The Astronomy, Technology and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime with Stuart Gary Series 24 Episode 47
*Russia quits the International Space Station
Russia will withdraw from the International Space Station in 2025. The announcement by the head of its space programme comes in the wake of new space agreements between Russia and China and simmering tensions between Moscow and the west.
*Unwrapping a supermassive black hole
Astronomers have simultaneously focused 19 of the world’s most powerful telescopes on the M87 supermassive black hole to directly observe the monster at a range of different wavelengths.
*ESA’s Galileo satellite navigation system
More than two billion smartphones, with users worldwide are now making use of Europe's Galileo global satellite navigation system. The ten billion Euro project went live in 2016.
*Final unmanned flight for New Shephard
Blue Origin has carried out what may be the final unmanned test flight of its New Shepard launch system.
*The Science Report
Women taking probiotics, omega-3, and multivitamins testing positive for COVID-19 less frequently.
A new explanation for Melbourne’s 2016 thunderstorm asthma outbreak.
A new way to determine when a volcano is about to erupt.
New study shows that if you really want to viral on twitter -- go negative.
Claims Huawei has a back door to eavesdrop on some Dutch cell phone users.
Alex on Tech reports on Google misleading the public again.
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SpaceTime Series 24 Episode 47 AI Transcript
[00:00:00] This is SpaceTime series 24 episode 47, for broadcast on the 28th of April, 2021. Coming up on SpaceTime, Russia quits the international space station, unwrapping a supermassive black hole and blue origins. Final on man test flight of its new ship at Lawrence system. All that and more coming up.
Welcome to SpaceTime with Stewart, Gary
Russia has announced that it will withdraw from the international space station in four years time. The announcement by the head of its space program comes in the wake of new space agreements between Moscow and Beijing and simmering tensions between Russia and the West. The international space [00:01:00] station has been jointly run by NASA and the Russian federal space agency, Eros cosmos, ever since the first modules were launched back in 1998, or as cosmos says, its agreement with international partners runs out in 2024 and several space station modules have now reached the end of their service life.
The Russian orbital segment of the international space station consists of five modules, which together essentially comprise what would have been the base configuration of the canceled Russian mayor to space station. They include the Zaria functional cargo block, which is actually owned by NASA, paid for it.
There's visitor service module. That's the one which has been springing leaks, venting atmosphere into space. In recent times, the P is docking port, which is slated to be replaced this year by the new nuclear science module. And the pre-calc is Lovell of no docking port, the docking port module and the revet storage module.
Russia withdrew its support for the lunar gateway space station back in January. Moscow is now planning to build its own space station with the [00:02:00] inertia corporation already working on the first science power module for the new outpost, which he slated to be in orbit by around 2025 at a cost of around 5 billion us dollars, the nucleosides science module and the pre-calc.
It was lovely of no doggy module will at some stage be moved from the international space station and added to the new Russian space station. Roscosmos says the new Russian station will orbit at a higher altitude than the ISS, allowing it to bet of you polar regions, which are important for Moscow because of the opening up of the North sea route due to Arctic sea ice smelt from global warming must go recently signed a deal with Beijing that evoked a lunar space station, either on the moon surface or an orbit around the moon, or possibly both.
Moscow says it's also working on a nuclear powered space, tug designed to transport man space flights to the moon and Mars. This is space time still the com unwrapping a supermassive black hole. And we take a look at the European space agencies, Galileo, [00:03:00] satellite navigation system, all that, and much more still to come on space.
Astronomers have similar Tennessee focused 19 of the world's most powerful telescopes on the mat, seven supermassive black hole directly observing the monster at a range of different wavelengths. The spectacular observations reported in the estro physical journal letters provides new insights into the six and a half billion solar mass black hole at the center of mad seven, which is located at some 55 million light years away.
Mad seven became an important part of history back in April, 2019, when he became the first buyer to be directly imaged. However, that remarkable achievement by the event horizon telescope is really just the beginning. Data from 19 [00:04:00] observatories had been providing an unparalleled insight into this black hole and the system.
It powers one of the study's authors cause zero Heider from the national astronomical observatory of Japan says scientists knew the first direct image of a black hole would be groundbreaking. But to get the most out of this remarkable image, astronomers also needed to know everything else they could about the black holes behavior at this time, by observing it over the entire electromagnetic spectrum, the immense gravitational pull of the supermassive black hole powers, jets of particles traveling at almost the speed of light across fast distances.
In fact, they made the sevens jets produce light, spanning the entire electromagnetic spectrum from radio and micro waves through the infrared radiation, across into the visible and ultraviolet part of the spectrum and on, into the highest energy x-rays and gamma rays. The intensity of the light across the spectrum gives a different pattern for each black hole.
Identifying these patterns is crucial insights into a black holes properties, such as its [00:05:00] spinning energy output. Which together with its mess. It really, the only things we know about black holes, but even finding these things as a challenge, because the pattern changes with time site is common said for this variability, by coordinating observations with many of the world's most powerful telescopes on the ground and in space creating light from right across the spectrum, it was the largest single tennis observing campaign ever undertaken on a supermassive black hole with jets.
Masses telescopes involved in this observing campaign included the Chandra x-ray observatory, the Hubble space telescope, the Swift observatory, the nuclear spectroscopic telescope array, new star, and the Fermi gamma Ray space telescope. Each telescope delivers different information about the impact and behavior of the black hole.
The new data collected by a team of 760 engineers and scientists from nearly 200 institutions in 32 countries. Help the strong them as better understand the deep links between black holes and nature. It's the first results show that [00:06:00] intensity the electromagnetic radiation produced by material around M 87 supermassive black hole was the lowest that had ever been seen.
And that produced ideal conditions for studying the black hole from regions close to the event horizon at to tens of thousands of light years away. The combination of data from these telescopes, as well as keratin future event horizon telescope observations will allow scientists to undertake significant research into some of astrophysics, most significant and challenging fields of study.
For example, the data will improve tests on Einstein's theory of general relativity. It's our best understanding of the universe on the cosmic scale. Currently, the main hurdles for these tests are uncertainties about the material rotating around the black hole and being blasted away by the jets in particular, the properties that determined the emitted light.
Other research has been looking at the origin of energetic particles called cosmic rays, which are continually bombarding the earth from deep space. These Dick space, cosmic [00:07:00] rays of energy is a million times higher than what can be produced by the most powerful particle accelerator on earth. The large Hadron Collider, the new data suggests that the huge jets launched by supermassive black holes, like M 87 other most likely source for the high energy cosmic rays.
But there are still many questions about the details such as the exact location, where these particles get accelerated. Because cosmic rays produced light through their collisions. The highest energy gamma rays can pinpoint this location. And the new study indicates that these cameras are likely not produced near the event.
Horizon, at least not during these observations, uh, Kate is settling. This debate will be comparisons between those observations, which remained in 2018 and the new data being collected this week. The jets are important because they transport energy released by the black hole far out beyond the host galaxy.
And the new findings will hope astronomists calculate the amount of power carried and the effect that black holes jets have on the surrounding space time. And [00:08:00] this is space time. Still. The come we look at the European space agencies, Galileo satellite navigation system, and blue origin carries out what may will be the final test flight of its new Shepard lawn system, all that and more store to come.
Um, space time
more than 2 billion smartphones with users worldwide and are making years of Europe's Galileo global satellite navigation system. The 10 billion Europe project went live in 2016. It was developed by the European space agency to provide an independent high precision positioning system. I know that European union members don't have to rely on America's GPS or for that matter, the Russian glow and S in Chinese puddle, satellite navigation systems, all of which could be [00:09:00] disabled or degraded by their operators at any time through a system code, selective availability.
Galileo was designed to achieve horizontal and vertical position measurements within a meter precision and better positioning services at higher latitudes than other positioning systems. Galileo includes a basic service, which is free and open to everyone. It also provides a search and rescue function.
And if you need a high precision capability is one available. If you're willing to pay for it. After the United States disabled it selective availability capability on GPS, both Galileo and GPS began cooperative operations with a European union, agreeing to address concerns by Washington related to the protection of allied and us national security capability is that's understood to me preventing enemy nations from using either GPS or Galileo during times of war.
The first Galileo test satellite was launched in 2005 with the first operational satellites placed in orbit in 2011. Each Galileo satellite [00:10:00] is equipped with two master passive hydrogen maser, atomic clocks, and two secondary rubidium, atomic clocks, all operating independently of each other. Right now the constellation consist of 24 active satellites, plus a bunch of spares with plans to eventually increase this the 30 satellites.
The constellation operates in three orbital planes at altitudes of 23,222 kilometers. Each of the 675 kilograms satellites carries enough fuel for a 12 year life span and works already underway on the next generation of Galileo satellites, which are expected to begin flying sometime after 2025. This report from HGTV, Lao constellation is the most precise satellite navigation system in the world.
Delivering nature, scale accuracy.
It's the signals. Let us find our way on foot by car, even in [00:11:00] boats and aircraft.
So how do Galileo satellites, thousands of kilometers away? Tell you exactly where you are simply being so far away is part of the answer.
satellites fly in three orbital planes. 23,222 kilometers above earth surface. Yes. Anywhere on our planet, at least four satellites are visible at any time the minimum needed for position.
She sounds light emits a radio wave containing its transmission time. And to the satellite own position because radio travels at light Lightspeed, the signals distance of travel is measured from the difference between the signal time code. And at the time the [00:12:00] receiver picked it up. It's like working out how far you are from a thunderstorm by counting the seconds between a lightning flash and it's slower thunder crack time is converted into distance.
For useful positioning. This timing must be accurate to a few billions of a second. The time it takes for light to travel, 30 centimeters combined distance measurements from multiple satellites simultaneously. And your position is pinpointed. A minimum of four satellites is needed. Three to fix the users, latitude, longitude, and altitude under fourth to double-check time.
Your receivers smart it's knows the expected locations of the satellites to cut signal acquisition time from minutes. To a few seconds. [00:13:00] And as Galileo signals are very faint equivalent to a 60 watt light bulb Shaun down from space, they are based on complex codes, identifying each separate satellite.
The receiver has copies of all these Cokes, so can make its own full scale. Replicas of faint, original signals. For calculation purposes, these are used to calculate your final navigational fix boosting our economy and quality of life by letting everyone everywhere. Find our way
it's space time. Still the com blue origin carries out its final I-man flight for the new Shepard launch system. And later in the science report and new way to determine when a volcano is about to erupt all that and more still to [00:14:00] come on time.
Hello origin is carried out what may will be the final unmanned test flight of its new Shepard launch system. The test included people being strapped into and later released from the crew capsule by ground crews as a dress rehearsal and preparation for carrying people into space. Later this year, the NS 15 mission blasted off from the company's van horn spaceport Southeast of El Paso into hazy spring skies.
The 10 and a half minute test flight reached a maximum scent velocity of 3,615 kilometers per hour. The capsule carried the mannequin Skywalker test dummy along with a payload of over 25,000 postcards from blue origin club members. Following main engine cutoff and stayed separation the [00:15:00] capsule eventually climbed to an Apogee of 106,021 meters at 348,753 feet.
Well above the 100 kilometer common line marking the official start of space. He might've ten nine, eight, seven. Six five, four command and didn't start two, one,
and we have lift up. Go new Shepard, go beautiful. Lift off from our launch site. One in West Texas. First milestone on our trip to space. Max Q that's when the dynamic pressure on the vehicle is at its maximum, the toughest point in flight for the vehicle and max Q is confirmed. All right, right. About it.
Time and your flight, you know, on a set and you're going to max at about three GS. We've noted it before the max GS that you pull as an astronaut on new Shepard actually is on decent. So here on, uh, on acid, it's about three GS and [00:16:00] it comes on gradually as you go faster and get higher up there until of course, main engine cutoff in separation.
And that is when you get to feel those beautiful zero GS. We're waiting for that here. Next stops. Nico and separation coming up here on Mico main engine cutoff so far a clean burn from our B3 engine. There it is main engine cutoff. Everything appears to be nominal and now separation as the vehicle continues.
It's a scent towards space. We have passed over just about here, the Karman line, a hundred kilometers. We're about 328,000 feet, and we're just waiting for the two crafts to hit their Apogee. There it is Apogee just at about 346,000 feet so far. So good. Looks to be a nominal flight for new Shepherd's 15th flight to space.
We of course proceeded the launch by what appears to be a perfectly executed astronaut experience rehearsal while there are no astronauts on board today, that was a critical step towards our [00:17:00] Mark Schwartz. First human flight. At this point, the booster is reentering the atmosphere. It means it's going to have air pressure against which those aerodynamic surfaces Patrick and I were walking you through can push against to, to guide the rocket back to its landing pad.
And to think this rocket will have peaked it almost mock four and it's by the time it touches down, it's just going to touch down on about eight kilometers per hour, five miles per hour. So relatively speaking, a nice soft landing critical. So we talked about reusability, the softer, the landing, the quicker you can turn it around, right?
You're not jostling the rocker. You're not jostling the hardware. You want to be able to flip it around. Nice and quickly. The AFT fins. We also call them the PI fins. They're. Shaped like pie wedges. All right, there go the drag breaks and there you see all the speed being off of the, off of the vehicle and waiting for.
R B E three engine to relight. There it goes.
[00:18:00] Oh, look at that smooth landing and touchdown. Welcome back new shepherd. Oh my God. What a beautiful landing. That was one of the smoothest landings I've seen of this, right? It almost looks unreal. It looks like CGI. I know some of you on the, on the internet seemed to think that believe me, that is a reusable rocket.
That. Takes off and lands what a beautiful landing it's like. It's ready to go again. Just, you know, put in those drag brakes, put it in the watch. Finn's fuel her up. Let's go again. But until then, the show is not over. We do have the crew capsule here on board. We have mannequin Skywalker as well as a couple of payload lockers filled with postcards from students from around the world.
We are waiting to see the drone shoots come out. They will be followed by the main parachutes. There go the drugs and here come the mains, all three parachutes are out. We're looking for full inflation and there they go so far. [00:19:00] So good. A nominal launch, nominal landing for the booster. We're waiting for the crew capsules to come into land we're at about.
1600 feet to go and a nice smooth descent at about 16 or so miles per hour, just at about 25 or so kilometers per hour. That is a nice, smooth descent. Now at 800 feet to go here, we should remind everybody that we do have the retro thrust system that kicks on just in the last moment. Basically just creates a nice air cushion for the capsule.
So that few next time, hopefully. You know, when you and I are on in that capsule one day, we're going to be getting a nice air cushion underneath the capsule and touchdown, just see it just as it lands, you see the puff of air and it kicks up all that dust, but it's just such a gentle landing right there, a beautiful launch and landing for both the crew capsule and the booster team blue.
Congratulations to all of you. What a day you should be. The launch fellows. Nash's decision to use new Shepard for lunar [00:20:00] gravity tests. These will involve test flights briefly spinning you shepherd to simulate lunar gravity and allowing NASA to test equipment and procedures for future moon missions, blue origins develop new Shepard for space tourism flights, launching vertically and landing on the parachutes.
Thereby providing a very different experience from their main competitor, Virgin galactic, which will launch their passengers using a horizontal tag off and landing on a conventional runway with a spacecraft being dropped, launched at high altitude by an aircraft mothership. This space-time
and Tom had to take another brief look at some of the other stories making using science this week with a science report and you study has found that women had take probiotics and mega three fatty acids, multivitamins, or vitamin D are testing positive for COVID-19 less frequently. The findings were reported in the British medical journal, uh, based on [00:21:00] data from 372,720 subscribers to a UK self-reporting app.
However, intriguingly these results were only found in women. There was no such effect observed for men or for women taking vitamin C's single garlic supplements. More than 3.1 million people have now being killed by the COVID-19 virus. And another 150 million have been infected since the deadly disease first emerged in Warhammer, China and was spread around the world, scientists, the rural down the long, except that idea that a sudden outbreak of asthma cases, some of them fatal across Melbourne back on November, the 21st, 2016 was triggered by water and thunderstorms.
The hypothesis was that the water in the air broke up Abel and poem, which is commonly suggested as the mechanism underlying thunderstorm asthma. Instead, the new models suggest that lightning may have played a role. The authors looked at mechanisms, including mechanical friction from wind gusts, electrical buildup, and [00:22:00] discharging curve during conditions of low relative humidity and lightning strikes.
Their results reported in the journal. Plus one suggest that these mechanisms likely all operated together in tandem with one another, but the lightning strike mechanism was the only one, the generator, Pat, those sub pollen particles following the path of the storm. And also more accurately describes how the pattern of emergency calls for ambulances evolved after the storm scientist have found a new way to help the terminal.
When a volcano is about to erupt. Character tell signs of pending volcanic eruption include increased seismic activity, changes in gas emissions and sudden ground defamation, but accurately predicting eruptions. Isn't the Torricelli hard as no two volcanoes behave exactly the same. And also because very few of the wards, 1500 or so active volcanoes have monitoring systems in place.
It means at best volcanologist have just a few days warning. Now a report of the journal nature, geo science claims satellite observations may lead [00:23:00] to earlier predictions of volcanic eruptions months in advance researchers with NASA's jet propulsion laboratory in Pasadena, California, and the university of Alaska in Fairbanks have used more than 16 years of data from the moderate resolution imaging spectrometers aboard NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites to detect subtle, but significant increases in hate emissions, over large areas of a volcano in the years, building up to an eruption.
Scientists believed that head increases may be caused by interaction between magma reservoirs and hydrothermal systems. Deep underground Twitter is often referred to as the toilet door of social media, which is why it's not so surprising that a new study has found that if you really want to go viral on Twitter, you need to be negative things reported in the journal of the Royal society.
Open science looked at tweets from the pseudo referendum in Catalonia in 2017. It found that negativity in tweets increased the chances that a tweet would go viral. In fact, each new negative [00:24:00] word increased the average number of tweets by 3.4, 6% while the traditional positive word decreased it by around 7.1, 4%.
The analysis also found that tweets from verified accounts were retweeted some 23.51% less than those from non verified accounts. The Dutch newspaper divorce Kant is reporting. The Chinese tech giant Huawei is able to eavesdrop on all conversations, taking place on one of the Netherlands largest mobile networks.
The paper claims Huawei has a hidden backdoor into the network of major Dutch telecommunications company, giving it access to all customer data. The report claims the Dutch intelligence agency avid is now looking into the extent that the Chinese government is able to use this backdoor to spy on the government of the Netherlands and monitor phone calls.
And other communications Arvid would not comment on the report, but said that it was undesirable for the Netherlands to depend on the hardware or software from companies, from countries running active [00:25:00] cyber programs against that interests. And that included China and Russia. Australia's competition and consumer commission has won a federal court ruling that Google misled users on how to turn off their location, data tracking history.
The courts found that because of requirements, forcing people to check no, and do not collect data in two separate settings, Google were able to continue collecting location history and web application activity on some Android and pixel cell phones. With the details, which are in by Alex, from ity.com, Google, Facebook, and other internet companies have long lived by the rule that it is better to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask permission.
And that's why companies will automatically opt you into something and wait for you to opt out because they know that the vast majority of people won't opt out. In 2017 and 2018 between the month of March, 2017 and the 30th and the 29th of November, 2018. Google had two locations where it [00:26:00] was asking Australians for the mission to track their location.
And I didn't make it clear that the first one was a specific location history. The second one was web and app activity and through web and app activity. Google was still able to get a whole bunch of information about its users. And so continue tracking them, even though you would logically assume that if you turn location history off, that you'll location would no longer be tracked.
Now we know that Google's business is all about hoovering up as much of the world's information as possible and making it easily organizable and searchable. It is also tracking people across the internet as other companies do as well. They're not Googling up the only ones and they can build up a profile on you, who you are.
You know, who you liked, politically, the sort of things you like to eat, places you like to go, and that can build quite a profile about you. And, um, clearly this disturbs people who wanted to switch the location services off. And in fact, as people are listening to this broadcast, I always 14.5 [00:27:00] will now be available.
And it explicitly allows people to tell apps, not to track them. And we've seen. Nutrition privacy labels, like there's nutrition labels on the back of packages of food, where Apple is forcing developers to state in detail what they are doing with your data. And then cause people like Google to wait months before the update of various of their apps and people like Facebook.
Put full page advertisements in the major us newspapers to decry this upcoming change might be bad for consumers, but then recently they said this, this could make us stronger. You know what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. This is sort of the point trying to eat from both sides of the Apple air, so to speak, but the whole thing's about privacy.
Now we live in a world where your privacy doesn't exist anymore. And Ronald Reagan once said that, you know, we shouldn't be the generation that tells our children once. Like to live in a world that was free. And he was talking about the U S but equally we should not be the generation that tells our children, our grandchildren, what it was once like to live in a [00:28:00] world where people didn't know what you were doing every second of the day.
And I think there's going to be how, you know, there's going to be this huge revolution towards privacy and respecting it. By companies to truly make sure that what's private stays private and isn't being unsolved to the highest bidder on the internet. Famous saying says, you know, if the product that you're using on the internet is free, then you are the product because they're collecting all this information and the iOS software update.
Wasn't all that new from Apple. Yeah. So they launched a brand new iMac 24 inch model with very small bezels. The iMac itself is 11.5 millimeters thick, depending on how you look at it with a new M one processor inside there was talked to, might be an M one X or an M two, but not yet. That's the chip inside that we're patients, the Intel processor, and it comes in multiple colors.
It looks very cool. Even has a keyboard with touch ID. And if you go to the apple.com website, you'll see plenty of information about it. The second product was an iPad pro the 2021 models, which also have the [00:29:00] M one processor. And so what. Really differentiates an iPad and a Mac book. Now is that the iPad, you can touch the screen.
You can use a stylist and you can buy, you can use keyboards and mice, but I pads don't yet run Mac apps, will Mac apps come to the iPad? I think we have to wait for the worldwide developer conference in the middle of this year to find out, but Apple also launched air tags, which is a competitor to tile and Apple was able to use the billion plus iPhones and iPads and Macs out there to securely and anonymously track.
Devices without Apple knowing or anybody else able to tap into that information. And then you can attach one of these to your keys, the wallet, you know, various things, and you can track them. And even if the device is you left it on the other side of town, because there's normally a lot of people I find in maxi can pick up those signals and tell you with precision where it is.
Apple also launched a new podcasting app that also allows you to subscribe and pay podcast creators directly in an attempt to compete with Spotify with Apple's iPad. Pro, they [00:30:00] also launched in the 12.9 inch version, I think with the liquid retina or extended dynamic range display, this has the same color calibration as the pro displays that were like $5,000 plus a thousand dollars for that stand and even a thousand dollars extra.
If you wanted the anti-glare reference monitors, although they sound expensive with 5,000 competing ones from Sony where, you know, in the 20, $30,000 range, that actually they were quite cheap. But of course, you know, a giant 30 plus inch screen is not coming in easily. Take with you on the field. Now the iPad pro 12.98 has the same color calibration.
So you've got a production ready device, photographers, videographers, anyone that has to work with ultra precise colors, and they even have a two terabyte model now available. It's obviously at the highest price, the one and two terabyte models will come with 16 gigs of Ram. The ones below that come with eight.
Port on the side is now a Thunderbolt port looks the same as the USBC, but this just opens up a whole range of professional applications, super fast data transfer and more [00:31:00] also new Apple TV. This is using the eight, 12 processes a couple of years ago, but it's a step up from the, I think it's the eight 10 they used in the past.
And Apple can even get you to put your iPhone to your TV screen and it will use the light sensor on your iPhone. Probably calibrate the output of the TV. When you're looking at it through your Apple TV price, they have a new Siri remote that is back to silver. And at the top of the remote, there is a little sort of a click wheel, but it's not a click wheel.
I can high pods, but you can swell your thumb around the circular patch. We'll and you can scrub backwards and forwards through video in a way that's much more intuitive. Yeah. Then, uh, then just holding down the button on the previous room and there's also a new purple iPhone 12, but exciting data.
That's Alex. from it. y.com.
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