Monday April 22, 2019
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NASA Slams India’s A-SAT Test, Calls It A ‘Terrible Thing’

"We are charged with enabling more activities in space than we've ever seen before for the purpose of benefiting the human condition, whether it's pharmaceuticals or printing human organs in 3-D to save lives here on Earth, or manufacturing capabilities in space that you're not able to do in a gravity well.

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"That is a terrible, terrible thing to create an event that sends debris at an apogee that goes above the ISS," CNN quoted Bridenstine as saying at a live-streamed NASA town hall on Monday. Pixabay

 NASA has slammed India’s anti-satellite missile (A-SAT) test last week saying it has increased risk to the International Space Station (ISS) and may launch a race of sort among countries to repeat the feat.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine on Monday said the A-SAT missile’s successful targetting of a live satellite on a low earth orbit (LEO) within three minutes, that created at least 400 pieces of orbital debris, has increased risk to the ISS.

“That is a terrible, terrible thing to create an event that sends debris at an apogee that goes above the ISS,” CNN quoted Bridenstine as saying at a live-streamed NASA town hall on Monday.

solar system
The Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs though had in a statement made it clear that the test was conducted in “the lower atmosphere to ensure that there is no space debris” and “whatever debris that is generated will decay and fall back onto the Earth within weeks”. Pixabay

Of the 60 pieces of debris that could be tracked, 24 went above the apogee of the ISS — the point of the space station’s orbit farthest from the Earth, the CNN reported on Tuesday.

“That kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight,” he said. “When one country does it, then other countries feel like they have to do it as well.”

“It is not acceptable for us to allow people to create orbital debris fields that put at risk our people,” he added.

On March 27, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India has achieved a “historic feat” with A-SAT capability and has become a space power joining only three others — US, Russia and China — in an elite club.

The very next day, Bridenstine told the US House of Representatives Commerce Justice and Science Subcommittee that deliberately destroying a satellite and creating space debris was “wrong”.

NASA
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine on Monday said the A-SAT missile’s successful targetting of a live satellite on a low earth orbit (LEO) within three minutes, that created at least 400 pieces of orbital debris, has increased risk to the ISS. Pixabay

The Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs though had in a statement made it clear that the test was conducted in “the lower atmosphere to ensure that there is no space debris” and “whatever debris that is generated will decay and fall back onto the Earth within weeks”.

However on Monday, Bridenstine said the “test has increased the risk of small debris hitting the ISS by 44 per cent over the 10 days immediately afterward”, the CNN report noted.

“It’s unacceptable, and NASA needs to be very clear about what its impact to us is,” he added.

Also Read: Surrogate Mother for Son, 61 Year Old Mother Becomes The Support

“We are charged with enabling more activities in space than we’ve ever seen before for the purpose of benefiting the human condition, whether it’s pharmaceuticals or printing human organs in 3-D to save lives here on Earth, or manufacturing capabilities in space that you’re not able to do in a gravity well.

“All of those are placed at risk when these kind of events happen.”

Bridenstine also contradicted himself saying India’s test was conducted low enough and that “over time, this (debris) will all dissipate”, with the ISS and all astronauts on board safe. (IANS)

Next Story

Major Achievement! Scientists Take The First-Ever Image of Black Hole

At the press conference, researchers told the story about how it was much quicker to take the data by plane to the various supercomputers being used to analyze the information.

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Black Hole
An image of the black hole at the center of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. This black hole resides 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5-billion times that of the sun. VOA

Using eight radio telescopes literally spanning the globe, scientists have taken the first-ever photograph of a black hole.

The supermassive black hole is at the center of a huge galaxy called M-87, which is 55 million light-years from Earth.

The picture, the result of decades of work by the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration (EHTC), isn’t much to look at. It’s a fuzzy orange and yellow donut floating in space, but the implications for physics, and the incredibly intricate way that researchers got the picture, is science at its best.

The picture is exactly what scientists, particularly the late Albert Einstein, predicted it would look like. There is the eponymous center black hole where gravity is so powerful even light cannot escape, and a circular area of superheated energy rotating around the celestial entity at nearly the speed of light, called the event horizon.

“We now know that a black hole that weighs 6.5 billion times what our sun does exists in the center of M-87,” EHTC scientist Shep Doeleman announced at a press conference Wednesday in Washington. “And this is the strongest evidence that we have to date for the existence of black holes.”

This picture is so important because while scientists have been seeing the effects that black holes have on the structures around them, they have never actually seen one, and this photo in effect proves their existence, as well as one of the foundational principles of Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

200 scientists

At its center, the black hole is so big that even though it’s a long distance away, scientists reasoned it was likely to be the largest such structures viewable from Earth. For that reason, M-87 was chosen for the experiment.

More than 200 scientists worked for about a decade to link the global network of eight radio telescopes, using atomic clocks. One by one in an exact sequence, the instruments were pointed at M-87 at what was, in effect, the same time, back in April 2017.

When the experiment was over, the researchers had five petabytes — or a million gigabytes — of visual information to review. At the press conference, researchers told the story about how it was much quicker to take the data by plane to the various supercomputers being used to analyze the information. They said this was easier than trying to transfer that much data into the cloud.

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The supermassive black hole is at the center of a huge galaxy called M-87, which is 55 million light-years from Earth.Pixabay

It took two weeks for a group of supercomputers to analyze the data and begin to form all the collected information into the modest photo that scientists released Wednesday.

Also Read: Chinese Researchers Reveal Mechanism of Chronic Stress Promoting Breast Cancer Development

And once that photo was collected, the researchers waited two years to publish their data while scientists from all over the world checked their work and signed off on the idea that what was photographed was actually a black hole.

What happens now?

The team isn’t done, though. They already are planning to create even bigger telescopes than the Earth-sized one they used by incorporating space telescopes like the Hubble and the soon-to-be-launched James Webb Space Telescope. This should allow researchers to take photos of dozens of other black holes. (VOA)