Space Thread

spaminator

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World's first space tourist signs up for flight around moon on Musk's Starship
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Marcia Dunn
Publishing date:Oct 12, 2022 • 1 day ago • 3 minute read • Join the conversation

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The world’s first space tourist wants to go back — only this time, he’s signed up for a spin around the moon aboard Elon Musk’s Starship.


For Dennis Tito, 82, it’s a chance to relive the joy of his trip to the International Space Station, now that he’s retired with time on his hands. He isn’t interested in hopping on a 10-minute flight to the edge of space or repeating what he did 21 years ago. “Been there, done that.”


His weeklong moonshot — its date to be determined and years in the future — will bring him within 125 miles (200 kilometres) of the lunar far side. He’ll have company: his wife, Akiko, and 10 others willing to shell out big bucks for the ride.

Tito won’t say how much he’s paying; his Russian station flight cost $20 million.

The couple recognize there’s a lot of testing and development still ahead for Starship, a shiny, bullet-shaped behemoth that’s yet to even attempt to reach space.


“We have to keep healthy for as many years as it’s going to take for SpaceX to complete this vehicle,” Tito said in an interview this week with The Associated Press. “I might be sitting in a rocking chair, not doing any good exercise, if it wasn’t for this mission.”

Tito is actually the second billionaire to make a Starship reservation for a flight around the moon. Japanese fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa announced in 2018 he was buying an entire flight so he could take eight or so others with him, preferably artists. The two men both flew to the space station, from Kazakhstan atop Russian rockets, 20 years apart.

Tito kicked off space tourism in 2001, becoming the first person to pay his own way to space and antagonizing NASA in the process. The U.S. space agency didn’t want a sightseer hanging around while the station was being built. But the Russian Space Agency needed the cash and, with the help of U.S.-based Space Adventures, launched a string of wealthy clients to the station through the 2000s and, just a year ago, Maezawa.


Well-heeled customers are sampling briefer tastes of space with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket company. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic expects to take paying passengers next year.

Starship has yet to launch atop a Super Heavy booster from the southern tip of Texas, near the Mexican border. At 394 feet (120 metres) and 17 million pounds (7.7 million kilograms) of liftoff thrust, it’s the biggest and most powerful rocket ever built. NASA already has contracted for a Starship to land its astronauts on the moon in 2025 or so, in the first lunar touchdown since Apollo.

Tito said the couple’s contract with SpaceX, signed in August 2021, includes an option for a flight within five years from now. Tito would be 87 by then and he wanted an out in case his health falters.


“But if I stayed in good health, I’d wait 10 years,” he said.

Tito’s wife, 57, said she needed no persuading. The Los Angeles residents are both pilots and understand the risks. They share Musk’s vision of a spacefaring future and believe a married couple flying together to the moon will inspire others to do the same.

Tito, who sold his investment company Wilshire Associates almost two years ago, said he doesn’t feel guilty splurging on spaceflight versus spending the money here on Earth.

“We’re retired and now it’s time to reap the rewards of all the hard work,” he said.

Tito expects he’ll also shatter preconceived notions about age, much as John Glenn’s space shuttle flight did in 1998. The first American to orbit the Earth still holds the record as the oldest person in orbit.

“He was only 77. He was just a young man,” Tito said. “I might end up being 10 years older than him,”
 

spaminator

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World's first space tourist signs up for flight around moon on Musk's Starship
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Marcia Dunn
Publishing date:Oct 12, 2022 • 1 day ago • 3 minute read • Join the conversation

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The world’s first space tourist wants to go back — only this time, he’s signed up for a spin around the moon aboard Elon Musk’s Starship.


For Dennis Tito, 82, it’s a chance to relive the joy of his trip to the International Space Station, now that he’s retired with time on his hands. He isn’t interested in hopping on a 10-minute flight to the edge of space or repeating what he did 21 years ago. “Been there, done that.”


His weeklong moonshot — its date to be determined and years in the future — will bring him within 125 miles (200 kilometres) of the lunar far side. He’ll have company: his wife, Akiko, and 10 others willing to shell out big bucks for the ride.

Tito won’t say how much he’s paying; his Russian station flight cost $20 million.

The couple recognize there’s a lot of testing and development still ahead for Starship, a shiny, bullet-shaped behemoth that’s yet to even attempt to reach space.


“We have to keep healthy for as many years as it’s going to take for SpaceX to complete this vehicle,” Tito said in an interview this week with The Associated Press. “I might be sitting in a rocking chair, not doing any good exercise, if it wasn’t for this mission.”

Tito is actually the second billionaire to make a Starship reservation for a flight around the moon. Japanese fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa announced in 2018 he was buying an entire flight so he could take eight or so others with him, preferably artists. The two men both flew to the space station, from Kazakhstan atop Russian rockets, 20 years apart.

Tito kicked off space tourism in 2001, becoming the first person to pay his own way to space and antagonizing NASA in the process. The U.S. space agency didn’t want a sightseer hanging around while the station was being built. But the Russian Space Agency needed the cash and, with the help of U.S.-based Space Adventures, launched a string of wealthy clients to the station through the 2000s and, just a year ago, Maezawa.


Well-heeled customers are sampling briefer tastes of space with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket company. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic expects to take paying passengers next year.

Starship has yet to launch atop a Super Heavy booster from the southern tip of Texas, near the Mexican border. At 394 feet (120 metres) and 17 million pounds (7.7 million kilograms) of liftoff thrust, it’s the biggest and most powerful rocket ever built. NASA already has contracted for a Starship to land its astronauts on the moon in 2025 or so, in the first lunar touchdown since Apollo.

Tito said the couple’s contract with SpaceX, signed in August 2021, includes an option for a flight within five years from now. Tito would be 87 by then and he wanted an out in case his health falters.


“But if I stayed in good health, I’d wait 10 years,” he said.

Tito’s wife, 57, said she needed no persuading. The Los Angeles residents are both pilots and understand the risks. They share Musk’s vision of a spacefaring future and believe a married couple flying together to the moon will inspire others to do the same.

Tito, who sold his investment company Wilshire Associates almost two years ago, said he doesn’t feel guilty splurging on spaceflight versus spending the money here on Earth.

“We’re retired and now it’s time to reap the rewards of all the hard work,” he said.

Tito expects he’ll also shatter preconceived notions about age, much as John Glenn’s space shuttle flight did in 1998. The first American to orbit the Earth still holds the record as the oldest person in orbit.

“He was only 77. He was just a young man,” Tito said. “I might end up being 10 years older than him,”
hopefully they dont use the autopilot. 🌕 ;)
 
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spaminator

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SPACE SCAMMER SCORES

A man said he was a Russian astronaut in an attempt to find a wife, and some money, according to reports.

The man found a 65-year-old Japanese woman on Instagram in June and said he worked on the International Space Station.

On LINE, a Japanese messaging app, he repeatedly said he loved her and proposed marriage. He sent her messages like “I want to start my life in Japan” and “Saying this 1,000 times won’t be enough, but I’ll keep saying it. I love you,” news outlet TV Asahi reported, according to VICE.

The man said he needed money to get back to Earth so that they could get married.

The woman allegedly surrendered about 4.4 million yen in five instalments throughout the summer, according to Yomiuri Shimbun.

The woman finally grew suspicious when he kept asking for money and police became involved, according to VICE.
 
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spaminator

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SPACE SCAMMER SCORES

A man said he was a Russian astronaut in an attempt to find a wife, and some money, according to reports.

The man found a 65-year-old Japanese woman on Instagram in June and said he worked on the International Space Station.

On LINE, a Japanese messaging app, he repeatedly said he loved her and proposed marriage. He sent her messages like “I want to start my life in Japan” and “Saying this 1,000 times won’t be enough, but I’ll keep saying it. I love you,” news outlet TV Asahi reported, according to VICE.

The man said he needed money to get back to Earth so that they could get married.

The woman allegedly surrendered about 4.4 million yen in five instalments throughout the summer, according to Yomiuri Shimbun.

The woman finally grew suspicious when he kept asking for money and police became involved, according to VICE.
if i had a millyen dollars. 💰 ;)
 

spaminator

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Oct 26, 2009
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Two NASA spacecraft detect biggest meteor strikes at Mars
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Marcia Dunn
Publishing date:Oct 27, 2022 • 11 hours ago • 3 minute read • Join the conversation
In this image made available by NASA on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022, boulder-size blocks of water ice are seen around the rim of an impact crater on Mars, as viewed by the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
In this image made available by NASA on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022, boulder-size blocks of water ice are seen around the rim of an impact crater on Mars, as viewed by the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The crater was formed Dec. 24, 2021, by a meteoroid strike in the Amazonis Planitia region. PHOTO BY NASA / JPL-CALTECH / UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA /THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Two NASA spacecraft at Mars – one on the surface and the other in orbit – have recorded the biggest meteor strikes and impact craters yet.


The high-speed barrages last year sent seismic waves rippling thousands of miles across Mars, the first ever detected near the surface of another planet, and carved out craters nearly 500 feet (150 metres) across, scientists reported Thursday in the journal Science.


The larger of the two strikes churned out boulder-size slabs of ice, which may help researchers look for ways future astronauts can tap into Mars’ natural resources.

The Insight lander measured the seismic shocks, while the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter provided stunning pictures of the resulting craters.

Imaging the craters “would have been huge already,” but matching it to the seismic ripples was a bonus, said co-author Liliya Posiolova of Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego. “We were so lucky.”


Mars’ atmosphere is thin unlike on Earth, where the thick atmosphere prevents most space rocks from reaching the ground, instead breaking and incinerating them.

A separate study last month linked a recent series of smaller Martian meteoroid impacts with smaller craters closer to InSight, using data from the same lander and orbiter.

The impact observations come as InSight nears the end of its mission because of dwindling power, its solar panels blanketed by dust storms. InSight landed on the equatorial plains of Mars in 2018 and has since recorded more than 1,300 marsquakes.

“It’s going to be heartbreaking when we finally lose communication with InSight,” said Bruce Banerdt of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the lander’s chief scientist who took part in the studies. “But the data it has sent us will certainly keep us busy for years to come.”


Banerdt estimated the lander had between four to eight more weeks before power runs out.

The incoming space rocks were between 16 feet and 40 feet (5 metres and 12 metres) in diameter, said Posiolova. The impacts registered about magnitude 4.

The larger of the two struck last December some 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometres) from InSight, creating a crater roughly 70 feet (21 metres) deep. The orbiter’s cameras showed debris hurled up to 25 miles (40 kilometres) from the impact, as well as white patches of ice around the crater, the most frozen water observed at such low latitudes, Posiolova said.

Posiolova spotted the crater earlier this year after taking extra pictures of the region from orbit. The crater was missing from earlier photos, and after poring through the archives, she pinpointed the impact to late December. She remembered a large seismic event recorded by InSight around that time and with help from that team, matched the fresh hole to what was undoubtedly a meteoroid strike. The blast wave was clearly visible.


Scientists also learned the lander and orbiter teamed up for an earlier meteoroid strike, more than double the distance of the December one and slightly smaller.

“Everybody was just shocked and amazed. Another one? Yep,” she recalled.

The seismic readings from the two impacts indicate a denser Martian crust beyond InSight’s location.

“We still have a long way to go to understanding the interior structure and dynamics of Mars, which remain largely enigmatic,” said Doyeon Kim of ETH Zurich’s Institute of Geophysics in Switzerland, who was part of the research.

Outside scientists said future landers from Europe and China will carry even more advanced seismometers. Future missions will “paint a clearer picture” of how Mars evolved, Yingjie Yang and Xiaofei Chen from China’s Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen wrote in an accompanying editorial.
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Sun was 'smiling' in NASA photo. It might be warning for Earth
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
María Luisa Paúl, The Washington Post
Publishing date:Oct 31, 2022 • 23 hours ago • 3 minute read • 15 Comments
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured a photo of a "smiling" sun last week.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured a photo of a "smiling" sun last week. PHOTO BY NASA' SOLAR DYNAMICS OBSERVATORY /NASA' Solar Dynamics Observatory
It turns out that anyone who drew a smiley-faced sun as a kid has been scientifically proved – somewhat – right.


Last week, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured an image of the biggest object in our solar system looking like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from “Ghostbusters,” the baby-faced “Teletubbies” sun or a jack-o’-lantern (if you’re into the Halloween spirit).


But what looks like a Scrub Daddy sponge set ablaze might not be as cute as it appears. For us here on Earth, the solar emoji could produce a beautiful aurora sighting – or it could signal problems for the planet’s telecommunications systems.

The sun is, in essence, “the largest nuclear reactor in our solar system,” said Brian Keating, a physics professor at the University of California at San Diego. There’s a flurry of action happening every second in the massive, spinning, glowing ball of hot gas – from the conversion of hydrogen into helium, which gives off the same amount of heat as several nuclear bombs, to electrical storms and sunquakes.


Some of that solar activity was photographed by NASA’s satellite on Wednesday, Keating told The Washington Post.

In the image, the trio of patches that make up the “face” – which can’t be seen with human eyes because they’re in the ultraviolet spectrum – are what’s known as coronal holes, or slightly cooler sections of the sun’s outer layer, which usually has a temperature of about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

“We’re talking about a few hundred degrees, so it’s not like some ski resort,” Keating said. “But because they’re so dark and because we’re looking at it in ultraviolet radiation, which the naked eye can’t see, the [NASA satellite] sees them as dark holes.”

The coronal holes aren’t just interesting shapes moving around the sun’s surface. They’re areas of high magnetic-field activity steadily sending solar wind – or a flow of protons, electrons and other particles – into the universe.


“More so than a smiley face, its eyes are like gleaming laser beams sending particles that can cause severe disruptions to the atmosphere on Earth,” Keating said.

When the particles, which carry electrical charge, hit the planet in small doses, colorful auroras might follow, bringing brilliant displays caused by the atmosphere’s gases interacting with the sun’s burped-up shoots of energy. The problems come if a tremendous number of the teeny-tiny particles hit Earth, Keating said. Instead of being sucked into Earth’s magnetic field, they could get picked up by radio antennae and disrupt radio, television and other communication channels. A severe solar storm could even damage electrical grids and cause power outages, Keating added.


While images of a smiling sun have been captured before – for instance, in 2013 after it “ate a comet” or in 2014 when NASA dubbed it a “Pumpkin Sun”- the worst-case scenario Keating described hasn’t happened in almost two centuries. The last intense geomagnetic storm to affect Earth that much was the 1859 Carrington Event, which caused fires at several telegraph stations as auroras popped up in tropical regions.

A massive event like that is long overdue, he said.

“Scientists expect that to happen on average, with a couple percent probability, every year, and we’ve just dodged all these magnetic bullets for so long,” Keating said. “So it could be really scary, and the consequences could be much more dramatic, especially in our technology-dependent current society.”

The sun’s particles from the latest smile event may reach Earth right on time for the ghostliest night of the year.

“There could be something on our way for Halloween night after all,” Keating said. “Pretty spooky, but hopefully not too spooky.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center issued a minor geomagnetic storm watch Saturday, warning that conditions could change from “unsettled” to “active.” The flare-ups of the coronal holes are expected to continue through Wednesday.
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Filmmaker claims video exists of the aliens found in Brazil in 1996
Author of the article:Liz Braun
Publishing date:Nov 01, 2022 • 22 hours ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
Three young Brazilian women claim to have seen an alien being on Jan. 20, 1996, walking unsteadily in a rainstorm.
An image taken from the trailer for the documentary, "Moment of Contact." PHOTO BY Toronto Sun
Did the Brazilian military capture alien beings in 1996?


That’s the year residents of Varginha, Brazil, reported seeing a UFO in the night sky and maybe extraterrestrials, too.


Three young women claim to have seen an alien being on Jan. 20, 1996 — a creature about 5-feet tall, with a large head, brown skin and large red eyes — walking unsteadily in a rainstorm.

A second, similar looking creature was found lying by a road two days later, and another such being was spotted at the local zoo.

Brazilian military authorities explained away each of these incidents.

News Corp in Australia reported that interest in the alleged UFO crash, extraterrestrial encounter and subsequent military cover-up — which created a media frenzy at the time — has intensified once again with the news that video of an alien exists.

And it’s about to be released, according to the news agency.

The Varginha incident, as it’s known, is the subject of a new documentary called Moment of Contact from filmmaker James Fox.

Fox went to the small town in the southwestern state of Minas Gerais to interview eyewitnesses, experts and officials.

As retired Brazilian Air Force General Jose Carlos Pereira noted in the documentary, “Governments tend to cover up everything they can’t explain to their population.”

A local man, Carlos de Souza, witnessed the crash of a UFO in the area after locals reported seeing a cigar-shaped object falling slowly from the sky.



De Souza returned to the place 26 years later with the filmmakers and spoke about what he witnessed — strange pieces of aluminum-like material and the overpowering smell of ammonia.

A large military presence descended on the town almost immediately after de Souza got to the site, and cordoned off several blocks.

The alien beings are described by all who saw them as having strange, oily skin; a soldier who retrieved one alien body is said to have died within weeks from an infection he got after touching the alien’s skin.

A military insider said he saw a soldier with a camera filming a captured alien as the creature’s body was being transported from Humanitas Hospital in Varginha to ESA Army Base.

That’s where the rumours of video footage come from.

The film ends with a statement from filmmakers saying they continue to pursue video and photo evidence — evidence they say has already been seen by U.S. officials.

“According to local military and civilian witnesses, the bodies and crash debris were appropriated by agents from the United States of America.”
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spaminator

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Filmmaker claims video exists of the aliens found in Brazil in 1996
Author of the article:Liz Braun
Publishing date:Nov 01, 2022 • 22 hours ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
Three young Brazilian women claim to have seen an alien being on Jan. 20, 1996, walking unsteadily in a rainstorm.
An image taken from the trailer for the documentary, "Moment of Contact." PHOTO BY Toronto Sun
Did the Brazilian military capture alien beings in 1996?


That’s the year residents of Varginha, Brazil, reported seeing a UFO in the night sky and maybe extraterrestrials, too.


Three young women claim to have seen an alien being on Jan. 20, 1996 — a creature about 5-feet tall, with a large head, brown skin and large red eyes — walking unsteadily in a rainstorm.

A second, similar looking creature was found lying by a road two days later, and another such being was spotted at the local zoo.

Brazilian military authorities explained away each of these incidents.

News Corp in Australia reported that interest in the alleged UFO crash, extraterrestrial encounter and subsequent military cover-up — which created a media frenzy at the time — has intensified once again with the news that video of an alien exists.

And it’s about to be released, according to the news agency.

The Varginha incident, as it’s known, is the subject of a new documentary called Moment of Contact from filmmaker James Fox.

Fox went to the small town in the southwestern state of Minas Gerais to interview eyewitnesses, experts and officials.

As retired Brazilian Air Force General Jose Carlos Pereira noted in the documentary, “Governments tend to cover up everything they can’t explain to their population.”

A local man, Carlos de Souza, witnessed the crash of a UFO in the area after locals reported seeing a cigar-shaped object falling slowly from the sky.



De Souza returned to the place 26 years later with the filmmakers and spoke about what he witnessed — strange pieces of aluminum-like material and the overpowering smell of ammonia.

A large military presence descended on the town almost immediately after de Souza got to the site, and cordoned off several blocks.

The alien beings are described by all who saw them as having strange, oily skin; a soldier who retrieved one alien body is said to have died within weeks from an infection he got after touching the alien’s skin.

A military insider said he saw a soldier with a camera filming a captured alien as the creature’s body was being transported from Humanitas Hospital in Varginha to ESA Army Base.

That’s where the rumours of video footage come from.

The film ends with a statement from filmmakers saying they continue to pursue video and photo evidence — evidence they say has already been seen by U.S. officials.

“According to local military and civilian witnesses, the bodies and crash debris were appropriated by agents from the United States of America.”
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spaminator

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Closest known black hole to Earth spotted by astronomers
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Marcia Dunn
Publishing date:Nov 04, 2022 • 19 hours ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation
This illustration provided by NOIRLab in November 2022 depicts the closest black hole to Earth and its Sun-like companion star.
This illustration provided by NOIRLab in November 2022 depicts the closest black hole to Earth and its Sun-like companion star. PHOTO BY INTERNATIONAL GEMINI OBSERVATORY/NOIRLAB/NSF/AURA/J. DA SILVA/SPACEENGINE/M. ZAMANI /THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Astronomers have discovered the closest known black hole to Earth, just 1,600 light-years away.


Scientists reported Friday that this black hole is 10 times more massive than our sun. And it’s three times closer than the previous record-holder.


It was identified by observing the motion of its companion star, which orbits the black hole at about the same distance as Earth orbits the sun.

The black hole was initially identified using the European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft, said Kareem El-Badry of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

El-Badry and his team followed up with the International Gemini Observatory in Hawaii to confirm their findings, which were published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The researchers are uncertain how the system formed in the Milky Way. Named Gaia BH1, it’s located in the constellation Ophiuchus, the serpent-bearer.

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Meteor destroyed man's California home?
“Everyone I talked to said it was a flaming ball falling from the sky and landed in that general area.”

Author of the article:Denette Wilford
Publishing date:Nov 07, 2022 • 18 hours ago • 2 minute read • 6 Comments

Did a meteor fall from space and cause a massive fire that destroyed a California man’s home?


Dustin Procita, a rancher in Nevada County, wasn’t sure what had hit his home on Friday night until after firefighters put out the blaze.


“I heard a big bang,” Procita told KCRA. “I started to smell smoke and I went on to my porch and it was completely engulfed in flames.”

The structure burned to the ground after the object — which witnesses saw flash across the sky — slammed into his house.

“Meteorite, asteroid — one of those two,” Capt. Josh Miller, of the Penn Valley Fire Department, told the news outlet. “I had one individual tell me about it first and like, ‘OK, I’ll put that in the back of my mind.’

“But then more people — two, three or four more — started coming in and talking about it.”



Miller added: “Everyone I talked to said it was a flaming ball falling from the sky and landed in that general area.”

Procita had just gone inside and was on his couch when the apparent meteor hit his home.

The house was instantly engulfed in flames, and crews battled the fire for several hours.

Procita was able to save one of his dogs but he was unable to get to the second one, according to a GoFundMe campaign created by his mother.

But after seeing footage others had taken of the incident, he counts himself “lucky that it was 30 feet away from me and not five.”

The farmer admitted he was shocked when they said it was a meteor.


“I watched meteor showers and stuff as a kid,” he said, “but I definitely didn’t look forward to them landing in my yard, or through my roof.”

The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing and could take up to two weeks.

Procita was able to joke about the so-called lucky fireball destroying his home.

“They say it’s a 1 in 4 trillion chance, so I guess I might be buying a lottery ticket today.”



 

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Last total lunar eclipse for three years arrives Tuesday
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Marcia Dunn
Publishing date:Nov 07, 2022 • 1 day ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation
The moon is shown during a full lunar eclipse, May 15, 2022, near Moscow, Idaho, with the reddish colour caused by it passing into the shadow of the Earth.
The moon is shown during a full lunar eclipse, May 15, 2022, near Moscow, Idaho, with the reddish colour caused by it passing into the shadow of the Earth. PHOTO BY TED S. WARREN /THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Better catch the moon’s disappearing act Tuesday — there won’t be another like it for three years.


The total lunar eclipse will be visible throughout North America in the predawn hours — the farther west, the better — and across Asia, Australia and the rest of the Pacific after sunset. As an extra treat, Uranus will be visible just a finger’s width above the moon, resembling a bright star.


Totality will last nearly 1 1/2 hours — from 5:16 a.m. to 6:41 a.m. EST — as Earth passes directly between the moon and sun.

Known as a blood moon, it will appear a reddish-orange from the light of Earth’s sunsets and sunrises. At the peak of the eclipse, the moon will be 390,653 kilometres away, according to NASA scientists. Binoculars and telescopes will enhance viewing, provided the skies are clear.

South America will get a glimpse of Tuesday’s lunar eclipse, weather permitting. Striking out altogether, Africa, the Middle East and most of Europe will have to wait until 2025.

Among those providing a livestream of Tuesday’s lunar extravaganza: Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and the Italian-based Virtual Telescope Project.

It’s the second total lunar eclipse this year; the first was in May. The next one won’t be until 2025. Plenty of partial lunar eclipses will be available in the meantime.
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Moon rocket endured hurricane, set for first test flight
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Marcia Dunn
Publishing date:Nov 11, 2022 • 15 hours ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation
NASA's next-generation moon rocket stands at launch complex 39-B, while engineers examine possible damage to the vehicle from Hurricane Nicole at Cape Canaveral, Florida, November 11, 2022.
NASA's next-generation moon rocket stands at launch complex 39-B, while engineers examine possible damage to the vehicle from Hurricane Nicole at Cape Canaveral, Florida, November 11, 2022. PHOTO BY STEVE NESIUS /REUTERS
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s moon rocket needs only minor repairs after enduring a hurricane at the pad and is on track for its first test flight next week, a top official said Friday.


“Right now, there’s nothing preventing us” from attempting a launch on Wednesday, said NASA’s Jim Free, an associate administrator.


The wind never exceeded the rocket’s design limits as Hurricane Nicole swept through Kennedy Space Center on Thursday, according to Free. But he acknowledged if the launch team had known in advance that a hurricane was going to hit, they likely would have kept the rocket indoors. The rocket was moved out to the pad late last week for its $4.1 billion demo mission.

Gusts reached 100 mph (160 kph) atop the launch tower, but were not nearly as strong farther down at the rocket. Computer models indicate there should be no strength or fatigue issues from the storm, even deep inside the rocket, Free noted.


NASA had been aiming for an early Monday launch, but put it on hold for two days because of the storm.

The 322-foot (98-metre) rocket, known as SLS for Space Launch System, is the most powerful ever built by NASA. A crew capsule atop the rocket, with three test dummies on board, will shoot for the moon — the first such flight in 50 years when Apollo astronauts last visited the moon.

NASA wants to test all the systems before putting astronauts on board in 2024 for a trip around the moon.

Two previous launch attempts, in late summer, were thwarted by fuel leaks. Hurricane Ian also forced a return to the hangar at the end of September.
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Documentary examines Southwestern Ontario boy's 1966 UFO claim
Author of the article:paul Morden • Sarnia Observer
Publishing date:Nov 15, 2022 • 7 hours ago • 3 minute read
16 Comments
Rob Freeman, who grew up in Sarnia, is the subject of a new documentary, The Man Who Wanted to Make Contact.
Rob Freeman, who grew up in Sarnia, is the subject of a new documentary, The Man Who Wanted to Make Contact.
Rob Freeman was 12 in 1966 when he left a Scouts meeting at Sarnia’s St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on a late-March evening and saw something strange in the sky.


Some younger kids were playing in the street and pointed up at what they said was a helicopter flying overhead.


“I was looking at the sky and I said, ‘kids, that’s not a helicopter,’” Freeman said.

He described seeing a bright light that didn’t make a sound that moved slowly from north to south and then, “in the blink of an eye,” began moving north again.

Freeman said at one point he could see into the bottom of object through what looked like a lens.

“I could see things moving, almost as if it was a figure or figures,” he said. “At this point I was thinking, ‘this was some otherworldly craft.’”

Freeman said the other kids left and his mother hadn’t yet arrived to pick him up.

“I’m getting a little nervous and I’m thinking, ‘Is this a UFO – is this a flying saucer? Is it studying me? Is it stalking me? What’s going to happen next? Is it going to take me away?’”


Freeman said his mother drove up and he called for her to get out of the car and look at the “UFO.” She reluctantly complied after telling him not to be silly, but the object was gone by the time she looked up.

Freeman said his heart sank and then, when he got home and told his brother and father, “everybody just kind of laughed.”

Feeling rejected, he went to his room to do his homework and go to bed.

But arriving home from school the next day, “I come through the door and my mom’s all excited,” Freeman said.

“She said, ‘Rob, Rob, what you saw last night is all over the front of The Sarnia Observer.’”

The Sarnia Observer, March 29, 1966
The Sarnia Observer, March 29, 1966
Headlines in the March 29, 1966, edition of Sarnia’s daily newspaper included: “Night Sky Lights Still Mystery,” and “It’s a Balloon . . . It’s a Meteor . . . No, It’s a UFO.”


Others in the city, and elsewhere, reported seeing the same lights in the sky.

“It was so cool because at that moment I felt validated,” Freeman said. “It was not my imagination. This happened.”

Newspapers in neighbouring Michigan also reported sightings that March and the incidents earned national attention, including a segment on the CBS television news with Walter Cronkite.

Reports in the newspaper said jets were scrambled from the U.S. Air Force base in Michigan to investigate the light.

“They couldn’t catch it for love or money,” Freeman said. “It just took off.”

Freeman said he and a friend climbed up the TV antenna tower to sit on his roof a few nights later and both saw “a whole fleet” of lights in the sky.

“We were just gob smacked,” Freeman said.


Because of the news coverage at the time, Freeman said he was never reluctant later in life to talk about the experience. “I never worried about being a crackpot or tinfoil hat guy.”

Freeman’s family later moved to London and, after growing up, he had a successful career in real estate and as an entrepreneur starting a business, London Telecom, that he sold in 1999. In 2007, he co-founded the biopharmaceutical company, QU Biologics.

A decade or so ago, he met Mark McNabb, a filmmaker now living in Toronto, who grew up in Petrolia and made several films in the Sarnia area, including 2007’s Blindeye with the late actor and wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.

Freeman said he was on a film set with McNabb when the subject of UFOs came up one day, so he told the story about his experience as a youngster in Sarnia.


After doing some research, McNabb proposed he and Freeman work on a documentary about what he discovered is a worldwide movement of individuals seeking to make contact with otherworldly visitors.

Rob Freeman, who grew up in Sarnia, is the subject of a new documentary, The Man Who Wanted to Make Contact.
Rob Freeman, who grew up in Sarnia, is the subject of a new documentary, The Man Who Wanted to Make Contact.
“It has been the adventure of a lifetime,” McNabb said.

He and Freeman spent the past eight years travelling the world to document efforts people have made to make contact with extraterrestrials.

“I was very fascinated with this idea of people wanting to do that,” McNabb said. “We’ve been to 16 countries now. We’ve been with the most incredible groups of people. We’ve documented everything.”

McNabb has been making a series of documentaries on the subject, including one about Freeman’s experience, The Man Who Wanted to Make Contact, he plans to screen in Sarnia in March 2023.

“We’ve had some pretty incredible experiences,” Freeman said about his travels with McNabb. “There’s no doubt in our minds that there is something here.”

pmorden@postmedia.com
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spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
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Documentary examines Southwestern Ontario boy's 1966 UFO claim
Author of the article:paul Morden • Sarnia Observer
Publishing date:Nov 15, 2022 • 7 hours ago • 3 minute read
16 Comments
Rob Freeman, who grew up in Sarnia, is the subject of a new documentary, The Man Who Wanted to Make Contact.
Rob Freeman, who grew up in Sarnia, is the subject of a new documentary, The Man Who Wanted to Make Contact.
Rob Freeman was 12 in 1966 when he left a Scouts meeting at Sarnia’s St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on a late-March evening and saw something strange in the sky.


Some younger kids were playing in the street and pointed up at what they said was a helicopter flying overhead.


“I was looking at the sky and I said, ‘kids, that’s not a helicopter,’” Freeman said.

He described seeing a bright light that didn’t make a sound that moved slowly from north to south and then, “in the blink of an eye,” began moving north again.

Freeman said at one point he could see into the bottom of object through what looked like a lens.

“I could see things moving, almost as if it was a figure or figures,” he said. “At this point I was thinking, ‘this was some otherworldly craft.’”

Freeman said the other kids left and his mother hadn’t yet arrived to pick him up.

“I’m getting a little nervous and I’m thinking, ‘Is this a UFO – is this a flying saucer? Is it studying me? Is it stalking me? What’s going to happen next? Is it going to take me away?’”


Freeman said his mother drove up and he called for her to get out of the car and look at the “UFO.” She reluctantly complied after telling him not to be silly, but the object was gone by the time she looked up.

Freeman said his heart sank and then, when he got home and told his brother and father, “everybody just kind of laughed.”

Feeling rejected, he went to his room to do his homework and go to bed.

But arriving home from school the next day, “I come through the door and my mom’s all excited,” Freeman said.

“She said, ‘Rob, Rob, what you saw last night is all over the front of The Sarnia Observer.’”

The Sarnia Observer, March 29, 1966
The Sarnia Observer, March 29, 1966
Headlines in the March 29, 1966, edition of Sarnia’s daily newspaper included: “Night Sky Lights Still Mystery,” and “It’s a Balloon . . . It’s a Meteor . . . No, It’s a UFO.”


Others in the city, and elsewhere, reported seeing the same lights in the sky.

“It was so cool because at that moment I felt validated,” Freeman said. “It was not my imagination. This happened.”

Newspapers in neighbouring Michigan also reported sightings that March and the incidents earned national attention, including a segment on the CBS television news with Walter Cronkite.

Reports in the newspaper said jets were scrambled from the U.S. Air Force base in Michigan to investigate the light.

“They couldn’t catch it for love or money,” Freeman said. “It just took off.”

Freeman said he and a friend climbed up the TV antenna tower to sit on his roof a few nights later and both saw “a whole fleet” of lights in the sky.

“We were just gob smacked,” Freeman said.


Because of the news coverage at the time, Freeman said he was never reluctant later in life to talk about the experience. “I never worried about being a crackpot or tinfoil hat guy.”

Freeman’s family later moved to London and, after growing up, he had a successful career in real estate and as an entrepreneur starting a business, London Telecom, that he sold in 1999. In 2007, he co-founded the biopharmaceutical company, QU Biologics.

A decade or so ago, he met Mark McNabb, a filmmaker now living in Toronto, who grew up in Petrolia and made several films in the Sarnia area, including 2007’s Blindeye with the late actor and wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.

Freeman said he was on a film set with McNabb when the subject of UFOs came up one day, so he told the story about his experience as a youngster in Sarnia.


After doing some research, McNabb proposed he and Freeman work on a documentary about what he discovered is a worldwide movement of individuals seeking to make contact with otherworldly visitors.

Rob Freeman, who grew up in Sarnia, is the subject of a new documentary, The Man Who Wanted to Make Contact.
Rob Freeman, who grew up in Sarnia, is the subject of a new documentary, The Man Who Wanted to Make Contact.
“It has been the adventure of a lifetime,” McNabb said.

He and Freeman spent the past eight years travelling the world to document efforts people have made to make contact with extraterrestrials.

“I was very fascinated with this idea of people wanting to do that,” McNabb said. “We’ve been to 16 countries now. We’ve been with the most incredible groups of people. We’ve documented everything.”

McNabb has been making a series of documentaries on the subject, including one about Freeman’s experience, The Man Who Wanted to Make Contact, he plans to screen in Sarnia in March 2023.

“We’ve had some pretty incredible experiences,” Freeman said about his travels with McNabb. “There’s no doubt in our minds that there is something here.”

pmorden@postmedia.com
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spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
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NASA capsule on way to moon after launch by giant new rocket
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Marcia Dunn
Publishing date:Nov 16, 2022 • 17 hours ago • 4 minute read
NASA’s Artemis I Space Launch System rocket, with the Orion capsule attached, launches at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022.
NASA’s Artemis I Space Launch System rocket, with the Orion capsule attached, launches at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022. PHOTO BY KEVIN DIETSCH /Getty Images
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A space capsule hurtled toward the moon Wednesday for the first time in 50 years, following a thunderous launch of NASA’s mightiest rocket in a dress rehearsal for astronaut flights.


No one was on board this debut flight, just three test dummies. The capsule is headed for a wide orbit around the moon and then a return to Earth with a Pacific splashdown in about three weeks.


After years of delays and billions in cost overruns, the Space Launch System rocket roared skyward, rising from Kennedy Space Center on 8.8 million pounds (4 million kilograms) of thrust and hitting 160 km/h within seconds. The Orion capsule was perched on top and, less than two hours into the flight, busted out of Earth’s orbit toward the moon.

“It was pretty overwhelming,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. ”We’re going out to explore the heavens, and this is the next step.“

The moonshot follows nearly three months of vexing fuel leaks that kept the rocket bouncing between its hangar and the pad. Forced back indoors by Hurricane Ian at the end of September, the rocket stood its ground outside as Nicole swept through last week with gusts of more than 130 km/h. Although the wind caused some damage, managers gave the green light for the launch.


An estimated 15,000 people jammed the launch site, with thousands more lining the beaches and roads outside the gates, to witness NASA’s long-awaited sequel to Project Apollo, when 12 astronauts walked on the moon from 1969 and 1972. Crowds also gathered outside NASA centres in Houston and Huntsville, Alabama, to watch the spectacle on giant screens.

The rocket rode a huge trail of flames toward space, with a half-moon glowing brightly and buildings shaking.

The liftoff marked the start of NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program, named after Apollo’s mythological twin sister. The space agency is aiming to send four astronauts around the moon on the next flight, in 2024, and land humans there as early as 2025.


“For the Artemis generation, this is for you,” launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson called out, referring to all those born after Apollo. She later told her team: “You have earned your place in history.”

The 322-foot (98-metre) SLS is the most powerful rocket built by NASA, with more thrust than either the space shuttle or the mighty Saturn V that carried men to the moon. A series of hydrogen fuel leaks plagued the summertime launch attempts as well as countdown tests. A fresh leak erupted at a new spot during Tuesday night’s fueling, but an emergency team tightened the faulty valve on the pad. Then a U.S. Space Force radar station went down, resulting in another scramble, this time to replace an ethernet switch.


“The rocket, it’s alive. It’s creaking. It’s making venting noises. It’s pretty scary,” said Trent Annis, one of the three men who entered the blast danger zone to fix the leak. “My heart was pumping. My nerves were going.”

Orion should reach the moon by Monday, more than 370,000 kilometres from Earth. After coming within 130 kilometres of the moon, the capsule will enter a far-flung orbit stretching about 64,000 kilometres beyond.

The $4.1 billion test flight is set to last 25 days, roughly the same as when crews will be aboard. The space agency intends to push the spacecraft to its limits and uncover any problems before astronauts strap in. The test dummies — NASA calls them moonikins — are fitted with sensors to measure such things as vibration, acceleration and cosmic radiation.


Nelson cautioned “things will go wrong” during this demo. A few minor issues cropped up early in the flight, although preliminary indications were the boosters and engines performed well.

“I personally am not going to rest well until we get safely to splashdown and recovery,” said mission manager Mike Sarafin.

The rocket was supposed to have made its dry run by 2017. Government watchdogs estimate NASA will have spent $93 billion on the project by 2025.

Ultimately, NASA hopes to establish a base on the moon and send astronauts to Mars by the late 2030s or early 2040s.

Many hurdles still need to be cleared. The Orion capsule will take astronauts only to lunar orbit, not the surface.

NASA has hired Elon Musk’s SpaceX to develop Starship, the 21st-century answer to Apollo’s lunar lander. Starship will carry astronauts back and forth between Orion and the lunar surface, at least on the first trip in 2025. The plan is to station Starship and eventually other companies’ landers in orbit around the moon, ready for use whenever new Orion crews pull up.


Reprising an argument that was made during the 1960s, Duke University historian Alex Roland questions the value of human spaceflight, saying robots and remote-controlled spacecraft could get the job done more cheaply, efficiently and safely.

“In all these years, no evidence has emerged to justify the investment we have made in human spaceflight — save the prestige involved in this conspicuous consumption,” he said.

NASA is waiting until this test flight is over before introducing the astronauts who will be on the next one and those who will follow in the bootsteps of Apollo 11â²s Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

Most of NASA’s corps of 42 active astronauts and 10 trainees were not even born yet when Apollo 17 moonwalkers Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt closed out the era, 50 years ago next month.

“We are jumping out of our spacesuits with excitement,” astronaut Christina Koch said before the launch.

After a nearly yearlong International Space Station mission and all-female spacewalk, Koch, 43, is on NASA’s short list for a lunar flight. So is astronaut Kayla Barron, 35, who finally got to witness her first rocket launch, not counting her own a year ago.

“It took my breath away, and I was tearing up,” Barron said. “What an amazing accomplishment for this team.”
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Webb Space Telescope spots early galaxies hidden from Hubble
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Marcia Dunn
Publishing date:Nov 17, 2022 • 23 hours ago • 2 minute read

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s Webb Space Telescope is finding bright, early galaxies that until now were hidden from view, including one that may have formed a mere 350 million years after the cosmic-creating Big Bang.


Astronomers said Thursday that if the results are verified, this newly discovered throng of stars would beat the most distant galaxy identified by the Hubble Space Telescope, a record-holder that formed 400 million years after the universe began.


Launched last December as a successor to Hubble, the Webb telescope is indicating stars may have formed sooner than previously thought — perhaps within a couple million years of creation.

Webb’s latest discoveries were detailed in the Astrophysical Journal Letters by an international team led by Rohan Naidu of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The article elaborates on two exceptionally bright galaxies, the first thought to have formed 350 million years after the Big Bang and the other 450 million years after.


Naidu said more observations are needed in the infrared by Webb before claiming a new distance record-holder.

Although some researchers report having uncovered galaxies even closer to the creation of the universe 13.8 billion years ago, those candidates have yet to be verified, scientists stressed at a NASA news conference. Some of those could be later galaxies mimicking earlier ones, they noted.

“This is a very dynamic time,” said Garth Illingworth of the University of California, Santa Cruz, a co-author of the article published Thursday. “There have been lots of preliminary announcements of even earlier galaxies, and we’re still trying to sort out as a community which ones of those are likely to be real.”


Tommaso Treu of the University of California, Los Angeles, a chief scientist for Webb’s early release science program, said the evidence presented so far “is as solid as it gets” for the galaxy believed to have formed 350 million after the Big Bang.

If the findings are verified and more early galaxies are out there, Naidu and his team wrote that Webb “will prove highly successful in pushing the cosmic frontier all the way to the brink of the Big Bang.”

“When and how the first galaxies formed remains one of the most intriguing questions,” they said in their paper.

NASA’s Jane Rigby, a project scientist with Webb, noted that these galaxies “were hiding just under the limits of what Hubble could do.”

“They were right there waiting for us,” she told reporters. “So that’s a happy surprise that there are lots of these galaxies to study.”

The $10 billion observatory — the world’s largest and most powerful telescope ever sent into space — is in a solar orbit that’s 1.6 million kilometres from Earth. Full science operations began over the summer, and NASA has since released a series of dazzling snapshots of the universe.
 

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NASA capsule buzzes moon, last big step before lunar orbit
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Marcia Dunn
Publishing date:Nov 21, 2022 • 1 day ago • 2 minute read
This handout image from NASA released on November 21, 2022, shows a view of the spacecraft, the Earth and the Moon captured by a camera on Orion's solar array wing.
This handout image from NASA released on November 21, 2022, shows a view of the spacecraft, the Earth and the Moon captured by a camera on Orion's solar array wing. PHOTO BY HANDOUT/NASA TV /AFP via Getty Images
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s Orion capsule reached the moon Monday, whipping around the far side and buzzing the lunar surface on its way to a record-breaking orbit with test dummies sitting in for astronauts.


It’s the first time a capsule has visited the moon since NASA’s Apollo program 50 years ago, and represents a huge milestone in the $4.1 billion test flight that began last Wednesday.


The close approach of 81 miles (130 kilometres) occurred as the crew capsule and its three wired-up dummies were on the far side of the moon. Because of a half-hour communication blackout, flight controllers in Houston did not know if the critical engine firing went well until the capsule emerged from behind the moon, 232,000 miles (370,000 kilometres) from Earth.

The capsule’s cameras sent back a picture of the world — a tiny blue orb surrounded by blackness.

“Our pale blue dot and its 8 billion human inhabitants now coming into view,” said Mission Control commentator Sandra Jones.


The capsule accelerated well beyond 5,000 mph (8,000 kph) as it regained radio contact, NASA said. Less than an hour later, Orion soared above Tranquility Base, where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on July 20, 1969.

“This is one of those days that you’ve been thinking about and talking about for a long, long time,” flight director Zeb Scoville said.

Earlier in the morning, the moon loomed ever larger in the video beamed back, as the capsule closed the final few thousand miles since blasting off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, atop the most powerful rocket ever built by NASA.

Orion needed to slingshot around the moon to pick up enough speed to enter the sweeping, lopsided lunar orbit. Flight controllers evaluated the data pouring back, to determine if the engine firing went as planned. Another firing will place the capsule in that elongated orbit Friday.


This coming weekend, Orion will shatter NASA’s distance record for a spacecraft designed for astronauts — nearly 250,000 miles (400,000 kilometres) from Earth, set by Apollo 13 in 1970. And it will keep going, reaching a maximum distance from Earth next Monday at nearly 270,000 miles (433,000 kilometres).

The capsule will spend close to a week in lunar orbit, before heading home. A Pacific splashdown is planned for Dec. 11.

Orion has no lunar lander; a touchdown won’t come until NASA astronauts attempt a lunar landing in 2025 with SpaceX’s Starship. Before then, astronauts will strap into Orion for a ride around the moon as early as 2024.

NASA managers were delighted with the progress of the mission. The Space Launch System rocket performed exceedingly well in its debut, they told reporters late last week.

The 322-foot (98-metre) rocket caused more damage than expected, however, at the Kennedy Space Center launch pad. The force from the 8.8 million pounds (4 million kilograms) of liftoff thrust was so great that it tore off the blast doors of the elevator.
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