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Striking pay dirt: Cornell soil soars to the space station | Cornell Chronicle

striking pay dirt: cornell soil soars to the space station | cornell chronicle

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Morgan Irons is about to help make space-exploration history – and all she needed was a shovel and some dirt.

Irons, a doctoral student in soil and crop sciences, will see the soil she scooped from a Cornell farm organic plot launch into space on the evening of Sept. 29. It will hitch a ride aboard a resupply mission bound for the International Space Station (ISS) – orbiting about 254 miles above Earth.

Morgan Irons scoops up soil for the experiment’s trip into space.  Provided. 

On the space station, researchers have used hydroponic planting systems, seeds placed in engineered growth media, and highly modified, mineral soil, said Irons, but this experiment will be different. “This would be the first time that natural, unmodified Earth soil and engineered biochar soils have been brought up to space,” she said.

Soil aggregates consist of particles that bind to one another for carbon sequestration, nutrient retention and soil aeration. Aggregation is considered a soil-health indicator that depends on fungal and microbial adhesives to bind mineral and organic matter.

Since natural and biochar-containing soils have never been studied in space, scientists don’t know how they react without gravity.

“We don’t know the role that gravity plays …

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OceanX Launches Groundbreaking New Scientific Research, Media Production, and Exploration Vessel, OceanXplorer

oceanx launches groundbreaking new scientific research, media production, and exploration vessel, oceanxplorer

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NEW YORK, Sept. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — OceanX today unveiled its new one-of-a-kind scientific research, media production, and exploration vessel, the R/V OceanXplorer. Designed and built to be the most advanced combined marine research and media vessel in existence, OceanXplorer is both a floating, integrated marine research platform and a Hollywood-caliber media production studio. Formerly named Alucia 2, the ship builds on the legacy of OceanX’s first research vessel, the M/V Alucia, and will become the centerpiece of OceanX’s mission to explore the ocean and bring it back to the world. With its advanced, media-optimized scientific exploration vehicles, its chemical, biological, and geophysical sampling tools, and its centralized data integration system and onboard media center, OceanXplorer is a futuristic marvel that will make it possible to explore and document parts of the ocean humans have never before experienced. To view a tour of the ship please visit bit.ly/oceanxplorer-release.A one-time petroleum support and survey ship that has been completely retrofitted at Damen Shiprepair in the Netherlands, the ship spans nearly 286 feet and will bring the same boundary-pushing excitement to ocean exploration that audiences have grown accustomed to seeing on space expeditions. OceanXplorer’s features include a 40-ton man-rated A-frame crane …

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Making space for patents in space | Lexology

making space for patents in space | lexology

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“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”, Neil Armstrong said as he set foot on the moon – an action that until then had seemed inconceivable to humankind. Over five decades and multiple landings later, the moon no longer seems so far away. With countries all over the globe entering the race for space, trade acquisition has led to a need to protect space inventions and work towards harmonising space law with IP rights. Establishing IP rights for space inventions will facilitate the creation of rights outside conventional territorial boundaries and protection will afford the owner of the invention the right to pursue legal recourse in the event that the creation is commercially exploited in space. However, the legislation surrounding this was laid down during the Cold War, when space was limited to so-called ‘excursion activities’ for countries, with no intervention from private organisations. With global privatisation, space has become astonishingly accessible to entities aiming to create and innovate.
ISRO’s moon soil patent
In September 2019, when Chandrayaan-2 – India’s extremely ambitious mission to the moon suffered a tragic crash – several experts believed that this would deter the country’s growing prominence in the world …

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#SpaceWatchGL Perspective: Next Gen ESA by Dr. Lorenzo Scatena

#spacewatchgl perspective: next gen esa by dr. lorenzo scatena

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by Dr. Lorenzo Scatena is Secretary General of Fondazione E. Amaldi, Italia
Dr. Lorenzo Scatena; Photo courtesy of the author
On 26 August 2020, SpaceWatch.Global Editor in Chief Markus Payer started a dialogue about the next generation ESA here. We reached out to representatives in all ESA member states and beyond to get their feedback on that topic. Here we publish their perspectives. 
How does the change of ESA DG affect ESA’s near-future direction?
Next ESA DG will bear a challenging role in a fast-changing world that is everyday more aware of the role and potential of space either as a stand-alone sector but also as a comprehensive sector of embeddable technologies available for several market sectors. The main ESA objectives for the next three years have been defined during the ESA Ministerial in November 2019 that saw a record funding for European space investments. In this sense, the first challenge for next DG would be to carry out the mandate with ongoing policy guidelines within which ESA develops the European space programme. In terms of impact, I hope that the change of ESA DG will boost the initiatives related to smallsats to see European technologies and capabilities emerging worldwide and …

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Who owns the Moon? No one! But we can use the resources, says Christopher Johnson, Space Law Advisor, Secure World Foundation

who owns the moon? no one! but we can use the resources, says christopher johnson, space law advisor, secure world foundation

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The annexation or conquering of celestial bodies, or even parts of celestial bodies, by States, is prohibited in the Outer Space Treaty.Earlier this year in May, the US Space agency NASA had announced a new set of principles which are specifically designed to safeguard the use of Outer Space — `Artemis Accords’. What is this Artemis Accord?Besides encouraging sustainable lunar resource extraction, it also seeks to ensure transparency and peace in outer space, and to facilitate international cooperation.Related NewsAnd to also “establish a common set of principles to govern the civil exploration and use of outer space.”Though there is not much known about International Space Law about moon mining, Christopher Johnson, Space Law Advisor at the Secure World Foundation, and Adjunct Professor of Space Law, at Georgetown University, in Washington DC, interacts with Huma Siddiqui.Following are excerpts:What is the legal implication of mining the moon?This is an important question. In order to do long-term space exploration, with humans existing for long periods of time on the Moon, or on Mars, or on any other celestial body, we will need to use the resources that we find there. Just like it would be unreasonable to …

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ISRO’s Mangalyaan Orbiter Completes Six Years Around Mars. Where’s the Science? – The Wire Science

isro’s mangalyaan orbiter completes six years around mars. where’s the science? – the wire science

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An artist’s illustration of the Mars Orbiter orbiting the red planet. Image: Nesnad/Wikimedia Commons.
September 24 marks six years since the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO’s) Mangalyaan spacecraft – part of the Mars Orbiter Mission – entered into orbit around the red planet, making India the first Asian country to do so. Even more impressively, Mangalyaan was the country’s first interplanetary mission. Combined with the cost-effectiveness for which it is lauded, Mangalyaan is often hailed as India’s most successful space mission. But is it?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has boasted that at around $70 million, or Rs 450 crore, the mission was cheaper than the 2013 Hollywood film Gravity, and even an auto-rickshaw on a fare-per-kilometre basis. The media highlighted Mangalyaan’s cost effectiveness as well, noting that NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) orbiter to Mars, launched around the same time, had cost about seven-times as much.

India’s pride in the mission while downplaying others has continued to spread over the years, also taking the form of dramatised movies like Mission Mangal (2019). But what they all miss is looking at the scientific output. That is, what has Mangalyaan been doing in Mars orbit?
According to ISRO’ …

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What’s the Best Way to Communicate With an Interstellar Probe When it’s Light-Years Away From Earth? – Universe Today

what’s the best way to communicate with an interstellar probe when it’s light-years away from earth? – universe today

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It’s no secret that humanity is poised to embark on a renewed era of space exploration. In addition to new frontiers in astronomical and cosmological research, crewed missions are also planned for the coming decades that will send astronauts back to the Moon and to Mars for the first time. Looking even further, there are also ideas for interstellar missions like Breakthrough Starshot and Project Dragonfly and NASA’s Starlight.
These mission concepts entail pairing a nanocraft with a lightsail, which would then accelerated by a directed-energy array (lasers) to achieve a fraction of the speed of light (aka. relativistic velocity). Naturally, this raises a number of technical and engineering challenges, not the least of which is communications. In a recent study, a team of scientists sought to address that very issue and considered various methods that might be used.

The study, titled “Challenges in Scientific Data Communication from Low-Mass Interstellar Probes,” recently appeared in The Astrophysical Journal Letters Supplemental Series. The study was led by David G. Messerschmitt, the Roger A. Strauch Professor Emeritus of electrical engineering and computer science at UC Berkeley.
Artist concept of Nanosail-D in Earth orbit. Credit: NASA
He was joined by co-authors Prof. …

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Western News – New international partnership launches Western into space

western news – new international partnership launches western into space

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Frank Neufeld // Western NewsElectrical and computer engineering professor Jayshri Sabarinathan, associate director of training and education for the Institute for Earth & Space Exploration (Western Space).
As a child, Jayshri Sabarinathan looked to the heavens most nights from her family’s apartment terrace using her prized possession – a telescope – desperate to catch a glimpse of the famous Halley’s comet zooming though the sky.
Fast forward 34 years and a new landmark partnership announced Wednesday by Institute for Earth and Space Exploration (Western Space) presents Sabarinathan with a chance of a lifetime – a rocket launch for her own out-of-this-world project.
During a virtual Zoom announcement, Western signed a game-changing memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the MILO Institute, a non-profit research collaboration led by Arizona State University and supported by Lockheed Martin and its subsidiary GEOshare.
As part of the agreement, Sabarinathan and her Western Space collaborators will contribute a one-unit CubeSat (a square-shaped miniature satellite roughly the size of a Rubik’s cube) to a MILO Institute and University of Texas at El Paso flight mission planned for June 2021 – an aggressive timeline, she admits, but that just adds to the excitement.
“I’m very excited about the MoU and this collaboration between …

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Western Space teaming with international partners to develop deep space missions

western space teaming with international partners to develop deep space missions

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LONDON, ONT. —
During a virtual event on Wednesday afternoon, Western University’s Institute for Earth and Space Exploration (Western Space) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the MILO Institute, to develop deep space missions.

The MILO Institute is a non-profit research collaborative led by Arizona State University, with support from Lockheed Martin and GEOshare, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin.

In signing this MOU, Western Space and the MILO Institute will work together to develop low-cost space missions.

“It’s a very exciting day for us here at Western…you can’t get much better than that, except maybe launching yourself into space,” says Gordon Osinski, a Western professor and director at the Institute for Earth and Space Exploration.

One objective for the MOU is to launch an instrument called a CubeSat to the lunar surface. A CubeSat is a square shaped satellite roughly the size of a Rubik’s Cube. It’s in the process of being built by Western researchers.

The CubeSat is a prototype that will be launched at the International Space Station. A bigger version of the CubeSat will be launched in 2022 if the first expedition is successful.

Jayshri Sabarinathan, associate director at Western Space, has been …

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