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Saturn Transcends Jupiter for Becoming New Moon King

Saturn retains 20 New Moons, Surpasses Jupiter

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Saturn
A team led by Scott S. Sheppard from Carnegie Institute of Science found 20 new moons orbiting Saturn. Pixabay

Saturn now has 82 moons – three more than Jupiter’s 79 moons – and each of the 20 newly-discovered Saturn moons is about five kms in diameter.

A team led by Scott S. Sheppard from Carnegie Institute of Science found 20 new moons orbiting Saturn. Seventeen of them orbit the planet backwards, or in a retrograde direction, meaning their movement is opposite of the planet’s rotation around its axis.

The other three moons orbit in the prograde — the same direction as Saturn rotates.

Two of the prograde moons are closer to the planet and take about two years to travel once around Saturn.

The more-distant retrograde moons and one of the prograde moons each take more than three years to complete an orbit.

“Studying the orbits of these moons can reveal their origins, as well as information about the conditions surrounding Saturn at the time of its formation,” said Sheppard.

Saturn
The new moons for Saturn were discovered using the Subaru telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Pixabay

The new moons were discovered using the Subaru telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The observing team included Sheppard, David Jewitt of University of California Los Angeles and Jan Kleyna of the University of Hawaii.

These moons may have once comprised a larger moon that was broken apart in the distant past.

“The fact that these newly discovered moons were able to continue orbiting Saturn after their parent moons broke apart indicates that these collisions occurred after the planet-formation process was mostly complete and the disks were no longer a factor,” Sheppard noted.

Jupiter
Jupiter has 79 Moons, now 3 less than Saturn. Pixabay

The “retrograde” moons have similar inclinations to other previously known retrograde Saturnian moons, indicating that they are also likely fragments from a once-larger parent moon that was broken apart.

“This kind of grouping of outer moons is also seen around Jupiter, indicating violent collisions occurred between moons in the Saturnian system or with outside objects such as passing asteroids or comets,” explained Sheppard.

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Last year, Sheppard discovered 12 new moons orbiting Jupiter and Carnegie hosted an online contest to name five of them.

“This time, the moons must be named after giants from Norse, Gallic, or Inuit mythology,” said Sheppard. (IANS)

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Robot Equipped with Emotion-Sensing Heads to International Space Station

Emotion-sensing Robot Heads to Space Station to Help Astronauts

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Bret Greenstein, IBM Global Vice President of Watson Internet of Things Offerings, holds a clone of an artificial intelligence bot named CIMON, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. VOA

An intelligent robot equipped with emotion-sensing voice detectors was headed to the International Space Station after launching from Florida on Thursday, becoming the latest artificial intelligence-powered astronaut workmate in orbit.

The Crew Interactive Mobile Companion 2, or CIMON 2, is a spherical droid with microphones, cameras and a slew of software to enable emotion recognition.

The droid was among 5,700 pounds (2,585 kg) of supplies and experiments aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, whose midday launch had been delayed from Wednesday because of high winds.

Create a companion

“The overall goal is to really create a true companion. The relationship between an astronaut and CIMON is really important,” Matthias Biniok, the lead architect for CIMON 2, told Reuters. “It’s trying to understand if the astronaut is sad, is he angry, joyful and so on.”

Based on algorithms built by information technology giant IBM Corp and data from CIMON 1, a nearly identical prototype that launched in 2018, CIMON 2 will be more sociable with crew members. It will test technologies that could prove crucial for future crewed missions in deep space, where long-term isolation and communication lags to Earth pose risks to astronauts’ mental health.

Robot companion
The overall goal of creating this robot is to create a true companion. (Representational Image). Lifetime Stock

While designed to help astronauts conduct scientific experiments, the English-speaking robot is also being trained to help mitigate groupthink — a behavioral phenomenon in which isolated groups of humans can be driven to make irrational decisions.

“Group-thinking is really dangerous,” Biniok said. In times of conflict or disagreement among astronauts, one of CIMON’s most important purposes would be to serve as “an objective outsider that you can talk to if you’re alone, or could actually help let the group collaborate again,” he said.

Inspired by Professor Simon, HAL

Engineers have said CIMON’s concept was inspired by a 1940s science fiction comic series set in space, where a sentient, brain-shaped robot named Professor Simon mentors an astronaut named Captain Future. CIMON 2 also parallels HAL, the sentient computer in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” film.

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SpaceX is the first private company to fly to the space station, a $100 billion project of 15 nations. Along with CIMON 2, the cargo aboard its 19th resupply mission to the orbital research lab included 40 live mice that will show scientists how muscles change in the microgravity of space. (VOA)