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NASA vindt resten van water op planetoïde Bennu

The OSIRIS-REx from NASA has found traces of water on the asteroid Bennu. The water is in the space rock. The spacecraft has been flying around the asteroid for a while to carry out reconnaissance.

In the exploration no liquid water was found, the asteroid is too small for that, but molecular traces of water. They may have come from the larger asteroid that Bennu was first attached to.

The researchers are very pleased with the find. The asteroid originates from the time that our solar system originated. Because water has been found on it, the data from the research can make a lot clear about that initial period.

The NASA mission has traveled 2.2 million kilometers since its launch in 2016 to reach the planetoid. The highlight of the mission must follow in 2020. Then the OSIRIS-REx has to fly a few meters above the asteroid and lower a kind of vacuum cleaner hose, which has to suck up part of the surface.

In 2023 the mission returns with pieces of rock from Bennu.

Small chance of impact

There is a small chance that the asteroid will hit the earth at the end of the next century. Bennu is too small to destroy the planet and humanity as a whole, but it can do a lot of damage.

According to mission leader Dante Lauretta, more than seventy times more energy will be released at an impact than at the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and three times as much as the total of all nuclear weapons that have ever been detonated.

Bennu makes a 4 kilometer crater in diameter and about 1 kilometer deep. After the bang a pressure wave arises that spreads at a speed of almost 6,000 kilometers per hour. Chunks can end up hundreds of miles away.

If Bennu ends up in the sea, a tsunami with waves of 28 to 56 meters high can arise.


China is investigating the dark side of the moon with probe

The Chinese space agency CASC sent the Chang’e 4-lander to the dark side of the moon on Friday at 7:30 pm Dutch time. It is the first time that a lander has to end up on this side of the moon.

A lunar rover is on board the lander. This vehicle is 1.1 meters high and 1.5 meters long, and weighs about 140 kilograms. The vehicle must land on the South Pole-Aitken basin, a large impact crater in the surface of the moon.

The side on which the robber lands, the ‘dark side’, is the side that can never be seen from the earth. He is always turned away from the earth. As a result, the moon blocks the communication between the earth and the rover. In order to keep in touch with the earth, China sent a corresponding communication satellite to the moon earlier this year.

Although no vehicle has ever landed on the dark side of the moon, it has been observed. A space probe from the Soviet Union made the first photographs in 1959. In 1962, a probe from NASA collapsed on the surface of the dark side.

Chang’e 4 is going to try to grow potatoes and plants

On the surface of the moon Chang’e 4 is going to try to grow the seeds of potatoes and arabidopsis plants, reports Chinese state broadcaster Xinhua.

The rover has a cylindrical look, a mini-biosphere, with water, plant food, oxygen and observation equipment.

There is Chinese-Dutch antenna on board satellite

Because the relevant side of the moon has been turned away from the earth, this side is shielded from electromagnetic disturbances from the earth. This allows Chang’e instruments to capture 4 radio waves from deep in space.

A special radio antenna was installed on board the communication satellite, which Chinese researchers developed in collaboration with researchers from Radboud University in Nijmegen.

This Netherlands-China Low Frequency Explorer (NCLE) is the first Dutch instrument to be taken on board a Chinese space mission. The signals that the NCLE receives could provide information about the origin of the universe after the Big Bang.

Next Chinese lander extracts monster from lunar surface

The Chang’e 4-lander will be succeeded in December 2019 by Chang’e 5. This mission must land on the moon to bring a sample of so-called “regoliet”. Regolite is the material from which the surface of the moon consists.

It can occur as lumps of rock or loose material. After picking up such a sample, Chang’e 5 must return to earth again.

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Researchers: Signs better for remembering than writing down

Anyone who has to remember something can sign this better than writing down. Especially the elderly benefit from this, say researchers from the University of Waterloo. They hope that the research results can help people with dementia.

The scientists discovered that drawing something yourself is a better method to store new information than to transfer it to a note, to visualize it or to look passively at an image. The technique would also work for people who can not draw well.

In the study, led by Professor of cognitive neuroscience Myra Fernandes, the researchers had both young people and the elderly perform different techniques to remember something. Both groups showed better results in drawing, but this effect was strikingly large especially in the elderly.

Fernandes is hopeful that these findings can help people with dementia, whose memory and language function deteriorate rapidly. Signs can then offer a solution, she says. According to scientists, the visual part of the brain remains largely intact in the normal aging process and dementia.

The researchers think that drawing works best, because then several techniques are used to represent something, namely: visual, spatial, verbal, semantic and motoric.

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NASA confirms that spacecraft Voyager 2 has left the solar system

The American spacecraft Voyager 2 has left our solar system after more than forty years of continuous flying.

The American space agency NASA announced this on Monday. Since 5 November, the space probe has not measured any lake particles from the sun, which indicates that the Voyager 2 is definitely out of reach of the sun.

NASA can only now, one month later, state with certainty that the Voyager 2 has left the solar system, because data from three other instruments on board confirm this. For example, an increase in cosmic radiation is measured, indicating that the probe is out of influence of the solar wind.

The Voyager is still functioning properly. The space probe is located almost 18 billion kilometers from the earth and still sends data. Currently the device measures the area in the space through which it flies. In October NASA reported that the probe was approaching the edge of the solar system.

Voyager 2 was launched on August 20, 1977 from the rocket base Cape Canaveral in the US state of Florida. Together with its predecessor Voyager 1, which was launched two weeks later, the space probe is NASA’s space exploration program. Voyager 1 became the first human-made object ever to leave our solar system in August 2012.

On board of the Voyager 2 a golden LP was included, with ‘sounds of the earth’, along with a selection of music and a description of the human being. If an extraterrestrial form of life finds it, then there is also a code with instructions how the earth can be found.

Information Voyager does more than 16 hours on earth

The Voyager 2 continues to fly uninhibited, with a speed of over 55,000 kilometers per hour. The information that the probe sends to the earth takes more than sixteen hours to arrive, even if it goes with the speed of light.

In about three hundred years, Voyager 2 will join the Oortwolk, a gigantic area of ​​space rocks and mini-peaks. The cloud is named after the Dutch astronomer Jan Oort. Many comets may come from here. Probably the Voyager 2 will take about 30,000 years to fly through. He will meet a star for the first time in 40,000 years.

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