суббота, 4 мая 2019 г.

SpaceX Dragon Heads to Space Station After Successful Launch

SpaceX — Dragon CRS-17 Mission patch.

May 4, 2019

Image above: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: NASA.

More than 5,500 pounds of cargo is on its way to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. The company’s 17th commercial cargo mission to resupply the space station began at 2:48 a.m. EDT on May 4, 2019, with liftoff aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Kenny Todd, International Space Station Operations and Integration manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, explained during the postlaunch press conference that launch success far overshadowed fatigue with the early morning launch.

Falcon 9 launches CRS-17 Dragon & Falcon 9 first stage landing

“If you have to be up, I can’t think of a better reason than to see one of these launches — it was absolutely spectacular,” Todd said. “We’re really excited to get Dragon on board in a couple of days.”

After a successful climb into space, the Dragon spacecraft now is in orbit with its solar arrays deployed and drawing power.

Image above: Dragon’s solar arrays deploy en route to the International Space Station on Saturday, May 4, 2019. Photo credit: NASA.

“We had a beautiful launch today; it was really great,” said Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX’s vice president, Build and Flight Reliability. “Dragon is on the way, the orbiter is great — it’s right on the money.”

The Dragon spacecraft will deliver science, supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory. Science experiments include NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 (OCO-3) and Space Test Program-Houston 6 (STP-H6).

OCO-3 will be robotically installed on the exterior of the space station’s Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility Unit, where it will measure and map carbon dioxide from space to increase our understanding of the relationship between carbon and climate.

Image above: From left to right, Joshua Santora, NASA Communications; Kenny Todd, manager, International Space Station Operations and Integration, NASA’s Johnson Space Center; and Hans Koenigsmann, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX, participate in a postlaunch press conference at Kennedy Space Center following the SpaceX CRS-17 launch on May 4, 2019. The Dragon spacecraft will arrive at the International Space Station on Monday, May 6. Photo credit: NASA.

STP-H6 is an X-ray communication investigation that will be used to perform a space-based demonstration of a new technology for generating beams of modulated X-rays. This technology may be useful for providing efficient communication to deep space probes, or communicating with hypersonic vehicles where plasma sheaths prevent traditional radio communications.

Live coverage of the rendezvous and capture will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 5:30 a.m. on Monday, May 6. Capture is scheduled for 7 a.m.; installation coverage is set to begin at 9 a.m. Astronauts aboard the station will capture the Dragon using the space station’s robotic arm and then install it on the station’s Harmony module.

The Dragon spacecraft will spend about four weeks attached to the space station, returning to Earth with more than 4,200 pounds of research, hardware and crew supplies.

Related articles:

Drone Ship Power Issue Forces Scrub of CRS-17 Launch

Hermes to Bring Asteroid Research to the ISS

Dragon’s 17th Flight Carries Science to the Space Station

Related links:

Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 (OCO-3): https://ocov3.jpl.nasa.gov/

Space Test Program-Houston 6 (STP-H6): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7947

NASA Television and the agency’s website: http://www.nasa.gov/live

For updates during the mission, visit https://www.nasa.gov/commercialresupply.

Images (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: NASA/James Cawley/SpaceX/NASA TV/SciNews.

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LS2 Report: before the return of the cold

CERN — European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

May 4, 2019

Since the start of January, the liquid helium flowing through the veins of the LHC’s cooling system has gradually been removed from the accelerator and, one by one, the eight sectors of the LHC have been brought back to room temperature. “It takes about four weeks to bring a single sector from its nominal temperature of 1.9 K (-271°C) back to room temperature,” explains Krzysztof Brodzinski, an engineer working on the operation of the LHC’s cryogenic system. At least 135 tonnes of helium are required to supply the whole of the LHC’s cryogenic system. Once it has been brought up to the surface, some of this precious cooling agent is stored at CERN and the remainder (about 80 tonnes) is entrusted to the suppliers for the duration of LS2.

Image above: One of the LHC cold boxes, located in an underground cavern at point 4 of the ring. Liquid helium is stabilised and stored in a tank at a temperature of approximately 4.5 K (Image: CERN).

The 70 helium compressors are the first links in the LHC’s cryogenic chain. They compress the helium, which is then cooled through expansion in the turbines of the cold boxes. During LS2, all the compressors will be sent away for a full service, mostly to two specialist centres, in Germany and Sweden. “Each of the 70 compressors must be taken apart and then reassembled, in order to check the condition of all parts and make replacements if necessary,” explains Gérard Ferlin, leader of the Operations section in the Cryogenics group. “The 70 electric motors that power the compressors will be sent to Italy to be serviced.”

As for the cold compressors used to lower the temperature of the helium from 4.5 K to 1.9 K, they’re off to Japan. Six of them (of the 28 in the accelerator) showed signs of weakness after the last four years of LHC running and need to be worked on by specialists.

Graphic above: Schedule for warming up all the LHC sectors for LS2 (Image: CERN).

Of course, here at CERN too, the Cryogenics group has a lot on its plate: over 4000 preventive and corrective maintenance operations are planned between now and mid-2020, when cooling of the first sectors of the LHC will start all over again! “Many maintenance operations have been planned for a long time, particularly on the LHC’s eight cold boxes (one per sector). The sensors, thermometers, valves, turbines, filters, etc. will be checked and validated or replaced,” explains Gérard Ferlin. “We will also use the opportunity of LS2 to do some advance upgrades of one of the cold boxes with a view to increasing its power ready for the HL-LHC.”

Throughout LS2, the instrumentation team in the Cryogenics group will also support the DISMAC (Diode Insulation and Superconducting Magnets Consolidation – an article on this subject is coming soon) project team, particularly for the validation of the instrumentation of the cryogenic system. This is especially important given that certain magnets are being replaced and new diagnostic instrumentation is being installed on a pre-determined selection of beam screens.


CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 23 Member States.

For more information about European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Visit: https://home.cern/

Image (mentioned), Graphic (mentioned), Text, Credits: CERN/Anaïs Schaeffer.

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Long March-4B launches two Tianhui II-01 satellites

CASC — China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation logo.

May 4, 2019

Image above: A Long March 4B rocket lifts off Tuesday from the Taiyuan space center in northeastern China. Image Credit: Xinhua.

A Long March-4B launch vehicle launched two Tianhui II-01 satellites from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, Shanxi Province, northern China, on 29 April 2019, at 22:52 UTC (30 April, 06:52 local time).

Long March-4B launches two Tianhui II-01 satellites

According to official sources, the Tianhui II-01 satellites will be used for scientific experiments, land resource surveys, geographic surveys, and mapping.

 Tianhui mapping satellite. Image Credit: Günter Space Page

The three-stage Long March 4B rocket, standing nearly 15 stories tall, turned south from Taiyuan, dropping its spent rocket bodies on Chinese territory. The Long March 4B’s upper stage delivered the two Tianhui mapping satellites to an orbit more than 310 miles (500 kilometers) high, with an inclination of 97.5 degrees to the equator, according to U.S. military tracking data.

For more information about China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC): http://english.spacechina.com/n16421/index.html

Images (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: CASC/China Central Television (CCTV)/SciNews.

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Running from Hippo Like a manager in a tiny office at the…

Running from Hippo

Like a manager in a tiny office at the heart of a huge factory, the pituitary gland nestled at the base of the brain oversees the whole body’s hormonal fluctuations. The little organ produces hormones and regulates the body’s other glands, and any malfunction can result in a wide range of diseases, including tumours. Recent research identified a run of signals known at the ‘Hippo pathway’ playing an important – but unclear – role. A new study has shown it is essential for pituitary gland development in mouse embryos, and regulates the pool of starter cells that produce specialised hormone production cells. If the Hippo pathway is allowed to run out of control, this group of cells gets out of hand and proteins linked to aggressive tumours (red in the pituitary gland section pictured) start to accumulate. Understanding the pituitary’s processes is the first step in developing new treatments for diseases that originate therein.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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2019 May 4 Saturn and the Da Vinci Glow Image Credit &…

2019 May 4

Saturn and the Da Vinci Glow
Image Credit & Copyright: Tunc Tezel (TWAN)

Explanation: On February 2nd early morning risers saw Saturn near an old Moon low on the eastern horizon. On that date bright planet, sunlit crescent, and faint lunar night side were captured in this predawn skyscape from Bursa, Turkey. Of course the Moon’s ashen glow is earthshine, earthlight reflected from the Moon’s night side. A description of earthshine, in terms of sunlight reflected by Earth’s oceans illuminating the Moon’s dark surface, was written over 500 years ago by Leonardo da Vinci. On May 2nd an old Moon also rose in the predawn twilight. On that date its ashen glow shared the sky with Venus, the brilliant morning star. May 2nd also marked the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death in 1519.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190504.html

Sunshine at Crawick Multiverse, Sanquhar, Scotland, 5.5.19.

Sunshine at Crawick Multiverse, Sanquhar, Scotland, 5.5.19.

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The International Space Station: Apex of International Collaboration

It’s National Space Day! To mark the occasion, we’re reflecting on the International Space Station, which has been continuously occupied since Nov. 2, 2000. As our orbiting laboratory that enables us to conduct important science off our home planet, the ISS allows researchers from all over the world to put their talents to work on innovative experiments in the microgravity environment. An international partnership of space agencies provides and operates the elements of the ISS. The principals are the space agencies of the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada. Although each space station partner has distinct agency goals for station research, each partner shares a unified goal to extend the resulting knowledge for the betterment of humanity! Here are 5 fun facts about our about our out-of-this world floating laboratory:

1. The ISS is a unique scientific platform that has enabled
more than 3,600 researchers in 106 countries and areas to conduct more than 2,500 experiments in microgravity through February 2018
—and the research continues. 

2. Astronauts and cosmonauts have conducted more than 205 spacewalks (and counting!) for space station construction, maintenance and repair since December 1998.


3. The station’s orbital path takes it over 90 percent of the Earth’s population, with astronauts taking millions of images of the planet below

4. Six spaceships can be connected to the space station at once.


5. An international crew of at most six people live and work while traveling at a speed of five miles per second, orbiting Earth about every 90 minutes.

Currently, six humans are living and working on the International Space Station, which orbits 250 miles above our planet at 17,500mph. 

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.

Inferring the linguistic affinity of long dead and non-literate peoples: a...

Ancient DNA has treated us to many surprises in recent years. But it has also uncannily corroborated some well established hypotheses that were formulated decades ago from historical linguistics and archeological data. One such hypothesis is that the population associated with the Late Neolithic Corded Ware culture (CWC), and its myriad offshoots, spoke early Indo-European languages and spread them across much of Europe and into the Indian subcontinent.
Below is a series of figures in which I explain why the CWC and its likely close relative, the Sintashta culture, are widely regarded as early Indo-European-speaking cultures, even though their languages aren’t attested. To view the images at their maximum size, right click on the thumbs and choose «open link in a new tab».

It’s a damn shame that we still don’t know where the modern domesticated horse lineage ultimately came from. I’m pretty sure that it came from the Pontic-Caspian steppe, but I was hoping this would be confimred in the latest paper on horse genomics published today at Cell: Tracking Five Millennia of Horse Management with Extensive Ancient Genome Time Series. Nope, the topic wasn’t even covered, and no wonder, because the sampling strategy in the paper didn’t allow it to be. What we desperately need are samples associated with such archeological cultures as Khvalynsk, Repin, Sredny Stog and Yamnaya. Maybe next time, eh?
See also…
The mystery of the Sintashta people
Of horses and men
Late PIE ground zero now obvious; location of PIE homeland still uncertain, but…


Bronze Age Personal Ornamentation, The British Museum, London, 20.4.19.

Bronze Age Personal Ornamentation, The British Museum, London, 20.4.19.

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Hubble Astronomers Assemble Wide View of the Evolving Universe

Image contains 265,000 galaxies that stretch billions of years back in time. 

Credits: NASA, ESA, and G. Illingworth (University of California, Santa Cruz; UCO/Lick Observatory)

Astronomers have put together the largest and most comprehensive «history book» of galaxies into one single image, using 16 years’ worth of observations from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

The deep-sky mosaic, created from nearly 7,500 individual exposures, provides a wide portrait of the distant universe, containing 265,000 galaxies that stretch back through 13.3 billion years of time to just 500 million years after the big bang. The faintest and farthest galaxies are just one ten-billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see. The universe’s evolutionary history is also chronicled in this one sweeping view. The portrait shows how galaxies change over time, building themselves up to become the giant galaxies seen in the nearby universe. 

This ambitious endeavor, called the Hubble Legacy Field, also combines observations taken by several Hubble deep-field surveys, including the eXtreme Deep Field (XDF), the deepest view of the universe. The wavelength range stretches from ultraviolet to near-infrared light, capturing the key features of galaxy assembly over time. 

«Now that we have gone wider than in previous surveys, we are harvesting many more distant galaxies in the largest such dataset ever produced by Hubble,» said Garth Illingworth of the University of California, Santa Cruz, leader of the team that assembled the image. «This one image contains the full history of the growth of galaxies in the universe, from their time as ‘infants’ to when they grew into fully-fledged ‘adults.’ 

No image will surpass this one until future space telescopes are launched. «We’ve put together this mosaic as a tool to be used by us and by other astronomers,» Illingworth added. «The expectation is that this survey will lead to an even more coherent, in-depth, and greater understanding of the universe’s evolution in the coming years.»

The image yields a huge catalog of distant galaxies. «Such exquisite high-resolution measurements of the numerous galaxies in this catalog enable a wide swath of extragalactic study,» said catalog lead researcher Katherine Whitaker of the University of Connecticut, in Storrs. «Often, these kinds of surveys have yielded unanticipated discoveries which have had the greatest impact on our understanding of galaxy evolution.»

Galaxies are the «markers of space,» as astronomer Edwin Hubble once described them a century ago. Galaxies allow astronomers to trace the expansion of the universe, offer clues to the underlying physics of the cosmos, show when the chemical elements originated, and enable the conditions that eventually led to the appearance of our solar system and life.

This wider view contains about 30 times as many galaxies as in the previous deep fields. The new portrait, a mosaic of multiple snapshots, covers almost the width of the full Moon. The XDF, which penetrated deeper into space than this wider view, lies in this region, but it covers less than one-tenth of the full Moon’s diameter. The Legacy Field also uncovers a zoo of unusual objects. Many of them are the remnants of galactic «train wrecks,» a time in the early universe when small, young galaxies collided and merged with other galaxies. 

Assembling all of the observations was an immense task. The image comprises the collective work of 31 Hubble programs by different teams of astronomers. Hubble has spent more time on this tiny area than on any other region of the sky, totaling more than 250 days, representing nearly three-quarters of a year.

«Our goal was to assemble all 16 years of exposures into a legacy image,» explained Dan Magee, of the University of California, Santa Cruz, the team’s data processing lead. «Previously, most of these exposures had not been put together in a consistent way that can be used by any researcher. 

Astronomers can select the data in the Legacy Field they want and work with it immediately, as opposed to having to perform a huge amount of data reduction before conducting scientific analysis.»

The image, along with the individual exposures that make up the new view, is available to the worldwide astronomical community through the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST). MAST, an online database of astronomical data from Hubble and other NASA missions, is located at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Hubble Space Telescope has come a long way in taking ever deeper «core samples» of the distant universe. After Hubble’s launch in 1990, astronomers debated if it was worth spending a chunk of the telescope’s time to go on a «fishing expedition» to take a very long exposure of a small, seemingly blank piece of sky. The resulting Hubble Deep Field image in 1995 captured several thousand unseen galaxies in one pointing. The bold effort was a landmark demonstration and a defining proof-of-concept that set the stage for future deep field images. In 2002, Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys went even deeper to uncover 10,000 galaxies in a single snapshot. Astronomers used exposures taken by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), installed in 2009, to assemble the eXtreme Deep Field snapshot in 2012. Unlike previous Hubble cameras, the telescope’s WFC3 covers a broader wavelength range, from ultraviolet to near-infrared.

This new image mosaic is the first in a series of Hubble Legacy Field images. The team is working on a second set of images, totaling more than 5,200 Hubble exposures, in another area of the sky. In the future, astronomers hope to broaden the multiwavelength range in the legacy images to include longer-wavelength infrared data and high-energy X-ray observations from two other NASA Great Observatories, the Spitzer Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory. 

The vast number of galaxies in the Legacy Field image are also prime targets for future telescopes. «This will really set the stage for NASA’s planned Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST),» Illingworth said. «The Legacy Field is a pathfinder for WFIRST, which will capture an image that is 100 times larger than a typical Hubble photo. In just three weeks’ worth of observations by WFIRST, astronomers will be able to assemble a field that is much deeper and more than twice as large as the Hubble Legacy Field.» 

In addition, NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope will allow astronomers to push much deeper into the legacy field to reveal how the infant galaxies actually grew. Webb’s infrared coverage will go beyond the limits of Hubble and Spitzer to help astronomers identify the first galaxies in the universe. 

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington, D.C.

The video begins with a view of the thousands of galaxies in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field and slowly zooms out to reveal the larger Hubble Legacy Field, containing 265,000 galaxies. Credits: NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth (University of California, Santa Cruz), and G. Bacon (STScI). Released video

Related Links


Donna Weaver / Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
410-338-4493 / 410-338-4514
dweaver@stsci.edu / villard@stsci.edu

Garth Illingworth
University of California, Santa Cruz; UCO/Lick Observatory, Santa Cruz, California

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Drone Ship Power Issue Forces Scrub of CRS-17 Launch

SpaceX — Dragon CRS-17 Mission patch.

May 3, 2019

This morning’s launch attempt has scrubbed due to a drone ship power issue. The next launch opportunity will be at 2:48 a.m. EDT Saturday, May 4.

The launch and postlaunch news conference will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website: https://www.nasa.gov/live

Image above: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket stands ready at Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in the early morning May 3, 2019. The launch vehicle will boost a Dragon cargo module to the International Space Station on the company’s 17th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-17) mission for NASA. Liftoff is scheduled for 3:11 a.m. EDT. Photo credit: NASA.

Launch coverage for the SpaceX CRS-17 mission to the International Space Station will begin at 2:30 a.m. EDT on NASA Television and the agency’s website. A launch of the SpaceX cargo Dragon spacecraft on Saturday will result in its arrival at the space station on Monday, May 6.

Read more about the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft:

Falcon 9 rocket: http://www.spacex.com/falcon9

Dragon spacecraft: http://www.spacex.com/dragon

Related links:

Expedition 59: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition59/index.html

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/James Cawley.

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Building Better Life Support Systems for Future Space Travel

ISS — International Space Station logo.

May 3, 2019

Astronauts on future long-duration spaceflight missions to the Moon and Mars could rely on microalgae to supply essentials including food, water and oxygen. A new investigation aboard the International Space Station tests using the microalgae Chlorella vulgaris as a biological component of a hybrid life support system (LSS).

 Orion spacecraft in space above the Moon. Image Credits: NASA/ESA

As humans travel farther from Earth and for longer periods of time, bringing along sufficient supplies of food, water and oxygen becomes a challenge. Packing food that is nutritious and perhaps even tasty may prove harder still.

Current life support systems, such as the Life Support Rack (LSR), use physicochemical processes and chemical reactions to generate oxygen and water and remove carbon dioxide from the space station.

Image above: Chlorella vulgaris cells under the microscope. These microalgae have a variety of uses on Earth and may be part of life support systems on future space voyages. Image Credits: Institute of Space Systems – University of Stuttgart, Germany.

The Photobioreactor (PBR) investigation demonstrates creating a hybrid LSS by adding the biological processes of a microalgae, which has a photosynthetic efficiency up to ten times greater than more complex plants. These tiny plants could take concentrated carbon dioxide removed from the cabin atmosphere and use photosynthesis to produce oxygen and possibly even food for astronauts, according to Norbert Henn, a co-investigator and consultant at the Institute of Space Systems at University of Stuttgart.

The Institute of Space Systems began research on microalgae for space applications back in 2008 and started work on Photobioreactor in 2014, together with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Airbus.

“The use of biological systems in general gains importance for missions as the duration and the distance from Earth increase. To further reduce the dependency on resupply from Earth, as many resources as possible should be recycled on board,” said co-investigator Gisela Detrell.

Image above: The Photobioreactor chamber is used to cultivate microalgae aboard the International Space Station in a demonstration of creating hybrid life support systems that use both biological and physicochemical processes. Image Credits: Institute of Space Systems – University of Stuttgart, Germany.

Astronauts activate the system hardware aboard the space station and let the microalgae grow for 180 days. That span of time allows researchers to evaluate the stability and long-term performance of the Photobioreactor in space, as well as the growth behavior of the microalgae and its ability to recycle carbon dioxide and release oxygen, according to co-investigator Jochen Keppler. Investigators plan to analyze samples back on Earth to determine the effects of microgravity and space radiation on the microalgae cells.

“This is the first data from a flight-proven, long-term operation of a biological LSS component,” said Keppler. The algae’s resilience to space conditions has been widely demonstrated in small-scale cell culture, but this will be the first investigation to cultivate it in a PBR in space.

Chlorella, one of the most studied and widely characterized algae worldwide, is used in biofuels, animal feed, aquaculture, human nutrition, wastewater treatment and bio-fertilizer in agriculture.

Image above: The Photobioreactor science team from the Institute of Space Research. Top, left to right: Prof. Reinhold Ewald, Johannes Martin, Prof. Stefanos Fasoulas. Bottom, left to right: Jochen Keppler, Dr. Gisela Detrell, Harald Helisch. Image Credits: Institute of Space Systems – University of Stuttgart, Germany.

“Chlorella biomass is a common food supplement and can contribute to a balanced diet thanks to its high content of protein, unsaturated fatty acids, and various vitamins, including B12,” said co-investigator and biotechnologist Harald Helisch at the Institute of Space Systems. As for the taste, he adds, “if you like sushi, you will love it.”

The long-term goal is to facilitate longer space missions by reducing total system mass and resupply dependency, said co-investigator Johannes Martin. “To achieve this, future areas of focus include downstream processing of the algae into edible food and scaling up the system to supply one astronaut with oxygen. We’ll also be working on interconnections with other subsystems of the LSS, such as the waste water treatment system, and transfer and adaption of the technology to a gravity-based system such as a lunar base.”         

Astronauts still may have to pack their own wasabi.

Related links:

Photobioreactor (PBR): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7426

Institute of Space Systems (University of Stuttgart): https://www.irs.uni-stuttgart.de/index_en.html

German Aerospace Center (DLR): https://www.irs.uni-stuttgart.de/index_en.html

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Michael Johnson/JSC/International Space Station Program Science Office/Melissa Gaskill.

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Meteor Activity Outlook for May 4-10, 2019

David Rankin captured this bright fireball from Big Water, Utah USA at 09:11 Universal Time on April 15, 2019 © David Rankin

During this period the moon reaches its new phase on Saturday May 4th. At this time the moon is invisible at night and poses no problems to meteor observers. As the week progresses the slender crescent moon will enter the evening sky but will set long before the more active morning hours arrive. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near 3 for those viewing from the northern hemisphere and 4 for those located south of the equator. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near 8 as seen from mid-northern latitudes (45N) and 13 as seen from tropical southern locations (25S). The actual rates will also depend on factors such as personal light and motion perception, local weather conditions, alertness and experience in watching meteor activity. Note that the hourly rates listed below are estimates as viewed from dark sky sites away from urban light sources. Observers viewing from urban areas will see less activity as only the brightest meteors will be visible from such locations.

The radiant (the area of the sky where meteors appear to shoot from) positions and rates listed below are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning May 04/05. These positions do not change greatly day to day so the listed coordinates may be used during this entire period. Most star atlases (available at science stores and planetariums) will provide maps with grid lines of the celestial coordinates so that you may find out exactly where these positions are located in the sky. A planisphere or computer planetarium program is also useful in showing the sky at any time of night on any date of the year. Activity from each radiant is best seen when it is positioned highest in the sky, either due north or south along the meridian, depending on your latitude. It must be remembered that meteor activity is rarely seen at the radiant position. Rather they shoot outwards from the radiant so it is best to center your field of view so that the radiant lies at the edge and not the center. Viewing there will allow you to easily trace the path of each meteor back to the radiant (if it is a shower member) or in another direction if it is a sporadic. Meteor activity is not seen from radiants that are located below the horizon. The positions below are listed in a west to east manner in order of right ascension (celestial longitude). The positions listed first are located further west therefore are accessible earlier in the night while those listed further down the list rise later in the night.

Radiant Positions at 9:00pm LDST

Radiant Positions at 9:00pm Local Daylight Saving Time

Radiant Positions at 01:00 LDST

Radiant Positions at 1:00am Local Daylight Saving Time

Radiant Positions at 05:00 LDST

Radiant Positions at 5:00am Local Daylight Saving Time

These sources of meteoric activity are expected to be active this week.


The center of the large Anthelion (ANT) radiant is currently located at 15:48 (237) -20. This position lies on the Libra/Scorpius border, 3 degrees west of the 3rd magnitude star known as Acrab (beta Scorpii). Due to the large size of this radiant, Anthelion activity may also appear from eastern Libra, southern Ophiuchus as well as northwestern Scorpius. This radiant is best placed near 0200 local Daylight Saving Time (LDST), when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. Rates at this time should be near 2 per hour as seen from mid-northern latitudes (45 N) and 3 per hour as seen from the southern tropics (S 25) . With an entry velocity of 30 km/sec., the average Anthelion meteor would be of slow velocity.

The eta Lyrids (ELY) are active from May 6-13 with maximum activity occurring on the 11th. The radiant is currently located at 19:04 (286) +43. This area of the sky is located in northeastern Lyra, 4 degrees northwest of the 4th magnitude star known as eta Lyrae. This radiant is best placed during the last hour before dawn when it lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. Current rates are expected to be less than 1 no matter your location. These meteors are not well seen from locations south of the equator as the radiant does not rise very high into the northern sky. With an entry velocity of 44 km/sec., the average meteor from this source would be of medium velocity.

The eta Aquariids (ETA) are particles from Halley’s Comet, produced in Earth-crossing orbits many centuries ago. We pass closest to these orbits from May 3 through the 11th. During this period the eta Aquariids are at their best, capable of producing zenith hourly rates (ZHRs) of 60. The actual visible rates are most often less than half this figure due to the low altitude of the radiant at dawn. Observed hourly rates at maximum normally vary from zero at 60 degrees north latitude to 30 near the equator and back down to near zero again in Antarctica, where the radiant elevation is again very low. Hourly rates this weekend will most likely be 5-10 per hour as seen from mid-northern latitudes. Southern tropical observers may see 10-20 shower members per hour just before dawn. The radiant is currently located at 22:25 (336) -02. This area of the sky is located in northern Aquarius,  1 degree east of the 4th magnitude star known as Sadachbia (gamma Aquarii). The best time to view this activity is during the hour before the start of morning twilight, when the radiant lies highest in a dark sky. With the radiant low in the east it would be best to face halfway up in the sky in that same direction. If the radiant has sufficient altitude eta Aquariid meteors can also be seen shooting down toward the eastern horizon. With an entry velocity of 66 kilometers per second, a majority of these meteors will appear to move swiftly with a high percentage of the bright meteors leaving persistent trains. Surprisingly, this shower produces very few fireballs. For more details on this display visit: https://www.imo.net/viewing-the-eta-aquariid-meteor-shower-in-2019/

As seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45N) one would expect to see approximately 5 sporadic meteors per hour during the last hour before dawn as seen from rural observing sites. Evening rates would be near 2 per hour. As seen from the tropical southern latitudes (25S), morning rates would be near 9 per hour as seen from rural observing sites and 3 per hour during the evening hours. Locations between these two extremes would see activity between the listed figures.

The list below offers the information from above in tabular form. Rates and positions are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning except where noted in the shower descriptions.


RA (RA in Deg.) DEC Km/Sec Local Daylight Saving Time North-South
Anthelions (ANT) 15:48 (237) -20 30 02:00 2 – 3 II
eta Lyrids (ELY) May 11 19:04 (286) +43 44 05:00 <1 – <1 II
eta Aquariids (ETA) May 07 22:25 (336) -02 66 09:00 5 – 15 I

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