Dennon Gives Space Update

By: Macy Dennon


The United States Government issued the first-ever fine for space junk. Space junk is discarded items floating in the atmosphere including, old satellites and useless parts of spacecraft. Dish’s satellite, EchoStar-7, moved only 76 miles from Earth’s surface before losing power in 2022. Dish assured the US government it would travel 186 miles, and due to this mishap, the satellite posed a potential risk to other satellites in orbit. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fined Dish Network 150,000 dollars for neglecting to move the old satellite. This is the first time the FCC has used this regulatory power, hinting at their plans to continue regulations of space junk, forcing those in the satellite industry to be conscious of and responsible for their idling technology.

British engineers have created a new aircraft for military spying. The Phasa-35 is a slow-moving aircraft with electric engines and solar panel wings. The craft can fly even with the failure of one battery because it has solar power stored in packs of lithium batteries. Though it has a small frame, the lightweight nature of the craft makes it perfect for spying, similar to the suspected spy balloons utilized by some foreign governments. These new aircraft are High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites, a new unmanned aircraft category.

On a live NASA event on Oct. 11, administrator Bill Nelson announced the analysis of a pristine 4.5 billion-year-old asteroid sample, Bennu, found initially in October 2020. On Sept. 24, the capsule containing the sample landed in the Utah desert. It is the largest asteroid sample returned to Earth, and scientists have been studying the sample since it touched down. Through X-rays and chemical element analysis, scientists found that the rock contains water “in the form of hydrated clay minerals and, and they contain carbon as both mineral and organic molecules,” Nelson explained. The presence of the water could explain how Earth became a water planet and further the hypothesis that life came from the outside influence of asteroids. The asteroid also consisted of hydrogen, sulfur, and maginite, which are three other minerals that may have played an essential role in the formation of life. Maginite plays a vital role as a catalyst for organic chemical reactions, and sulfur, an essential element when it comes to the transformation in rocks, melting points, and biology. The astrobiologists at NASA working collecting every grain of asteroid dust say that their process could take weeks to complete, meaning that scientists still have more to learn from the asteroid sample in the coming months. During the life event, Doctor Dante Lauretta, a professor at the University of Arizona and the principal investigator, said, “There is a whole treasure chest of extraterrestrial material.”

(Sources: BBC, NASA, Space News, 

Categories: World

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