The Astronomy, Technology and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime with Stuart Gary Series 24 Episode 31
*Count down for Australia’s return to orbit
If all goes according to plan -- in almost exactly a year from now Australia will officially become a space-faring nation – again.
*Interstellar visitors are more common than thought
A new study suggests around seven interstellar visitors pass through our solar system every year.
*Hubble emergency shutdown
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is back online after suddenly shutting down last week due to a software error in the orbiting observatory’s main computer.
*Discovering a monster on the move
Astronomers have discovered a supermassive black hole moving through the universe.
*The Science Report
Ethical controversy erupts as scientists generate a model of a human embryo from human skin cells.
U.K. variant of the COVID-19 coronavirus is linked to an increased risk of death.
New clues as to how life might have started on Earth.
Palaeontologists discover the world’s first example of a fossilized dinosaur sitting on a nest of eggs.
Skeptic's guide to the Dyatlov Pass incident
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SpaceTime 20210322 Series 24 Episode 31 Processed
[00:00:00] This is time series 24 episode 31, four broadcast on the 22nd of March, 2021 coming up on space, time countdown for Australia's returned to Warbird our interstellar visitors more common than we thought. And NASA's Hubble space telescope back in operations, after an emergency shutdown, all that and more coming up.
[00:00:24] Um, space time. Welcome to space time with Stewart, Gary
[00:00:46] If all goes, according to plan in almost exactly a year from now, Australia will officially become a space faring nation. Again, of course, back in the 1960s, the warmer a rocket range in our back South [00:01:00] Australia was one of the busiest spaceports in the world. Second, only to Cape Canaveral in Florida. And on October the 29th, 1967 Australia became only the fourth nation on earth to launch a satellite at built into orbit from its own soil.
[00:01:14] When the scientific spacecraft reset one, blast that off from space launch complex LA ate at warmer, but with a lack of foresight and vision that will leave most people stand Australia's dim witted politicians, squabbling amongst themselves only ever sing. As far as the next election decided there was no future in space and that's a direct quote.
[00:01:37] Now, remember this was at the very height of the space race. The satellite communications industry was already growing into a multi-billion dollar giant shining and beacon on the path to the future. There's no benefit of hindsight here. It was clear to everybody at the time, except it seems Australia's elected representatives and the level of stupidity in Australia's [00:02:00] politicians is really quite mindblowing.
[00:02:02] Not only did they turn down an offer for Australia to become one of the founding members of the then fledgling European space agency. But the government also sold off most of the technology and infrastructure, which had been painstakingly developed the scrap value. It's taken half a century, but Australia is finally getting back in the settle with the creation of an official Australian space agency.
[00:02:26] And new spaceports being developed for NASA by equitarian launch Australia in the Northern territory is annum Lanny, Nolan, boy, and another company, Southern launch commencing missile test flight to the consumer rocket range. And he said Juna and developing its own over the launch complex at whalers way near port Lincoln.
[00:02:43] Meanwhile, gold coast company Gilmore space technologies is developing its own orbit launch vehicle. The area's one. It's slated to carry the optimist one OBL transfer module and it's five or international satellite payload into space in match. Next year, fireball [00:03:00] is designed to provide automated early detection and tracking of wildfires using artificial intelligence, allowing quicker response times by firefighters mounting the system, aboard a spacecraft, or cut the time from ignition to detection of fires data under three minutes over vast range.
[00:03:17] It also be at a see-through the smirk to locate the actual seat of the fire, thereby providing more accurate targeting for firefighting aircraft. The technology used by fireball was originally designed to look for supernova explosions in deep space, but fiber turns that technology upside down, looking downwards for fires, specifically focusing on early smoke emissions.
[00:03:40] Each year, the fireball system analyzes around a million images from satellites and it uses artificial intelligence to quickly identify new smoke blooms. The sunshine coast based companies already secured several us contracts to monitor around 50 million hectares for wildfires. In fact, during the 2020 California wildfire, [00:04:00] season five, all detected and confer more than 850 fires with around 65% detected within a minute 95% within five minutes and a hundred percent within 10 minutes.
[00:04:12] The company is planning to develop a constellation of 24 satellites by 2028, either as individual spacecraft or as payloads on other satellites. We'll see. Yeah. Christopher Tyler says the technology is already tried and tested. We do provide information, society, emergency services. We help them pick fires more efficient.
[00:04:34] We do that from detection even a little bit further from the termination. What the funeral is on the ground after the MoPOP and a fire assessment afterwards. Well that we have developed a range of system on our core products in artificial intelligence. Actually, it's a series of algorithm. It's actually a system of systems which gets data from different sources.
[00:04:58] So one of the [00:05:00] sources is the account-based camera network. Um, by looking for smoking images and they call that for legal grounds. The other one is which is a range of stocks, which are owned by and operated by international space agencies. But we are planning to build our own and launch that by 2022,
[00:05:23] which is a center area. Is it mounted? On airplanes, drones, helicopters, et cetera.
[00:05:33] So they hold system to tape as fire within one to three minutes. So we are looking for smoke. And when we, when we started this journey, but actually quite funny, because I said. Hey, come on. We are able to pick the face out of the crowd in the stadium. How hard can it be to detect smoke in the landscape turned out it's much, much harder than picking all the stations in the stadium, but we are not using the [00:06:00] instrument on the top of the line.
[00:06:01] The stuff that I spoke to for his signatures and the ground based looks for smoke right now, we use
[00:06:09] for California. We have the system up and running in California about 900 cameras, cameras feed into the system and detect fire and use the of Spotify on the grounds and all of that on Google maps. Can you see from there? Lorry of the track. We use the ground-based and the space space in unison. So either the one or the other picks it up and then it gets confirmed, but we don't want to do this.
[00:06:37] We do not want to get out to the emergency services. So we have a system of systems to eliminate false positives. The two satellites I mentioned before. So they look it's the same all of the time that all the time you're synchronized with the three months, but we need in terms of mapping a little bit more information.
[00:06:56] So we also using, uh, what we are [00:07:00] planning to launch our own 22 and put up the constellation, which is dedicated for fire. So far, something kind of the compromise, you know, the check of all trades. We want to have one. Which is dedicated to five look, especially for the things we need to have using goes that you're going to be using the Sentinel satellites from the European space agency.
[00:07:21] You're using the, the Japanese weather satellite as well. Um, and everything lands at everything you can imagine, which has the sensor on board, which we can, which we can use the time to launch a range of stuff. The first one, which is dedicated to look over training is a telecom company who launches into the concept of for 20, 25.
[00:07:40] And we want to have a hosted payload on there. And these communications after that is really good for us because it has communication and Paulo already the air. And we just pulled out our, we had a piggyback ride. On this topic with our instrument. And this is, this one goes up to about 40,000 geostationary plan, [00:08:00] low orbit satellite, which has a much better resolution.
[00:08:03] Then about 500, 600 kilometers altitude. And we plan to launch that by 2022, that will be a complete constellation between 24 48. That's not decided yet the first point we launch. It's incorporation with Australia national university. They look at the fuel loads on the ground. We look at the fire, um, mapping, uh, that will be, uh, uh, 12 unit cubes that we are looking for a bigger platform.
[00:08:31] Right now we are in discussion with the provider also, actually funny story. Actually Australian provider who plans to create a new satellite, which will absolutely feed it will be a problem. Something reasonably big to launch that Dan you and they had to launch it on electric. Yes. Negotiation with the parks I'm talking about has a baseline of 30 centimeters.
[00:09:05] So that'll be within the 300 kilograms in weight, then they can break it down. It's a telescope, which groups downwards. So we have a 60, the marrow in there and then the onboard edge computers, communications guidance. How far along are you in the development of the satellite? Actually, far ahead, that whole development was started.
[00:09:34] You know, one of our founders, uh, Kenny picked up. He said UC Berkeley. He started explosion in supernova in fact, distance, galaxies years ago. And then there was a big fire in his neighborhood. The two of his neighbor's houses were completely destroyed. So he was thinking, you know, that the technology has developed here, roping out what's the space find explosions in millions of light, years away.
[00:10:00] [00:09:59] Galaxies can help. Nope downwards because the same as apology looking for this small signal that a lot of noise can be used in fire. So he started to develop together with the SSL technology throughout the question we are quite far ahead, the older collaborating with the next year university, bruh, leading that they are looking at moisture content and content on the ground to determine.
[00:10:30] When does, how will it develop in the next half an hour, hour or so to get this information to the, to the tires. And that is a very important information. Have a lifespan with willingly satellites. Have, have you worked that out yet? Is it.
[00:10:48] Um, you know, these little buggers are in a very low orbit. We think three to five years. And you're talking about quite a constellation. We're talking about 24 to [00:11:00] 48 satellites. That's Chris Tyler, the CEO of fireball international. And this is space-time I'm Stewart, Gary still the com and you studied, he suggests into still a visitor's a more common than we thought.
[00:11:13] And nurses, Hubble space, telescope experiences, and emergency shutdown, all that, and much more store to come on. Space time.
[00:11:38] A new study suggest around seven into still a visitor's pass through us solar system every year. The findings reported on the prepress physics website, archive.org, uh, based on detailed calculations, combining observations of existing at Astella visitors and data from the European space agencies, guy mission.
[00:11:56] Launched in 2013, Gaia is developing a [00:12:00] three-dimensional map of nearby space by measuring the positions, distances, and movement of over a billion stars, planets and other celestial objects, including asteroids and comets. Back in October, 2017, astronomers confirm the detection of a Malmo. Our first confirmed interstellar visitor, a weird flat elongated asteroid is orbital path indicates that it didn't originate in our solar system and was already on its way back out again.
[00:12:27] Then just two years later, astronomy has detected a second interstellar visitor, the alien comma Burris of also by its hyperbolic orbital trajectory indicating its origin and destination. We will beyond our solar system. If there was any doubt, Burris have confirmed what many astronomists had already suspected that interstellar objects enter our solar system on a pretty regular basis drawn in by the sun's enormous gravitational pull and need to be flying out again.
[00:12:55] A team of researchers from the initiative for interstellar studies wanted to determine just how [00:13:00] often this occurs as part of proposals to send a spacecraft to rendezvous with and study one of these interstellar objects in order to provide astronomers with insights into their home systems and the different regions of space they've traveled through on may journey.
[00:13:13] So far, there are several different proposals on the drawing boards. These include indices, the mission's spotting, an interstellar object early enough to launch a spacecraft to undertake a fly by. Others involve pre-positioning small probes in the outer solar system, then simply waiting for an interstellar object to arrive nearby and then closing in for a detailed examination to place better constraints on these options.
[00:13:38] The studies authors wanted to know how often these long distance visitors would be passing through. The calculations, show that up to seven interstellar asteroids like a mouse, uh, likely to pass through our solar system every year. And many of these objects will be moving faster than the 26 kilometers per second amount.
[00:13:55] Mao was traveling at me. Well, they suggest that an interstellar comet [00:14:00] like Barisa would swerve through us solar system, roughly every 10 to 20 years. This space time, it's still the calm Hubble space. Telescope suffers an emergency shutdown. And discovering a monster on the move or that are more coming up on space time.
[00:14:34] Messes Hubble space. Telescope is back online after suddenly shutting down last week. You're a software error in the orbiting observatories main computer. The spacecraft went into an emergency safe mode. When the problem surfaced safe mode puts the telescope into a stable configuration until solutions can be implemented by mission managers back on the ground.
[00:14:55] The team at NASA Goddard space flight center identified the software error in an [00:15:00] enhancement recently uploaded to the telescope in order to help compensate for fluctuations from one of its gyroscopes gyroscopes. He used to help Hubble turn and lock on targets by measuring the speed at which the spacecraft's turning the timid Godard, determined that the enhancements that were uploaded didn't have permission to write the specific location in one of Hubble's computer memory banks.
[00:15:21] This caused an issue with the main flight computer and subsequently caused the spacecraft to enter a safe mode. Once the problem was identified and resolved, Hubble's onboard systems were able to begin to return to normal operations. However, then a new problem developed with Hubble's widefield camera three instrument.
[00:15:38] It refused to turn on wide-field camera three is one of the key scientific instruments used by astronomers. So it's kind of important to have it operational. It seems after starting its recovery, the instruments suddenly suspended the process general lower than normal voltage reading for a power supply, which then in turn triggered an internal instrument, [00:16:00] safeguard mission managers say that happened because the electronics experience colder temperatures when the hardware's turned off in safe mode.
[00:16:07] This factor coupled with the additional power, which the instruments components drawer, as they turned back on all combined to contribute to a voltage fluctuation, which in turn suspended, recovery operations, further analysis by the team at GoDaddy quickly determined that it would be safe to fire up the system using a slightly reduced voltage, which was then done bringing widefield camera three, back into service, much to the relief of many astronomers.
[00:16:33] This space-time. Still the com discovering a monster on the move. And later in the science report, ethical controversy, erupt after scientists generate a copy of a human embryo from skin cells, or that are more coming up on space time.
[00:17:03] [00:17:00] Astronomers have discovered a supermassive black hole moving through the universe. Supermassive black holes, forming the most powerful objects known and the idea of them gallivanting around through the cosmos. It's quite unsettling. They're usually found at the centers of most, if not all galaxies scientists have long theorized that it would be possible for supermassive black holes to wonder through space, but no one's actually ever found one until now.
[00:17:30] A report in the astrophysical journal claims supermassive black hole at the heart of the galaxy J zero four 37 plus 24 56, located some 230 million light years away is moving at a different velocity compared to the galaxy it's in. The study's lead author, Dominic PESI from the Harvard Smithsonian center for astrophysics says astronomists, don't expect the majority of supermassive black holes to be moving.
[00:17:54] They usually just skin tend to sit around, but this is the clearest case to date of a [00:18:00] supermassive black hole in motion. And that implies that the black holes been disturbed by something. The authors discovered this 3 million solar mass monster on the move during a survey of 10 distant galaxies. They were specifically looking for black holes.
[00:18:14] They contain water within their accretion disks, the rings of material being torn apart. Prior to that material, falling into the black hole. As the water orbits around the black horse accretion disk, it produces a laser light beam of radio light known as amazed when studied with a combined network of radio antennas, using a technique known as very long baseline radio interferometers masers can be used to help measure a black holes velocity.
[00:18:39] Very precisely. The technique helped. The authors determined that nine of the 10 super massive black holes they were studying were rest quietly sitting in the middle of that as galaxies one stood out, because it seemed to be in motion, follow up observations, using the era's CBO and Jim and Gemini observatories confirm the initial [00:19:00] findings.
[00:19:00] It seems the supermassive black hole as big as the one at the center of our galaxy is moving at around 180,000 kilometers per hour, compared to the galaxy at sin. Yeah, this movement could be caused by the merging of two supermassive black holes causing the newly formed larger black hole to recoil. As it settles down again, or the black hole may simply be part of a binary system with an as yet undiscovered companion.
[00:19:26] The author say that would be an exciting prospect because despite every expectation that they ought to be out there in some abundance, astronomers have had a hard time identifying any clear examples of binary supermassive black holes. So what astronomers could be seeing in the galaxy J zero four, three seven plus 24 56 is one of the black holes in such a binary with the other remaining hidden because of its lack of maser.
[00:19:51] This space-time
[00:20:02] [00:20:00] and Tom Metta, take a brief look at some of the other stories making use in science this week with a science report. Scientists at Monash university have reduced the model of a human embryo out of human skin cells without using a fertilized human egg. The team led by Jose polo successfully reprogram human fibroblasts, the main type of self fan and connective tissue to develop into a three-dimensional model of a human blastocyst.
[00:20:27] The stage that the human embryo reaches five to six days after fertilization. Scientists say, although similar these human blessed doses like structures called induced blast voids can't develop into a human fetus or baby, but they could be used to produce pluripotency or troppo blast STEM cells.
[00:20:46] Meanwhile, a separate study by June wound. Colleagues at the university of Texas were able to generate blastocysts like structures, which they call human Blastoise from human pluripotent STEM cells. The human blasto it's resemble human blessed, [00:21:00] the sights in their morphology size cell number and composition.
[00:21:04] The authors found they're able to generate embryonic and extra embryonic STEM cells, which could self-organize distractors capable of developing in vitro in a fashion that mimic the growth and differentiation of an embryo after implantation into the womb. The two breakthroughs reported in separate articles in the journal nature, provide models for studying early human development.
[00:21:25] You in vitro fertilization techniques and provide insights into early developmental defects. A new study is found that the UK varied of the COVID-19 Corona virus is linked to an increased risk of death. A report in the journal nature claims the UK or B one, one seven strain shows a 55% increased risk of death compared to other variants.
[00:21:48] Scientists analyzed almost 5,000 deaths in England with confirmed infections with a variant, it means the absolute risk of death or a 55 to 69 year old male increases from [00:22:00] 0.6 to 0.9% within a month after testing positive for the variant. Over 2.7 million people have now died from the COVID-19 virus with another 121 million having been infected since the virus first emerged from warhead, China and spread around the world.
[00:22:19] A new study claims lightning strikes may have supplied enough of the essential phosphorus compounds to support the first life on earth. Previously. It was thought that the phosphorus required to make the first DNA RNA and cell membranes came from a mineral called Schreiber site, which is most commonly found in meteorites.
[00:22:38] However, a report in the journal Medger communications claims Schreiber's site within glassy minerals can be formed by lightning strikes, hitting clay red soils. Scientists say modeling and simulations determined that this process could have produced enough Schreiber site to kick start early life on earth paleontologist.
[00:22:58] If on earth, the world's first example of [00:23:00] a fossilized dinosaur sitting on a nest of eggs that discovery dates back some 70 million years to the Cretaceous period in Southern China Shanxi province. The fossil consists of an incomplete skeleton of an adult over the wrap, the saw crouched in a bird like pasture over a clutch of at least 24 eggs.
[00:23:19] A report in the science bulletin says Ellie seven of the eggs are complete enough to have preserved the burns or partial skeletons of the unhatched embryos side. Researchers may have finally solved one of Russia's great mysteries, the infamous deadlock pass incident. The mysterious event saw nine Russian hikers dying grizzly circumstances in remote forest on the snow covered slopes of the Northern Euro mountains.
[00:23:47] Back at the start of February, 1959, something, or someone caused this experience tracking group from the Euro Polytechnic Institute to cut their way out of it. Tendon flee the campsite while inadequately [00:24:00] dressed for the heavy snowfall and Sub-Zero temperatures. After the groups, bodies were discovered and investigation by Soviet authorities determined that six had died from hypothermia or the other three had been killed through physical trauma.
[00:24:14] One of the victims had major scale damage. Yeah. The two had severe chest trauma, one with a small crack in the skull four, the bodies were found lying in running water in a Creek. And three of these had soft tissue damage to the head and face. Two of the bodies were missing. Their eyes. One was missing its tongue and one was missing its eyebrows.
[00:24:34] The Servite investigation concluded that, and I quote here a compelling natural force had caused the deaths. Of course, over the years, numerous theories have been put forward to try and account for this unexplained tragedy. These include animal attacks, hypothermia and avalanche katabatic winds in for sound induced, panic, military involvement, or some combination of two or more of these.
[00:24:57] Tim men from Australian skeptic says [00:25:00] Russia, conspiracy theorists have focused on more imaginative possibilities, such as aliens or Bigfoot. I think that goes back about 60 years to a group of hikers up in the Heights of the Ural mountains in Russia. And for some reason, they disappeared for a while, but they remained with fans.
[00:25:16] I think it was about a month later or something. And some of them have serious head injuries called spatially and others were sort of in a state of undress in the middle of the snow. And. People couldn't figure out what has actually happened to them sign. That's why everyone jumped in with alternative explanations, including Yetis, abominable, snowman, coming down and destroying them.
[00:25:35] They had tanks and the tanks were crushed and the people were outside of the smell. Oh yeah. Aliens coming down and attacking them, really sort of dragging all comes riser and people recently have done investigations. Oh, that's cool. I slabs shifting and they really, they pitch their teams underneath and over.
[00:25:51] Hang on here with cause we take them from the winds, but the trouble is the top part of the, I sleep on top of the bottom half of the ice. So a whole sheet of ice [00:26:00] just came straight down. This is, this is conjecture. Of course, no one was there at the time. Apart from these non-painful found that when it came down, they rushed out of there or whatever, all got mixed up with the rocks and things that are really I fly, which causes the damage to hay and that sort of stuff.
[00:26:13] And the people who are in this state of undress. Were obviously trying to sleep in the middle of the night, supposedly handles parts of their bodies. Let me see. I think when Roman was missing a tongue kind of suggestion is animals just come and eat, which was the same as the stories of cows being mutilated in America.
[00:26:29] And so typically removed in test times from cows must be aliens, snaps, a whole lot of people in this case, I don't think it was ruled. So yeah, the avalanche theory of camps. So basically everything about this mystery. In fact, the ambulance theory had been put forward before any a few times. But this last time seems to think they're pretty much clean check, but certainly abominable, snowman and aliens and whatever does it say about the human psyche?
[00:26:54] That that's the direction we go in, you know, it's aliens or it's Sasquatch or whatever. [00:27:00] Yeah. I mean, it's, it's the classic thing. I don't know. Therefore it must be. It's sort of the need to find the answer. And rather than just saying, Oh, I don't know, leave it at that. I don't know that people don't want to do that.
[00:27:10] Then they need some explanation for things not knowing is a pain. So they have to find some explanation. If there's nothing else there, if there's no other evidence for why something happens, we have to find something extraordinary to put it down to. So it's basically filling in a gap in explanations and the need to have an explanation and the need to find a convenient explanation to me, if it's Eileen, is I fly away again, right?
[00:27:31] Oh, you didn't have to leave any particular evidence of their visit. It's Tim Mendham from Australian skeptics.
[00:27:52] And that's the show for now. The space-time is available every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday through Apple podcasts, iTunes, [00:28:00] Stitcher, Google podcasts, pocket casts, Spotify outcast, Amazon music bites.com. SoundCloud, YouTube. Your favorite podcasts downloaded provider and from space-time with Stuart, gary.com space times also broadcast through the national science foundation on science own radio and on both iHeart, radio and tune in radio.
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