The sky is not the limit Explosion in China, “snake” and garbage on Mars and more!

Explosions on Jupiter and here on Earth, rarer things photographed on Mars, and extraterrestrial signals (or not) are some of the highlights of astronomy and space in recent times. And let’s not forget that NASA is doing another test of the Artemis I mission before it launches.

Without further ado, check out these and other news that have shaken the week.

Using publicly available satellite imagery, a network member discovered that an explosion had occurred on a launch pad at one of China’s most important space sites. The country’s media was unaware of the incident.

According to Harry Strange, the explosion took place from October 15 to 16 at the Jiuquan Space Center, from which manned missions to Shenzhou depart. However, it does not appear to have affected China’s space program: on the same day, the Shenzhou-13 mission, along with three astronauts, was launched into space from another platform in the same space center.

Perseverance rover has added another element to NASA’s collection of strange images of Mars. This time, the robot found a “snake’s head” and a shiny piece of garbage on the planet’s surface.

Snakehead (right rock formation) is located next to the rope rock (left). Image: NASA / JPL

The snake’s head is a precious rock between layers of sediment on the edge of Jezero crater, which was once a delta of an ancient river. And it’s not just that: it’s next to the “balancing rock,” which is round in shape and rests on a stone pillar.

Part of the metal cover that protected Perseverance was found 2 km from the landing site during the trip to Mars. Image: NASA / JPL

Perseverance itself inadvertently left the rubbish: the rover is part of a thermal blanket that protected it from its journey through space, and was probably released when it entered Mars’ atmosphere. What interests the scientists is its location, about 2 km from the landing site. Did it land in the fall, or was it carried away by the surface winds of Mars? We don’t have an answer yet.

Chinese researchers have called attention this week to the discovery of radio signals that may have originated from extraterrestrial civilizations. The discovery was made using FAST, the world’s largest radio telescope.

Built in China, FAST is the world’s largest radio telescope. Image: Xinhua News Agency / Shutterstock

But before anyone is terrified, it’s worth noting that the scientists involved themselves say that “more research” is needed before a conclusion can be reached. In fact, according to Dan Werthimer, a researcher at the University of California and the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and a participant in the study who found the signal, it is probably the radio interference from sources on Earth.

A study by Kyoto University in Japan found the largest impact on Jupiter since the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet hit the planet in 1994. It happened in 2021 and is the Planetary Observation Camera for Transient Research. Optics (PONCOTS), a small. a telescope aimed at finding brightness in the planet’s atmosphere.

Influence Jupiter’s flash. The blast released 2 million tons of TNT energy. Image: Ko Arimatsu / Kyoto University

Using the tool, the Japanese group determined that the impact released 2 million tons of energy equivalent to TNT, and that it was caused by a space rock with a mass of about 4,000 tons. The flash reached a temperature of 8,000 ° C. On Earth, the impact would cause great destruction.

NASA will begin another experiment this Saturday (18) with the launch of the Artemis I mission, the first space program to re-launch humans to the surface of the Moon.

The SLS rocket and Orion capsule were launched to launch the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, where they will go through all the steps of a real shot except to start the engine. The goal is to make sure the set is really ready to go into space.

The last attempts at the attempt were thwarted by failures. Finally, in April, the NASA team found a hydrogen leak while taking in the fuel, so the rocket and capsule were taken to the KSC Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) facility, where NASA teams made the necessary repairs.

Since the launch of the first satellites in the constellation Starlink, astronomers have been concerned about the impact of astronomical observations on Earth. The problem is that they are so bright that they appear as bright lines in the telescope images in large numbers.

This image of the star Albireo is a great example of how Starlink satellites can interrupt observations. Each “line” is a satellite. Image: Rafael Schmall

SpaceX has tried to alleviate the problem by putting a “sunscreen” on the satellites, but the units launched since the end of last year do not have this accessory, as it has been “withdrawn” due to changes in the design of the latest satellite group.

The shade of the sun was replaced by dielectric mirrors, which should reflect less sunlight. But the idea seems to have gone awry, and satellites are now brighter than previous generations, at least in units located at 50 degrees south or north latitudes, at dawn and dusk. Needless to say, the astronomers didn’t like it at all.

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