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NASA is Rushing Mars Rover Mission: First Helicopter Will Fly In Mars’ Skies

NASA is rushing the mars mission due to Mars and Earth only being on the same side of the sun every 26 months.

Justin MacLachlan

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(TMU) – NASA is rushing the mars mission due to Mars and Earth only being on the same side of the sun every 26 months.

This means the window of opportunity to launch a spacecraft to the Red Planet is closing. If the space agency is to miss this time frame, it’s estimated that it could cost “half a billion dollars,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a press briefing, Space News reported.

NASA is pushing forward with its plans to send a rover to Mars, and remains on track to launch the spacecraft next month from Cape Canaveral, officials stated.

The SUV-sized rover nicknamed Perseverance will embark on a $2.7 billion exploration mission to search for ancient signs of life on Mars, and attempt to bring samples from the Red Planet back to Earth.

Over the course of the mission, which is expected to last at least two years on the surface, the rover would also study the planet’s climate and geology to help pave the way for human exploration, NASA stated.

For the first time ever NASA revealed that its spacecraft would also be carrying a small helicopter, called “Ingenuity,” which would become the first to fly on another planet. Ingenuity would then attempt to fly which would prove to be a difficult task given that the “atmosphere on Mars is only one percent the density that we have here on Earth,” Wallace said. “Trying to control a system like this under those conditions is not easy.”

www.nasa.gov

If all goes well, the spacecraft will lift off on an Atlas V rocket from the Florida Space Coast station on July 20th and land on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. NASA has chosen a crater called Jezero as the landing site, an ancient lake as well as a delta, where there are rocks that date back 4 billion years.

Perseverance is expected to comb the area, drilling for samples and any potential signs of habitable conditions or signs of ancient microbial life.

“The rover will study the record that is preserved in layers of rock on the surface of Mars …that could have proved evidence of the chemical building blocks of life,” said Lori Glaze, the director of NASA’s planetary science.

As TMU previously reported, some NASA scientists believe that if there is life on Mars it is likely to be found inside the red planet’s caves. Therefore, the experts proposed building cave-exploring flexible robots.

The ideas were discussed at a recent astronomy conference called the ‘Mars Extant Life’ event at the National Cave and Karst Research Institute in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

More than 1,000 possible cave entrances have been mapped on Mars by the U.S .Geological Survey’s (USGS) Astrogeology Science Center just recently, Scientific American reported.

Robots have been scoping out Mars for years investigating the surface for signs of past life and evidence of water while orbiters circling around Mars have been imaging and mapping out the planet.

Underground martian ice was discovered by the Mars Odyssey orbiter (MOO) and then followed up on by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

Then in 2015, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provided strong evidence that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars, according to NASA.

Finally, in 2019, it was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters that ice could be just an inch beneath the surface of the planet.

NASA mapped out the entire planet’s water and ice locations last year. These areas of Mars housing water or ice near caves may be where extraterrestrial life lies in the form of microbial life and maybe even undiscovered still yet unknown organisms.

Last year, Gilbert Levin—the former principal investigator for the Labeled Release (LR) experiment on NASA’s Viking mission to Mars— wrote in an op-ed published in Scientific American, that he believes that NASA already found alien life on Mars in the 1970s, but the data was largely ignored, TMU reported.

Also happening in 2019 which many seem to forget. The InSight space rover designated to study Mars discovered strange magnetic pulsations on the surface of the planet that only happens at midnight, which caused many scientists heads to spin as a result of the discovery.

Earlier this year, TMU reported that international researchers announced they may have found a sign that life once existed on Mars. Proof of which was in the form of special compounds known as thiophenes that were found on Mars by NASA’s Curiosity rover, according to a study published in the journal Astrobiology.

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Humans May Have Found a Way To Not Only Stop Aging – But To Reverse It as Well

Elias Marat

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Humans have long to reverse the effects of aging and prolong their lives. Whether this was due to a love of power, a love of wealth or simple human anxiety about the loss of youth, tales about immortality can be found in the folk tales of countless cultures.

And while aging is a wholly natural process, humans have always struggled to fight against it – be it through science and medicine or through the search for supposed cures such as the mythical Fountain of Youth.

And now, Israeli scientists have claimed to have figured out a solution not only to the process of biological aging – but to reverse it as well, simply by administering pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber.

In a study published Nov. 18 in the peer-reviewed journal Aging, the scientists claim to have showed how aging could be reversed in two key biological clocks in humans related to aging and illness by administering high-pressure oxygen in a pressurized chamber.

When humans grow olders and their cells divide, the sequences of DNA at the end of chromosomes – known as telomeres – grow shorter with time. After the telomeres become too short, the cell is unable to replicate and eventually dies.

While telomere shortening can keep rogue cancerous cells from multiplying rapidly, this also results in genetic aging. As a result, geriatric cells that aren’t able to divide –  also known as senescent cells – accumulate throughout our lives, and are one of the key causes of aging.

In the clinical study, 35 people aged 64 or older were given hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) for 90 minutes a day, five times a week over the course of three months. Blood samples were collected from subjects prior to the treatment, after after the first and second months of the trial, and two weeks after the trial ended.

The patients didn’t have any lifestyle, diet, or medication changes during the study. However, their blood revealed major increases in the telomere length of their cells and a decrease in the number of their senescent cells.

For the researchers, the results of the study offered proof that the process of aging is reversible.

“Researchers around the world are trying to develop pharmacological and environmental interventions that enable telomere elongation,” Prof. Shai Efrati of Tel Aviv University told the Jerusalem Post. “Our HBOT protocol was able to achieve this, proving that the aging process can in fact be reversed at the basic cellular-molecular level.”

The groundbreak study, he added, “gives hope and opens the door for a lot of young scientists to target aging as a reversible disease.”

The oxygen treatment also improved subjects’ attention, ability to process information, as well as subjects’ executive functions, the researchers said.

While attempts to halt aging through modifying one’s lifestyle or intensively exercising can provide “some inhibiting effect on telomere shortening”, the hyperbaric oxygen treatment is more effective, said Efrati’s partner at the Shamir Medical Center, Chief Medical Research Officer Amir Hadanny.

“In our study, only three months of HBOT were able to elongate telomeres at rates far beyond any currently available interventions or lifestyle modifications,” Hadanny said.

The study could open the door to a radical new approach to medical problems and medicine in general.

“Today telomere shortening is considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of the biology of aging,” Prof. Shai Efrati of Tel Aviv University told the Jerusalem Post. “We are not [just] slowing the decline – we are going backwards in time.”

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Saturn and Jupiter Will Align and Create Extremely Rare ‘Christmas Star’ During Winter Solstice

Elias Marat

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The 2020 holiday season is widely expected to be one unlike any other, due in no small part to the ongoing public health emergency. However, Christmas celebrations will also be unique due to an extremely rare planetary alignment, the likes of which have never been seen since medieval times.

Star-gazers will be in for a major treat come December 21, 2020 – the date of the winter solstice – when Jupiter and Saturn will appear extremely close to one another in our night sky, making the planets appear that they might almost collide and becoming one extremely luminous point of light.

The rare celestial treat coinciding with Christmas week will see the Solar System’s two largest planets appear as a “double planet” for the first time in almost 800 years.

“Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to one another,” said astronomer Patrick Hartigan in a press release from Rice University in Houston, Texas.

“You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky,” he added.

Of course, these massive planets won’t be close to one another. Consider our own planet’s distance from the sun. Astronomers use what’s called astronomical units (au) to measure distances in the sprawling expanse of our solar system. Jupiter lies 5 au from the Earth, while Saturn lies 10 au away.

Since the summer, Jupiter and Saturn have been headed towards each other in our own night sky. And from Dec. 16-25, they will appear to be separated by only less than the diameter of a full moon.

While astronomers are recommending that the best views will be seen from around the equator, if good weather permits then the alignment will be clear from any location here on Earth.

Jupiter and Saturn will also be clear during the twilight, for roughly an hour after sunset every evening. However, a telescope tilted toward the western sky will be the best way to catch a glimpse of the extremely rare event.

“On the evening of closest approach on Dec 21 they will look like a double planet, separated by only 1/5th the diameter of the full moon,” Hartigan explained. “For most telescope viewers, each planet and several of their largest moons will be visible in the same field of view that evening.”

“The further north a viewer is, the less time they’ll have to catch a glimpse of the conjunction before the planets sink below the horizon.”

Websites like Stellarium will also be helpful in figuring out where you should look for the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction.

If you don’t get a chance to catch Jupiter and Saturn this close together, you can catch the pair again relatively soon – on March 15, 2080.

However, the next time Jupiter and Saturn will be so close in earthly night skies will be in 2400.

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Breonna Taylor Protest Leader, Suspect in Drug Case, Both Shot Dead Within Days

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Two people with close ties to the Breonna Taylor case have been shot and killed this week, and no suspects have announced in either case. Last Thursday, 28-year-old Adrian O. Walker was shot and killed in west Louisville, Kentucky, according to the Courier-Journal. Walker was one of the primary suspects in the investigation that led to the raid on Breonna Taylor’s home back in March. 

Adrian Walker entered a not guilty plea in late July to charges of engaging in a criminal syndicate, along with drug and gun charges, in connection with the investigation. He was one of the three people listed on the search warrant for Taylor’s home. 

Adrian Walker is not related to Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker, who fired back at police when the home was raided, they just happen to have the same last name. 

Police believed that Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, was storing cash and receiving packages of drugs at Taylor’s home, and that Adrian Walker was working with him.

Glover previously told reporters that he was offered a plea deal in which he would be promised a lighter sentence if he agreed to claim that Taylor was a criminal who belonged to an “organized crime syndicate.”

Glover turned down the deal. He believes that Taylor’s house may have been targeted because she bailed him out of jail when he was in trouble in the past. Police say that Glover was selling drugs out of a house nearly ten miles away from where the raid occurred, but he has pled not guilty to those charges and claims that the police are mistaken.

Adrian Walker, who was listed as an associate of Glover’s in the warrant, was found dead sometime in the afternoon on November 19th, on the 2300 block of Magazine Street, and police have not shared any details about the case with the public.

Just a few days later, one of the protest leaders behind the justice for Breonna Taylor movement was shot and killed, the Courier-Journal reported. On Monday, Hamza “Travis” Nagdy, was killed on the 2100 block of Crittenden Drive, also in Louisville.

Alton Strupp / Courier Journal

There are no suspects in his shooting either, and police have not revealed any details about the case.

In a post on Facebook, Nagdy’s mother and stepmother both confirmed his death. His sister, Sarah Nagdy, launched a GoFundMe for Nagdy’s funeral expenses, which has already raised over $17,000 in the first day that it was posted. A candlelight vigil in Nagdy’s honor will take place at Jefferson Square Park at 6 p.m. on Monday evening.

There is no indication that these two shootings are connected, but it is concerning that two people with connections to such a high profile case have died in unexplained murders.

So far this year there have been over 140 homicides in the city of Louisville, breaking the city’s record of 117 homicides in 2016 over a month before the end of the year.

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