In 1930, Clyde Tombaugh, a 25-year-old amateur astronomer, spied a small, dim object in the night sky.
He’d been working at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, for about a year when he used a blink comparator—a special kind of microscope that can examine and compare images—to glimpse what was for a time considered to be the ninth planet in our solar system: Pluto.
By all accounts, Pluto was—well—weird. At one point, astronomers believed it could potentially be bigger than Mars (it’s not). Its unusual 248-year orbit has been known to cross Neptune’s path. Today, Pluto is recognized as the largest object in the Kuiper Belt—but it’s no longer considered a planet.
In 2006, the International Astronomical Union voted to downgrade Pluto, defining a planet as a body that orbits the sun, is round in shape, and has “cleared the neighborhood around its orbit”—meaning it has become gravitationally dominant, so that there are no bodies in its orbital zone besides its own moons. Since Pluto did not check that third box, it was deemed a dwarf planet.
Now a new concept mission submitted to NASA aims to take a close look at Pluto and its nearby systems. Proposed in late 2020, Persephone would explore whether Pluto has an ocean and how the planet’s surface and atmosphere have evolved.
Persephone would send a spacecraft armed with high-resolution cameras to orbit Pluto for three years and map its surface as well as that of its largest moon, Charon.
.The proposed Persephone spacecraft would include five radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) and several high-resolution cameras. Courtesy of Carly Howett
But why is Pluto worth visiting?
The same year Pluto was shoved from its planetary pedestal, NASA sent the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt to better understand the outer edge of our solar system.
After reaching Pluto in 2015, New Horizons struck what amounted to scientific treasure. Close-ups of Pluto revealed potentially active mountain ranges, flowing ice, and a surprising record of geologic history on its surface.
Carly Howett, a planetary physicist and the principal investigator for Persephone, says New Horizons showed us just how complex that part of space really is.
“It wasn’t that New Horizons fundamentally had technology that is new, but it kind of gave people an insight into what the Pluto system might be like,” Howett says. “The world, for the first time, saw Pluto.”
Now, Howett and others think it’s time to return. Every 10 years, the National Research Council’s decadal survey raises leading questions posed in space exploration and determines what kinds of missions could answer them. Persephone’s goals address questions raised in the last survey about the formation of the solar system and whether organic matter once existed outside of Earth.
To become an official NASA mission, Persephone will have to prove to the larger scientific community that the questions it may answer are worth the effort, before the NRC takes it to a vote.
However, some scientists believe that going back to Pluto isn’t worth the resources or the 30-year trip it would take to get there.
“In a perfect world we would be constantly putting together new missions to anything we could land a rover on,” says Dakotah Tyler, an astronomy PhD student at UCLA who studies exoplanets (planets orbiting stars other than our sun). But because NASA invests only in top science priorities, resources are limited.
Instead of Pluto, Tyler says, we should go to the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, many of which we already know are home to oceans below their surface.
“Although we undoubtedly would gain more knowledge by continuing to study the icy Kuiper Belt objects, I think that we stand to gain far more, far quicker if we keep our exploration a bit closer to home,” says Tyler.
And as with any mission, there are risks and challenges involved in getting Persephone off the ground. One of the biggestwould be maintaining its power source—an array of radioisotope thermoelectric generators, or what amount to nuclear batteries—on such a long journey. Any changes could affect both the size of the spacecraft and the price tag, estimated to be a whopping $3 billion.
Still, the team is excited by the prospect of doing its part to expand our knowledge of the
By: Tatyana Woodall
Title: Why NASA should visit Pluto again
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2021/07/19/1029680/nasa-pluto-mission-persephone/
Published Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2021 18:35:00 +0000
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LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys
Bitso, a leading cryptocurrency platform operating in Latin America, and the Mexican Football Federation (FMF), today announced the joint launch of the first collectible NFT of the Mexico National Team’s jerseys that was acquired in cryptocurrencies.
This morning through their social media platforms, the FMF and Bitso announced the opportunity to acquire the new official National Team fan jerseys ahead of the team’s participation in the 2022 World Cup. In just 20 minutes, the entire collection sold out.
The NFTs of the jerseys have an exclusive design for the metaverse – each is unique on the blockchain and can be resold by its owner in subsequent transactions.
The collection consisted of 100 official physical jerseys, each with a corresponding NFT version of the jersey that fans’ avatars can wear within the Decentraland metaverse. Each physical and NFT jersey set sold for the equivalent of $1,800 MXN in ethers.
“Our mission is to make cryptocurrency useful in the everyday life of Mexicans; we are committed to spreading the technology through innovative opportunities that help people throughout the country familiarize themselves with this new world. We are very excited to offer the incredible, historic opportunity for the fans of our National Team so that through their Bitso account, they can wear the colors of the National Team on and ‘off’ the field in the metaverse.”
– Bárbara González Briseño, General Director of Bitso México
Created by Bitso, the virtual jersey sports the official colors of Mexico and the new National Team shield, characteristics that will make it stand out when users wear it in the virtual world of Decentraland.
The post LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys appeared first on CryptoNinjas.
Title: LATAM crypto exchange Bitso and FMF launch NFT of Mexico’s National Team jerseys
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/29/latam-crypto-exchange-bitso-and-fmf-launch-nft-of-mexicos-national-team-jerseys/
Published Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2022 15:19:02 +0000
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Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth
EXMO, a crypto exchange platform operating since 2014, announced this week a rebranded visual identity with includes a new logo, brand colors, and design features. This new branding comes as EXMO continues to grow its crypto platform while also seeking to expand its presence in other jurisdictions.
Some new developments underway at EXMO:
Soon, users will be able to earn passive income from EXMO’s new staking platform.Plans to launch an EXMO crypto debit card.Expansion of its services in international markets with the opening of offices in Poland and Lithuania.
EXMO’s new logo
The rationale for the re-brand:
“At EXMO, we have a vision of a world where crypto is in every wallet. Hassle-free. We want to achieve this by making crypto as simple and accessible to everyone as possible. And we know that you already appreciate EXMO for offering user-friendly services and helpful support. Also for the opportunity to trade anywhere and anytime, closing deals in just a few taps. Such important changes required a rethinking of our corporate style, which has long needed a massive upgrade. So today we are introducing a new brand identity for EXMO with a completely new visual concept. We are launching a new logo, brand colors, and design elements. Our key design principles are simplicity, boldness, and a pinch of fun. But most importantly, we have changed our logo. Simple and easily recognizable, it represents the humanity of our brand. The logo stands out due to the wavy letter ‘m’ which symbolizes exchange rate charts and also resembles a spring that will launch you into the crypto world.”
– The EXMO Team regarding the re-branding
The post Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth appeared first on CryptoNinjas.
Title: Long-running crypto exchange EXMO unveils “lively” rebrand amidst growth
Sourced From: www.cryptoninjas.net/2022/07/26/long-running-crypto-exchange-exmo-unveils-lively-rebrand-amidst-growth/
Published Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 08:10:38 +0000
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Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
The blistering heat waves that set temperature records across much of the US in recent days have strained electricity systems, threatening to knock out power in vulnerable regions of the country.
The electricity has largely stayed online so far this summer, but there have been scattered problems and close calls already.
Heavy use of energy-sucking air-conditioners is the biggest problem. But intense heat can also reduce the output of power plants, blow transformers, and force power lines to sag. Severe droughts across large parts of the country have also significantly reduced the availability of hydroelectric power, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).
It’s unlikely to get better soon. A number of grid operators may struggle to meet peak summer demand, creating the risk of rolling blackouts, the NERC report notes.
The nation’s isolated and antiquated grids are in desperate need of upgrades to keep the lights, heat, and air-conditioning on in the midst of extreme weather events that climate change is making more common, severe, and dangerous. One clear way to ease many of these issues is to more tightly integrate the country’s regional grids, stitching them together with more long-range transmission lines.
If electricity generated in one area can be more easily shared across much wider regions, power can simply flow to where it’s needed at those moments when customers crank up air-conditioners en masse, or when power plants or fuel supply lines fail amid soaring temperatures, wildfires, hurricanes, or other events, says Liza Reed, a research manager focused on transmission at the Niskanen Center, a Washington, DC, think tank.
The problem is it’s proved difficult to build more long-range transmission and grid interconnections for a variety of reasons, including the permitting challenges of erecting wires through private and public lands across cities, counties, and states and the reluctance of local authorities to forfeit control or submit to greater federal oversight.
The case of Texas
The unreliability of the US grid is not a new problem. Severe heat and winter storms have repeatedly exposed the frailty of electricity systems in recent years, leaving thousands to millions of people without power as temperatures spiked or plunged.
One of the fundamental challenges is that the grids today are highly fragmented. There are three main electricity networks within the US: the Eastern Grid, the Western Grid, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). But there are numerous regional transmission organizations within those first two systems, including the California Independent System Operator, Southwest Power Pool, PJM Interconnection, New York ISO, and more.
These grids form a complex web of networks operating under different regulators, rules and market structures, and often with limited connections between them.
A variety of regional transmission organizations oversee different parts of the nation’s aging and fragmented grids, which operate under different rules and with often limited connections between them.
ERCOT is especially isolated, in part because of the desire among local politicians, citizens, and power companies to avoid added competition, the hassle of following other states’ rules, and oversight from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). But the state offers a case study in why that can be a serious problem amid increasingly harsh climate conditions, Reed says.
The Texas grid operator pleaded with customers several times earlier this month to cut electricity use as blistering summer temperatures created demand surges that threatened to outstrip supply and require rolling blackouts. Low wind conditions, cloud cover, and outages at fossil-fuel power plants added to the strains.
Shutting off the electricity needed to run air-conditioning in triple-digit temperatures
By: James Temple
Title: Stitching together the grid will save lives as extreme weather worsens
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/07/28/1056483/stitching-together-the-grid-will-save-lives-as-extreme-weather-worsens/
Published Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 08:00:00 +0000
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