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Elon Musk unveils first tourist for SpaceX 'Moon loop'

Elon Musk unveils first tourist for SpaceX 'Moon loop'

Science
Elon Musk's company SpaceX has unveiled the first private passenger it plans to fly around the Moon.Japanese billionaire and online fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa, 42, announced: "I choose to go to the Moon."The mission is planned for 2023, and would be the first lunar journey by humans since 1972.But it is reliant on a rocket that has not been built yet, and Mr Musk cautioned: "It's not 100% certain we can bring this to flight."The man hoping to become world's first moon touristThe announcement was made at SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on Tuesday. The company said the flight on board the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) - a launch system that was unveiled by Mr Musk in 2016 - represented...
Watch live: Elon Musk to announce first private passenger to fly around the moon

Watch live: Elon Musk to announce first private passenger to fly around the moon

Science
Sept. 17 (UPI) -- SpaceX founder Elon Musk is set to announce the first private space passenger to fly around the moon on Monday evening. Musk's announcement will be streamed live online. Coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET. According to SpaceX, the mystery passenger will be carried on a trip around around the moon on the aerospace company's next-generation rocket, the Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR. The plans aren't exactly new. In 2017, SpaceX said two unnamed people had put down large deposits to reserve a spot on the private lunar flight. Originally, the Falcon Heavy -- which completed its first static test fire earlier this year -- was scheduled to carry space tourists to the moon and back. Those plans were nixed. Now, if all goes as planned, passengers will by ferried by BFR. As The Verge repo...
NovaSAR: UK radar satellite launches to track illegal shipping activity

NovaSAR: UK radar satellite launches to track illegal shipping activity

Science
The first all-British radar satellite has launched to orbit on an Indian rocket. Called NovaSAR, it has the ability to take pictures of the surface of the Earth in every kind of weather, day or night. The spacecraft will assume a number of roles but its designers specifically want to see if it can help monitor suspicious shipping activity. Lift-off from the Satish Dhawan spaceport occurred at 17:38 BST. NovaSAR was joined on its rocket by a high-resolution optical satellite - that is, an imager that sees in ordinary light. Known as S1-4, this spacecraft will discern objects on the ground as small as 87cm across. Both it and NovaSAR were manufactured by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited of Guildford. ...
Last Delta II successfully launches ICESat-2 from Vandenberg

Last Delta II successfully launches ICESat-2 from Vandenberg

Science
Sept. 15 (UPI) -- NASA's newest ice-measuring satellite was launched into orbit around Earth's poles on Saturday morning aboard the last flight of United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. ICESat-2 was carried into space at 6:02 a.m. PDT from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base, NASA said. The scheduled time was 5:46 a.m. but it had a 40-minute launch window. The spacecraft deployed its four solar panels and is drawing power, meaning it successfully went into orbit. It is orbiting the globe, pole to pole, at 17,069 mph from an average altitude of 290 miles. Ground stations in Svalbard, Norway, acquired signals from the spacecraft. The official name is NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2. ICESat-2's only instrument is a laser system designed to measure the height of Earth's ...
Prickly cactus species 'under threat'

Prickly cactus species 'under threat'

Science
The iconic cactus plant is veering into trouble say researchers. The most serious problem is illegal smuggling. Despite the international ban on uncontrolled trade in cacti, policing the smuggling faces many problems and semi-professional hunters continue to uproot plants to order, stealing from National Parks, Indian Reservations, but more significantly from the wild.In southern Spain, the plants are being devastated by the cochineal beetle. But the picture there is mirrored across other regions of the world.As Anton Brugger strides purposefully around his plantation set on the side of a steep hill in Almeria, southern Spain, he casts his gaze over the more than 10,000 cacti artfully arranged in terraces over two hectares."When ...