Connect with us

Last May, as part of the nation’s growing presence in space, the China National Space Agency (CNSA) announced that it had established a Human Lunar Space Program that would send crewed missions to the Moon and culminate in the creation of a lunar base. This came shortly after China and Russia announced that they would be collaborating on future lunar missions, which included the creation of a base around the southern polar region. In June 2022, they announced that this base would be named the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) and released a guide explaining how international partners could join.

On Thursday, August 31st, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) released artists’ renderings of their next-generation spacecraft and lunar lander. The spacecraft will consist of two sections, a reentry capsule, and a service section, while the lunar lander will include a landing section and a propulsion section. According to a statement released by the Agency, these vehicles will deliver crews to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and allow China to send crewed missions to the lunar surface. The release of these images confirms what has been suspected for some time: that China fully intends to land taikonauts on the Moon before 2030.

According to the CMSA, the spacecraft will transport three astronauts to lunar orbit for a Moon-landing mission or up to seven crew members to China’s Tiangong space station in orbit. The lunar lander will weigh about 26 metric tons (28.66 US tons) and be capable of transporting two astronauts and a 200 kg (~440 lbs) rover to the lunar surface. This four-wheeled rover will have a suite of scientific instruments designed to survey the lunar environment, scout out resources, and identify potential sites for a future base.

64f1eeffa310d2dc6d271d55 1
Artist’s renderings of the country’s next-generation lunar landing module. Credit: chinadaily.com.cn

According to the official statement shared by China Daily, the new system “will feature reliability, reusability and modular designs that suit both near-Earth flights and lunar landing tasks.” A visual inspection confirms that the spacecraft and lander are identical to designs featured in the mosaic on the wall of the Office of Crewed Lunar Program, which was revealed by China ‘N Asia Spaceflight via Twitter in May 2022. This same tweet chain also revealed photos that confirmed the creation of the OCLP at the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST).

These elements are part of a roadmap drafted by Chinese scientists and mission planners for sending China’s first crewed missions to the Moon. Based on previous statements, this roadmap includes the development of the three-stage Long March 10 super-heavy launch vehicle capable of sending payloads of 70,000 kg (150,000 lbs) to LEO and 27,000 kg (60,000 lbs) to the Moon. Two Long March 10 rockets will launch the next-generation spacecraft and landing module, which will then rendezvous in lunar orbit. Two taikonauts will transfer to the landing module and then make a powered landing on the surface.

These taikonauts will then drive across the surface in the rover, carrying out various scientific tasks and collecting samples of lunar regolith. Upon the completion of these tasks, they will return to the landing module and return to their spaceship in lunar orbit. Another crew transfer will occur, followed by all three taikonauts will undock with the landing module and return to Earth. This mission profile is similar to NASA’s plan for the Artemis III mission, consisting of the Orion spacecraft and three astronauts launching atop the Space Launch System (SLS) to rendezvous with the Starship HLS in lunar orbit.

A crew of two will then transfer to the Human Landing System, descend to the surface, conduct science operations, and return to orbit to board the Orion and come home. Both of these plans differ vastly from the Apollo missions, where a single Saturn V rocket would launch the Apollo spacecraft containing all of the necessary mission elements. This consisted of a Command Module (CM) and Service Module (SM) – which would merge in lunar orbit to form the Command Service Module (CSM) – and a Lunar Module consisting of a descent and ascent module.

64f1eeffa310d2dc6d271d57

Continue Reading

Frontier Adventure

Why is Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Shrinking? It’s Starving.

Jupiter Great Red Spot Juno 580x386 1

The largest storm in the Solar System is shrinking and planetary scientists think they have an explanation. It could be related to a reduction in the number of smaller storms that feed it and may be starving Jupiter’s centuries-old Great Red Spot (GRS).

This storm has intrigued observers from its perch in the Jovian southern hemisphere since it was first seen in the mid-1600s. Continuous observations of it began in the late 1800s, which allowed scientists to chart a constant parade of changes. In the process, they’ve learned quite a bit about the spot. It’s a high-pressure region that generates a 16,000 km-wide anticyclonic storm with winds clocking in at more than 321 km per hour. The storm extends down through the atmosphere to a depth of about 250 km below the mainly ammonia cloud tops.

A zoomed-in view of the Great Red Spot based on Juno observations. Courtesy Kevin Gill.
A zoomed-in view of the Great Red Spot based on Juno observations. Courtesy Kevin Gill.

Modeling a Shrinking and Growing Great Red Spot

Over the past century, scientists noticed the GRS shrinking, leaving them with a puzzle on their hands. Yale Ph.D. student Caleb Keaveney had the idea that perhaps smaller storms that feed the GRS could play a role in starving it. He and a team of researchers focused on their influence and conducted a series of 3D simulations of the Spot. They used a model called the Explicit Planetary Isentropic-Coordinate (EPIC) model, which is used in studying planetary atmospheres. The result was a suite of computer models that simulated interactions between the Great Red Spot and smaller storms of varying frequency and intensity.

A separate control group of simulations left out the small storms. Then, the team compared the simulations. They saw that the smaller storms seemed to strengthen the Great Red Spot and make it grow. “We found through numerical simulations that by feeding the Great Red Spot a diet of smaller storms, as has been known to occur on Jupiter, we could modulate its size,” Keaveney said.

If that’s true, then the presence (or lack thereof) of those smaller storms could be what’s changing the spot’s size. Essentially, a lot of smaller spots cause it to grow larger. Fewer little ones cause it to shrink. Furthermore, the team’s modeling supports an interesting idea. Without forced interactions with these smaller vortices, the Spot can shrink over a period of about 2.6 Earth years.

Using Earth Storms as a Comparison

The Great Red Spot isn’t the only place in the Solar System that sports such a long-lived high-pressure system. Earth experiences plenty of them, usually called “heat domes” or “blocks.” Most of us are familiar with heat domes because we experience them during the summer months. They happen frequently in the upper atmosphere jet stream that circulates across our planet’s mid-latitudes. We can blame them for some of the extreme weather people experience—such as heat waves and extended droughts. They tend to last a long time, and they are linked to interactions with smaller transient weather such as high-pressure eddies and anticyclones.

Given that the Great Red Spot is an anticyclonic feature, it has interesting implications for similar atmospheric structures on both planets, according to Keaveney. “Interactions with nearby weather systems have been shown to sustain and amplify heat domes, which motivated our hypothesis that similar interactions on Jupiter could sustain the Great Red Spot,” he said. “In validating that hypothesis, we provide additional support to this understanding of heat domes on Earth.”

The Ever-changing Great Red Spot

In addition to the changing size of the Great Red Spot, observers also notice shifts in its color. It’s mainly reddish-orange but has been known to fade to a pinkish-orange hue. The colors suggest some complex chemistry occurring in the region spurred by solar radiation. It has an effect on a chemical compound called ammonium hydrosulfide as well as the organic compound acetylene. That creates a substance called a tholin, which gives a reddish color wherever it exists.

At times the spot has nearly disappeared altogether due to some complex interaction with a feature called
Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/review-patagonia-black-hole-pack-32l-travel-pack-2/

Continue Reading

Frontier Adventure

Review: Patagonia Black Hole Pack 32L Travel Pack

Wind4 016 200x200 1

Travel Pack
Patagonia Black Hole Pack 32L

$169, 32L/1,831 c.i., 1 lb. 12.6 oz./810g

One size

backcountry.com

If you’re like me, whenever you’re flying somewhere for a few days, maybe a week or more, you ask yourself the same question: Can I do this without checking luggage? Not only do I loathe paying a luggage fee, but I don’t want to give an airline the opportunity to lose my luggage. Plus, I like the convenience, low expense, and the ethically and morally correct choice (in this age of climate crisis) of using public transportation to and from airports—which is really only feasible when carrying one small, light, portable bag or pack. For me, the carry-on of choice is the Patagonia Black Hole Pack 32L.

For starters, I generally like having a small and light pack or bag with shoulder straps that I can throw onto my back to move quickly through airports; wheeled luggage of any size quickly loses its convenience when you’re in a serious rush in an airport, have no choice but to go up or down stairs (which I prefer, anyway, to standing on an escalator behind a line of stationary people), or are taking subways, buses, or trains.

Wind4 016 200x200 2
Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here for my e-guides to classic backpacking trips. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

The Patagonia Black Hole Pack 32L back panel and shoulder straps.
” data-image-caption=”The Patagonia Black Hole Pack 32L back panel and shoulder straps.
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/tbo-media.sfo2.digitaloceanspaces.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/06224812/Patagonia-Black-Hole-Pack-32L-harness-2.jpg?fit=225%2C300&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/tbo-media.sfo2.digitaloceanspaces.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/06224812/Patagonia-Black-Hole-Pack-32L-harness-2.jpg?fit=768%2C1024&ssl=1″ tabindex=”0″ role=”button” src=”https://i0.wp.com/tbo-media.sfo2.digitaloceanspaces.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/06224812/Patagonia-Black-Hole-Pack-32L-harness-2-768×1024.jpg?resize=768%2C1024&ssl=1″ alt=”The Patagonia Black Hole Pack 32L back panel and shoulder straps.” class=”wp-image-59669″ style=”width:602px;height:auto” srcset=”https://tbo-media.sfo2.digitaloceanspaces.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/06224812/Patagonia-Black-Hole-Pack-32L-harness-2.jpg 768w, https://tbo-media.sfo2.digitaloceanspaces.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/06224812/Patagonia-Black-Hole-Pack-32L-harness-2.jpg 225w, https://tbo-media.sfo2.digitaloceanspaces.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/06224812/Patagonia-Black-Hole-Pack-32L-harness-2.jpg 640w, https://tbo-media.sfo2.digitaloceanspaces.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/06224812/Patagonia-Black-Hole-Pack-32L-harness-2.jpg 150w, https://tbo-media.sfo2.digitaloceanspaces.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/06224812/Patagonia-Black-Hole-Pack-32L-harness-2.jpg 900w” sizes=”(max-width: 768px) 100vw, 768px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />The Patagonia Black Hole Pack 32L back panel and shoulder straps.

On my most recent trip, flying cross-country to visit family and friends—two flights and a layover of 90 minutes or more in each direction—I wanted to avoid checking luggage (for all the reasons given above). Packing frugally, I fit everything I needed into my Black Hole Pack 32L for
Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/pulsars-are-the-ideal-probes-for-dark-matter/

Continue Reading

Frontier Adventure

Pulsars are the Ideal Probes for Dark Matter

pulsar 1024x576 7

Pulsars are the remnants of the explosion of massive stars at the end of their lives. The event is known as a supernova and as they rapidly spin they sweep a high energy beam across the cosmos much like a lighthouse. The alignment of some pulsar beams mean they sweep across Earth predictably and with precise regularity. They can be, and often are used as timing gauges but a team of astronomers have found subtle timing changes in some pulsars hinting at unseen mass between pulsars and telescopes—possibly dark matter entities.

The discovery in 1967 of pulsars has revolutionised our understanding of stellar evolution. The are formed during the collapse of supermassive stars at the end of their life. As the fusion in the core ceases, the inrushing stellar material crashing down onto the core compresses it to incredible density. The material that once made up the star is, through this process compressed into a sphere just a few tens of kilometres across. Pulsars are closely related to neutron stars which are formed though the same process and it is believed, the only difference is that one has a highly energetic beam that flashes across the Earth and one doesn’t. 

pulsar 1024x576 8
Visualization of a fast-rotating pulsar. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

A team studying pulsars has recently detected hints of potential dark matter objects through changes in pulsar timing events as they rotate. Professor John LoSecco from the University of Notre Dame, presented at the National Astronomy Meeting at the University of Hull and emphasised the precision of pulsar-based timekeeping. “Science has advanced with precise time measurement methods,” he noted, comparing Earth’s atomic clocks with pulsars in space. While gravitational effects on light have been understood for over a century, their applications in uncovering hidden masses remain largely unexplored until now.

Professor LoSecco and the team noted tiny deviations in the pulsar timing, suggesting that radio waves may be getting redirected around an unseen mass located somewhere between the pulsar and the telescope. LoSecco theorised that the masses could potentially be dark matter!

By examining the delays and analysing the radio pulse arrivals (which were typically accurate to within a nanosecond) they explored the pathway of radio signals within the latest Parkes Pulsar Timing Array survey. Other telescopes involved in this initiative were the Effelsberg, Nançay, Westerbork, Green Bank, Arecibo, Parkes, and the Lovell telescope in Cheshire. Using this and Parkes data, the pulse arrival times were analysed.

UCF Arecibo aerial 1024x683 4
The Arecibo Radio Telescope Credit: UCF

The results showed that the pulses occur regularly every three weeks across three observational bands. However, when dark matter causes delays in arrival times, these delays display distinct shapes proportional to the mass of the dark matter. Regions with dark matter slow down the passage of light and effect the pulsar timings. The Sun for example, could produce a delay of about 10 microseconds however the timing differences 10,000 times smaller.  A detailed examination of precise data from 65 ‘millisecond pulsars’ has identified approximately twelve instances suggestive of interactions with dark matter.

Source : How astronomers are using pulsars to observe evidence of dark matter

The post Pulsars are the Ideal Probes for Dark

Continue Reading

Trending