Nov 19, 18 / Sag 15, 02 16:16 UTC
General News: Nov 19 ¶
A ‘ghost’ also known as a low surface brightness dwarf galaxy has been unexpectedly detected by Astronomers on the outer edges of our own galaxy.
An international group of astronomers discovered the most diffuse and lowest surface brightness galaxy ever spotted after scanning the most recent batch of data from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gaia spacecraft. The ‘ghost’ is now called Antlia 2, after the constellation where it lies, it’s officially a new satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.
Gabriel Torrealba, the team lead and an astrophysicist at Taiwan’s Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA) stated that it’s unclear how this galaxy came to be so ghostly.
Moreover, a new project undertaken by scientists could see new materials created in space with properties that are impossible to develop on our home planet.
The experiment will be led by the University of Strathclyde and will be carried out on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2021, after receiving £1.3 million (€1.46 million) in funding from the UK Space Agency.
They will use the microgravity environment to create alloys or medicines with properties that cannot be made on Earth.
Head of the project, Marcello Lappa explained that with these experiments they aim to examine how, by shaking a complex fluid in microgravity conditions, they can create materials with structures that cannot be made on Earth.
Also, NASA's Kepler space telescope received its final set of commands to disconnect communications with Earth on the evening of Thursday, Nov. 15. The "goodnight" commands signal the spacecraft's retirement, which began on Oct. 30 after NASA's announcement that Kepler had run out of fuel and could no longer perform science.
Incidentally, Kepler's official retirement lands on the same date as the 388-year anniversary of the death of its namesake, German astronomer Johannes Kepler, who figured out the laws of planetary motion and died on Nov. 15, 1630.
The Kepler space telescope has made a profound impact on the way we understand the numerous worlds that exist beyond our solar system. Through its survey, experts have found that there are more planets than stars in our galaxy.
In other news, Lunar Outpost, the space technology startup recently unveiled their rover concept to the public, known as the Lunar Resource Prospector. These rovers could help lay the groundwork for sending humans back to the moon.
Although it may seem that sending humans back to the moon is a long way off, there is progress being made, including in the private sector. For example, on November 13, 2018, the Colorado-based aerospace company Lunar Outpost publicly demonstrated their Lunar Resource Prospector by showing how it drives and drills in lunar simulations at a new lunar testbed facility, overseen by the Colorado School of Mines’ Center for Space Resources.
The Lunar Resource Prospector rovers are small and weigh only about 22 pounds (10 kilograms). In comparison, the Curiosity rover which is presently exploring Gale Crater on Mars is the size of a car and weighs about 1,982 pounds (899 kg). However, swarms of little moon rovers like these play a vital role in the goal of setting up a permanent human presence on the moon.
Are you excited about sending humans back to the moon? How long do you think it will take before we establish a permanent human settlement? Why?
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