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The Next Web

Volcanos on Jupiter’s moon are painting its surface with beautiful colors

ALMA loving, I will give to you… The ALMA radio telescope array. Image credit: EFE/Ariel Marinkovic Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers were able to see Io as it passed into the shadow of Jupiter, where sulfur dioxide gas freezes, falling out of the atmosphere of the Galilean moon. “When Io passes into Jupiter’s shadow, and is out of direct sunlight, it is too cold for sulfur dioxide gas, and it condenses onto Io’s surface. During that time we can only see volcanically-sourced sulfur dioxide. We can therefore see exactly how much of the atmosphere is impacted by volcanic activity,” explained Statia Luszcz-Cook from Columbia University, New York. Using this instrument, astronomers examined sulfur monoxide (SO) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) rising up from volcanoes. Study of the data revealed volcanic releases constitute 30 to 50 percent of the atmosphere of Io. As Io entered the shadow of Jupiter “the SO2 flux density dropped exponentially, and the atmosphere reformed in a linear fashion when re-emerging in sunlight, with a ‘post-eclipse brightening’ after ∼10 minutes. While both the in-eclipse decrease and in-sunlight increase in SO was more gradual than for SO2, the fact that SO decreased at all is evidence that self-reactions at the surface are important and fast, and that in-sunlight photolysis of SO2 is the dominant source of SO,” researchers describe in The Planetary Science Journal. In the video above, the atmosphere of Io seen by ALMA, layered with optical images of Jupiter’s innermost large moon. (Image credit:…Continue readingVolcanos on Jupiter’s moon are painting its surface with beautiful colors

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Wired

There May Be Far More Water on the Moon Than NASA Thought

One theory is that water hitched a ride to the moon as protons in the solar wind. When these protons interacted with the oxygen-rich lunar regolith, they formed hydroxyl, which is just water that’s missing one of its hydrogen atoms. Data from several spacecraft have shown that hydroxyl is all over the lunar surface, but they weren’t equipped with the types of instruments that are needed to tell the difference between hydroxyl and water. “We didn’t plan to look for it, so there wasn’t wasn’t really an instrument designed to look for bound water on the moon,” says Matt Siegler, a researcher at the Planetary Science Institute, who wasn’t involved with the research. “It’s one thing to see hydroxyl, but actual water molecules is another thing altogether.” But where there’s a lot of hydrogen and oxygen, there’s a good chance that there might be water, too. All that’s needed to turn it into water is energy. When a meteorite strikes the moon, the intense heat causes hydroxyl molecules to combine into water. It also melts the regolith, turning it into glass that traps the water molecules. Or, another theory suggests that the water may already be present on the meteorite and get trapped in the newly-formed glass during the impact. No lunar orbiters have had the equipment needed to tell the difference between hydroxyl and water, but NASA’s Sofia observatory has instruments that were able to observe in just the right part of the electromagnetic spectrum to detect traces of…Continue readingThere May Be Far More Water on the Moon Than NASA Thought

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Mashable

Nokia wins NASA contract to put a 4G network on the moon

Soon, astronauts on moon missions won’t have any excuse for not answering their texts. NASA has awarded Nokia of America $14.1 million to deploy a cellular network on the moon. The freaking moon. The grant is part of $370 million worth of contracts signed under NASA’s “Tipping Point” selections, meant to advance research and development for space exploration.  Nokia’s plan is to build a 4G/LTE network, and eventually transition to 5G (just like the rest of us). It will be “the first LTE/4G communications system in space,” according to NASA’s announcement. “The system could support lunar surface communications at greater distances, increased speeds, and provide more reliability than current standards,” the announcement also reads. To the moon! 🌕 We are excited to have been named by @NASA as a key partner to advance “Tipping Point” technologies for the moon, to help pave the way towards sustainable human presence on the lunar surface. So, what technology can you expect to see? (1/6) pic.twitter.com/wDNwloyHdP — Bell Labs (@BellLabs) October 15, 2020 Nokia’s research arm, Bell Labs, provided more details in a Twitter thread. The company intends for the network to support wireless operation of lunar rovers and navigation, as well as streaming video.  The network is built to be compact and efficient, as well as “specially designed to withstand the extreme temperature, radiation and vacuum conditions of space.” According to UPI, NASA said in a live broadcast of the announcement that the network would extend to spacecraft, and help develop technology fit…Continue readingNokia wins NASA contract to put a 4G network on the moon

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Engadget

Eight nations sign NASA’s Artemis Accords, pledging peace on the moon

The Artemis Accords reinforce the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, a non-armament document focused on barring weapons of mass destruction from the moon and other planetary bodies. The ‘67 treaty has been signed and ratified by 110 nations, including Russia, China and the United States. Countries that sign the Artemis Accords agree to 10 principles, including peaceful exploration, transparency, offering emergency assistance to personnel in distress, publicly releasing scientific information, and safely disposing of space debris. Here’s the full list, as provided by NASA: Peaceful Exploration: All activities conducted under the Artemis program must be for peaceful purposes Transparency: Artemis Accords signatories will conduct their activities in a transparent fashion to avoid confusion and conflicts Interoperability: Nations participating in the Artemis program will strive to support interoperable systems to enhance safety and sustainability Emergency Assistance: Artemis Accords signatories commit to rendering assistance to personnel in distress Registration of Space Objects: Any nation participating in Artemis must be a signatory to the Registration Convention or become a signatory with alacrity Release of Scientific Data: Artemis Accords signatories commit to the public release of scientific information, allowing the whole world to join us on the Artemis journey Preserving Heritage: Artemis Accords signatories commit to preserving outer space heritage Space Resources: Extracting and utilizing space resources is key to safe and sustainable exploration and the Artemis Accords signatories affirm that such activities should be conducted in compliance with the Outer Space Treaty Deconfliction of Activities: The Artemis Accords nations commit to preventing harmful interference and supporting the principle of due regard, as required…Continue readingEight nations sign NASA’s Artemis Accords, pledging peace on the moon

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Engadget

NASA wants ideas for keeping Moon missions powered in the dark

If NASA is going to have a long-term presence on the Moon, it’s going to need an alternative to typical solar power — lunar nights can last for over two weeks in some cases. And the agency is turning to outsiders for help. It’s partnering with HeroX on a “Watts on the Moon” crowdsourcing challenge that offers up to $5 million in total prizes if you can create energy solutions for Moon missions. The frontrunners won’t even have to wait until the technology is approved before it goes on a lunar trip. The three-phase challenge starts with creators providing solutions that can power a mission with three activities. NASA judges will pick up to three winners for each activity and hand them $100,000 each, with as many as four runners-up getting $50,000 each. Phase 2 will task the victors with developing prototypes, and will hand out prizes worth up to $4.5 million. If one or more companies reach the third phase, they’ll team with NASA to build hardware for an “operational demonstration” on the Moon. Source linkContinue readingNASA wants ideas for keeping Moon missions powered in the dark

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Engadget

NASA outlines how it will take humanity back to the Moon in 2024

The document explains the kind of scientific tests the astronauts have to conduct (and the samples they have to collect) when they get to their destination. It also details the role the Lunar Gateway will play to establish a permanent presence on the Moon, such as how it will provide basic life support needs for astronauts preparing for their trip to the lunar surface. For those who’ve been keeping a close eye on the Artemis program, NASA also included additional details, including a new test it plans to run during the Artemis II mission. Artemis II will be the program’s first crewed flight and will take astronauts on a lunar flyby. The new test will be a “proximity operations demonstration” to assess Orion’s manual handling capabilities and all related hardware and software. It will provide NASA the data it can’t get from on-the-ground preparations but needs to have for the actual Moon landing mission. In an introduction he wrote for the document, Bridenstine says: “Under the Artemis program, humanity will explore regions of the Moon never visited before, uniting people around the unknown, the never seen, and the once impossible. We will return to the Moon robotically beginning next year, send astronauts to the surface within four years, and build a longterm presence on the Moon by the end of the decade. I am proud to share NASA’s Artemis Plan—this is how we will go to the Moon once again. And how we will use the Moon as the stepping…Continue readingNASA outlines how it will take humanity back to the Moon in 2024

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TechCrunch

NASA to test precision automated landing system designed for the Moon and Mars on upcoming Blue Origin mission – TechCrunch

NASA is going to be testing out a new precision landing system designed for use on the tough terrain of the Moon and Mars for the first time during an upcoming mission of Blue Origin’s New Shepard reusable suborbital rocket. The ‘Safe and Precise Landing – Integrated Capabilities Evolution’ (SPLICE) system is made up of a number of lasers, an optical camera, and a computer to take all the data collected by the sensors and process it using advanced algorithms, and it works by spotting potential hazards, and adjusting landing parameters on the fly to ensure a safe touchdown. SPLICE will get a real-world test of three of its four primary subsystems during a New Shepard mission to be flown relatively soon. The Jeff Bezos -founded company typically returns its first-stage booster to Earth after making its trip to the very edge of space, but on this test of SPLICE, NASA’s automated landing technology will be operating on board the vehicle the same way they would when approaching the surface of the Moon or Mars . The elements tested will include ‘terrain relative navigation,’ Doppler radar, and SPLICE’s descent and landing computer, while a fourth major system – lidar-based hazard detection – will be tested on future planned flights. Currently, NASA already uses automated landing for its robotic exploration craft on the surface of other planets, including the Perseverance rover headed to Mars. But a lot of work goes into selecting a landing zone with a large area of unobstructed…Continue readingNASA to test precision automated landing system designed for the Moon and Mars on upcoming Blue Origin mission – TechCrunch

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Engadget

NASA will pay private companies to collect Moon dirt samples

As part of its plan to send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024, NASA is looking to acquire some dirt. Today, the agency confirmed that it will pay private companies to “collect a small amount of Moon ‘dirt’ or rocks from the lunar surface.” NASA put out a call asking companies to submit their proposals and says it’s open to working with companies outside of the US. NASA will require that they provide imagery of the collection and collected materials, plus location data. The collected material will become the sole property of NASA, and the agency is hoping to secure samples by 2024. Source linkContinue readingNASA will pay private companies to collect Moon dirt samples

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VentureBeat

Ori dev Moon Studios signs deal with Take-Two’s Private Division

Private Division, a publishing label under Take-Two Interactive, announced deals today with three independent developers. This includes the studio behind the Ori series, Moon Studios. Along with Moon, Private Division will publish games from League of Geeks, best known for the digital board game Armello; and Roll7, responsible for Laser League. Take-Two started Private Division in 2017. The label focuses on smaller games, not triple-A fare. It has published hits such as Kerbal Space Program and The Outer Worlds. Of these new deals, Moon Studios stands out as the crown jewel. Its Ori games are some of the most beautiful sidescrollers ever made. This new title for Private Division will be an action role-playing game. Source linkContinue readingOri dev Moon Studios signs deal with Take-Two’s Private Division

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Engadget

NASA-backed project could automatically fix 3D printing for Moon bases

If humanity is going to 3D-print Moon bases, it can’t afford for things to go wrong — and NASA is backing technology to make sure those parts get built. According to Parabolic Arc, the agency recently selected a project from Relativity Space (which is working on 3D-printed rockets) that could detect and fix 3D printing in real time. If production of a habitat piece or radiation shield goes awry, the technology could automatically catch defects and repair them, determine if a print is still viable or even scrap work entirely. This is the first phase of the project, and there are still details to address. NASA is giving Relativity Space $125,000 over six months to further its work. Source linkContinue readingNASA-backed project could automatically fix 3D printing for Moon bases