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26/09/2022 18:33:12  

Most mission scientists would wince at the thought of their spacecraft being smashed to smithereens. But for those behind Nasa's Dart probe, anything short of total destruction will be chalked up as a failure. From a report: The $330m spacecraft is due to slam head-on into an asteroid about 11m kilometres above the Indian Ocean soon after midnight on Monday. The impact, at nearly seven kilometres a second, will obliterate the half-tonne probe, all in the name of planetary defence. Not that Dimorphos, the asteroid in question, poses any threat to humanity. The Dart, or double asteroid redirection test, is an experiment, the first mission ever to assess whether asteroids can be deflected should one ever be found on a collision course with Earth. A well-placed nudge could avert Armageddon, or so the thinking goes, and spare humans the same fate as the dinosaurs. "It's a very complicated game of cosmic billiards," said Prof Alan Fitzsimmons, an astronomer and member of the Nasa Dart investigation team at Queen's University Belfast. "What we want to do is use as much energy [as we can] from Dart to move the asteroid." With telescopes constantly scanning the skies, scientists hope to have some notice if an asteroid were ever to present a major threat. "If we are able to see far enough in advance and know that an asteroid might be a problem, pushing it out of the way will be much safer than the big Hollywood idea of blowing it up," said Catriona McDonald, a PhD student at Warwick University. The Dart mission launched from Vandenberg space force base in November last year. On Monday night, mission controllers will hand control to Dart's software and let the probe steer itself into oblivion.

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26/09/2022 17:30:05  

The Artemis-I vehicle will be pulled off the launch pad in Florida to protect it from storm forces.
25/09/2022 08:32:56  

The Artemis I rocket will not have its third launch attempt on Tuesday as planned due to concerns over Tropical Storm Ian making its way toward Cuba and Florida. CNN reports: After meeting on Saturday morning, NASA's Artemis team decided to forgo the September 27 launch opportunity and is now preparing the mega moon rocket stack for rollback. "On Tuesday, Tropical Storm Ian is forecast to be moving north through the eastern Gulf of Mexico as a hurricane, just off the southwest coast of Florida. A cold front will also be draped across northern Florida pushing south," said CNN Meteorologist Haley Brink. "The combination of these weather factors will allow for increased rain chances across much of the Florida peninsula on Tuesday, including the Cape Canaveral area. Showers and thunderstorms are forecast to be numerous and widespread across the region. Tropical storm-force winds from Ian could also arrive as early as Tuesday night across central Florida." Meanwhile, the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft continue to sit on the launchpad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Team members continue to monitor the weather as they make a decision about when to roll the rocket stack back into the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy. NASA will receive information from the US Space Force, the National Hurricane Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to inform their decision. [...] The rocket stack can remain at the pad and withstand winds up to 85 miles per hour (74.1 knots). If the stack needs to roll back into the building, it can handle sustained winds less than 46 miles per hour (40 knots). On Friday, the Artemis team said that October 2 was a backup launch date. But it's unlikely that a new launch date will be set until the rollback decision has been made.

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24/09/2022 21:29:53  

The launch of the American space agency's big new Moon rocket is being delayed for the third time.
24/09/2022 08:32:54  

A pair of researchers who previously identified what may be the first known interstellar meteor to impact Earth have now presented evidence of a second object that could have originated beyond the solar system, before it burned up in our planet's skies and potentially fell to the surface, according to a new study. Motherboard reports: Amir Siraj, a student in astrophysics at Harvard University, and astronomer Avi Loeb, who serves as Harvard's Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science, suggest that a fast-moving meteor that burst into a fireball hundreds of miles off the coast of Portugal on March 9, 2017, is an "additional interstellar object candidate" that they call interstellar meteor 2 (IM2) in a study posted to the preprint server arXiv this week. The paper has not been peer-reviewed. In addition to their potential origin beyond the solar system, these objects appear to be extraordinarily robust, as they rank as the first- and third-highest meteors in material strength in a NASA catalog that has collected data about hundreds of fireballs. "We don't have a large enough sample to say how much stronger interstellar objects are than solar system objects, but we can say that they are stronger," Siraj said in an email. "The odds of randomly drawing two objects in the top 3 out of 273 is 1 in 10 thousand. And when we look at the specific numbers relative to the distribution of objects, we find that the Gaussian odds are more like 1 in a million." This makes IM2 "an outlier in material strength," Loeb added in a follow-up call with Siraj. "To us, it means that the source is different from planetary systems like the solar system." Loeb has attracted widespread attention in recent years over his speculation that the first interstellar object ever identified, known as 'Oumuamua, was an artifact of alien technology. Spotted in 2017, 'Oumuamua sped through the solar system and was up to a quarter-mile in scale, making it much larger than the interstellar meteor candidates identified by Siraj and Loeb, which are a few feet across. Loeb's claims of an artificial origin for 'Oumuamua have provoked substantial pushback from many scientists who do not consider a technological explanation to be likely. Loeb also thinks these interstellar meteor candidates could be alien artifacts, though he and Siraj present a mind-boggling natural explanation for the strangely robust objects in the study: The meteors may be a kind of interstellar shrapnel produced by the explosions of large stars, called supernovae. [...] Loeb, of course, is keeping his mind open. "We don't say, necessarily, that it is artificial," Loeb said in the call, referring to the supernovae explanation. But, he added, "obviously, there is a possibility that a spacecraft was designed to sustain such harsh conditions as passing through the Earth's atmosphere, so we should allow for that."

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23/09/2022 11:32:52  

Specks of dust that a Japanese space probe retrieved from an asteroid about 186 million miles (300m kilometers) from Earth have revealed a surprising component: a drop of water. The discovery offers new support for the theory that life on Earth may have been seeded from outer space. The Guardian reports: The findings are in the latest research to be published from analysis of 5.4 grammes of stones and dust that the Hayabusa-2 probe gathered from the asteroid Ryugu. "This drop of water has great meaning," the lead scientist, Tomoki Nakamura of Tohoku University, told reporters before publication of the research in the journal Science on Friday. "Many researchers believe that water was brought [from outer space], but we actually discovered water in Ryugu, an asteroid near Earth, for the first time." Hayabusa-2 was launched in 2014 on its mission to Ryugu, and returned to Earth's orbit two years ago to drop off a capsule containing the sample. The precious cargo has already yielded several insights, including organic material that showed some of the building blocks of life on Earth, amino acids, may have been formed in space. The team's latest discovery was a drop of fluid in the Ryugu sample "which was carbonated water containing salt and organic matter," Nakamura said. That bolsters the theory that asteroids such as Ryugu, or its larger parent asteroid, could have "provided water, which contains salt and organic matter" in collisions with Earth, he said. "We have discovered evidence that this may have been directly linked to, for example, the origin of the oceans or organic matter on Earth." "The fact that water was discovered in the sample itself is surprising," given its fragility and the chances of it being destroyed in outer space, said Kensei Kobayashi, an astrobiology expert and professor emeritus at Yokohama National University. "It does suggest that the asteroid contained water, in the form of fluid and not just ice, and organic matter may have been generated in that water."

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22/09/2022 18:29:45  

Trade union chief Frances O'Grady says soaring nursery fees are causing parents huge stress.
22/09/2022 08:32:45  

According to NASA, the James Webb Space Telescope has captured the clearest view of Neptune's rings in more than 30 years. From the report: Most striking in Webb's new image is the crisp view of the planet's rings -- some of which have not been detected since NASA's Voyager 2 became the first spacecraft to observe Neptune during its flyby in 1989. In addition to several bright, narrow rings, the Webb image clearly shows Neptune's fainter dust bands. "It has been three decades since we last saw these faint, dusty rings, and this is the first time we've seen them in the infrared," notes Heidi Hammel, a Neptune system expert and interdisciplinary scientist for Webb. Webb's extremely stable and precise image quality permits these very faint rings to be detected so close to Neptune. Webb's Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) images objects in the near-infrared range from 0.6 to 5 microns, so Neptune does not appear blue to Webb. In fact, the methane gas so strongly absorbs red and infrared light that the planet is quite dark at these near-infrared wavelengths, except where high-altitude clouds are present. Such methane-ice clouds are prominent as bright streaks and spots, which reflect sunlight before it is absorbed by methane gas. Images from other observatories, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the W.M. Keck Observatory, have recorded these rapidly evolving cloud features over the years. More subtly, a thin line of brightness circling the planet's equator could be a visual signature of global atmospheric circulation that powers Neptune's winds and storms. The atmosphere descends and warms at the equator, and thus glows at infrared wavelengths more than the surrounding, cooler gases. Neptune's 164-year orbit means its northern pole, at the top of this image, is just out of view for astronomers, but the Webb images hint at an intriguing brightness in that area. A previously-known vortex at the southern pole is evident in Webb's view, but for the first time Webb has revealed a continuous band of high-latitude clouds surrounding it. Webb also captured seven of Neptune's 14 known moons. Dominating this Webb portrait of Neptune is a very bright point of light sporting the signature diffraction spikes seen in many of Webb's images, but this is not a star. Rather, this is Neptune's large and unusual moon, Triton.

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21/09/2022 07:31:34  
20/09/2022 16:32:56  

Saturn has quite the collection of moons, more than any other planet in the solar system. There's Enceladus, blanketed in ice, with a briny ocean beneath its surface. There's Iapetus, half of which is dusty and dark, and the other shiny and bright. There are Hyperion, a rocky oval that bears a striking resemblance to a sea sponge, and Pan, tiny and shaped just like a cheese ravioli. But one moon might be missing. From a report: According to a new study, Saturn once had yet another moon, about the same size as Iapetus, which is the third-largest satellite in Saturn's collection. The moon orbited the ringed planet for several billion years, minding its own business, doing moon things, until about 100 million to 200 million years ago, when other Saturnian moons started messing with it. The interactions between them pushed the unlucky moon closer to Saturn -- too close to remain intact. Gravity shredded it to bits. Something remarkable might have come out of all this. While most of the moon debris fell into Saturn's atmosphere, some of the pieces hung back, whirling around the planet until they splintered further and flattened into a thin, delicate disk. This lost moon, the authors of the study say, is responsible for Saturn's trademark feature: the rings. These astronomers didn't set out to find a missing moon. They were trying to better understand why Saturn is the way it is now -- specifically, why the planet is tilted just so. "Planetary tilts are an interesting indicator of a planet's history," Zeeve Rogoszinski, an astronomer at the University of Maryland who was not involved in this recent work but who studies orbital dynamics, told me. Most of the planets in our solar system spin at an angle relative to the plane in which they orbit the sun. Earth's tilt, for example, is a result of the collision that scientists believe might have created our moon. Mars's tilt is chaotic, thanks to the influence of next-door neighbor Jupiter. Uranus likely got its dramatic lean after the planet was whacked with a massive rocky object a few billion years ago.

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18/09/2022 23:32:23  

The Mars rover Perseverance was the subject of a new NASA briefing Thursday. CNET describes it as a celebration of this year's discovery of organic matter — in June NASA for the first time measured the total amount of organic carbon in Martian rocks — and a celebration of rock samples. (Specifically, the two samples collected from mudstone rock on Wildcat Ridge in Jezero Crater.) The rover's Sherloc instrument investigated the rock. (Sherloc stands for Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals.) "In its analysis of Wildcat Ridge, the Sherloc instrument registered the most abundant organic detections on the mission to date," NASA said. Scientists are seeing familiar signs in the analysis of Wildcat Ridge. "In the distant past, the sand, mud and salts that now make up the Wildcat Ridge sample were deposited under conditions where life could potentially have thrived," said Perseverance project scientist Ken Farley in a statement. "The fact the organic matter was found in such a sedimentary rock — known for preserving fossils of ancient life here on Earth — is important." Perseverance isn't equipped to find definitive evidence of ancient microbial life on the red planet. "The reality is the burden of proof for establishing life on another planet is very, very high," said Farley during the press conference. For that, we need to examine Mars rocks up close and in person in Earth labs. Perseverance currently has 12 rock samples on board, including the Wildcat Ridge pieces and samples from another sedimentary delta rock called Skinner Ridge. It also collected igneous rock samples earlier in the mission that point to the impact of long-ago volcanic action in the crater. NASA is so happy with the diversity of samples collected that it's looking into dropping some of the filled tubes off on the surface soon in preparation for the future Mars Sample Return campaign.... The mission is under development. If all goes as planned, those rocks could be here by 2033 . The hope is that in 2033, Perseverance will meet the lander "and personally deliver the samples," the article quips. But in the meantime, Perseverance "could wander up the crater rim." And there's one more update about the smaller exploration vehicle that Peseverance carried to Mars. "Its companion Ingenuity helicopter is in good health and expected to take to the air again."

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17/09/2022 11:32:11  

The FCC has approved Lynk's satellite-to-phone connectivity service that will allow people to send and receive texts via satellites in space. According to TechCrunch, all that's left is "selecting a mobile network partner to bring it to market here in the States." From the report: Lynk demonstrated a direct satellite-to-phone (and back) emergency connectivity service late last year with its test orbital cell tower. Far from an orbital broadband connection or a legacy satellite band that has you pointing your phone at an invisible dot in the sky, Lynk would provide intermittent (think every half hour or so) 2-way SMS service via ordinary cellular bands that just happen to reach orbit. It's intended for emergencies, check-ins from the back country, and spreading information in places where networks are down, such as disaster zones. It's not easy to send a text to or from an antenna moving several thousand miles per hour, and CEO Charles Miller confirmed that it took a few years for them to make it happen. So when major companies say they're working on it, he doesn't feel too much heat. "That's the benefit of having invented the tech five years ago: There's a bunch of hard things that no one else has done yet. I'm not saying they can't, just that they haven't yet," he told me. "We validated this and patented it in 2017. We did it from space yesterday and the day before -- we have the world's only active cell tower in space." Of course, you could have a thousand of them and it wouldn't matter unless you have regulatory approval and partners in the mobile space. That's the next step for Lynk, and although they have 15 contracts spanning 36 countries around the world and are preparing for commercial launch, the United States FCC is the "gold standard" for this kind of testing and validation. That's not just because they have the best facilities -- the FCC approval process is also the de facto battleground where companies attempt to run interference on one another. [...] Today's order approves Lynk's satellite services to operate in general, having showed that they will not interfere with other services, radio bands, and so on. A separate approval will be needed when Lynk finds a partner to go to market with -- but the more difficult and drawn out question of safety and interference is already answered.

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17/09/2022 08:32:10  

Nanoracks just made space construction and manufacturing history with the first demonstration of cutting metal in orbit. TechCrunch reports: The experiment was performed back in May by Nanoracks and its parent company Voyager Space, after getting to orbit aboard the SpaceX Transporter 5 launch. The company only recently released additional details on Friday. The goal of Outpost Mars Demo-1 mission was to cut a piece of corrosion-resistant metal, similar to the outer shell of United Launch Alliance's Vulcan Centaur and common in space debris, using a technique called friction milling. Welding and metal-cutting is a messy operation on Earth, but all of that dust and debris simply falls to the ground. But "when you're in space, in the vacuum, it doesn't really do that. It doesn't just float away necessarily either," Marshall Smith, Nanoracks' senior VP of space systems, explained to TechCrunch back in May. "What you want to do is to contain this debris, not necessarily because it might be a micrometeorites issue, which it could be as well, but mostly because you want to keep your work environment clean." The entire demonstration lasted around one minute. The main goal -- to cut a single small sample of the steel -- was successfully completed. Inside the spacecraft were two additional samples to cut as a "reach goal," and Nanoracks is investigating why they weren't cut as well. It was conducted in partnership with Maxar Technologies, who developed the robotic arm that executed the cut. That arm used a commercially available friction milling end-effector, and the entire structure was contained in the Outpost spacecraft to ensure that no debris escaped. Indeed, one of the main goals of the demonstration was to produce no debris -- and it worked. Nanoracks used a type of metal similar to an upper stage of a rocket precisely because the company's long-term goal is to modify used upper stages and convert them into orbital platforms, or what it calls "outposts." According to Smith, this is just the beginning. In the future, Nanoracks will attempt cuts on a larger scale in its quest to eventually conduct larger construction efforts.

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16/09/2022 16:32:09  

SpaceX wants to show the world its Starlink satellite system can deliver Netflix and YouTube at 30,000 feet. So it recently held a demo for the media aboard a jet operated by its first airline customer, regional carrier JSX. From a report: The short jaunt from Burbank to San Jose, California marks the start of Elon Musk's bid to seize in-flight business from satellite providers Intelsat and Viasat that already serve thousands of aircraft. It won't be easy, even for a serial market disrupter such as Musk. "Are they a serious competitor? Yes," said Jeff Sare, president of commercial aviation for Intelsat, a leading provider of wireless service on airlines. Still, Sare said, "We don't believe there's anybody that can beat us." Starlink, part of Musk's Space Exploration Technologies, delivers broadband from a constellation of low-flying small satellites. Lower satellites circle the planet in 90 to 120 minutes. That's a departure from the established practice of using a few powerful spacecraft in higher and slower orbits. An upside for Starlink is its signals arrive sooner.

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16/09/2022 00:32:07  

Blue light from artificial sources is on the rise, which may have negative consequences for human health and the wider environment, according to a study. From a report: Academics at the University of Exeter have identified a shift in the kind of lighting technologies European countries are using at night to brighten streets and buildings. Using images produced by the International Space Station (ISS), they have found that the orange-coloured emissions from older sodium lights are rapidly being replaced by white-coloured emissions produced by LEDs. While LED lighting is more energy-efficient and costs less to run, the researchers say the increased blue light radiation associated with it is causing "substantial biological impacts" across the continent. The study also claims that previous research into the effects of light pollution have underestimated the impacts of blue light radiation. Chief among the health consequences of blue light is its ability to suppress the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep patterns in humans and other organisms. Numerous scientific studies have warned that increased exposure to artificial blue light can worsen people's sleeping habits, which in turn can lead to a variety of chronic health conditions over time. The increase in blue light radiation in Europe has also reduced the visibility of stars in the night sky, which the study says "may have impacts on people's sense of nature." Blue light can also alter the behavioural patterns of animals including bats and moths, as it can change their movements towards or away from light sources.

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15/09/2022 08:32:00  

With the recent addition of Antarctica, SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet service is now available on all seven continents. PC Magazine reports: The company has shipped a Starlink dish to McMurdo Station, a US research facility based on an island right off the coast of Antarctica. In a tweet on Wednesday, the National Science Foundation said that scientists with the US Antarctic Program have been testing out the dish at the site to supply increased internet bandwidth. The Starlink dish promises to offer faster internet speeds to McMurdo Station, which previously relied on satellite internet from other providers. The broadband quality had to be shared over a 17Mbps connection for the entire research facility, which can house over 1,000 people. Starlink, on the other hand, can offer much faster broadband due to the lower orbits of the company's Starlink satellites. Download speeds can range from 50 to 200Mbps for residential users, and 100 to 350Mbps for business customers through a high-performance dish, which can also withstand extreme temperatures. To serve users in Antarctica, SpaceX has been launching batches of Starlink satellites to orbit the Earth's polar regions in an effort to beam high-speed broadband to users below, including in Alaska and northern Canada. Normally, Starlink satellites fetch the internet data by relying on ground stations on the planet's surface. But last year, SpaceX began outfitting new satellites with "laser links," which can allow them to send and receive data with each other across space. This can allow the same satellites to beam broadband without relying on a ground station below.

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14/09/2022 08:31:51  

On Sept. 26, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission will slam headfirst into a small asteroid in the name of planetary defense. "[S]cientists hope that should a dangerous asteroid threaten the planet in the future, a mission like DART could avert the disaster," reports Space.com. From the report: The theory goes that if scientists ever detected an asteroid on a collision course with Earth, an impactor probe could realign the orbit of the space rock, ensuring that it crossed Earth's path when our planet was a safe distance away. But scientists don't want to be working only from theory if the situation arises. That's where DART's dramatic destruction comes into play. The spacecraft will slam into a small asteroid called Dimorphos, which like clockwork orbits a larger near-Earth asteroid called Didymos every 11 hours and 55 minutes. (Neither asteroid poses any threat to Earth, and DART won't change that.) The DART impact should adjust the orbit of Dimorphos, cutting its circuit by perhaps 10 minutes. Scientists on Earth will be spending weeks after the impact measuring the actual change in the moonlet's orbit to compare with their predictions. The work will refine scientists' understanding of how asteroids respond to impactors and help to tune any future missions to the necessary amount of orbital change. "This isn't just a one-off event," Nancy Chabot, the DART coordination lead at the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland, which runs the mission, said during the news conference. "We want to know what happened to Dimorphos, but more important, we want to understand what that means for potentially applying this technique in the future." While the stakes are low compared to any scenario that would motivate a real asteroid-deflecting mission, the difficulty is the same. "This is incredibly challenging," Evan Smith, the deputy mission system engineer, said during the news conference, noting that the spacecraft will only be able to see Dimorphos itself about an hour and a half before impact. "This is a par-one course, so we're going in for the hit this time." And if something doesn't go according to plan? Mission personnel are pretty confident that, as long as the spacecraft hits its target, there should be something to see. "If DART collides with Dimorphos and then you don't see any orbital period change, this would be exceptionally surprising," Chabot said. "Just the amount of momentum that DART is bringing in on its own from the weight of the spacecraft slamming into Dimorphos is enough to shift its orbit in a measurable way."

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13/09/2022 17:31:31  

Sadly, the death of the Queen caused Guido to overlook this profile of Liz’s new chief economic adviser, Matthew Sinclair. Formerly of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, the former member of the Tufton Street mafia – can you ever leave? – was appointed to the No.[…] Read the rest

13/09/2022 08:31:39  

Ben Nowack, a 26-year old inventor and CEO of Tons of Mirrors, is trying to use satellite-mounted reflective surfaces to redirect sunlight to earthbound solar panels at night. In an interview with Motherboard, Nowack explains what inspired this idea and how he can turn his concept into reality. Here's an excerpt from the report: What was the initial idea? I had an interesting way to solve the real issue with solar power. It's this unstoppable force. Everybody's installing so many solar panels everywhere. It's really a great candidate to power humanity. But sunlight turns off, it's called nighttime. If you solve that fundamental problem, you fix solar everywhere. Where did the idea come from? I was watching a YouTube video called The Problem with Solar Energy in Africa. It was basically saying that you need three times as many solar panels in Germany as you do in the Sahara Desert and you can't get the power from the Sahara to Germany in an easy way. I thought, what if you could beam the sunlight and then reflect it with mirrors, and put that light into laser beam vacuum tubes that zigzag around the curvature of the Earth. It could be this beam that comes in just like power companies, this tube full of infinite light. That was the initial idea. But the approach was completely economically unworkable. I was like, this is not going to compete with solar in 10 years. I should just completely give up and do something else. Then I was on a run two days later and thought what if I put that thing that turns sunlight into a beam in orbit then you don't have to build a vacuum tube anymore. And it's so much more valuable because you can shine sunlight on solar farms that already exist. Then I developed several more technologies which I know for a fact no one else is working on. That made the model even more economical. Are these just like regular household mirrors, but fixed to a satellite? If you did that, the light would go to too many places. The sun is a certain size. It's not a point, it has a distance across. The light from one side of the sun would bounce off your mirror, and the light from the other side would also bounces off your mirror. If you used a perfectly flat mirror, every single microscopic piece would have this angle of diverging light coming from it. By the time the reflection hit Earth, you'd get a 3.6 kilometer diameter spot, which is gigantic. There are only 10 solar farms that big. So I did the math, and figured out that if I could hit a 500-meter spot instead of a 3,600-meter spot, then I'd be able to hit 44 times more solar sites per orbit.

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13/09/2022 08:28:37  

The emergency escape system on the uncrewed craft was triggered mid-air.
12/09/2022 21:31:41  

A rocket crashed back to Earth shortly after liftoff Monday in the first launch accident for Jeff Bezos' space travel company, but the capsule carrying experiments managed to parachute to safety. From a report: No one was aboard the Blue Origin flight, which used the same kind of rocket as the one that sends paying customers to the edge of space. The rockets are now grounded pending the outcome of an investigation, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The New Shepard rocket was barely a minute into its flight from West Texas when bright yellow flames shot out from around the single engine at the bottom. The capsule's emergency launch abort system immediately kicked in, lifting the craft off the top. Several minutes later, the capsule parachuted onto the remote desert floor. The rocket came crashing down, with no injuries or damage reported, said the FAA, which is in charge of public safety during commercial space launches and landings. Blue Origin's launch commentary went silent when the capsule catapulted off the rocket Monday morning, eventually announcing: "It appears we've experienced an anomaly with today's flight. This wasn't planned."

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