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New type of supernova sends exploding star speeding across the Milky Way

Astronomers say they may have discovered a new type of supernova explosion, which sent a white dwarf star tearing across the galaxy at 560,000 miles per hour.

Scientists think a pair of stars underwent a partial supernova and survived, likely blasting themselves across the Milky Way in different directions in the process."It must have come from some kind of close binary system and it must have undergone thermonuclear ignition," Boris Gaensicke, physics professor at the University of Warwick, explained in a statement. "It would have been a type of supernova, but of a kind that that we haven't seen before."

Gaensicke is lead author of a paper on the discovery to be published Wednesday in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Finding evidence of a new type of supernova is already significant, but it also raises the possibility more stars might be ripping around on Thelma and Louise-style road trips. This would be a rarity among the billions of stars in the universe, most of which we presume are in motion but relatively stable like our sun.

The speeding star is designated SDSS J1240+6710 and was originally discovered in 2015. Scientists made additional observations with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and measured the star's composition and speed to help reveal its explosive backstory.

"We are now discovering that there are different types of white dwarf that survive supernovae under different conditions, and using the compositions, masses and velocities that they have, we can figure out what type of supernova they have undergone," Gaensicke added. "There is clearly a whole zoo out there."

How Would We Do Surgery in Space?

Any mission to Mars requires deeper planning than missions to the ISS or the Moon. Based purely on the length of the mission, contingencies branch outwards in complex logistical pathways. What if there's an accident? What if someone's appendix bursts? And what if surgery is needed?

There's already been at least one close call. Two months into a six month mission on the ISS, an unnamed astronaut got a blood clot. It was found as part of a study assessing the effect of microgravity on the jugular vein. The astronaut was able to do an ultrasound with help from specialists on the ground, and was instructed to take injections of a drug already available on the ISS. Over time, the blood clot shrank, and once the astronaut was back on Earth, the clot disappeared in only 24 hours.

In another instance, a Russian cosmonaut had to be returned to Earth quickly when it appeared they had appendicitis. Though that surgery is a relatively common occurrence on Earth, in space it's a whole new ball game. But what if? What if another ailment struck an astronaut? What if there's an accident and surgery is necessary?

All of this attention to space surgery is in response to renewed interest in human space exploration. Human missions back to the Moon, and to Mars for the first time, are on the horizon. Most of the talk is about the technological challenges facing these missions. But the medical challenges are real, too.

The first thing to reckon with are the distances involved. A medical emergency on the ISS means stabilizing the patient with real-time assistance from specialists on the ground. Eventually, the patient could be returned to Earth. Now jump to the Moon. Still, not so bad. If there's some kind of habitation module, the patient could be stabilized, with more-or-less real-time assistance from specialists on Earth.

Now, Mars.

The minimum distance between Mars and Earth is about 54.6 million km away, and the maximum distance is about 401 million km . The average distance is about 225 million km (140 million miles). When a spacecraft is launched during the right window, it takes about six months to travel between Mars and Earth. In the event of a medical emergency, assistance from specialists on Earth could suffer from a communications latency of up to 20 minutes. And the trip back, if necessary, could take much longer than six months.

How can that be managed? The distance isn't the only problem. Constant radiation exposure is hazardous, too. But another over-arching problem is probably microgravity. Not only the chronic effects of microgravity over months or years, but the implications for performing surgery on a human body in little or no gravity.

The human body responds to microgravity by redistributing blood. Blood concentrates in the head, and other parts of the body have to compensate for this. There's less blood in the cardiac and vascular systems. A number of other changes go along with this, and the result is a reduction in plasma volume and blood volume.

The body lowers its heart rate and blood pressure as a result. The body also becomes more susceptible to infections as a part of all this. Doesn't sound ideal for someone undergoing emergency surgery. So in terms of fitness for surgery, an injured or unwell astronaut will be already at a physiological disadvantage.

A successful plan for medical emergencies in space has to take into account the likelihood of severe injuries requiring surgery. Research shows that a seven person crew will have an emergency requiring surgery every 2.4 years during a Mars mission. Researchers have also figured out what the most likely scenarios are: appendicitis, injury, gallbladder inflamation, and cancer. Even with the intense health screening that astronaut candidates undergo, these issues can crop up.

Astronauts have performed some surgeries on the ISS on rats. Those were important experiments that led to some basic improvements. But that's just a rat.

Imagine opening a human body up in zero-gravity. The body of a crew-mate. "One problem was that, during open surgery, the intestines would float around, obscuring view of the surgical field," Pervis wrote. The likely solution to that is keyhole surgery, where only a small incision is made. Tiny instruments and cameras would be deployed. But blood would still want to float out, and would need to be contained.

It's fine to think of controlled keyhole surgery for something like appendicitis. But what about a traumatic accident? A screaming, writhing patient. Could they be put under general anaesthetic? That requires a specialist. What about blood pouring into the air, obscuring vision and creating an infection risk? What about blood sticking to instruments instead of dripping off.

It's unpleasant to think about, but it's real. Which is why we need some kind of surgical pod. The Medpod from the Alien movie Prometheus. It was a fully-automated diagnosis and surgical station. It would be nice to have these, but... Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Microgravity medical pods have already been researched by some. NASA itself spent some time looking at one surgical pod type of system; a closed system with a clear plastic dome. Arm ports in the canopy would allow people to treat a patient inside.

Every Space Tourism Vacation You Can Book Right Now, If You're Rich

Things aren't going so great on the planet Earth right now, and travel isn't easy, but if you've got a bit of cash, you can really get away. A number of well-capitalized companies have been hacking away at Space Tourism, or commercially flying "regular" people into space, and now it's on the verge of reality. Thanks to a great deal of financial and human capital put in by organizations ranging from NASA to billionaire-backed startups, we are inches close to turning it into reality.

Space vacation packages come in a wide variety. For beginners, British billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic is offering a 1.5-hour joy ride to the edge of the Earth's atmosphere. NASA is opening the International Space Station to private citizens. And, for hard-core space explorers, Elon Musk's SpaceX has promised to fly you to the Moon (for a hefty price) in as soon as 2023.

Below we've put together the latest statuses of various space tourism projects in the market.

Virgin Galactic's 90-Minute Suborbital Ride

British billionaire Richard Branson poses in front of a model of the Virgin Galactic spaceplane. ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages

Destination: Edge of the Earth's atmosphere

Price: $250,000 per person

Earliest available time: late 2020

Virgin Galactic's supersonic spaceplane, VSS Unity, will fly passengers up to 100 kilometers (62 miles) above sea level, which is right above the Kármán Line dividing the Earth's atmosphere and outer space. From there, passengers will get a stunning view of the Earth's curvature. Then, during the descent, they will experience several minutes of weightlessness like a true astronaut.

VSS Unity has completed two successful human test flights and is in its final stage of testing. Virgin Galactic plans to fly its first paying customer, possibly the company's founder Richard Branson himself, as soon as this year.

Blue Origin's Vertical Suborbital Ride

Jeff Bezos' space exploration company Blue Origin is working on a similar tourism offering to Virgin Galactic. Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Destination: The edge of the Earth's atmosphere

Price: $200,000 and $300,000

Earliest available time: unknown

Blue Origin, owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, is developing a suborbital tourism program similar to Virgin Galactic's but using a vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing (VTVL) rocket-capsule system called New Shepard. The New Shepard spacecraft has successfully flown above the Kármán Line and returned to the ground.

Blue Origin had planned to launch its first human test flight in 2019 and begin selling commercial tickets (reportedly priced between $200,000 and $300,000) soon after. Yet, the plan was quietly canceled last year. The company has yet to make public statements about new test and rollout dates.

NASA's Multi-Day ISS Getaway

A staycation on the International Space Station won't be cheap. NASA

Destination: International Space Station

Price: $35,000 per night

Earliest available time: late 2020

In June 2019, NASA unveiled its grand plan to allow private citizens to fly to the International Space Station under the agency's Commercial Crew Program. Passengers will fly in either SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft or Boeing's Starliner vessel.

The Crew Dragon recently completed its final crewed test and is ready to be deployed for commercial missions. NASA has said it will allow up to two private trips to the ISS a year, each lasting up to 30 days. The total cost of the trip would be around $50 million per person, the agency said.

SpaceX's 'Back to the Moon' Package

A prototype of SpaceX's Starship spacecraft is seen at the company's Texas launch facility on September 28, 2019 in Boca Chica near Brownsville, Texas. The Starship spacecraft is a massive vehicle meant to take people to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Loren Elliott/Getty Images

Destination: the Moon

Price: "Not a trivial amount'

Earliest available time: 2023

Elon Musk's rocket company SpaceX has the ultimate space vacation offering: a personalized trip to the Moon. The package has one committing customer so far: Japanese fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa, who signed up for the trip in September 2018 and has put down an undisclosed deposit. Musk has said the full ticket price is "not a trivial amount."

SpaceX is currently building prototypes for the rocket (Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) rocket) and spaceship (Starship) that will fly Maezawa to the Moon. If all tests go according to the plan, a human launch could take place as early as 2023.

What's the most amazing thing about the universe?

Observations have revealed for the first time that a star orbiting the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way moves just as predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity

Nuclear fusion of hydrogen is how stars power themselves for billions of years, and the equations that physicists use to understand that process are the exact same ones they use to turn nuclear reactions into usable energy. From the tiniest of atoms to the largest of stars, nuclear physics - a relative newcomer in the world of physics - unites the cosmos in a surprising way.

Laws of motion

But you don't have to use esoteric equations of relativity or complicated calculations of nuclear reactions to discover the universality of physics. It can be as simple and straightforward as, say, a car crash.

When two vehicles collide, the laws of conservation of energy and momentum apply: the total amount of energy and momentum before the collision must equal the total amount of energy and momentum after the collision. Using these simple statements, investigators can reconstruct the scene of the accident, figuring out which driver was at fault and what led to the collision.

And cars aren't the only thing in the universe that smash together. Colliding stars. Merging galaxies. Mixing gas clouds. It's rare to find a paper in astronomy or physics that doesn't mention, in some way, the conservation of energy and momentum. Scientists use these principles to understand just about everything in the cosmos.

Why is that gas cloud radiating energy? Conservation of energy and momentum. Why is that neutron star changing its rotation speed? Conservation of energy and momentum. What will happen when those galaxies collide? Conservation of energy and momentum. The next time you get in a car accident, take a moment to think about momentum, and how it applies throughout the universe, wherever you are

Perhaps the most powerful aspect of physics - and indeed perhaps the most amazing thing about the cosmos as a whole - is the universality of physical laws and theories.

A few scant equations - small enough to fit on your favorite T-shirt - can explain a variety of phenomena from one edge of the universe to the other, and from the earliest moments of the Big Bang to the unfathomable future. Let's get a taste for just how powerful modern physics can be.

Games of gravity

Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity is our modern theory of how gravity works: matter and energy bend space-time, and in turn the bending of space-time tells matter how to move. The math is a bit complex: it takes a suite of 10 interrelated equations to describe all this bending and warping and moving. But those equations contain enormous power.

For example, in the limit of weak gravity, Einstein's equations reduce to the more familiar expressions of Newtonian gravity, which is used to explain everything from the trajectories of thrown baseballs to hydroelectric dams. Beyond the surface of the Earth, Einstein takes more control, where the equations of relativity are used to provide accurate positioning with the GPS system and precisely predict the orbits of all the planets.

Those very same equations, without a single modification, go on to greater feats, revealing the existence of black holes and their workings, the growth of the biggest structures in the universe, the presence of dark matter inside galaxies and the Big Bang itself.

All of that from a set of 10 equations, spanning both cosmic space and cosmic time - indeed, showing that the universe has a finite age in the first place.Nuclear fusion of hydrogen is how stars power themselves for billions of years, and the equations that physicists use to understand that process are the exact same ones they use to turn nuclear reactions into usable energy. From the tiniest of atoms to the largest of stars, nuclear physics - a relative newcomer in the world of physics - unites the cosmos in a surprising way.

Laws of motion

But you don't have to use esoteric equations of relativity or complicated calculations of nuclear reactions to discover the universality of physics. It can be as simple and straightforward as, say, a car crash.

When two vehicles collide, the laws of conservation of energy and momentum apply: the total amount of energy and momentum before the collision must equal the total amount of energy and momentum after the collision. Using these simple statements, investigators can reconstruct the scene of the accident, figuring out which driver was at fault and what led to the collision.

And cars aren't the only thing in the universe that smash together. Colliding stars. Merging galaxies. Mixing gas clouds. It's rare to find a paper in astronomy or physics that doesn't mention, in some way, the conservation of energy and momentum. Scientists use these principles to understand just about everything in the cosmos.

Why is that gas cloud radiating energy? Conservation of energy and momentum. Why is that neutron star changing its rotation speed? Conservation of energy and momentum. What will happen when those galaxies collide? Conservation of energy and momentum.

The next time you get in a car accident, take a moment to think about momentum, and how it applies throughout the universe, wherever you are

Stargazer's Delight , 'Look out for Jupiter and Saturn'

This month you will start to notice some changes in observing the planets. Venus, which graced our evening skies throughout the beginning of the year, can now be observed early in the morning.

Just before sunrise you will see Venus shining brightly in the eastern sky. As an added bonus, if you have a pair of binoculars, you will be able to see the fainter star Aldebaran, just near Venus. Aldebaran is the brightest star in the constellation Taurus and is often referred to as the 'Eye of Taurus'.

And just as you have become used to observing Saturn and Jupiter in the early morning, you can now observe both these planets in the night sky. In fact both Saturn and Jupiter reach opposition this month providing ideal observing opportunities for these large outer solar system gas giants. The term opposition refers to the time when Earth lies between the Sun and a planet.

At this point the planet is furthest from the glare of the Sun but also closest to Earth which provides optimum viewing conditions. Between the 13th and 20th July, looking east just after sunset you will easily spot Jupiter as the brightest object in the night sky. Close by below it you will see the much fainter planet Saturn.

Both planets can be seen with the naked eye but a pair of binoculars will resolve Jupiter's four largest moons. Get the Moon in the picture and its a knockout night!U.S., China, U.A.E to send fleet of spacecraft to Mars

Mars is about to be invaded by planet Earth - big time. Three countries - the United States, China and the United Arab Emirates - are sending unmanned spacecraft to the red planet in quick succession beginning this week, in the most sweeping effort yet to seek signs of ancient microscopic life while scouting out the place for future astronauts.

The U.S., for its part, is dispatching a six-wheeled rover the size of a car, named Perseverance, to collect rock samples that will be brought back to Earth for analysis in about a decade. "Right now, more than ever, that name is so important," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said as preparations went on amid the coronavirus outbreak, which will keep the launch guest list to a minimum.

Each spacecraft will travel more than 483 million kilometers before reaching Mars next February. It takes six to seven months, at the minimum, for a spacecraft to loop out beyond Earth's orbit and sync up with Mars' more distant orbit around the sun. Scientists want to know what Mars was like billions of years ago when it had rivers, lakes and oceans that may have allowed simple, tiny organisms to flourish before the planet morphed into the barren, wintry desert world it is today.

"Trying to confirm that life existed on another planet, it's a tall order. It has a very high burden of proof," said Perseverance's project scientist, Ken Farley of Caltech in Pasadena, California.

The three nearly simultaneous launches are no coincidence: The timing is dictated by the opening of a one-month window in which Mars and Earth are in ideal alignment on the same side of the sun, which minimizes travel time and fuel use. Such a window opens only once every 26 months.

Mars has long exerted a powerful hold on the imagination but has proved to be the graveyard for numerous missions. Spacecraft have blown up, burned up or crash-landed, with the casualty rate over the decades exceeding 50%. China's last attempt, in collaboration with Russia in 2011, ended in failure.

Only the U.S. has successfully put a spacecraft on Mars, doing it eight times, beginning with the twin Vikings in 1976. Two NASA landers are now operating there, InSight and Curiosity. Six other spacecraft are exploring the planet from orbit: three U.S., two European and one from India. The United Arab Emirates and China are looking to join the elite club.

The UAE spacecraft, named Amal, which is Arabic for Hope, is an orbiter scheduled to rocket away from Japan on Wednesday, local time, on what will be the Arab world's first interplanetary mission. China will be up next, with the flight of a rover and an orbiter sometime around July 23; Chinese officials aren't divulging much. The mission is named Tianwen, or Questions for Heaven. NASA, meanwhile, is shooting for a launch on July 30 from Cape Canaveral.

Perseverance is set to touch down in an ancient river delta and lake known as Jezero Crater, not quite as big as Florida's Lake Okeechobee. China's much smaller rover will aim for an easier, flatter target. To reach the surface, both spacecraft will have to plunge through Mars' hazy red skies in what has been dubbed "seven minutes of terror" - the most difficult and riskiest part of putting spacecraft on the planet.

Jezero Crater is full of boulders, cliffs, sand dunes and depressions, any one of which could end Perseverance's mission. Brand-new guidance and parachute-triggering technology will help steer the craft away from hazards. Ground controllers will be helpless, given the 10 minutes it takes radio transmissions to travel one-way between Earth and Mars. Jezero Crater is worth the risks, according to scientists who chose it over 60 other potential sites.

Where there was water - and Jezero was apparently flush with it 3.5 billion years ago - there may have been life, though it was probably only simple microbial life, existing perhaps in a slimy film at the bottom of the crater. But those microbes may have left telltale marks in the sediment layers. Perseverance will hunt for rocks containing such biological signatures, if they exist.

It will drill into the most promising rocks and store a half-kilogram (about 1 pound) of samples in dozens of titanium tubes that will eventually be fetched by another rover. To prevent Earth microbes from contaminating the samples, the tubes are super-sterilized, guaranteed germ-free at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

While prowling the surface, Perseverance as well as China's rover will peek below, using radar to locate any underground pools of water that might exist. Perseverance will also release a spindly, 1.8-kilogram helicopter that will be the first rotorcraft ever to fly on another planet. Perseverance's cameras will shoot color video of the rover's descent, providing humanity's first look at a parachute billowing open at Mars, while microphones capture the sounds.

The rover will also attempt to produce oxygen from the carbon dioxide in the thin Martian atmosphere. Extracted oxygen could someday be used by astronauts on Mars for breathing as well as for making rocket propellant.

NASA wants to return astronauts to the moon by 2024 and send them from there to Mars in the 2030s. To that end, the space agency is sending samples of spacesuit material with Perseverance to see how they stand up against the harsh Martian environment. The tab for Perseverance's mission, including the flight and a minimum two years of Mars operations, is close to $3 billion. The UAE's project costs $200 million, including the launch but not mission operations. China has not disclosed its costs. By - Marcia Dunn, Associated Press

Space Suit From '2001: A Space Odyssey' Heads to Auction, Sale Could Spike to $300,000

One of the most iconic costumes in film history is heading to auction this month courtesy of Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills, California. The auction house is putting over 900 items from Hollywood films and television shows up for auction on July 17 and July 18, including the space suit worn by actor Keir Dullea in Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey."

The space suit is the crown jewel of the "Hollywood Legends & Explorers" auction and is expected to sell in the $200,000-$300,000 range. The auction will take place in person and live online.

Per Julien's Auctions official auction description: "The near complete space suit, also worn by different actors in many scenes throughout the film, comes with the MGM shipping crate, boots, and helmet. The helmet features four distinct layers of paint, indicating that it was used in different scenes by multiple actors and representing a number of characters."

The helmet has a base layer of green, indicating that it is "the green helmet worn by Dullea in one of the most famous science fiction scenes of all time, when his character Dr. Bowman reenters the antechamber of the Discovery ship leading to the 'brain room' and logic center to 'kill' HAL."

4 mysterious objects spotted in deep space are unlike anything ever seen

There's something unusual lurking out in the depths of space: Astronomers have discovered four faint objects that at radio wavelengths are highly circular and brighter along their edges. And they're unlike any class of astronomical object ever seen before.

The objects, which look like distant ring-shaped islands, have been dubbed odd radio circles, or ORCs, for their shape and overall peculiarity. Astronomers don't yet know exactly how far away these ORCs are, but they could be linked to distant galaxies. All objects were found away from the Milky Way's galactic plane and are around 1 arcminute across (for comparison, the moon's diameter is 31 arcminutes).

In a new paper detailing the discovery, the astronomers offer several possible explanations, but none quite fits the bill for all four new ORCs. After ruling out objects like supernovas, star-forming galaxies, planetary nebulas and gravitational lensing - a magnifying effect due to the bending of space-time by nearby massive objects - among other things, the astronomers speculate that the objects could be shockwaves leftover from some extragalactic event or possibly activity from a radio galaxy.

Related: The 12 strangest objects in the universe

"[The objects] may well point to a new phenomenon that we haven't really probed yet," said Kristine Spekkens, astronomer at the Royal Military College of Canada and Queen's University, who was not involved with the new study. "It may also be that these are an extension of a previously known class of objects that we haven't been able to explore."

Spekkens added that the objects could also be caused by different phenomena. All four ORCs are bright at radio wavelengths but invisible in visible, infrared and X-ray light. But two of the ORCs have galaxies at their center that can be seen at visible wavelengths, which suggests that these objects might have been formed by those galaxies . Two ORCs also appear to be very close together, meaning their origins could be linked.

Astronomers spotted three of the objects while mapping the night sky in radio frequencies, part of a pilot survey for a new project called the Evolutionary Map of the Universe (EMU). The EMU pilot used the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder, or ASKAP, from July to November in 2019. This radio telescope array uses 36 dish antennas, which work together to observe a wide-angle view of the night sky. They found the fourth ORC in archival data collected by the Giant MetreWave Radio Telescope in India. This helped the astronomers to confirm the objects as real, rather than some anomaly caused by issues with the ASKAP telescope or the way in which the data was analyzed.

With only four of these peculiar objects discovered so far, the astronomers can't yet tease out the true nature of these structures. But the EMU survey is just beginning, and astronomers expect it to reveal more unusual objects.

By combining an ability to see faint radio objects with a wide gaze, the survey is uniquely positioned to find new objects. EMU scientists have predicted the project will find about 70 million new radio objects -- expanding the current catalog of some 2.5 million.

"This is a really nice indication of the shape of things to come in radio astronomy in the next couple of years," Spekkens told Live Science. "History shows us that when we open up a new [avenue of looking at] space to explore ... we always find new and exciting things."

The paper, which is available on the preprint site arXiv, has been submitted for publication to the journal Nature Astronomy, where it is still under review.

Mars 'SNOW-Field' crater key to human colonization in space captured in never before seen images

The European Space Agency released a never-before-seen view of the icy Martian canyon known as the Korolev crater. The Korolev crater is understood among scientists as a likely future source of water for human colonists. The breathtaking flyover video is actually painstakingly reconstructed from combined scans of the surface of the planet.

Topographical data, captured by a high resolution stereo camera on board the Mars Express probe, were used to produce the remarkable 3D landscape. The ESA's Mars Express mission was launched in 2003 before reaching the Red Planet six months later and has been sending back images of the planet ever since.

The 82km wide (50 mile) Korolev crater is located in the northern lowlands of Mars. The video was produced with a resolution of 21 meters per pixel and shows the full extent of the crater. Korolev is one of the largest reservoirs of non-polar ice on Mars (Image: ESA)

It is filled with ice all year round as its floor is more than one mile deep below its rim, making it a natural cold trap which shields the ice from the elements. Korolev is believed to be one of the largest reservoirs of non-polar ice on Mars.

The crater itself was named in honor of chief Soviet rocket engineer Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, known as the father of Russian space technology. The footage was released as a way of inviting the public to "take a trip" to the Red Planet.

The visualization starts with a shot of Mars and then moves around Korolev for a spectacular view of the icy cavern. This comes as SpaceX boss Elon Musk, who recently successfully launched two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, turned his sights to Mars.

In a letter to SpaceX employees in June, the leading entrepreneur said the main priority of his SpaceX rocket company was now Starship.Starship is the prototype spacecraft that is intended to fly up to 100 humans at a time to Mars when combined with the upcoming Super Heavy rocket booster.

In the email, Mr Musk wrote: "We need to accelerate Starship progress dramatically and immediately. "Please consider the top SpaceX priority (apart from anything that could reduce Dragon return risk) to be Starship."

Scientists at the University of Bordeaux in France recently found out that the number of people required for the colonization of Mars is 110.

Strong Evidence Of Life Inside Jupiter's Moon Europa

Jupiter's moon Europa has been long viewed as a potential habitat for alien life beyond Earth. Now, a new research reveals that the subsurface ocean on Jupiter's moon, hidden beneath the thick shell of ice, should be able to support life.

Europa is one of the largest moons in our solar system, actually the 6th-largest moon. With a diameter of 3,100 km, Europa is bigger than Pluto but smaller than Earth's moon. Alongside other candidates like Mars and Saturn's moon Enceladus, Europa is one of our best chances of finding life. This idea, however, may be grounded in reality.

Using data from the Galileo mission, scientists have modeled geochemical reservoirs within the interior of the Jovian moon and found that the subsurface ocean could be formed by breakdown of water-containing minerals, a process called metamorphism.

In other words, these water-containing minerals ejected their water due to the tidal interactions with Jupiter and the other neighbor large moons (Io and Ganymede) or radioactive decay - may have played a role.

"We were able to model the composition and physical properties of the core, silicate layer, and ocean. We find that different minerals lose water and volatiles at different depths and temperatures. We added up these volatiles that are estimated to have been lost from the interior and found that they are consistent with the current ocean's predicted mass, meaning that they are probably present in the ocean." Lead researcher Mohit Melwani Daswani said in a statement.

This new model indicated that the oceans of other moons like Europa's neighbor Ganymede and Saturn's moon Titan could also have been formed by similar processes. Researchers believe that these oceans would originally have been quietly acidic with high concentrations of carbon dioxide, sulfate and calcium.

"Indeed it was thought that this ocean could still be rather sulfuric." said Mohit.

"but our simulations, coupled with data from the Hubble Space Telescope, showing chloride on Europa's surface, suggests that the water most likely became chloride rich. In other words, its composition became more like oceans on Earth. We believe that this ocean could be quite habitable for life."

He continued: "Europa is one of our best chances of finding life in our solar system. NASA's Europa Clipper mission will launch in the next few years, and so our work aims to prepare for the mission, which will investigate Europa's habitability. Our models lead us to think that the oceans in other moons, such as Europa's neighbor Ganymede and Saturn's moon Titan, may also have formed by similar processes.

We still need to understand several points though, such as how fluids migrate through Europa's rocky interior." Now, using high-resolution imaging, NASA is looking for possible sites on Europa to investigate it's habitability and test this new research.

Most massive black hole yet discovered redefines 'gargantuan'

Astronomers have found one of the most massive black holes yet discovered, one that is gargantuan by even astronomical standards. Known as J2157, the enormous black hole weighs in at 34 billion times the mass of the Sun and is consuming the mass of a normal star on a daily basis.

"The black hole's mass is also about 8,000 times bigger than the black hole in the centre of the Milky Way," said Christopher Onken, a researcher at The Australian National University. "If the Milky Way's black hole wanted to grow that fat, it would have to swallow two thirds of all the stars in our galaxy."

The black hole was discovered by Onken and his colleagues in 2018. The observations indicate it dates back to about 1.2 billion years after the Big Bang and is the most massive yet "weighed" from this era of cosmic evolution.

The ANU team and researchers from the University of Arizona used the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope to measure the black hole's mass.

"With such an enormous black hole, we're also excited to see what we can learn about the galaxy in which it's growing," Onken said. "Is this galaxy one of the behemoths of the early Universe, or did the black hole just swallow up an extraordinary amount of its surroundings? We'll have to keep digging to figure that out."

SpaceX Starlink launch scheduled for Wednesday from Kennedy Space Center

After several hardware-related delays, SpaceX is slated to introduce smoke and fire to Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday when teams launch the 10th batch of Starlink internet satellites from pad 39A, according to News 6 partner Florida Today.

A 230-foot Falcon 9, packed with 57 Starlink satellites and two spacecraft for BlackSky Global, is scheduled to launch at 11:59 a.m., the opening of a six-minute window. The rocket's first stage will target an automated landing on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship shortly after liftoff.

According to the Space Force, weather for the attempt stands at 70% "go" with the possible presence of cumulus clouds noted as the primary liftoff concern. The "go" percentage does not include upper-level wind impacts, though those are expected to remain low.

This mission, which will boost the Starlink internet constellation's size to nearly 600, has been delayed several times due to technical reasons not released by SpaceX. It was slated to launch before the June 30 Falcon 9 flight with an Air Force Global Positioning System satellite, but the rocket was eventually lowered and moved back into the hangar at pad 39A for additional checkouts.

Starlink missions usually fly with exactly 60 internet-beaming spacecraft for the constellation, but this mission includes two "rideshare" satellites for Seattle-based BlackSky. The company aims to provide sharp imagery of locations in rapid succession as its spacecraft fly over the same area multiple times, essentially adding up to intelligence updates for its customers, which include the government's secretive National Reconnaissance Office.

If schedules hold, Starlink's launch on Wednesday will pave the way for yet another Falcon 9 liftoff on July 12, this time on a mission known as Anasis 2 for the South Korean military. Then in late July, a Falcon 9 is expected to fly SAOCOM 1B for Argentina's space agency, which will mark the first time in more than 60 years that the Space Coast hosts a mission that flies south for a polar orbit insertion.

This month's last mission is a high-profile one: on July 30, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will boost NASA's Mars Perseverance rover towards the red planet from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 41. The window to launch the sedan-sized rover opens around 8 a.m.

NASA just spotted a black hole spinning so fast that its making space itself rotate

Black holes, while fascinating, are hardly a new discovery - but a black hole spinning at one of the highest speeds ever, according to the Hindustan Times, is a completely different story - especially when there have only ever been four others like it.

In comparison, the Milky Way's own supermassive black hole - Sagittarius A* - is relatively inactive. It moves at a much slower speed. While observing it using infrared, the black hole flickers every now and then as it takes in dust as gas. NASA initially estimated that Sagittarius A* was only taking in 1% of the energy that comes it away only to realise that its consumption is even lower at 1% of that 1%.

In 2016, India's first dedicated astronomy satellite, the AstroSat, first spotted the black hole in the binary star system called 4U 1630-47, which is bursting out X-rays that astronomers found unusual. NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory later confirmed the outburst.

Those X-rays were caused by gas and dust falling into the black hole, which is about 10 times the mass of the sun, and they revealed to researchers that the object is spinning very, very rapidly.

In fact, according to NASA this particular black hole is spinning very close to the limit set by Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, according to Rodrigo Nemmen, the lead author on the research paper. That means it is spinning close to the speed of light.

Spinning to break barriers

Currently, scientists only have two ways of measuring black holes - either by their mass or by their spin rate. A spin rate can be anywhere between 0 and 1: this black hole was spinning at the rate of 0.9.

Einstein's theory further implies that if a black hole spinning that fast, then it is capable of making space itself rotate.

In fact, if the conditions around black holes are hypothesised to be correct, then the high spin rate coupled with the gaseous elements entering the black hole and high temperatures, could be the key to understanding how galaxies are formed.

Including the black hole discovered by the AstroSat, there are only five black holes have accurately measured high spin rates. Even if you're not taking spin rates into account, this black hole of one of only 20 others that have been spotted in the Milky Way Galaxy.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) and Chandra X-Ray Observatory have confirmed the speed of the spinning black hole.

The study was conducted by researchers from multiple institutions led by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.