The lander to be launched to Mars using a 3D-printed rocket, and scientists want to grow a lot of stem cells on the ISS: News Digest

Selection of the most interesting space news for breakfast: The launch of the VIPER lunar rover has been postponed to 2024. Satellites are tracking record heat in Europe, and Chinese and Hong Kong companies have signed an agreement to promote the space tourism market.

Launch of the VIPER lunar rover postponed to 2024

NASA has asked Astrobotic to postpone the launch of the VIPER lunar rover (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover) to 2024. The delay will be used for additional tests of the Griffin landing platform, which should reduce the risks to the mission. For this, Astrobotic will receive an additional USD 67.8 million from NASA.

Space police” discovered a sleeping black hole in a neighboring galaxy

An international group of experts has announced the discovery of a black hole located in a neighboring galaxy. It is curious that prior to this, this team of researchers (informally called the black hole police) several times refuted false reports of other astronomers about the discovery of similar objects. Now, for the first time, experts have found a black hole themselves.

The newly found black hole was designated VFTS 243. It is located in the Large Magellanic Cloud — one of the closest neighbors of our Milky Way. VFTS 243 is a stellar-mass black hole. Its mass exceeds the mass of our Sun by nine times. Such bodies are formed when massive luminaries come to the end of their life cycle and collapse under their own gravity.

Europe hits record-high temperatures as satellites track heat wave from space

Record-breaking temperatures come as Europe struggles with a months-long drought. Smashed temperature records, the highest possible risk of wildfires and broiling soil are revealed in satellite data as Europe swelters in an extreme heatwave that is set to exacerbate a widespread drought caused by the lack of rain in winter and spring. According to the European environment monitoring program Copernicus, over 150 square miles of land succumbed to flames over the past ten days throughout France, Spain and Portugal. The greatest threat of forest fires remains in the UK.

Market News

Impulse Space and Relativity Space Announce First Commercial Mission to Mars

Relativity Space is to launch the Mars Cruise Vehicle and Mars Lander of Impulse Space on a reusable Terran R carrier rocket printed on a 3D printer. The earliest expected launch window is between 2024 and 2025 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The exclusive agreement will last until 2029.

Space tourism is looking for liftoff in China

CAS Space, a Beijing-based rocket company, recently signed an agreement with the Hong Kong-based China Tourism Group to jointly explore and advance the market for space tourism. Last year, CAS Space announced that it was working on a single-stage reusable rocket. It should be designed for seven passengers. The first test flight is scheduled for 2023. The company plans to conduct at least 15 test flights before taking on board the first tourists.


The fusion of a black hole and a neutron star in the artist’s image. Source: Carl Knox/OzGrav ARC Centre of Excellence

Scientists modeled the merger of a black hole and a neutron star

Using a supercomputer, a team of researchers from the Institute of Gravitational Physics of the Max Planck Society and Japan for the first time completely modeled the collision of a black hole and a neutron star. In their work, they calculated the state of the system at the final stages of orbital rendezvous, during the merger, as well as at the subsequent stage when, according to available data, a gamma-ray burst may occur.

Scientists want to grow billions of stem cells on board the ISS

For the experiment, which is being conducted by scientists from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, stem cells were sent into space. They will be in orbit for just over a month to determine how the absence of gravity affects their growth. In addition, researchers are interested in two more questions: do cells age differently in low orbit and is it possible to overcome the earthly problems of increasing the growth of stem cells in space?

The possibilities and applications of stem cells are increasing every day. For example, they can work as models for testing the safety and effectiveness of medicines, replacing the testing of medicines on animals.

Read also: NASA signed an agreement with Roscosmos on integrated flights, and Casio released a watch in the style of NASA spacesuits: News Digest

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