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Nokia will establish mobile network on moon by 2022
Nokia will establish mobile network on moon by 2022
Credit: unsplash.com / NASA

The Finnish company Nokia has announced that they have been awarded a contract by Nasa to build a mobile network on the moon. Initially it will be based on the 4G/LTE technology and later upgraded to 5G.

The network will serve as a foundation for astronauts to make phone calls and send data. Ground stations on Earth will also be able to control devices and vehicles remotely.

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SpaceX has launched 60 Starlink internet satellites
SpaceX has launched 60 Starlink internet satellites
Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket with 60 more Starlink internet relay satellites Sunday from the Kennedy Space Center. The company plans another launch for October 21.

Sunday's was the 14th Starlink launch, with 835 satellites put in orbit so far.,

The booster's first stage landed without problems on the "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Latest Soyuz mission established a new record for flights to the ISS
Soyuz approaching the ISS
Soyuz approaching the ISS Credit: NASA (Public Domain)

The Soyuz mission, launched from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 05:45 UTC Wednesday, became the fastest ever journey from Earth to the ISS, with a total travel time of three hours and three minutes. Similar launches, since 2013, take around six hours.

Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos and NASA's Kathleen Rubins were onboard the Soyuz.

Roscosmos stated that "a new record for flights to the International Space Station was set – the total time from launch to docking of the Soyuz MS-17 was three hours and three minutes."

Previously, only an uncrewed Progress cargo space ship has used this profile which requires just two orbits before docking with the ISS.

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NASA's Artemis Accords to guide moon exploration signed by eight nations
NASA's Artemis Accords to guide moon exploration signed by eight nations
Credit: NASA

Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America have signed on as founding member nations to NASA's Artemis Accords, an international agreement that "will help to avoid conflict in space and on Earth by strengthening mutual understanding and reducing misperceptions."

"Artemis will be the broadest and most diverse international human space exploration program in history, and the Artemis Accords are the vehicle that will establish this singular global coalition," so NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "With today's signing, we are uniting with our partners to explore the Moon and are establishing vital principles that will create a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in space for all of humanity to enjoy."

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NASA delays first Space X's Crew Dragon operational mission
NASA delays first Space X's Crew Dragon operational mission
Credit: NASA (Public Domain)

The launch of NASA's SpaceX Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station was delayed and is now targeted for no sooner than early-to-mid November. The delay allows SpaceX to complete testing an off-nominal behaviour of Falcon 9 first stage engine gas generators.

"We have a strong working relationship with our SpaceX partner," said Kathy Lueders, associate administrator of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. "With the high cadence of missions SpaceX performs, it really gives us incredible insight into this commercial system and helps us make informed decisions about the status of our missions. The teams are actively working this finding on the engines, and we should be a lot smarter within the coming week."

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Artemis mission: NASA pledges to land first woman on moon by 2024
@NASA_Astronauts  are preparing now for moonwalks planned for when we land the first woman and next man on the Moon -- and they're practicing underwater to evaluate how we'll train for #Artemis missions.
@NASA_Astronauts are preparing now for moonwalks planned for when we land the first woman and next man on the Moon -- and they're practicing underwater to evaluate how we'll train for #Artemis missions. Credit: @NASA_Johnson, via Twitter | NASA (Public Domain)

NASA has annouced it's preparing for its second mission to Moon. Artemis, the first lunar mission since 1972, will land the first woman and the next man on the surface of the Moon in 2024.

"NASA engineers are laying the foundation for the moonwalks the first woman and next man will conduct when they land on the lunar South Pole in 2024 as part of the Artemis program. At the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, teams are testing the tools and developing training approaches for lunar surface operations," so NASA in a statement.

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24 super-earths discovered by scientists
24 super-earths discovered by scientists
Credit: unsplash.com / The New York Public Library

What is better than earth? 24 super habitable plants that scientists at the Washington State University have discovered now.

They specifically defined "superhabitability criteria" and checked 4,500 exoplanets against these to find the ones that could, in theory, be more habitable than our earth. While none of the 24 planets meets all of the defined criteria, one meets four of them which possibly makes it a better earth than our Earth.

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Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 goes to three black hole researchers
Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 goes to three black hole researchers
Credit: Event Horizon Telescope / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

Half of this year's Nobel Prize in Physics goes to Roger Penrose (UK) and the other half to Reinhard Genzel (Germany)and Andrea Ghez (USA) for their "discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy". This was announced by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm on Tuesday. Reinhard Genzel is director of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching near Munich.

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NASA and SpaceX schedule the first Crew Dragon operational flight for October 31
NASA and SpaceX schedule the first Crew Dragon operational flight for October 31
Credit: NASA (Public Domain)

NASA and SpaceX are targeting 6:40(UTC), October 31, for the launch of the SpaceX Crew-1 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station.

Astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will be carried to the station on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Roscosmos, states Venus is a Russian planet
Dmitry Rogozin
Dmitry Rogozin Credit: Government.ru (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Following the announcement that phosphine had been detected in the atmosphere of Venus, Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin stated Tuesday that "Venus is a Russian planet." Russia plans to send its own mission to Venus in addition to "Venera-D," the planned joint mission with the US.

During an interview, Rogozin said: "We think that Venus is a Russian planet, so we shouldn't lag behind," and "Projects of Venus missions are included in the united government program of Russia's space exploration for 2021-2030."

Studies carried out in Russia between 1967-1984 were at the forefront of international research into Venus.

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Solar Cycle 25 has begun
This split image shows the difference between an active Sun during solar maximum (on the left, captured in April 2014) and a quiet Sun during solar minimum (on the right, captured in December 2019).
This split image shows the difference between an active Sun during solar maximum (on the left, captured in April 2014) and a quiet Sun during solar minimum (on the right, captured in December 2019). Credit: NASA/SDO

The sun is starting over. NASA reports that Solar Cycle 25 has begun in December 2019, signaling an increase in space weather that could impact the Earth's power grid, airlines and astronauts in space. Roughly every 11 years, the sun completes a solar cycle of various activity measures in the number of sunspots on the solar surface.

"As we emerge from solar minimum and approach Cycle 25’s maximum, it is important to remember solar activity never stops; it changes form as the pendulum swings," said Lika Guhathakurta, solar scientist at the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

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Scientists detect phosphine in Venus' atmosphere - a possible sign for life
Scientists detect phosphine in Venus' atmosphere - a possible sign for life
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech (Public Domain)

In a new paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy researchers from Cardiff University, the UK around Prof Jane Greaves presents their finding of phosphine 50km up in the clouds of Venus.

Dr William Bains from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has stated that "in principle, a more water-loving life could hide itself away inside a protective shell of some sorts inside the sulphuric acid droplets" adding that "we're talking bacteria surrounding themselves by something tougher than Teflon and completely sealing themselves in. But then how do they eat? How do they exchange gases? It's a real paradox".

Further investigation into the matter needs a probe to be send to Venus.

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Rocket Lab launches Earth-observing satellite for Capella Space
"I Can't Believe It's Not Optical" launch
"I Can't Believe It's Not Optical" launch Credit: RocketLab (Twitter Reproduction)

Rocket Lab successfully launched Monday, from their New Zealand launch facility, a satellite on behalf of client Capella Space. In just over a month, Rocket Lab was able to identify what went wrong with the previous Electron launch, that caused the loss of seven satellites.

"I Can't Believe It's Not Optical" was the 14th orbital launch for the Electron booster, which debuted in May 2017. The rocket had strung together 11 consecutive successful missions until the July 4 failure.

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SpaceX successfully launches Earth-observation satellite for Argentina
SpaceX successfully launches Earth-observation satellite for Argentina
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

SpaceX launched three satellites Sunday, including the SAOCOM-1B for the Argentine Space Agency. The mission was the first polar launch from Cape Canaveral since 1969.

The company reused a Falcon 9 booster that previously flew on two separate commercial resupply missions to the International Space Station, and one mission to deploy Starlink's internet satellites.

SpaceX originally planned two launches to be performed on Sunday, but the weather earlier in the day forced the first launch to be rescheduled.

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NASA Astronaut Jeanette Epps to join ISS as first black woman
NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps
NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps Credit: NASA (Public Domain)

Jeanette Epps is going to make history as the first black woman on the ISS.

Epps is set to join NASA astronauts Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada on NASA's Boeing Starliner-1 mission, a six-month expedition aboard the orbiting space laboratory set to launch in 2021.

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Rocket Lab sets next Electron launch to August 27
Rocket Lab sets next Electron launch to August 27
Credit: Rocket Lab

After losing a payload during a mission failure on July 4, Rocket Lab has set a launch window for its next commercial mission starting on August 27 at 3:05 PM local New Zealand time.

The new Electron mission is billed as a relatively commonplace small satellite delivery mission and will launch from Launch Complex 1 Pad A on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula.

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An asteroid is headed towards Earth with an 0.41% chance of impact, NASA says
An asteroid is headed towards Earth with an 0.41% chance of impact, NASA says
Credit: unsplash.com/Chris Henry

A Near Earth Asteroid (NEA), also known as 2018VP1, is heading towards Earth and is predicted to pass near Earth on November 2, one day before the US election day. The asteroid, first detected in November 2018, has roughly 2 metres in diameter and has a 0,41% chance of impacting Earth. The Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has predicted three potential impacts "based on 21 observations spanning 12.968 days," but a direct impact is most unlikely.

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SpaceX raises $1.9 billion in new funding
SpaceX raises $1.9 billion in new funding
Credit: Official SpaceX Photos (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

SpaceX has raised $1.9 billion in new funding, bringing the post-money valuation of the company to $46 billion after the transaction.

According to data from Crunchbase, this would be the most significant single fundraising round to date by SpaceX.

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SpaceX launched on Tuesday 58 Starlink satellites and 3 SkySats
SpaceX launched on Tuesday 58 Starlink satellites and 3 SkySats
Credit: SpaceX (Reproduction)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 launch on Tuesday delivered 61 satellites: 3 SkySats and 58 for the Starlink constellation. The first stage booster successfully landed on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship.

Today's mission was the sixth time SpaceX used this particular Falcon 9 rocket, a new record for the company. SpaceX also reported they caught one half of the nosecone fairing.

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NASA and SpaceX targeting late October for next astronaut launch
Crew-1 Astronauts
Crew-1 Astronauts Credit: NASA (Public Domain)

NASA and SpaceX have set October 23 as a tentative launch for Crew-1, the first operational crewed mission for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. Crew-1 will carry astronauts Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Soichi Noguchi and Shannon Walker to the ISS.

Crew-1 launch in late October to accommodate spacecraft traffic for the upcoming Soyuz crew rotation and best meet the needs of the International Space Station. The launch will follow the arrival of NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos aboard their Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft and the departure of NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner from the space station. The launch timeframe also allows for a crew handover with NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission next spring.

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Dwarf Planet Ceres has a Salty Ocean Beneath it's Surface
Dwarf Planet Ceres has a Salty Ocean Beneath it's Surface
Credit: Justin Cowart (Public Domain)

Using infrared imaging from the Dawn orbiter scientist discovered the presence of hydrohalite, common in sea ice but never seen outside earth until now. Deposits built up as recently as 2 million years ago.

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Amazon gets approval to launch 3,236 satellites into orbit for internet services
Amazon gets approval to launch 3,236 satellites into orbit for internet services
Credit: unsplash.com / NASA

The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved a request from Amazon to launch 3,236 communication sattelites into low earth orbit.

The company plans to provide a low-latency, high-speed satellite-based internet connections to United States households with it's Project Kuiper. Amazon has announced that it will invest over $10 billtion into the project and will build a supporting infrastructure on the ground in addition to launching the satellites.

With Project Kuiper Amazon goes into direct competition to the Starlink network by SpaceX that aims towards the same goals.

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SpaceX Capsule splashdown successful, first water landing since 1975
SpaceX Capsule splashdown successful, first water landing since 1975
Credit: @NASA, via Twitter

Doug and Bob are back on planet Earth. The Crew Dragon capsule splashed down safely at 2:48 PM EDT in the Gulf of Mexico. Sunday's splashdown marked NASA's first water landing since 1975.

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SpaceX Crew Dragon departed and headed home
SpaceX Crew Dragon departed and headed home
Credit: SpaceX (Creative Commons CC0 Waiver)

Bob and Doug are getting ready for splashdown. The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule successfully undocked from the ISS on Saturday night at 7:35 PM EDT. NASA's astronauts Robert L. Behnken and Douglas G. Hurley had been in Space since May, joining NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and two Russian Russian astronauts, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner.

If the weather and sea conditions in the Gulf of Mexico remain favorable, splashdown will be at 2:48 PM EDT on Sunday.

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SpaceX Crew Dragon in preparation to return to Earth
Personnel from NASA, SpaceX and the U.S. Air Force practicing recovery operations for the SpaceX Crew Dragon.
Personnel from NASA, SpaceX and the U.S. Air Force practicing recovery operations for the SpaceX Crew Dragon. Credit: SpaceX / Public domain

Bob and Doug are coming home. SpaceX's Crew Dragon will undock from the ISS at 7:34 PM EDT on August 1. Splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Panama City is expected at around 2:42 PM EDT on August 2.

A final decision on whether to proceed with the mission will be made approximately six hours before undocking and will largely depend on weather conditions and Hurricane Isais, which is currently headed towards Florida.

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Nasa has launched the Mars rover Perseverance to detect life on the Red Planet
Nasa has launched the Mars rover Perseverance to detect life on the Red Planet
Credit: Twitter Reproduction (Public Domain)

NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance blasted off from Cape Canaveral on Thursday atop an Atlas 5 rocket on a mission to search for traces of potential past life on Earth’s planetary neighbour. Perseverance was the third of three Mars missions to launch in the space of just ten days, after the United Arab Emirates’ Mars Hope orbiter, and China’s Tianwen-1.

The six-wheeled rover is on a path to intercept Mars in February next year, and when it lands, the Nasa robot will also gather rock and soil samples to be sent home later this decade.

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Virgin Galactic reveals the cabin of SpaceShipTwo
The interior cabin of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo
The interior cabin of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Credit: Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic revealed the interior of its spaceplane on Tuesday. The cabin. a collaboration of Virgin Galactic with London design agency, Seymourpowell, has six tailored, teal-coloured seats and 12 cabin circular windows for astronauts to gaze at Earth from.

A ticket for the suborbital flight aboard the air-launched SpaceShipTwo costs $250,000.

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"Semper Supra" – Space Force unveils new logo and motto
The U.S Space Force released its logo and motto, Semper Supra (Always Above), July 22, 2020 at the Pentagon, D.C. The logo and motto honor the heritage and history of the U.S. Space Force.
The U.S Space Force released its logo and motto, Semper Supra (Always Above), July 22, 2020 at the Pentagon, D.C. The logo and motto honor the heritage and history of the U.S. Space Force. Credit: United States Space Force, Staff Sgt. James Richardson |

"Semper Supra", Latin for "Always Above", is the new motto of the United States Space Force, representing the agency's "role in establishing, maintaining, and preserving U.S. freedom of operations in the space domain."

The Delta shaped logo, not to be confused with Star Trek, was revealed Wednesday on Twitter and "signifies defense and protection from all adversaries." The symbol, first used in 1961, "honors the heritage of the USAF and Space Command."

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China's Tianwen-1 Mars rover launched from Wenchang spaceport
China's Tianwen-1 Mars rover launched from Wenchang spaceport
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU / Public domain

Mars is getting crowded. On July 23, China has launched its Tianwen-1 mission atop a Long March 5 rocket from Wenchang spaceport on Hainan Island. The Tianwen-1 Mars rover – or "Questions to Heaven" – is scheduled to arrive in Martian orbit in February and land on the surface of the Red Planet two or three months later.

"Specifically, the scientific objectives of Tianwen-1 include: (1) to map the morphology and geological structure, (2) to investigate the surface soil characteristics and water-ice distribution, (3) to analyze the surface material composition, (4) to measure the ionosphere and the characteristics of the Martian climate and environment at the surface, and (5) to perceive the physical fields (electromagnetic, gravitational) and internal structure of Mars," members of a recent Nature Astronomy paper wrote.

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SpaceX launches South Korea satellite, recovers booster and two fairings
SpaceX launches South Korea satellite, recovers booster and two fairings
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

The SpaceX Falcon 9 launch on Monday delivered the ANASIS-II, a South Korean military communications satellite, to orbit and set a new record for the fastest turnaround time for reusing a rocket. The first stage booster successfully landed on the "Just Read the Instructions" droneship.

The company also set a new milestone by catching both halves of the nosecone fairing. Catching the $6-million fairing spares it from suffering any saltwater damage and so allows it to be used again with minimal maintenance, reducing costs.