Category: LATEST SCIENCE NEWS

301 And 262-Foot NEOs Will Closely Approach Earth On Wednesday

KEY POINTS

  • Two giant asteroids will pass Earth on Oct. 14
  • Both 2020TD and 2020TU2 have not been included in the ESA’s Risk List
  • 2020TO2 will make its next close approach two years from now

Two giant near-Earth asteroids will make their closest approach this Wednesday with Earth, with each about four times the size of The Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt.

Asteroids 2020TD and 2020TU2 are on currently on their way to zip by the Earth on Oct. 14, Wednesday. The first of the two to pass by is 2020TD  at 10:14 a.m. EDT. Considered an Apollo asteroid, this near-Earth asteroid has an earth-crossing orbit.  At a certain point, its orbit makes contact with that of the Earth’s, making the chances of a possible impact between the two significantly higher. According to NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, 2020TD will have a diameter of about 262 feet (80

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Agency Reveals Details About Bennu, Including Finding Possible Lifeforms

KEY POINTS

  • OSIRIS-REx will collect samples from Bennu on Oct. 20
  • Bennu came from a parent body which had enough heat to keep water in its soils
  • Nightingale will be the mission’s primary sample site
  • The samples are set to be delivered back on Earth on Sept. 24, 2023

NASA has shared more information about asteroid Bennu and the agency’s mission to bring back samples of the asteroid’s surface through their OSIRIS-REx mission on Oct. 20. The 861-foot asteroid may contain ingredients for life.

In a recent article shared by NASA, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) is set to travel to a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu to collect a 2.1-ounce sample and bring it back to Earth for further study. The mission plans to shed more light for scientists on how life began in the solar system, as well as improve their knowledge on asteroids that

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Trump says he wants to plant a trillion trees, while opening up millio

In late September, the Trump administration finalized a plan to allow logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest—the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest. A little more than two weeks later, on October 13, he issued an executive order calling for a new council to “implement a strategy” for the Trillion Trees Initiative, a global effort to grow and conserve a trillion trees within the next decade.

But while the plans to open up the Tongass are moving forward quickly, with timber sales possible later in the year, the new executive order lacks any concrete detail. “It looks an awful lot like they’re making a plan to make a plan,” says Ryan Richards, senior policy analyst for public lands at the Center for American Progress. “Whereas, at the same time, you’re seeing oil and gas leases going out the door at bargain-basement prices, and a firm plan to remove roadless protections from

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Russian-US crew welcomed aboard the space station

MOSCOW (AP) — A trio of space travelers blasted off to the International Space Station on Wednesday, using for the first time a fast-track maneuver that allowed them to reach the orbiting outpost in just a little over three hours.

NASA’s Kate Rubins along with Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos lifted off as scheduled Wednesday morning from the Russia-leased Baikonur space launch facility in Kazakhstan for a six-month stint on the station.

For the first time, they tried a two-orbit approach and docked with the space station in just a little over three hours after lift-off. Previously it took twice as long for crews to reach the station.


Aboard the station, they were welcomed by the station’s NASA commander, Chris Cassidy, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, who have been aboard the complex since April and are scheduled to return to Earth

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Do ripples on the surface of the sun tell us that a flare is coming?

Do ripples on the surface of the sun tell us that a flare is coming?
Solar flares produce waves with paths that bend up to the surface, revealing themselves as ripples on the surface. Credit: UC Berkeley/Juan Camilo Buitrago-Casas

Flares from the sun are some of the nastiest things in the solar system. When the sun flares, it belches out intense X-ray radiation (and sometimes even worse). Predicting solar flares is a tricky job, and a new research paper sheds light on a possible new technique: looking for telltale ripples in the surface of the sun minutes before the blast comes.


The sun’s magnetic fields are usually nice and calm, but they can become tangled up with each other. When they do, they store a massive amount of energy. And when they finally snap, it’s like a giant Earth-sized rubber band reaching the breaking point. These events are known as solar flares, and they are one of the most energetic events in the solar system.

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Spooky blue moon to illuminate sky on Halloween

The night sky will bring an added treat this Halloween as it features a spectacle that has not occurred in nearly two decades.

Halloween is shaping up much differently this year due to the coronavirus pandemic with some communities electing to cancel trick-or-treating to reduce the risk of the virus spreading from one household to another. But in neighborhoods where young masqueraders will be going door-to-door collecting candy, they will have a bright full moon to help light the way.

This won’t be the typical full moon, either — it will be a blue moon.

The moon rises in the sky as seen through the Four Towers, or C.T.B.A. (Cuatro Torres Business Area) in Madrid, Spain, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

Contrary to its name, a blue moon does not appear blue in color. It is simply the nickname given to the second full moon in

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Earth’s space junk problem is getting worse. And there’s an explosive component.

Before humans first started sending objects into Earth orbit, the pocket of space around our planet was clear and clean. But the launch of Sputnik 1 in October of 1957 changed everything. Since then, the space debris has been accumulating, with the amount of useless, defunct satellites vastly outnumbering the operational objects in our orbit.

A new annual report from the European Space Agency (ESA) has found that while we have become aware of the problem and taken steps in recent years to mitigate it, those steps are currently not keeping up with the sheer scale of space junk.

All spacefaring nations have contributed to the problem, which is significant: as more and more defunct objects populate near-Earth space, the risk of collision rises – which, as objects crash and shatter, produces even more space debris.

The hazards have been prominent in the last year. We have not only watched

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Bringing a power tool from math into quantum computing

quantum
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The Fourier transform is an important mathematical tool that decomposes a function or dataset into a its constituent frequencies, much like one could decompose a musical chord into a combination of its notes. It is used across all fields of engineering in some form or another and, accordingly, algorithms to compute it efficiently have been developed—that is, at least for conventional computers. But what about quantum computers?


Though quantum computing remains an enormous technical and intellectual challenge, it has the potential to speed up many programs and algorithms immensely, provided that appropriate quantum circuits are designed. In particular, the Fourier transform already has a quantum version called the quantum Fourier transform (QFT), but its applicability is quite limited because its results cannot be used in subsequent quantum arithmetic operations.

To address this issue, in a recent study published in Quantum Information Processing, scientists from Tokyo

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The first room-temperature superconductor has finally been found

It’s here: Scientists have reported the discovery of the first room-temperature superconductor, after more than a century of waiting.

The discovery evokes daydreams of futuristic technologies that could reshape electronics and transportation. Superconductors transmit electricity without resistance, allowing current to flow without any energy loss. But all superconductors previously discovered must be cooled, many of them to very low temperatures, making them impractical for most uses.

Now, scientists have found the first superconductor that operates at room temperature — at least given a fairly chilly room. The material is superconducting below temperatures of about 15° Celsius (59° Fahrenheit), physicist Ranga Dias of the University of Rochester in New York and colleagues report October 14 in Nature.

The team’s results “are nothing short of beautiful,” says materials chemist Russell Hemley of the University of Illinois Chicago, who was not involved with the research.

However, the new material’s superconducting superpowers appear

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Blue Origin’s New Shepard Rocket Launches a New Line of Business

West Texas is not quite like the moon. But it can serve as a handy stand-in.

On Tuesday, Blue Origin, the rocket company started by Jeffrey P. Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, launched — and landed — its small New Shepard rocket and capsule for the 13th time as part of tests to verify safety before any passengers climb aboard.

One day, this will be New Shepard’s main business: flying well-to-do people above the 62-mile altitude generally considered the beginning of outer space where they will experience a few minutes of weightlessness as the capsule arcs.

Blue Origin is not a new company — Mr. Bezos founded it in 2000 — but for most of its existence, it operated in secret without generating much revenue. Three years ago, Mr. Bezos said he was selling a billion dollars a year in Amazon stock to finance Blue Origin’s research and development.

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