James Webb Space Telescope's First Spectrum of a TRAPPIST-1 Planet

Tablizer shares a report from In a solar system called TRAPPIST-1, 40 light years from the sun, seven Earth-sized planets revolve around a cold star. Astronomers obtained new data from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) on TRAPPIST-1 b, the planet in the TRAPPIST-1 solar system closest to its star. These new observations offer insights into how its star can affect observations of exoplanets in the habitable zone of cool stars. In the habitable zone, liquid water can still exist on the orbiting planet's surface. The team, which included University of Michigan astronomer and NASA Sagan Fellow Ryan MacDonald, published its study in the journal The Astrophysical Journal Letters. "Our observations did not see signs of an atmosphere around TRAPPIST-1 b. This tells us the planet could be a bare rock, have clouds high in the atmosphere or have a very heavy molecule like carbon dioxide that makes the atmosphere too small to detect," MacDonald said. "But what we do see is that the star is absolutely the biggest effect dominating our observations, and this will do the exact same thing to other planets in the system. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2023-10-03 06:15:01 preview's
The ‘Green’ Future of Furniture Is a Sofa Stuffed With Seaweed

Foam rubber—like the filling inside your couch—produces an enormous amount of CO2. A Norwegian company called Agoprene thinks seaweed could be the solution.
2023-10-03 02:15:03 preview's
New Horizons is Funded Through the Decade. Enough to Explore Another Kuiper Belt Object

The ongoing saga of the New Horizons mission—will it get truncated and its science team disbanded?—may have some resolution. Dr. Nicky Fox, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters announced last Friday that mission operations will continue until at least the end of the decade. “Following a senior review and feedback from … Continue reading "New Horizons is Funded Through the Decade. Enough to Explore Another Kuiper Belt Object" The post New Horizons is Funded Through the Decade. Enough to Explore Another Kuiper Belt Object appeared first on Universe Today.
2023-10-02 20:30:03 preview's
ESA Delays Vega C Return To Flight To Late 2024

The return to flight of Europe's Vega C small launch vehicle has slipped to late 2024 after the European Space Agency concluded a rocket motor nozzle needs to be redesigned. From a report: ESA announced Oct. 2 the completion of an independent investigation into an anomaly that took place during a static-fire test of a Zefiro 40 motor June 28. That test was part of efforts to return the Vega C to flight after a December 2022 launch failure blamed on that motor. Giovanni Colangelo, ESA's inspector general and chair of the committee that investigated the incident, said at a briefing that the performance of the motor was "more or less normal" until 39.7 seconds after ignition. At that point, a new throat insert made of carbon-carbon material was expelled from the nozzle, along with other pieces of the nozzle. The motor continued to burn, although at far lower pressures, until the fuel was exhausted. The test was intended to confirm the performance of the throat insert, which prime contractor Avio had replaced as part of the recommendations into the December 2022 launch failure. That investigation, released in March, concluded that carbon-carbon material from the original supplier, Ukrainian company Yuzhnoye, did not meet specifications. ArianeGroup now supplies the throat insert. At the time ESA hoped to resume Vega C flights by the end of 2023. The June test anomaly was not linked to that launch failure, ESA concluded. "The failure of the test is related to the design of the nozzle that was not upgraded with the change in the carbon-carbon supplier for the throat insert," Colangelo said. The geometry of the new throat insert and its different thermo-mechanical properties contributed to the failure. "The effects had not been identified as critical during the redesign." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2023-10-02 17:30:04 preview's
The Orion Nebula Is Full of Impossible Enigmas That Come in Pairs

We have discovered a lot in this universe. Planets that orbit stars at right angles. Forbidden worlds that have cheated death. Space explosions that defy explanation. Yet the cosmos continues to surprise us. The latest spectacle, observed by the James Webb Space Telescope, is an agglomeration of nearly 150 free-floating objects amid the Orion Nebula, not far in mass from Jupiter. From a report: Dozens of these worlds are even orbiting each other. The scientists who discovered them have called them Jupiter Mass Binary Objects, or JuMBOs, and the reason for their appearance is a complete mystery. "There's something wrong with either our understanding of planet formation, star formation -- or both," said Samuel Pearson, a scientist at the European Space Agency who worked on the observations that were shared on Monday, which have not yet been peer reviewed. "They shouldn't exist." The Orion Nebula is a region of star formation 1,350 light-years from Earth, located in the belt of the northern hemisphere constellation of Orion. It has long been studied by astronomers, but the scientists involved in the new Webb telescope study of the area, also released on Monday, say the new images are "by far" the best views yet. "We have better than Hubble resolution but now in the infrared," said Mark McCaughrean, a senior adviser for science and exploration at the ESA. He said the latest observations revealed reams of star formation and fledgling planetary systems in a manner never seen before. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2023-10-02 16:15:02 preview's
Paint drops form “fried egg” patterns if concentration, temp is just right

Key insights into influential factors could lead to better control of drying process.
2023-10-02 15:15:03 preview's
Nobel Prize Awarded To Covid Vaccine Pioneers

Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman, who together identified a chemical tweak to messenger RNA, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on Monday. Their work enabled potent Covid vaccines to be made in less than a year, averting tens of millions of deaths and helping the world recover from the worst pandemic in a century. From a report: The approach to mRNA the two researchers developed has been used in Covid shots that have since been administered billions of times globally and has transformed vaccine technology, laying the foundation for inoculations that may one day protect against a number of deadly diseases like cancer. The slow and methodical research that made the Covid shots possible has now run up against a powerful anti-vaccine movement, especially in the United States. Skeptics have seized in part on the vaccines' rapid development -- among the most impressive feats of modern medical science -- to undermine the public's trust in them. But the breakthroughs behind the shots unfolded little by little over decades, including at the University of Pennsylvania, where Dr. Weissman runs a lab. [...] The mRNA work was especially frustrating, she said, because it was met with indifference and a lack of funds. She said she was motivated by more than not being called a quitter; as the work progressed, she saw small signs that her project could lead to better vaccines. "You don't persevere and repeat and repeat just to say, 'I am not giving up,'" she said. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2023-10-02 14:15:02 preview's
Northrop Grumman likely to end its bid for a commercial space station

NASA has a lot riding on these initiatives.
2023-10-02 13:30:05 preview's
Katalin Karikó’s Nobel Prize Marks the Beginning of a Vaccine Revolution

Nobel Prize winners Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman pioneered the technology that produced a Covid-19 vaccine in record time. Next, mRNA could tackle flu, malaria, and HIV.
2023-10-02 13:30:05 preview's
It's Confirmed. M87's Black Hole is Actually Spinning

The supermassive black hole at the heart of M87 was the target of the Event Horizon Telescope, revealing the area around its event horizon for the first time. Although an accretion disk surrounded the black hole, astronomers weren't sure if the black hole itself was rotating. They imaged the region with radio telescopes and discovered the remnants of polar jets, showing that the black hole's rotation axis had undergone precession over time. This precession indicates that the black hole is rotating; they're just not sure how quickly yet. The post It's Confirmed. M87's Black Hole is Actually Spinning appeared first on Universe Today.
2023-10-02 12:45:04