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Unexpected! The Japanese Lunar Lander SLIM successfully endures its second night of intense lunar activity

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The reports regarding the downfall of Japan’s Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) are highly overstated. The SLIM mission successfully executed a lunar landing in late January, showcasing a notable level of precision in landing on an unfamiliar celestial body. Regrettably, the touchdown was somewhat uneven, introducing complexities to the overall operation. However, it is evident that the technology was sufficiently robust to endure the significant decrease in temperature encountered during the harsh lunar night, not just once but twice!

Upon landing on January 19, SLIM’s disadvantaged position rendered it incapable of utilizing its solar panels for power generation. Although the position was regrettable, it is worth noting that SLIM was making progress in the correct direction. As the Moon underwent orbital motion around the Earth, the Sun initiated its illumination on the inclined surface where the solar panels were situated, thereby supplying the necessary energy.

The Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) announced in late February that SLIM had successfully endured its inaugural lunar night. Now, it has been reported that the robust inclined lander has once again achieved this feat, although its future remains unknown.

The previous evening, #SLIM informed us that the spacecraft had successfully crossed the lunar night for the second time. According to Jaxa’s report on the SLIM Twitter account, due to the bright sun and the equipment’s high temperature, we only captured a few images of the typical scenery using the navigation camera.

Based on the collected data, it has been observed that certain temperature sensors and unused battery cells are experiencing malfunctions. However, the bulk of functionalities that were operational during the initial lunar night were observed to persist even after the subsequent lunar night.

We can hope that SLIM will make it through a third night because good things tend to happen in groups of three. Whether it does or not, it has far exceeded our expectations. A smart lander for investigating the moon is what SLIM stands for. The point of it was to show that it is possible to land very precisely on another world. The goal was to soft-land just 330 feet (100 meters) from a certain target spot. From what we know now, it looks like it landed only 55 meters (180 feet) from where it was supposed to.

The moon’s night may have missed SLIM, but it did kill Odysseus, which also landed on its side. It’s not a new trend that all the cool people who live on the moon are doing this. This is proof of how hard it is to soft-land anywhere, even on the moon. Odysseus was the first US lander to land on the Moon in 50 years. It was also the first private lander that didn’t crash-land on the moon’s surface. It was owned by intuitive machines, which said it did not wake up a few days ago.

As Editor here at GeekReply, I'm a big fan of all things Geeky. Most of my contributions to the site are technology related, but I'm also a big fan of video games. My genres of choice include RPGs, MMOs, Grand Strategy, and Simulation. If I'm not chasing after the latest gear on my MMO of choice, I'm here at GeekReply reporting on the latest in Geek culture.

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Astronomy

The Ingenuity team at NASA has received their last communication, however, the Mars helicopter is still operational

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The NASA Ingenuity team said goodbye to the helicopter robot and got one last message before splitting up. But ingenuity isn’t really dead yet; it will still be collecting data on Mars.

It’s a great little robot, and in April 2021, it was the first to fly powered and controlled on a planet other than Earth. That’s not easy to do because conditions on Mars are so different.

“The Red Planet has a much lower gravity—one-third that of Earth’s—and an extremely thin atmosphere with only 1% of Earth’s pressure at the surface,” NASA said in a press release after Ingenuity’s first flight. “This means there are relatively few air molecules with which Ingenuity’s two 4-foot-wide (1.2-meter-wide) rotor blades can interact to achieve flight.”

It was planned for the helicopter, which was really just a prototype, to make five flights over 30 days on Mars. Instead, it made 72 flights over 1,000 days. NASA started to use it to get a bird’s-eye view of Mars and find interesting places for Perseverance to go back and look at more closely.

On the 72nd flight, unfortunately, Ingenuity had to make an emergency landing and lost touch with Perseverance. When they got in touch again, pictures from the helicopter showed that a rotor was badly damaged, so Ingenuity would not be able to fly again.

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Even though the helicopter can’t fly anymore, it can still gather information and send it to Perseverance. Perseverance then sends the information to Earth through NASA’s Deep Space Network. Before the Ingenuity team broke up, they got one last message from Ingenuity and ate cake to celebrate.

“I’m sorry, Dylan Thomas, but Ingenuity will not be going gently into that good Martian night,” said Josh Anderson, lead of the Ingenuity team at JPL. “It’s hard to believe that she still has something to give after more than 1,000 days on Mars’ surface, 72 flights, and one rough landing.” Because of how hard this amazing team worked, not only did Ingenuity do better than we thought it would, but it may also teach us new things in the years to come.

After stopping in “Valinor Hills” to rest, the robot’s job will be to gather data while it’s still, hopefully learning useful things about the planet’s environment before future missions with people.

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Astronomy

Prepare an ample supply of food, water, and fuel in anticipation of the upcoming total solar eclipse

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The Lorain County Emergency Management (EMA) in Ohio has advised individuals observing the eclipse and residents within the path of totality to ensure they have an ample supply of food, water, and fuel in preparation for the total eclipse on April 8. This recommendation is due to the anticipated increase in visits to the area.

According to those who saw it, the most recent total solar eclipse across the United States was remarkably impressive. It is challenging to imagine any improvements to the scene by the time Monday arrived after looking at the photographs.

However, if we are fortunate and the weather conditions are favorable, we may see something extraordinary since the eclipse aligns with the period of maximum solar activity, and there is a possibility of observing Baily’s beads.

“During the year 2017, the Sun was approaching a period of solar minimum.” Observers of the complete solar eclipse were able to witness the awe-inspiring corona. However, due to the Sun’s lack of activity, the streamers that extended into the solar atmosphere were limited to only the equatorial regions of the star. NASA states that during solar minimum, the Sun exhibits greater magnetic symmetry, resulting in a simpler look.

“During the 2024 eclipse, the Sun will be in or close to solar maximum, a period characterized by a magnetic field that resembles a complex and chaotic structure, similar to a tangled hairball.” It is probable that streamers will be observable throughout the corona. Furthermore, spectators will have an enhanced opportunity to observe prominences, which manifest as vivid, pink spirals or arcs emanating from the Sun.

The eclipse will be visible throughout the whole stretch of land from Mexico to Canada. The path of totality, where a total solar eclipse is visible, is broader in comparison to 2017. This is because the Moon is in closer proximity to Earth as a result of its position in its orbit. Consequently, a larger number of individuals will have the opportunity to observe the Sun’s corona.

NASA stated that there is a possibility of observing a coronal mass ejection, which is a significant release of solar material, if the timing is fortunate during the eclipse.

However, safety considerations usually arise with eclipses. Following the recent eclipse, there was a notable increase in Google queries pertaining to the consequences of directly gazing at the Sun.

Additionally, there are logistical challenges arising from a significant surge in travelers seeking to witness the celestial phenomenon. As a result, the regions situated along the path of totality are presently making preparations to accommodate this rush. Last month, Lorain County officials issued a warning about the potential consequences of the upcoming eclipse. They cautioned that there may be a surge in traffic, longer wait times for facilities like hospitals and gas stations, and challenges in obtaining food and other essential supplies.

According to USA Today, Dave Freeman, the director of Lorain County EMA, “We may experience an influx of unfamiliar crowds.” “Our current infrastructure lacks the necessary road network to support that.”

“Many of the roads in this area consist of two lanes,” Freeman stated, according to Yahoo News. “Unlike cities such as Chicago and Cleveland, our city does not have a large number of wide roads with multiple lanes. As a result, if we experience larger crowds than anticipated, the traffic situation here could become quite severe.”

The EMA is cautioning that the surge of cell phone use in the vicinity may lead to signal loss when the system becomes overwhelmed. The team advises homeowners to proactively fill their vehicles with gasoline, ensure an ample supply of food, and minimize unnecessary travel throughout the next weekend preceding the eclipse.

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It is crucial that you direct your attention towards the eclipse and derive pleasure from it. However, it is imperative that you take precautions to protect your eyes from harm. To do so, please refer to our informative manual on how to properly observe eclipses. If the weather remains unclouded, you may also utilize this guide on how to capture the approaching eclipse in the most optimal manner.

 

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The construction of the world’s largest digital camera has been finished

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The construction of the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) Camera has been finished. In the near future, it will be transported to the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, where it will serve as a remarkable new tool for observing the southern sky. Its purpose is to assist us in gaining a deeper understanding of the fundamental properties of dark matter and dark energy.

The LSST camera is an impressive technological achievement. The device has a resolution of 3,200 megapixels and a weight of 3,000 kilograms (6,600 pounds). The camera produces images of such immense size that it would require a grid of 378 4K ultra-high-definition televisions to display them accurately. What an extraordinary device!

“The LSST Camera at SLAC has been completed and will soon be integrated with the rest of the Rubin Observatory systems in Chile. This will enable us to produce the most remarkable movie and the most comprehensive map of the night sky ever created,” stated Željko Ivezić, Director of Rubin Observatory Construction and professor at the University of Washington.

There are two lenses on the camera itself. It is the largest lens ever made for this reason. The first one is 1.5 meters (5 feet) across. The second one is also pretty big. It’s 90 centimeters (3 feet) wide. Both were made just for you, and the second one is used to keep the focal plane of the lens vacuum-sealed.

The focus plane is what makes the camera work. It’s made up of 201 CCD sensors, which are like the ones in a regular digital camera but are not the same. The focus plane is so flat that its surface doesn’t change more than a tenth of the width of a human hair. Each pixel is 10 microns wide.

All together, you have a new idea.

“Its pictures are so clear that it could see a golf ball from about 15 miles away or 25 kilometers away, and they cover an area seven times bigger than the full moon.” “These pictures of billions of galaxies and stars will help us figure out what the universe is all about,” said Aaron Roodman, a professor at SLAC and the deputy director and camera program lead at the Rubin Observatory.

The Rubin Observatory will look into how galaxies and groups of galaxies have changed over billions of years. This will help us understand how galaxies change over time and where dark matter is distributed. It will measure supernovae, which will help us understand how the universe is expanding and why it is expanding: dark energy. We will learn more about the solar system by finding rocks that have never been seen before.

In January 2025, the telescope should see its first light.

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