Satellite Data Shows US East Coast is Sinking

Map shows vertical land motion along the East Coast. The yellow, orange and red areas on these maps denote areas of sinking. Image courtesy of Leonard Ohenhen.Virginia Tech.

Based on satellite imagery, geologists have determined major cities on the U.S. Atlantic coast are sinking, some areas as much as 2 to 5 millimeters (.08-0.2 inches) per year. Called subsidence, this sinking of land is happening at a faster rate than was estimated just a year ago. In a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, researchers say their analysis has far-reaching implications for community and infrastructure resilience planning, particularly for roadways, airport runways, building foundations, rail lines, and pipelines.

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Japan’s New X-Ray Observatory Sees First Light

Supernova remnant N132D lies in the central portion of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy about 160,000 light-years away. XRISM’s Xtend captured the remnant in X-rays, displayed in the inset. Although bright in X-rays, the stellar wreckage is almost invisible in the ground-based background view taken in optical light. Credit: Inset, JAXA/NASA/XRISM Xtend; background, C. Smith, S. Points, the MCELS Team and NOIRLab/NSF/AURA

XRISM, the X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission, is a joint NASA/JAXA mission led by JAXA. The X-ray space telescope began its mission in low-Earth orbit on September 6th, 2023. Science operations won’t begin until later this year, but the satellite’s science team has released some of the telescope’s first images.

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Millions of Satellites Could Have a Profound Effect on the Earth’s Ionosphere

Mega-constellations of satellites. Credit: ESA-Science Office

Hardly a day goes by where a story hits the headlines about our abuse of the Earth’s precious environment be that the atmosphere or the oceans, forests or desert. When it comes to the atmosphere we all tend to immediately turn our attention to pollution, to gasses being released and disturbing the delicate balance. Yet a paper recently published points to a new demon, megaconstellations of satellites damaging the ionosphere – the ionised part of the upper atmosphere.

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After Stalling Out for 40 Years, the Largest Iceberg in the World is on the Move

An animation from Copernicus Sentinel-1 images shows iceberg A23a’s movements from 2 November 2023, 14 November 2023 and 26 November 2023. Credit: ESA.

In 1986, a gigantic iceberg separated from the Fichner-Ronne ice shelf in West Antarctica. It was so big that it became grounded, stuck to the seafloor, and remained in position for 40 years. Finally, it has now been pushed off the seafloor and has begun drifting in the Weddell Sea to a region in the South Atlantic called Iceberg Alley. Designated A23a, this monster berg measures 4000 sq km (1,500 square miles) and is about 400 meters (1,300 feet) thick – the world’s largest.

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Not Getting Enough Data From Mars? Set Up A Solar System Pony Express

Getting data in from deep space can be difficult. Almost all of our missions that have flown into deep space use the Deep Space Network, a system of transmitters and receivers that already imposes constraints on the amount of data we can transfer from the far reaches of space. So a team led by Joshua Vander Hook, then at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and now at a start-up called, came up with a way to dramatically enhance the throughput of the DSN. In so doing, they gave it a very catchy name – the Solar System Pony Express.

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Simulating a Piece of Space Junk

A graphic which depicts simulating a satellite's death spiral. ESA/University of Bern.

When a spacecraft dies, it loses the ability to maintain its direction in space. Additionally, as the spacecraft’s orbit begins to decay, the thin atmosphere interacts with the spacecraft, causing it to tumble unpredictably. ESA’s Clean Space Initiative hopes to remove the most hazardous space debris. This means capturing dead satellites that are in a death spiral. To help begin the project Researchers observed over 20 objects in space over two year and then recreated their spin to develop plans to retrieve them.

Retrieving a tumbling spacecraft will require a brave robot to take on the task!

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Need to Map an Iceberg in a Hundredth of a Second? Ask a Computer

Image of an iceberg on the Arctic Ocean
An Iceberg in the Arctic Ocean

Satellites really are quite a wonder.  They can help forecast the weather, track climate change and help you navigate around the world. There are even satellites that can not only track icebergs but can map the Antarctic in the merest blink of an eye. In fact, faster than that since a typical blink takes about 0.2 seconds but the Sentinel-1 satellites can map icebergs in just 0.01 seconds, that’s 20 times for every blink of an eye!

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ESA Plans to Eliminate New Space Debris by 2030

This image from the ESA's MASTER (Meteoroid and Space Debris Terrestrial Environment Reference) risk-assessment tool shows the dangerous debris orbiting Earth. Image Credit: IRAS/TU Braunschweig

What can we do about space junk? We know how much debris is in orbit, and we know the problem is getting worse. It’s our fault.

Our Earth now has a halo of orbital debris, and the ESA has a plan to stop contributing to the problem.

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A Russian Satellite Has Shifted Within 60 km of Another Spacecraft

Geostationary orbits are where telecommunication satellites and other monitoring satellites operate. This image shows one of the NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites. Image Credit: NOAA.

When it comes to saber-rattling, few countries employ it as much as Russia does. During their ongoing invasion and occupation of Ukraine, the country’s leadership has repeatedly threatened to use atomic weapons. But the threats don’t stop there.

A private company called Slingshot Aerospace says Russia has maneuvered one of their Luch satellites uncomfortably close to Western spacecraft in GEO (geostationary orbit.)

And it’s not the first time.

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A Flock of CubeSats Will Use Wings to Maneuver at the Edge of Space

CubeSats are taking on more and more responsibility for remote monitoring of the Earth. As they become more ubiquitous, they will also gain more varied propulsion systems. Or, in the case of a new set of monitoring CubeSats from INTA, Spain’s Institue of Aerospace Technology, no propulsion system at all.

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