“Bloody Eclipse” disabled two robots on the Moon, and a Japanese professor suggests keeping the clock by cosmic rays: News Digest

Selection of the most interesting space news for the week: The iconic photo from Apollo 11 was sold for a large sum. The US military has recognized the existence of UFOs, and soil samples from Mars can be dangerous.

“Bloody eclipse” disabled two robots on the Moon

Two spacecraft on the Moon belonging to the United States and China were left in the dark due to a lunar eclipse that occurred on the night of May 16. This May phenomenon is also called the “Blood Moon”. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Yutu-2 rover, powered by solar energy, failed during the eclipse.

Iconic photos of Armstrong and Aldrin from Apollo 11 were 100% sold

On May 18, the auction “Lunar Images: Space Photography 1950-1999” ended. Participants were offered to purchase 327 photographs depicting the very first rocket launches and manned flights to the Moon. The two-week auction was held by the famous auction house Christie’s online.

Among the most memorable photos were shots of astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landing on the Moon’s surface as part of the Apollo 11 mission. Moreover, the sale was headed by two images of Buzz Aldrin on the surface of our moon. One of them is dated July 16-24, 1969, in which the pioneer astronaut poses under the US flag against the background of the lunar module “Eagle” – the photo was estimated at 30 thousand pounds (UAH 1.09 million). The second was a picture in which the “Eagle” and Neil Armstrong can be seen in the reflection on the mirror visor of Buzz Aldrin, was sold for 9450 pounds (UAH 345 thousand).

Market News

Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos next to the New Shepard capsule. Source: @JeffBezos

New Shepard Rocket Systems Malfunction Detected: Blue Origin’s 5th flight postponed

Jeff Bezos’ space tourism company Blue Origin has postponed its fifth launch with passengers. The next flight was scheduled for Friday, May 20, but one of the backup systems of the New Shepard rocket failed. Blue Origin said that tests on the eve of the flight on May 18 showed that one of the rocket’s backup systems was not working properly, as engineers expected, which carries potential risks for the flight. As a result, the mission had to be postponed until the failure was fixed.

European satellite avoids collision with Russian space debris

The Sentinel-1A satellite belonging to ESA carried out an emergency maneuver. It allowed the spacecraft to dodge a piece of space debris left over from a test of Russian anti-satellite weapons conducted last year. Sentinel-1A was launched in 2014. The device is equipped with a synthesized aperture radar, which allows it to take pictures of the Earth regardless of lighting conditions and cloud cover. The satellite monitors changes in the Earth’s surface and the consequences of natural disasters. It is also engaged in mapping sea ice, measuring sea level and tracking the movement of ships.

Unexplained and dangerous: The US military admitted the existence of UFOs

The hearings announced last week on the “disclosure of the truth” about UFOs took place on the night of May 16-17 during Congressional hearings. The House Intelligence Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee, together with the military, shared information about unidentified flying objects, which they prefer to call unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP). The US military, together with intelligence, are striving to classify and characterize all reports of unidentified aerial phenomena. Two high-ranking military men shared their successes in identifying UFOs using modern technologies together with close cooperation with experts. To study this phenomenon, a special investigation office was even created, known as the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group (AOIMSG).


The Perseverance rover on Mars contains samples for delivery to Earth. Photo: Mashable

Main danger during the return of samples from Mars is determined

For years, researchers have been trying to collect samples from the surface of Mars. Currently, several missions are being carried out to collect the most valuable samples of Martian soil: by the Chinese Zhurong and the Perseverance rover from NASA and ESA. However, the question arises from all this: Does collecting samples and transporting them from an alien planet pose a risk to Earth?

Several groups of scientific experts from the United States and around the world studied the problem of whether samples from Mars could pose a threat to the Earth’s environment. Conclusions of these groups suggest that the materials collected by the Perseverance rover carry a “very low level of danger” for the Earth’s biosphere. Although the danger is “low”, it is wise to remember that it is possible.

Cosmic Rays can Help Keep the Clocks

Hiroyuki Tanaka, a professor at the University of Tokyo, suggests using cosmic rays to synchronize clocks all over the planet. When these high-energy charged particles enter the Earth’s atmosphere, they collide with air atoms and knock out muons from them. This usually happens at an altitude of 15 kilometers.

These muons meet with other atoms and knock similar particles out of them. A kind of rain is formed, spreading over a large area. At the same time, the characteristics of the particles carry a unique imprint of the event that gave rise to them, even if they reached the surface thousands of kilometers from each other and from the meeting point of the ray with the atmosphere. According to Tanaka, it is this mechanism that will help to keep clocks all over the planet in the future. In this way, it is possible to synchronize accurate devices for measuring time. 

First black holes winds were much more powerful than modern

The winds emitted by supermassive black holes in the first billions of years of the Universe’s existence were much stronger than modern ones. They were so powerful that they actually slowed down the growth of the black holes from which they emanated. Contrary to popular belief, black holes do not absorb all the matter in their surroundings. Part of the matter that is part of the accretion disks surrounding them is ejected into the surrounding space — something in the form of polar jets, and something in the form of wind. This is the name of a stream of particles that move in a spiral around a black hole and gain such high speeds that they are then ejected into the surrounding space.

Read also: The United States will strengthen the protection of ground-based satellite systems due to Russian cyberattacks, and Starliner has engine problems on its way to the ISS: News Digest

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