James Webb Space Telescope Solar Array Update

The James Webb space telescope — a marvel of engineering since its inception —is now set to launch on October 31, 2021. Up until now, it has gone through the successful test of its computer equipment to the deployment of its gigantic reflecting mirrors. Now, its solar arrays have been reconnected to the telescope. Five solar arrays can be folded up to fit onto James Webb’s launch vehicle — the Ariane 5 rocket. The arrays measure roughly 20 feet long. To test the arrays successfully while avoiding friction, they conducted the tests on the arrays by putting them on their side in the spring of 2019. The arrays’ purpose and the telescope itself are to go deeper into the universe and hopefully study it in more detail than ever before possible.

The mirrors onboard James Webb will allow it to capture clearer images of the universe. Its instruments will also help give readings to help provide a better map of the universe. With its improved accuracy and depth, the telescope will provide scientists and mankind a better understanding of space. Its first mission will be to study the light of space using infrared technology. The study of light could also help give us an understanding of gases in space.

The telescope will tell us about galaxies and planets that we’ve not yet discovered with the full potential telescope set on studying light. If you would like to read more about this update on the James Webb space telescope, click here.

SpaceX and Their “Mighty Mice”

               With the incredible success of the most recent SpaceX launches this past summer, they have completed another study. This time, it involves an experiment to inject genetically engineered mice with drugs to prevent muscle mass loss when in space for a prolonged period. This experiment aimed to find better treatments to help avoid muscle loss, loss of bone density, and muscle fatigue for astronauts while in space.

               In Connecticut, a research lab sent 40 young female mice up in the space in December aboard a SpaceX rocket. However, eight of these mice were genetically engineered — dubbed “mighty mice,” and were also given certain protein-blocking drugs. Upon return, it was discovered that 24 of the control mice lost roughly 18% of their muscle mass while in zero gravity. However, the eight “mighty mice” sent up to space were comparable to the “mighty mice” that stayed on Earth. It was also found that some eight normal mice were given the “might mouse” treatment and had recovered their lost muscle faster than the others.

As far as results, all scientists were able to say this time was that specific molecules and signaling pathways were worth exploring in the mice. Scientists also state that while human testing and the use of these drugs for future astronauts would be a fantastic thing, experimentation is nowhere near ready for human trials.

               In the end, this experiment gave scientists a massive amount of hope for continuing to improve upon the safety measures and overall health of space astronauts of the present and future. We cannot wait to see the result of this groundbreaking study. If you would like the read more, click here.

SpaceX SAOCOM 1B and Starlink Satellites Launch

SpaceX made strides yet again this past weekend with its 100th rocket space flight when they launched their remote sensor satellite from the Falcon 9 rocket. The $600 million orbital launch on Sunday, August 31st, was successfully launched in Florida; this is the first launch of its kind from Florida in several decades. The purpose of this SAOCOM 1B satellite is to study what could be impacting the agricultural sector as an educated hypothesis. The satellite will take readings of the Earth’s rotation, soil and dust samples, and the Earth’s orbit from the sun. 

Starlink Satellites Stacked together before their deployment.
Starlink Satellites Stacked together before their deployment.

The agricultural moisture mapping will monitor the soil 1 meter below the surface level. The satellite will work in tandem with another Italian satellite designed to the same task launched in 2018. With this study, it is hoped that things like soil quality density and makeup can be better measured to continue to help the environment is much as possible. 

However, during that same day, a launch was delayed due to weather: The SpaceX Starlink program. The program is intended to give the world massive satellite Internet and Wi-Fi capabilities in the future. SpaceX later tweeted that the next opportunity to launch the Starlink satellite was on Thursday, September 3rd, in the morning. UPDATE: The Starlink satellite launched at 8:46 am EDT from Launch Complex 39A.

We at Lenox Laser want to wish all of those involved with this mission in future missions for SpaceX the better the very best wishes for success and prosperity, and may their findings help enrich space discovery for years to come. To learn more about this mission or any other mission, please visit www.spacex.com.  

NASA’s Webb to Study Quasars

Courtesy of NASA

The James Webb Telescope will be taking on a new challenge on its journey to study quasar galaxies. A quasar is an extremely luminous galactic nucleus with a massive black hole millions to billions times larger than the Sun. This study’s purpose is to examine the light within the quasar and its host galaxy. Researchers at Heidelberg University in Germany plan to use 3-D techniques to measure the quasar and host galaxies’ data. 

About 20 years ago, scientists hypothesized that quasars were responsible for a galaxy’s limited growth because they are also accompanied by massive black holes. The 3-D technology will be used for this endeavor will allow scientists to use different wavelengths to measure gas readings and dust, which can be mapped. Also, they wish to study the nonsymmetric winds using imaging spectroscopy. Interestingly, the quasar’s gas flow is flowing out and not around the galaxy center of gravity ring. Scientists hope to discover more about what exactly makes up the contents of the quasar’s core. The James Webb Telescope can break down light into its primary colors, red, green, and blue — in the same way as a television screen. Scientists can break it down even further into smaller variants of colors.  

It is hoped that the techniques used in this study can be used in the future of James Webb’s missions. The launch of James Webb is currently set for 2021, and it is expected to be the premier space science observatory to the world. This test will be a hopeful leap forward in better understanding the mysteries of space. If you would like to read more, click here

NASA Finally Receive Laser Signal From The Moon

Courtesy of NASA

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, making one of the most significant impacts on space exploration history. At that time, we had no idea just how much space travel would evolve over the decades to come, from Apollo 11 to Apollo 13 to SpaceX Crew Dragon and beyond. As the technology evolves, so does the thirst for space exploration of the vast and unknown. Fast forward to 2020, and we have the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The Orbiter has been in space since 2009, studying the moon and bouncing laser beams off panels attached to the Orbiter. On August 13, 2020, scientists announced that after years of trying, the laser beam finally picked up a signal and returned it to Earth. The beam traveled 240,000 miles and landed on a panel no bigger than a paperback novel.

One of the significant findings was that the Earth and the moon’s orbit are drifting apart at about 1.5 inches per year due to gravitational interactions. Scientists, however, need to find out why information is only being beam back at partial strength. At present, it can take 2.5 seconds for the laser to reach the moon. Scientists also want to continue to study the moon’s magnetic fields and interior. So far, the studies have found that the moon has a fluid core at its center, but the material of the core is unknown. It is also not yet known what is generating the magnetic fields on the moon. These fields are another thing that a laser must travel through, which may cause disruptions in reading accuracy.

The scientist’s report also included a time-lapse to show just how fast the laser can work. Still, sometimes it would only bring back about 200 photons at a time, which they hope to fix soon.

It is hoped that this study will continue to unlock the mysteries of the moon and give humanity a fuller picture and that we continue to take the giant leap and Neil Armstrong so famously spoke of. If you would like to read more about the report, click here

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