UBR Classic UFO Buster Radio News – 435: China Going to The Moon, Biden Space, and Arecibo Being Decommissioned

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China launches mission to bring back material from moon
The mission’s key task is to drill beneath the moon’s surface and scoop up rocks and other debris to be brought back to Earth.
Link: https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/china-launches-mission-bring-back-material-moon-rcna184

China launched an ambitious mission on Tuesday to bring back rocks and debris from the moon’s surface for the first time in more than 40 years — an undertaking that could boost human understanding of the moon and of the solar system more generally.

Chang’e 5 — named for the Chinese moon goddess

The mission’s key task is to drill 2 meters (almost 7 feet) beneath the moon’s surface and scoop up about 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of rocks and other debris to be brought back to Earth, according to NASA.

The mission, called Chang’e-5, is the latest step in an ambitious space program that China hopes will culminate with an international lunar research station and ultimately a human colony on the moon by the 2030s. The entire Chang’e-5 mission, from liftoff to the recovery of the rock samples, will be over in less than a month.

How Will Joe Biden Handle Outer Space?
Link: https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/11/how-will-joe-biden-handle-outer-space/#slide-1

Even Trump’s critics will admit his administration has been great for space. Though reactions to the creation of the Space Force were mixed, its strategic importance hardly needs defending in light of China’s and Russia’s increased space capabilities. Other areas — reactivating the National Space Council, promoting the commercialization of space, and revitalizing NASA — have been generally lauded as victories.

We can afford a little optimism here. After all, Biden has a history of supporting space initiatives. He almost certainly won’t pull the plug on the Space Force. While the timeline for various Artemis Program missions will be pushed back (and space-policy experts already believed dates for key missions were motivated more by politics than sound engineering and logistics), it’s unlikely these will be shuttered, either. Biden won’t go full steam ahead into space the way Trump did, but neither is he looking to reverse recent progress.

Jim Bridenstine, who has served as NASA Administrator since 2018, is among Trump’s most successful appointments. Bridenstine’s accomplishments include shepherding forward the Artemis Program and overseeing the Artemis Accords, a set of principles for international cooperation in space. The Accords are a milestone because they set the stage for future manned lunar missions. Unfortunately, Bridenstine has said he won’t stay on at NASA, even if asked.

Arecibo radio telescope, damaged beyond repair, seen from space
Link: https://www.space.com/arecibo-telescope-damage-from-space-satellite-photos

Satellites spotted gashes in the damaged Arecibo Observatory, which is set to be decommissioned by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF).

The 57-year-old radio telescope has sustained two cable failures which has made its massive dish too unstable to safely repair, according to the NSF. The cable failures have also damaged the massive dish, which spans a whopping 1,000 feet (305 meters) across, gouging holes in its delicate metal panels.

“According to engineering assessments, even attempts of stabilization or testing the cables could result in accelerating the catastrophic failure,” Ralph Gaume, director of the NSF’s astronomy division, said during the news conference. “Engineers cannot tell us the safety margin of the structure, but they have advised NSF that the structure will collapse in the near future on its own.”

Arecibo Observatory, which is in Puerto Rico, is the location of the world’s second-largest single-dish radio telescope. Because radio telescopes can work at all times of day and in all kinds of weather, the observatory operates 24 hours a day.

While the observatory does a lot of astronomy work, it is perhaps most famous for being the site of the huge Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) message directed at the globular cluster M13 in 1974.

Besides its scientific work, Arecibo is known for being the location of a climactic fight in “Goldeneye,” a 1995 James Bond film starring Pierce Brosnan.

Arecibo message
Arecibo broadcast a pictorial message into space in 1974, aiming for M13 — a globular cluster of stars. It will take some time for the message to get there, as M13 is about 21,000 light-years away.

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