The Astronomy, Technology, and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 112
*Three Big Marsquakes rock the red planet
NASA’s InSight lander has recorded a massive magnitude 4.2 Marsquake on the red planet which shook the spacecraft for...
The Astronomy, Technology, and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 112
*Three Big Marsquakes rock the red planet
NASA’s InSight lander has recorded a massive magnitude 4.2 Marsquake on the red planet which shook the spacecraft for nearly an hour-and-a-half.
*NASA’s Mars fleet moves into solar conjunction
Planet Earth’s invasion of Mars has hit the pause button as the red planet moves into solar conjunction.
*NASA prepares for Arnhem Land rocket blast-off
A team of key NASA personnel have been released from COVID-19 quarantine in Darwin to begin preparations for the agency’s rocket launch program from Equatorial Launch Australia’s new Arnhem Space Centre.
*The Science Report
New experimental anti-viral drug molnupiravir could cut halve COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations.
Ground-breaking new research discovers a likely cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientists create the world’s whitest paint.
A new study confirms that the ancient Etruscans were actually Italians.
Skeptic's guide to how big business exploits fear during COVID-19.
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SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 112 AI Transcript
[00:00:00] Stuart: This is space time series 24 episode, 112 for broadcast on the 4th of October, 2021. Coming up on space time, three big Mars quakes rock the red planet spacecraft moving a mass solar conjunction and NASA technicians. Finally leave. COVID-19 locked down in Darwin and head to Arnhem Land begin preparations for the agencies down under launch program, all that and more coming up on spacetime.
Welcome to space time with Stuart Gary
NASA's insight. Lander has recorded a massive 4.2 Mars quake on the red planet, which shook the spacecraft for nearly an hour and a half. The event on September the 18th was one of the biggest and longest lasting Mars quakes the has ever detected. And it was a fitting celebration to mark. The land is 1000th Martian day or soul.
The trembler was the third major quake detected by inside in a month. Back on August the 25th, the mission seismometer detected two quakes of magnitudes, 4.2 and 4.1 out for comparison, the magnitude 4.2 quake as five times. The energy of the missions. Previous record holder, a magnitude 3.7 mass quake detected back in 2019 insight study seismic waves to learn more about the Martian interior.
See these seismic waves change as they travel through the planet's crust it's Matalan core. And that provides scientists with a way to pay deep below the surface. What they learn, get help shed light, not only on Mars, but also how all the Rocky planets form, including earth and its moon. But these quakes may not have been detected at all.
Admission managers, not an action earlier in the year as Mazda's elliptical orbit took it further away from the sun. See lower temperatures associated with greater distance from the sun required this spacecraft to rely more on its haters. To keep warm that combined with a dust build up on insight.
Solar panels had reduced the land is overall power levels requiring the mission to conserve energy by temporarily turning off some instruments. The team managed to keep the seismometer running by taking a counterintuitive approach. They used insights, robotic arm to trickle Sen. He, one of the solar panels in the hopes that as the wind gas carried it across the panel, the granulars would sweep off some of the dust and the plan worked.
And over several dust cleaning activities, the team saw power levels remained fairly steady. Now that Mars is approaching the sun. Once again, power is starting to inch back. Incense principal investigator Bruce banner ad from NASA jet propulsion laboratory in Pasadena, California says even after more than two years, Mars still seems to have given us something new with these two new quakes, which have unique characteristics.
While the September 18 quake is still being studied. Scientist already know a lot more about the August 25 quakes that magnitude 4.2 event occurred about 8,500 kilometers from inside. The most distant tremble. The Lander is SEFA detected. Scientists are still trying to pinpoint the exact source and direction of the seismic waves, but they already know that this shaking occurred too far over originated from where inside is detected almost all previous lodge.
They were all from the service forsee region around 1,609 kilometers away. A volcanic terrain were Lavah may have flowed within the last few million years, which is incredibly recent in geologic terms. One especially intriguing possibility is that these quakes originated from VALIS Marin Eris, the giant 4,000 kilometer long seven kilometer deep canyon system that scars the marsh and equate.
The approximate center of the canyon is around 9,700 kilometers from inside to the surprise of scientists. The August 25th quakes were also of two different types. The magnitude 4.2 quake was dominated by slow, low frequency vibrations. Well, fast, high frequency vibrations characterize the magnitude 4.1 quake the magnitude 4.1 quake was also much closer to the Lander only about 925 kilometers away.
And that's all good news for seismologists. See recording different quakes from a range of different distances, with a range of different kinds of seismic waves provides more information about a planet's internal structure earlier this year. Mission scientists use previous Mars quake data, which we reported on space time, the detailed, the depth and thickness of the planet's crust and mantle as well as the size of its molten.
Despite their differences. The two August quakes do have something in common, other than Beth being big. They both occurred on the same day, the windiest and to a seismometer noisiest time on Mars, sea inside seismometer usually finds Mars quakes at night when the planet cools orphan Windsor. At the signals from these quakes were large enough to rise well above the background noise caused by the mash and wins.
And to think just a few years ago, scientists believed Mars would have no longer been seismically active because it had cooled down so much. And the only seismic noises likely to be heard would have been from meteoroid impacts how our view of the red planet it's changed. This is space time still the comm NASA's Mars fleet prepares for solar conjunction and key NASA personnel released from COVID-19 quarantined in Dowan to begin preparations for the agencies down under rocket launch program, all that and more store to car.
Um, space time.
Planet earth invasion of Mazdas hit the pause button. As the red planet moves in the solid conjunction mass solid conjunction happens every two years. As the red pine its orbit takes it behind the sun is saved from. The mini missions in orbit around Mars and on the Martian surface, we'll continue collecting data during this time.
But mission managers back on earth will stop sending commands to them until around mid-October. It's not just that the sun's sheer size physically blocks out communications between the two planets during mass solar conjunction, but the hot ionized plasma, the sun's atmosphere can also corrupt. It interfere with radio signal sent by mission manages to mass space.
And that had caused the spacecraft to experience damage this year. Most mission managers have stopped sending commands between October the second and October 16. A few will extend that commanding moratorium as it's called a day or two, either direction, depending on the angular distance between Mars and the sun in earth scar.
For NASA, it means that while Mars missions won't be quite as active over the next few weeks, they'll still let the MA's relay network at NASA's jet propulsion laboratory in Pasadena, California. Now their state of health and each mission has been given some homework to do until they hear from mission manager.
Perseverance. We'll be taking with the measurements with its Mars, environmental dynamics, analyzer sensors. It looked for dust devils with its cameras, though it won't be moving its mast or masthead. It'll run its radar image app for the Mars subsurface experiment and capture new sounds with its microphone.
Meanwhile, the ingenuity Mars rotor copter will remain stationary at its current location around 175 meters from perseverance. And it will communicated status weekly to the road. At the same time, perseverance is near twin Rover curiosity. We'll take weather measurements using its Rover environmental monitoring station sensors.
It'll take radiation measurements using its radiation assessment detector and dynamic OBD neutron sensor. And it will keep an eye out for dust devils using it suite of cameras and the insight mission which we spoke about earlier. We'll continue using it seismometer to take new tremors, just like the large earthquakes had captured recently.
As Vanessa's three, currently active orbiters Odyssey, Mars, reconnaissance, orbiter, and Maven they'll continue relaying data from the agency surface missions at sea. In addition to gathering their own science, while a limited amount of science data will reach earth during mass Solak injunction, a spacecraft themselves will be storing all their data until the moratoriums over.
That means there'll be a temporary pause in the stream of roar images available from perseverance, curiosity, and insight. But then there'll beam their remaining data to NASA thick space communications network. A system of massive earth based radio antennas managed by JPL engineers will then spend about a week downloading all the information before normal spacecraft operations resume.
Glen Nagle from the CSI arrows, NASA deep space communications network, Canberra tracking station says if the team's monitoring these missions, the Turman there, any of the collected side state is bank corrupted. They can easily have it. Retransmitted
[00:09:45] Jonathan: on the opposite side of the sound from us, the sun literally.
Breakup in the communication with our miles orbiting and surface spacecraft. So you don't during that period, send commands spacecraft because those commands could be effected by the gravity, the radiation energy from the sun. And that could be a corrupted signal to arrive to your spacecraft. So during those periods, the spice cost to put it into a sort of a hibernation mode to do minimal work.
So if we take, for instance, Perseverance. It's literally just being told stare at these two spots for the next two weeks. Once we get back and forth communication with you send back that data, our old design and the scientists themselves are quite confident that they will survive that sort of downtime.
So for a vehicle like the ingenuity helicopter sitting there in the region where perseverance is, it will literally just sit there, taking in energy from the sun on its solar cells, and they're keeping those batteries charged so that we can recontact them and continue the amazing journey.
[00:10:54] Stuart: Well, I've got you all that refurbishment work on the big dishes now being completed that was completed earlier this year, but, uh, the upgrades aren't over yet, tell me what's happening.
[00:11:02] Jonathan: So right at the moment, we are in the process of doing some upgrades to our 34 meter antenna. Uh, to continue on from the work that the space station 43 completed earlier this year, and those upgrades will actually install some new K band and K band transmitted and receive a system. So working in frequencies that we'll be using specifically to support NASA's Artemis program, as efficient as to return humans to the moon over the next few.
So the date space network right around the planet, they have three stations. One in here, a Canberra of course can have stations in Spain and in the United States, all their critical made additions or receive those upgrades so that we can support, hopefully bringing back again, those very first images of the first woman and the first person of color to walk on the surface of the moon and just the next few years.
[00:11:53] Jonathan: our camera station is very much part of that. Uh, Adam has one, uh, or exploration mission. One is as we call it internally is, uh, a, uh, an crude vehicle using the entire space launch system stack with the Orion vehicle to fly it out around the earth, out around the moon, the full scale dress rehearsal, all those first human mission in the next few years.
So. Return capsule Orienta. So all the systems on board we'll be recording every bit of data that the space network will be crucial in collecting that information on sending any Manning to that spice crops. Make sure that it's a successful mission. And then leading up to the next autonomous missions in probably about 20, 23 at this stage, to be able to send the first humans back to the moon first in lunar orbit.
And then. Following missions after that, perhaps in the 20, 24 to 26 timeframe, getting those first boots of humans back on the surface. And then after more than
[00:12:55] Stuart: 50 years, because this will be the most powerful NASA rocket launch or since the mighty sat in five months. Yes,
[00:13:02] Jonathan: it has been many, many years of development since the end of the spatial program back in 2010.
New vehicle using all the best technologies the last 50 years, the engines of the space shuttle, the solid rocket booster systems, and a much larger stack than has previously been done with a highly sophisticated around capsule to carry multiple crew members in the space for long journeys to the moon, to learn a gateway station that they're planning to build around the moon.
And even for future journeys, taking him beyond linear OPA and perhaps. To MAs in the next 10,
[00:13:41] Stuart: 20 years, there will be a need for a deep space module, which will be attached to a rhyme for those first human journeys to mind. And then we'll
[00:13:48] Jonathan: learn an enormous amount through not only the international space station, which they think flying in a thought, but since early two thousands, but also with gateway gateway.
It's small station, multiple nations working together to put an outpost around the mint so that we can use it as a staging post to send nationals to and from lunar orbit down to the surface, but also as a long-term outpost to learn about living away from our planet away from the sort of resources that we take for granted here to be able to live in an environment for these longer journeys, eight to 10 months to get to somewhere like Mars.
There's a thousand.
So actually two new antennas. So the dread over the last year. So the first of their antennas is operational. Now the second antenna is also in its commissioning phase and will come online over the next few months. There are currently a new antenna also being. At Californian station at Goldstone. And that antenna will be until the first of a new generation of communication dishes.
We've been using radio frequencies for many, many decades to communicate with us by his craft out, across the solar system, but with the needs of data return and specially. High resolution imagery and voice communications and other things we'll need for when we're sending national exposure into deep space, optical communication will be the way to go far greater bandwidth, getting more information back at a better quality and.
And California with the first of an optical radio frequency hybrid antenna. And if all that goes well before the end of this deck, I've Canberra Olsa beginning one of those optical hybrid issues.
[00:15:40] Stuart: Cyrus Glen Nagle from masses deep space communications network, Canberra tracking station. And this space time still to come, or they've been delayed and placed in the quarantine because of COVID-19.
But now a team of NASA technicians have been released from the Howard Springs quarantined facility near Dowan to begin preparations for the agencies down under rocket launch program. And later in the science report, researchers create the world's whitest paint. Clearly they don't live in a house full of kids, or that are more stored.
a team of key NASA personnel have been released from COVID-19 quarantined in Darwin to begin preparations for the agency's rocket launch program from equatorial launch Australia's new Arnhem land space center. The project, which has been delayed by the pandemic for around two years is expected to begin flying, sounding rockets from the facility by the middle of next year.
The plans call for an initial three rocket launches on suborbital ballistic trajectories lasting up to 20 minutes age and carrying scientific instruments for engineering tests and astrophysics research. The flats will provide scientists with an opportunity to study astronomical objects in the vents that can't be seen from the Northern hemisphere sounding rocket ranch is NASA normally uses.
And of course the ANAM land space said it isn't the only rocket range coming online down under. There is of course the famous warmer rocket range in Outback, south Australia, which the Australian military uses and which NASA has also used in the past. Also in south Australia, a private company called Southern launches, developed two facilities on the air peninsula, one to test rockets and missiles at Kerber west of
And the other to launch orbital rockets at is way south of port Lincoln. Meanwhile, on the nations east coast Gilmore space of approval to build their own orbital rocket launch facility at Abbott point and the Northern Queensland coast. And black skier, a space of a sounding rocket launch facility, a good and a windy on the new south Wales Queensland border.
It sounds like Australia may become a busy place for space over the next few years. This space time
And Tom had to take a brief look at some of the other stories making, using science this week with the science report in what some medical experts that are describing as a potential major breakthrough, a new Tami flu like antiviral pill developed by us drug manufacturer. Merrick could have the number of people dying or being hospitalized from severe COVID-19.
The new drug called Manu pyruvate here is designed to introduce RNA errors into the SAS COVID to Corona viruses. Genetic code Merrick says viral sequencing shows the drug is effective against all Corona virus variants, including the highly transmissible Delta strain. The company seeking emergency United States.
Use authorization following successful interim trial. These initial trial showed that after three days of treatment, infectious as curvy to virus was founded just 2% of participants taking 800 milligrams of compared to 17% taking a placebo by day five. The virus was no longer detectable in any participants receiving 400 milligrams or 800 milligrams of the drug, but was still found any 11% of placebo participants.
Overall researchers found that only 7.3% of those given them our new pyruvate twice a day for five days were hospitalized and none had died by 29 days that compared to 14.1% hospitalization at eight fatalities in the placebo group, however, scientists warned the drug will not end the pandemic and it's still no substitute for vaccination.
The world health organization says more than 8 million people have been killed by the COVID-19 Corona virus with almost 5 million confirmed fatalities and over 240 million people infected since the deadly disease. First spread out of Wuhan China. Groundbreaking nearest search has discovered a likely cause of Alzheimer's disease.
The findings reported in the general plus biology offers potential new prevention and treatment opportunities for what's become Australia's. Second leading cause of death. Scientists have identified that a probable cause of Alzheimer's is the leakage from blood into the brain of fat carrying particles, transporting toxic proteins.
Now while researchers have long known that the hallmark feature of people living with Alzheimer's was the progressive accumulation of toxic protein deposits within the brain called beta amyloid. They didn't know where the amyloid originated from or for that matter why it was being deposited in the brain.
The new research shows that these toxic protein deposits most likely leak into the brain from fat carrying particles in the blood called lipoprotein. This blood to brain pathway significant because if doctors can manage the levels of lipoprotein amyloid in blood and prevent their leakage into the brain, it opens up potential new treatments to prevent Alzheimer's disease and slow memory loss.
Scientists that Purdue university have created what they believe is the world's widest paint. The paint is so wide. It could eventually reduce or even eliminate the need for air conditioning. At shimmy, of course they can keep it clean. The ultra white paint reflect some 98.1% of solar radiation while also a mini infrared heat.
It was developed as part of efforts to reflect sunlight of buildings and combat global warming. The key is very high concentrations of different size particles of barium sulfate, which is also used in photo paper and cosmetics because the paint absorbs less heat from the sun than it admits a surface coder with this paint is cooled below the surrounding ambient temperature without consuming power.
A typical commercial white paint gets warmer rather than cooler because it reflects only between around 80 to 90% of sunlight. And so can't make surfaces cooler than this surrounding. But by using this new paint to cover a roof area of say a hundred square meters, it could result in a cooling power of 10 kilowatts.
That's more than a typical domestic air conditioner. Now the only problem is keeping it clean and you study has resolved the mystery of where the Etruscan civilization originated. It turns out there were local Italian. The Etruscan civilization, which flourished during the iron age in central Italy has intrigued Scarlet's for millennia because of the remarkable metallurgical skills and the now extinct non-Indian year paying language, which made them very different from their contemporary neighbors.
And this led to speculation that they must have originated from a different part of the world. But now a report in the journal science advances as provided genetic evidence confirming, they originated from central and Southern Italy. The findings are based on genetic evidence from 82 ancient individuals spanning from 800 BCE to the 1000.
Despite a few individuals from the Eastern Mediterranean Northern Africa and central Europe, the Etruscan related gene pool remained stable for at least 800 years through the iron age and into the Roman Republic period. It was early during the time of the Roman empire that the Etruscan gene pool experienced the large-scale genetic shift due to the large-scale displacement of Eastern Mediterranean people by the Romans.
Australian clothing from Lorna. Jane has been fined $5 million in the federal court for claiming that it's closed. Prevent the transmission of COVID-19. The company claimed its Addie virus active way had been sprayed with a substance called LJ shield, which protected people against pathogens. The Australian competition and consumer commission took the court action, accusing the company of making false and misleading claims.
Tim Mendham from Australian skeptic says the court found that the claim was predatory and the company had sought to exploit fear and concern. Mona Jane
[00:24:28] Jonathan: at the company has been around for about 30 years. It's, uh, basically it was sort of, uh, exercise initially. So they've sold a whole range of fashion.
And pandemic I was selling active way. It was, I call up that had been sprayed with a substance called LJ, which protect the people against pathogens, including COVID-19 allegedly it's been found to be untrue. So yeah, they were claiming it could protect against the COVID then TGA therapeutic goods administration find them about 40 grand last year saying it's false advertising, but the Australian consumer and competition with commission, the triple C.
And they were found guilty and fined 5 million, which is quite a lot. And I mean, just trying to find out exactly how much Lorna Jane turns over. It's about $180 million. That's a phase. This is a phase five minutes to face. When I got their profit. As the founders recently pulled back all the outstanding shares of their company, they've been responsible for it.
So, um, it's a very sad day for Lorna Jane.
[00:25:28] Stuart: From Australia and skeptics.
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