Next mission to Venus could be private: Rocket Lab hopes to launch its probe in 2023 | Technology

Will a small rocket company get ahead of NASA and Europe to explore Venus? Peter Beck, director of Rocket Lab, is expected to launch his own low-cost probe in 2023.

“A mission for Venus should cost around 30 million dollars,” Beck told AFP from Auckland, New Zealand, on whose coast Rocket Lab has installed its launch pad, away from everything and with access to a sky free of air traffic.

Venus, hellish and toxic, was abandoned in the 1980s by space agencies to flip to more distant planets in the solar system, including Mars, where dozens of probes and robots have been sent in the hope of discovering the first traces of past life.

“On Venus, we are looking for traces of current life”, corrects Peter Beck underlining the word “current.”

The surprising discovery of a molecule called phosphine in the clouds of Venus, thanks to radio telescopes, sparked a wave of enthusiasm on September 14 among astronomers and astrobiologists who have for years defended the hypothesis that microbes now live in the clouds of Venus. planet. However, phosphine is not a definitive test.

The announcement made even the head of NASA say that Venus should be given priority again.

Beck spent two years thinking about the feasibility of sending a probe, developed entirely privately.

He calculated, with the help of a doctoral student, that the small rocket developed by Rocket Lab – Photon – could be adapted for interplanetary travel, which until now had been the preserve of space agencies.

“When we talk about interplanetary missions in tens of millions of dollars instead of billions, in months instead of decades, the opportunities for incredible discoveries are created,” exclaims Beck.

5 minutes and it will disintegrate

Rocket Lab’s commercial niche is the launching of small satellites with its small 18-meter-high rocket into orbit, a lucrative bet that is booming with the multiplication of microsatellites.

The probe for Venus will be small: on the order of 37 kilograms and 30 centimeters in diameter. The trip from Earth takes 160 days and Photon will release the probe into the planet’s clouds to analyze them, without a parachute, at 11 kilometers per second.

The probe will only have 270 to 300 seconds to make its measurements in interesting parts of the atmosphere, according to Beck. It will then disintegrate or crash in the Venusian furnace (465 ° C on the ground).

The most difficult thing will be to choose the scientific instrument: Which molecule should you look for? Above all, it will have to weigh only about 3 kg, a miniaturization that some experts doubt but that for Beck is very possible.

Rocket Lab will need the help of scientists (MIT astronomer Sara Seager is already working on this).

This very personal adventure is part of the new space age, whose best representative is Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, who has revolutionized the launch industry with his reusable rockets, transports NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, and dreams of colonizing Mars.

NASA is no longer afraid to hire private missions. Rocket Lab will receive $ 10 million to send a microsatellite into lunar orbit in 2021.

As for Venus, Beck would like, after his first private mission, to offer his services to the NASA.

The space agency is considering returning to Venus, but not before 2026 at the earliest. “We want many, many missions every year,” says the young head of Rocket Lab.

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The next mission to Venus may be private

Will a small rocket company overtake NASA and Europe by exploring Venus in three years? This is the hope of Peter Beck, boss of the small American company Rocket Lab, who wants to launch his own low-cost probe in 2023.

“A mission for Venus should cost around $ 30 million,” Peter Beck told AFP from Auckland, New Zealand, on the coast of which Rocket Lab has installed its launch pad, far from everything and with access in the sky clear of all air traffic.

Venus, infernal and toxic, has been largely neglected since the 1980s by space agencies for the benefit of more distant planets in the solar system including Mars, where dozens of probes and robots have been sent in the hope of discovering the first traces of past life.

“On Venus, we are looking for traces of current life”, corrects Peter Beck, insisting on the word “current”.

The surprise discovery of a molecule called phosphine in the clouds of Venus, thanks to radio telescopes on Earth, sparked a wave of enthusiasm on September 14 among astronomers and astrobiologists who have been defending for years the hypothesis that microbes live today. ‘hui in the clouds of the planet. Phosphine is not definitive proof, but it is possible that it betrays the presence of living organisms.

The announcement even prompted the NASA chief to say that Venus had to be given priority again.

It turns out that Peter Beck was part of the pro-Venus camp, and had been thinking for two years about the feasibility of sending a probe, fully developed in a private way, he says.

He calculated, with the help of a doctoral student, that the small satellite that Rocket Lab developed in-house, Photon, could be adapted for interplanetary travel – until now the domain reserved for space agencies, given the costs eight or nine zeros.

“When we talk about interplanetary missions in tens of millions of dollars instead of billions, and in months rather than decades, it creates opportunities for incredible discoveries,” exclaims Peter Beck.

– 5 minutes, fall included –

Rocket Lab’s business niche is the sending of small satellites into Earth orbit, with its small 18-meter-high rocket, a lucrative bet and booming with the proliferation of microsatellites.

The probe for Venus will therefore be small: around 37 kilograms and 30 cm in diameter. The trip from Earth will take 160 days, then Photon will drop the probe into the planet’s clouds to analyze them, without a parachute, at 11 kilometers per second.

The probe will therefore only have between 270 and 300 seconds to make its measurements in interesting parts of the atmosphere, according to Peter Beck. Then it will disintegrate or crash into the Venusian furnace, so hot that lead would melt there (465 ° C on the ground).

The most complicated will be to choose the scientific instrument: which molecule should he look for? And above all: it will have to weigh in the order of only 3 kg, a miniaturization which experts doubt but quite possible, answers Peter Beck. There, Rocket Lab will need the help of scientists (MIT astronomer Sara Seager is already collaborating).

This very personal adventure is part of the new space age, whose best representative is Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, who revolutionized the launch industry with his reusable rockets, now transports astronauts from NASA to the International Space Station. , and dreams of colonizing Mars.

NASA is no longer afraid to subcontract missions to these entrepreneurs. Rocket Lab will be paid $ 10 million to send a microsatellite into lunar orbit in 2021.

As for Venus, Peter Beck would like, after his first private mission, to offer his services (paying) to NASA. The space agency is considering returning to Venus itself, but not until 2026 at the earliest.

“We want lots and lots of assignments every year,” says the young boss.

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A second “moon” will appear in Earth’s orbit in October


Great Britain,

24 Sep 2020.
/LIVE24/.

Astrophysicists recently discovered a mysterious celestial body approaching our planet.

Experts have already managed to warn the public that the object does not pose any threat to the world’s population. Moreover, a moving body can act not as an aggressor, but as a … companion!

“The object will easily fall into the trap of our orbit, and turn into a kind of mini-moon in October,” said astrophysicists. – The approaching body has already been named 2020 SO. If that happens, it will turn out to be the third documented “mini-moon” in Earth’s orbit.

According to experts, like two other objects, 2020 SO will be identified as an asteroid.

“Nevertheless, there is evidence that the approaching body may be nothing more than an impressive piece of space debris,” the experts explained. – It was just that one day such a piece “decided” to go home.

According to preliminary data of scientists, such an ejected upper stage Centaurus, which separated from the Surveyer-2 descent vehicle, launched in 1966, can act as a conditional asteroid. The device was supposed to study the surface of the moon, but the mission ended in failure.

– The object is quite identical in size to the alleged cosmic debris, but much slower than a classical asteroid, added astrophysicists.

According to space archaeologist Alice Gorman, the modest speed of an approaching object is a reflection of its original speed, which served as a starting point for creating a similar version of the “debris” nature of the body.

“It is simply impossible to track the entire garbage space,” said the experts. – Its volumes over the past decades are too large. So there is nothing surprising in the fact that something is trying to fly back.

Formerly LIVE24 reported that in order to destroy space debris in Japan, a satellite is being developed. Japanese scientists intend to develop a space satellite that will use a laser to destroy small debris from the feet of rockets and other debris in near-earth orbit. The project will be implemented by the Japan Aerospace Research Agency. According to preliminary data, the device should act on the debris with a laser beam and then throw it into the atmosphere for subsequent combustion. The satellite is planned to be launched in three years.

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Putin shows his chest for his Covid vaccine and offers it free to the UN

The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, He put his chest out before the UN on Tuesday for the rapid development in his country of a coronavirus vaccine and offered it free of charge to the organization to protect all its employees.

In his video message to the General Assembly, Putin He pointed out that his Government is ready to offer the United Nations all the necessary assistance, which includes free vaccination for all staff who want it.

He also said thatYour country is open to supply other nations with the so-called “Spútnik V”, which, as he highlighted, has been proven “safe” and “effective.”

Putin insisted that citizens around the world should have free access to a Covid-19 vaccine and He also underlined the Kremlin’s willingness to work with other governments to share diagnostic methods. and treatment of the disease.

In addition, in contrast to the United States, he defended that the World Health Organization (WHO) should have a central role in coordinating the response and said that Russia is working to strengthen the capacity of the Geneva-based entity.

On the other hand, Putin warned of the long-term economic effects that the current crisis will have and defended the need for the entire international community to work board to drive growth.

In this context, he stressed the importance of eliminating barriers, restrictions and, above all, “illegitimate sanctions” in international trade.

In the geopolitical and military sphere, the Russian leader He assured that he wants to cooperate with the United States to extend the strategic arms reduction treaty and hoped that there will be “restraint” when it comes to deploying new missile systems.

Too reiterated interest in a binding treaty to ban weapons in outer space and opted for more cooperation in cybersecurity.

Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, Putin defended the work of the organization and, although he recognized that it is necessary to adapt it to the reality of the 21st century, he made it clear that his country opposes major changes in the Security Council, where it is one of the five permanent members and has veto power.

According to him, for the Council to continue being the “pillar of global governance” it is essential that these five countries, nuclear powers and victors of World War II, retain the privilege of the veto.

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An asteroid passes near Earth Thursday and will not return before 2041

asteroid It will be closer to the Earth than the orbit of satellites, which are about 36,000 km from the surface of the Earth.

The agency noted that the size of the asteroid called (2020 SW) is the size of a small school bus, ranging from 5 to 10 meters in width.

The asteroid will approach Earth at 4:12 a.m. Pacific Time, and the asteroid will continue its journey around the sun, and it will not return to Earth’s vicinity until 2041, when it will fly much farther away.

The asteroid 2020 SW was discovered on September 18, and follow-up observations of its orbital path were confirmed with high accuracy, as a collision with Earth was ruled out.

The space agency said that "although asteroid Not on a collision course with Earth, except that if it were, it is almost certain that space rocks would disintegrate into the atmosphere, becoming a bright meteorite known as a fireball".

Although the passage of the small planet will not be visible with the naked eye, people with 12-inch telescopes will be able to see it.

It is reported that on August 20, an asteroid transited the closest flight to the surface of Earth ever recorded to an asteroid, and at that time, NASA admitted that it did not observe the asteroid until after it passed.

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According to a statement by NASA, the asteroid It will be closer to the Earth than the orbit of satellites, which are about 36,000 km from the surface of the Earth.

The agency noted that the size of the asteroid called (2020 SW) is the size of a small school bus, ranging from 5 to 10 meters in width.

The asteroid will approach Earth at 4:12 a.m. Pacific Time, and the asteroid will continue its journey around the sun, and it will not return to Earth’s vicinity until 2041, when it will fly much farther away.

The asteroid 2020 SW was discovered on September 18, and follow-up observations of its orbital path were confirmed with high accuracy, as a collision with Earth was ruled out.

The space agency said that, “although asteroid It is not on a collision course with the Earth, but if it were, it is almost certain that space rocks would disintegrate in the atmosphere, becoming a bright meteorite known as a fireball.

Although the passage of the small planet will not be visible with the naked eye, people with 12-inch telescopes will be able to see it.

It is reported that on August 20, an asteroid transited the closest flight to the surface of Earth ever recorded to an asteroid, and at that time, NASA admitted that it did not observe the asteroid until after it passed.

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“NASA” reveals the details of its “historical journey” to the moon

NASA" Under the program named after "Artemis"Send a man and a woman to a roof the moon, On the first manned landing since flight "Apollo 17" In the year 1972.

Astronauts will travel in a spacecraft-like capsule "Apollo", it’s called "Orion" It will be launched on board a powerful missile bearing the name "SLS", Network reported "Sky News" British.

The first stage will include a flight "Artemis -1" Unmanned, which will last for about a month, all important systems will be tested on a tour around the moon in autumn 2021.

The trip will take place "Artemis-2" The same tour will take place in 2023, but with a crew on board, while the last flight will take place in 2024 "Artemis -3" Astronauts land on the south pole of the moon.

Will be supplied Astronauts With advanced suits that give them more flexibility compared to those used in the previous Apollo flight.

The astronauts will spend seven days on the surface of the moon, during which they will collect samples and conduct several experiments before returning to Earth.

He concurred "NASA" Its program will also include building permanent infrastructure on the moon later this decade, to support long-haul flights that seek to discover the resources available on the moon and the possibility of their use.

The cost of the program is estimated at $ 28 billion, according to a director "NASA" Jim Bridenstein who explained that this figure includes all the expenses associated with the historic trip

Bridenstein explained that: "Budget request before House and Senate At the moment it includes $ 3.2 billion for a manned landing system".

و :ضاف: "We return to the moon again to seek more Scientific discoveries In search of economic benefits and inspiration for a new generation of explorers".

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Intends to “NASAWithin the framework of the program named “Artemis”, a man and a woman were sent to a roof the moonOn the first inhabited landing since flight.Apollo 17In the year 1972.

The astronauts will travel in a capsule similar to the “Apollo” vehicle, called “OrionIt will be launched on board a powerful missile, named “SLS,” according to the British “Sky News” network.

The first stage will include the unmanned “Artemis-1” flight, which will last for about a month, to test all important systems in a tour around the moon in autumn 2021.

The “Artemis-2” flight will do the same tour in 2023 but with a crew on board, while the last flight in 2024, “Artemis-3”, will witness the landing of astronauts on the south pole of the moon.

Will be supplied Astronauts With advanced suits that give them more flexibility compared to those used in the previous Apollo flight.

The astronauts will spend seven days on the surface of the moon, during which they will collect samples and conduct several experiments before returning to Earth.

According to “NASA”, its program will also include building permanent infrastructure on the moon later in the decade, in order to support long flights that will seek to discover the resources available on the moon and the possibility of their use.

The cost of the program is estimated at $ 28 billion, according to NASA Director Jim Bridenstein, who explained that this figure includes all expenses associated with the historic trip.

“The budget request is before House and Senate At the moment it includes $ 3.2 billion for a manned landing system. “

He added, “We go back to the moon again to seek more Scientific discoveries In search of economic benefits and the inspiration of a new generation of explorers. “

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New photos of Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons

The images and data revealing new details were recorded by the Cassini probe. She remembered “thrown” into Saturn’s atmosphere at the end of her mission to be destroyed.

The probe had flown over Enceladus no less than 147 times, with 23 “close encounters” of the frozen moon. The data is still being processed and scientific publications fall regularly.

In the present case, It’s about a ” global infrared mosaic », issue de l’instrument VIMS (Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer), the probe’s spectro-imager. It is close to the OMEGA instrument of the Mars Express probe, recalls the Paris observatory.

In addition to annotated images, a site has been put online to explore the moon of Saturn in 3D. As a reminder, we published an article dedicated to this gas giant as part of our dossier on the Solar System.

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A sign of life on Venus? Why we mustn’t go too fast

This Monday, September 13, an international team of researchers from the University of Manchester, Cardiff and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced in the journal Nature Astronomy have discovered traces of phosphine in the cloud layers of Venus.

“We have detected the presence of a rare gas, phosphine, which should not be present in the atmosphere of Venus,” said Jane Greaves, professor of astronomy at Cardiff University, one of the authors. of the publication. “It is possible that we have found traces of microorganisms that live in the clouds of Venus.”

The presence in the atmosphere of Venus of this molecule, mainly associated with human activity or microbes on Earth, has been described by the head of NASA as “the most important event” in the search for extraterrestrial life.

Part of the scientific community is more cautious. “We can’t conclude that they found alien life. We must not go too fast in the job “, nuance Francis Rocard, astrophysicist in charge of solar system exploration programs at the National Center for Space Studies (CNES), joined by RTL.fr.

Phosphine: an unlikely molecule on Venus

The phosphine was detected by observing the atmosphere of Venus using two terrestrial telescopes. According to the authors of the detection, its presence could be the result of unknown chemical processes or the consequence of a form of life, by analogy with the biological production of this gas on Earth.

“Phosphine is a molecule quite difficult to synthesize. It is synthesized either by chemical reactions, in very reducing environments and very rich in hydrogen like Jupiter and Saturn, or by biological processes, produced by living organisms “, summarizes Francis Rocard.

With a pressure 90 times greater than that of our planet, its acidic atmosphere and a ground temperature of over 400 degrees, Venus is not the first candidate to harbor a form of life. Its atmosphere is also not known to generate the chemical reactions capable of producing phosphine. The researchers tried in vain to explain the presence of phosphine by different chemical scenarios and ended up formulating the biological hypothesis which could produce the quantity detected.

“The detection of phosphine is not indisputable”

“It’s a conclusion by default,” said Francis Rocard. “The reasoning is to say that we have detected phosphine, but as the chemical process does not allow it to be produced, we try to find another mechanism that can explain it and we rely on it. . But you must first confirm that the phosphine has been detected, and this is perhaps the weakest point of the article. Other teams would need to detect phosphine with their instruments independent of the MIT team. “

This speculative conclusion reminds the astrophysicist “what we have been experiencing for a decade with the detections of methane on Mars, many of which are questioned by scientists”. “In the case of phosphine, a lot of people wonder,” he continues, “especially specialists in the spectroscopy of planetary atmospheres who stress that detection is limited in terms of signature / noise ratio. In addition, it is based only on one absorption line. However, it would take two or three to really confirm it.

“Carl Sagan said that any extraordinary discovery requires extraordinary evidence. Today, this detection of phosphine is not incontestable“Says the scientist. The challenge now is to confirm the presence of this molecule in the atmosphere of Venus. The best solution would be to observe our Shepherd’s Star with spectrometers in search of new signatures. The Indian mission Shukrayann could contribute to this by 2025 using the Franco-Russian instrument VIRAL.

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This planet shouldn’t actually exist – science

Spectacular find in space: astronomers stumbled upon a planet that could harbor life when it shouldn’t actually exist.

A planet discovered by chance defies all laws of physics and puzzles researchers at NASA. Because normally it shouldn’t exist because of its location. After all, it is orbiting a White Star – it should therefore be doomed to die. This discovery is a first.

Anything in the vicinity of a white star is usually destroyed by its high gravity. When a star – like our sun – has used up all its hydrogen reserves, it first swells to a red giant and devours everything in its vicinity (including the planets in the star system). Then it collapses and a dead core – a white dwarf – remains. This is so attractive that objects in its environment are actually not preserved as it is in a statement from NASA called.

Planet ignores the star’s gravitational force

But the planet found orbits the ten times smaller dying star. And it may even be habitable. WD 1586 b is a gas giant the size of Jupiter, with an average temperature of 17 degrees Celsius, which roughly corresponds to the conditions on earth. Its distance from Earth is only 82 light years.

Could the earth survive if the sun dies?

The astronomers’ chance discovery could provide an insight into a possible future scenario for our own solar system. It would be conceivable that even after a star has died out, life is still possible in its environment, the scientists write.

“The discovery was a surprise. An earlier example of a similar system, in which an object passed in front of a white dwarf, only showed the debris field of a decaying asteroid, ”wrote study director Andrew Vanderburg. The paper was published in Nature magazine released.

The researchers assume that the planet was one of the outer ones surrounding the star, because the next one must have suffered a worse fate.

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A plane carrying drugs registered in the USA was shot down in Venezuela :: Society :: RBC

Фото: @NestorLReverol / Twitter

The Venezuelan military shot down a plane with an American registration number used to transport drugs. About it reported Interior Minister Nestor Reverol on his Twitter page.

The plane flew through the state of Zulia. It transported drugs from Colombia – “the largest producer of cocaine in the world.” The military found the aircraft using radar.

Фото: @NestorLReverol / Twitter

Фото: @NestorLReverol / Twitter

In early July in Venezuela, the military shot down an American plane that entered the country’s airspace illegally. According to the military, it was used to transport drugs. According to Flightradar, this is a Hawker 800 private jet.

In 2013, President Nicolas Maduro allowed shoot down drug traffickers’ planes in Venezuelan airspace. The initiator of the bill was his predecessor, Hugo Chavez.

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