AIs JWST failure, 33 engine tremendous heavy take a look at, issues in orbit
SpaceX is testing all 33 engines for Super Heavy. The worst-case scenario for space debris has actually happened. A kilonova is coming. A new map of all matter and dark matter in the universe.
SpaceX sets new record with successful test launch of 31 Raptor engines!
SpaceX continues to test its Super Heavy/Starship launch system in Boca Chica, Texas. This week we saw a static fire test on the B7 Super Heavy Booster prototype, firing 31 of its 33 Raptor 2 engines. According to Elon Musk, one engine was shut down before the test and another shut down automatically during the test, but it’s still enough to “reach orbit.” With that test complete, SpaceX will have all the security it needs to move to the next phase and attempt orbital flight, likely sometime in early March.
More on the Super Heavy Test.
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Bad things have happened in orbit
The Space Force’s 18th Space Defense Squadron reported Monday that a Russian COSMOS 2499 satellite broke apart in orbit. According to a recent tweet, they are tracking 85 individual pieces at an altitude of 1169 km. At this high altitude, it will take decades for the debris in Earth’s atmosphere to deorbit and burn up, posing an increased risk to other satellites in similar orbits.
More on the collapse of the Russian satellite.
Ion Beam Sheparding
A new way to remove space debris was proposed in a recently published paper. It uses the idea of ion beam sheparding. This allows a spacecraft to use multiple ion thrusters to target multiple pieces of space junk to change its orbit. By directing the exhaust of the ion engine, the parts can be deorbited in a controlled manner. An exciting idea that will hopefully be tested soon.
More about space debris removal.
Costly mistake by Google’s AI regarding James Webb
Google unveiled its new AI tool called Bard this week. It’s Google’s version of ChatGPT-like technology, actively adopted by Microsoft. However, in a promotional video shown during the presentation, Bard made a mistake regarding James Webb. James Webb was said to be the first telescope to take a picture of an exoplanet. This is not true as we have had direct observations of exoplanets for decades. After the presentation, Alphabet’s market valuation fell by as much as $100 billion. But that must be a coincidence, right?
A kilonova is coming
A binary star system destined to go kilonova has been discovered. One of the two stars is already a neutron star. The second is a massive star that will soon transform into a neutron star. Then the two stars collide and produce a kilonova. So now astronomers just have to wait for it. Unfortunately, it may take a few million years.
More about the upcoming Kilonova.
A giant black hole in a very young universe
Using the X-ray instrument e-ROSITA, astronomers have been able to find a supermassive black hole that is actively feeding. The interesting thing is that it’s very early in the universe, only 800 million years after the Big Bang. This is a little surprising, as it shows once again that mature structures emerged earlier than previously thought.
More about the early universe.
A new map of the universe
A new map of the universe has been created that takes into account both ordinary and dark matter. It was created using multiple telescopes: Dark Energy Camera Survey, South Pole Telescope, and Planck data from CMB. Researchers studied gravitational lensing to create the map and use the results to refine their models of the Universe. The results are broadly consistent with the models, but there is slightly less variability in clumping than predicted by previous simulations.
More about mapping the Universe.
More demolition tests by Sierra Space
Sierra Space pumped another of its inflatable habitats to destruction, proving it can meet NASA’s requirements for space operations. The latest test is called the Accelerated Systematic Creep Test, where they fill the habitat with sustained pressure over time until it fails. NASA’s recommended target duration was 100 hours, but the module ruptured after 150 hours of sustained pressure. These tests aim to develop a station module that can survive 60 years in space. More tests will follow in 2023, including full versions of the module.
More on Sierra Space testing.
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