current 2,537 RPM up to around 2,700 RPM, eventually even 2,800 RPM. But the high road has speeds. Men increased dynamic drag on the road blades, and that becomes problematic, especially as the blade tips are approaching supersonic speeds, which on Mars is much lower than on earth.

Then there's another problem. Ingenuity simply wasn't meant to last this long. And so the issue of parts wearing out, especially parts rotating at high speeds is starting to become a concern for engineers. Only time will tell how much longer the little helicopter can survive this space-time

And Tom had to take another brief look at some of the other stories making, using science this week with the signs. And you study is showing that us health care workers who caught COVID-19 and then had two doses of the Mr. And a vaccine have ended up with highest spike antibody levels, six months after being vaccinated than those who had no infection prior to their vaccination.

The study reported in the journal of the American medical association was unable to determine why there appears to be a greater antibody durability in previously infected people, but it could be due to the number of exposures, the intervals between exposures or the interplay between natural and vaccine derived immunity.

However, they did find that a longer interval between infection and the first vaccine dose led to a higher antibody response, which supports the idea that extending vaccine dosing intervals ends up giving a greater immune response. More than 5 million people have now being killed by the COVID-19 Corona virus, since the deadly disease for spread out a warhead China.

However, the world health organization admits the real death toll is likely to be at least twice that level with, well over a quarter of a billion people. Now, in fact, And you studied shows that while urban expansion poses risks for many native Australian species, the threatened gray headed flying Fox is learning to thrive in suburban neighborhoods.

Scientists use satellite tracking to follow 98 flying foxes for five years to see how they were living in urban and non-urban environment. The findings reported in the journal. Plus one show that even flying foxes, living in more natural habitats, we're still heading towards human modified environments for around 26 to 38% of their foraging needs flying foxes.

Living in cities have diets that include plants. They weren't previously known for eating that makes tree-lined streets, agriculture and nature patches in suburban areas and inviting prospects. But research is warm. This may be putting flying foxes at risk in new ways. With humans, power lines, fruit nets, and suburban hate all dangerous.

Should they find themselves trapped in the city? Well, it shouldn't come as a surprise that like all of us dairy cows have a natural drive to groom themselves and scratch those hard to reach places. Now a new study reported in the journal of dairy. Science has found that when given the opportunity dairy cows will use mechanical brushes daily at every stage of their lives.

The heifers began using the brushes almost immediately, even though they may never have been exposed to them before cows with no access to brushes, tend to rub their heads and bodies against pen walls, and the edges of water troughs. And that can cause injury. The finding show that by providing access to brushes in that housing environment proved to be a positive welfare issue for cattle Elon Musk's plan to blanket the planet and broadband satellite communications continues to grow with this company.

Now reaching over a hundred thousand users. With the details we are joined by technology editor, Alex from ity.com. Well, the user styling has shipped 100,000 terminals. So they're in the U S and Canada in the UK, in Germany, in France, Austria, Netherlands, Ireland. Switzerland Denmark Portugal and in New Zealand and Australia, but of course, Elon Musk, isn't the only provider of satellite broadband.

There are many companies that are working on this and soon satellite broadband, another 34 satellites as well. So, yeah. Yeah. Well, it just means that I say broadband connectivity will become even more ubiquitous. Today with various 3g, 4g and 5g options. But of course, in those areas in far off rural and regional areas or in the middle of the ocean where a satellite broadband is expensive, we will become much cheaper.

It used to be charging a dollar a minute or more for voice calls. And now you can pay 10 bucks a month and get unlimited calls and texts in Australia, at least with. 2 3, 4, 5 gigabytes of data. And you even have Felix mobile that is charging $35 Australian a month giving you only limited calls and texts on unlimited 4g at 20 megabits speeds, which is enough for HD streaming, Netflix and YouTube, and all the other services.

So in Australia, Starlink is 113 hundred. A month, you will need to pay $709 in the hardware phase and $100 in shipping and handling. And then you get speeds between 50 to 150 megabits. Now, of course, that compares with gigabit plants that you can get in Australia and other parts of the world on new fiber to the curb and fiber to the home plans.

But those broadband speeds are only going to get faster from space. And at the moment with style, you do have drops in coverage, but. Elon Musk launches, evermore satellites, as part of his constellation, those coverage problems will go away, but you're looking at spades that are roughly equivalent to the sort of standard NBN connection you have now at a hundred thousand dollars, that is probably 30 or $40 more than what you'll get paying for your typical NBN connection in Australia.

But it is something. He was broadband to people who can't get in being whole and sitting areas. And obviously in the rural and regional areas where fiber is not readily available and you might not have 5g signals, it can be a real lifesaver. So those prices will come down just as the prices of 5g and 4g and phone calls have dramatically come down over the past 20 years when the role is to be a place for a landline or.

The future B satellite communications, exclusively a place for landlines, because you've got five to connections, private connections coming to your home. I mean, I always used to say that why it is that as in wireless, but of course we've had wireless catching up at a great rate of knots over the past few years.

And, you know, I remember when I used to. Uh, telephone cables stretching from one corner of the house to another corner of the house, because those were the days before wifi. And I want it to be able to use a laptop computer in a certain room when laptop computers used to come with the motor built in you click in the phone line and connect.

Of course, nowadays quantifies ubiquitous toward liquid is certainly in major regional areas in the world of major cities. And I remember when reading about how in Africa, a lot of African kind of. Didn't have the copper based rollout. And they went straight from not having any communications to having two G and 3g phone of which African farmers were able to do banking and check weather and do all sorts of things that people in the west pay for granted.

So, you know, I don't know if you will exclusively be satellite in the future. I mean, the lowest reapplies for a fiber connection and different types of wifi and 5g and 6g, and whenever else was coming. Satellite, it's going to be kind of even more important. And for some people that will only have a satellite connection and nothing else

That’s Alex Zaharov-Reutt from itwire.com.

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You've been listening to SpaceTime with Stuart Gary. This has been another quality podcast production from bitesz.com.

Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Technology Editor

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows.