The Astronomy, Technology, and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 89
*New map of the Milky Way’s halo
Astronomers have developed a new map of the galactic halo – the outermost region of our Milky Way galaxy.
The Astronomy, Technology, and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 89
*New map of the Milky Way’s halo
Astronomers have developed a new map of the galactic halo – the outermost region of our Milky Way galaxy.
*Mars Perseverance Rover ready to collect its first samples
NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover has laid the groundwork for the mission’s next major milestone – collecting its first samples from the red planet for eventual return to Earth.
*Norway treated to a spectacular meteor light show
Scientists scouring the forests and hill sides near the Norwegian capital of Oslo looking for the remains of a big meteor which blazed across the night sky illuminating much of southern Scandinavia.
*Oldest fossils of methane-cycling microbes discovered
Scientists have discovered the oldest known fossils of methane-cycling microbes.
*SpaceX wins NASA’s Europa Clipper launch contract.
NASA has selected SpaceX to launch its Europa Clipper mission to the Jovian system in 2024.
*The Science Report
How to identify long COCVID.
Warnings that that most of Australia’s 1300 threatened plant species aren’t being monitored.
Russia tests its new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile.
Claims excessive caffeine consumption could increase your risk of osteoporosis.
Alex on Tech: Apple releases its IOS 14.7 update to combat the highly successful Pegasus spyware.
For more SpaceTime and show links: https://linktr.ee/biteszHQ
SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 89 AI Transcript
[00:00:00] This is space-time series 24 episode 89 for broadcast and the 4th of August, 2021. Coming up on space time, a new map of the Milky ways. Halo NASA's Mars, perseverance Rover, ready to collect its first samples and Norway traded to a spectacular, meaty or light show. Oh, that is more coming up on space time.
Welcome to space time with Stuart Gary.
Astronomers have developed a spectacular new map of the galactic halo, the autonomous region of our Milky way. Galaxy the galactic halo lies beyond the swirling arms, that form the Milky ways recognizable central disc and is a region sparsely populated with [00:01:00] stars. Although the halo may appear mostly empty.
It's also predicted to contain a massive reservoir of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance thought to make up the bulk of the mess of the universe. The new map published in the journal nature reveals how a satellite dwarf galaxy orbiting the Milky way known as the large Magellanic cloud has sailed through the Milky waist, galactic halo ship through water with its gravity producing awake in the stars behind it.
The large Magellanic cloud is located around 160,000 light years from earth and is just a quarter the mass of the Milky way. There the inner portions of the galactic halo have already been met with a higher level of accuracy, this new maps, the first to provide a similar picture of the halos outer regions, where this weight can be found between 200,320 5,000 light is from the galactic Santa's.
Well, previous studies have hinted at that wakes existence. It's new or sky map is the first to confirm its presence, offering a detailed view of its shape, size [00:02:00] and location. This disturbance in the halo also provides astronomers with a unique opportunity to study something they can observe directly dark matter, although they have no idea what dark matter really is astronomers know it exists because they can see its gravitational influence on galaxies.
Stopping them from spinning a as they rotate dark matter is estimated to be around five times more common in the universe than all the normal matter, which makes up all the stars, planets, asteroids, houses, cars, dogs, cats, trees, and people. Well, there are modeable theories about the nature of dark matter.
Almost all of them conclude that it should be present in the Milky ways halo. And if that's the case, and as the large Magellanic cloud sells through this region, it should leave awake in the dark matter as well. So the wake observed in this new star mat is thought to be the outline of this dark matter awake.
Think of the stars as being like leaves on the surface of this invisible ocean with their position, shifting Judah, the effect of dark matter. The interaction [00:03:00] between dark matter and the large Magellanic cloud as big implications for our galaxy as the large Magellanic cloud orbits, the Milky way, the dark matter, drags on the cloud and slows it down.
Now over time, this will cause the dwarf galaxies orbit to get smaller and smaller and smaller until eventually the galaxy will collide with the Milky way in about 2 billion years time. MIG the Milky ways already dragging stars and gas from the lodge Magellanic cloud, as well as its companion dwarf galaxy, the small Magellanic cloud located about 200,000 light years away.
These types of merges felt to be a key driver in the growth of massive galaxies across the universe. Yeah, the Milky way. Certainly no exception to this rule. It's already cannibalized numerous small galaxies. And in addition to the largest more Magellanic clouds, it's also cannibalizing both the canis major dwarf galaxy and the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy.
And in around 4.7 billion years from there, the Milky way itself will merge into the larger Andromeda galaxy M [00:04:00] 31. The new map along with additional data in theoretical analyses may provide a test for different theories about the nature of dark matter, such as whether it consists of particles like regular matter.
And if so, what the properties of those particles are in order to build their map, the author has charted the positions of over 1300 stars in the galactic halo. Their challenge was trying to measure the exact distances from earth to a large proportion of these stars. The problem being it's often impossible to determine whether a stair is fate near by or bright and far away.
The authors initially used data from the European space agencies, guy emission. This provided the location of many stars in the sky, but couldn't measure distances to the stars and the Milky ways out of region. After identifying stars most likely located in the halo because they weren't obviously inside our galaxy or in the large Magellanic cloud, the authors looked for a class of giant stars who have specific light signatures.
They take the bull by neces, Neo wise, the near-Earth object wide-field infrared [00:05:00] survey, explore a spacecraft, knowing the basic properties, the stars aligned astronomers to figure out their distance from earth and therefore create the new man. The map chats arrange starting back 200,000 light years from the Milky way center about where the large Magellanic clouds wake was predicted again, and then extend some 125,000 line is beyond that the data was then combined with computer models.
Predicting what dark matter in the galactic halos should be like. And one of these models accurately predicted the general structure and specific load occasion of the stars. Wake revealed in the new map, suggesting that this model is correct. Findings also suggested the large Magellanic cloud is likely on its first orbit around the Milky way.
C had already made several orbits. The shape of location. The week would have been significantly different to what's been observed, but it's next door, but it should be much shorter to, to its interaction with the Milky way galaxy. This is space time still the com NASA's Mars, [00:06:00] perseverance Rover, ready to collect its first samples and Norway treated to a spectacular media or light show.
All that and more still to come on. Space time.
NASA's MA's perseverance rovers laid the groundwork for the mission's next major milestone electing its first samples for the red planet. For eventual return to worth perseverance is operating near its landing site. A dried out river Delta in the red planets, just row crater. The area contains a myriad of geological sediments washed down from higher upstream.
Importantly, it's also a likely place to find evidence of past microbial life on Mars. If it ever existed. Right now the six wheel car size Rover is examining a four square kilometer patch [00:07:00] known as the created four fractured rough that's still to contain jazz rose, deepest Amherst, ancient lays of exposed bedrock.
The sampling sequence will include before me an imagery survey submission managers can determine the exact best location for taking the first sample and a separate nearby target site for proximity science in order to get some valuable, firsthand, dead, or on the rock about to be sapped. This will involve performing a detailed in situ analysis using a braiding tool, the scrape of the top lays of the rock and dust in order to expose the fresh unweathered material, the newly exposed surface will then be cleaned with a gas dust removal tool, and then carefully examine where the rovers target matter proximity, size instruments, chill our pixel and Watson to provide mineral and chemical analysis.
Perseverance is super Cameron mass cam Z instruments. Located on the Rover's mast will also participate. Super cam will fire a laser at the abraded surface. Spectroscopically starting the resulting plume in collecting other [00:08:00] data or mass Khamsi will capture high resolution imagery. The actual sampling operation will take place the next day with a sampling handling.
I'm retrieving a sample tube from inside the Rover, heating it, and then inserting it into a coring. A device called the big carousel, then transports the tube and the drill bit to a rotary procrastinate drill on perseverance has robotic arm. This will then drill into the rock near the location of the previous day's proximity signs, examination scientists expect to collect the core sample several centimeters long.
Versus versus arm will then move the bid and tube combination back into the bit carousel, which will transfer it into an adaptive cashing assembly, where the sample will be measured for volume photographed and medically sealed, stored, and there it will wait for the sample return mission. The next time the sample tube contents will be seen, will be in a clean room facility on earth where there'll be analyzed using scientific instruments, much too large to send to Mars.
This [00:09:00] report from NASA TV of robots that go into space, the sampling and caching system on the Mars. 2020 mission is the most complicated, most sophisticated thing that we know how to build. This is a system that allows us to take core samples of Rocky material on the surface. Carefully seal them and very sterile, clean vessels for eventual return to earth.
We've been working on the sample and caching system for seven years and that's because it's a tough job where testing. To make sure that it's going to work with it tomorrow. Tomorrows, it has to function on its own. We have to think of all eventual possibilities and try them here first. And then if they don't work, change it now, uh, because we can't make any changes later to drill into the rock on Mars, pull out intact core samples, seal them hermetically, and to [00:10:00] be all done autonomously by a robot, hanging off the end of a Rover on the surface of it.
Has it been a challenge? We've got actually three robots necessary to do the sample and caching system. Our big robotic arm out on the front of the Rover that takes our drill, pushes it against the surface and allows us to take courses. Then we put that core sample in the bit carousel, the second robot that takes that from the robot arm and puts it down inside our adaptive cashing system.
This is the part of the sampling caching system inside the Rover. We've got a little tiny robot, a special robot arm called the Shaw sample handling arm. It takes the samples out of the carousel and moves them through volume assessment image, taking and eventually to ceiling, and then replaces the cylinder, containing the sample well in a storage all on its own.
And the matter of a few hours, we have [00:11:00] designs on bringing. In a decade. Mars has been at the fore of our consciousness about the questions of life could life exist in one of our nearest neighbors. I think we have a lot to learn life or no life about the evolution of our solar system. About our planet by looking in depth at rocks, brought back from Mars.
And in that report from NASA TV, we heard from Mars 2020 chief engineer, Adam Stelzner and spacecraft systems integration and Tinsley Kelly, Pam, both of them are with NASA's jet propulsion laboratory in Pasadena, California. This space-time still the comma Norway treated to a spectacular media or light show.
And the oldest methane cycling our care fossils ever discovered, or that are more store to come on space.
[00:12:00] Well, they used to spectacular, uh, rural displays from the Northern lights in the skies above Norway, but scientists are now scaring the forest and hillside needed the Norwegian capital Oslo looking for the remains of a big Meteo, which blazed across the night sky illuminating match of Southern Scandinavia witnesses reports seeing bright flashes followed by light explosions.
Local law enforcement received a flurry of emergency calls, but there've been no reports of any injuries or damage. The Norwegian media or service, which has a number of cameras, continually monitoring the skies. This is the Fibo was traveling in about 16.3 kilometers per second, and was visible for at least five seconds straight across the sky and the country south east initial estimates suggest the space rock may have weighed about 10 kilograms.
The meteorite first appeared about 90 kilometers north of Oslo privately in a southwesterly direction before fragmenting into civil flashes of light [00:13:00] and impacting the ground in a wooded area, known as Finny marker about 60 kilometers west of Oslo. This is time still the cam discovery of the oldest fossils of methane cycling, microbes and space X wins.
NASA's Europa clipper launch contract, all that, and more still to come on. Space time.
Scientists have discovered the oldest known fossils of methane cycling microbes. The remains were found in two thin layers of rock collected from the Barberton Greenstan boat in South Africa, which contained some of the oldest and best preserved sedimentary rocks found on earth. The microbes lived in a hydrothermal vent system beneath the C4 three point 40 billion years ago.
Subsurface habitats, heated by [00:14:00] volcanic activity are likely to have hosted some of Earth's earliest microbial ecosystems. And this is the oldest example found today. The study's lead author, Barbara kava lousy from the university of bologna says these are care per carrots. Peter have flourished along walls of cavities created by warm water from hydrothermal vents systems, a few meters below sea floor.
The microfossils reported in the journal science advances have a carbon rich outer shape and a chemically and structurally distinct core consistent with a cell wall or membrane around intracellular or cytoplasmic matter. The interaction of cooler seawater with warmer subsurface hydrothermal vent fluids would have created a rich chemical soup variations in conditions leading to multiple potential.
Microhabitats the clusters of filaments were fed at the tips of pointed hollows in the walls of the cavities. Whereas individual filaments were spread across the cavity floor. Chemical analysis shows that the filaments included [00:15:00] most of the major elements needed for life. Concentrations of nickel in organic compounds provide evidence of primordial, metabolisms, and a consistent with nickel content found in modern day microbes.
Then as a care procariates, which live in the absence of oxygen and use methane for their metabolism, it's thought that life in the oceans of other worlds, such as the Jovian moon, Europa and satins ice moon Enceladus could possibly host similar life forms. This is space-time still the comm NASA selected space X to launch its Europa clipper mission.
And later in the science report, Russia tests, its new Zurich on hypersonic, cruise, missile, all that and more still to come on. Space-time
[00:16:00] NASA was selected space X to launch it Europa clipper mission to the Jovian system in 2024, the spacecraft, which was supposed to fly, but NASA is new heavy lift rocket. The SLS will instead be launched about a Falcon heavy from the Kennedy space center of the Cape Canaveral space for a station in Florida.
The plan voyage the Jupiter's icy moon Europa is a huge win for Elon Musk's company. As it sets its sights on deep emissions into the solar system. The SLS, which is slated to undertake it's made and fly to the moon. Later this year on the items, one mission has been plagued by delays and cost overruns.
It hasn't kilogram Europa clipper orbiter is expected to achieve Jovian orbit insertion in April, 2030, undertaking some 50 close flybys of Europa in order to study the ice moon and its global subsurface ocean. And to try and determine whether or not it could Harbor conditions suitable for life. This is space time,
[00:17:00] and Tom Meditech, another brief look at some of the other stories making use in science this week with a science report and you study suggest that nerve fiber loss and an increase in a type of immune cell known as a dendritic cell found on the surface of the eye may be identifying feature for long Cove.
A report in the British journal of ophthalmology found that these changes were most noticeable among people with neurological symptoms, such as a loss of taste and smell headaches, dizziness, numbness, and neuropathic pain, following COVID-19 infection. The authors use lasers to look for nerve damage and the density of dendritic cells in the eyes of 40 people believed to have long COVID and compare them with scans of 30 healthy people who had never caught COVID-19.
The authors found the COVID patients had greater nerve damage and loss with a higher number of dendritic cells than those who would never caught. COVID-19 the [00:18:00] world health organization estimates over 8 million people have been killed by the COVID-19 Corona virus with over 4.2 million confirmed fatalities and some 196 million people infected since the deadly disease for spread at a war and China.
A new study is one that most of Australia's 1300 threatened plant species aren't being monitored, increasing their risk of extinction. A report in the journal of biological conservation found almost two thirds, 63% of threatened Australian plants. Aren't receiving any monitoring. According to a national assessment scientists warn that without adequate monitoring threatened species could slip into extinction without anyone noticing or having sufficient time to work.
The study examined, how will more than 800 threatened plants on the federal government's threatened species list to being monitored and compare the findings with monitoring for threatened animals. Citus found that OrchKids shrubs and trees generally had better monitoring than Herb's [00:19:00] ferns or other plant types.
Moscow. It was undertaken a successful test of its new Cirque on hypersonic cruise missile with Russian president Vladimir Putin, describing it as invincible. The missile was launched from the warship Admiral Gorshkov Richie speeds of almost max seven before hitting its target and the Brent sea coast in Northern Russia at 350 kilometers away.
Putin had early claim Cirque on as a range of a thousand kilometers at a top speed of Mack nine. The Russian defense ministry says it is biased, equip birth warships and sudden Marines within users. In recent years, Russia's boast of developing several new generation missiles designed to circumvent existing defense systems, including the czar, Matt Intercontinental, ballistic missile, and the bureau of STC, nuclear powered, cruise missile, however things haven't always gone smoothly.
Uh, deadly blast that a test site, Northern Russia and August, 2019, which caused local radiation levels to suddenly skyrocket [00:20:00] is believed to have been caused by the failure of a bureau of ESnet cruise missiles. See, these missiles are powered by nuclear thermal rocket engines. These engines use heat from a small nuclear reactor to superheat liquid hydrogen, causing it to expand dramatically faster than conventional chemical reactions.
And so achieve far greater thrust, this theoretically doubles or triples, the payload capacity and increases the speed potential. And you study warns that excessive caffeine consumption could increase your risk of osteoporosis. Research has looked at the impact of high does short term caffeine intake on renal clearance of calcium, sodium and crediting in healthy adults.
The findings reported in the British journal of clinical pharmacology found that people consume eight average cups of coffee. A day will have a 77% increase in calcium in their urine creating a potential deficiency which could impact their bone density. Mind you, the average daily intake of caffeine is [00:21:00] usually just two cups of coffee.
While drinking eight cups of coffee a day might seem like a lot. There are a significant percentage of people out there who would fall into this category, including teens who binge consuming energy drinks and just about every broadcaster and journalist. I know apple have released their new iOS 14.7 update.
It's designed to specifically combat the hardest successful Pegasus security spy way, the volt by private Israeli tech firm. And it serves. Details of Pegasus were recently exposed by the university of Toronto citizen lab. Pigasus works by sending a trap link to a target smartphone that persuades the victim to tap and activate, but more importantly, it's designed.
So it can also self activate without any input at all. Simply by contacting your phone, puts it into the phone. Once installed the spyware then captures and copies most of the ferns functions, and then secretly sends that data operative. You can use it to map out [00:22:00] sensitive details of a targets. Pegasus can collect emails, call records, social media posts, user passwords, contact lists, pictures, videos, sound recordings, browsing histories, activate cameras and microphones.
Listen to calls and voicemails and collect location logs of both where the user has been and determined where the user is. Now, it can even indicate whether the person stationary or moving. And if so, in which direction. But Pegasus real genius apart from being at a sofa self-install is its ability to plan data on the Target's phone, as well as image you can use it to set people up.
Pegasus has already been invaluable tool for spy agencies and law enforcement departments around the world among the 50,000 or so estimated Pegasus targets were more than 2000 Islamic terrorists, several hundred left wing activists and hundreds of criminals. NSO insist its software is only intended for use in [00:23:00] fighting terrorism and other crimes and says it's been exported to governments in 45 countries, but it's been revealed that criminals and terrorists weren't the only targets with well over 600 politicians, 180 journalists and 65 business leaders also targeted the Israeli government is now set up a committee to review the firm's business, including the process through which the export licenses were granted.
The latest apple patch will help iPhone users count at Pegasus. With the details on this and more we're joined by Alex Herrera of Roy from ity.com. Well, it's another patch for security issues. Now apple says that an application may be able to execute arbitrary code with Colonel privileges. So this means hackers could break into your phone by loading code into this vulnerability that will then give it Colonel privileges, which is like captain or major or.
It just means that people can log into your operating system and [00:24:00] load their own software, which means I could run key loggers or activate your cameras. And this is sort of partially in response to the Pegasus malware that was being used by nation states to target activists. And apple says that this issue has been actively exploited.
And we've seen that several times during iOS 14, would there have been updates that have closed security? So it's definitely important to update your iPhone, your iPad. And also if you have apple TV, but also your Mac Meco is big. So 11.5 0.1 is also available and fixes sensitive issues. Now I was 14.7 supported the new max size battery pack for people with an iPhone 12.
If you had a home pod, you could access more than one time or by voice, you had more places giving air quality support in terms of equity, different countries. If your country offers that updates to the podcast. And a lot of people often stuck on older versions and they just ignore the updates from apple.
It's definitely important for your own security. As soon as you can. I still remain the [00:25:00] other day, which has been around for a while. It shows a chunk of concrete. And in that chunk of concrete is a Nakia phone and it's still working. Why does it surprise me that Nakia has launched a new life proof, Android smartphone.
Having a point of difference. I mean, in a sea of cheapest smartphones, that's turned out by the millions of 2, 3, 4, $500. I mean, at some of those prices, especially for the cheaper ones, if you damage it, it's just cheaper to buy a new one, but having a phone that can withstand the rough and tumble of everyday life.
He puts it and also comes with four years of monthly security updates and also a three year warranty and three upgrades with the three as a wireless upgrade. Something that Nike is doing across its range and the screen replacement. That's pretty one phrase, grand replacement. Should you break it during the first year of purchase?
They're using Corning gorilla Victus glass, just supposed to be one of the toughest types of glass out there with smartphones. Now this phone in [00:26:00] Australian dollars is that 17. So it's definitely heading up towards the upper mid range. It's not as expensive as a thousand dollars or $2,000 spots then obviously, but it's not as cheap as the three, four, $500, which there are some great four ninety nine Android phones out there.
But this one is meant to be able to be dropped from 1.8 meters. It can be in water for 1.8 meters of water for an hour. It can withstand temperatures of optimism. I don't want you to freeze it on purpose. It's got a Qualcomm Snapdragon, 4 85 G chip, the Qualcomm four series. I mean, you've got the Cockrum six, seven and eight series.
Welcome. 8, 8, 8 is currently the top of the line chat dragon process. And during the call for journalists, that was previewing this phone before the launch, which is coming on August the 12th, one of the journalists said, well, hang on. How can we use them? The full series chip. Now this is sort of like, you know, definitely a sort of a mid-range maybe even a low, mid range chip.
It's not really one of the more performance ships, like six, seven hours. And the executive said, well, we're not really sure why Paul Cub calls the four 80 series, a four series. We think it's much more like a six series. [00:27:00] And, you know, given that they're going to support this for at least four years and they're promising great performance out of it with six gigs of Ram one 20, I could give SSD the ability to put in a, up to five, 12 gig micro SD card.
And they've got 3.5 millimeter headphones. So the USB-C, I mean, it's, you know, and the 6.678 screen. So they say the processor is definitely more than good enough for the everyday things that people are doing. And they're confident in it. Calm
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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.