samedi 9 avril 2022

Four Ax-1 Astronauts Enter Station, Meet Expedition 67 Crew


Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) patch.


April 9, 2022

Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) astronauts Michael Lopez-Alegria, Larry Connor, Eytan Stibbe, and Mark Pathy now are aboard the International Space Station following Crew Dragon’s hatch opening at 10:13 a.m. EDT, Saturday, April 9.

Image above: The 11-person crew aboard the station comprises of (bottom row from left) Expedition 67 Flight Engineers Denis Matveev, Kayla Barron, Oleg Artemyev, and station Commander Tom Marshburn; (center row from left) Axiom Mission 1 astronauts Mark Pathy, Eytan Stibbe, Larry COnnar, and Michael Lopez-Alegria; (top row from left) Expedition 67 Flight Engineers Sergey Korsakov, Raja Chari, and Matthias Maurer. Image Credit: NASA TV.

Ax-1 docked to the orbital complex at 8:29 a.m. while the spacecraft were flying 260 miles above the central Atlantic Ocean. It is the first mission with an entirely private crew to arrive at the orbiting laboratory.

The Axiom crew are joining Expedition 67 crew members, including NASA astronauts Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Sergey Korsokov, and Denis Matveev.

Ax-1 Crew Dragon hatch opening

The welcome ceremony is targeted to begin about X a.m. with the following participants:

- Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator, NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate

- Michael Suffredini, president and CEO, Axiom Space

The Ax-1 crew will spend more than one week aboard the orbiting laboratory conducting science, education, and commercial activities.

Related articles:

Ax-1 Private Astronaut Mission Docks at Station

Axiom Private Astronauts Headed to International Space Station

Commercial Research Expands Aboard the International Space Station

Related links:

Commercial Space:

Expedition 67:

International Space Station (ISS):

Image (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia/NASA TV/SciNews.

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Ax-1 Private Astronaut Mission Docks at Station


Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) patch.


 April 9, 2022

After a journey of almost 21 hours, Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) astronauts Michael Lopez-Alegria, Larry Connor, Eytan Stibbe, and Mark Pathy arrived at the International Space Station at 8:29 a.m. EDT Saturday, April 9. Crew Dragon Endeavour docked to the orbital complex while the spacecraft were flying about 260 miles above the central Atlantic Ocean.

Image above: The Moon is pictured (bottom left) as the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour approaches the station with four Axiom Mission 1 astronauts. Image Credit: NASA TV.

Dragon Endeavour’s docking was delayed approximately 45 minutes as the space station teams, including mission controllers at NASA and SpaceX, worked to troubleshoot an issue preventing the crew members on station from receiving views from Dragon’s center line camera of the Harmony’s modules docking port. Mission teams worked to route video using a SpaceX ground station to the crew on the space station allowing Dragon to proceed with docking.

Ax-1 Crew Dragon docking

Following Dragon’s link up to the Harmony module, NASA astronaut and station commander Tom Marshburn will pressurize the space in between the Dragon and station hatches and perform a leak check before opening the hatches to welcome the private astronaut crew. Coverage of the Ax-1 mission continues on NASA Television, the NASA app, the agency’s website.

Once aboard the station, the Axiom crew will be welcomed by Expedition 67 crew members, including NASA astronauts Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Sergey Korsokov, and Denis Matveev.

Related article:

Axiom Private Astronauts Headed to International Space Station

Related links:

NASA Television:

Coverage by Axiom:

Commercial Space:

Expedition 67:

International Space Station (ISS):

Image (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia/NASA TV/SciNews.


vendredi 8 avril 2022

Hubble Spies a Serpentine Spiral


NASA - Hubble Space Telescope patch.

April 8, 2022

The lazily winding spiral arms of the galaxy NGC 5921 snake across this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. This galaxy lies approximately 80 million light-years from Earth, and much like our own galaxy, the Milky Way, contains a prominent bar – a central linear band of stars. Roughly half of all spiral galaxies may contain bars. These bars affect their parent galaxies by fueling star formation and influencing the motion of stars and interstellar gas.

Given NGC 5921’s serpentine spiral arms, it seems fitting that the galaxy resides in the constellation Serpens in the northern celestial hemisphere. Serpens is the only one of the 88 modern constellations with two unconnected regions – Serpens Caput (Serpent’s Head) and Serpens Cauda (Serpent’s Tail). Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer, separates these two regions.

The scientific study behind this image also came in two parts – observations from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and observations from the ground-based Gemini Observatory. The two telescopes helped astronomers better understand the relationship between galaxies like NGC 5921 and the supermassive black holes they contain. Hubble’s contribution determined the masses of stars in the galaxies. Hubble also took measurements that helped calibrate the observations from Gemini. Together, Hubble and Gemini provided astronomers with a census of nearby supermassive black holes in a diverse variety of galaxies.

Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

For more information about Hubble, visit:

Text Credits: European Space Agency (ESA)/NASA/Andrea Gianopoulos/Image, Animation Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Walsh; Acknowledgment: R. Colombari.

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Space Station Science Highlights: Week of April 4, 2022


ISS - Expedition 67 Mission patch.

April 8, 2022

Crew members aboard the International Space Station conducted scientific investigations during the week of April 4 that included testing a vest to provide radiation protection, monitoring station air quality, and examining the performance of an evaporative cooling system for spacesuits.

Image above: RFID Recon, which tests using a wireless RFID reader attached to one of the station’s Astrobee robots to identify tagged cargo and determine its location on the space station. Image Credit: NASA.

The space station, continuously inhabited by humans for 21 years, has supported many scientific breakthroughs. A robust microgravity laboratory with dozens of research facilities and tools, the station supports investigations spanning every major scientific discipline, conveying benefits to future space exploration and advancing basic and applied research on Earth. The orbiting lab also provides a platform for a growing commercial presence in low-Earth orbit that includes research, satellite services, and in-space manufacturing.

Here are details on some of the microgravity investigations currently taking place:

This vest is rad

Image above: The AstroRad Vest floats in the U.S. Laboratory aboard the space station. The garment is designed to protect crew members from radiation in space. Image Credit: NASA.

AstroRad Vest, sponsored by the ISS U.S. National Lab, tests a vest designed to protect astronauts from radiation caused by unpredictable solar particle events. Astronauts wear the vest while performing daily tasks and provide input on how easy it is to put on, how it fits and feels, and the range of motion it allows. Designers use this input to improve the vest, which could protect crew members from possible harmful effects of radiation on future missions to the Moon and Mars. Results also may lead to improved radiation protection garments on Earth. Several times during the week, crew members wore the vest, documented range of motion tests, and completed a survey on the device.

Monitoring air quality

Image above: This image shows one of the monitors for the APM investigation, which measures the concentration of particles in spacecraft air. Results could help ensure that air quality requirements are met and help to protect the health of the crew. Image Credit: NASA.

Adequate air quality helps crew members stay healthy and comfortable. But while requirements exist for maximum allowable concentrations of particulate matter, no measurement capability verifies whether these requirements are met. Airborne Particulate Monitor (APM) demonstrates an instrument for measuring and quantifying the concentration of particles in spacecraft air and uses the data to create an air quality map. These data help show the efficiency of current filtration systems and could support design of better environmental monitoring hardware for space vehicles and habitats, which becomes more important as mission duration increases. The technology also has applications in environmental monitoring and air pollution studies on Earth. During the week, crew members checked APM hardware, collected data, and downlinked it to the ground.

Cool suits

Spacesuits insulate crew members from significant temperature changes in space and regulate heat generated by the astronaut and equipment inside the suit. NASA’s SERFE demonstrates a technology for removing heat from spacesuits using water evaporation. The investigation determines whether microgravity affects performance of the system and examines whether contamination and corrosion affect its ability to regulate astronaut body temperature under various conditions. Results could support future exploration missions and contribute to improvements in evaporative cooling technology on Earth, including improving the tolerance of these systems to contamination and corrosion. During the week, crew members extracted water from the SERFE hardware for post-flight analysis on the ground.

Other investigations involving the crew:

- Vascular Aging, a Canadian Space Agency (CSA) investigation, collects data on vascular changes in astronauts. Results could support development of ways to reduce the potential health risks to crew members as well as guide prevention measures and treatments for the effects of aging on Earth.

- NutrISS, an investigation from ESA (European Space Agency), periodically assesses body composition and measures long-term energy balance modification over time. Results may improve understanding of the mechanisms behind body composition changes during spaceflight and help lead to ways to mitigate any negative effects of those changes.

- EarthKAM allows students to remotely control a digital camera mounted on the space station to take photographs of coastlines, mountain ranges, and other interesting features and phenomena on Earth. The EarthKAM team posts the images online, where they are available to the public and participating classrooms.

EarthKAM images:

- LIDAL provides real-time measurements and monitoring of radiation aboard the space station, which helps validate models that assess the risks posed to the crew. This system could support future crewed exploration missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

- UNIGLO tests how microgravity affects a module for processing various types of complex glasses. This investigation could help establish additional manufacturing capabilities in space and lead to development of novel fibers for optical communication and lasers in a variety of applications in space and on Earth.

Animation above: ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer conducts operations for RFID Recon, which tests using a wireless RFID reader attached to one of the station’s Astrobee robots to identify tagged cargo and determine its location on the space station. Animation Credit: NASA.

- RFID Recon tests using a wireless radio frequency identification (RFID) reader attached to one of the station’s Astrobee robots to identify tagged cargo and determine its location on the space station. This technology could help crew members find items more quickly and efficiently.


- ISS Ham Radio provides students, teachers, parents, and others the opportunity to communicate with astronauts using amateur radio units. Before a scheduled call, students learn about the station, radio waves, and other topics, and prepare a list of questions on topics they have researched.

Space to Ground: First Time Callers: 04/08/2022

Related links:

Expedition 67:

AstroRad Vest:

Airborne Particulate Monitor (APM):


ISS National Lab:

Spot the Station:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Video (NASA), Text, Credits: NASA/Ana Guzman/John Love, ISS Research Planning Integration Scientist Expedition 67.


US Space Force Releases Decades of Bolide Data to NASA for Planetary Defense Studies


NASA - Planetary Defense Coordination Office patch.

April 8, 2022

Hosted by JPL’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies, the data can be used by the science community to better understand how asteroids break up when entering the atmosphere.

Image above: This photograph taken by an International Space Station astronaut shows a bright meteor from the Perseid meteor shower in Earth’s atmosphere. The brightest meteors are known as fireballs, or bolides. Image Credit: NASA.

An agreement between NASA and the U.S. Space Force recently authorized the public release of decades of data collected by U.S. government sensors on fireball events (large bright meteors also known as bolides) for the benefit of the scientific and planetary defense communities. This action results from collaboration between NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) and the U.S. Space Force to continue furthering our nation’s efforts in planetary defense, which include finding, tracking, characterizing, and cataloguing near-Earth objects (NEOs). The newly released data is composed of information on the changing brightness of bolides as they pass through Earth’s atmosphere, called light curves, that could enhance the planetary defense community’s current ability to model the effects of impacts by larger asteroids that could one day pose a threat to Earth.

Bolides, very bright meteors that can even be seen in daylight, are a regular occurrence – on the order of several dozen times per year – that result when our planet is impacted by asteroids too small to reach the ground but large enough to explode upon impact with Earth’s atmosphere. U.S. government sensors detect these atmospheric impact events, and the bolide data is reported to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) fireballs database, which contains data going back to 1988 for nearly one thousand bolide events. Now, planetary defense experts will have access to even more detailed data – specifically, light curve information that captures the optical intensity variation during the several seconds of an object’s breakup in the atmosphere. This uniquely rich data set has been greatly sought after by the scientific community, as an object’s breakup in Earth’s atmosphere provides scientific insight into the object’s strength and composition based on what altitudes at which it breaks up and disintegrates. The approximate total radiated energy and pre-entry velocity vector (i.e., direction) can also be better derived from bolide light curve data.

“The growing archive of bolide reports, as posted on the NASA CNEOS Fireballs website, has significantly increased scientific knowledge and contributes to the White House approved National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan” said Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer at NASA Headquarters. “The release of these new bolide data demonstrates another key area of collaboration between NASA and the U.S. Space Force and helps further the pursuit of improved capabilities for understanding these objects and our preparedness to respond to the impact hazard NEOs pose to Earth.”

Recently a small asteroid approximately 2 meters in size, so small it posed no hazard to Earth, was detected in space as it approached Earth and impacted the atmosphere southwest of Jan Mayen, a Norwegian island nearly 300 miles (470 kilometers) off the east coast of Greenland and northeast of Iceland. While this asteroid, designated 2022 EB5, was much smaller than objects NASA is tasked to detect and warn about, CNEOS continued to update NASA’s PDCO with impact location predictions as observations were collected leading up to 2022 EB5’s impact, offering the planetary defense community a real-word scenario to test NEO tracking capabilities and give confidence that the impact prediction process and models are adequate for timely and accurate notification of the potential impact of a larger object, should one be discovered on a trajectory toward Earth. Like other bolide events, 2022 EB5’s impact was detected by U.S. government sensors and reported by the U.S. Space Force units, confirming the time and location predicted by CNEOS, and added to NASA’s archive of these events at JPL CNEOS.

Image above: This screen capture from NASA JPL CNEOS’s fireball webpage depicts data collected by U.S. government sensors of a small 2-meter asteroid named 2022 EB5 impacting Earth’s atmosphere on March 11, 2022. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech and U.S. Space Force.

Another notable bolide event in this released data set is of a meteor that was detected on Jan. 8, 2014. This object gained the interest of the scientific community, as it has been posited it could have interstellar origin due to the detected event’s high velocity within the atmosphere. Further analysis carried out under U.S. Space Command’s purview confirmed the object’s high velocity impact, but the short duration of collected data, less than five seconds, makes it difficult to definitively determine if the object’s origin was indeed interstellar.

NASA established the PDCO in 2016 to manage the agency’s ongoing efforts in planetary defense. NASA has been directed to discover 90% of NEOs larger than 140 meters (459 feet) in size. The agency is diligently working to achieve this directive and has currently found approximately 40% of near-Earth asteroids larger than that size.

For more information about PDCO, visit:

Follow NASA Asteroid Watch on Twitter at

Related links:

Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS):

Fireballs database:

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Josh Handal/Karen Fox.

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Axiom Private Astronauts Headed to International Space Station


Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) patch.


 April 8, 2022

Four private astronauts are in orbit following the successful launch of Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), the first all private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. Axiom Space astronauts lifted off at 11:17 a.m. EDT on Friday, April 8, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Image above: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) to the International Space Station with Commander Michael López-Alegría of Spain and the United States, Pilot Larry Connor of the United States, and Mission Specialists Eytan Stibbe of Israel, and Mark Pathy of Canada aboard, Friday, April 8, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Image Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket propelled the Dragon Endeavour spacecraft carrying Ax-1 crew members Michael López-Alegría, Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, and Eytan Stibbe into orbit. The crew will spend more than a week conducting scientific research, outreach, and commercial activities on the space station.

“What a historic launch! Thank you to the dedicated teams at NASA who have worked tirelessly to make this mission a reality,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said. “NASA’s partnership with industry through the commercial cargo and crew programs has led our nation to this new era in human spaceflight — one with limitless potential. Congratulations to Axiom, SpaceX, and the Axiom-1 crew for making this first private mission to the International Space Station a reality.”

Axiom Mission 1 - A new chapter begins

Beginning at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 9, NASA will provide live coverage of the Endeavour docking, hatch opening, and a ceremony to welcome the crew. The events will run on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Endeavor will autonomously dock to the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module around 7:45 a.m. The welcome ceremony is expected to start shortly after the Dragon hatch opens at about 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Live mission coverage will end with the conclusion of the ceremony. The mission also will be covered by Axiom on its website.

“I first want to congratulate Michael, Larry, Eytan, and Mark,” said Michael Suffredini, president and CEO of Axiom Space. “We will usher in a new era in private human spaceflight when they cross the threshold to enter the International Space Station. This journey is the culmination of long hours of training, planning, and dedication from the crew and the entire Axiom Space team, our partners at SpaceX, and of course, a credit to NASA’s vision to develop a sustainable presence in low-Earth orbit.”

Ax-1 launch and Falcon 9 first stage landing

Once aboard the station, the Axiom crew will be welcomed by Expedition 67 crew members, including NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Sergey Korsokov, and Denis Matveev.

Axiom Space astronauts are expected to spend about 10 days in orbit before a return to Earth and splashdown at one of seven landing sites off the coast of Florida. NASA and Axiom will release separate advisories to preview the Ax-1 farewell event and return coverage.

Learn more about how NASA is supporting a space economy in low-Earth orbit:

Related links:

NASA Television:

Coverage by Axiom:

Commercial Space:

International Space Station (ISS):

Image (mentioned), Videos, Text, Credits: NASA/Joshua Finch/Stephanie Schierholz/JSC/Gary Jordan/Axiom Space/SciNews.


jeudi 7 avril 2022

LHCb reveals secret of antimatter creation in cosmic collisions


CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

April 7, 2022

The finding may help determine whether or not any antimatter seen by experiments in space originates from dark matter

Image above: A proton–proton collision event recorded by the LHCb detector, showing the track followed by an antiproton formed in the collision (Image: CERN).

At the Quark Matter conference today and at the recent Rencontres de Moriond conference, the LHCb collaboration presented an analysis of particle collisions at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) that may help determine whether or not any antimatter seen by experiments in space originates from the dark matter that holds galaxies such as the Milky Way together.

Space-based experiments such as the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), which was assembled at CERN and is installed on the International Space Station, have detected the fraction of antiprotons, the antimatter counterparts of protons, in high-energy particles called cosmic rays. These antiprotons could be created when dark-matter particles collide with each other, but they could also be formed in other instances, such as when protons collide with atomic nuclei in the interstellar medium, which is mainly made up of hydrogen and helium.

LHCb experiment (Image: CERN)

To find out whether or not any of these antiprotons originate from dark matter, physicists therefore have to estimate how often antiprotons are produced in collisions between protons and hydrogen as well as between protons and helium. While some measurements of the first have been made, and LHCb reported in 2017 the first-ever measurement of the second, that LHCb measurement involved only prompt antiproton production – that is, antiprotons produced right at the place where the collisions took place.

In their new study, the LHCb team looked also for antiprotons produced at some distance from the collision point, through the transformation, or “decay”, of particles called antihyperons into antiprotons. To make this new measurement and the previous one, the LHCb researchers, who usually use data from proton–proton collisions for their investigations, used instead data from proton–helium collisions obtained by injecting helium gas into the point where the two LHC proton beams would normally collide.

By analysing a sample of some 34 million proton–helium collisions and measuring the ratio of the production rate of antiprotons from antihyperon decays to that of prompt antiprotons, the LHCb researchers found that, at the collision energy scale of their measurement, the antiprotons produced via antihyperon decays contribute much more to the total antiproton production rate than the amount predicted by most models of antiproton production in proton–nucleus collisions.

LHCb reveals secret of antimatter creation in cosmic collisions

“This result complements our previous measurement of prompt antiproton production, and it will improve the predictions of the models,” says LHCb spokesperson Chris Parkes. “This improvement may in turn help space-based experiments find evidence of dark matter.”

“Our technique of injecting gas into the LHCb collision point was originally conceived to measure the size of the proton beams,” says LHCb physics coordinator Niels Tuning. “It is really nice to see again that it also improves our knowledge of how often antimatter should be created in cosmic collisions between protons and atomic nuclei.”


CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 23 Member States.

Related links:

Rencontres de Moriond conference:

Quark Matter conference:

Large Hadron Collider (LHC):

Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS):

Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb):

Dark matter:


Cosmic rays:

For more information about European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Visit:

Images (mentioned), Video (CERN), Text, Credit: European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

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ATLAS strengthens its search for supersymmetry


CERN - ATLAS Experiment logo.

April 7, 2022

The collaboration has tackled challenging supersymmetry scenarios, surpassing long-standing limits set by the LEP collider and ruling out some of the settings that could explain the muon’s magnetic moment puzzle

Image above: Collision event studied in the ATLAS search for charginos and sleptons. It shows two electrons (blue), missing energy (dashed white line) and no particle jets. Energy deposits in the experiment’s liquid-argon calorimeter are shown in green, and those in the hadronic calorimeter are in yellow. (Image: CERN).

Where is all the new physics? In the decade since the Higgs boson’s discovery, there have been no statistically significant hints of new particles in data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Could they be sneaking past the standard searches? At the recent Rencontres de Moriond conference, the ATLAS collaboration at the LHC presented several results of novel types of searches for particles predicted by supersymmetry.

Supersymmetry, or SUSY for short, is a promising theory that gives each elementary particle a “superpartner”, thus solving several problems in the current Standard Model of particle physics and even providing a possible candidate for dark matter. ATLAS’s new searches targeted charginos and neutralinos – the heavy superpartners of force-carrying particles in the Standard Model – and sleptons – the superpartners of Standard Model matter particles called leptons. If produced at the LHC, these particles would each transform, or “decay”, into Standard Model particles and the lightest neutralino, which does not further decay and is taken to be the dark-matter candidate.

ATLAS’s newest search for charginos and sleptons studied a particle-mass region previously unexplored due to a challenging background of Standard Model processes that mimics the signals from the sought-after particles. The ATLAS researchers designed dedicated searches for each of these SUSY particle types, using all the data recorded from Run 2 of the LHC and looking at the particles’ decays into two charged leptons (electrons or muons) and “missing energy” attributed to neutralinos. They used new methods to extract the putative signals from the background, including machine-learning techniques and “data-driven” approaches.

Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Animation Credit: CERN

These searches revealed no significant excess above the Standard Model background. They allowed the ATLAS teams to exclude SUSY particle masses, including slepton masses up to 180 GeV. This slepton mass limit surpasses limits at low mass that were set by experiments at the LHC’s predecessor – the Large Electron–Positron (LEP) collider – and that have stood for nearly twenty years. Moreover, it rules out some of the scenarios that could explain the long-standing anomaly associated with the magnetic moment of the muon, which has recently been corroborated by the Muon g-2 experiment at Fermilab in the US.

ATLAS physicists have also released the results of a new search for chargino–neutralino pairs, following up on some previous small excesses seen in early analyses of Run 2 data. They studied collision events where the chargino and neutralino decay via W and Z bosons respectively, with the W boson decaying to “jets” of particles and the Z boson to a pair of leptons. When the mass difference between the produced neutralino and the lightest possible neutralino lies below the Z boson mass, it is harder to select the signal events and the backgrounds are more challenging to model. This is the first ATLAS result in this decay channel to target this difficult mass region. The search found no significant deviation from the Standard Model prediction and led to new bounds on SUSY particle masses.

With the LHC set to begin its third data-taking run, ATLAS physicists are looking forward to building on these exciting results to continue their SUSY searches, in particular by targeting SUSY models that are well motivated theoretically and offer solutions to existing tensions between measurements and Standard Model predictions.


CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 23 Member States.

Related links:

Rencontres de Moriond conference:

Large Hadron Collider (LHC):

Large Electron–Positron (LEP):


Muon g-2 experiment:

Standard Model:

Higgs boson:

Dark matter:

For more information about European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Visit:

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: CERN/By ATLAS collaboration.


Station Crew Preps for Spacewalks and Ax-1 Mission


ISS - Expedition 67 Mission patch.

April 7, 2022

The seven-member Expedition 67 crew is gearing up for a pair of spacewalks scheduled for later this month while ensuring the International Space Station orbits Earth in tip-top shape. Meanwhile, the first private astronaut mission is less than one day from launching toward the orbital lab.

NASA astronaut Raja Chari is helping two cosmonauts get ready for two spacewalks planned for April to outfit the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module. Chari shared U.S. spacesuit components including helmet lights and cameras to Roscosmos Flight Engineers Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev as they organized their spacewalk tools and configured their Orlan spacesuits. The Russian duo is preparing to exit the space station toward the end of the month to outfit Nauka for the station’s third robotic arm, the European robotic arm.

Image above: An orbital sunrise is pictured from the space station beaming across Earth’s horizon revealing the silhouetted clouds above the South China Sea. Image Credit: NASA.

Artemyev and Matveev started the day with pre-spacewalk muscle examinations before checking their spacesuits located in the Poisk module. The duo then took turns during the afternoon exploring how crew members might pilot spacecraft and robots on future planetary missions.

Station Commander Tom Marshburn and Flight Engineer Kayla Barron, both from NASA, joined ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Matthias Maurer checking water containers in the Tranquility module and the Permanent multipurpose module. Marshburn also worked on an experiment demonstrating advanced ways to keep U.S. spacesuits cool while Maurer and Barron checked components on the station’s advanced resistive exercise device.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Korsakov worked on transferring water from the ISS Progress 80 cargo craft into the station. The first time space-flyer also contributed to a study exploring how international crews and mission controllers interact on Earth and in space.

The first private astronaut mission from Axiom Space is on track to launch aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday at 11:17 a.m. Ax-1 Commander and former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, along with Pilot Larry Connor and Mission Specialists Eytan Stibbe and Mark Pathy, would arrive at the space station on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. docking to the Harmony module’s space-facing port to begin their stay aboard the orbital lab.

Related links:

Expedition 67:

Nauka multipurpose laboratory module:

Poisk module:

Tranquility module:

Permanent multipurpose module:

U.S. spacesuits cool:

Harmony module:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.

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NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover Reroutes Away From ‘Gator-Back’ Rocks


NASA - Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) or "Curiosity" patch.

April 7, 2022

To avoid patches of knife-edged rocks, the mission has taken an alternative path up Mount Sharp.

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover spent most of March climbing the “Greenheugh Pediment” – a gentle slope capped by rubbly sandstone. The rover briefly summited this feature’s north face two years ago; now on the pediment’s southern side, Curiosity has navigated back onto the pediment to explore it more fully.

Image above: NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover used its Mast Camera, or Mastcam, to take this 360-degree panorama on March 23, 2022, the 3,423th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. The team has informally described the wind-sharpened rocks seen here as “gator-back” rocks because of their scaly appearance. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.

But on March 18, the mission team saw an unexpected terrain change ahead and realized they would have to turn around: The path before Curiosity was carpeted with more wind-sharpened rocks, or ventifacts, than they have ever seen in the rover’s nearly 10 years on the Red Planet.

Ventifacts chewed up Curiosity’s wheels earlier in the mission. Since then, rover engineers have found ways to slow wheel wear, including a traction control algorithm, to reduce how frequently they need to assess the wheels. And they also plan rover routes that avoid driving over such rocks, including these latest ventifacts, which are made of sandstone – the hardest type of rock Curiosity has encountered on Mars.

The team nicknamed their scalelike appearance “gator-back” terrain. Although the mission had scouted the area using orbital imagery, it took seeing these rocks close-up to reveal the ventifacts.

“It was obvious from Curiosity’s photos that this would not be good for our wheels,” said Curiosity Project Manager Megan Lin of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, which leads the mission. “It would be slow going, and we wouldn’t have been able to implement rover-driving best practices.”

Image above: NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover used its Mast Camera, or Mastcam, to survey these wind-sharpened rocks, called ventifacts, on March 15, 2022, the 3,415th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. The team has informally described these patches of ventifacts as “gator-back” rocks because of their scaly appearance. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.

The gator-back rocks aren’t impassable – they just wouldn’t have been worth crossing, considering how difficult the path would be and how much they would age the rover’s wheels.  

So the mission is mapping out a new course for the rover as it continues to explore Mount Sharp, a 3.4-mile-tall (5.5-kilometer-tall) mountain that Curiosity has been ascending since 2014. As it climbs, Curiosity is able to study different sedimentary layers that were shaped by water billions of years ago. These layers help scientists understand whether microscopic life could have survived in the ancient Martian environment.

Why Greenheugh?

The Greenheugh Pediment is a broad, sloping plain near the base of Mount Sharp that extends about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) across. Curiosity’s scientists first noticed it in orbital imagery before the rover’s landing in 2012. The pediment sticks out as a standalone feature on this part of Mount Sharp, and scientists wanted to understand how it formed.

It also sits nearby the Gediz Vallis Ridge, which may have been created as debris flowed down the mountain. Curiosity will always remain in the lower foothills of Mount Sharp, where there’s evidence of ancient water and environments that would have been habitable in the past. Driving across about a mile (1.5 kilometers) of the pediment to gather images of Gediz Vallis Ridge would have been a way to study material from the mountain’s uppermost reaches.

“From a distance, we can see car-sized boulders that were transported down from higher levels of Mount Sharp – maybe by water relatively late in Mars’ wet era,” said Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity’s project scientist at JPL. “We don’t really know what they are, so we wanted to see them up close.”

The Road Less Traveled

Over the next couple weeks, Curiosity will climb down from the pediment to a place it had previously been exploring: a transition zone between a clay-rich area and one with larger amounts of salt minerals called sulfates. The clay minerals formed when the mountain was wetter, dappled with streams and ponds; the salts may have formed as Mars’ climate dried out over time.

Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) driving. Animation Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“It was really cool to see rocks that preserved a time when lakes were drying up and being replaced by streams and dry sand dunes,” said Abigail Fraeman, Curiosity’s deputy project scientist at JPL. “I’m really curious to see what we find as we continue to climb on this alternate route.”

Curiosity’s wheels will be on safer ground as it leaves the gator-back terrain behind, but engineers are focused on other signs of wear on the rover’s robotic arm, which carries its rock drill. Braking mechanisms on two of the arm’s joints have stopped working in the past year. However, each joint has redundant parts to ensure the arm can keep drilling rock samples. The team is studying the best ways to use the arm to ensure these redundant parts keep working as long as possible.

For more information about Curiosity, visit: and

Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Naomi Hartono/Karen Fox/Alana Johnson/JPL/Andrew Good.


Glove Inspection Technology Lends a Helping Hand to Future Spacewalks


EVA - Extra Vehicular Activities patch.

April 7, 2022

When spacewalkers move around the outside of the International Space Station, most of the time they do so by moving hand-over-hand using carefully placed handrails. The same hands they use for locomotion also are key tools for building and maintaining the space station – and a first line of defense against the vacuum of space.

But not everything on the space station’s exterior is completely smooth, so there are potential hazards to the gloves that are part of the spacesuits, or Extravehicular Mobility Units, the astronauts wear. And the conditions are continuously changing as tiny orbital debris particles raise more imperfections as they strike.

Because of this, astronauts perform regular glove inspections throughout each spacewalk to evaluate the condition of the gloves. Each spacewalker uses gloves personally fitted for their hands.

“It just kind of looks like a scratch or a couple of missing threads maybe," astronaut Rick Mastracchio reported during a routine inspection during his spacewalk in August 2007 during STS-118. While that glove evaluation resulted in an early end to the spacewalk, the spacewalkers returned safely to the Quest airlock and entered the station without issue .

Since June 2007, all spacewalkers have performed routine glove inspections several times during each spacewalk. These augment careful inspections of each glove made inside the station before and after each spacewalk. Now, a new technology is being investigated to evaluate wear and tear on spacesuit gloves using machine learning.

The process of photographing, inspecting, and analyzing spacesuit gloves relies on human team members to determine whether the gloves can continue to be used in the harsh environment of space. With the advent of machine learning algorithms used for everything from radiology for cancer diagnosis to inspection of critical infrastructure such as roads and bridges, the technology can be applied to the time-intensive task of spacesuit glove inspections.

Experts in the Extravehicular and Human Surface Mobility Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston are evaluating whether such automated inspections can augment the human inspections of spacesuit gloves.

The team has focused its efforts on utilizing existing data for model building, and then testing this capability on the station. While this project is considered strictly research and development and is not part of the safety critical process, this multiple-phase approach opens the possibility of someday integrating the effort into real-time operations.

NASA is collaborating with Microsoft Azure, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Space Borne Computer-2 to use the purpose-built artificial intelligence and machine learning resource on the station. This collaborative effort seeks to prove in-situ capabilities and perform these evaluations by developing machine learning object detection and classification models that will examine photos and determine the potential damage. The output probabilities are interpreted by a human to determine if the gloves could be used again.

An initial test of this resource was conducted with the space-borne computer on the station in December. This test showed the computer can execute the models and complete a glove photo analysis. In this test setup, the ground team fed the glove images, previously taken in space by astronauts, to the computer from Houston. Glove inspection experts are working to improve the accuracy of computer-aided inspections to a level that will pass safety standards.

In March 2022, the team demonstrated the capability of the space-borne computer testing post-spacewalk glove photos without the ground team performing photo uplink. This demonstration is the beginning of evaluating the autonomy needed for missions to the Moon through NASA’s Artemis program.

Related links:


Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images, Text, Credits: NASA/Heidi Lavelle.

Best regards,

CASC - Long March-4C launches Gaofen-3 03


CASC - CZ-4C Y38 / Gaofen-3 03 Mission patch.

April 7, 2022

Long March-4C carrying Gaofen-3 03 liftoff

A Long March-4C launch vehicle launched the third Gaofen-3 satellite (Gaofen-3 03, 高分三号03) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu Province, northwest China, 6 April 2022, at 23:47 UTC (7 April, at 07:47 local time).

Long March-4C launches Gaofen-3 03

According to official sources, the satellite has entered the desired orbit and will form a network with Gaofen-3 and Gaofen-3 02 to improve “ocean observation, water conservancy applications, disaster monitoring, environmental monitoring and other fields.”

Gaofen 3 (GF 3) satellite

For more information about China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC):

Images, Video, Text, Credits: China Media Group(CMG)/China Central Television (CCTV)/China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)/SciNews/Gunter's Space Page/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.


The Canadian Space Agency (CSA-ASC) remembers Bjarni Tryggvason


CSA - ASC logo.

April 7, 2022

Former Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut Bjarni Tryggvason has passed away at the age of 76.

Tryggvason was one of the original six Canadian astronauts selected in December 1983.

Astronaut Bjarni Tryggvason

He flew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on August 7, 1997, as a payload specialist. He spent over 11 days in space, where he successfully operated a Canadian technology he helped develop: the Microgravity Vibration Isolation Mount. Designed to isolate payloads from vibrations, this technology would later be adapted for the Canadian Microgravity Vibration Isolation Subsystem.

Tryggvason was an engineer, scientist, educator, test pilot and proud father. He applied the highest standard to everything he did and will be remembered by his CSA colleagues, friends and family for his humour, dedication and originality.

Among the awards and honours he received are the Canadian Space Agency Innovators Award, 2003; Order of the Falcon from Iceland; Doctorate of Philosophy (honoris causa), University of Iceland, 2000; Doctor of Science (honoris causa), Western University, 1998; NASA Space Flight Medal 1997; and numerous scholarships throughout his university years. Tryggvason was recently inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame (2020) and was an associate member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.


"It is with profound sadness that I learned of the passing of Canadian astronaut Bjarni Tryggvason. Bjarni was one of our first astronauts, and he made important contributions to Canada's space program. I want to extend my sincere condolences to his family, friends and former colleagues. Pilot, meteorologist, researcher, professor and astronaut, Bjarni inspired a generation of Canadians to dream big and reach for the stars. I am eternally thankful to have known him."

"I can’t believe my friend Bjarni Tryggvason is gone. We were both chosen as astronauts in 1983. He was the smartest engineer I ever met and a supremely skilled pilot. He taught me how to fly and patiently corrected me when I got it wrong. He was a fine human being. I miss him."

Associated links:

Biography of Bjarni Tryggvason:

Mission STS-85:

Image, Text, Credit: Canadian Space Agency / Agence Spatiale Canadienne (CSA-ASC).


ESA astronaut performs simulated polar Moon landing


ESA - European Astronauts patch.

April 7, 2022

Side-lit by the Sun, its heavily cratered surface mired in shadow, the south pole of the Moon represents a highly challenging lunar landing target. Italian ESA astronaut Roberto Vittori took to an advanced flight simulator to try out a mock polar touchdown as part of a project to design a ‘human-in-the-loop’ lunar landing system.

The ESA-led ‘Human-In-the-Loop Flight Vehicle Engineering’ technology study investigated the added performance benefit offered by human oversight of lunar landings to improve robustness and reliability of the flight system.

DLR Robotic Motion Simulator

As part of the project, Roberto Vittori – a veteran astronaut of three space flights – boarded a unique motion simulator based at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Institute of System Dynamics and Control at Oberpfaffenhofen near Cologne, designed for extreme tilt angles and manoeuvres.

“It was a beautiful run,” said Roberto, stressing the intuitive feeling for motion the simulation system gave him.

Lunar south pole

“The simulator is an incredible machine, probably one of the best I have experienced. This experiment today is for me showing that Europe can play a key role in the future of exploration.”

The DLR Robotic Motion Simulator is based on an industrial robot arm with a flight deck capsule attached to it, fitted in turn with a virtual flight deck window.

From the capsule, Roberto was able to experience how a spacecraft behaves during critical flight phases then take action to control it. In one test scenario, the auto pilot was set to land in a landing zone littered with boulders. Vittori was able to intervene within a given time window and select a safer alternative landing site via touch screens.

ESA astronaut Roberto Vittori

In another scenario, the autopilot experienced a technical fault. Here, the Italian astronaut was able to switch to fully manual control and pilot the module manually as it descended onto the lunar surface.

“Our primary goal has been to evaluate human-machine interfaces and assistance functions for spacecraft,” explains ESA project manager Luca Ferracina.

Lander display

“We’re establishing a preliminary design and the preliminary requirements for human lunar landing, with astronauts in the loop to improve robustness and reliability of the flight system. Our experience here shows clearly that the DLR Robotic Motion Simulator is very suitable for conducting this type of test.”

Forward to the Lunar Gateway

ESA’s ‘Human-In-the-Loop Flight Vehicle Engineering for Exploration Missions’ project is as part of its preparations for the international Lunar Gateway space station. Among other things, the Gateway is to serve as an intermediate station for crewed missions to the Moon.


Once the Gateway is established as a basecamp for surface exploration, the Moon’s South Pole is high on the list of sites to visit, and eventually settle. Avoiding the crippling temperature found elsewhere on the Moon, this location offers near-continuous sunlight for solar power along with access to lunar water ice deposits in adjacent permanently-shadowed craters.

Debriefing on landing test

The project is funded by ESA and is a collaboration between research and industry. Project partner Thales Alenia Space from Italy provided user interfaces for manoeuvre control, including touch screen software. The navigation and flight control of the simulated lunar module was developed by Spanish company GMV and adapted for the DLR simulator.

Successful ‘Moon landing’ using the DLR robotic motion simulator

Video above: European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Roberto Vittori has tested various lunar landing
manoeuvres for the first time in the flight deck of the ‘DLR Robotic Motion Simulator’. The motion simulator was developed at the DLR Institute of System Dynamics and Control and allows for extreme tilt angles and manoeuvres. The experiment is part of the ESA project ‘Human-in-the-Loop Flight Vehicle Engineering for Exploration Missions’. Within this project, technology studies are being carried out for crewed landings at the Moon’s South Pole. The main goals are to evaluate human-machine interfaces and assistance functions for spacecraft. DLR researchers are also studying how the conditions and effects of motion that occur in lower gravity can best be simulated on Earth. Video Credit: DLR.

The project was run through ESA’s Technology Development Element, supporting promising new ideas for space.

Related links:


Institute of System Dynamics and Control:

DLR Robotic Motion Simulator:

Lunar Gateway:

Thales Alenia Space:


ESA’s Technology Development Element:

Space Engineering & Technology:

Images, Animation, Video, Text, Credits: ESA/Sean Blair/Dr. Luca Ferracina/Jamila Mansouri/DLR.

Best regards,