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CSA supports Mission Control For Software Development For Lunar Mission

The Canadian Space Agency(CSA) has extended their support for developing Mission Control Software for space exploration assignments of next generation. $250k will be contributed by CSA towards the Space Technology Development Program for their development and this will in turn help Mission Control to be able to participate in the lunar robotic missions.

Mission control’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Michele Faragalli said that the current programs like the Commercial Lunar Payload Service of NASA will give a new face to space exploration. He further mentioned that rovers as well as some other types of robotic systems would play a significant part in commercial lunar exploration. The rover technology used currently requires management by the operators on earth continuously and is expensive. Exploration based on rovers can be made cost-effective by providing flexible options for the operators on the earth and if the performance of tasks could be made autonomously onboard.

The Mission Control Software will result in low-cost missions by organizing operations and development of space robotics. This will result in efficient operations, quicker development and a better mission management experience. By using cloud-based connectivity, mission operators situated at any part of the world would b able to make their participation in the lunar exploration. This would also give a chance to the non-experts like the students and Canadian public members to engage themselves in lunar missions.

Many software-based systems have been developed by Mission Control for increasing safety, efficiency and the scientific return of rover missions. The Mission Control Software which can be used for addressing operational issues faced during analogue missions and field tests is actually an extension of the above mentioned work. Mission Control’s President and CEO, Ewan Reid said that the Mission Control Software will allow people to operate the robots on moon and to interact with them. He thanked CSA for providing their support for the advanced technology.

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Astronomers Express Concerns Over Starlink Satellites—Report

SpaceX has launched 60 smallsats, kicking off its Starlink program. It’s part of a 12,000 smallsat strong constellation which will provide cheap internet globally. It was a successful launch. However, astronomers are worried that these satellites will eventually be more than stars in Earth’s night sky, preventing a better look at the Universe. A resolution was adopted at the 234th ASA meeting attended by scientists and astronomers worldwide. It stated that it was worried about constellation deployments at the planet’s orbit. Since more satellites will be joining them, there are tons of potential problems to be expected.

Observations of far-off objects and radio observations could be disrupted due to interference with satellite functions. However, satellites are useful for enhancing observations. Companies like SpaceX can work with the ASA to mitigate such effects. IAU and British RAU have also issued similar statements. Musk promises that satellites won’t be visible after settling into their orbits. However, astronomers are yet to be convinced. While it is true that satellites can be quite bright after launch, the sheer quantity of satellites launched is adding concern for astronomers.

Jeff Hall of AAS stated that the number was concerning. If they happen to be detectable and bright, that would be a problem. Only 30 GPS satellites were in orbit at the moment, which were mostly invisible and with orbits located quite far away. Not knowing Starlink satellite sizes was another concern. Hall stated that it could be invisible to the naked eye. However, current telescope tech is quite sensitive.

Astronomy groups currently are in talks with satellite companies. SpaceX might share data about orbits, enabling astronomers to gauge the impact of the launch on their observations. After that, discussions about solutions could be possible, as satellite companies and scientists team up to mitigate unfavorable impacts. Hall stated that cooperation was the key.

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Science

Ancient Fossil fungus Of The World Found By Scientists

Currently, in Canada, an immense finding has been made by scientists but it is so small that cannot be seen with naked eyes, need of microscope is a must. According to scientists, this is the remains of an ancients known fungus, which might be one billon years old, they believe. It has been found in the Arctic area of Canada and it was named Ourasphaira giraldae. This discovery report was printed in the Nature journal. The fungus, which is multi-celled is an ancestor to a large group of organisms that nowadays includes molds, yeasts, and mushrooms.

Nearly, nine-hundred to one billion years ago, Ourasphaira existed where a river turns into a sea, which is twice older as compared to previous scientific fungus discovered. Till today, the eldest fossil fungus, was revealed in Scotland, nearly four-hundred and ten million years old. But few researchers are still in doubt that the fossil is really a fungus or not. A researcher from the University of British Columbia, Canada, Mary Berbee reported Nature saying, there is a cause for trusting it is real at this particular point. She also said additional information will be certainly useful.

While we might never want to find mold growing on our food, or on our home, fungi do take significant work. Decomposition or breaking down of organic material is helped by them. fungi, is nothing but plural form of fungus, are portion of a big group of organisms known as eukaryotes. Plants and animals, both are comprised in this group, which evidently have a well-defined nucleus present their particular cells. One significant difference between plants and fungi is that, nutrients for themselves cannot be produced by fungi with the help of sunlight. This procedure is called photosynthesis. As animals and fungi have advanced together, due to this minute animal might have lived simultaneously as the Ourasphaira fungus.

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Science

Study Sheds Light On Formation Of Ultima Thule—Report

A new study revealed that the formation of heavenly body Ultima Thule was possible due to merger between primordial bodies several years ago. According to lead author Alan Stern from Southwest Research Institute in Colorado, the two progenitors were probably created from a cloud of icy material that existed long before the solar system was created and existed several billion miles away from the sun. Though these two pieces were initially circling a common piece of mass they slowly spiraled closed to each other and eventually decided to merge together in a leisurely manner.  Their merger makes it look as if they merged at the speed at which spacecraft dock to space stations.

This incident throws light on the origin of planets and celestial bodies in space. Mr Stern is the principal investigator NASA’s spacecraft New Horizons that flew past Ultima Thule during early part of this year and sent several detailed pictures of the region. A new study which was published on 16th May in scientific journal Science, describes the details of New Horizons’ encounter with Ultima Thule as the most far distant planetary encounter in spaceflight history. The New Horizons spacecraft had been launched in 2006 to take close look at Pluto which is the farthest planet from earth.

Since it was discovered in 1930, little information exists of this mysterious planet and New Horizons completed this mission by 2015 by moving within 12500 kms of the planet and capturing several stunning pictures of its diverse and complex surface. After this the team monitoring the spacecraft turned its focus on Ultima Thule and lies around 4 billion miles from earth. During its 1st Jan flyby past the Ultima Thule New Horizons carried out its most challenging task after the Pluto mission. It cruised just 2200 miles above the frigid surface of this dwarf planet at speeds of 32280 miles per hour and sent intriguing details which scientists are still trying to decipher.

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Science

Musk Says Starlink Launches Vital For His Mars Vision Funding

The CEO of SpaceX, Mr. Musk told presspersons early this week on the eve of flight schedule of Falcon 9 rocket on May 16, 2019 that its Starlink satellite network will help the group to make money and help fund his long term goal of sending humans to Mars.  This is the first time that Mr. Musk had a long conversation and shared details about timeline of the Starlink constellation and how the network will work once all the satellites are up. While sharing his long term Mars vision he also confirmed that SpaceX has sufficient funds for carrying out the first phase of the project successfully.

Starlink is an essential part of the firm’s ambitious plan to have an integrated satellite network that will provide high speed internet to anywhere on earth. This constellation of Starlink network will comprise of nearly 11943 satellites that will fly in low earth orbit very close to earth. Musk affirmed that this plan is a revenue generator for SpaceX to make more advanced spaceships and rockets. He added that they can use the revenue that is earned from Starlink project to fund its trans galactic Starship program.

SpaceX’s Falcon series of rockets that are used to launch spaceships and satellites have been used nearly 70 times and now rank among the most powerful in the world due to their success rate. The ultimate vision of Musk is to send astronauts to Mars which will require larger rockets. To make this a reality SpaceX has started testing a massive rocket called Starship. Musk stated that Starship is structured in such a way that it is reusable and can transport around 100 people at a time from earth to moon and back. He also stated that recent fundraising rounds of SpaceX have been over-subscribed so they have enough funds to build and launch sufficient number of satellites to begin using the Starlink network.