Connect with us

Space

Exclusively female crew begins historic “mission to Mars”

Exclusively female crew begins historic "mission to Mars" 86

This past Saturday (Jan. 4) in Hawaii, on the remote slopes of Mauna Loa, the largest volcano in the world, six scientists embarked on a historic “mission to Mars.” 

Exclusively female crew starts historical
The Sensoria team jumps for joy before entering the fake Martian habitat on January 4, 2020. The team will remain in the habitat until January 18, 2020. (Image credit: SENSORIA Program)

Analog astronaut missions place scientists and explorers in remote locations on Earth that physically resemble cosmic destinations like the moon and Mars. There, the researchers explore and conduct research as if they were in space. This generates important scientific data and informs space agencies about what it would be like to step foot on these distant surfaces.

One of these teams of analog astronauts left last weekend at Sensoria I, the inaugural tour of the Sensoria project. This series of missions will take place at HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation), one habitat Mars analogue for human researchers. Sensoria will last from 4 to 18 January, when the crew will emerge from habitat ‘Martian’. The Sensoria program is unique for several reasons, but one of them is that this is the first HI-SEAS team to be made up of women only.

“This is the first all-female crew to be in the HI-SEAS habitat, ” Erin Bonilla, vice commander and medical officer of this mission, told Space.com. She added that intentionally supporting women is an important part of the vision of the Sensoria missions, which aim to “put women at the forefront of space exploration, which historically has not been the case.”

“It’s kind of become this sisterhood that supports one another in the space sector professionally as well as personally,” J.J. Hastings, a bioengineer and the commander of this inaugural Sensoria mission, told Space.com

This is only the first Sensoria mission and, while the crews will not all consist solely of women, women will always be the majority and the crews will be put together with a concerted effort for diversity and inclusion.

This is just Sensoria’s first mission, and while teams are not all made up of women alone, women will always be the majority and teams will come together with a joint effort of diversity and inclusion.

Going forward, “All of our missions will be female-led and female-majority. We, of course, will welcome with open arms our male colleagues, but we believe that women need to be placed at the center of our shared vision for space exploration, that women need to be given a platform for professional development, opportunities for research and training,” Hastings said.

A unique “Mars mission”

The all-female crew is not the only thing that separates Sensoria from the pack. This is the first analog astronaut mission to be backed by venture capital, Hastings said.

Hastings also serves as the CEO of Analogs LLC, a company that is backing the mission and the entire Sensoria space program. The program and collaboration provide “access to the analog environment for commercial partners, for government partners as well as our academic collaborators,” Hastings said.

On this mission, for instance, crewmember Adriana Blachowicz, a science officer for this mission who works as a researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will test an instrument that will be sent to the International Space Station.

The Sensoria missions additionally aim, as other analog missions have done, to push forward important research with a focus on sustainable solutions.

Source

Comments

Space

KOI-5Ab, the curious planet that orbits in a system of three suns

KOI-5Ab, the curious planet that orbits in a system of three suns 87
Photo: (Caltech / R. Hurt (IPAC))

To us, the Sun alone seems perfectly normal, but our solar system is actually a strange exception.

Most stars in the Milky Way galaxy have at least one companion star. In a system 1,800 light-years away, astronomers have finally confirmed the existence of a gas giant planet orbiting stars in a triple star system.

Called KOI-5, the system is located in the constellation Cygnus, and the exoplanet was confirmed ten years after it was first detected by the Kepler space telescope.

In fact, the planet – now known as KOI-5Ab – was discovered by Kepler when it began operations back in 2009.

“KOI-5Ab was dropped because it was difficult and we had thousands of other candidates,” astronomer David Siardi of NASA’s Exoplanet Science Institute said.

“There were lighter dives than the KOI-5Ab, and every day we learned something new from Kepler, so the KOI-5 was almost forgotten.”

Exoplanet hunters tend to avoid the complexities of multi-star systems; of the more than 4,300 exoplanets confirmed to date, less than 10 percent are multi-star systems, although such systems dominate the galaxy. As a result, little is known about the properties of exoplanets in multi-star systems compared to those orbiting a lone star.

After Kepler’s discovery, Chardy and other astronomers used ground-based telescopes such as the Palomar Observatory, Keck Observatory, and the Gemini North Telescope to study the system. By 2014, they had identified two companion stars, KOI-5B and KOI-5C.

Scientists were able to establish that the planet KOI-5Ab, is a gas giant that is about half the mass of Saturn and 7 times the size of Earth, and is in a very close five-day orbit around KOI-5A. KOI-5A and KOI-5B, both of roughly the same mass as the Sun, form a relatively close binary system with an orbital period of about 30 years.

KOI-5Ab, the curious planet that orbits in a system of three suns 88

A third star, KOI-5C, orbits the binary system at a much greater distance, with a period of about 400 years – slightly longer than Pluto’s 248-year orbit.

“By studying this system in more detail, perhaps we can understand how planets are created in the universe.”

The discovery was announced at the 237th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

Continue Reading

Space

Why the universe does not fit into science

Why the universe does not fit into science 89
Photo: YouTube

Science can be compared to an artist painting what he has never seen, or to a writer describing other people’s travels: objects that he has never seen, places where he has never been. Sometimes such scientific “arts” turn out to be beautiful and interesting, but most of them will forever remain only theories, because they are beyond human capabilities.

In fact, science has the right only to speculate: how our universe appeared, how old it is, how many stars and other objects it contains.

Universe model

Why the universe does not fit into science 90

How many stars are there in the sky?

With an unarmed eye, a person can see about nine thousand stars in the sky in one cloudless and moonless night. And armed with binoculars or a telescope, much more – up to several million. However, this is much less than their true number in the universe. Indeed, only in our one galaxy (the Milky Way) there are about 400 billion stars. The exact amount, of course, is not known to science. And the visible universe contains about 170 billion galaxies.

It is worth clarifying that scientists can see the universe 46 billion light years deep in all directions. And the visible (observable) universe includes the space accessible to our eyes from the moment of the Big Explosion. In other words, only this (accessible to human perception) space science refers to our universe. Science does not consider everything that follows.

It is believed that there are supposedly a ceptillion (10 to 24 degrees) stars in our universe. These are theoretical calculations based on the approximate size and age of the universe. The origin of the universe is explained by the Big Bang theory. This is why the universe is constantly expanding and the more time passes, the more complex the universe and its components become.

Why the universe does not fit into science 91

It is not entirely correct to consider and perceive this scientific theory “head-on”. Scientists always claim that that explosion was not exactly an explosion, and the point that exploded was not the only one. After all, it was everywhere, because space did not exist then. And in general – everything happened quite differently from what is described in the Big Bang theory, but all other descriptions of the origin of the universe are even more incredible and inaccurate.

Separate but interconnected

That which is beyond the reach of human perception is usually discarded by science, or recognized as non-existent. Recognizing one thing, science does not want to recognize the existence of the other, although everything in our world is interconnected and is not able to exist separately – by itself.

Each object of the universe is a part of it much more than an independent, separate object.

Any person, like any material object of our world, consists of components: organs, cells, molecules, atoms. And each of its constituent parts can represent the whole world. Separate, and at the same time connected with all the others.

However, science, as a rule, perceives all the components of the universe – people, animals, plants, objects, the Earth, the Sun, other planets and stars – as separate subjects, thereby limiting itself.

Why the universe does not fit into science 92

Even what is considered the visible universe, one of the atoms of which could be called our solar system, is not subject to the boundaries of human perception. But perhaps the atom is an exaggeration, and our solar system is not even an atom, but one of its elements!

How, being so far from the truth, can one reason about something with the degree of probability with which science tries to reason about the origin of the universe?

Continue Reading

Space

An unexplained wobble shifts the poles of Mars

An unexplained wobble shifts the poles of Mars 93

The red planet sways from side to side like a whirligig when it loses speed. The new study allowed scientists to notice that the poles of Mars deviate slightly from the axis of rotation of the planet. On average, they move 10 cm from the center with a period of 200 days.

Such changes are called the Chandler Oscillations  – after the American astronomer Seth Chandler, who discovered them in 1891. Previously, they were only seen on Earth. It is known that the displacement of the poles of rotation of our planet occurs with a period of 433 days, while the amplitude reaches 15 meters. There is no exact answer why this is happening. It is believed that the fluctuations are influenced by processes in the ocean and the Earth’s atmosphere.

Chandler’s wobbles on Mars are equally perplexing. The authors of the study discovered them by comparing data from 18 years of studying the planet. The information was obtained thanks to three spacecraft that orbit the Red Planet: Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Global Surveyor. 

Since Mars has no oceans, it is likely that the Red Planet’s wobbly rotation is due to changes in atmospheric pressure. This is the first explanation that researchers have shared. In the future, there should be new details about the fluctuations that have so interested the scientific community.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

DO NOT MISS

Trending