суббота, 11 мая 2019 г.

Prehistoric and ‘La Tene’ influenced shield designs, The British Museum,...

Prehistoric and ‘La Tene’ influenced shield designs, The British Museum, London. 20.4.19.

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nasaorion:SHAKE IT UP! The Orion Exploration Mission-1 crew…


SHAKE IT UP! The Orion Exploration Mission-1 crew module was blasted with 141 decibels of acoustic energy to make sure parts don’t come loose when exposed to extreme vibrations experienced at launch. Don’t try this at home.  

2019 May 11 Milky Way, Launch, and Landing Image Credit &…

2019 May 11

Milky Way, Launch, and Landing
Image Credit & Copyright: Devin Boggs

Explanation: The Milky Way doesn’t look quite this colorful and bright to the eye, but a rocket launch does. So a separate deep exposure with a sensitive digital camera was used in this composite skyscape to bring out our galaxy’s central crowded starfields and cosmic dust clouds. In the scene from Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, a nine minute long exposure begun about 20 minutes after the Miky Way image recorded a rocket launch and landing. The Falcon 9 rocket, named for the Millennium Falcon of Star Wars fame, appropriately launched a Dragon resupply ship to the International Space Station in the early morning hours of May the 4th. The plume and flare at the peak of the launch arc mark the rocket’s first stage boost back burn. Two shorter diagonal streaks are the rocket engines bringing the Falcon 9 stage back to an offshore landing on autonomous drone ship Of course I Still Love You.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190511.html

Uralic-specific genome-wide ancestry did make a signifcant impact in the East Baltic

I’ve started analyzing the ancient genotype data from the recent Saag et al. paper on the expansion of Uralic languages and associated spread of Siberian ancestry into the East Baltic region. The paper is freely available here and the data here.
I really like the paper, but I don’t agree with the authors’ claim that the appearance of Y-chromosome haplogroup N in what is now Estonia and surrounds during the Iron Age is «not matched by a clear shift in autosomal profiles». In my opinion it certainly is, and, as one would expect, it’s a shift towards a genetic profile associated with western Uralic speakers.
I’d say that the easiest way to find this signal is with a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) focusing on fine scale genetic substructures within Northern Europe, like the one below. The relevant datasheet is available here.

Note that the East Baltic Iron Age samples, all from burial sites in what is now Estonia, appear to be peeling away from their Bronze Age predecessors and overlapping strongly with present-day Estonians, who are Uralic speakers. Indeed, the PCA suggests to me that the formation of the greater part of the present-day Estonian gene pool took place in the East Baltic during the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. In other words, when Uralic languages are generally accepted to have arrived in the region from near the Ural Mountains in the east.
I was also able to closely replicate these outcomes with my Global25 data using the method described here. However, in this effort, present-day Estonians are, overall, shifted slightly west relative to the Estonian Iron Age samples (EST_IA), which might be due to the presence of low level Germanic ancestry in Estonia dating to the medieval period. The relevant datasheet is available here.

Interestingly, the Estonian Bronze Age samples (EST_BA) come from stone-cist graves which are widely hypothesized to have been introduced to the East Baltic from the Nordic Bronze Age civilization. I even recall reading a paper on the topic which claimed that the remains buried in such stone-cist graves were those of Proto-Germanic-speaking Scandinavian migrants. Well, I haven’t had a chance to study these samples in any great detail yet, but considering that in both of the PCA above they’re overlapping strongly with Latvian Bronze Age samples (LVA_BA) and sitting far away from the nearest Scandinavians, I’d say they’re probably of local stock from way back.
See also…
It was always going to be this way
On the association between Uralic expansions and Y-haplogroup N
Inferring the linguistic affinity of long dead and non-literate peoples: a multidisciplinary approach


Prehistoric decorated spoons from Cumbria (200BCE to 50CE), British Museum, London

Prehistoric decorated spoons from Cumbria (200BCE to 50CE), British Museum, London

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Pictish Carving of ‘The Burghead Bull’, The British Museum, London.

Pictish Carving of ‘The Burghead Bull’, The British Museum, London.

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Vivianite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Locality: Rosia…

Vivianite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral

Locality: Rosia Poieni Mine, Alba County, Romania

Size: 5.3 × 2.7 × 1.4 cm

Photo Copyright © Viamineralia /e-rocks. com

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Rutile & Hematite | #Geology #GeologyPage…

Rutile & Hematite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral

Locality: Novo Horizonte, Bahia, Brazil

Size: 3.2 × 3.1 × 1 cm

Photo Copyright © Viamineralia /e-rocks. com

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Quartz | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Locality: Sete Lagoas,…

Quartz | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral

Locality: Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Size: 3.7 × 2.1 × 1.7 cm

Photo Copyright © Viamineralia /e-rocks. com

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Ancient rock art discovered in the plains of India

In the evening breeze on a stony hilltop a day’s drive south of Mumbai, Sudhir Risbud tramped from one rock carving to another, pointing out the hull of a boat, birds, a shark, human figures and two life-size tigers.

Ancient rock art discovered in the plains of India
Amateur archaeologist Sudhir Risbud examines a petroglyph of an elephant
[Credit: Atul Loke for The New York Times]

«They’re male,» he said with a smile, noting that the carver had taken pains to make the genitalia too obvious to ignore. He was doing a brief tour of about two dozen figures, a sampling of 100 or so all etched into a hard, pitted rock called laterite that is common on the coastal plain that borders the Arabian Sea.

The carvings are only a sample of 1200 figures that Risbud and Dhananjay Marathe, engineers and dedicated naturalists, have uncovered since they set out on a quest in 2012. The two men are part of a long tradition of amateur archaeologists, according to Tejas Garge, the head of the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums for the state of Maharashtra, and the petroglyphs they have uncovered amount to a trove of international significance.

Ancient rock art discovered in the plains of India
A petroglyph in Ratnagiri, on the western coast of India north of Goa
[Credit: Atul Loke for The New York Times]

They are the most recent collection of rock art to join other images left by Stone Age peoples around the globe. Like paintings and carvings in Australia, the US south-west, Africa and elsewhere, the carvings are cryptic messages left by people whose lives are lost in the mists of deep time. Garge estimates the oldest of the ground carvings are 10,000 to 40,000 years old, but dating such images is imprecise, particularly since rigorous study of the whole collection is just beginning.
Some of the images appear to relate to a life of hunting and gathering — deer, fish, turtles. Others depict animals of great power, like tigers and elephants. And there are humans, probably fertility figures, images of a mother goddess like those found elsewhere in India and around the world. The fertility images are usually accompanied by abstract designs, and some of the carvings are all abstract. Even now, they can stir the emotions and the imagination the way they must have ages ago.

Ancient rock art discovered in the plains of India
One site in the village of Devache Gothane in Ratnagiri causes compasses to read incorrectly.
The cause is as yet unknown [Credit: Atul Loke for The New York Times]

Some are worn, others still vivid, especially where they have been sprinkled with sand to fill the deep grooves. Garge said the state had earmarked about $US3 million ($4.2 million) for preservation of the drawings and for research to narrow their age and try to learn about the people who made them.

Unlike most other Stone Age rock carvings around the world, these images are not drawn on walls or standing rocks, but cut into the exposed stone of flat hilltops along what is called the Konkan coastal plateau. Their style is realistic for the animals, and more stylised for humans. Most of the animals, including elephants, are life-size and one site with multiple carvings is the largest in south Asia, Garge said. He believes it should be a national monument.

Ancient rock art discovered in the plains of India
Archaeologists investigating a cave near the town of Kankavali in the Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra have
 found stone tools called microliths from the Mesolithic era. Similar tools have been found with other
 rock carvings, more than 20 miles away. Researchers hope to find evidence of human habitation
closer to the carvings [Credit: Atul Loke for The New York Times]

The discovery so far has not received a great deal of academic attention, but Jean Clottes, an expert on cave art and the editor of the International Newsletter on Rock Art, said in an email that the collection of images «is an important discovery, no doubt». He said well-preserved carvings on the ground have been found elsewhere, but are unusual.

Meenakshi Dubey-Pathak, a freelance researcher and artist who has published extensively on Indian rock art said the carvings share imagery with other Indian rock art and rock art worldwide. «These were hunter gatherers,» she said and the carvings were not art for art’s sake. «They had meaning and purpose,» she said.

Ancient rock art discovered in the plains of India
A human figure, apparently a hunter, with arms outstretched, holding prey
[Credit: Atul Loke for The New York Times]

Indian tourists have been visiting the sites since published reports of the epic journey of discovery by Risbud and Marathe first appeared last fall. But the sites are not easy to locate. You can find images on the tourism website for Ratnagiri, but there are no directions to or GPS locations for the various sites.
To find the carvings, a tourist needs to ask local town and village residents; Garge, Risbud and Marathe would like to keep it that way. Most of the carvings are on private land, and it would be costly to buy all the sites to preserve them. Garge hopes to make the sites a source of income to local residents. He described an encounter with a tea seller who had a small stall at a crossroads near one of the sites. The state had considered putting up signs with directions, Garge said, but the tea seller asked him not to do so.

Ancient rock art discovered in the plains of India
Dhananjay Marathe along the edges of ancient abstract designs carved into laterite rock
[Credit: Atul Loke for The New York Times]

People stop, they have at least a cup of tea and they ask directions, the tea seller told him. And his income has climbed as word of the carvings has gotten out. Now, Garge’s department is working on pilot projects for 15 sites to provide a comfortable viewing area with an elevated platform, a concession stand and a way for a village to sell tickets.

Some of the carvings were known to locals before Risbud and Marathe began their investigation. And researchers had done a study on one site in 1980. Amateur historians and some academics had written a bit about the few that had been identified. But it was only after the two engineers began to explore systematically and recruit other searchers, that the number and richness of the carvings became clear. Indian newspapers and the BBC reported on the extent of their finds last year.

Ancient rock art discovered in the plains of India
The hilltops where rock carvings are found are dry in March but bloom after monsoon rains
[Credit: Atul Loke for The New York Times]

The two friends are both avid naturalists. Marathe has published a guide to birds of the Konkan plateau. They met while participating in a bird survey. Both had recollections of seeing the drawings when they were younger and a general interest in everything about the Konkan plateau. So the search began.

It wasn’t easy at the beginning, Marathe said. For the first two years, he said, «we had no luck.» But then one day they encountered an old shepherd who told them about a newly discovered carving. They began to seek out herders who bring cattle or sheep onto the plateaus after the monsoon season when the sparse vegetation of the hot months gives way to a burst of lush grass and flowers. The herders and their families pointed them to other sites, often adding mythological stories of how the carvings came to be.

Ancient rock art discovered in the plains of India
One of many stylized human figures etched in rock
[Credit: Atul Loke for The New York Times]

For instance, Marathe pointed to one depression in the rock that could be taken to be an impression left by someone lying down. According to villagers the impression was left by Sita, Lord Rama’s wife, who was stolen away by the demon king Ravana in the epic poem the Ramayana. This was where Ravana, while on the run, lay with Sita.
From December 2012 until now, Marathe, Risbud and other friends have not only sought out new carvings, they have pursued government support at all levels for the recognition and preservation of the carvings. «They have tremendous passion,» Garge said. «They could extract this information from locals and they could find all this, so we are really grateful.»

Ancient rock art discovered in the plains of India
Small stones tools, called microliths from the Mesolithic era, found at excavation sites
[Credit: Atul Loke for The New York Times]

Garge, whose specialty is historical archaeology, met the men after coming to Maharashtra in 2017. He visited some of the sites and appointed a member of his staff, Rhutvij Apte, to oversee research. Dating rock carvings is not easy, but there are clues, Garge said. One is that once agriculture appears, people carve images of bulls. There are no such images in the drawings from Maharashtra, he said, which feature every variety of wild animal, suggesting that these carvings were made by people who hunted and foraged for wild plants.

If the carvings were made before the development of agriculture, that would date them to at least 10,000 years ago. Another clue is that the carvings include images of rhinoceroses and hippopotamuses. That suggests that the drawings date even farther back, to 20,000 or 30,000 years ago, because fossil evidence indicates that’s when those animals lived in this region. The realistic details in drawings, like the shape and placement of horns suggest personal knowledge of the animals, not creation from hearsay.

Ancient rock art discovered in the plains of India
Sudhir Risbud, left, and Dhananjay Marathe at one of the many ancient rock carvings they uncovered in India
[Credit: Atul Loke for The New York Times]

Finally, there are stone tools. When Apte started co-ordinating research he found microliths, small stone tools, characteristic of the Mesolithic period, which stretches as far back as 40,000 years ago. Without definitive dates, Garge puts the range at 10,000 to 40,000 years. The next steps in research, he said, are to document each figure with drone photography, photographic mapping, and, if the budget permits, three-dimensional laser scans, so that if the carvings were lost to erosion or construction or mining of the laterite stone for brick, they could be recreated not only in outline, but in-depth, which can give an indication of carving technique.

Garge’s department will also be looking for evidence of the people who made the carvings. The figures are found only on windswept hills that are flooded during monsoons, places where there would have been no shelter. The carvers would have had to come to these places on purpose to make the drawings.

Ancient rock art discovered in the plains of India
The meaning of some ancient rock carvings with elaborate designs is lost in the past
[Credit: Atul Loke for The New York Times]

This year researchers began excavating a cave about 30 kilometres away and found microliths like those on the hilltops, as well as other, larger stone tools. «We are hoping to find more shelter sites in closer proximity to the petroglyphs,» Garge said.
For now, the carvings are mysterious and pose interesting questions about the people who lived during that time period. «Do you think society was advanced enough that they would pay for artistic work» in the form of food sharing, for example, Garge wondered, or were they freeing a group member from hunting or gathering to sit and dig into stone?

And he noted that worldwide, rock carvings come from a time when humans were beginning to grapple with the meaning of the forces that affected their lives, perhaps when the first religious ideas were forming. Many of the animals featured in the drawings could have been objects of fear, he said, «elephants, rhinos, sting ray, shark,» not to mention tigers. It would make sense, he said, if these potentially dangerous creatures were invested with some spiritual power. «You always worship malevolent gods first,» he said.

Authors: Jame Gorman | Source: The New York Times [May 08, 2019]



How Mission Control Used Robotics to Successfully Restore Full Power for the Space...

ISS — International Space Station logo.

May 10, 2019

Robotics ground controllers in NASA’s Mission Control Center at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston successfully replaced a failed Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU) on the International Space Station with a spare using robotic operations on Thursday, May 2. The operation to replace the failed unit was conducted using the station’s Canadarm2 and Dextre, both part of Canada’s contribution to the International Space Station.

Using complex robotic work to perform critical maintenance allows astronauts to spend more time working on scientific experiments and helps develop better technologies and procedures for future human and robotic exploration beyond low-Earth orbit.

“Developing new robotic systems is extremely important to get our astronauts back to the Moon by 2024,” Robotics Operations Systems Officer Mike Ferullo said. “The techniques and methods that we are developing with Dextre and Canadarm2 are directly applicable to future missions, and the construction and repair of any Moon-based mission will be done with robotics wherever possible. It’s an extremely exciting time to be involved in space robotics.

Dextre attached at Canadarm2

Dextre is a versatile robot used to perform routine maintenance on the station. Equipped with lights, video equipment, a tool platform, and four tool holders, Dextre’s dual-arm design and precise handling capabilities reduces the need for spacewalks to conduct maintenance outside the orbiting laboratory.

The Canadarm2 serves as the station’s robotic arm. It’s used to move supplies, equipment, Dextre and even astronauts. The robotic arm is also used to capture visiting spacecraft and attach them to the station.

The completion of the robotics work was the second time an MBSU was swapped out without the need for a spacewalk.

“Previous replacements allowed us to review different arm configurations and the force with which we pulled the unit out,” Ferullo said. “Every operation we do gives us a better understanding about how to move forward with future repairs and the support of payloads.”

The failure on April 29 of the station’s MBSU-3, one of four power distributors on the station’s backbone truss structure, reduced the station’s power supply by nearly 25 percent. Following the failure, the station crew installed a series of jumpers in the station’s Unity connecting module (Node 1) to reroute power to experiments and hardware and ensure limited impact to continued station operations.

International Space Station (ISS)

“Installing the power jumpers allowed the recovery of several critical pieces of equipment,” Power and Thermal Flight Controller Jay Boucher said. “Even though the jumpers helped continue station operations, replacing the failed unit would be required to regain the redundant power supply required for the US robotic arm to capture SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft that was scheduled to launch.”

Dragon launched successfully on May 4 and was captured and installed on the Earth-facing side of the station two days later to deliver more than 5,500 pounds of research, crew supplies, and hardware to the International Space Station.  

Related links:

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

Dextre: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/special-purpose-dextrous-manipulator/

Canadarm2: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/remote-manipulator-system-canadarm2/

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

Image, Animation, Text, Credit: NASA/Mark Garcia.

Greetings, Orbiter.chArchive link

Blue Origin boss Jeff Bezos presents his project

Blue Origin logo.

May 10, 2019

The richest man in the world hopes to help NASA bring astronauts back to the moon in 2024.

Elon Musk dreams of Mars, Jeff Bezos has his head in the moon. The boss of Amazon and the space company Blue Origin, announced Thursday in Washington that he intended to participate in the new conquest of the Moon, presenting a project of stringer. «This is Blue Moon,» he said in a press presentation.

Going to Space to Benefit Earth (Full Event Replay)

Behind him, curtains have unveiled a large lander model weighing more than three tons empty, capable of carrying 3.6 tons of material on the lunar surface, and 6.5 tons in a heavier version. «It’s an incredible vehicle, and it will go to the moon,» said Jeff Bezos. The stringer has been in development for three years, he said. He will be able to bring scientific instruments, four small rovers, but also a future pressurized vehicle for humans, according to him.

Objective 2024

The goal is to moon at the South Pole of the Moon, where there is water. Water can be exploited to produce hydrogen, which would then be used as a fuel to explore the solar system.

Blue Moon lander presentation

He did not give a date for the first launch of this hoist, and Blue Origin did not provide any details. The boss did not talk to reporters. But in his presentation, on a carefully decorated stage illuminated with blue, he subscribed to the goal of Donald Trump’s government to send humans back to the moon by 2024. He said his aluner would be ready to accompany this mission.

«We can help keep that time, but only because we started three years ago,» said Jeff Bezos. «It’s time to go back to the moon, but this time to stay there.» And he showed a simulation video of a vehicle able to trace astronauts from the surface to orbit.

Colonies of space

The return to the moon in 2024, announced by the White House, has plunged NASA into a frenzy of activity since the end of March, because this mission was originally scheduled for 2028. Nothing is ready: neither the powerful rocket (SLS) who has to carry the vehicles and astronauts. Neither the elements of the future mini-station in lunar orbit that will serve as relay point between the Earth and the Moon. Neither the starter or rovers needed by astronauts, including the first woman to set foot on the Earth’s natural satellite.

Blue Moon Lunar Crew Lander

But Jeff Bezos, who rarely spoke about the developments of his company Blue Origin, founded in 2000 and which finances more than a billion dollars a year, has made it clear that he wants to help the Nasa.

«My generation’s job is to build the infrastructure,» Bezos said. «We are going to build a space road». He confirmed that Blue Origin’s big rocket, New Glenn, would be ready in 2021. It will offer «a drastic reduction in launch costs,» he promised.

Blue Origin’s other project is the small New Shepard rocket, intended for short trips of about ten minutes just above the border of space (100 km altitude), for «tourists». The rocket, which has completed eleven empty tests since Texas, will take humans for the first time this year, he confirmed Thursday.

Blue Moon lunar lander: 

Blue Moon Lunar Lander

Blue Origin announced Blue Moon, its large lunar lander capable of delivering multiple metric tons of payload to the lunar surface based on configuration and mission. The cargo variant revealed today can carry 3.6 metric tons to the surface. We have also designed a variant of the lander that can stretch to be capable of carrying a 6.5-metric-ton, human-rated ascent stage. Blue also announced it can meet the current Administration’s goal of putting Americans on the Moon by 2024 with the Blue Moon lunar lander. https://www.blueorigin.com/blue-moon

BE-7 engine: 

BE-7 engine

The Blue Moon lunar lander will be powered by the BE-7 engine, a new addition to Blue Origin’s family of engines. The BE-7’s 40 kN (10,000 lbf) thrust is designed for large lunar payload transport. The engine’s propellants are a highly-efficient combination of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. The BE-7 will have its first hotfire this summer. The engine will be available for sale to other companies for use in in-space and lander applications. https://www.blueorigin.com/engines/be-7

Club For the Future:

A non-profit founded by Blue Origin dedicated to inspiring and engaging the next generation of dreamers and space entrepreneurs as we journey to preserve Earth and unlock the potential of living and working in space. The Club will bring together K-12 students, educators and leaders for campaigns and initiatives utilizing Blue Origin’s unique access to space. The Club’s first activity will be to send a postcard to space and back on a future New Shepard mission—the first ever space mail. Learn more on the website (https://clubforfuture.org/). Follow @ClubforFuture on Twitter and Instagram. https://twitter.com/clubforfuture and https://www.instagram.com/clubforfuture/

Blue Origin: https://www.blueorigin.com/

Images, Video, Text, Credits: Blue Origin/Gradatim Ferociter/Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Greetings, Orbiter.chArchive link

Human Research as Canadian, Japanese Robot Arms Swap Experiments

ISS — Expedition 59 Mission patch.

May 10, 2019

The Expedition 59 crew focused intensely on human research today to improve the health of people on Earth and in space. The residents aboard the International Space Station are busy exploring how the human body and other organisms adapt to space helping NASA prepare to go to the moon by 2024.

Astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain split Friday checking on the Kidney Cells experiment seeking innovative treatments for kidney stones, osteoporosis and toxic chemical exposures. Counteracting the space-exacerbated symptoms is critical to the success of a long-term spaceflight to the moon and Mars.

Image above: Four Expedition 59 astronauts pose for a playful portrait inside the Harmony module. Clockwise from left are astronaut David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and NASA astronauts Christina Koch, Anne McClain and Nick Hague. Image Credit: NASA.

McClain started her day with Commander Oleg Kononenko and Flight Engineers Nick Hague and Alexey Ovchinin researching space-caused head and eye pressure. The quartet tested a specialized suit, the Lower Body Negative Pressure suit, that reverses the upward flow of blood and other fluids toward an astronaut’s head. The crewmates also participated in ultrasound scans of their eyes and veins for the long-running Fluid Shifts study.

In addition, a pair of Canadian and Japanese robotic arms on the station are coordinating to swap external payloads over the weekend. Two Earth and space research facilities inside the SpaceX Dragon’s trunk are being removed for installation on the station. An older atmospheric experiment that has completed its mission will be placed back in Dragon’s trunk.

The Canadarm2 robotic arm removed the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 (OCO-3) from the Dragon’s unpressurized trunk. It handed off the OCO-3, a global carbon detection device, to Japan’s smaller robotic arm for installation on the Kibo lab module’s external pallet. Next, the Canadarm2 will extract and install the Space Test Program-Houston 6 hardware for space physics research on the station’s truss structure.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

Finally, Japan’s robotic arm attached to Kibo will hand off the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS) to the Canadarm2 for installation in Dragon’s trunk. Before Dragon splashes down in the Pacific at the end of May, its trunk with CATS inside will separate during reentry and burn up over Earth’s atmosphere.

A SpaceX Dragon resupply ship delivered CATS in January of 2015 for robotic installation on Kibo’s external pallet. CATS successfully demonstrated low cost atmospheric monitoring techniques from the station.

Related links:

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

Kidney Cells: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7819

Moon and Mars: https://www.nasa.gov/specials/moon2mars/

Lower Body Negative Pressure suit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/ISS_Science_Blog/2015/06/02/rubber-vacuum-pants-that-suck/

Fluid Shifts: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1126

SpaceX Dragon: https://www.nasa.gov/spacex

Canadarm2 robotic arm: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/mobile-servicing-system.html

Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 (OCO-3): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1786

Kibo lab module: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/japan-kibo-laboratory

Space Test Program-Houston 6: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/search.html?#q=%22stp-h6%22&i=&p=&c=&g=&s=

Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1007

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), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.

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Exploring the Infrared Universe


The universe is filled with billions upon billions of stars. Look up at the night sky, and you can see a small fraction of them, each appearing as a tiny pinprick of light against the inky blackness of space. But did you know there’s more to space than our eyes can see? To observe the hidden cosmos, we use telescopes that can see in the infrared. How do stars and planets form? How do black holes feast? How does matter escape galaxies? These are all questions we can begin to answer by exploring space in this wavelength of light. The infrared views captured by SOFIA, the world’s largest flying observatory, have helped us uncover mysterious objects and phenomena in our galaxy and beyond! The findings are changing our understanding of the way in which the universe works. Here are five cool scientific discoveries made by the mission.

We learned that cosmic dust — a building block of stars and planets — can survive the powerful blast from an exploding star.


We observed how material can be transported from deep inside a galaxy into intergalactic space.


We discovered that a newborn star can prevent the birth of new stars in its cosmic neighborhood. 

We found magnetic fields help feed hungry black holes


…and can disrupt the formation of new stars.


SOFIA is a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that allows astronomers to study the solar system and beyond in ways that are not possible with ground-based telescopes. Learn more about the mission: www.nasa.gov/sofia

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

Gutted and broke: Brazil’s National Museum pleads for money

Brazil’s devastated National Museum is broke and cannot afford storage for artifacts rescued from the ashes of the gutted building, its director said Tuesday.

Gutted and broke: Brazil's National Museum pleads for money
This image shows the fire raging in the historical building, destroying invaluable artefacts 
[Credit: Reuters]

In a desperate plea for more funding, Alexander Kellner warned «there will be no more National Museum» in Rio de Janeiro unless the education ministry coughs up some cash.
«We urgently need one million reais ($250,000) to be able to breathe,» Kellner told reporters as the museum presented pieces from its Egyptian collection that survived the September 2018 fire.

«We are having difficulties in the daily running of our institution — professors don’t have places to work, we don’t have space to store pieces that we rescued. We can’t just leave them on the ground. Without the education ministry, there will be no more National Museum.»

A faulty air conditioning system sparked a fire that gutted Latin America’s main natural history museum, destroying most of its collection.
After the blaze, the education ministry released the equivalent of $2.5 million for emergency works to preserve the building’s facade. But other public funds have not yet been disbursed.

Kellner told AFP last month that the museum had received the equivalent of $280,000 in donations — a fraction of the more than $950 million pledged for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris.

The total cost of restoring the National Museum will reportedly be around 100 million reais.

«With the amount of money that was raised for Notre Dame, if you give me one percent of that I can go very far,» Kellner said Tuesday.

The blaze wiped out much of the museum’s collection, dealing a hard blow to the main showcase of Brazil’s anthropological heritage and history.

Source: AFP [May 08, 2019]



Possible migration route of Homo erectus from Africa discovered

In the Eastern Desert in Sudan, Polish archaeologists have found 500,000 years old traces of the presence of Homo erectus. According to the discoverers, it is a proof of existence of an unknown migration route of this species beyond the continent.

Possible migration route of Homo erectus from Africa discovered
Credit: Maciej Jordeczka

The African variety of Homo erectus (upright man) — the ancestor of modern man (Homo sapiens) — appeared in Africa about 1.8 million years ago, from where it quickly migrated to Eurasia. These migrations took place in stages.
Eastern Africa is considered the cradle of humanity. The oldest traces of human activity in the form of stone tools have been discovered along the Great Rift Valley, which stretches from Mozambique through Tanzania to the coast of the Red Sea in the region of Eritrea and Ethiopia. In terms of research on the oldest traces of man, the area farther to the north of Africa — the Eastern Desert in Sudan — is somewhat forgotten. Polish archaeologists decided to focus on this area. The project funded by the National Science Centre involves scientists from Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Germany and the US.

Possible migration route of Homo erectus from Africa discovered
Credit: Marcin Szmit

Possible migration route of Homo erectus from Africa discovered
Credit: Miroslaw Masojc

Possible migration route of Homo erectus from Africa discovered
Credit: Miroslaw Masojc

«We have found 500,000 years old traces of the presence of Homo erectus — a total of more than a thousand stone products including characteristic hand axes, which proves the existence of a previously unknown migration route of this species beyond the African continent, probably along Red Sea coasts», says the research project leader Prof. Miroslaw Masojc from the Institute of Archaeology, University of Wroclaw. He adds that these are by far the oldest traces of human presence in this part of North-East Africa.
Up to now, the prevailing views were that H. erectus moved north mainly along the Nile Valley. The researcher adds that although today the study area is a flat and inhospitable desert, hundreds of thousands of years ago there were periods of a much more humid climate. There was vegetation and rivers — their dried beds indicate the course towards the north-east, towards the Red Sea.

Possible migration route of Homo erectus from Africa discovered
Credit: Maciej Jordeczka

Possible migration route of Homo erectus from Africa discovered
Credit: Maciej Jordeczka

Discoveries in the Eastern Desert also confirm the long coexistence of Homo erectus with Homo sapiens in Africa: it is a period of at least 100,000. years, between 300,000 and 200,000 years ago. Both species lived there simultaneously, although one gave birth to the other.
The discovery of over half a million years old stone tools was made accidentally in recent years. «There was a gold rush in the eastern part of Sudan, in the Eastern Desert, as in many places in the Sahara — people looking for this precious metal in makeshift, open-cast mines. By uncovering successive layers, miners came across tools from several hundred thousand years ago», says Prof. Masojc.

Alerted by reports of unusual finds, archaeologists set out into the field. «We work in the mines after miners have already left them, so there is no conflict of interest», the scientist adds.

Possible migration route of Homo erectus from Africa discovered
Credit: Miroslaw Masojc/PAP

So far, researchers have found almost 200 places where Palaeolithic stone products have been preserved. Some of them are located in mines, about 350 km north of Khartoum. The archaeologists find various tools used both by Homo erectus — hand axes and pebble tools, and by Homo sapiens — for example blades. Ancient people used mainly quartzite and volcanic rocks. The age of the tools ranges from more than half a million to 60,000 years. «It would not be possible to find these traces without mining operations», the archaeologist says.

The first results of the project have just been published in the Journal of Human Evolution.

Additional information about the project can be found at: http://sudan.archeo.uni.wroc.pl/

Author: Szymon Zdzieblowski | Source: PAP — Science in Poland [May 08, 2019]




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