воскресенье, 28 октября 2018 г.

LandSpace ZhuQue-1 first launch


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28 oct. 2018



LandSpace ZhuQue-1 rocket launch

LandSpace ZhuQue-1 rocket launched the Weilai-1 (Future-1) satellite from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu Province, northwest China, on 27 October 2018, at 08:00 UTC (16:00 local time).



LandSpace ZhuQue-1 first launch

According to Zhang Changwu (CEO, LandSpace Technology Corporation), the spacecraft failed to achieve orbit due to an issue with the third stage.



Weilai-1 or “Future 1”

This was the first launch of the ZhuQue-1 (ZQ-1, 朱雀一号) launch vehicle, developed by LandSpace Technology Corporation (蓝箭, Blue Arrow), a private company located in Huzhou City, Zhejiang Province, east China. Weilai-1 or “Future 1” was a small satellite owned by China Central Television (CCTV) and intended for scientific experiments and Earth observation.



LandSpace ZhuQue-1 rocket

A Zhuque 1 rocket developed by the Chinese private launch company LandSpace lift off its inaugural flight carrying the Weilai 1 microsatellite into orbit for China Central Television.


For more information about LandSpace: http://www.landspace.com/


Images, Video, Text, Credits: LandSpace/Günter Space Page/CCTV/SciNews.


Greetings, Orbiter.chArchive link


2018 October 28 Ultraviolet Earth from an Observatory on the…


2018 October 28


Ultraviolet Earth from an Observatory on the Moon
Image Credit: G. Carruthers (NRL) et al., Far UV Camera, Apollo 16, NASA


Explanation: Which planet is this? Earth. The featured false color picture shows how the Earth shines in ultraviolet (UV) light. The image is historic because it was taken from the surface of the Moon by humanity’s only lunar observatory. Although very little UV light is transmitted through the Earth’s atmosphere, what sunlight does make it through might cause a sunburn. The part of the Earth facing the Sun reflects much UV light, but perhaps more interesting is the side facing away from the Sun. Here bands of UV emission are the result of auroras and are caused by charged particles expelled by the Sun. Other planets showing auroras in the UV include Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, and Uranus.


∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap181028.html


Prehistoric Stone Axeheads, Kirkcudbright Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and...








Prehistoric Stone Axeheads, Kirkcudbright Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, 22.10.18.


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HiPOD (27 October 2018): Possible Rock Falls on Steep Slopes in…



HiPOD (27 October 2018): Possible Rock Falls on Steep Slopes in Cerberus Fossae 


   – Our goal here is to take “before” images at HiRISE resolution in order to identify fresh rockfalls that might be able to be associated with seismic events or Marsquakes detected by InSight, which lands in November 2018. (277 km above the surface and less than 1 km across).


NASA/JPL/University of Arizona


Some planetary systems just aren’t into heavy metal

Small planetary systems with multiple planets are not fans of heavy metal—think iron, not Iron Maiden—according to a new Yale University study.











Some planetary systems just aren't into heavy metal
An Illustration of a compact, multi-planet system. Researchers have found that such systems are more
likely to form around stars with lower amounts of heavy elements than our own Sun
[Credit: Michael S. Helfenbein/Yale University]

Researchers at Yale and the Flatiron Institute have discovered that compact, multiple-planet systems are more likely to form around stars that have lower amounts of heavy elements than our own Sun. This runs counter to a good deal of current research, which has focused on stars with higher metallicity.


The research team looked at 700 stars and their surrounding planets for the study, which appears in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The researchers considered any element heavier than helium—including iron, silicon, magnesium, and carbon—as a heavy metal.


“We used iron as a proxy,” said lead author John Michael Brewer, a postdoctoral researcher at Yale who works with astronomy professor Debra Fischer. “These are all elements that make up the rocks in small, rocky planets.”


Brewer said an abundance of compact, multi-planet systems around low-metallicity stars suggests several things.


First, he said, it may indicate that there are many more of these systems than previously assumed. Until recently, research instruments have not had the necessary precision to detect smaller planets and instead focused on detecting larger planets. Now, with the advent of technology such as the Extreme Precision Spectrometer (EXPRES) developed by Fischer’s team at Yale, researchers will be able to find smaller planets.


In addition, Brewer said, the new study suggests that small planetary systems may be the earliest type of planetary system, making them an ideal place to search for life on other planets. “Low-metallicity stars have been around a lot longer,” Brewer said. “That’s where we’ll find the first planets that formed.”


Fischer, who is a co-author of the study, demonstrated in 2005 that higher metallicity in stars increased the probability of forming large, Jupiter-like planets. This provided strong support to the core-accretion model for gas giant planet formation and established this as the leading mechanism for planet formation.


Understanding the formation of smaller planets has been more elusive.


“Our surprising result, that compact systems of multiple, small planets are more likely around lower metallicity stars suggests a new, important clue in understanding the most common type of planetary system in our galaxy,” said co-author Songhu Wang, a 51 Pegasi b Fellow at Yale.


Another tantalizing possibility to explore, according to the researchers, is the connection between iron and silicon in the birth of planets. The new study shows a high silicon-to-iron ratio in stars with lower metallicity.


“Silicon could be the secret ingredient,” Fischer said. “The ratio of silicon to iron is acting as a thermostat for planet formation. As the ratio increases, nature is dialing up the formation of small, rocky planets.”


Author: Jim Shelton | Source: Yale University [October 24, 2018]




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Copernicus Sentinel-5P reveals new atmospheric nasties

With air quality a serious environmental health problem, the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite is tasked with mapping air pollutants around the entire globe every day. This new mission has been providing data on carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone since July and now other polluting nasties such as sulphur dioxide and formaldehyde have joined the list of data products available to monitor the air we breathe.











Copernicus Sentinel-5P reveals new atmospheric nasties
Formaldehyde [Credit: contains modified Copernicus data (2018),
processed by BIRA–IASB/DLR]

Air pollution affects people in developed and developing countries alike. In Europe alone, it is estimated that every year 400,000 people die prematurely because of poor air quality.


Satellite data and computer models are the only real way of showing how pollution accumulates around the world as a whole. In the immediate term, these tools are essential for forecasts and warnings on air quality. In the longer term they are indispensable for providing accurate information for decision-makers developing strategies to tackle this major problem.


Launched in October 2017, Copernicus Sentinel-5P – short for Sentinel-5 Precursor – is the first Copernicus satellite dedicated to monitoring our atmosphere. It is part of the fleet of Copernicus Sentinel missions that ESA develops for the European Union’s environmental monitoring programme.


The satellite carries an advanced multispectral imaging spectrometer called Tropomi. What sets Tropomi apart is that it detects the unique fingerprints of atmospheric gases in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum to image a wide range of pollutants more accurately and at a higher spatial resolution than ever before.


Since this state-of-the art satellite mission was launched, scientists have been carefully evaluating its data and, in turn, releasing the data to users.


Streams of data on carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, along with information on aerosols and clouds have been available since July. On 17 October, sulphur dioxide and formaldehyde joined the list of air pollutants routinely available for services such as air-quality forecasting and volcanic ash monitoring.











Copernicus Sentinel-5P reveals new atmospheric nasties
Sulphur dioxide [Credit: contains modified Copernicus data (2018),
 processed by BIRA–IASB/DLR]

The Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service is a key user of these data products.


Head of the service, Vincent-Henri Peuch, said, “Even looking at social media, we see that Copernicus Sentinel-5P is proving to be a great ambassador for environmental monitoring and for taking action on air pollution. But the mission does much more than give us images.


“This is a sophisticated mission designed to measure the comprehensive set of atmospheric constituents for underpinning several of the CAMS information products. We are already using observations of ozone and nitrogen dioxide, which have been available routinely since July.


“We are really excited about using these new sulphur dioxide and formaldehyde data in our operational services. Copernicus Sentinel-5P data is also about to make its way into everyone’s pockets as our products are being taken up by leading smartphone applications to inform the public on current air quality.”


Sulphur dioxide affects air quality badly and can lead to breathing problems. While it is released into the atmosphere mainly through industrial processes, it is also present in volcanic plumes.


Monitoring the spread of volcanic plumes is critical for aircraft safety.











Copernicus Sentinel-5P reveals new atmospheric nasties
Sulphur dioxide from Fuego volcano [Credit: contains modified Copernicus data (2018),
 processed by BIRA–IASB/DLR]

Nicolas Theys from the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy said, “Copernicus Sentinel-5P’s near-realtime data on sulphur dioxide and aerosols are being used in the Support to Aviation Control Service and in the European Natural Disaster Coordination Information System for Aviation.


“The unprecedented level of details offered by the mission allows Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre users to better track and forecast the dispersion of volcanic plumes.”


The latest data release also includes formaldehyde, which tends to enter the atmosphere from forest fires and wood processing, for example. It is an important intermediate gas in the oxidation of methane and other hydrocarbons. While it is short-lived in the atmosphere, it reacts chemically to become a major source of carbon monoxide – another harmful pollutant.


Improved total ozone columns are now also available to enable long-term ozone monitoring from space.


Each of the Copernicus Sentinel missions carries state-of-the-art technology to deliver a stream of complementary imagery to help manage the environment effectively and respond to global change. The European Commission leads the Copernicus programme. ESA is responsible for the space component, which includes the family of Copernicus Sentinel satellite missions. Data are used worldwide and are free of charge.











Copernicus Sentinel-5P reveals new atmospheric nasties
Ozone hole over Antarctica [Credit: contains modified Copernicus data (2018),
processed by BIRA–IASB/DLR]

Josef Aschbacher, Director of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes, underlined, “The Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission is a prime example of how Europe works together for the benefit of its citizens.


“The European Commission as leader of the Copernicus programme, ESA as the coordinator, developer and operator of the space component are, together with the respective Member States, the prime drivers of Copernicus.


“In the case of Sentinel-5P, the Tropomi instrument provided by The Netherlands highlights the tight cooperation across Europe. Copernicus is indeed a success story for Europe in space.”


Source: European Space Agency [October 24, 2018]



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New research cracks illegal wildlife trade

UNSW Sydney scientists—in collaboration with Taronga Conservation Society Australia, UTS (University of Technology Sydney) and ANSTO (Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation) – have developed a revolutionary way to determine if a confiscated animal is being illegally trafficked by checking chemical markers present in keratin such as quills, feathers and hair.











New research cracks illegal wildlife trade
Echidna quills can now be analysed to determine if a specific animal is being illegally trafficked
[Credit: Shutterstock]

Valued up to US$23 billion annually, the illegal wildlife trade is the fourth-largest criminal market worldwide, and while legal trading of captive-bred or farmed animals is legal, many animals are illegally caught in the wild and passed off by traders as legal—knowing that the provenance cannot be verified.
Based on the science behind the UNSW and ANSTO Feather Map Project, this new technique developed between the institutions and published in Scientific Reports this month, identifies chemical markers in keratin that establishes with more than 96 percent accuracy whether the animal has been eating a natural, wild diet or a captive diet. Consequently, it’s now possible to identify whether an animal is captive-bred or wild, with future research looking at identifying where in the world an animal has come from.


Dr. Kate Brandis from UNSW Science is lead author on the paper and founded the Australian Feather Map. She said that the challenge now was how best to put this science in the hands of law enforcement.


“Analysis of quill, feather and scale samples from a range of animals needs to be done if we’re really going to make the most of this discovery,” said Dr. Brandis.


“The next step is development of portable handheld devices based upon this science that gives an immediate snapshot of whether an animals has been taken from the wild or raised in captivity.”


Ongoing research is considering how best to put this science in the hands of wildlife conservation field workers and customs agents.


Dr. Phoebe Meagher at Taronga Conservation Society Australia, one of the paper’s co-authors, said that the new research finally offered evidence for long-held suspicions.


“For wildlife conservationists, it’s been immensely frustrating knowing that animals are being caught in the wild and passed off as captive-bred with forged paperwork, but with no way to prove it,” said Dr. Meagher.


“Even with all the expertise at Taronga Zoo Sydney, only nine Echidnas have been born here—of which five survived infancy. Australian wildlife is notoriously difficult to breed, so we know that it’s unlikely any private organisation has perfected captive breeding techniques.


“At Taronga, we only thought of a multidisciplinary approach to crack the code in keratin once we began collaborating at the new Taronga Institute of Science and Learning laboratories,” she explained.


Author: Isabelle Dubach | Source: University of New South Wales [October 24, 2018]



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Ice-Age climate clues unearthed

How cold did Earth get during the last ice age? The truth may lie deep beneath lakes and could help predict how the planet will warm again. Sediments in lake beds hold chemical records of ages past, among them the concurrent state of the atmosphere above. Scientists led by a Rice University professor and her colleagues have devised a new computational model to interpret what they reveal.











Ice-Age climate clues unearthed
Sediments under Lake Tanganyika in Africa store chemicals that give paleoclimatologists information about
atmospheric conditions in ancient times. A Rice University professor has created a computational model
that helps translate what they find [Credit: Sylvia Dee/Rice University]

Sylvia Dee, an assistant professor of Earth, environmental and planetary sciences, and her colleagues have created a computational Lake Proxy System Model to translate data from deep beneath lake surface waters in a way that relates more directly to measurable climate model variables.


Their work is part of a public software platform created by Dee called PRYSM, and is described in the American Geophysical Union journal Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology. Scientists who study past climate analyze geochemical signals from archives like corals and ice cores, or encoded in the rings of old trees, but not everyone interprets the data in the same way. Dee’s quest has been to design simple models that help interpret observations of past climate more uniformly with climate models, and in the process make these invaluable archives more relevant to studies of future climate change.


“We have climate model simulations going back thousands of years,” said Dee, who joined Rice this year. “They help us understand the drivers of past temperature and precipitation changes, but we have to use climate data from the past to ground truth the models.


“For example, if a climate model shows strong agreement with the temperature reconstructions we have from lakes, we might conclude this model’s physics are robust and that it can do a better job simulating what will happen under future anthropogenic warming.”


Lake beds store evidence of climate history in layered sediment that can be analyzed and dated by extracting cores. Dee’s study used climate model data to explore and understand the lake archives scientists use to reconstruct atmospheric conditions for a given time.


“Some of the richest temperature and precipitation histories that we have on Earth come from lakes,” Dee said. “People have been measuring indicators in sediments for years, but it isn’t straightforward to compare that data to climate models.


“That’s where I come in,” she said. “I’m part of a group of scientists focused on translating between what climate models tell us about past changes in the climate system and what the data are telling us.”


Dee and her team simulated lake temperatures and climate archives in two lakes in Africa, Malawi and Tanganyika, stretching back to the last glacial maximum about 21,000 years ago, when global temperatures were estimated to be between 3 to 5 degrees Celsius colder than today.


“That’s a clear target for climatologists,” she said. “We have clues from the past that tell us how cold the African continent was. It’s the last time in Earth’s climate history that there was a dramatic shift in mean climate due to carbon dioxide forcing, and we use it as a test bed for climate model performance.”


In the test case, PRYSM’s simulation revealed that lake temperature proxies underestimated air temperature changes. “People generally assume that lake temperature reconstructions from sediments reflect air temperature changes,” Dee said. “We assume they change in tandem. Our model simulations show that the lake is actually damping the temperature signal.


“For example, if modeled air temperatures show a 4 degree Celsius warming since the last glacial maximum in Africa and the lake damps that signal to 3 degrees, we might wrongly conclude that air temperatures were a full degree warmer than they really were. We’re essentially able to quantify how much error one might expect in our interpretation of past temperature change.


Those errors are incurred by the lake alone,” she said.


“That’s important to know,” Dee said. “These lake reconstructions are some of the only data available to help us understand how temperatures will evolve on the African continent in a warming world. Our hope is that PRYSM helps pin down these climate changes with higher confidence.”


The open-source PRYSM is version 2.0, designed explicitly to model climate archives in lakes. Dee built the first version to model ice cores, corals, cave deposits and tree-ring cellulose.


She and her colleagues plan to add more known paleoclimate proxies over time. Because PRYSM is open source, anyone can access the code (through GitHub) and enhance it.


“I’m trying to get everyone in the modeling and paleoclimate communities to talk to each other,” Dee said. “PRYSM is an effort to get both communities to understand we cannot compare apples to oranges. We need to compare paleoclimate data and model simulations in a more formal way, and in doing so, we hope to dramatically improve our interpretations of past climate changes.


“The great thing about being able to get snapshots of temperatures in the past is that we can hopefully build a broader understanding of how the planet is going to react to continued anthropogenic climate change,” she said. “We have direct measurements of what’s happened in the last 150 years. But if we look further back in time, we have bigger changes in carbon dioxide, bigger changes in volcanism and larger ice sheets on Earth. Those are heavy hammers. They help us understand how the climate reacts to stronger forcing.”


Author: Mike Williams | Source: Rice University [October 24, 2018]



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Seagrass meadows: an underwater time capsule for archaeology

The most beautiful meadows are to be found along the world’s sandy coasts: Seagrass. It lines the seafloor like an enormous carpet. In the Nordics, shallow coastal waters are dominated by the seagrass “eelgrass” (Zostera marina).











Seagrass meadows: an underwater time capsule for archaeology
Amphora in a meadow of sea grass (Posidonia oceanica) in the Cyclades in Greece
[Credit: Julius Glampedakis]

Seagrass has some important functions, such as removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and protecting our coasts from sea level rise, and boosting biodiversity.


But seagrass can do even more than that. An international research project has now documented how seagrass also protects our cultural history. The results are published in the journal Ambio.


How seagrass protects archaeology


Numerous archaeological treasures lay just a stone’s throw from the coast: Stone Age settlements in Denmark, Phoenician, Roman and Greek shipwrecks with their cargo in the Mediterranean Sea, and more recent wrecks in Australia.


Underwater meadows stabilise the seafloor by dampening wave energy and forming a stabilising network of roots and stems.











Seagrass meadows: an underwater time capsule for archaeology
Roman amphorae from a late Roman shipwreck at ca. 32 m depth in South Prasonisi islet (Greece),
site surrounded by seagrass meadows [Credit: T. Theodoulou]

They also build up the seabed by capturing remains of seaweed and other particles in mat-like layers, burying deeper sediments and protecting anything buried within them as the seagrass continues to grow.


And they help to provide the right conditions needed to preserve archaeological treasures by locking out oxygen, which might otherwise promote degradation.


And so, the organic and chemical structure of seagrass meadows creates a type of underwater time capsule that can encase and protect shipwrecks or Stone Age settlements, for thousands of years.


Treasures lurking in Danish seagrass meadows


In Europe, many settlements were inundated by rising seas during the Holocene – the geological epoch that began after the end of the last ice age, 11,700 years ago, and was characterised by rising sea levels after the ice melted.


With time, these sites became covered in sediments and colonised by seagrass.


Under these meadows today, lay a number of exceptional finds. For example, near the Danish island of Nekselø, you can find a well preserved wooden fish traps from the early Stone Age. And off the Fyn coast, there are remnants of wood, pottery, and animal bones, along with intact burials from the late Stone Age.


All of these are preserved to this day, thanks to seagrass.


These archaeological sites provide a unique insight into the life and cultural conditions of the past. And there are many other similar sites in the Danish coastal areas and around the world.


Seagrass as a historic archive


The gradual build-up of the seabed over the millennia provides insights into human activities throughout history. We can also use seagrass as a type of archive that we can dig in to and study the past.











Seagrass meadows: an underwater time capsule for archaeology
Seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) in Serifos, Greece with its protective underground structures
[Credit: Thanos Dailianis]

Dates and chemical analyses of the thick deposits underneath seagrass in the Mediterranean (Posidonia oceanica, see the second photo in the gallery at the top of this article), give us a glimpse of how soil was used in agriculture and metal extraction.


Analyses of more recent deposits reveal a drop in lead content, associated with the transition to unleaded fuel.


We should protect seagrass while we still can


But seagrass is not invincible. It is sensitive to poor water quality, physical damage, and heat waves.


“In our study,” says Dorte Krause-Jensen from Aarhus University, Denmark, “we document how the loss of seagrass has exposed archaeological sites, including shipwrecks, axe handles, animal bones, and more, representing a loss of cultural history.”











Seagrass meadows: an underwater time capsule for archaeology
Diver investigates remains of a wattle mat from the younger Stone Age preserved
under seagrass at Nekselø, Denmark [Credit: National Museum of Denmark]

“Seagrass retains carbon in the seabed, thus counteracting global warming, it protects the coasts by damping the wave energy, and promotes biodiversity in our coastal areas. And so, marine archaeologists and marine biologists are in a race against time to protect vulnerable meadows.”


“In the last few years, the ability of marine forests like seagrass meadows to dampen and adapt to climate change has led to the development of Blue Carbon strategies – the offsetting of carbon emissions by protection and expansion of marine forests.”


“I hope that their other role as a protector of archaeology and cultural heritage will further boost efforts to preserve and protect these underwater meadows. After all, this underwater resource is worth protecting.”


Author: Dorte Krause-Jensen | Source: ScienceNordic [October 24, 2018]


This article was originally published on ScienceNordic. Read the original here.



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Prehistoric Relics at Kirkcudbright Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and...









Prehistoric Relics at Kirkcudbright Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, 22.10.18.


Featured here are prehistoric toggles, axeheads, cup and ring art fragments, mace heads and beads.


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Model Crannog, Kirkcudbright Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway,...






Model Crannog, Kirkcudbright Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, 22.10.18.


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Prehistoric Pottery and Beakers, Kirkcudbright Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright, Dumfries...









Prehistoric Pottery and Beakers, Kirkcudbright Stewartry Museum, Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, 22.10.18.


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