from the world's big
After 42 years in space, Voyager 2 breaks thru the heliosphere
A historic NASA probe sends back a treasure-trove of information from billions of miles away.
- NASA's Voyager 2 probe sends back invaluable information about interstellar space.
- The probe was launched in 1977.
- 5 new studies detail the data gathered by its instruments.
Over 40 years after its launch, NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft sent back invaluable information from interstellar space. It is only the second spacecraft in history to go beyond the heliosphere – a bubble created by winds streaming from our sun that protects us from interstellar radiation.
New studies released by researchers confirm that the Voyager 2 is now traveling through the so-called interstellar medium (ISM) – an area between stars. Despite this happening about 11 billion miles away from Earth, scientists have been able to determine the craft crossing into ISM from the change in the density of plasma, a gas composed of charged particles. Data reported by a plasma wave instrument aboard the Voyager showed a transition from hot, low-density plasma of the solar wind to colder, high-density plasma associated with interstellar space. This was also observed aboard Voyager 1, the first human-made spacecraft to cross over into the ISM in 2012.
Caltech physics professor Ed Stone, a project scientist for Voyager, highlighted the significance of what the probes uncovered:
"The Voyager probes are showing us how our Sun interacts with the stuff that fills most of the space between stars in the Milky Way galaxy," said Stone in a press release. "Without this new data from Voyager 2, we wouldn't know if what we were seeing with Voyager 1 was characteristic of the entire heliosphere or specific just to the location and time when it crossed."
NASA’s Voyager 2 Enters Interstellar Space
The five new studies that were published each provide details of the findings from one of Voyager 2's operating science instruments. These include a magnetic field sensor, two instruments that detect energetic particles and another two instruments that study plasma.
Among the noteworthy conclusions from the instruments is that some particles from the heliosphere are going through the somewhat porous boundary into interstellar space. Another finding shows that the magnetic field in the area just outside the heliopause parallels the magnetic field inside it.
The two probes were launched in 1977, flying by Jupiter and Saturn, where they diverged. Voyager 2 ended up changing its path at Saturn to fly by close to Uranus and Neptune. Voyager 1 is actually the faster probe and is at the moment about 13.6 billion miles away from our Sun. Voyager 2 is about 11.3 billion miles away.
Here are the studies utilizing Voyager 2 data published in Nature Astronomy:
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
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