The Astronomy, Technology and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 60
*Perseverance starts conducting science on Mars
NASA’s newest Mars rover has started its science mission searching for signs of past microbial life and studying the geology of the ancient lake bed of Jezero crater.
*New theory on How Mars got its moons
Scientists have come up with another new hypothesis to try to explain how Mars got its two moons Phobos and Deimos.
*First near miss for Starlink and Oneweb
OneWeb and Starlink have had their first close call with spacecraft from the two companies missing each other by just 57 metres.
*Vega returns to flight status
The European Space agency has successfully launched its first Vega rocket since last November’s multimillion dollar launch failure.
*The Science Report
Bipolar disorder found to have genetic links to schizophrenia and major depression.
New study finds 31% of dogs and 40% of cats tested positive to COVID-19.
A new species of ceratopsid or horned dinosaur has been identified in New Mexico.
Scientists sequence the genomes of two thousand year old Judean Date Palms.
Skeptic's guide to the growing anti science movement.
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SpaceTime S24E60 AI Transcript
[00:00:00] This is space time series 24 episode 64 broadcast on the 28th of May, 2021. Coming up on space time. NASA's perseverance rovers started science mission on the red planet and new theory on how Mars got its two moons and star Lincoln. One web of their first near miss in orbit averting collision by just 57 meters.
All that and more coming up. On space time. Welcome to space time with steward, Gary
NASA is newest. Mars Rover perseverance has started at science mission searching for signs of past microbial life and studying the geology of ancient lake bit of chairs. Row crater. Perseverance has been [00:01:00] busy serving as a communications based station for the ingenuity helicopter during the rudder crafts, historic test flights on the red planet.
But the Rover's now focusing on its own science mission using its instruments on rocks and the just road crater floor. The data, these investigations turn up will help. Site is create a timeline of when the ancient lake formed. When sediments began piling up in the river, Delta that formed in the lake.
And when it'll dry it up, understanding this timeline will help date, rock samples to be collected later on in the mission samples that might be preserving a history of ancient microbial life. If it ever existed on Mars. A camera called Watson at the end of the Rover's robotic arm has taken detailed images of the rocks and a pair of zoomable cameras that make up the mass Khamsi image on the Rover's head.
As also surveyed the terrain, scientists have already used a laser instrument called the super cam to zap some of the rocks in order to study their [00:02:00] chemistry. These instruments together with others have allowed scientists to learn more about Jezreel crater and focus on areas with further study. One important question scientists want answered is whether these rocks are sedimentary like sandstone or whether they're igneous form through volcanic activity.
See each type of rock tells a different kind of story. Some sedimentary rocks formed in the presence of water from rock and mineral fragments, like sand, silt, and clay, a better suited to preserving bias signatures or signs of past life. Igneous rocks. On the other hand are far more precise, geological clocks that allow scientists to create an accurate timeline of how an area formed one complicating factor is that the rocks around perseverance had been eroded by wind of eons and then covered with youngest, sand and dust.
Now on earth that geologists would simply Treach into the field and break a rock sample open to get a better idea of its origins. Now, while perseverance doesn't have a rock hammer, it does have [00:03:00] other ways to pay past Melania's worth of dust. When scientists find it, especially enticing rock, they can reach out with the rovers arm and use it.
And abrade it to literally grind and flatten the rock surface, revealing its internal structure and composition. Scientists can then gather more detailed chemical and geological information using other instruments. It's all part of the prelude. The what could be one of the most exciting scientific planetary assignments ever undertaken, or keep you informed this space time, still the calm and new theory on how Mars got its moons and star lake on one web.
I've had the first close encounter in orbit with two spacecraft missing each other, but just 57 meters. Oh, that is more still to come on time.
[00:04:00] Okay. Let's take a break from our show for a word from our sponsor. namecheap.com. As their slogan says, search and buy domains from Namecheap at the lowest prices. Yeah, this is the service that our team of bites.com used to buy and manage our domain names. And we're really happy with the service support and the value we're getting, buying the right domain name.
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You'll find the URL details in the show notes and on our website, just visit the support page that’s spacetime with Stewart gallery.com forward slash Namecheap. And now it's back to our show. You're listening to Springs time with Stuart. Gary scientists have come up with another new hypothesis to try and explain how Mars got its two moons Phobos and
The [00:06:00] origins of the marsh and moons has long been an ongoing area of debate for astronomers compared to the Earth's 12th planet sized moon. The irregular potato shape tiny verbose is just 22 kilometers wide. That's 160 times smaller than the Earth's moon while Demas is even smaller, still at just 13 kilometers across.
And their orbits are also very different. Boss circles, the red planet, every seven and a half hours at an average distance of just 9,377 kilometers. Demus on the other hand, orbits at a more distant 23,460 kilometers in just over 30 hours. It's long been suggested that both a captured asteroids. The problem with that idea is that captured asteroids would have more eccentric orbits in random inclinations.
On the other hand, they're almost circular orbits along masters' equatorial plane suggest that they formed around the red planet itself. But if they did form around [00:07:00] Mars, how one idea involves a large celestial body in orbit around Mars being impacted by another object, causing both bodies to smash apart and eventually coalesce into Ferbos and Demas.
As we see them today. But a new hypothesis reported in Australian sky and telescope magazine suggests they were created by an object impacting the Martian surface and then blasting away ejector into orbit, which eventually coalesced the form. The two moons. With the details we're joined by Jonathan Nalli the editor of Australian sky and telescope.
Well, scientists are still trying to figure out how Mars came to acquire. It's two small potato shaped moons called Phobos and Deimos, and these are tiny moons. They're nothing like them. I mean, they're just really, really small photo boss isn't as a society, potato shaped. So it doesn't have a one particular dimension better than average width is about 11 kilometers, which is about seven miles.
De Moss is even smaller. It's only about six kilometers wide, so what's it about three miles across the [00:08:00] side. So they are really, really tiny and they get they're the only moons I've has. And, uh, and I just, they just trundle around the planet, uh, minding their own business. Um, Phobos is interesting because it's actually losing altitude as each day goes by.
It's about two centimeters per year. It's drifting closer and closer to Mars. And so the, in about. Yeah, it's only going to crash into the planet or be torn apart by tidal forces when it gets too close. No, one's really sure yet. And what's going to happen, but, uh, to rule them all well, we'll come to that because, um, no one is sure yet how they came to be orbiting.
Mars, all sorts of hypothesis has been proposed over the years, but there are a couple that are currently involved with scientists or one has it that a large Rocky body of some kind crashed into miles long time ago. And that spewed Rocky debris out into orbit where these two morons finally coalesced.
And there's probably lots of other debris floating around as well, but that eventually fell back down onto MAs and the needs in that sort of overly spice about Mohs [00:09:00] became cleared apart from just these two main, nothing really controversial without that. That sort of idea has been around for a long time.
The other idea that was interesting and it starts with the same sort of collision with some big Rocky body crashing into Mars. And that then followed by the formation of lots and lots of moons orbiting around the planet that have formed from the debris that got thrown into orbit. But some of these moons will then eventually break up again.
You toggle forces and then you get a smaller number of moons forming out of the diary of them and you sort of rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat, rinse, and repeat in, in end up in the end with just two of them. So that's been taken seriously by a lot of people, so that could explain certain characteristics of why de Moss is further out and and how they ended up in their particular orbits and why I was losing.
Altitude slowly and yada yada yada. So no one really knows for sure yet, because those are the two main ideas. So there's still a lot to learn, right? Isn't it. We've got all sorts of hypotheses out there. I was reporting just the other week on another two options, one [00:10:00] involving Phobos and Deimos being formed by a collision between two objects in orbit around Mars.
And then the other option is they were simply captured asteroids, but their orbits don't justify their captured asteroid stories. No, that that used to be the main, uh, long time ago. That used to be the main idea that I had just cause I looked like asteroids were about the size of asteroids. So that would probably captured asteroids.
That was a very common thought seems pretty straight forward. And asteroid gets too close, gets captured into orbit, but that's pretty certain now that's just not the case. For all sorts of reasons, but some of these mysteries though might be solved or at least not solved. We might have a few more bits of information to plug into them later this decade, because Japan is going to be sending a mission called the Martian moons exploration mission.
That's an imaginative title, isn't it? The Martian moons exploration mission. And it's going to head towards, it's going to hit two Phobos. It's going to launch in 2024. Go to full boss, it's going to land there and it's going to take some samples and blast off and bring them back. So that should be pretty specky the Russians have tried this long, long time ago.
[00:11:00] Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And they, um, it didn't, it didn't work. There were a whole string of the models. We can find this back then. So I still remember it was about 96. It was sent off and launched, launched. It didn't get out of the earth orbit. Really. It didn't even make it into orbit that much. And I remember this because I woke up early that morning.
I think it was. And the word was that this thing was going to, uh, come back down to work, but then the next orbit or two, and it might crash into Australia. And another, I remember I was doing, I did lots of radio stuff at the time and I rang up the, uh, the studio and said, Hey, there's this big story. This Russian thing might be going to crash into, uh, Australia.
And it's got a bit of plutonium on board and all that sort of thing. So it could be a problem at all. Don't bother us with that, but really big, important political things going on this morning and blah, blah, blah. Well, they find me back 20 minutes later and said the prime minister is about to have a press conference about this.
Yeah, can you, can you talk to us about it? He and John Howard, the prime minister at the time had a press conference about the possibility of this thing, crushing and just right in front of mom's [00:12:00] 96 sound, the good old days when missions to Mars failed all the time. Yeah. Yes. Sometimes because they simply confuse Imperial and metric measurement.
Yes. All sorts of reasons. In fact, in the latest issue of Australians gone until I got my little editorial piece that I write each time, I make the point that Mars was the first planet that I had identified in the night sky. When I was a teenager was the first one I had. Learned how to pick out it was pretty easy, cause it was great.
So I've got a bit of a soft spot from ours and that was about 1980. Well, um, at the time the Viking missions were on some on Mars and there was a year after that. It was not in 91. I think it was that I switched off one of the Vikings. And then a few years after that, 86, I think it was, I switched off the other one.
And then there was just a long period of a decade or more with other Mars missions were attempted, but they all filed mean it took until 1997. When the Mars Pathfinder mission eventually got there with this little soldier and a Rover to be that the next. Successful mission after the Vikings. So there was a long period day where everything was just going along with Mosbey she's and a few after that pop fonder as well.
But obviously I've learned their lessons because the, the missions or the perseverance [00:13:00] that they're doing it really well these days, they know what they do. I remember staring at an image in the school library taken by one of the Viking Landers from the surface of Mars. And just looking at that. Then red landscape with this green sky, that's the way it looked in the newspaper image anyway, and I was just fascinated and the famous face on Mars.
Oh, that was
a lot of money. That's Jonathan Nelly, the editor of Australian sky and telescope magazine. And don't forget if you're having trouble getting your copy of Australian sky and telescope magazine from your usual retailer because of the current lockdown and travel restrictions, and always get a print or digital subscription and have the magazine delivered directly to your letterbox or inbox.
Subscribing is easy. Just go to sky and telescope.com today. You that sky and telescope.com.edu. And you'll never be left in the dark. Again, this is [00:14:00] space time. Still the com Starlink and one web, have they closest encounter yet with two of their satellites involved in a near miss passing each other in orbit by just 57 meters.
And the European space agencies, Vega, rocket returns to flight status. Following last year's multimillion dollar launch failure, all that, and more still to come on space time.
Starlink and OneWeb have had their first close call in orbit with spacecraft, from the two companies missing each other, but just 57 meters for years, scientists have been warning that the massive broadband internet said like constellations now being launched by companies like space X is styling, and one web are a recipe for disaster with collisions inevitable.
[00:15:00] But despite the warnings space X has already launched well over 1600 Starling satellites with some 30,000 more planned. And one web is now joining the club with 146 of its own space craft. Now in orbit and hundreds more expected. And now all those warnings are starting to come to fruition. The two companies received several red alerts from the U S space forces, 18th space control squadron, warning of a possible imminent collision.
The red alert came after the European space agency contracted Ross cosmos to launch 36 OneWeb satellites on a Russian Soyuz rocket. Although the one web satellites are designed to orbit at a high altitude than the styling satellites, they still need to pass through the starlings orbits in order to reach their own operational orbital altitudes.
And that's where things got tricky. The two spacecraft flew past each other at several tens of thousands of kilometers an hour, just 57 meters apart. Space X claims it has an artificial [00:16:00] intelligence powered automated collision avoidance system on each of its satellites. But it decided instead to the activate the system, allowing one web to all of the costs of one of its satellites.
Instead now on this occasion, the emergency of wounds maneuvers were successful, but it raises the question. How many more close encounters will they face for a catastrophic collision actually occurs. And when that does, how long will it be before we end up with some sort of Kessler syndrome where debris from one satellite collision ends up smashing into other spacecraft causing further debris, which then cascades into yet more spacecraft causing even further debris, eventually rendering space navigation, impossible.
This is space time still to come. The European space agency returns Vega to flight status successfully launching a vaguer rocket for the first time. Since last November is multi-million dollar failure. And later in the science report, bipolar disorder found to have [00:17:00] genetic links to schizophrenia and major depression.
All that and much more still to come on. Space time.
European space agency has successfully launched its first vaguer rocket. Since last November is multi-million dollar launch failure. The return to flight status mission from the European space edge is curious spaceport and French Guiana. Kara, the play, these Neo three earth observation, satellite, the spacecraft is the first high resolution satellite for new earth observation, constellation operated by Airbus to do the video.
this nurse said, thanks, dude. [00:18:00] Stop.
never get tired of seeing this sort of weather, the assumption, a very beautiful internal cat. So we're right. We're into it. Now. What happens? We track it. Now tell me what happens now. Yeah, no, we are in the phase that we go to the PhD phase. It's the name of the first stage of boosters, which allows us to get far from CEO launch Fido.
Joins this phaser, we burn a solid propellant. So the name of PAG comes from the amount of proponents that we have on both. So it's roughly 80 pounds of propellant, slightly more. And during this phases is the launcher provides, is that stressed and accelerations and the separation of the stage be triggered.
When's the acceleration will, uh, get below a predefined threshold, you know, to get Hughes. Of this mess with which he's a useless once you have used almost, or the propellant inside. When was the first separation take [00:19:00] place, uh, was the first separation. I will take place around two minutes after our liftoff.
So we should, uh, see it in a few, in a few seconds. And this is the next brilliant porch stage and separation of the PAC has just been confirmed. And we have the ignition of the second stage, which we call this if you will 20th. So confirmation, the first separation has gone ahead. As planned, which is what we were looking for, what happens next?
It says the job of the second stage, which will increase those teams, the launch of velocity and the altitude. We know.you, provide additional energy to their own show. And then when each will complete its job, it is exactly the same principle as for the pat, which means once we have used almost all the proponents that is inside the stage, we will trigger.
There's a separation. Once again, based on the detection of the acceleration, this whole operation is supposed to take about an hour and 40 between launch and dropping off all the different satellite, the liftoff and the separation of the three, we have around 55 minutes. And up to [00:20:00] the separation of the exterior passenger, one around 40 seconds, more or less primary payload.
The mission also carried the north set three Norwegian observation, micro satellite, which will be used to detect radar for maritime navigation and full small cube sets for operators. Eutelsat nano avionics, Aurora insight, and Spire. The flight was the third from the courier spaceport this year and the 18th launch of a vague or rocket.
The mission Arianne space flight VV 18 came just six months after losing a Spanish earth observation, satellite, and a French research probe during a spectacular November, 1720 20 launch failure. That was eventually traced to quality control manufacturing errors. It seems wise were crossed on the fourth stage thrust vector control actuators causing the engine to move its nozzle in the wrong direction.
During a scent to orbit. The issue resulted in the rocket losing control and tumbling back into the sea. After upper stage ignition, around eight minutes into the [00:21:00] flight, this spaced out
and Tom had to take another brief look at some of the other stories making use insides of this week with a science report. And your genetic study of 41,917 people with bipolar disorder as identified genetic links to both schizophrenia and to major depression. The findings reported in the journal nature, genetics identified 64 genetic locations associated with bipolar disorders.
33 of which were new discoveries. 27 of the 64 genetic locations had previously been linked to schizophrenia and seven had previously been linked to major depression. The study found that bipolar one was more genetically correlated with schizophrenia while bipolar two is strongly correlated with major depression and new study is found that [00:22:00] 31% of dogs and 40% of cats tested positive to COVID-19 after their owners were also diagnosed with the disease.
The findings reported in the journal. Plus one confirms that pet owners are passing on the illness to their four legged companions. Researchers tested the pets of people in Rio de Janeiro who have been diagnosed with the disease between may and October, 2020 in all 29 dogs and 10 cats belonged to 21 COVID 19 patients were examined.
Scientists found nine dogs or 31% and four cat, 40% from 10 households. That's 47.6% containing COVID-19 suffers, tested positive from 11 to 51 days after human COVID-19 cases experienced their first symptoms. The study shows that people with COVID-19 should avoid close contact with their pets during the time of their illness.
Over three and a half million people have now being killed by the COVID-19 virus with another [00:23:00] 166 million infected since the deadly disease first emerged in war and China and was spread around the world and new species of Sarah tops. So horned dinosaur has been identified in New Mexico. A report in the journal Powell, Z claims that minor fee serotype Salai was relatively small.
Sarah topsoil, dinosaur growing to around 4.6 meters or 15 feet. That's only about half the size of a full grown triceratops. Fossilized parts of the herbivore skull and lower jaws, forearm hind limbs, pelvis, vertebrae and ribs were found in 82 million year old Cretaceous period strata from the Menifee formation in Norfolk, Eastern New Mexico scientists, essentially sequenced and analyze the genomes of seven 2000 year old.
Udane date palms from Israel and Jordan. The findings reported in the journal. The proceedings of the national academy of sciences provides new insights into the spirit of [00:24:00] domesticated date pounds across the region. Date palms are the iconic perennial plant of the deserts of Western Asia and Northern Africa.
They believed to have been domesticated around the Arabian Gulf some 7,000 years ago, Dade palms grown in antiquity around Jericho and along the dead sea and Judea were referred to as Judean date palms. But studying their original genomes has only become possible. After several ancient seeds would germinate into viable plants.
The seeds radiocarbon dated from the fourth century BCE to the second century in the common era were recovered from archeological sites, Atmos, Sada, whom rum and wordy Milka in the Judean desert. Side is found that the oldest seeds from the fourth to the first century, BCE are related to modern Western Asian date varieties.
But the more recent material shared increasing genetic affinities to present day north African date palms. Well, despite society's growing dependence on [00:25:00] science, it seems the anti-science movement is gaining strength globally. A report in the journal scientific American puts the 80 science movement now on par with terrorism and nuclear proliferation as a significant threat to global security.
Tim Menem from Australian skeptic says rejection of mainstream science and medicine has become a key feature of the political extreme in the United States. And increasingly around the rest of the world. Anti-science is, is, is an issue. It's been an issue for awhile. The scientific American article points out about the problem in styling that's Russia in the thirties and forties.
When I fell, when I met my Cinco was a scientist, too. It got the year of style, and then it was promoting all sorts of science about agriculture. Specifically, I met a whole range of things, anything that was against, it was Western propaganda in styling for this guy's like thinkers, prognostications into practice.
And they basically had catastrophic harvest valgus salmon, and a lot of people die because of it. I stopped the death in Russia because of this anti science person who had the year [00:26:00] able to pass. Well, I think I've seen was pure politics ed, when they hear about Kemira monkey human hybrid cells and things like this big science sort of stuff, that Frankenstein sort of stuff does get scary and people are concerned about that.
Yeah. And, and yeah. Understandably, I mean, yeah, the same thing you could easily say the what's the vaccines when. Politicians are saying, look, we got this in one year where it normally takes five to 10 years. You think that's going to scare people and understand they'll be making a hesitant for the very late.
So it's having to have proved to be about vaccines stuff now. Yeah. We've discussed this before actually, but you can understand people being concerned about that, that it's almost too quick, a bit too successful, which is. Obviously there are issues which have a reason which people tell you safe. They told you speaking, there is a, an AP science movement based on politics and ignorant tents.
It's defended. If nothing else. [00:27:00] Often has been anti science, but this is on a scale now where you'd be probably sort of saying it in many, many areas where you can almost give you say you're a scientist. You should be embarrassed as being an accountant.
It's to Mendham from astray in skeptics.
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