Colossal collision at the beginning of the universe: this week in space

More than 50 startups have registered for the EXPAND program – an accelerator led by Israeli company Creation-Space and the Tech7 innovation community, along with additional partners, supported by the Israeli Space Agency. From these applicants, five companies will be chosen to receive comprehensive business and professional guidance tailored to the space sector, with an emphasis on developing projects to be implemented on the moon and possibly other planets. This support is intended to facilitate the selected companies’ submission of proposals for NASA’s Artemis program, which plans to return humans to the moon in the near future.

1 View gallery

“The majority of submitted proposals focus on construction-related innovations, ranging from excavation technologies or three-dimensional printing to energy production, food production or medicine,” Roy Naor, CEO of Creation-Space, told the Davidson Institute website. “We are in the process of conducting interviews with representatives from various companies, and the winners will be announced in about a week at the accelerator’s official launch event in Mitzpe Ramon”

The five selected companies will participate in an intensive mentoring program, which includes guidance on developing a tailor-made business plan for the space sector, raising funds, working with authorities and navigating regulatory frameworks, and more. In September, they will present their products at an event attended by investors and representatives of the Israeli space community, where the winning company will be announced. The winning company will receive a grant of 100,000 shekels for further product development. All five companies will continue to receive professional mentorship from the accelerator team for approximately one year, in addition to the launch of the second cycle of the accelerator for additional companies.

“Israel has enormous potential to make significant contributions to the space sector and integrate into the Artemis program and other space initiatives,” Naor said. “The aim of the program is to realize this potential and leverage the capabilities of Israeli companies. However, we are not just focused on applications exclusive to the space sector; we are also keen to identify companies whose products have substantial market potential here. on Earth and can help address our challenges here, such as climate change.”

An international team of scientists, using the James Webb Space Telescope, has identified a collision of galaxies with black holes at their centers that occurred when the universe was young. This discovery suggests that such giant black holes formed faster than previously thought. The researchers identified the merger processes of galaxies in a system known as ZS7, which is more than 13 billion light-years away and appears to us as if it were when the universe was only 740 million years old.

The black holes themselves cannot be seen through the telescope because they absorb the light that reaches them. However, it is possible to identify their accretion disk – the region where matter revolves around them on its way to being swallowed – thanks to the emission of radiation at wavelengths characteristic of gases and other materials affected by the immense gravity of the black hole. “We found evidence for very dense gas with fast motions near the black hole, as well as for hot and highly ionized gas illuminated by the energetic radiation typically produced by black holes during their accretion,” explains the head of the research team. , Hannah Übler from the University of Cambridge, UK. “Thanks to the unprecedented sharpness of its imaging capabilities, Webb also enabled our team to spatially separate the two black holes.”

The researchers calculated that one of the black holes has a mass 50 million times greater than that of our sun. Estimating the mass of the other black hole is more difficult because it is hidden in a gas cloud, but the researchers think it is similar in size.

At the centers of most major galaxies we know of is a supermassive black hole, including the Milky Way, whose central black hole has a mass four million times that of our Sun. One of the open questions in astrophysics is how black holes reached such enormous sizes and how they influenced the evolution of their galaxies. “Our findings suggest that mergers are an important route through which black holes can grow rapidly, even at cosmic dawn,” Übler added. “Together with other Webb findings of active, massive black holes in the distant universe, our results also show that massive black holes have determined the evolution of galaxies from the very beginning.”

SpaceX recently unveiled its new line of spacesuits, designed for extravehicular activities known as “spacewalks” – where astronauts venture outside the spacecraft and rely solely on their suits for protection from the harsh conditions of space. These suits will be operationally tested for the first time during the Polaris 1 mission, also called “Dawn” (or Polaris Dawn), the first-ever space mission to feature a spacewalk by private astronauts.

The Polaris program is expected to include three missions, with the first planned for next summer, although final details have yet to be announced. Led by billionaire Jared Isaacman, who previously funded and led the first private space mission to orbit Earth, Inspiration 4 in 2021, the inaugural Polaris mission will send Isaacman and three other private astronauts into orbit for five days. watch the Earth spin aboard a Dragon spacecraft. During this time, they will conduct several experiments, involving two astronauts performing a spacewalk to evaluate the functionality of the new suits. Because the Dragon is a small spacecraft without an ‘airlock’, all astronauts will wear spacesuits, meaning even those who don’t go outside will be exposed to the space environment. This mission will not only mark the first spacewalk by private astronauts, but also the first time four astronauts will encounter space conditions simultaneously.

SpaceX’s latest spacesuit represents a significant advancement over the current clothing astronauts wear aboard the Dragon spacecraft. Although existing suits are designed to protect astronauts in the event of spacecraft malfunction or external damage, they are not optimized for long-term outdoor vehicle activities. “Developed with mobility in mind, SpaceX teams have integrated new materials, manufacturing processes and new joint designs to provide astronauts with greater flexibility in pressurized scenarios, while maintaining comfort for non-pressurized scenarios,” according to a SpaceX press release. According to the announcement, the suits include 3D-printed helmets, helmet-mounted cameras, enhanced face shields and internal displays that display vital data such as pressure, temperature and humidity within the suit. They are also equipped with additional safety features, including valves and seals designed to maintain pressure integrity within the suit during activities and protect the astronaut.

SpaceX emphasizes that this current development represents an important step towards mass production of spacesuits tailored to different sizes and body types. These suits, which will enable many different people to go into space, are another step in SpaceX’s broader plan to contribute to the moon’s colonization efforts and lead the way in establishing human settlements on Mars.

Currently, the only initiative actively working to re-land humans on the moon is NASA’s Artemis program. Despite delays and setbacks, the Artemis program continues to make steady progress, and even if NASA fails to meet its planned goal of a crewed landing by the end of 2026, it is hoped that humans will once again set foot on the lunar surface by the end of the decade. The agency continues its preparations and this week two astronauts conducted a training session simulating activity on the lunar surface to test equipment and operational procedures in preparation for the Artemis 3 mission.

Astronauts Kate Rubins and Andre Douglas, dressed in simulation suits, tested a wide range of equipment and technologies in a volcanic valley in northern Arizona. The tests included a wide range of equipment and technologies, such as new devices for collecting soil samples, navigation and orientation in the field using virtual reality displays in their helmets, and a system for calibrating signals from the lunar landing vehicle.

“Field testing plays a critical role in testing all the systems, hardware and technology we need to conduct successful lunar operations on Artemis missions,” said Barbara Janoiko, director of field testing at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. “Our engineering and science teams have worked seamlessly together to ensure we are prepared every step of the way for when astronauts set foot on the moon again.”

A team of researchers from the United States has discovered three of the oldest known stars, located on the edge of our own Milky Way Galaxy. Led by Anna Frebel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the researchers initially came across these celestial relics during a course on cosmic archeology that Frebel himself taught. They estimate that these stars are between 12 and 13 billion years old and that they were formed when the universe was still very young and consisted mainly of hydrogen and helium. Examination of their light spectrum indicates that they are extremely poor in other elements, such as iron, barium and strontium, which are often found in later-forming stars.

The stars were discovered when students on the course analyzed observations Frebel made ten years ago with the Magellan telescope in Chile. They found the stars in an area known as the ‘halo’ around the Milky Way. The researchers calculated their orbits based on observations from the Gaia space telescope, which maps the Milky Way with high precision. They were surprised to find that these stars move in the opposite direction of most other stars orbiting the center of the Milky Way. Based on this finding, the researchers believe that these stars were once part of dwarf galaxies that were gradually absorbed by the Milky Way and left essentially on its edges, about 30,000 light-years away, persisting in their old orbits for billions of years.

Frebel and her colleagues began scouring the scientific literature for reports of similar stars drifting around the edges of the Milky Way and showing motions in opposite directions. Ultimately, they found data on 65 such stars, which are also poor in strontium and barium. They believe there are many more and now plan to search for them. “These oldest stars should definitely be there, given what we know about galaxy formation. They are part of our cosmic family tree. And we now have a new way to find them,” Frebel said. “… it was the piece of the puzzle that we needed, and that I didn’t quite expect when we started.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *