WASHINGTON: NASA has selected nine teams to study the lunar samples collected during the Apollo missions in the 1970s.
“Stored untouched for approximately 50 years, I’m excited the samples will be opened for the first time to be studied by a new generation of scientists,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, tweeted.
The lunar rocks and soil to be studied are samples collected from Apollo missions 15, 16, and 17, some of which have never been exposed to the Earth’s atmosphere. In an online statement, NASA mentioned, in particular, the sample taken from beneath the lunar regolith during Apollo mission 17, which could help scientists “study the rock layers exactly as they existed on the Moon.”
“By studying these precious lunar samples for the first time, a new generation of scientists will help advance our understanding of our lunar neighbor and prepare for the next era of exploration of the Moon and beyond,” Zurbuchen said. The nine teams include four NASA teams and four universities’ research teams, as well as a team from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, sharing an award of 8 million U.S. dollars together.
Twitter rolls out ‘subscribe to conversations’ feature
CALIFORNIA: Twitter has rolled out a new tool allowing users to follow conversations without liking or replying to them.
A software engineer, Jane Manchung, discovered the prototype in the Android version of the app, Engadget reported. She tweeted about it and Twitter said in response that it was done to make the platform more conversational.
A button has been added to the top right corner of the thread, which notifies you when additional tweets happen. It would bring anonymity to the app.
A chronological timeline tool had been added to the Android version of the app and Twitter is also testing an “original tweeter” label, which shows the account that started a thread.
Sarah Haider, director of product management, said earlier this year that the company is making “some pretty big changes to the way conversations look and feel on Twitter” but they don’t want to introduce everything at once.
We can expect a lot more changes in the future, with the rapid new features rolling out every month.
Russia’s Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft docks to ISS
MOSCOW: The Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft carrying three crew members successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday, Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos said.
Soyuz MS-12 docked with the Rassvet module at 04:01 Moscow time (0101 GMT), Roscosmos said in a press release.
A Soyuz-FG rocket carrying the spacecraft blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 22:14 Moscow time (1914 GMT) on Thursday.
Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague, who survived unscathed an aborted launch in October 2018, as well as NASA astronaut Christina Koch, are on board the spacecraft.
Their mission will last 204 days. On March 29, Koch, together with another ISS crew member Anne McClain, who arrived at the ISS on Dec. 3 last year, will perform the first-ever all-female spacewalk.
Russian cosmonauts are scheduled to conduct a spacewalk in May.
3 astronauts on Soyuz craft successfully reach ISS
BAIKONUR (Kazakhstan): A Russian cosmonaut and two US astronauts arrived Friday at the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, five months after the failed launch of a rocket carrying two of the passengers.
NASA astronaut Nick Hague and his Russian colleague Alexey Ovchinin, who both survived a dramatically aborted Soyuz launch last year, were joined on the smoothly-executed trip by NASA astronaut Christina Koch. The rocket blasted off without incident from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and docked at the ISS less than six hours later, more than 400 kilometers (249 miles) above the Earth at 01:01 GMT, a few minutes ahead of schedule. During a live broadcast via high-definition cameras aboard the ISS, the mission commander Ovchinin reported that the mooring mechanism was engaged. A NASA commentator then confirmed the “capture.”
The liftoff was closely watched after the two men’s space journey was cut short in October when a technical problem with their Soyuz rocket triggered a launch abort two minutes into the flight. Both men escaped unharmed. It was the first such accident in Russia’s post-Soviet history and a major setback for its once-proud space industry. Speaking to reporters ahead of their six-month mission, Ovchinin said some faulty components in the launch vehicle had been found and replaced this week. “Yesterday they found some minor malfunctions,” the 47-year-old said on Wednesday. He insisted that the launch vehicle was in good shape. “There are no problems,” Ovchinin said. Hague, 43, said he was looking forward to the flight – his second attempt to get into space. “I’m 100 percent confident in the rocket and the spaceship,” he said. The October abort was caused by a sensor damaged during the rocket’s assembly.