Watch a ‘ballooning’ spider take flight.
Spiders spin their silk for far more than just webs: guy lines, egg sacs, and even cocoons to hold their still-living prey. But another piece of handiwork—sheetlike sails that help them catch the breeze—has gotten little scholarly attention, even after the practice of “ballooning” was first documented in the 1600s.Science Magazine
SpaceX is targeting Thursday, May 23 for the launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. SpaceX’s Starlink is a next-generation satellite network capable of connecting the globe, especially reaching those who are not yet connected, with reliable and affordable broadband internet services.
A Falcon-9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida late on Thursday, packed with 60 satellites capable of giving users on the ground high-speed connections to the internet.
Entrepreneur Elon Musk’s firm aims eventually to loft nearly 12,000 spacecraft for its “Starlink” network.
SpaceX is one of several commercial outfits with permission to fly an internet mega-constellation.
Others include the UK-based start-up OneWeb, which began its roll-out in February with six operational spacecraft.
Online retailer Amazon also has ambitions in this market. It’s working on a 3,200-satellite proposal known as Project Kuiper.
All the concepts envisage flying spacecraft in a low-Earth orbit less than 2,000km above the planet. This will minimise the delay, or latency, in the internet connections.BBC Science
Quick launch video.
Full, live streamed launch from SpaceX.
From SatTrackCam blog, Saturday, 25 May 2019
WOWOWOW!!!! A SPECTACULAR view of the SpaceX Starlink satellite train!
Just short of a day after the launch, near 22:55 UT on May 24, this resulted in a spectacular view over NW Europe, when a “train” of bright satellites, all moving close together in a line, moved across the sky. It rained UFO reports as a result, and the press picked it up as well.
There were no orbital elements for the objects available yet on Space-Track, but based on the orbital information (53 degree inclination, initially 440 km orbital altitude) I had calculated a search orbit and stood ready with my camera.
My search orbit turned out to be not too bad: very close in sky track, and with the objects passing some 3 minutes early on the predictions. And what a SPECTACULAR view it was!
It started with two faint, flashing objects moving into the field of view. Then, a few tens of seconds later, my jaw dropped as the “train” entered the field of view. I could not help shouting “OAAAAAH!!!!” (followed by a few expletives…).
Here is the video I shot, be prepared to be mind-blown!
The video was shot, in a partly clouded sky, with a WATEC 902H low-light-level surveillance camera, equipped with a Canon FD 1.8/50 mm lens. I could count at least 56 objects in the original video.
Over the coming days the “train” of objects will be making 2-3 passes each night. As they are actively manoeuvering with their ion thrusters, they will be more spread out with each pass, so the “train” will probably quickly dissipate.
The objects were launched into a ~440 km altitude, 53 degree inclined orbit. Using their ion thrusters, they will raise their orbits to ~550 km the coming days/weeks.
Last week NASA told us this:
[h/t to GretchensR for this one]
Comet inspires chemistry for making breathable oxygen on Mars.
Science fiction stories are chock full of terraforming schemes and oxygen generators for a very good reason—we humans need molecular oxygen (O2) to breathe, and space is essentially devoid of it. Even on other planets with thick atmospheres, O2 is hard to come by.
So, when we explore space, we need to bring our own oxygen supply. That is not ideal because a lot of energy is needed to hoist things into space atop a rocket, and once the supply runs out, it is gone.
One place molecular oxygen does appear outside of Earth is in the wisps of gas streaming off comets. The source of that oxygen remained a mystery until two years ago when Konstantinos P. Giapis, a professor of chemical engineering at Caltech, and his postdoctoral fellow Yunxi Yao, proposed the existence of a new chemical process that could account for its production. Giapis, along with Tom Miller, professor of chemistry, have now demonstrated a new reaction for generating oxygen that Giapis says could help humans explore the universe and perhaps even fight climate change at home. More fundamentally though, he says the reaction represents a new kind of chemistry discovered by studying comets.
Read more of the story at: Physics.com.
Get ready, folks, I think we are getting ready to colonize the moon.
And then, somehow I ended up at water-based illusions. 🤷♀️
The wagon wheel effect.
ASK ANY MOVIE nerd about Stagecoach, the 1939 western that launched John Wayne’s career, and they’ll tell you it’s one of the most influential films in cinematic history. But the movie holds another, more esoteric place in the hearts and minds of neuroscientists, for containing an early example of one of the most widely experienced visual illusions on Earth.Wired Science