In the world of astronomy, the second week of the year was marked by news of space exploration. News of missions to Mars has arrived, but not everything is so exciting.
Perseverance, for example, has had difficulties collecting samples and its instrument may be clogged. On the other hand, James Webb is doing a very good job, thank you, and ready to go for feedback. There have also been discoveries in the distant universe, such as alien exoplanets, moons larger than Earth and black holes devouring stars.
Check below a summary of this week’s top space news!
Want to stay up to date with the latest tech news of the day? Access and subscribe to our new YouTube channel, Canaltech News. Every day a summary of the most important news from the world of technology for you!
James Webb is ready but can crash into junk space
space telescope James Webb has finished publishing his primary mirror, another major step necessary to start scientific operations. The mirror is the largest ever sent into space, the result of decades of work – no wonder it’s been a moment of great anticipation for scientists in NASA.
Despite their enthusiasm, they are prepared for some “accidents” that the telescope will encounter over time. that is, as the sun revolves, and Webb will find some meteorites and unwanted space debrisYou’ll probably hit their mirrors. However, the Space Observatory must survive damage long enough to complete its mission.
The Perseverance rover was able to collect the sixth sample of the Martian rock, but encountered an anomaly when trying to close the storage tube. According to NASA, something, possibly small pebbles, got in the way of the mechanism that was supposed to close the titanium tube.
Because sampling on another planet is such a delicate procedure, NASA does not want to damage what has already been collected by the rover, so it will take time to remove the pesky debris preventing the tube in question from closing before proceeding. rover mission.
The InSight spacecraft, which is on the surface of Mars to examine the planet’s crust, mantle and core, has entered safe mode after a massive dust storm. The “dust demon,” as the dust swirls on Mars are called, has reduced sunlight pushing the rover panels to power the equipment.
During the time you’re in safe mode, all non-essential InSight power-saving functionality will be suspended, but everything should be back to normal within the next week.
Planets are often spherical because of their gravity, but this is not true of WASP-103b. This “hot Jupiter” is so close to its star that, in addition to completing its orbit in less than a Earth day, it acquired an elongated shape, similar to American football or rugby.
This is due to tidal forces, the same forces that move the Earth’s oceans, causing the tides we know. This is the effect of gravity when two objects are close enough to each other that one side of the second body attracts with a greater force than the other.
Radio telescope data on the Very Large Array (VLA) showed that a black hole devoured a star in the 1980s, but no one noticed the event. Only now two high school students and trainees at the observatory noticed a glare that disappeared in the later data.
When astronomers saw the notes the students had left, they combed through the data and found that the glow was a “burp” of a black hole devouring a relatively massive object, like a star. Over the years, the brightness has diminished, and it is now 500 times darker. This is the first such event to be detected at a relatively close distance.
A moon 2.6 times the size of Earth orbits an exoplanet the size of Jupiter about 5,500 light-years away from us. It remains to be confirmed that the observed is indeed an exoplanet, but its discovery could show that moons orbiting exoplanets are as common in the universe as the exoplanets themselves.
According to the study, the moon will be gaseous. Therefore, scientists do not exclude the possibility that the object was “born” as a planet, and later was captured by a much larger and more massive world, and then became a natural satellite.
The meteorite (ALH) 84001, considered one of the oldest objects to have come to Earth from Mars, has been the subject of a new study that attempted to determine the origin of its organic compounds. The rock was found in 1984, a rare opportunity to study the chances of life on another planet.
According to the research, the organic molecules present in the meteorite may be the result of non-biological or geochemical processes. Two possibilities have been put forward: volcanic activity and carbonation, associated with interactions between rocks and slightly acidic water, with dissolved carbon dioxide.
While these interactions are not biological, they are responsible for many of the organic compounds from which life can develop. This means that Mars probably possessed at least some of the essential ingredients for the generation of life forms in the past.
“Friendly zombie fanatic. Analyst. Coffee buff. Professional music specialist. Communicator.”