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

SpaceX Crew Demo-2 and Future Missions Updates

With the return of the first SpaceX Crew Dragon on August 2, 2020, SpaceX and NASA are already working on plans for the next monumental mission. On July 28, 2020, the four-member crew for the second SpaceX Crew Dragon mission was announced. Some members of the journey are astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur. Joining them will be European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aikiho Hoshide as the expedition’s mission specialists. When the mission launches, the crew is expected to spend six months doing an expedition mission on The International Space Station. The partnership between SpaceX and NASA for this next mission comes with a price tag of a staggering $2.6 billion. On top of a second mission, SpaceX is planning a third Crew Dragon mission for some time in 2021.

The third SpaceX missions will see three American astronauts join the fray. Astronauts Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, and Shannon Walker will be joining Japan’s Soichi Noguchi. Crew-1 will be the first fully operational spaceflight by SpaceX. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said he hopes to bring tourists to The International Space Station someday.

SpaceX and NASA personnel must now control their crew from the spiking SARS-CoV-2 cases across Florida, especially with the upcoming missions. The next two journeys will include more crew members to go and stay at the ISS. Without the men’s bravery on the Demo-2, it would be unknown if missions with more members could be done. One of the reasons for further crews going is for maintenance of the International Space Station.

Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

A great thanks goes all of those involved in all three journeys and other future missions. We, at Lenox Laser, wish them the best of success. If you would like to read more about the missions, please click here.

Covid-19 Study Measuring Droplet Travel Distance With Laser Light

2020 has been a challenging year with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. The novel virus — known as SARS-CoV-2 or more colloquially Covid-19 — has shut down the globe for many months. As research on the illness continues, knowledge of the disease is rapidly evolving. For example, research suggests the virus is transmitted through coughing sneezing and even speech droplets. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the official journal of the National Academy of Sciences, found. “Highly sensitive laser light scattering observations have revealed that loud speech can emit thousands of oral fluid droplets per second.” CDC guidelines have recommended such things as facemasks and 6 feet apart social distancing because of these findings. 

Researchers estimate that droplets can travel 16 feet when walking. As for running, droplets can spread an estimated 32 feet travel distance minus a tailwind. Certain variables in a room can also contribute to airborne spread such as temperature, humidity, open windows, and air quality. Droplets will usually vanish in a matter of 15 minutes or so. If a person competes in a track race, the other runners may still be at risk of infection because of the droplets from other runners. 

Scientists have suggested that — like the common flu — Covid-19 is something humanity may have to coexist with. With modern medicine, we have the best chance in fighting such a virus. Medical teams and staff and health care workers are working around the clock to give the world hope for a better tomorrow. Lenox Laser sends our best to everyone out there affected, and our sincere thanks to healthcare workers the tremendous efforts put forth every day. Thank you, and stay safe. 
 
If you would like to read more, click here to read an article about the spreading of Covid-19

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