The Astronomy, Technology, and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 99
*Space junk destroys satellite
It now looks like space junk from a 1996 Russian rocket may be behind the destruction of China’s Yunhai 1-02 weather satellite...
The Astronomy, Technology, and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 99
*Space junk destroys satellite
It now looks like space junk from a 1996 Russian rocket may be behind the destruction of China’s Yunhai 1-02 weather satellite earlier this year.
*More delays could push Starliner’s launch to next year
The long awaited second orbital test flight of Boeing’s new CST-100 Starliner to the International Space Station may be delayed until next year following discovery of a critical technical issue with the spacecraft while it was on the launch pad preparing to blast off.
*New study says Warp drive to remain science fiction
The idea of faster than light travel has been a key feature of science fiction for decades. It’s the “Given” needed to make most sci-fi stories work. After all, without warp drive Kirk and Picard could never boldly go where no one has gone before – and the Enterprise would take four and a half years just to reach Alpha Centauri.
*Vega’s second launch of the year
A Vega rocket has blasted off from the European Space Agency’s Kourou Space Port in French Guiana carrying the new Pleiades Neo 4 Earth observation satellite.
*The Science Report
New study shows that 2 to 3 days after first symptoms is when you’re most likely to pass on COVID.
A new study warns that extreme El Niño and La Niña events will become more common.
A new study has identified the 26 species of Australian frogs at greatest risk of extinction.
Paleontologists have identified two new species of giant sauropod dinosaurs.
*Skeptic's guide to how psychic crimes pay
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The Astronomy, Space, Technology & Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime S24E99 AI Transcript
[00:00:00] Stuart: Visit space-time series 24 episode 99 for broadcasts on the 3rd of September, 2021. Coming up on space time, a weather satellite destroyed by space junk, more delays, pushing the next test flight of the style audit to next year. And a new study says warp drive all remain science fiction, or that are more coming up on space time.
[00:00:27] VO Guy: Welcome to space time with Stuart Gary
[00:00:47] Stuart: It now looks like space junk from a 1996, Russian rocket, maybe behind the distraction of China's you're and a high 1 0 2 weather satellite earlier this year, the United States space forces, 18th space control squadron detected the meteorological satellite suddenly break a part into 20 major pieces back in March, but the cause has been a mystery until now.
[00:01:12] Stuart: Jonathan McDowell, a scientist with a Harvard Smithsonian center for astrophysics in Massachusetts. Examine the incident in detail, including that the breakup was caused by collision between the Chinese weather, satellite and debris from a 1996 Russian rocket, the Zena two rocket had been used the launch of the Tesla and a spy satellite in 1996, shortly after payload deployment.
[00:01:36] Stuart: However, the Xinet began to break apart. Between 1997 and 2021, at least eight debris objects were tracked from the Zenit to McDowell says his analysis shows that you and high 1 0 2 and debris from the Senate to pass within a kilometer of each other at exactly the same time is the Chinese spacecraft suddenly began to break apart.
[00:01:59] Stuart: Some 37 debris objects have been detected from the collision so far. Karen estimate suggests there is some 200 million bits of space junk, a few centimeters in size or less currently orbiting the earth and all those small, this debris is all traveling at around 28,000 kilometers per second. The big fear is what's known as a cascade event where satellite spent rocket stead is all bits of space, junk, slight Mentawais.
[00:02:26] Stuart: Each other. The concern is that ultimately the earth could face a Kessler syndrome. First proposed by NASA scientists, Donald Kessler, back in 1978, the Kessler syndrome involves a runaway chain reaction of collisions exponentially increasing the amount of debris clouds orbiting the earth until it reaches an ultimate point where the distribution of debris could render space activities, and the use of satellites in specific orbital ranges impractical for generations, a Kessler syndrome.
[00:02:58] Stuart: Isn't that far fit. The international space stations regularly forced to change orbit, to avoid space junk with crews often needing to seek refuge in dock capsules in the event of a magic collusion and the need to undertake an emergency escape back to worth. In fact, just a few months ago, a piece of space junk, smashed a hole on the space.
[00:03:17] Stuart: Station's robotic arm, likely nothing penetrating the inner holler yet returning space craft often show evidence of debris impact caused while in. The first major recorded satellite collision occurred back on February the 10th in 2009, when the 560 kilogram Iridium 33 telecommunication satellite collided with a deactivated 950 kilogram Russian cosmos two to five.
[00:03:43] Stuart: One satellite at collision occurred 800 kilometers over Northern Siberia at a relative speed of 11.7 kilometers per second. That's some 42,120 kilometers an hour. Both spacecraft were destroyed, leaving a cloud containing literally millions of pieces of debris and shrapnel that is stretching of China's you and high one or two with a satellite shows, just how serious the problem now is.
[00:04:11] Stuart: This is space time still. The com more delays push style line is launched a Timex GEA, and a new study says warp drive looks likely to remain this stuff. Stouffer's sides, fiction, all that and more store to come on. Space time.
[00:04:42] Stuart: The long awaited orbital test flight of Boeing's new series T 100 Starliner to the international space station looks like being delayed until at least next year, following discovery of critical technical issues with the spacecraft, as it was sitting on the launch pad wedding to blast off. The issues are so severe.
[00:05:01] Stuart: Boeing was forced to roll the star liner and its Atlas five launch vehicle back into space launch complex 40 ones, vertical integration facility, where the spacecraft was removed from the launch of major repairs. The long awaited unmanned orbital test flight two was slated to take place on July 30th.
[00:05:20] Stuart: But it was moved to August the third following problems with the space stations, new Russian Neoga science module with suddenly ignited its thrusters, firing a software issue, sending the orbiting out post spinning out of alignment. However, as Starliner was fueled, a wedding to blast off mission managers detected an unexpected valve position indicator and the spacecraft propulsion system during checkout.
[00:05:44] Stuart: Boeing thinks rain somehow infiltrated 13 valves in the, a propulsion system. They think that moisture combined with the corrosive hydrazine fuel to damage the seals and prevent the vows from opening correctly. As required before the August 3rd launch attempt technicians were able to replace nine of the vows in situ, but the remaining four are located deep inside the spacecraft and require more evasive work.
[00:06:12] Stuart: It's the latest in a series of issues affecting Boeing. Starliner in stark contrast to space. X's dragon, the other company contracted by NASA under their commercial crew program to transport astronauts, to and from the space station. In fact, space X has already flown 10 astronauts to the Albany outpost in just over a year.
[00:06:33] Stuart: The company has four more crew members slated to launch next month. And they're even looking at launching for space tourists, into orbit, aboard a dragon sometime this month, the second Stalin orbital test flights needed. After the first flight failed to reach the space station back in December, 2019, the problem back then was software issues.
[00:06:54] Stuart: First see those a faulty mission clock, which placed the spacecraft into the wrong orbit without enough fuel to reach the space station. And then just prior to its deorbit burned her, it turned a worth mission, managed, discovered more software issues. And these would have been far more catastrophic selling the spacecraft, crashed into its own service module during separation and maneuver, which would have undoubtedly have destroyed the capsule.
[00:07:19] Stuart: Luckily, that problem was caught in time and the spacecraft made it safely back to the ground. NASA later identified 80 corrective actions Boeing needed to undertake before another test flight. When it does take place, the unmanned test flight will carry supplies to the orbiting outpost. It will undertake an automated docking later undertaken, automated undocking and re-entry to worth landing at the white sands missile range in New Mexico.
[00:07:47] Stuart: Five days after launch Boeing were hoping to have their first man cruise flight of the space station before the end of the year. But that now looks like not happening before late next year. This is space time still the calm and you study says warp drive will remain science fiction and Vega carries out its second launch of the year.
[00:08:08] Stuart: Placing a new play these Neo for earth observation, satellite into orbit, all that and much more store to card. On space time.
[00:08:33] Stuart: the idea of faster than light travel has been a key feature of science fiction for decades. In fact, it's a given needed to make most SciFest stories. After all without warp drive, the likes of Kirk and Picard could not boldly go and no one has ever gone before. In fact, the enterprise would have taken four and a half years.
[00:08:55] Stuart: Just the rich Alison, sorry, probably defined the Jupiter to already waiting the pain. The pain, the idea of Wolf drive involves generating some sort of a warp field that compresses the fabric of space time in front of you and expands it behind you. Moving you forward. So technically it's the space time around you.
[00:09:18] Stuart: That's doing the moving in that way. You're not really traveling faster than the speed of light, at least I'm sure that's the way Sephora and Cochran would have explained. Inspired by the world of star Trek. Some scientists have taken a serious look at the sort of physics that will be needed to achieve warp drive in reality.
[00:09:36] Stuart: And in 1994, theoretical physicist, Miguel Al Kabira suggested that it was mathematically possible within the laws of general relativity. He hypothesized that general relativity would allow for what he termed war bubbles regions where matter and energy were arraigned. So as the Ben space time in front of the bubble and expanded behind that would result in a flat area inside the bubble for faster than light travel.
[00:10:03] Stuart: The problem is this, a parentheses do contain some insurmountable problems. Firstly, there's the issue of time dilation C time slows down the faster your velocity. So even if you could reach the pilot vulgar on the visit spot in the single human lifetime, by the time you got back to earth, everyone you knew would be long gone.
[00:10:23] Stuart: Then there's the issue of energy with estimates suggesting that a working warp drive would require almost the entire energy budget of the known universe, far more than all the dire lithium on Beijing, or even in the spice mans of Iraqis and Kessel combined. And of course there's still the pesky problem of breaking that speed of light barrier.
[00:10:43] Stuart: The find out more. Andrew Dunkley is speaking with this gentleman, professor Fred Watson. There will be
[00:10:48] Andrew: no warp drive. It's impossible. Why, why Fred?
[00:10:54] Fred: Yeah. Well, apparently it doesn't work. So there you go. Sit in a nutshell, um, the story, it goes back to 1994 to a physicist called Miguel who essentially.
[00:11:12] Fred: Formulated what, how you could build a walk drive. Um, you know, it's building, of course the walk drive that star Trek used to decades before the walk drive could be a reality. There was a hypothetical way that used modern physics to demonstrate this twisting of space that lets you. The university speed limit so that the speed limit of course says that you can only move through space at the speed of light.
[00:11:38] Fred: That's the maximum, but what drives, uh, like the Al Cobia one, uh, if I'm pronouncing that correctly, seek to bend the fabric of space, if I put it that way. So, and he actually got a lot of attention, a lot of, um, quite serious institutions looked at this, but the calculations quickly. Turned out that the problem with it was that you needed more than the entire energy budget of the universe to make it work.
[00:12:04] Fred: And that sort of dampen them fused chasm down a bit, but there's been some new research. These are two physicists based in the USA, Alexa, Bobrick and Gianni Martire. If I'm pronouncing the names correctly, they've looked at the walk drive again. They kind of worked out that even if you could make one, it may not allow you to travel faster than light.
[00:12:30] Fred: It may not bend reality in the, in the way you want it to. And so that's been a dampener, but. Actually the details of this story are that technology that you might use, if you could bend space, could have other, it could have other applications of which are quite intriguing. Um, I don't really want to go into the details because it's, it's I find this sort of stuff very hard to describe, but one of the.
[00:12:58] Fred: Proponents has sort of drawn an analogy here. There's an analogy of saying that a walk drive is a bit like a car, because what you do is you bend space around it. You bend it, twist space in front of it, sort of crush it all up and spread it out behind it. That's the idea. And so, um, that's, that's the theory of the walk drive that you, and it's why people thought that you could, you could shortcut the distance because you've compressed the space in front of you.
[00:13:31] Fred: And the opposite side is stretching it behind you. So compressing the space, theoretically, at least that was the idea would let you cross that space quicker. And so you exceed the speed of light, but the analogy that's been true. Is, as I said, a bit like a car, because it turns out that just like a car, which is a shallow material, what you do with the warp drive is you build a shell of what space around yourself and the space in the middle is okay.
[00:13:57] Fred: It's what we call flat space. It's kind of like the space that we're all sitting in now, but you've built this shell around, you have the warped space, but it doesn't actually get you anywhere because the whole thing still moves no faster than the speed of light. Um, so that's the bottom line that they've, you know, they've, um, they've uncovered it.
[00:14:16] Fred: However does suggest, uh, I mean, th th sorry, just going back a bit. There, there were other key issues with the Al QB hand device, because it needs negative energy. Doesn't exist at the moment. That was one of the pitfalls with it. Even if you could find it though, it turns out that it doesn't really work, but, but what they've suggested is what these new authors, Barbara Martire have suggested is that because you're using the space warping to modify.
[00:14:47] Fred: The region of the bit of space that you're in, because what you're doing is you're kind of building a wall around a piece of flat space time, a piece of normal space time. You can use the other aspects of relativity, like time dilation. You can speed up or slow down time within the walk drive. So, well, there's some examples that have been, this is a cosmos article I'm reading here that actually comes from the conversation.
[00:15:12] Fred: So it's freely available, but the author of the. Has suggested if you had somebody with a terminal illness and you thought that they could be cured in a few years, you put them inside a walk drive and you slow the clock down. And then they sort of stay ill for a short time. But that few years, or those number of years that they need for the new cure that passes normally outside the ward.
[00:15:39] Fred: And that's the sort of thing that they're talking about. You could, you could do the alternative thing. Here's a suggestion from the same article, want to grow your crops overnight, stick them in a walk drive and speed. The clock up few days will pass for you. And a few weeks we'll pass for your seedlings.
[00:15:54] Fred: Yeah, it's a interesting thought. Still, still very much in the realm of theoretical physics, but some very nice ideas for this, um, possibility, but I should credit the author of that. Co conversation, article that Sam Barron of the Australian Catholic university, somebody who's named crops up quite a lot in these sorts of considerations, right?
[00:16:13] Fred: It's very well about these really quite difficult issues. I suppose the
[00:16:17] Andrew: big problem is even if we come up with a workable theory, the energy you need to. Create the possibility is, is beyond us. Um, which prompts the question. What can we do at the moment? I know you and I have spoken about various forms of propulsion using laser to send miniature spacecraft to other stars.
[00:16:39] Andrew: Um, but it sounds like travel to the stars in short time. Um, through, through warp drives is not going to happen, but, um, there was another, I think discussion we had about the potential for nuclear
[00:16:53] Fred: power,
[00:16:55] Andrew: uh, in terms of space travel, uh,
[00:16:57] Fred: that would get you going. It would, um, it does get you going. Uh, and so that's a, probably a viable alternative to.
[00:17:04] Fred: So the light sales that you just mentioned using lasers to blacks, to you along with the LightSail, but of course, these are still all limited to the speed of light. So even if you're going at 99.9, nine, nine, 5% of the speed of light or whatever, it's still going to take you four and a half years to get to the nearest star.
[00:17:21] Fred: And if you're going, actually, if you're going fast enough, the time dilation effect comes into play, you're a four and a half. Trip I seen from earth becomes just a couple of years for you or perhaps six months or something like that. There's really interesting stuff.
[00:17:34] Andrew: Oh, it's yeah. It's it's it makes your head spin, but uh it's yeah, it brings back that, uh, that, that twin theory
[00:17:41] Fred: about the, um, the twins, but one that stayed on
[00:17:45] Andrew: the planet and one that did a trip and came back and hadn't aged where he's or his brother.
[00:17:51] Andrew: 50 years old or something. Yeah. Um, but it, it, it actually in theory is,
[00:17:57] Fred: is a real possibility. Well, it's more than a theory that that actually works. We know that from the behavior of subatomic particles, when they get near the speed of light time slows down for them. So, yeah. Yeah. We see that, see that. But sadly
[00:18:10] Andrew: for all the star Trek fans, um, there's no warp drive.
[00:18:16] Andrew: Never probably will be. We're going to have to find something else. Uh, maybe if they get out there with some horticulturalists, they can find some
[00:18:23] Fred: wa wormholes wormholes or what you need. That's right. That's, that's probably the, the solution, but neurotic cultural ones. That's
[00:18:30] Stuart: professor Fred Watson and astronomy with the department of science speaking with Andrew Dunkley on our sister program space.
[00:18:38] Stuart: And this is space-time still the com vaguer launches the plate he's near for earth observation, satellite into orbit, and later in the science report. And you study warns that extreme El Nino and LA Nina events will become more common as global warming increases all that and more store to come. On space time.
[00:19:15] VO Guy: a
[00:19:15] Stuart: Vega. Rocket is blessed that off from the European space agencies, cruise, spaceport, and French Guiana carrying the new play at east Neo fourth observation, satellite into orbit.
[00:19:26] VO Guy: Thanks dude, any day.
[00:19:40] Guest: what are sites? They are off Vegas streaking across the night sky, lighting up the skies over the spaceport over the Amazon rain forest. Uh, passengers have started their journey play at Nao, bro. For some storm let's set . In a way it's a huge moment for everybody who's involved. It must be quite something watching your babies lift off from the past.
[00:20:11] Guest: Can we pick up from that have confirmation. There is separation of the PhD and these. 23 has switched its engine own trajectory is nominal. We're climbing. Look at the altitude, 127 kilometers and climbing. And we have separation of the Zed 23 and beginning of the roll motion.
[00:20:40] Guest: Switch to the engine on of the Zetners these at nine engine. And we have separated the
[00:20:47] Stuart: fairing second Vega launch this year placing the high resolution remote sensing satellite into a 625 kilometer high polar Robert the 922 kilogram played his Neo four is the second of four space craft for a new earth observation constellation being developed by Airbus.
[00:21:06] Stuart: The first was placed in orbit in April, also a board of vague. The plate is near satellites are designed to produce optical imagery with resolution damages, 30 centimeters, as well as the primary payload. This mission also carried four small cube sets each no bigger than a bread basket. One will be part of a new French constellation being developed to monitor maritime traffic.
[00:21:29] Stuart: And the other three are European space agency scientific and technology demonstration cube set. The mission was the 19th Vega low. And since the rockets first flight in 2012 and the second, since a catastrophic failure in November last year, when one of the upper stages failed during a sand, this space-time
[00:21:59] Stuart: and Tom that'll take another brief look at some of the other stories making, using science this week with the science. And you study once that close contacts were at highest risk of catching COVID-19. If they had contact with the infected person between two and three days from when the index patient first showed symptoms, the findings reported in the journal of the American medical association, uh, based on a study of 8,852 contacts of 730 index cases.
[00:22:28] Stuart: And what carried out between January and August, 2020. The authors found when the index case didn't have any symptoms, close contacts were less likely to catch COVID-19. And if they did, they were less likely to have symptoms themselves. The study suggests that the severity of the index case may be linked with the likelihood and severity of illnesses for close contact.
[00:22:52] Stuart: According to the world health organization, more than 8 million people have now been killed by the COVID-19 coronavirus with some four and a half million confirmed fatalities and more than 215 million people infected since the deadly disease was first spread from Warhammer, China. And you study warns that extreme El Nino and LA Nina events will become more commonplace in the future because of the worsening climate change situation due to increases in greenhouse gas emissions.
[00:23:23] Stuart: The findings reported in the journal nature suggest that extreme El Nino and LA Nina events are projected to increase from the present 5.6 events per century, up to 8.9 El Nino and 8.3 lightening. Your events per century, respectively in future climate scenarios. The El Nino Southern oscillation pattern is the strongest driver influencing Australia's weather and climate on a year to year basis.
[00:23:50] Stuart: El Nino little boy in Spanish is associated with extended periods of warming sea surface temperatures in the central and Eastern tropical Pacific. The name comes from Peruvian fishers. Back in the 16 hundreds, they noticed reduced catches of anchovies during periods of unusually warm water in the Pacific ocean it's counterpart learnin yell, or a little girl is associated with extended periods of cooling sea surface temperatures in the central and Eastern tropical Pacific.
[00:24:19] Stuart: The Southern oscillation is the captaining atmospheric component. Linked to the change in sea temperature with El Nino causing high surface pressure in the tropical, Western Pacific and learning your low pressure. The cycles loosely operate at a time scales of between one and eight years. El Ninos tend to result in periods of warmer temperatures, reduced rainfall, drought, and increased fire danger in Australia.
[00:24:44] Stuart: While the Americas tend to experience increased rainfall, flooding and storm activity, a new study as they identified 26 species of Australian frogs at greatest risk of extinction with four likely, already gone. The findings reported in the journal of Pacific conservation biology warn that Queensland Northern gastric brooding frog, mountain mist, frog, and Northern tinker frog, as well as the yellow spot, a tree frog from the Australian Alps have most likely, already gone extinct.
[00:25:15] Stuart: The research by the national environment science program also warns at the Southern corroboree frog and bow frog from the Australian Alps and the Chromebook tinker frog, and avid miss frog from Queensland. I likely to become extinct by 24 40 unless there's effective new action to try and save them.
[00:25:33] Stuart: The author has also worn another five speed. He sees a frog, including the beautiful nursery frogging Chromebook tree frog are at moderate risk of extinction by 24. Scientists say the biggest threats are posed by amphibian fungal disease chair to myosis climate change and habitat loss followed by invasive fish and pigs paleontologist have identified two new species of giant theropod dinosaurs discovered at a dig site in Northwestern, China.
[00:26:03] Stuart: Sarah pods are herbivorous or planting dinosaurs with elephant like bodies and legs along neck and small head at one end and an equally long tail at the other, just think of Fred Flintstones, pet Dino, one of the newly discovered species Siller Titan St. Answers would have been about 20 meters long while the other named hammy tonging Jane's insists would have been 17 meters in length.
[00:26:27] Stuart: The findings published in the journal, scientific reports suggest birth animals live during the early Cretaceous period between 130 and 120 million years ago. To once again, quote the immortal Dr. Sheldon Cooper, there is absolutely no scientific evidence supporting clairvoyance of any kind, which means that fortune telling is a fraud.
[00:26:49] Stuart: The professions are swindle and its livelihood is dependent on the gullibility of stupid papers. But of course, none of that stops people from actually visiting psychics or for that matter psychics from preying on those true believers, a couple of New York psychics who scam more than $700,000 from their victims, ended up getting nothing more than five years probation and an order to pay back just a small portion of the money they had scammed off.
[00:27:16] Stuart: Tim Mendham from Australian skeptic says it all goes to show that if you're a psychic in New York state crime really does it
[00:27:24] Tim Mendham: does unfortunately. And it's a big industry, especially in the U S it's billions of dollars worth of business in the U S is the psychic business. Occasionally and near often enough psychics are taken to court because of schemes that they've used to get money out of their clients.
[00:27:39] Tim Mendham: And we're talking a lot for money. In some cases, it might be just bad advice or because they just see someone coming and they want them to keep coming, et cetera. In particular cases, they claim the client is under a curse and that, that curse, and this happened in Manhattan. And it was a couple of psychics who, between them, which are fraud grand laughs and in a range of other things stole more than a million dollars from the clients, which is pretty impressive.
[00:28:05] Tim Mendham: But the trouble is when the court finally got to them, they both got five years probation. So they weren't putting down. Ordered to repay the victim a portion of what they stole. Like for instance, one of the clients paid over $740,000 and had to pay back 200,000. So in other words, they copied me in dollars and they didn't go to jail.
[00:28:26] Tim Mendham: And he said, when he first though, half a million dollars from.
[00:28:31] Stuart: That's Tim Mendham from Australian skeptics.
[00:28:50] Stuart: And that's the show for now. Space-time is available every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday through apple podcasts, iTunes, Stitcher, Google podcasts. PocketCasts Spotify outcast, Amazon music bites.com SoundCloud YouTube favorite podcast, download provider and from space-time with Stewart, gary.com space times also broadcast through the national science foundation on science own radio and on both iHeart, radio and tune in.
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[00:29:39] Stuart: Just go to space time with Stuart, gary.com for full details. And if you want more space time, please check out our blog where you'll find all the stuff we couldn't fit in the show, as well as heaps of images, new stories, loads, videos, and things on the web. I find interesting or amusing, just go to space-time with Stuart, gary.tumbler.com.
[00:29:59] Stuart: That's all one word and that's tumbler without the. You can also follow us through at Stuart Gary on Twitter at space-time with steward Gary on Instagram, through our space-time YouTube channel and on Facebook, just go to facebook.com forward slash space time with Stewart. And space-time is brought to you in collaboration with Australian sky and telescope magazine.
[00:30:21] Stuart: Your window on the universe.
[00:30:30] VO Guy: You've been listening to space-time with Stuart Gary. This has been another quality podcast production from bitesz.com