NEWS DIGEST 06.11.2021: ISS astronauts will be going home with a broken toilet, other space stories

Good morning and happy weekend/belated Diwali greetings! Today’s news is brought to you by Google News (Science).

The astronauts who will depart the International Space Station on Sunday will be stuck using diapers on the way home because of their capsule’s broken toilet. SpaceX is now targeting liftoff for Wednesday night at the earliest. They also had to deal with the toilet leak, pulling up panels in their SpaceX capsule and discovering pools of urine. SpaceX fixed the toilet on the capsule awaiting liftoff, but deemed the one in orbit unusable. Also returning with Megan McArthur and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet: NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide. SpaceX launched them to the space station on April 23 – No toilet for returning SpaceX crew, stuck using diapers (Phys.Org – Astronomy & Space – Space Exploration)

Photo by SpaceX on

The four astronauts departing from the International Space Station as early as this weekend will be wearing diapers on their return trip to Earth due to a broken toilet aboard the SpaceX capsule. The crew investigated the return capsule, named Endeavour, by looking under the panels with video cameras to provide the NASA and SpaceX teams with data to see if their toilet was anything like that of the Inspiration4 mission. SpaceX fixed the toilet on the capsule set to take a new batch of astronauts to the station, but deemed the one in orbit unusable. During a video interview with the crew, someone had asked if the peppers were the reason for the broken toilet – but the astronauts avoided the question. ISS studies have investigated human research, space medicine, life sciences, physical sciences, astronomy and meteorology – Returning SpaceX crew will wear DIAPERS due to a broken toilet on capsule set to leave the International Space Station to return to Earth as early as this weekend (Mail Online Science & Tech)

The US Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) agency added the storm might interfere with high-frequency radio signals at high latitudes, which could affect long-distance aeroplane flights. NOAA’s satellites detected the CME which could affect the Earth on Thursday, with the storm reaching the Deep Space Climate Observatory spacecraft late on Wednesday. A forecast from SWPC also said: “G1 storm levels continue to be met and solar wind conditions remain elevated and enhanced, maintaining the potential for additional periods of G2-G3 level storms.” Previously, the agency said a CME bound for Earth overtook and “swallowed” at least one other previous CME – a phenomenon known by some as a Cannibal CME. SWPC’s website said: “It’s a CME that eats its own kind”. On November 2, sunspot AR2981 hurled a fast CME towards Earth – Solar storm ‘red alert’ for flights and GPS as huge CME continues to batter Earth (Express – News – Science)

Scots will be able to catch another glimpse of the Northern Lights this evening, according to forecasters. A strong geomagnetic storm from the sun arrived on Earth last night, which meant that thousands of Scots were treated to the night sky spectacle overnight. “The resulting strong geomagnetic storm meant the Northern Lights were visible across large areas of the UK overnight last night.”: said Krista Hammond from the UK’s Met Office. “Further geomagnetic storms are possible tonight and into the early hours of tomorrow morning, due to ongoing effects of the coronal mass ejection.” The meteorologist added: “This means there is the potential for further sightings of the Northern Lights overnight, although there will be spells of patchy cloud over Scotland which could limit visibility in places.” A Met Office ‘space weather notification’ remains in place for the Geomagnetic Storm from this evening to last until 1am during the early hours of Friday. The Aurora Borealis take their name from Aurora and Boreas, the lights are caused by solar activity – Northern Lights visible in Scotland tonight after solar storm – exact time to see it (Daily Record – News – Scottish News – Weather)

An asteroid as tall as the Eiffel Tower is coming toward Earth in December. Almost triple the size of a football pitch, the asteroid named 4660 Nereus is classified as a ‘Potentially Hazardous Asteroid’. NASA ‘s asteroid monitor predicts it will come close to Earth on December 11. The asteroid will fly by the planet at a distance 3.9 million kilometres – a distance greater than 10 times of that between the Earth and the moon. The asteroid orbits the sun every 664 days though it is predicted not to come close to the Earth again until March 2, 2031 and then November 2050. Discovered in 1982 by US astronomer Eleanor F. Helin, Nereus is a member of the Apollo group of asteroids which are known for crossing the path of the Earth as it orbits the Sun. NASA proposed sending the Robotic Asteroid Shoemaker Rendezvous probe and Japan assessed sending the robotic spacecraft Hayabusa to Nereus, but both ultimately chose other targets – NASA warns ‘hazardous’ asteroid size of Eiffel Tower is heading towards Earth (Daily Record – News – Science & Technology – Nasa)

Summarised with SMMRY.


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