The forces of rotation caused red hot masses of stones to be torn away from the Earth and to be thrown into the ether, and this is the origin of the stars.

— Anaxagoras 428 BC

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NASA Launches New Mission to Monitor Earth’s Landscapes

Earth News - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 3:47pm
Landsat 9, a NASA satellite built to monitor the Earth’s land surface, successfully launched at 2:12 p.m. EDT Monday from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
Categories: NASA

NASA launches powerful Landsat 9 satellite to monitor climate change, forest cover and more

Space.com - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 2:49pm
Landsat 9 will join its partner Landsat 8 in tracking urban sprawl, forest cover and the retreat of glaciers, among other features and phenomena.
Categories: Astronomy

Hulu drops new teaser for 'The Orville' Season 3, announces 2022 premiere date

Space.com - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 2:40pm
The crew of the Planetary Union exploration vessel, the USS Orville, will quantum drive onto our screens on March 10, 2022.
Categories: Astronomy

Oxygen and water for lunar explorers can be extracted from moon rocks

New Scientist Space - Space Headlines - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 2:07pm
A device that bakes moon rocks to temperatures above 1000°C can efficiently extract water and oxygen from the dirt, which could be helpful for future lunar explorers
Categories: Astronomy

Oxygen and water for lunar explorers can be extracted from moon rocks

New Scientist Space - Cosmology - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 2:07pm
A device that bakes moon rocks to temperatures above 1000°C can efficiently extract water and oxygen from the dirt, which could be helpful for future lunar explorers
Categories: Astronomy

Weird hybrid meteorite may be evidence of a chaotic early solar system

New Scientist Space - Space Headlines - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 2:00pm
Jupiter’s early orbit had a wobble that may have flung asteroids from the inner and outer solar system into each other, creating hybrid rocks such as the Nedagolla meteorite that fell in India in 1870
Categories: Astronomy

Weird hybrid meteorite may be evidence of a chaotic early solar system

New Scientist Space - Cosmology - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 2:00pm
Jupiter’s early orbit had a wobble that may have flung asteroids from the inner and outer solar system into each other, creating hybrid rocks such as the Nedagolla meteorite that fell in India in 1870
Categories: Astronomy

60-second Astro News: Magnified Galaxies Provide Window to Early Universe

Sky & Telescope Magazine - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 1:49pm

Astronomers use cosmic magnifying lenses to peer into the universe's distant past.

The post 60-second Astro News: Magnified Galaxies Provide Window to Early Universe appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

Categories: Astronomy

Chefs on the Moon Will be Cooking up Rocks to Make air and Water

Universe Today - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 1:32pm

NASA has delayed their Artemis mission to the Moon, but that doesn’t mean a return to the Moon isn’t imminent. Space agencies around the world have their sights set on our rocky satellite. No matter who gets there, if they’re planning for a sustained presence on the Moon, they’ll require in-situ resources.

Oxygen and water are at the top of a list of resources that astronauts will need on the Moon. A team of engineers and scientists are figuring out how to cook Moon rocks and get vital oxygen and water from them. They presented their results at the Europlanet Science Congress 2021.

Professor Michèle Lavagna of Politecnico Milano led the experiments. A consortium of companies and agencies, including the ESA and the Italian Space Agency, is behind the work. Lavagna and others presented a laboratory demonstration of their work at EPSC2921.

When we talk about lunar soil, we mean lunar regolith, the layer of dust that coats the Moon. The same layer that confounded Apollo astronauts by finding its way into the lunar module, clogging mechanisms and interfering with instruments. The dust constitutes an ongoing hazard that space agencies are still trying to mitigate. But the same dust is also a critical resource.

An Apollo 17 astronaut digs in the lunar regolith to study the mechanical behaviour of moon dust. Credit: NASA

There’s lots of oxygen in the lunar regolith because oxygen readily reacts with other elements, especially group one elements. Lunar soil is rich in oxides, especially silicon dioxide, iron oxide, magnesium oxide, etc. According to the ESA, about 50% of lunar soil is iron and silicon dioxide, and about 26% of those compounds are oxygen. The trick is getting the oxygen out.

Lavagna demonstrated a two-step process that’s regularly used in industrial applications here on Earth. First, the simulated lunar regolith is vaporized in the presence of hydrogen and methane then washed with hydrogen gas. A furnace heats the minerals to 1,000 Celsius (1800 F), which turns them directly from a solid to a gas. By doing so, the minerals skip the liquid phase, making the entire process simpler.

Then the gases and the residual methane go to a catalytic converter and then a condenser which separates the water. After that, hydrolysis separates the oxygen, and the system recycles the hydrogen and methane by-products.

Engineers and scientists have been working on the challenge of extracting in-situ resources on the Moon for many years now. One method involves using molten salt electrolysis to extract oxygen. That method is adapted from mining, and it also produces useful metal alloys from lunar regolith.

But one of the critical features of this newer process, according to Lavagna, is it’s almost hands-off.

“Our experiments show that the rig is scalable and can operate in an almost completely self-sustained closed loop, without the need for human intervention and without getting clogged up,” said Professor Lavagna. 

This video shows water extracted by the process. Credit: Politecnico Milano, CC BY-NC-CD

The team is still working on optimizing the process in anticipation of an eventual fight test. They’re working with the furnace temperature, length and frequency of the washing, the ratio of the gas mixtures, and the size of soil batches. So far, they’ve learned that small batches of soil produce maximized yields when combined with the highest possible temperatures and long washing phases.

The system produces silica as a by-product. It also produces metals that require further processing before being used as in-situ resources.

‘The capability of having efficient water and oxygen production facilities on-site is fundamental for human exploration and to run high-quality science directly on the Moon,’ said Lavagna. ‘These laboratory experiments have deepened our understanding of each step in the process. It is not the end of the story, but it’s a very good starting point.’

More:

The post Chefs on the Moon Will be Cooking up Rocks to Make air and Water appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Astronomy

Germany’s new coalition government may boost climate change action

New Scientist Space - Space Headlines - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 1:20pm
Against a backdrop of climate change protests across German cities, the centre-left Social Democratic Party narrowly won the election and now plans to create a coalition to tackle the issue
Categories: Astronomy

Germany’s new coalition government may boost climate change action

New Scientist Space - Cosmology - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 1:20pm
Against a backdrop of climate change protests across German cities, the centre-left Social Democratic Party narrowly won the election and now plans to create a coalition to tackle the issue
Categories: Astronomy

10 inspirational astrophotographers to follow on Instagram

Space.com - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 12:33pm
There are plenty of astrophotographers on Instagram, but these are the best ones to follow if you're looking for night sky inspiration.
Categories: Astronomy

William Shatner releases new album, may reach space with Blue Origin

Space.com - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 12:18pm
Actor William Shatner, known in every corner of the galaxy as Captain James T. Kirk from "Star Trek," has a new album out — and he may be planning a trip to space.
Categories: Astronomy

Parasite evolution is making it harder to detect and treat malaria

New Scientist Space - Space Headlines - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 12:00pm
In parts of Africa up to 80 per cent of malaria parasites have evolved to evade detection by the rapid tests used to determine if people need treatment
Categories: Astronomy

Parasite evolution is making it harder to detect and treat malaria

New Scientist Space - Cosmology - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 12:00pm
In parts of Africa up to 80 per cent of malaria parasites have evolved to evade detection by the rapid tests used to determine if people need treatment
Categories: Astronomy

Limiting warming to 1.5°C may save billions from tropical storms

New Scientist Space - Space Headlines - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 12:00pm
Between 2015 and 2100, if the world follows a 1.5°C global warming trajectory instead of a 3.1°C one it would mean 1.8 billion fewer people will experience a tropical storm in their lifetime
Categories: Astronomy

Limiting warming to 1.5°C may save billions from tropical storms

New Scientist Space - Cosmology - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 12:00pm
Between 2015 and 2100, if the world follows a 1.5°C global warming trajectory instead of a 3.1°C one it would mean 1.8 billion fewer people will experience a tropical storm in their lifetime
Categories: Astronomy

Blue Origin sets date for next crewed space trip, names 2 passengers

Space.com - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 11:29am
Blue Origin will launch its second crewed suborbital flight on Tuesday, Oct. 12, carrying Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen and Dassault Systèmes healthcare executive Glen de Vries.
Categories: Astronomy

Lego Star Wars deals: Save big on sets from The Mandalorian, Clone Wars, and Skywalker Saga

Space.com - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 10:53am
Bring balance to the force with these Lego Star Wars deals, with discounts on the Millennium Falcon, X-wing, & Mandalorian kits.
Categories: Astronomy

How to photograph the Milky Way: A guide for beginners and enthusiasts

Space.com - Mon, 09/27/2021 - 10:39am
Create stunning night sky images by learning to photograph the Milky Way like a pro.
Categories: Astronomy