Science News Roundup: Moon landing puts new space race startups in spotlight; Astronomers observe scar on white dwarf 'cannibal' star and more

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 28-02-2024 02:34 IST | Created: 28-02-2024 02:30 IST
Science News Roundup: Moon landing puts new space race startups in spotlight; Astronomers observe scar on white dwarf 'cannibal' star and more
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

Following is a summary of current science news briefs.

Odysseus moon lander likely has 10 to 20 hours of battery life left, company says

Odysseus, the first U.S. spacecraft to land on the moon since 1972, has roughly 10 to 20 hours of battery life left, according to flight controllers who are still in contact with the robot lander. Texas-based Intuitive Machines said on Tuesday its flight controllers were in touch with the Odysseus moon lander and the spacecraft had relayed payload science data and imagery in the morning. NASA paid Intuitive $118 million to build and fly the spacecraft to the moon, carrying science instruments for the U.S. space agency and several commercial customers.

India announces four-member crew for 'Gaganyaan' space mission

India on Tuesday introduced four crew members for its maiden 'Gaganyaan' space voyage, as it aims to become the world's fourth country to send a crewed mission into space just months after a historic landing on the south pole of the moon. Gaganyaan, or "sky craft" in Hindi, is the first mission of its kind for India and will cost about 90.23 billion rupees ($1.1 billion). It involves the launch of a habitable space capsule over the next year to an orbit of 400 km (250 miles) and its return via a landing in the Indian Ocean.

China's latest Long March rocket to debut in year of record missions

China's Long March 12, capable of sending bigger satellites with more functionalities into the Earth's orbit, is expected to make its debut flight in 2024, in a year of record launch missions for the country, state media reported on Monday.

Propelled by six liquid oxygen-kerosene-fueled engines, the Long March 12 will be able to transport a payload of 10,000 kg (22,000 pounds) to a low-Earth orbit, according to the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, a subsidiary of China's main space contractor.

Japan's SLIM moon probe unexpectedly survives lunar night

Japan's space agency said on Monday its SLIM moon lander has unexpectedly survived a freezing lunar night and re-established communication with the earth, more than a month after the spacecraft made a historic "pinpoint" touchdown on the moon. The Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) touched down on the lunar surface last month, making Japan the fifth country to put a probe on the moon. U.S.-based Intuitive Machines' Odysseus followed suit last week, as countries and businesses race for the moon in search of resources and human habitability.

Astronomers observe scar on white dwarf 'cannibal' star

A slowly cooling stellar ember called a white dwarf with a scar on its face is providing new insight into the behavior of certain "cannibal" stars at the end of their life cycle. Using the European Southern Observatory's Chile-based Very Large Telescope, researchers studied a white dwarf located about 63 light years from Earth. A light year is the distance light travels in a year, 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion km). Like all white dwarfs, it is incredibly dense, packing about 70% of the sun's mass into an Earth-sized object.

Stratolaunch conducts 'captive carry' test flight of hypersonic vehicle

Private U.S. company Stratolaunch conducted its second "captive carry" test flight of what it hopes will become a reusable hypersonic vehicle, it said on Saturday, as the Pentagon presses ahead with development of new hypersonic weapons. The Stratolaunch Talon-A was loaded with live propellant and carried aloft by the company's launch platform, Roc, on a more than four-hour flight going over the Pacific Ocean.

Factbox-Moon landing puts new space race startups in spotlight

Interest in space startups has spiked after Intuitive Machines became the first private firm to successfully land a spacecraft on the moon, in the first U.S. touchdown on the lunar surface in more than half a century. Though the lander tipped sideways on the lunar surface, the company is likely to complete its mission and prove the capabilities of such startups.

Moon lander Odysseus mission to be cut short after sideways touchdown

Flight control engineers expect to lose contact with the private U.S. moon lander Odysseus on Tuesday morning, cutting short the mission five days after its sideways touchdown, the company behind the spacecraft, Intuitive Machines, said on Monday. It remained to be seen how much scientific data might be lost as a result of the shortened lifespan of Odysseus, which according to previous estimates from the company and its biggest customer, NASA, was supposed to operate on the moon for seven to 10 days.

(With inputs from agencies.)

Give Feedback