NASA and Boeing launched the Starliner Commercial Crew space craft yesterday. One of the stages is BECO cutoff where the main booster detaches from the rocket, prior to the Centaur engine starting up, and pushing Starliner into orbit.
There’s an awesome view of the rocket from the ground that shows this spectacular effect at BECO cutoff:
We watched Mark Rober’s video promoting the #TeamTrees initiative to plant 20 million trees by the end of 2019, this morning:
I was fascinated to learn how trees capture carbon to build mass. I knew that trees absorbed carbon from the atmosphere, but didn’t quite realise how. He explained this as part of his pitch to contribute to the #TeamTrees initiative that a YouTube personality, MrBeast, started with this video:
A growing number of YouTube personalities have joined the call to contribute to the cause that, in turn, donates the money to the Arbor Day Foundation. Each dollar donated will result in a tree being planted.
This initiative won’t fix climate change, but it’s a positive step in the right direction, and sends a signal that this is important. We made a contribution this morning through the site. You can donate either through the #TeamTrees site, or on YouTube where you see donation buttons like this:
Closer to home for us is the Jewish National Fund that receives donations to plant trees in Israel, like these trees in the Ben Shemen forest just outside our city:
Donate to plant trees
So, if you’d like to donate to initiatives that plant more trees, here are two options to start with:
NASA streamed a milestone in Human spaceflight yesterday: an all women spacewalk at the International Space Station. Although it wasn’t exactly a thrilling ride (I’m pretty sure that when it comes to working in Earth orbit, “thrilling” isn’t what you want), it was still momentous in that both astronauts doing the spacewalk were women.
Watching the stream on TV left me with the sense that how we and our kids view these events is very much a generational thing:
Parents who grew up with rare televised Space stuff: “Hey kids, check out these astronauts working in space, right now! Wow! And this time they’re all women, wow!”
Kids who grew up with on demand streams of constant Space stuff: “Oh, ok … ” <back to their gaming device>
About the spacewalk
If you’re interested in the mission (and likely older than 20-something), take a look at the NASA blog post about the mission:
Two NASA astronauts switched their spacesuits to battery power this morning at 7:38 a.m. EDT. Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are venturing out into the vacuum of space to replace a failed power controller, also known as a battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU). The BCDU regulates the charge to the batteries that collect and distribute solar power to the orbiting lab’s systems.
Quantum computing still seems to be at a pretty early stage. At the same time, it looks like it has the potential to do truly remarkable things. In at least one case, it did something a classical computer just can’t feasibly do:
But that seriously understates what’s going on here. Every calculation that’s done on a quantum computer will end up being a measurement of a quantum system. And in this case, there is simply no way to get that probability distribution using a classical computer. With this system, we can get it in under 10 minutes, and most of that time is spent in processing that doesn’t involve the qubits. As the researchers put it, “To our knowledge, this experiment marks the first computation that can only be performed on a quantum processor.”
Israel’s first, private lunar lander is on its way to the Moon after a successful launch onboard the SpaceX Nusantara Satu mission. If our lander makes it to the lunar surface, Israel will be the fourth nation to land on the Moon, and the first country to land SpaceIL‘s privately built spacecraft.