SpaceTime Series 25 Episode 125
*Lift off NASA’s Artemis-1 Mega Rocket Launches Orion to Moon
The world’s most powerful rocket NASA’s Space Launch System has successfully blasted into orbit on its maiden flight. The spectacular nighttime launch from...
SpaceTime Series 25 Episode 125
*Lift off NASA’s Artemis-1 Mega Rocket Launches Orion to Moon
The world’s most powerful rocket NASA’s Space Launch System has successfully blasted into orbit on its maiden flight. The spectacular nighttime launch from pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida carried the Artemis-1 Orion spacecraft on the first leg of a journey that will ultimately return humans to the Moon.
*NASA's CAPSTONE arrives at the moon
NASA’s CAPSTONE spacecraft has successfully slipped into lunar orbit becoming the first cubesat to complete the journey.
*A solar snake slithers across the Sun
The European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter has imaged a massive flash of plasma streaking a third of the way across the face of the Sun.
*The Science Report
Prepare for increases in flooding and droughts caused by an acceleration of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation due to climate change.
Fraser Island responsible for creating the Great Barrier Reef.
Are you smarter than a fifth grader.
Skeptics guide predictions on major disaster in Ireland
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The Astronomy, Space, Technology & Science News Podcast.
[0:01] This is Space Time, Series 25, Episode 125, for broadcast on the 21st of November, 2022. Coming up on Space Time…,
Lift off of NASA's Artemis 1 mega-rocket launching Orion to the Moon.
The first CubeSat to visit the Moon arrives in lunar orbit, and a solar snake slithers across the face of the Sun.
[0:26] All that and more coming up on Space Time. The world's most powerful rocket, NASA's Space Launch System, or SLS, has successfully.
[0:55] Blasted into orbit on its maiden flight.
The spectacular night-time launch from Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida carried the Atomos 1 Orion spacecraft on the first leg of a journey that will ultimately return humans to the Moon.
Meteorologists with the United States Space Force's Space Launch Delta 45 team, which which operates Space Launch Complex 39B at Cape Canaveral, forecast 80% favorable weather conditions for the flight.
[1:25] The Space Launch System rocket and its Orion spacecraft arrived at Kennedy's Pad 39B on November 4th, where they remained in place, riding out Hurricane Nicole.
Following the storm, teams conducted thorough assessments of the rocket, spacecraft and associated ground systems and confirmed there were no significant impacts the severe weather event.
Engineers had previously rolled the giant 98-meter tall rocket back into the Vehicle Assembly Building on September 26.
That was ahead of Hurricane Ian and after scrubbing two earlier launch attempts, one on August 29 due to a faulty temperature sensor on one of the SLS core stage's RS-25 main engines and a second on September 4 due to a liquid hydrogen propellant leak in an interface between the Space Launch System rocket and the mobile launcher.
Prior to rolling back the 6.5 km to the Vehicle Assembly Building, teams successfully repaired the cryogenic hydrogen leak and developed updated tanking procedures.
While in the Vehicle Assembly Building, engineers performed standard maintenance to repair minor damage to the foam and cork on the thermal protection system system and to recharge or replace batteries throughout the launch vehicle.
[2:39] Artemis 1 had a two-hour launch window for its 26-day flight into orbit around the moon and back. The textbook perfect launch was the first leg of a mission, which will see Orion travel thousands
of kilometers beyond the moon before returning to Earth. And launch director NTD, our launch team is ready to proceed at this time. I copy all NTD. At this time I will proceed with my poll. And,
attention on 232, this is the launch director performing the final poll for launch. Verify no No constraints and go for launch.
EGS Program Chief Engineer. EGS Program Chief Engineer verifies that the EGS SLS and Arroyum Program Chief Engineers have no constraints and are go for launch. Copy, Greg.
Thank you. EGS Chief Safety Officer.
The EGS CSO verifies the SLS Orion and EGS CSOs have no constraints and are go for launch.
Copy, John. Thank you. Range weather. Weather has no constraints and weather is go for launch. Copy LWO and Mission Manager, Launch Director.
Launch Director, Mission Manager 232, the Mission Management team has been pulled. You have a go to proceed with terminal count and launch of Artemis 1.
I copy y'all, thank you. And entity, Launch Director.
[3:45] Go ahead, Launch Director. Yes, sir. On behalf of all the men and women across our great nation who have worked to bring this hardware together to make this day possible, and for the Artemis generation, this is for you.
At this time, I give you a go to resume count and launch Artemis 1.
Copy, Launch Director, and thank you.
All right, we do have a couple of steps to configure, and then we will be ready to resume the clock. CVSC, NTD.
CVSC here. Initiate recording of Orion cameras at this time. In work.
R, NTD. RSR here. Perform the booster ignition, SNA arm rotation enable.
NDT, RSR, booster ignition, SNA arm rotation enable is complete.
And I copy, thank you. Okay, so there you heard the poll from Launch Director, getting ready to get that new T-Zero time.
The poll that you heard was the NASA test director's poll. All right, and we have verified no cutouts at this time.
And all personnel, we are going to resume the clock. GLS, you can resume the clock on your mark. GLS copies. Countdown clock will resume on my mark. three.
[4:43] 2, 1, mark. GLS mainline has been initiated. Okay, we went straight into terminal count. Control has been given over to,
the GLS, the ground launch sequencer, a computer and software that is doing all of the commanding and monitoring of the space launch system. We'll hear call-outs from the GLS operator Alex Pandelos, as well as NASA test director Jeff Spalding.
GLS is pre-tensioning the umbilicals at this very moment. That's getting them ready to detach.
At liftoff, those arms will swing away, let go of the rocket in a clockwise direction. The GLS is performing up to 100 commands per second, including configuring ground systems for power transfer to the rocket.
GLS is turning on cameras, recording video inside and outside the crew module to collect data for engineers. Purging the afskurt booster with high flow nitrogen, clear out any hydrogen gas that may be there.
The crew access arm is already retracted.
When there is crew during Artemis II, it would happen at T-6 minutes.
The base of the mobile launcher, if something wasn't done to reduce the power from the pressure caused by the rocket's ignition and thunderous sound, it could damage the rocket.
[5:51] So the ignition overpressure and sound suppression system will flood the mobile launcher with water. That sequence starts at T-17 seconds.
Now coming up in less than 30 seconds, the ground launch sequencer will start bringing the high energy systems online, starting with core stage pressurization.
Fire in room one is completely silent as they listen for the next call. GLS.
[6:11] Core Stage tank pressurization. The Core Stage tank is now pressuring, pressurizing to flight levels. The replenish valve to the liquid hydrogen tank now closing.
The liquid oxygen tank will come a little later.
Now we're arming the Orion Ascent Pyros and transfer to internal power. The launch abort system or LAS jettison motor is now armed.
On this flight the abort motor is inactive because there is no crew on board.
Up next is the flight termination system or FTS which gives the Space Force the ability to destruct the rocket if it goes in the wrong direction.
Let's listen in for that. GLS is go for FTS arm.
[6:44] The flight termination system is now armed. This is where the RS-25 engines and their bleed go to high flow.
It's been a little tricky to dial in. GLS is go for LH-2 high flow bleed check.
[6:55] Good word, we've passed that. The cryo team got the LH-2 engine bleed pressure loop dialed in. They are now at the right temperature for launch.
Up next, GLS fires up the capos. Those are high-speed turbines which provide pressure to hydraulic pumps that steer the RS-25s. Stands for Core Stage Auxiliary Power Unit, START. GLS' GO for Core Stage APU, START.
That now leads to the thrust vector control test.
That can proceed now. The engines gimbal at the bottom of the core stage. You will hear the GO for purge sequence four.
[7:28] That's a helium purge of the four core stage engines downstream of the propellant valve, getting the air and moisture out.
[7:35] GLS is go for prep sequence four.
[7:38] And in just a few seconds GLS will close the core stage LOX vent liquid oxygen. The white vapor cloud caused by the super cold gaseous oxygen condensing the water in the atmosphere will disappear.
And there it goes, it's closed. LOX vent closed. Pressure rising in the core stage LOX tank to flight levels.
[7:55] Engines will gamble before core stage.
[7:59] RS-25 engines, gimbling around, testing the ability to steer the rocket into space. They will operate at 109 percent performance. Each RS-25 throwing down a half million pounds of,
thrust. All four, two million pounds. All together with the boosters, 8.8 million pounds of thrust.
GLS is going for upper stage to internal power.
Now the upper stage has gone to internal power. So power is removed from the rocket's upper stage, the ICPS and it's been switched to battery power. The same milestone is coming up for the core stage,
at T minus one minute and 30 seconds. GLS scope for core stage to internal power. The rocket's core stage which houses the three flight computers is now on battery power so there is no more hold time available because there's no more margin on the battery so if we have a hold we'd have to.
[8:51] To recycle back to T-minus 10 minutes and recharge those batteries. The count continues. A note now, shortly after liftoff, mission control Houston will take control of the rocket. Coming up at T-minus 33 seconds, the GLS will hand,
off control to the ALS. This is the autonomous launch sequencer. On board the.
[9:09] Rocket it will take over command and control of the rocket, but the ALS will check, make sure there's no holds coming from the ground up until T-minus.
GLS is go for ALS. And we are go for ALS. The space launch system is now Now counting down to liftoff of Orion on its maiden voyage to the moon.
Launch team can no longer recycle the count. Sound suppressor water now flowing under the ML.
Here we go.
[9:31] Hydrogen burn-off igniters initiated. Seven, six, five, four stage engines start. Three, two, one, boosters in ignition.
And liftoff of Artemis I.
[9:43] We rise together back to the moon and beyond.
[9:54] All four RS-25 engines on the core stage and two solid rocket boosters now propelling the vehicle at 128 miles per hour. Good control on the roll from teams in Mission
Control Houston, all good calls so far. Now 30 seconds into the flight of Artemis 1. First mile done will be for the vehicles to pass through Max Q in about one minute and nine seconds into
launch. This is the greatest period of atmospheric force on the rocket. SLS now traveling 607 miles per hour. An 8.8 million pounds of maximum thrust quiet here in the loops in Mission Control.
Four core stage engines are throttling down ahead of passing through Max Q. Now one minute, 21 seconds into the flight, traveling at 1,420 miles per hour.
[10:37] The four core stage engines are back at maximum thrust.
[10:43] The next major milestone will be for the solid rocket boosters to cut off in Jettison about two minutes and 11 seconds into the flight, so about 30 seconds from now.
Again, quiet here in Mission Control Houston as teams continue monitoring the flight of Artemis 1.
We're now 16 miles downrange from the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center traveling over 2,800 miles per hour. Standing by for solid rocket booster Jettison.
Confirmation that the solid rocket boosters have separated these 177 foot boosters. Now the core stage continues to power the flight of Orion all four RS-25 engines firing traveling over 3,400 miles per hour, 46 miles downrange.
Hearing nominal calls here in Mission Control Houston. We've still got four good engines on the core stage. Next up we'll be looking for the service module fairing to separate.
This is three 15 by 15 foot fairing panels providing structural support protecting the service module. Those will separate at about three minutes and 11 seconds into flight and very shortly thereafter will be followed by the launch abort system,
separation. Just over three minutes into the flight of Artemis 1 now traveling over.
[11:47] 4,060 miles per hour, 83 miles downrange.
We just had confirmation that the service module fairing has separated and that the launch abort system pyros have fired separating those from Orion as well.
We just heard the call for three engine press meaning if SLS were to lose an engine at this point in the mission we could still achieve a nominal mission. We would just have an extended main engine cutoff time.
However, we still have four good engines all at maximum thrust right now powering the first flight of Artemis at 5200 miles per hour, 148 miles downrange.
We're four minutes and 16 seconds into the flight of Artemis 1. So far we've had a clean ascent.
[12:23] We saw those solid rocket boosters jettison about two minutes and 11 seconds after liftoff. Shortly after we had the service module fairings separate as well as the launch abort system. The launch abort system was inert for this flight except to perform this separation.
Those four core stage engines will continue to fire and power the flight of Artemis 1, now traveling over 6,800 miles per hour, 229 miles downrange. Booster flight controller,
reports that the engines are looking good. Our core stage main engine cutoff time is about eight minutes and three seconds. We are now five minutes and 11 seconds into the flight, 7,656 miles per hour.
core stage engines, those four RS-25 engines. The last time those core stage engines flew they were taking space shuttles to orbit and now with upgraded
capabilities they're launching the future of human spaceflight. Five minutes 42 seconds into the mission we are now traveling 8,800 miles per hour 345 miles downrange from the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center. Again we are anticipating.
[13:22] Core stage main engine call off at about eight minutes and three seconds and about ten seconds later we'll see core stage separation at which point Orion and the interim cryogenic propulsion stage will be flying free. Now traveling over 10,000 miles per hour, 6 minutes and 15 seconds into the flight of Artemis 1,
427 miles downrange. Quiet here on the loops in Mission Control Houston, teams continue to monitor this first flight. About a minute and a half now until that
core stage main engine cutoff time, our four core stage engines continue to fire maximum thrust. Coming up on seven minutes since launch today, now traveling
over 12,800 miles per hour, 563 miles downrange. Again, still quiet here in the in Mission Control Houston. As we prepare for main engine cutoff, the four RS-25
engines are beginning to throttle down. 30 seconds now until core stage main engine cutoff. All four engines continue to throttle down. Now 7 minutes 45 seconds into the flight traveling over 16,000 miles per hour, continuing to hear.
[14:17] Good calls here in Mission Control Houston. We're standing by for core stage main engine cutoff. And we have confirmation of core stage main engine
cutoff Orion is now in Earth's orbit. The Flight Dynamics Officer reports that we have a nominal main engine cutoff and we just heard the call for core stage separation. That means
Orion and the Inter-Aid cryogenic propulsion stage are now flying free from the core stage of the space launch system. Artemis One mission manager Mike Sarafintz says space launch systems accomplishment of the first major mulsner of the mission allowed Orion to embark on the next phase, that is to test its systems and prepare for future manned missions.
[14:55] Artemis 1 is a critical part of NASA's Moon to Mars exploration program. That'll see humans establish a permanent lunar base and then use that as a launching pad for eventual manned missions to Mars and beyond.
[15:09] Artemis 1 is a shakedown cruise, testing the technology which will be used in 2024 on the manned Artemis 2 mission. That'll see humans return to lunar orbit for the first time
in over half a century. And that will be followed by the return of humans to the lunar surface on Artemis 3 in 2025. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson says Artemis 1 is pushing Orion to the limits of deep spaceflight. Eight minutes and eight seconds after launch,
the Space Launch System core stage achieved MECA, or Main Engine Cutoff, successfully shutting down its four RS-25 main engines, which first flew decades earlier on
space shuttles. Stage separation occurred 10 seconds later, with Orion and its interim cryogenic propulsion upper stage achieving orbit insertion. After reaching its initial
orbit, Orion deployed its solar arrays and engineers began performing checkouts of the spacecraft systems. After a single 90-minute orbit around the Earth, the SLS upper stage
successfully ignited for an 18-minute trans-lunar injection burn, placing Orion on course for the moon and boosting its speed from 28,160 km per hour to 36,210 kph. Orion then successfully
jettisoned its upper stage and began its outward coast to the moon, powered by its European Space Agency-built service module.
[16:35] Over the following hours and days, a series of 10 small cubesats carrying a range of scientific experiments and technology demonstrators were deployed from the upper stage's interstage ring which connected the upper stage to the Orion spacecraft.
An 11th CubeSat will be deployed once near the Moon. Each of these microwave oven-sized satellites has its own mission, designed to help fill gaps in science's understanding of the local space environment,
the Moon, or to test technologies for future missions to explore the Moon and beyond.
Orion's service module also performed a series of course correction boons, keeping the spacecraft on target.
Throughout the flight, mission managers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas are conducting ongoing checkouts to ensure all systems are nominal.
About now Orion is undertaking its flyby of the Moon, performing a close approach to the lunar surface on its way to a distant retrograde orbit, a highly stable orbit 65,000 km beyond the Moon.
Orion will spend about 10 days in lunar orbit before heading back to Earth at some 40,000 km per hour, eventually splashing down under parachutes in the North Pacific Ocean off the coast of California. It'll be the fastest reentry ever of a human rated spacecraft.
[17:54] Communications between Mission Control and Orion are being undertaken jointly by the Near Space Network, which is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt,
Maryland and which provides communications for spacecraft in low Earth orbit, and the Deep Space Network, managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, which provides longer-range communications and tracking beyond Earth orbit.
The Deep Space Network has three tracking and communication stations, located at Goldstone, California, Madrid, Spain and at Tidbin, Billiard and Ecamberra.
The Deep Space Network, or DSN as insiders call it, is currently supporting dozens of missions across the solar system and even beyond into interstellar space. It was the Deep Space Network's Cambra station which was first to make contact with Orion as it left Earth's orbit on its outbound journey to the Moon.
[18:47] And Glenn Nagle from the Canberra station says it'll also be the last to make contact with Orion as it returns home.
So both the near space network and the deep space network have been providing the two-way communications to track NASA's Artemis mission on its journey since the time of its launch and then right throughout its journey to the Moon and then return to Earth's flashdown.
So particularly for Canberra, we were the first station to have contacted the spacecraft shortly after its launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
And then we handled communications, and in fact, right throughout the following day, to be able to make sure that spacecraft is on its journey,
a couple of the course corrections that it needed to do, and have been providing back from the spacecraft really spectacular images of a downward journey leaving the Earth behind and the Moon getting closer in the window.
For those of us old enough to remember the Saturn V and Apollo 11 and that whole era, it does bring back memories. Oh, it certainly does. I was that seven-year-old watching the Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the surface of the moon.
[19:44] For me, having no idea, more than 50 years later, I'd be sitting at the place watching a new spacecraft hitting off to the moon, getting ready to send humans back to the surface of the moon. with a long white.
But yeah, it certainly brought back memories of those amazing days of Apollo. This isn't just going back to the Moon.
This is setting humanity up for eventually going onto Mars because it'll be Orion that'll be doing that.
Yeah. So this spacecraft is not just designed to travel through the Moon. It is a vehicle to eventually take humans off to Mars.
[20:14] But we need the Moon as a staging post, a place to live and work for longer periods of time, building the infrastructure and the experience that we need to be able to take that next great leap a thousand times further away than the moon to the planet Mars.
That may still be another 20 years or more away, we're not in the race anymore, but we will go when we're ready and we'll be doing it with multiple nations together.
So the moon is a place where we can build a base of operations, a scientific base, just like we have in places like Antarctica, many nations working together in science, cooperating and working there.
So we can do the same at the moon and use that and that experience to go further afield. multinational approach is happening already with Orion, the service module was built by the European Space Agency.
Yeah, so the Europeans are a big part of this mission and of course we're using some of the best technologies to develop the spaceflight over the last 50 years in this new vehicle, but with all new power systems to allow the spacecraft to stay out there for longer periods,
of time, going to be building a space station in orbit around the moon, Lunar Gateway, which will take the cooperation of many, many nations, up to 15 nations in a similar way that we've done with the International Space Station and Earth orbit.
The lunar gateway will probably form the basis of the eventual vehicle that goes to Mars. Yes, so for building these larger structures and.
[21:27] Essentially, particularly in deep space, that means you're not sort of tied down to having to get your whole vehicle off the Earth. You need an enormous rocket to launch something big enough to take a journey there.
So if we can do that construction in Earth orbit, basically put our spaceship together as a station with pulsions and power modules and habitat, storage and all the things we need to go on that journey, then yeah, a much better way to do it.
And even a vehicle that might not necessarily have that one use. It could be a cycling vehicle just constantly traveling back and forth between Earth and Mars and a big elliptical orbit and taking humans there for the ride.
Now that sounds a lot like Elon Musk in Starship. Well yeah but we're at that time and technology we can do it. It was actually a concept originally. He steamed up five stars Aldrin, second man to walk on the moon. A great engineer came up with this idea for a Mars Cycler spacecraft.
And not a bad boxer either from what I hear.
[22:16] Yeah sometimes he gets a little bit annoyed by the moon deniers shall we say. Yeah how does Orion compare to the old Apollo capsules?
So we're looking with the Apollo program, we're able to send three astronauts on a fairly cramped journey to the moon.
So you've got a sort of 50% larger spacecraft here with the largest peach seal we've ever produced for human rated spacecraft.
We've got to carry up to four to perhaps six astronauts at a time on journeys to the moon. So we just won't be landing two guys on the surface.
We'll be landing the first woman on the moon, the first people of color, other guys, a whole crew to do really intense exploration and especially when we get to the point to build scientific base somewhere near the South Pole. We're going to need more than just two people on,
the surface. And this is also where Elon Musk and Starship come back in because a version of Starship to be called HLS will actually do the shuttling between what will be the Gateway,
Space Station and the lunar surface. Yes, so NASA has selected SpaceX out of three competitors to better provide the human landing system HLS to take astronauts from Gateway down to the surface of the moon. Now of course SpaceX hasn't had the first launch of their new vehicle.
Do that to even start testing that program but they're probably only a month away before Will they actually do that first attempt?
[23:28] Of that launch for that type of vehicle and behind the scenes, they are working on the human landing system to be a very big vehicle. In fact, for me, I sure did. It's a lot like the types of vehicles.
[23:39] That we had in science fiction movies of the 1950s, that great big cylindrical rocket and the big landing legs and powerful motors that landed on the surface of the moon and take off again,
leaving nothing behind. But the big thing about a big vehicle landing on the moon is you can take a lot of cargo with you. And that's going to be essential if we're going to explore further afield.
[23:57] We need transport vehicles for the moon, we all need to take infrastructure, power system, putting solar on the moon, having communication satellites in orbit around the moon just to relay signals from one place to the other. So yeah, there's some exciting times ahead and it's a combination of those government programs through NASA, the In-Space Agency and others,
and of course the private sector that can provide that additional investment.
And of course Artemis 1 was carrying a number of passengers, namely a whole bunch of CubeSats. Yeah, so in the Eater stage after the spacecraft started its journey out to the moon, the Eater stage had 11 CubeSats in it. So CubeSats are these small sort of almost microwave oven-sized,
compact spacecraft. They're usually solar powered and they sort of unfurl themselves and start their own journey. So you've got missions from Japan and from NASA is sending some little miniature
spacecraft and a few other private companies as well to do explorations like look at new landing systems for heading down to the surface of the Moon with tiny spacecraft or
spacecraft to look for water ice on the surface of the Moon or to even go off and do biomedical experiments as one called biospensinal which is actually carrying on board samples of DNA and human tissue so we can see what the long-term effects of the lunar radiation environment so far away from the Earth's.
[25:12] Magnetic field, what that will be on the human body and that will be really important for when we're sending humans and having them working on the Moon for long periods of time. What do we need to do to protect those astronauts?
That's Glenn Nagle from NASA's Deep Space Communications Complex near Canberra.
And this is Space Time. Still to come, the first CubeSat mission to visit the Moon arrives in lunar orbit and a solar snake slithers across the Sun.
All that and more still to come on Space Time.
[25:56] While NASA's Artemis 1 mission was making its way to the Moon, a much smaller spacecraft, no bigger than a bread box, successfully slipped into lunar orbit.
NASA's Capstone mission is the first CubeSat to arrive at the Moon.
[26:12] The tiny 25 kilogram probe is now in a near-rectilinear halo orbit, a highly elliptical path that will eventually be occupied by NASA's Lunar Gateway Space Station when it's built over
coming years. Gateway will act as a base camp for future Artemis missions down to the lunar surface. Its first modules are expected to be in position sometime after 2024. Capstone,
the CIS Lunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation experiment,
is designed to study this orbit to ensure that it will be suitable for the future Gateway,
Space Station. The orbit marks a Lagrange position between the Earth and the Moon, where the gravitational interactions between the two bodies cancel each
other out, thereby creating a gravitational well which could keep a spacecraft stable in position. It's the first time a spacecraft has been in this
orbit and Capstone will aim to verify the suspected suitability of the orbit over the next six months. Capstone will also perform a series of communications and navigational tests. They'll be in concert with NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft which has been orbiting the Moon since 2009.
The CubeSat is now undertaking a series of cleanup maneuvers designed to ensure or the spacecraft is inserted precisely into its correct orbit.
[27:32] Capstone was launched on an Electron rocket from New Zealand on June 28. It was placed on a highly fuel-efficient 4.5-month-long trek using gravitational contours between the Earth and the Moon to reach its target. But it's not been a smooth flight,
it's had a number of problems. The first saw mission managers lose contact with the probe on July 4 just after it separated from its Electron proton upper stage kick motor.
[27:59] That was eventually tracked down to an improperly formatted command which was quickly corrected. Then two months later on September the 8th, Capstone suffered another issue during a planned trajectory correction engine burn when,
it suddenly began to tumble out of control forcing the spacecraft to enter a protective safe mode. That issue was eventually traced to a faulty
propulsion system valve and a workaround was developed. Of course Capstone won't be the only CubeSat in lunar orbit for long. It'll shortly be joined by 11 fellow CubeSats deployed from NASA's Artemis 1 mission. And while Capstone is the first CubeSat to achieve lunar orbit, it's not the first to leave Earth orbit.
That honor goes to NASA's twin Marko probes, which were deployed from the Mars InSight lander back in 2018 to study the Red Planet. This is space-time.
Still to come, a solar snake slithers across the Sun and later in the science report meteorologists warn that Australia needs to prepare for
increasing floods and droughts caused by an acceleration of the El Nino southern oscillation index due to climate change. All that and more still to come on Space Time.
[29:25] The European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter has imaged a massive flash of plasma streaking a third of the way across the face of the Sun.
Astronomers say this spectacular event was actually a surge of cooler atmospheric gases snaking through hotter surrounding plasma and suspended by a long filament of the Sun's magnetic field.
The observations, which were a precursor to a much larger eruption, provided an intriguing new addition to the zoo of features revealed so far by the Solar Orbiter mission.
The event, which astronomers are referring to as a solar snake, was seen on September 5 as Solar Orbiter was approaching the Sun for its October 12 close flyby.
Plasma is a fourth state of matter.
[30:10] While relatively rare on Earth, it's the most common state of matter in the universe. It's actually a superheated ionized gas stripped of electrons, which on Earth is commonly seen as lightning.
The loss of electrons makes the gas electrically charged and therefore susceptible to magnetic fields.
All the gas in the Sun's atmosphere is a plasma because the temperature here is more than a million degrees Celsius. The study's lead author David Long from the Mallard Space Science Laboratory says the plasma snake was seen flowing from one side of the Sun to the other.
The magnetic field was extremely twisted, causing changes in the plasma's direction. The observations were captured by Solar Orbiter's ultraviolet imager.
The snake took around three hours to complete its journey across the face of the Sun, meaning it was traveling at around 170 km per second.
What makes the snake so intriguing is that it began from a solar-active region that later erupted as a coronal mass ejection, ejecting billions of tons of plasma into space.
[31:12] And this raises the possibility that the snake was a sort of precursor to this event. And the good thing there is Solar Orbiter caught it using all its instruments.
[31:22] For the spacecraft's energetic particle detector, the eruption was one of the most intense solar particle events it had seen.
And, fortuitously, the eruption also swept over NASA's Parker Solar Probe, allowing its instruments to also measure the coronal mass ejection.
[31:38] Being able to witness a coronal mass ejection take place, and then sample its ejected gases, either with its own instruments or those of another spacecraft, is one of Solar Orbiter's primary scientific aims.
It allows astronomers to get a better understanding of solar activity, and the weight creates space weather, which can disrupt satellites and other technologies on Earth.
Launched in February 2020, the 1.8 tonne solar orbiter is a sun-observing satellite, designed to obtain detailed measurements of the inner heliosphere and the nascent solar wind.
Its mission includes a series of gravity assists of both the Earth and Venus, which will allow the spacecraft to move out of the planetary plane of the solar system and observe the Sun's little-understood polar regions, which are difficult to study from Earth.
These observations will be important in understanding how the Sun creates and controls its heliosphere, the atmospheric region of the Sun that bathes the entire solar system.
In June 2020, Solar Orbiter came within 77 million kilometers of the Sun, capturing the closest observations of the Sun ever undertaken at that time.
And in March this year, Solar Orbiter got even closer to within 75 million kilometers of the Sun, halfway between the Sun and the Earth, and closer than any other spacecraft ever.
This space time.
[33:15] And time that to take a brief look at some of the other stories making use in science this week with a science report. Meteorologists are warning that we need to prepare now for increases in flooding and droughts caused by an acceleration of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation due to climate change.
Scientists say that ocean surface temperature changes in the Eastern Pacific and the weather that comes with it, namely the El Nino and La Nina events, are likely to be more and more detectable by 2030 under current climate change projections.
The findings reported in the journal Nature Communications are based on studies looking at 70 years of data on ENSO, the El Nino Southern Oscillation, which sees the Pacific climate naturally isolate,
between the warm El Nino and the cooler La Nina weather patterns.
Combining this data with climate models, meteorologists say climate change-related variations in ENSO events will be detectable in the eastern Pacific region within eight years.
And that's four decades earlier than previously thought.
[34:19] New research suggests that Fraser Island and the nearby Kukula sand mass in southeastern Queensland may be the reason that the southern and central Great Barrier Reef exists.
At 122 kilometres in length, Fraser Island is the world's largest sand island. It was formed between 700,000 and 1.2 million years ago.
Scientists have always puzzled as to why the Great Barrier Reef only formed around half a million years ago when Australia already had conditions appropriate for reef growth much earlier.
Now, a report in the journal Nature Geoscience claims the answer might be Fraser Island. Researchers found that the development of Fraser Island dramatically reduced sediment supply to the continental shelf north of the island and this facilitated widespread coral reef formation in the southern and central Great Barrier Reef.
[35:12] A new study suggests that you're probably not smarter than a fifth grader, at least when it comes to picking up new skills.
A report in the journal Current Biology has discovered specific brain messengers that behave differently in children compared to adults.
Scientists measured the concentration of GABA, a brain messenger that stabilises newly learned knowledge and skills, in children and adults as they were both given visual training.
The researchers say that while GABA concentration in adults stayed constant during the experiment, kids received a rapid GABA boost during that training that lasted long after the training had ended.
The findings suggest that this could be the reason why kids seem to pick up new skills faster than adults.
[35:55] Well, it's not often we get to test out psychic predictions in real time, but we get to do so this week. It seems the psychic called Aaron Lazar has issued a warning on his TikTok channel,
claiming that a major world event involving the Atlantic Ocean will be happening along the West Irish coast in November. Okay, so we're in November, let's wait and see. No pun intended, what happens.
Tim Mendham from Australian Skeptics says these sort of predictions are usually kept fairly vague, but Lazar has narrowed it all down. So a major world event, the Atlantic Ocean and the West Irish coast.
[36:31] Can't wait. There's a psychic who is also he's a channel, he's an ascension mentor, he's an Akashic realm expert and a weatherman too apparently because he predicts that the.
[36:43] West coast of Ireland is going to go under in just weeks. No, no hold on, hold on, I can't get away away with any of that. I know what a weatherman is. What were some of those others?
He's an Akashic realm expert. Now Akashic comes from the religion in quotes called Theosophy, which was started off, started up in the 19th century by Madame Blavatsky, who was a bit
of a mystic herself. She was quite critical of a lot of psychics actually, honestly, and she wasn't a bit skeptical too, in some areas, but not in others. But this is a bit of a pseudo religion, bit of a pseudo philosophy, a bit of things mixed in together. So this goes a Kashik Realm expert, he's also a psychic of course, he's a channeler, he channels spirits,
of dead people or spirits that never lived, aliens or whatever, ancient gods you name it, they can channel all sorts of things and give you advice which is always pretty vague in the name but never mind.
As sentient mental, I'm not even going to try and figure out what that one is.
[37:35] Somewhere to help you climb the ladder or something. I don't know. Anyway, so this guy was predicting that the west of Ireland would be hit by a major, in quotes, world event in just weeks.
Now, it's been hard to say exactly what the major world event was going to be until you've read further down through the story that he's telling people to keep an eye on the water and have a go bag and some cash ready in case they need to evacuate.
Now, presumably keep an eye on the water means there's going to be a tsunami or some sort of thing like that and the go bag means you have your suitcase by the door and you go when the water is approaching or even your toilet's on its way.
This was supposed to happen. As a journalist, I always have a go bag, spare phone. That's right. You have it ready to go and your passport.
Passport, all that sort of stuff. Lots of cash.
[38:15] And a book, and a good book to read on the way. I have my phone, so that's good.
This appeared in a story that, I'm not sure when the actual prediction was made, but it appeared in a story that I saw in a publication in about mid September.
Weeks might have passed by then actually and if you haven't seen the west of Ireland wiped out by a major world event, then you might suggest that this Akashic expert channeler etc. is actually a little bit off.
But it's nice to make predictions because you get the publicity then and then as we always say, no one bothers going back to the same thing, but hey, you were wrong.
This is what's going to happen. Apparently, Holland and things are okay because Ireland and the UK are protecting Holland, Netherlands, etc. from this sort of major world event, this big tsunami, whatever it is.
The French coast is not going to do so good, but apparently we don't care about the French coast because this is an Irish psychic and he's worried about Ireland.
Some people are saying, oh my God, I can see the Atlantic now. And they say this is amazing stuff. But of course, yeah, it hasn't happened.
That's Tim Mendham from Australian Skeptics.
[39:33] And that's the show for now.
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[41:00] And Space Time has brought you in collaboration with Australian Sky and Telescope magazine, your window on the universe. You've been listening to Space Time with Stuart Gary. This has been another quality podcast production from Bitesz.com.