Richard Branson Plans To Get To Space Before Jeff Bezos

US-ECONOMY-NYSE-VIRGIN

The “billionaire space race” just got a bit more literal Thursday, as Virgin Galactic announced that it would be opening up the flight window for its first fully crewed mission to space on July 11, and that one of its first passengers would be Richard Branson. That’s 9 days prior to Jeff Bezos’ planned launch on July 20 on a capsule from his company Blue Origin.

If everything goes as planned, Branson wouldn’t be the first billionaire to go to space, but he would be the first to go on his own company’s spacecraft. Shares of Virgin Galactic stock soared in after-hours trading, up to over $51 at the time of publication. The stock had closed down at $43.19 on Thursday.

The “Unity 22” mission, as the company has dubbed it, is part of a series of test flights Virgin Galactic is conducting before it opens up its space tourism business to paying customers. The mission’s goal, the company says, is to accomplish several things: first, to evaluate the customer experience, including the periods of weightlessness and views of Earth. Second will be to test aspects of conducting research experiments, another revenue stream for the space. Third is to ensure that the company’s training program adequately prepares customers for the experience.

Joining Branson on the flight are Beth Moses, Virgin’s chief astronaut instructor; Colin Bennett, the company’s lead operations engineer; and Sirisha Bandla, the company’s VP of researcher operations, who will be conducting a science experiment for the University of Florida.

Virgin Galactic was founded by Branson in 2005, and began publicly trading on the New York Stock Exchange in 2019. If July’s flight is successful, the company plans two more test flights evaluating other aspects of the experience before beginning commercial service in 2022.

“It’s one thing to have a dream of making space more accessible to all; it’s another for an incredible team to collectively turn that dream into reality,” Branson said in a statement. “As part of a remarkable crew of mission specialists, I’m honoured to help validate the journey our future astronauts will undertake and ensure we deliver the unique customer experience people expect from Virgin.”

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website. Send me a secure tip.

I’m a senior editor at Forbes covering healthcare, science, and cutting edge technology.

Source: Richard Branson Plans To Get To Space Before Jeff Bezos

.

Critics:

Virgin Galactic is not the only corporation pursuing suborbital spacecraft for tourism. Blue Origin is developing suborbital flights with its New Shepard spacecraft. Although initially more secretive about its plans, Jeff Bezos has said the company is developing a spacecraft that would take off and land vertically and carry three or more astronauts to the edge of space.

New Shepard has flown above the Karman line and landed in 2015 and the same vehicle was reflown to above the Karman line again in 2016. In April 2021, they completed their fifteenth test flight, with the next mission, NS 16, aiming to carry a crew as early as 20 July 2021.

On 16 September 2014, SpaceX and Boeing were awarded contracts as part of NASA’s CCtCap program to develop their Crew Dragon and CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, respectively. Both are capsule designs to bring crew to orbit, a different commercial market than that addressed by Virgin Galactic.

Now-defunct XCOR Aerospace had also worked on rocket-powered aircraft during many of the years that Virgin Galactic had; XCOR’s Lynx suborbital vehicle was under development for more than a decade, and its predecessor, the XCOR EZ-Rocket experimental rocket powered airplane did actually take flight, but the company closed its doors in 2017.

See also

 

A Mars Orbiter Just Detected Something It’s Never Seen Before

water on mars

  • The atmosphere of Mars is thin and, compared to Earth, barely even there at all, but it can still teach us about the history of the planet and its present-day status.
  • The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, which is a project from the European Space Agency and Russia’s Roscosmos, recently detected a gas that it never found before.
  • Hydrogen chloride, which requires specific conditions in which to form, has been detected in the atmosphere, raising many questions. 

The Mars we see today is mostly dry, dusty, and barren. Sure, there is some water locked away in ice near the poles, and possibly some melting that happens during the Martian year, but aside from that there’s very little that offers clues as to the planet’s potentially rich and life-giving history. Projects like the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, sent to Mars by the European Space Agency and Russia’s Roscosmos space group, are helping to pull the curtain back and reveal some of the secrets the planet still holds.

Now, in a pair of new studies published in Science Advances, researchers using data from the Trace Gas Orbiter reveal that they’ve found a gas they’ve never seen before around Mars. The newfound gas, hydrogen chloride, which is the first halogen gas found in the Martian atmosphere, seems to be linked to seasonal changes, but the discovery ultimately raises more questions than it answers.

Today’s Top Deal  Amazon’s beloved Blink Mini camera is down to $28 today List Price:$29.99 Price:$26.99 ($6.75 / Piece) You Save:$3.00 (10%) Buy Now Available from Amazon BGR may receive a commission

A planet’s atmosphere might not seem like a super important thing to study, especially in the case of an atmosphere as thin as that of Mars. But while the atmosphere of Mars may not be enough to support life on its surface, it can still serve as an indicator of what processes are playing out on the surface of the planet. The exciting part about discovering hydrogen chloride in the Martian atmosphere is that it suggests that water was (or still is) a significant component of the planet’s climatology.

“You need water vapour to free chlorine and you need the by-products of water—hydrogen—to form hydrogen chloride. Water is critical in this chemistry,” Kevin Olsen, co-author of the research, said in a statement. “We also observe a correlation to dust: we see more hydrogen chloride when dust activity ramps up, a process linked to the seasonal heating of the southern hemisphere.”

But what exactly does this mean? It’s still hard to say. Whatever is generating the gas appears to be linked to summer in the planet’s southern hemisphere, but beyond that, it’s difficult to determine the chain of events that is leading to its generation.

In the second paper, researchers reveal that measurements of the ratio of deuterium to hydrogen in the planet’s atmosphere point to huge losses of water over the planet’s history. This supports the idea that Mars was once rich with water and potentially even supported massive lakes, rivers, and oceans on its surface.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech. Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.

Source: A Mars orbiter just detected something it’s never seen before – BGR

.

.

The US space agency NASA has released the first audio from Mars, a faint crackling recording of wind captured by the Perseverance rover. A microphone did not work during the rover’s descent to the surface, but it was able to capture audio once it landed on Mars. The first-of-its-kind audio has been released along with extraordinary new video footage of the rover as it descended and landed last Thursday.
On the show we are joined by Dr Swati Mohan, the Indian American scientist who led the guidance and control operations of the Mars 2020 mission. She talks about the what the ‘Seven Minutes Terror’ was and about the tiny bindi she wore that has generated a huge buzz on social media. NDTV is one of the leaders in the production and broadcasting of un-biased and comprehensive news and entertainment programmes in India and abroad. NDTV delivers reliable information across all platforms: TV, Internet and Mobile. Subscribe for more videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/ndtv?sub… Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ndtv Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ndtv Download the NDTV Apps: http://www.ndtv.com/page/apps Watch more videos: http://www.ndtv.com/video?yt​.
More Contents:
Start Rolling Your Blunts: Watch This Chill 33-Minute ‘Glide-By’ Tour of Mars
[…] 33-Minute ‘Glide-By’ Tour of Mars “Red Planet Rise,” a movie by Seán Doran made with images from a Mars orbiter, will give you the Martian fix you need […]
N/A
Watch as NASA lands its Perseverance rover on Mars
http://www.theverge.com – February 18
[…] it decelerates to 940mph during its descent, and an enhanced navigation system that links up with a Mars orbiter to calculate exactly where in Jezero the rover will land […]
9
Watch: China’s Tianwen-1 captures video of Mars two days after entering planet’s orbit
http://www.eastmojo.com – February 15
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 which translates as “Questions to Heaven” includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover […]
1
We Just Got The First Photo of Mars From China’s Tianwen 1 Probe, And It’s Breathtaking
[…] (China National Space Administration) The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet’s soil […]
34
China’s Tianwen-1 captures video of Mars two days after it enters the planet’s orbit- Technology News, Firstpost
http://www.firstpost.com – February 15
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 — which translates as “Questions to Heaven” — includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover and launched from southern China last July […]
1
China releases footage from Mars probe showing red planet
http://www.trtworld.com – February 15
[…] Rivalling with US The five-tonne Tianwen-1 – which translates as “Questions to Heaven” – includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover and launched from southern China last July […]
N/A
Recruiting Brainfood for the week ahead – Issue #227 | Revue
newsletters.recruitingbrainfood.com – February 14
[…] Last Monday, the UAE successfully deployed a Mars orbiter, becoming the first Arab and Muslim majority nation to achieve the feat […]
0
Missed News 492
jtm71.com – February 13
[…] Speak After Trump Acquittal Watch “Mike Pence’s Ignorance Defense | The Daily Show” on YouTube A Mars orbiter just detected something it’s never seen before Trump Can’t Even Get Impeached Right | The Dail […]
2
China’s Mars Probe Tianwen-1 Sends Back Video of Red Planet After Successfully Entering Orbit | Technology News
gadgets.ndtv.com – February 13
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 – which translates as “Questions to Heaven” – includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover and launched from southern China last July […]
24
A Mars orbiter just detected something it’s never seen before –
bgr.com – February 13
The atmosphere of Mars is thin and, compared to Earth, barely even there at all, but it can still teach us about the history of the planet and its present-day status.
2
China spacecraft sends Mars footage for first time | Science and Technology News | Al Jazeera
http://www.aljazeera.com – February 12
[…] The 5,000-kilogramme (five-tonne) Tianwen-1 – which translates to “Questions to Heaven” – includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover and launched from southern China last July […]
30
China’s Mars probe sends back video of red planet, East Asia News & Top Stories
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 – which translates as “Questions to Heaven” – includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover and launched from southern China last July […]
8
China’s Mars probe sends back video of Red Planet
phys.org – February 12
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1—which translates as “Questions to Heaven”—includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover and launched from southern China last July […]
1
China releases first video of Mars taken by Tianwen-1 in orbit | Daily
[…]  The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover that will for three months study the planet’s soil an […]
N/A
China’s Mars probe sends back video of Red Planet
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 — which translates as “Questions to Heaven” — includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover and launched from southern China last July […]
N/A
China’s space dream is moving in overdrive: A Long March to the Moon, Mars and beyond- Technology News, Firstpost
http://www.firstpost.com – February 11
[…] It includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet’s soil […]
N/A
China’s Tianwen-1 probe enters Mars orbit: state media
http://www.marsdaily.com – February 11
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 — the name of which translates as “Questions to Heaven” — includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover […]
3
China’s ‘space dream’: A Long March to the Moon and beyond
http://www.spacedaily.com – February 11
[…] It includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet’s soil […]
3
China’s ‘space dream’: A Long March to the Moon and beyond
opoyi.com – February 10
[…] It includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet’s soil […]
0
China’s ‘space dream’: A Long March to the Moon and beyond
phys.org – February 10
[…] It includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet’s soil […]
2
China’s Tianwen-1 probe enters Mars orbit, state media says
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 — the name of which translates as “Questions to Heaven” — includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover […]
1
China’s Tianwen-1 probe enters Mars orbit: state media
[…] AFP The five-tonne Tianwen-1 — the name of which translates as “Questions to Heaven” — includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover […]
N/A
Missions to Mars: What China and the UAE hope to find
[…] China already lost a Mars orbiter mission, Yinghuo-1, back in 2011 […]
N/A
China’s Tianwen-1 space probe successfully enters orbit of Mars | Daily
[…]  The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover that will for three months study the planet’s soil an […]
1
UAE’s Hope probe safely reaches Mars orbit | Daily
[…]   China’s mission includes a Mars orbiter, that will carry the lander and rover until release, a lander, that will parachute down the th […]
2
China’s Tianwen-1 Mars probe returns first photos showing canyons on the Red Planet surface- Technology News, Firstpost
http://www.firstpost.com – February 9
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet’s soil […]
N/A
Mars missions from China and UAE are set to go into orbit – here’s what they could discover
[…] China already lost a Mars orbiter mission (Yinghuo-1) back in 2011 […]
1
A brief history of Mars missions | Space
http://www.space.com – February 8
[…] Phobos-Grunt was also carrying China’s first attempt at a Mars orbiter, along with an experiment run by the U […]
7
Mars missions from China and UAE are set to go into orbit – here’s what they could discover
phys.org – February 8
[…] China already lost a Mars orbiter mission (Yinghuo-1) back in 2011 […]
N/A
UAE’s ‘Hope’ Probe To Be First In Trio of Mars Mission | Majalla
eng.majalla.com – February 8
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover that will for three months study the planet’s soil an […]
0
Popular Mechanics
[…] These include a Mars orbiter, lander, and a rover […]
4
» China’s Space Probe Sends Back First Image of Mars
http://www.cryptogon.com – February 8
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet’s soil […]
1
It Looks Like The UAE Is About to Win The ‘Race to Mars’
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover that will for three months study the planet’s soil an […]
20
Mars Missions From China and UAE Are Set to Go Into Orbit – Here’s What You Need to Know
en.brinkwire.com – February 8
[…] China already lost a Mars orbiter mission (Yinghuo-1) back in 2011 […]
N/A
Mars Missions From China and UAE Are Set to Go Into Orbit – Here’s What You Need to Know
scitechdaily.com – February 8
[…] China already lost a Mars orbiter mission (Yinghuo-1) back in 2011 […]
9
UAE’s Mars probe ‘Hope’ to be 1st Arab space mission, 5th to reach Red Planet | The Times of Israel
[…] The five-ton Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover that for three months will study the planet’s soil an […]
N/A
Next stop Mars: Three spacecraft arriving at Red Planet from tomorrow | Daily
[…]   China’s mission includes a Mars orbiter, that will carry the lander and rover until release, a lander, that will parachute down the th […]
N/A
China’s space probe sends back its first image of Mars
http://www.marsdaily.com – February 7
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet’s soil […]
2
UAE’s ‘Hope’ probe to be first in trio of Mars missions
http://www.marsdaily.com – February 7
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover that will for three months study the planet’s soil an […]
1
UAE’s ‘Hope’ probe to be first in trio of Mars missions
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover that will for three months study the planet’s soil an […]
1
Mars missions: UAE’s ‘Hope’ probe to be first in trio of Mars missions
economictimes.indiatimes.com – February 7
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover that will for three months study the planet’s soil an […]
3
UAE’s ‘Hope’ probe to be first in trio of Mars missions
phys.org – February 7
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a solar-powered rover that will for three months study the planet’s soil an […]
N/A
China’s space probe sends back its first image of Mars
http://www.msn.com – February 7
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet’s soil […]
N/A
Chinese Probe Sends Back Its First Picture of Mars – Slashdot
science.slashdot.org – February 6
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, lander, and a rover that will study the planet’s soil […]
N/A
China’s space probe sends back its first image of Mars
phys.org – February 6
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet’s soil […]
N/A
China’s space probe sends back its first image of Mars
http://www.msn.com – February 6
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet’s soil […]
N/A
China’s space probe Tianwen-1 snaps its first image of Mars as it heads towards the planet to study its soil – ABC News
http://www.abc.net.au – February 6
[…] China could set world record with inaugural mission The 5 tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet’s soil […]
N/A
China’s space probe sends back its first image of Mars
http://www.thehindu.com – February 6
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet’s soil […]
1
China’s space probe sends back its first image of Mars
http://www.msn.com – February 6
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet’s soil […]
N/A
China’s space probe sends back its first image of Mars
http://www.msn.com – February 6
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet’s soil […]
N/A
China’s space probe sends back its first image of Mars
http://www.msn.com – February 6
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet’s soil […]
0
China’s space probe sends back first image of Mars, landing scheduled this year
http://www.france24.com – February 6
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet’s soil […]
72
China’s space probe sends back its first image of Mars
http://www.sbs.com.au – February 6
[…] The five-tonne Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover that will study the planet’s soil […]

Newly Discovered Ghostly Circles In The Sky Cant Be Explained By Current Theories And Astronomers Excited

In September 2019, my colleague Anna Kapinska gave a presentation showing interesting objects she’d found while browsing our new radio astronomical data. She had started noticing very weird shapes she couldn’t fit easily to any known type of object.

Among them, labelled by Anna as WTF?, was a picture of a ghostly circle of radio emission, hanging out in space like a cosmic smoke-ring. None of us had ever seen anything like it before, and we had no idea what it was. A few days later, our colleague Emil Lenc found a second one, even more spooky than Anna’s.

Anna and Emil had been examining the new images from our pilot observations for the Evolutionary Map of the Universe (EMU) project, made with CSIRO’s revolutionary new Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope.

EMU plans to boldly probe parts of the Universe where no telescope has gone before. It can do so because ASKAP can survey large swathes of the sky very quickly, probing to a depth previously only reached in tiny areas of sky, and being especially sensitive to faint, diffuse objects like these.

Join our readers who subscribe to free evidence-based news

I predicted a couple of years ago this exploration of the unknown would probably make unexpected discoveries, which I called WTFs. But none of us expected to discover something so unexpected, so quickly. Because of the enormous data volumes, I expected the discoveries would be made using machine learning. But these discoveries were made with good old-fashioned eyeballing.


Read more: Expect the unexpected from the big-data boom in radio astronomy


Hunting ORCs

Our team searched the rest of the data by eye, and we found a few more of the mysterious round blobs. We dubbed them ORCs, which stands for “odd radio circles”. But the big question, of course, is: “what are they?”

At first we suspected an imaging artefact, perhaps generated by a software error. But we soon confirmed they are real, using other radio telescopes. We still have no idea how big or far away they are. They could be objects in our galaxy, perhaps a few light-years across, or they could be far away in the Universe and maybe millions of light years across.

When we look in images taken with optical telescopes at the position of ORCs, we see nothing. The rings of radio emission are probably caused by clouds of electrons, but why don’t we see anything in visible wavelengths of light? We don’t know, but finding a puzzle like this is the dream of every astronomer.


Read more: The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder finally hits the big-data highway


We know what they’re not

We have ruled out several possibilities for what ORCs might be.

Could they be supernova remnants, the clouds of debris left behind when a star in our galaxy explodes? No. They are far from most of the stars in the Milky Way and there are too many of them.

Could they be the rings of radio emission sometimes seen in galaxies undergoing intense bursts of star formation? Again, no. We don’t see any underlying galaxy that would be hosting the star formation.

Could they be the giant lobes of radio emission we see in radio galaxies, caused by jets of electrons squirting out from the environs of a supermassive black hole? Not likely, because the ORCs are very distinctly circular, unlike the tangled clouds we see in radio galaxies.

Could they be Einstein rings, in which radio waves from a distant galaxy are being bent into a circle by the gravitational field of a cluster of galaxies? Still no. ORCs are too symmetrical, and we don’t see a cluster at their centre.

A genuine mystery

In our paper about ORCs, which is forthcoming in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, we run through all the possibilities and conclude these enigmatic blobs don’t look like anything we already know about.

So we need to explore things that might exist but haven’t yet been observed, such as a vast shockwave from some explosion in a distant galaxy. Such explosions may have something to do with fast radio bursts, or the neutron star and black hole collisions that generate gravitational waves.


Read more: How we closed in on the location of a fast radio burst in a galaxy far, far away


Or perhaps they are something else entirely. Two Russian scientists have even suggested ORCs might be the “throats” of wormholes in spacetime.

From the handful we’ve found so far, we estimate there are about 1,000 ORCs in the sky. My colleague Bärbel Koribalski notes the search is now on, with telescopes around the world, to find more ORCs and understand their cause.

It’s a tricky job, because ORCS are very faint and difficult to find. Our team is brainstorming all these ideas and more, hoping for the eureka moment when one of us, or perhaps someone else, suddenly has the flash of inspiration that solves the puzzle.

It’s an exciting time for us. Most astronomical research is aimed at refining our knowledge of the Universe, or testing theories. Very rarely do we get the challenge of stumbling across a new type of object which nobody has seen before, and trying to figure out what it is.

Is it a completely new phenomenon, or something we already know about but viewed in a weird way? And if it really is completely new, how does that change our understanding of the Universe? Watch this space!

By: Ray Norris Professor, School of Science, Western Sydney University

NASA Goddard

A new study using observations from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope reveals the first clear-cut evidence that the expanding debris of exploded stars produces some of the fastest-moving matter in the universe. This discovery is a major step toward meeting one of Fermi’s primary mission goals. Cosmic rays are subatomic particles that move through space at nearly the speed of light. About 90 percent of them are protons, with the remainder consisting of electrons and atomic nuclei.

In their journey across the galaxy, the electrically charged particles become deflected by magnetic fields. This scrambles their paths and makes it impossible to trace their origins directly. Through a variety of mechanisms, these speedy particles can lead to the emission of gamma rays, the most powerful form of light and a signal that travels to us directly from its sources. Two supernova remnants, known as IC 443 and W44, are expanding into cold, dense clouds of interstellar gas.

This material emits gamma rays when struck by high-speed particles escaping the remnants. Scientists have been unable to ascertain which particle is responsible for this emission because cosmic-ray protons and electrons give rise to gamma rays with similar energies. Now, after analyzing four years of data, Fermi scientists see a gamma-ray feature from both remnants that, like a fingerprint, proves the culprits are protons. When cosmic-ray protons smash into normal protons, they produce a short-lived particle called a neutral pion.

The pion quickly decays into a pair of gamma rays. This emission falls within a specific band of energies associated with the rest mass of the neutral pion, and it declines steeply toward lower energies. Detecting this low-end cutoff is clear proof that the gamma rays arise from decaying pions formed by protons accelerated within the supernova remnants. This video is public domain and can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11209 Like our videos? Subscribe to NASA’s Goddard Shorts HD podcast: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/iTunes/f… Or find NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NASA.GSFC Or find us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/NASAGoddard

Should you wish to make a donation, it will help us continue to provide future research and contents due to crisis

With Toyota’s Help, This Secretive Entrepreneur May Finally Give Us Flying Cars

JoeBen Bevirt first thought about building an airplane that could take off and land like a helicopter in second grade while trudging up the 4.5-mile road to his family’s home in an off-grid hippie settlement among the redwoods in Northern California. “It was a lonnnnng hill,” Bevirt says, laughing. “It made me dream about a better way.” 

Four decades later, Bevirt is closing in on that goal. On a ranch outside Santa Cruz, the surfing mecca near where he grew up, Bevirt has secretively developed an electric airplane with six tilting propellers that he says can carry a pilot and four passengers 150 miles at up to 200 miles per hour, while being quiet enough to disappear among the hum of city life. He envisions the as-yet-unnamed aircraft, which experts speculate could cost $400,000 to $1.5 million to manufacture, as the foundation for a massive rooftop-to-rooftop air-taxi network—one he plans to build and run himself. His aspiration is to free urbanites from snarled roads and save a billion people an hour a day at the same price (he hopes) as an UberX ride, or roughly $2.50 a mile. 

It sounds crazy, but Bevirt, 47, has some powerful believers. Toyota pumped roughly $400 million into his Joby Aviation in January, joining investors including Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective and Jeff Skoll’s Capricorn Investment Group, the latter of which was also an early Tesla backer. In all, Joby has raised $745 million, most recently at a valuation of $2.6 billion. Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda told Bevirt he hopes, through Joby, to realize the flying-car dreams of his grandfather Kiichiro, Toyota Motors’ founder, who developed aircraft before World War II. Toyota engineers are refining components of Joby’s aircraft to make it easier to build on a mass scale more akin to the auto industry than aviation, and helping Bevirt set up a factory in Monterey County where he plans to produce thousands of aircraft a year.

Joby is the best-funded and most valuable of an explosion of startups leveraging advances in batteries and electric motors to try to wean aviation off fossil fuels and create new types of aircraft, including autonomous ones, to serve as air taxis. No one knows how big the industry could get—or if it will get off the ground at all—but Wall Street is spitballing some big numbers. One report from Morgan Stanley estimates the category could generate $674 billion a year in fares worldwide by 2040. 

“If we can fly, we can turn our streets into parks and fundamentally make our cities much nicer places to live in,” Bevirt says. 

Dreamers have been trying (and failing) to build flying cars for 100 years. Skeptics think Joby and its competitors are still at least a decade too early: Today’s best batteries pack 14 times less usable energy by weight than jet fuel. Given how much brute power is needed to propel an aircraft straight up, they say, until batteries improve, electric air taxis will have too little range and carrying capacity to make business sense. Then there’s the tough task of convincing regulators they’ll be safe to fly. 

Bevirt says he can produce a viable, safe aircraft now with top-of-the-line lithium-ion battery cells that currently power electric cars. And Joby is the only startup to commit to Uber’s ambitious timeline of launching an urban air-taxi service in 2023. Bevirt says he’s on track to win safety certification from the Federal Aviation Administration that year, which would likely make Joby the first electric air-taxi maker to clear that daunting hurdle. 

Bevirt was raised in a back-to-the-land community in which he got an early education in engineering, helping fix farm equipment and building homes alongside his father, Ron Bevirt, who was one of the LSD-tripping Merry Pranksters back in the 1960s. (JoeBen is named after a character in Sometimes a Great Notion, written by Pranksters ringleader Ken Kesey, famous for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

As an adult, Bevirt re-created that community with a decidedly capitalistic twist on his secluded 440 acres of woodlands and meadows overlooking the Pacific. The sprawling property, which he purchased with the proceeds from selling earlier businesses—Velocity11, which built liquid-handling robots used for testing potential drugs, and the company behind GorillaPod, a flexible camera tripod—includes a former quarry where Bevirt conducted early test flights. Employees have lived in small cottages on the property and built houses nearby. Before locking in on developing an aircraft, he incubated other startups there, with everyone working together in a cavernous barn. Bevirt started an organic farm to feed them, with chickens and bees yielding eggs and honey. 

The environment bred a tight-knit team – some Joby Aviation staffers start their day surfing together and end it with pizza parties around an outdoor oven. Group meetings are punctuated by choruses of “woots.”

“It’s a high-fiving, hugging culture, and that really flows from JoeBen,” says Jim Adler, managing director at Toyota AI Ventures, who convinced his colleagues to invest in Joby in 2017. “He’s high-energy, and it’s contagious.” 

While Joby is participating in Uber’s aerial ride-sharing plans, a big part of Bevirt’s business model involves running his own ride-sharing network. That helped attract investors. “If it was just a vehicle, I would not have been moved to invest if there wasn’t a service wrapped around it,” Adler says. 

Building the required landing pads, booking software and other infrastructure, though, will require a lot more cash—and patience—from investors. Joby has no plans to sell its aircraft outside of building its own fleet, further delaying the day when investors can recoup the billions that will likely be needed to scale up. 

Joby’s five-seat design boosts its revenue potential for ride sharing compared to the smaller, more mechanically simple two-seat multicopters being developed by Germany’s Volocopter and China’s EHang. The downside of Joby’s size: weight. A big part of that heft comes from the batteries, and it’s unclear if they’ll have enough juice to do the job, according to modeling by the lab of Carnegie Mellon battery expert Venkat Viswanathan, based on aircraft specs Bevirt shared with Forbes. 

For Joby to achieve the 150-mile range it says the 4,800-pound gross weight aircraft is capable of (but has yet to achieve in flight testing), plus FAA-required reserves, Viswanathan’s team estimates it needs a 2,200-pound battery pack. Subtracting 1,000 pounds for five passengers leaves only 1,600 pounds for the airframe, seats and avionics—a slim 33% of gross weight. That’s 35% lower than any certified production airplane. The upshot: Either Joby has built an unprecedentedly light and efficient airframe, as Bevirt maintains, or its range will turn out to be lower. (For more details on Joby’s batteries, click here.) Another concern: Getting approval from the FAA might require safety tweaks that weigh it down. 

“What we’re doing, it’s an insanely hard undertaking,” Bevirt says. “Not only the technical challenge of the aircraft [but] then changing the way everyone on Earth moves around on a daily basis.”  

See also: ‘Has Joby Cracked The Power Problem To Make Electric Air Taxis Work?’

Get Forbes’ daily top headlines straight to your inbox for news on the world’s most important entrepreneurs and superstars, expert career advice, and success secrets.

Joby’s five-seat design boosts its revenue potential for ride sharing compared to the smaller, more mechanically simple two-seat multicopters being developed by Germany’s Volocopter and China’s EHang. The downside of Joby’s size: weight. A big part of that heft comes from the batteries, and it’s unclear if they’ll have enough juice to do the job, according to modeling by the lab of Carnegie Mellon battery expert Venkat Viswanathan, based on aircraft specs Bevirt shared with Forbes. 

For Joby to achieve the 150-mile range it says the 4,800-pound gross weight aircraft is capable of (but has yet to achieve in flight testing), plus FAA-required reserves, Viswanathan’s team estimates it needs a 2,200-pound battery pack. Subtracting 1,000 pounds for five passengers leaves only 1,600 pounds for the airframe, seats and avionics—a slim 33% of gross weight. That’s 35% lower than any certified production airplane. The upshot: Either Joby has built an unprecedentedly light and efficient airframe, as Bevirt maintains, or its range will turn out to be lower. (For more details on Joby’s batteries, click here.) Another concern: Getting approval from the FAA might require safety tweaks that weigh it down. 

“What we’re doing, it’s an insanely hard undertaking,” Bevirt says. “Not only the technical challenge of the aircraft [but] then changing the way everyone on Earth moves around on a daily basis.”  

See also: ‘Has Joby Cracked The Power Problem To Make Electric Air Taxis Work?’

Get Forbes’ daily top headlines straight to your inbox for news on the world’s most important entrepreneurs and superstars, expert career advice, and success secrets.Jeremy Bogaisky

I help direct our coverage of autos, energy and manufacturing, and write about aerospace and defense. Send tips to jbogaisky[at]forbes.com

Joby’s five-seat design boosts its revenue potential for ride sharing compared to the smaller, more mechanically simple two-seat multicopters being developed by Germany’s Volocopter and China’s EHang. The downside of Joby’s size: weight. A big part of that heft comes from the batteries, and it’s unclear if they’ll have enough juice to do the job, according to modeling by the lab of Carnegie Mellon battery expert Venkat Viswanathan, based on aircraft specs Bevirt shared with Forbes. 

For Joby to achieve the 150-mile range it says the 4,800-pound gross weight aircraft is capable of (but has yet to achieve in flight testing), plus FAA-required reserves, Viswanathan’s team estimates it needs a 2,200-pound battery pack. Subtracting 1,000 pounds for five passengers leaves only 1,600 pounds for the airframe, seats and avionics—a slim 33% of gross weight. That’s 35% lower than any certified production airplane. The upshot: Either Joby has built an unprecedentedly light and efficient airframe, as Bevirt maintains, or its range will turn out to be lower. (For more details on Joby’s batteries, click here.) Another concern: Getting approval from the FAA might require safety tweaks that weigh it down. 

“What we’re doing, it’s an insanely hard undertaking,” Bevirt says. “Not only the technical challenge of the aircraft [but] then changing the way everyone on Earth moves around on a daily basis.”  

See also: ‘Has Joby Cracked The Power Problem To Make Electric Air Taxis Work?’

Get Forbes’ daily top headlines straight to your inbox for news on the world’s most important entrepreneurs and superstars, expert career advice, and success secrets.Jeremy Bogaisky

I help direct our coverage of autos, energy and manufacturing, and write about aerospace and defense. Send tips to jbogaisky[at]forbes.com

Jeremy Bogaisky

I help direct our coverage of autos, energy and manufacturing, and write about aerospace and defense. Send tips to jbogaisky[at]forbes.com

.

.

Santa Cruz Works

JoeBen Bevirt from Joby Aviation at The Second Annual – Titans of Tech on Jan. 25, 2018. http://santacruzworks.orghttp://www.jobyaviation.com Filmed by Bitframe Media – https://www.bitframemedia.com

What Is ‘Panspermia?’ New Evidence For The Wild Theory That Says We Could All Be Space Aliens

Imagine if NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover—now on its way to the red planet—discovered microbial life there.

It would change everything we know about life in the Solar System and far beyond.

Or would it? What if we accidentally transported life to Mars on a spacecraft? And what if that is how life moves around the Universe?

A new paper published this week in Frontiers in Microbiology explores the possibility that microbes and extremophiles may migrate between planets and distribute life around the Universe—and that includes on spacecraft sent from Earth to Mars.

What is ‘panspermia?’

It’s an untested, unproven and rather wild theory regarding the interplanetary transfer of life. It theorizes that microscopic life-forms, such as bacteria, can be transported through space and land on another planet. Thus sparking life elsewhere.

It could happen by accident—such as on spacecraft—via comets and asteroids in the Solar System, and perhaps even between star systems on interstellar objects like ʻOumuamua.

However, for “panspermia” to have any credence requires proof that bacteria could survive a long journey through the vacuum, temperature fluctuations, and intense UV radiation in outer space.

Cue the “Tanpopo” project.

The bacterial exposure experiment took place from 2015 to 2018 using the Exposed Facility located on the exterior of Kibo, the Japanese Experimental Module of the International Space Station.
The bacterial exposure experiment took place from 2015 to 2018 using the Exposed Facility located on … [+] JAXA/NASA

What is the ‘Tanpopo’ mission?

Tanpopo—dandelion in English—is a scientific experiment to see if bacteria can survive in the extremes of outer space.

The researchers from Tokyo University—in conjunction with Japanese national space agency JAXA—wanted to see if the bacteria deinococcus could survive in space, so had it placed in exposure panels on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS). It’s known as being resistant to radiation. Dried samples of different thicknesses were exposed to space environment for one, two, or three years and then tested to see if any survived.

They did, largely by a layer of dead bacteria protecting a colony beneath it. The researchers estimate that a colony of 1 mm of diameter could potentially survive up to 8 years in outer space conditions. MORE FROM FORBESThe Brightest Star In The Night Sky Rises Today (And No, It’s Not The North Star)By Jamie Carter

What does this mean for ‘panspermia?’

“The results suggest that deinococcus could survive during the travel from Earth to Mars and vice versa, which is several months or years in the shortest orbit,” said Akihiko Yamagishi, a Professor at Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Sciences and principal investigator of Tanpopo.

That means spacecraft visiting Mars could theoretically carry microorganisms and potentially contaminate its surface.

However, this isn’t just about Earth and Mars—the ramifications of panspermia, if proven, are far-reaching.

“The origin of life on Earth is the biggest mystery of human beings (and) scientists can have totally different points of view on the matter,” said Dr. Yamagishi. “Some think that life is very rare and happened only once in the Universe, while others think that life can happen on every suitable planet.”

“If panspermia is possible, life must exist much more often than we previously thought.” MORE FROM FORBESA Waxing Moon Visits Jupiter And Saturn: What To Watch For In The Night Sky This WeekBy Jamie Carter

What is ‘lithopanspermia?’

This is bacteria surviving in space for a long period when shielded by rock—typically an asteroid or a comet—which could travel between planets, potentially spreading bacteria and biologically-rich matter around the Solar System.

However, the theory of panspermia goes even further than that.

What is ‘interstellar panspermia’ and ‘galactic panspermia?’

This is the hypothesis—and it’s one with zero evidence—that life exists throughout the galaxy and/or Universe specifically because bacteria and microorganisms are spread around by asteroids, comets, space dust and possibly even interstellar spacecraft from alien civilizations.

In 2018 a paper concluded that the likelihood of Galactic panspermia is strongly dependent upon the survival lifetime of the organisms as well as the velocity of the comet or asteroid—positing that the entire Milky Way could potentially be exchanging biotic components across vast distances.

Such theories have gained credence in the last few years with the discovery of two extrasolar objects Oumuamua and Borisov passing through our Solar System.

However, while the ramifications are mind-boggling, panspermia is definitely not a proven scientific process.

There are still many unanswered questions about how the space-surviving microbes could physically transfer from one celestial body to another.

Illustration of NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover studying a Mars rock outcrop (not to scale). Mars 2020 is targeted for launch in July/August 2020 aboard an Atlas V-541 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Illustration of NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover studying a Mars rock outcrop (not to scale). … [+] NASA/JPL-Caltech

How will Perseverance look for life on Mars?

NASA’s Perseverance rover is due to land on the red planet on February 18, 2021. It will land in a nearly four billion-year-old river delta in Mars’ 28 miles/45 kilometers-wide Jezero Crater. 

It’s thought likely that Jezero Crater was home to a lake as large as Lake Tahoe more than 3.5 billion years ago. Ancient rivers there could have carried organic molecules and possibly even microorganisms.

Perseverance’s mission will be to analyze rock and sediment samples to see if Mars may have had conditions for microorganisms to thrive. It will drill a few centimeters into Mars and take core samples, then put the most promising into containers. It will then leave them on the Martian surface to be later collected by a human mission in the early 2030s. 

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes. Follow me

on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

Jamie Carter

 Jamie Carter

I’m an experienced science, technology and travel journalist interested in space exploration, moon-gazing, exploring the night sky, solar and lunar eclipses, astro-travel, wildlife conservation and nature. I’m the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com and the author of “A Stargazing Program for Beginners: A Pocket Field Guide” (Springer, 2015), as well as many eclipse-chasing guides.

Source: FORBES

%d bloggers like this: