A tiny Chinese satellite spotted the 2019 total solar eclipse from the moon. The views are amazing.
An image from Longjiang 2 of the solar eclipse that crossed over South America on July 2, 2019. (Image credit: Harbin Institute of Technology)
A tiny Chinese satellite in lunar orbit captured incredible images of a total solar eclipse over South America last year, thanks to commands from radio enthusiasts.
The images were taken July 2, 2019, with the tiny ‘Inory eye‘ camera, installed on Longjiang 2, a microsatellite developed by a team at Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) in northeast China.
Longjiang 2, also known as DSLWP-B, was launched with a twin in May 2018. The two tiny satellites piggybacked on the mission to launch Queqiao, a communications relay satellite that later facilitated the Chang’e 4 landing on the far side of the moon. The Longjiang program was designed to test a kind of interferometry technique for astronomical observations.
NASA says it will be forced to delay the launch of its multibillion-dollar Perseverance mission to no earlier than July 30. The Mars-bound large rover must launch on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida before the middle of August, or it will miss Earth’s conjunction with the red planet.
This is the third delay in the launch campaign for Perseverance, formerly known as Mars 2020, and the most concerning because a new, formal launch date has not been set.
A problem arose during a Wet Dress Rehearsal test earlier this month. During this standard prelaunch test, an Atlas V rocket is fueled with propellant and a countdown is conducted until the final moments before ignition. So what happened? “A liquid-oxygen sensor line presented off-nominal data during the Wet Dress Rehearsal, and additional time is needed for the team to inspect and evaluate,” NASA said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon, in response to a query from Ars.
A source in Florida indicated that the issue was related to the Atlas V rocket’s Centaur upper stage, which is fueled with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.
Expanding launch window
The $2.1 billion rover is similar to NASA’s Curiosity rover but contains several upgrades, including the addition of a small helicopter, and it will launch on the 541 configuration of the Atlas V rocket. NASA originally set a launch window from July 17 to August 11, the optimal period for the rocket to launch, and for Perseverance to reach Mars within about six months.
The launch has since been delayed from July 17 to July 20 due to a crane issue during the stacking process; it was again delayed from July 20 to July 22. NASA attributed the latter setback to “a processing delay encountered during encapsulation activities of the spacecraft.”Advertisement
The spacecraft has yet to be stacked on top of the Atlas V rocket’s first and second stages. It now seems likely that the rocket’s manufacturer, United Launch Alliance, will need to understand and address the issue with the liquid-oxygen sensor line before that activity can proceed. Once the rocket and its payload reach the launch pad, the mission will also have to contend with summertime weather in Florida, where storms along the coast are common.
On Tuesday, the space agency said it had extended the launch window to August 15 and will examine whether the launch window can be extended a few more days into August. If the Perseverance mission misses this launch window, it would be delayed 26 months, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, until the next Earth-Mars conjunction in 2022.
SpaceX is set to launch a Falcon 9 rocket today from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch is set to take place at 3:55 PM EDT (12:55 PM PDT), with a 15-minute window opening at that time, and there is a backup opportunity on Wednesday, July 1 if the launch needs to be pushed back for any time. This rocket is carrying a GPS III Space Vehicle, which is named “Katherine Johnson” after the NASA mathematician who played a fundamental role in Mercury, Apollo and Space Shuttle programs.
The launch today will add another GPS III satellite to the U.S. Space Force’s existing in-space GPS assets, which include three already on orbit, with another one set to be deployed in 2022. This third-generation GPS satellite is three times more accurate, and eight times more resilient in terms of its ability to resist gaming efforts than prior versions. In addition to its use for military and defense applications, the GPS III satellite will also contribute to civilian GPS-based satellite navigation.
This launch will include a landing of the Falcon 9 booster, using SpaceX’s “Just Read the Instructions” drone landing ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX has had a very busy launch schedule over the past month, including its historic first crewed spacecraft launch on May 30 with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board. It also subsequently launched two Starlink missions to add to its low Earth orbit broadband constellation, and had another planned for last week, which ended up having to be delayed until after this flight today.
The webcast will kick off above around 15 minutes prior to the launch time, so at around 3:40 PM EDT (12:40 PM PDT)
Moving at eight kilometers (five miles) per second, the International Space Station (ISS) circles our planet every 90 minutes. In a 24-hour period, crew members on the ISS experience 16 sunrises and sunsets. Despite how often the station passes directly between Earth and the Sun, capturing an image of the ISS transiting our nearest star is rare.
On June 24, 2020, NASA photographer Joel Kowsky captured such an occurrence from Fredericksburg, Virginia. The image above is a composite, made from six frames, and shows the ISS in silhouette as it moved from right to left across the solar disk while orbiting 400 kilometers (250 miles) above Earth.
The image below shows the position of the ISS in its orbit as Kowsky snapped his photos at approximately 1:15 p.m. U.S. Eastern Daylight Time. The transit lasted approximately 0.54 seconds and was captured while his camera was shooting at 10 frames per second. Watch a video of the transit below.
Ten photographs assembled in sequence show the International Space Station, with a crew of five onboard, in silhouette as it transits the Sun at roughly five miles per second, Wednesday, June 24, 2020, from Fredericksburg, Va. Onboard are Expedition 63 NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy, Douglas Hurley, Robert Behnken, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky) Note: Sequence repeats three times.
Kowsky says many websites help identify when the ISS will be transiting the Sun, but weather and timing are usually the main issues for shooting clear photos. “With a very limited path of visibility along the ground, having clear weather at the identified location is one of the most limiting factors in being able to capture a transit,” said Kowsky, who had weather ruin a recent attempt. Proper safety equipment is also necessary when photographing the Sun, as looking directly at it can damage your eyes.
NASA has previously published images of the ISS crossing the Sun, including during the total solar eclipse in August 2017. Recent transit images (such as the one below) have also shown a lack of sunspots as the Sun enters a period of low solar activity known as the solar minimum.
The Space Station Crosses a Spotless Sun. That’s no sunspot. It’s the International Space Station (ISS) caught passing in front of the Sun. Strangely, besides that fake spot, in this recent two-image composite, the Sun lacked any real sunspots. The featured picture combines two images — one capturing the space station transiting the Sun — and another taken consecutively capturing details of the Sun’s surface. Image Credit & Copyright: Rainee Colacurcio
Photograph by NASA/Joel Kowsky. Earth Observatory map by Joshua Stevens.
A very good article, especially given the time we currently live in. I know these are conversations I struggle with: https://ideas-ted-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/ideas.ted.com/why-we-should-all-stop-saying-i-know-exactly-how-you-feel/amp/
You don’t. And you’re also steering the focus away from someone who probably just wants to be heard. Here’s how to be a more considerate conversation partner, says radio host and writer Celeste Headlee.
A good friend of mine lost her dad some years back. I found her sitting alone outside our workplace, just staring at the horizon. She was absolutely distraught, and I didn’t know what to say to her. It’s so easy to say the wrong thing to someone who is grieving and vulnerable.
So I started talking about how I grew up without a father. I told her my dad had drowned in a submarine when I was only nine months old and I’d always mourned his loss, even though I’d never known him. I wanted her to realize that she wasn’t alone, that I’d been through something similar and I could understand how she felt.
But after I related this story, my friend snapped, “Okay, Celeste, you win. You never had a dad and I at least got to spend 30 years with mine. You had it worse. I guess I shouldn’t be so upset that my dad just died.”
I was stunned and mortified. “No, no, no,” I said, “that’s not what I’m saying at all. I just meant I know how you feel.”
And she answered, “No, Celeste, you don’t. You have no idea how I feel.”
Often subtle and unconscious, conversational narcissism is the desire to do most of the talking and to turn the focus of the exchange to yourself.
She walked away and I stood there feeling like a jerk. I had wanted to comfort her and, instead, I’d made her feel worse. When she began to share her raw emotions, I felt uncomfortable so I defaulted to a subject with which I was comfortable: myself. She wanted to talk about her father, to tell me about the kind of man he was. She wanted to share her cherished memories. Instead, I asked her to listen to my story.
From that day forward, I started to notice how often I responded to stories of loss and struggle with stories of my own experiences. My son would tell me about clashing with a kid in Boy Scouts, and I would talk about a girl I fell out with in college. When a coworker got laid off, I told her about how much I struggled to find a job after I had been laid off years earlier. But when I began to pay more attention, I realized the effect of sharing my experiences was never as I intended. What all of these people needed was for me to hear them and acknowledge what they were going through. Instead, I forced them to listen to me.
Sociologist Charles Derber describes this tendency as “conversational narcissism.” Often subtle and unconscious, it’s the desire to take over a conversation, to do most of the talking, and to turn the focus of the exchange to yourself. Derber writes that it “is the key manifestation of the dominant attention-getting psychology in America.”
He describes two kinds of responses in conversations: a shift response and a support response. The first shifts attention back to yourself, and the second supports the other person’s comment.
Example number 1:
The shift response
Mary: I’m so busy right now.
Tim: Me, too. I’m totally overwhelmed.
The support response
Mary: I’m so busy right now.
Tim: Why? What do you have to get done?
Example number 2:
The shift response
Karen: I need new shoes.
Mark: Me, too. These things are falling apart.
The support response
Karen: I need new shoes.
Mark: Oh yeah? What kind are you thinking about?
Shift responses are a hallmark of conversational narcissism — they help you turn the focus constantly back to yourself. But a support response encourages the other person to continue their story. It lets them know you’re listening and interested in hearing more.
We can craftily disguise our attempts to shift focus — we might start a sentence with a supportive remark and then follow up with a comment about ourselves.
The game of catch is often used as a metaphor for conversation. In an actual game of catch, you’re forced to take turns. But in conversation, we often find ways to resist giving someone else a turn. Sometimes, we use passive means to subtly grab control of the exchange.
This tug-of-war over attention is not always easy to track. We can very craftily disguise our attempts to shift focus. We might start a sentence with a supportive comment, and then follow up with a comment about ourselves. For instance, if a friend tells us they just got a promotion, we might respond by saying, “That’s great! Congratulations. I’m going to ask my boss for a promotion, too. I hope I get it.”
Such a response could be fine, as long as we allow the focus to shift back to the other person again. However, the healthy balance is lost when we repeatedly shine the attention back on ourselves.
While reciprocity is an important part of any meaningful conversation, the truth is shifting the attention to our own experiences is completely natural. Modern humans are hardwired to talk about themselves more than any other topic. One study found that “most social conversation time is devoted to statements about the speaker’s own emotional experiences and/or relationships, or those of third parties not present.”
The insula, an area of the brain deep inside the cerebral cortex, takes in the information that people tell us and then tries to find a relevant experience in our memory banks that can give context to the information. It’s mostly helpful: the brain is trying to make sense of what we hear and see. Subconsciously, we find similar experiences and add them to what’s happening at the moment, and then the whole package of information is sent to the limbic regions, the part of the brain just below the cerebrum. That’s where some trouble can arise — instead of helping us better understand someone else’s experience, our own experiences can distort our perceptions of what the other person is saying or experiencing.
The more comfortable you are, the more difficult it is to empathize with the suffering of another.
A study from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences suggests that our egos distort our perception of our empathy. When participants watched a video of maggots in a group setting, they could understand that other people might be repulsed by it. But if one person was shown pictures of puppies while the others were shown the maggot video, the puppy viewer generally underestimated the rest of the group’s negative reaction to the maggots.
Study author Dr. Tania Singer observed, “The participants who were feeling good themselves assessed their partners’ negative experiences as less severe than they actually were. In contrast, those who had just had an unpleasant experience assessed their partners’ good experience less positively.” In other words, we tend to use our own feelings to determine how others feel.
Here’s how that translates to your daily conversations: Let’s say you and a friend are both laid off at the same time by the same company. In that case, using your feelings as a measure of your friend’s feelings may be fairly accurate because you’re experiencing the same event. But what if you’re having a great day and you meet a friend who was just laid off? Without knowing it, you might judge how your friend is feeling against your good mood. She’ll say, “This is awful. I’m so worried that I feel sick to my stomach.” You’d respond, “Don’t worry, you’ll be okay. I was laid off six years ago and everything turned out fine.” The more comfortable you are, the more difficult it is to empathize with the suffering of another.
It took me years to realize I was much better at the game of catch than I was at its conversational equivalent. Now I try to be more aware of my instinct to share stories and talk about myself. I try to ask questions that encourage the other person to continue. I’ve also made a conscious effort to listen more and talk less.
Recently, I had a long conversation with a friend who was going through a divorce. We spent almost 40 minutes on the phone, and I barely said a word. At the end of our call, she said, “Thank you for your advice. You’ve really helped me work some things out.”
The truth is, I hadn’t offered any advice. Most of what I said was a version of “That sounds tough. I’m sorry this is happening to you.” She didn’t need advice or stories from me. She just needed to be heard.
“The Space Launch System and Marshall test team have done a tremendous job of accomplishing this test program, marking a major milestone not only for the SLS Program but also for the Artemis program,” said John Honeycutt, the SLS Program Manager. “From building the test stands, support equipment and test articles to conducting the tests and analyzing the data, it is remarkable work that will help send astronauts to the Moon.”
For the final test, the liquid oxygen tank test article — measuring 70 feet tall and 28 feet in diameter — was bolted into a massive 185,000-pound steel ring at the base of Marshall’s Test Stand 4697. Hydraulic cylinders were then calibrated and positioned all along the tank to apply millions of pounds of crippling force from all sides while engineers measured and recorded the effects of the launch and flight forces. The liquid oxygen tank circumferentially failed in the weld location as engineers predicted and at the approximate load levels expected, proving flight readiness and providing critical data for the tank’s designers. The test concluded at approximately 9 p.m. CT. This final test on the liquid oxygen structural test article met all the program milestones.
Engineers completed almost 200 tests on the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket by breaking the liquid oxygen tank test article. This test was the last in a 3-year structural campaign to ensure the rocket’s structure was designed to endure the rigors of spacefllight. The tests were essential for safely sending astronauts to space on the Artemis missions the Moon. First, engineers used computer modeling to design the rocket’s major structures to specific factors of safety. Then, they anchored those models with testing to see if the model’s predictions are correct. More than 20 SLS structural tests showed that the liquid oxygen tank would survive the forces predicted to occur during launch and flight. The June 24 test pushed the tank beyond its limits to see how much force it would take to break the tank’s structure. This image shows water gushing out of the tank as it failed. The resulted circumferential buckling of the structure occurred within 2% of the predicted failure value. The test results will provide rocket designers with valuable information for making the SLS tanks lighter and for informing the designs of other government and commercial rockets. Credits: NASA/David Olive
The successful completion of SLS structural qualification testing at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama wraps up the largest test campaign at the center since tests conducted for the Space Shuttle Program, more than 30 years ago. During the test campaign five structural test articles underwent 199 separate test cases and more than 421 gigabytes of data were collected to add to computer models used to design the rocket. The final test marks the achievement of all SLS structural testing requirements prior to the Artemis I mission — the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars.
Earlier this year, NASA and engineers from Boeing, the core stage prime contractor, completed 24 baseline tests that simulated actual flight conditions on the liquid oxygen structural test article. For all the tests, thousands of sensors measure stress, pressure and temperature while high-speed cameras and microphones sought to identify any buckling or cracking in the tank’s cylindrical wall. The data gathered from this baseline test helped qualify the SLS core stage structures and integrated upper stage for flight.
The Marshall team has been conducting structural qualification testing on the rocket since May 2017 with an integrated test of the upper part of the rocket stacked together — including the interim cryogenic propulsion stage, the Orion stage adapter and the launch vehicle stage adapter. That was followed by testing of the four largest structures that compose the core stage — the engine section, the intertank, the liquid hydrogen tank and the liquid oxygen tank. Each of these tests provided additional data to computer models that predict how the structures will perform under the harsh conditions of launch and flight.
“The Marshall test lab team has worked closely with the Space Launch System Program to test the rocket’s structures from the top to bottom,” said Ralph Carruth, Marshall’s test lab director. “After watching the test stands being built, working alongside SLS and Boeing engineers to establish testing procedures and conducting and gathering results of five structural qualifying tests, we are proud to contribute data shows these structures can withstand the rigors of flight.”
With the conclusion of testing, designers now have data that may be helpful in optimizing SLS hardware. SLS will have the power to send astronauts forward to the Moon and ultimately to Mars. Testing the new, complex pieces of hardware is critical to the success not only of the first flight test of SLS and NASA’s Orion spacecraft, but also to all future missions.
“This year is a landmark year for core stage testing for the Artemis missions,” said Julie Bassler, the SLS stages manager. “We have successfully completed our core stage major structural tests at Marshall Space Flight Center and are making progress on Green Run testing of the Artemis I core stage at Stennis Space Center that will simulate launch. All these tests are not only valuable for the first Artemis mission but also validates the new integrated design of the SLS core stage structure, propulsion and avionics systems and ensures its readiness for future flights.”
To complete the structural qualification test campaign for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, the liquid oxygen structural test article was pushed beyond its limits until it broke and water gushed from the tank. The tank is a test article that is part of the SLS core stage that will produce 2 million pounds of thrust to help launch the rocket. The tank was bolted into a massive steel ring at the base of Marshall’s Test Stand 4697. Hydraulic cylinders were then calibrated and positioned along the tank to apply millions of pounds of crippling force from all sides while engineers measured and recorded the effects of the launch and flight forces. For the test on June 24, water used to simulate the liquid oxygen flows out of the tank after it ruptures. The structural test campaign was conducted on the rocket to ensure the SLS rocket’s structure can endure the rigors of launch and safely send astronauts to the Moon on the Artemis missions. Credits: NASA/David Olive
Teams at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi are making progress on Green Run testing of the assembled SLS core stage for the Artemis I mission. At NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Boeing, the core stage prime contractor, has manufactured all the main core stage structures for the Artemis II mission and started work on Artemis III structures. The 212-foot-tall core stage is the largest, most complex rocket stage NASA has built since the Saturn V stages that powered the Apollo missions to the Moon. Aerojet Rocketdyne has assembled engines for the Artemis II mission and is in the process of assembling Artemis III engines
Northrop Grumman recently delivered booster segments to the NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida where they are being prepared for launch. All 10 of the segments for the second Artemis mission are cast, and Northrop Grumman is now working on the boosters for Artemis III. With the arrival of the boosters to Kennedy, the only remaining pieces of hardware for the Artemis I flight test to be delivered are the launch vehicle stage adapter, which connects the rocket to the Orion spacecraft and will arrive this summer, and the SLS core stage, which will be transported to Kennedy by barge after the Green Run hot fire test at Stennis later this year.
The SLS rocket, Orion spacecraft, Gateway and human landing system are part of NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration. The Artemis program is the next step in human space exploration. It’s part of America’s broader Moon to Mars exploration approach, in which astronauts will explore the Moon and experience gained there to enable humanity’s next giant leap, sending humans to Mars.