Construction Begins on the Square Kilometer Array. Artemis I’s iconic crescent Earthrise picture. A gamma-ray burst that breaks all the rules. SpaceX launches a new service.
Square Kilometer Array Telescope Begins Construction
Finally! Workers have broken ground, beginning the construction of a revolutionary radio telescope called the Square Kilometer Array. Located partly in Australia and partly in South Africa, the enormous instrument will consist of over 170,000 Christmas Tree-shaped antennae for long radio wavelengths and then almost 200 large radio dishes for medium wavelengths. The SKA won’t be completed until the 2030s, but it should be half-ready by 2028, with a total surface area of 500,000 square meters. Once done, the SKA could detect the cell phone signal from an astronaut on Mars.
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Iconic Earthrise Image From Artemis 1
The Orion capsule is on its way back to Earth but it just keeps on giving. While passing the Moon it took an image that might become iconic. It’s an Earthrise with a beautiful crescent Earth. Just like you see the crescent Moon or crescent Venus. Gorgeous! We’re now waiting for Orion to come back and splash down in the ocean on December 11th.
SpaceX launches Starshield
SpaceX quietly added a new service to their website this week: “Starshield.” They describe it as a secured satellite network for government entities. It allows governments and militaries to order their custom network of communication satellites, which can be configured for their use, even with special hardware modules. The satellites will communicate with one another using lasers but can also take advantage of the existing Starlink network.
More about SpaceX’s new service.
Astronomers classify gamma-ray bursts into two groups: long and short-period. Short-period GRBs are believed to come from collisions between neutron stars, white dwarfs, black holes, or some combination, while long-period GRBs come from core-collapse supernovae. Astronomers detected an extremely long gamma-ray burst, lasting 50 seconds, but it had all the signs of a short-period burst. This is confusing but also exciting, as it could be a new type of explosion that happens much more rarely.
More about the unusual gamma-ray burst.
Evidence Of A Megatsunami On Mars
When planetary scientists were studying the landscape around the Viking 1 lander on Mars, they noticed that it looked bolder-strewn, what you’d see after a mighty flood inundated the area. Further observations with orbiters revealed that the whole landscape was once the site of an enormous tsunami caused by an asteroid impact billions of years ago. The researchers could even pinpoint which Martian crater was the source of the tsunami. This is exciting because you can’t have tsunamis without oceans, which is more evidence there were once oceans on Mars.
More about discoveries on Mars.
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