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NASA expert identifies mystery object once thought an asteroid - CBS News
Asteroid 2020 SO, as it is formally known, appears to be a Centaur upper rocket stage that successfully propelled NASA's Surveyor 2 lander to the moon in 1966 before it was discarded.
The jig may be up for an "asteroid" that's expected to get nabbed by Earth's gravity and become a mini moon next month. Instead of a cosmic rock, the newly discovered object appears to be an old rocket from a failed moon-landing mission 54 years ago that's finally making its way back home, according to NASA's leading asteroid expert. Observations should help nail its identity. "I'm pretty jazzed about this," Paul Chodas told The Associated Press. "It's been a hobby of mine to find one of these and draw such a link, and I've been doing it for decades now." Chodas speculates that asteroid 2020 SO, as it is formally known, is actually the Centaur upper rocket stage that successfully propelled NASA's Surveyor 2 lander to the moon in 1966 before it was discarded. The lander ended up crashing into the moon after one of its thrusters failed to ignite on the way there. The rocket, meanwhile, swept past the moon and into orbit around the sun as intended junk, never to be seen again — until perhaps now. This September 20, 1966, photo provided by the San Diego Air and Space Museum shows an Atlas Centaur 7 rocket on the launchpad at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Convair/General Dynamics Astronautics Atlas Negative Collection/San Diego Air and Space Museum via AP A telescope in Hawaii last month discovered the mystery object heading our way while doing a search intended to protect our planet from doomsday rocks. The object promptly was added to the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center's tally of asteroids and comets found in our solar system, just 5,000 shy of the 1 million mark. The object is estimated to be roughly 26 feet based on its brightness. That's in the ballpark of the old Centaur, which would be less than 32 feet long including its engine nozzle and 10 feet in diameter. What caught Chodas' attention is that its near-circular orbit around the sun is quite similar to Earth's — unusual for an asteroid. "Flag number one," said Chodas, who is director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. The object is also in the same plane as Earth, not tilted above or below, another red flag. Asteroids usually zip by at odd angles. Lastly, it's approaching Earth at 1,500 mph, slow by asteroid standards. As the object gets closer, astronomers should be able to better chart its orbit and determine how much it's pushed around by the radiation and thermal effects of sunlight. If it's an old Centaur — essentially a light empty can — it will move differently than a heavy space rock less susceptible to outside forces. That's how astronomers normally differentiate between asteroids and space junk like abandoned rocket parts, since both appear merely as moving dots in the sky. There likely are dozens of fake asteroids out there, but their motions are too imprecise or jumbled to confirm their artificial identity, said Chodas. Sometimes it's the other way around. A mystery object in 1991, for example, was determined by Chodas and others to be a regular asteroid rather than debris, even though its orbit around the sun resembled Earth's. Asteroid hunter Carrie Nugent of Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts, said Chodas' conclusion is "a good one" based on solid evidence. She's the author of the 2017 book "Asteroid Hunters." "Some more data would be useful so we can know for sure," she said in an email. "Asteroid hunters from around the world will continue to watch this object to get that data. I'm excited to see how this develops!" Chodas predicts the object will spend about four months circling Earth once it's captured in mid-November, before shooting back out into its own orbit around the sun next March. He doubts the object will slam into Earth — "at least not this time around."
Canada reports zero deaths from coronavirus for the first time since March - CBS News
The country last reported no new deaths from the virus on March 15.
Canada reported no new deaths from COVID-19 on Friday for the first time in six months. The last time the country reported no new deaths from the virus on March 15, at the start of lockdowns in North America due to the pandemic, Reuters reports. As of Friday evening, over 6 million people had been tested for COVID-19 in Canada, 2.1% of which came back positive. Some 702 new cases were reported on Friday, but no new deaths, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, Quebec reported one new death on September 11, but Ontario removed a previously reported death. That meant the number of deaths reported, 9,163, remained unchanged from the previous day. As the numbers improve, "I am reminded of the ways Canadians have pulled together to reduce the spread of COVID-19," Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, said Thursday in a statement. "We have been physically apart from each other in order to plank the curve, but we have found new ways to be together, and connected, while at a distance." The majority of cases, 80.0%, and deaths, 93.7%, have been reported by Ontario and Quebec. 2nd wave of coronavirus could be weeks away, ...01:44 Coronavirus fatalities spiked in April and steadily increased until July, data from the country's health department shows, before starting to plateau over the summer. 71.3% of deaths in Canada were people over the age of 80. Several Canadian provinces have started easing lockdown restrictions, as schools reopen for in-person classes, resulting in a recent spike in cases. Compared to the U.S., its southern neighbor, Canada has had fewer coronavirus infections and deaths. The country has 137,676 COVID-19 cases and 9,214 deaths as of Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University. Comparatively, the U.S. surpassed 6.4 million cases and 193,000 deaths as of Saturday.
SpaceX to attempt historic back-to-back Falcon 9 flights - CBS News
Two Florida launches nine hours apart, plus a polar orbit, mark new records for SpaceX
SpaceX is gearing up for back-to-back launches on Sunday just nine hours apart, the shortest span between two Florida orbit-class flights since 1966. The launches are a dramatic bid to put 60 more Starlink internet relay stations into orbit followed by an Argentine remote sensing satellite. The planned launchings follow on the heels of a last-second "hot-fire abort" of a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 Heavy rocket at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station early Saturday that grounded a classified National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite. At least one of the heavy-lift Delta 4's three first stage engines was in the process of igniting when computers commanded a shutdown just three seconds before the planned liftoff. It's not clear what triggered the abort, but the flight will be delayed at least a week pending inspections and corrective action. Fire erupts from the base of a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 Heavy rocket as the engine start sequence began and then shut down in a "hot-fire abort," grounding the booster for at least a week. ULA webcast SpaceX already had clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Air Force Eastern Range to attempt back-to-back launches Sunday. But the weather could play a role in the historic double header, with forecasters calling for a 50-50 chance of acceptable weather for the morning Starlink launch, declining to 40 percent "go" for the evening launch of Argentina's SAOCOM 1B satellite. If the weather cooperates, the Starlink flight will take off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 10:12 a.m. ET. It will mark SpaceX's 100th flight since the company's first launch of a Falcon 1 in 2006 and the 94th flight of its workhorse Falcon 9. Three triple-core Falcon Heavies also have been launched. The 60 Starlinks set for launch Sunday will boost SpaceX's constellation to 713. The rocket's first stage, making its second flight, will attempt to land on an off-shore droneship after boosting the vehicle out of the lower atmosphere. Nine hours and six minutes after the Sunday morning launch, another Falcon 9 is scheduled for takeoff from pad 40 at the nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to put SAOCOM 1B into an orbit around Earth's poles, the first such flight from Florida since 1969. The Falcon 9's first stage, making its fourth flight, will attempt a landing back at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. If the Starlink and SAOCOM landings are successful, SpaceX's record will stand at 60 first stage recoveries, 18 at the Air Force station, 40 on droneships and two at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. To reach a polar orbit from Cape Canaveral, the Falcon 9 will take off on a southerly trajectory and then carry out a "dogleg" maneuver once clear of Florida's coast to bend the trajectory more directly south. The flight path will carry the rocket over Cuba. A Falcon 9 rocket takes off from pad 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on the most recent Starlink mission last August. Another Starlink flight is planned for Sunday, along with launch of an Argentine remote-sensing satellite. SpaceX In 1960, falling debris from a malfunctioning rocket reportedly killed a cow in Cuba, prompting protests in the island nation. All polar orbit missions since 1969 have taken off from Vandenberg where rockets remain above the Pacific Ocean all the way to orbit. SpaceX initially planned to launch SAOCOM 1B from Vandenberg, but sought permission to move the flight to Cape Canaveral to ease ground processing issues. The company presumably won government approval for the move in part because of the dogleg maneuver, which minimizes overflight of populated areas, the rocket's high altitude by the time it reaches populated areas farther downrange and because the Falcon 9 features an automated flight safety system. The AFTS is designed to quickly terminate a flight if an impending catastrophic problem is detected. The 6,720-pound SAOCOM 1B requires a polar orbit to enable its cloud-penetrating radar to observe the entire planet as it rotates below. The spacecraft will work in concert with an identical L-band radar mapper launched in 2018 along with Italy's COSMO-SkyMed X-band satellites. Bound for a 360-mile-high orbit, the $600 million SOACOM system is designed to monitor soil moisture and a range of other factors affecting the agricultural sector, collecting high-resolution data around the clock regardless of cloud cover. "One of the main targets of the SAOCOM satellites is to provide information for the agriculture sector," Raúl Kulichevsky, executive and technical director of CONAE, Argentina's space agency, told Spaceflight Now. "One of the things we develop is soil moisture maps, not only of the surface, but taking advantage of the L-band capabilities we can measure the soil moisture 1 meter below the surface of the land. So this is very important information."
Apple App Store will remain Fortnite-free for now, but Unreal Engine stays - CBS News
District judge rules Apple does not have to make the game available in its app store while a case against it proceeds.
A district judge ruled that Apple could continue to keep the popular game Fortnite from the iPhone maker's app store. Fortnite's maker, Epic Games, sued Apple last week in an effort to get the game restored to the iPhone's download hub. The multi-player game, in which players compete in a last-person-standing shootout set in a cartoonish world, has not been available in Apple's app store since mid-August. The game was removed after Epic Games enabled a function that let users make in-game purchases for virtual weapons or other items directly from Epic, rather than through Apple's payment system. Apple, which charges as much as a 30% commission on transactions, requires developers that use its app store to route all payments through Apple's systems. Google has also removed Epic's hit game from its app store over direct-payment disputes. As of right now, neither Apple nor Google are allowing users to download and install Fortnite on phones through their digital marketplaces. Epic has filed a suit against Google as well. What parents should know about Fortnite06:19 The growing fight between Epic and Apple as well as Google has drawn the interest of antitrust experts, who have been increasingly concerned about the growing control Apple, Google and other tech giants have over the U.S. economy. Congress held a high-profile hearing last month, featuring the CEOs of Apple and Google parent Alphabet, as well as Amazon and Facebook, about whether the nation's largest tech companies should face harsher antitrust regulations. Epic's lawsuit against Apple seems to reinforce that narrative. In its lawsuit, Epic argues that Apple is engaging in anti-competitive behavior in its app store, which is a major distributor of games and apps for Apple devices. The game maker also took to social media to rally fans to its cause, tweeting that Epic "defied the App Store Monopoly." The issues Epic raises in its suit are in line with the concerns that lawmakers touched on in their recent hearing, said antitrust expert Eleanor Fox, a professor at the New York University School of Law, The problem, Fox said, is that antitrust laws as they are formulated now favor market-dominant firms, and do little to regulate prices. "If all that Epic's case is about is whether Apple charges too much, then that's allowed under antitrust laws," said Fox. "Antitrust laws do not block price-gouging." Big Tech gears up for Washington battle with ...06:48 In a preliminary hearing late Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said that Apple would be allowed to keep Fortnite off its app store while Epic's case against the iPhone maker proceeds. The judge, though, said her ruling was limited to Fortnite, and Apple's decision to remove another of Epic's offerings, the Unreal Engine, a tool popular with other app developers, was not allowed, along with other forms of retaliation. "Apple has chosen to act severely, and by doing so, has impacted non-parties, and a third-party developer ecosystem," said Rogers in her ruling.
SpaceX Crew Dragon astronauts describe thrilling return to Earth - CBS News
With a piloted test flight complete, NASA hopes to certify the SpaceX capsule for operational missions.
Plunging back to Earth in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule Sunday amounted to a high-speed thrill ride, astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken reported Tuesday. The fiery, flawlessly-controlled descent to splashdown went off without a hitch — a major step toward certifying the vehicle for operational flights. "What a ride!" Behnken tweeted, sharing long-range tracking camera footage of the Crew Dragon's dramatic descent. Tracking footage of Crew Dragon’s descent, parachute deployments and splashdown pic.twitter.com/pzbm1iXCC6 — SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 4, 2020 The Crew Dragon splashed down south of Pensacola, Florida, amid dozens of boaters, some motoring close to the gently rocking capsule despite earlier Coast Guard warnings to stay clear. The spacecraft, with Hurley and Behnken still strapped in their seats, was hauled aboard a SpaceX recovery ship without incident. It was the first water landing for astronauts or cosmonauts returning from orbit since the final Apollo capsule closed out a joint flight with a Russian Soyuz spacecraft 45 years ago. Behnken and Hurley, veterans of two space shuttle flights each, said the ride down was possibly more exciting than either expected. Behnken provided a blow-by-blow description Tuesday during a virtual news conference at the Johnson Space Center. Robert Behnken, left, and Douglas Hurley answer phoned-in questions from reporters during a news conference two days after their historic return to Earth aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. NASA "Once we descended a little bit into the atmosphere, Dragon really came alive. It started to fire thrusters and keep us pointed in the appropriate direction. The atmosphere starts to make noise. You can hear that rumble outside the vehicle," he said. "And as the vehicle tries to control (its orientation), you feel a little bit of that shimmy in your body, and our bodies were much better attuned to the environment (after two month in weightlessness) so we could feel those small rolls and pitches and yaws," he added. "As we descended through the atmosphere, the thrusters were firing almost continuously ... But it doesn't sound like a machine," Behnken explained. "It sounds like an animal coming through the atmosphere with all the puffs that are happening from the thrusters and the atmospheric noise. It just continues to gain magnitude." When the capsule's stabilizing drogue parachutes deployed, followed by four large main chutes inflating, it felt "very much like getting hit in the back of the chair with a baseball bat," Behnken said. "It was a pretty significant jolt." "If you've seen an old movie that happened to have some guys who'd been in a centrifuge, that's what we felt like," he said. "When the time came to splash down ... we felt the splash and we saw it splash up over the windows. It was just a great relief." They did not say whether they felt any nausea before the gently bobbing spacecraft was recovered and pulled onto the recovery ship Go Navigator, something they mentioned before launch as a possibility. Behnken and Hurley had nothing but praise for SpaceX and NASA's Commercial Crew Program, thanking SpaceX for the extensive training they received and for audio recordings and video from an unpiloted Crew Dragon test flight last year that let them know what to expect during the trip back to Earth. The Crew Dragon descending under parachutes Sunday, moments before splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico south of Pensacola, Florida. NASA/Bill Ingalls "When it performed as expected, and we could check off those events, we were really, really comfortable coming through the atmosphere, even though, you know, it felt like we were inside of an animal," Behnken said. Hurley and Behnken were launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on May 30. The spacecraft carried out an automated rendezvous to catch up with the International Space Station and, after the astronauts tested its manual control system, docked with the lab complex using the same forward port that once accommodated visiting space shuttles. The Crew Dragon astronauts were welcomed aboard by Expedition 63 commander Chris Cassidy and two Russian cosmonauts, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner. Over the next two months, Hurley and Behnken assisted Cassidy with a full slate of U.S. and partner agency research, logging 114 hours carrying out experiments that would not otherwise have gotten done with a single U.S. astronaut aboard. Behnken also participated in four spacewalks with Cassidy to wrap up installation of replacement batteries in the station's solar power system. Including six excursions during two previous shuttle missions, Behnken now ranks fourth on the list of most experienced spacewalkers, with 61 hours and 10 minutes spent outside the station. Hurley, who piloted two shuttle missions, including the winged orbiter's final flight to the space station in 2011, said he expected some surprises during the Crew Dragon's reentry. "I expected there to be some divergence and attitude control, because it's a real tough problem for the ship as it gets into the thicker air to maintain perfect attitude and control," he said. "And ... the vehicle was rock solid." The Crew Dragon is the first American spacecraft to launch astronauts into orbit from U.S. soil since the space shuttle's final flight in 2011. For the past nine years, NASA has relied on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft to ferry U.S. and partner agency astronauts to and from the station, paying more than $80 million per seat under recent contracts. The Crew Dragon and, eventually, Boeing's Starliner CST-100 capsules are intended to end that sole reliance on Russia while opening up low-Earth orbit to private-sector development. Robert Behnken, left, and spacecraft commander Douglas Hurley, greet recovery crews moments after the hatch of their Crew Dragon capsule was opened. NASA/Bill Ingalls SpaceX launched and recovered an unpiloted Crew Dragon capsule last year and carried out a dramatic in-flight abort, again unpiloted, earlier this year. That cleared the way for Hurley and Behnken to blast off on the program's first piloted mission, a test flight known as Demo 2. The spacecraft performed in near-flawless fashion throughout its first piloted mission and, if a detailed post-flight review confirms that, NASA managers hope to certify the spacecraft for operational crew rotation missions to and from the space station starting this fall. That instant at splashdown when we knew we did it. Congratulations to @SpaceX and @NASA on an incredible mission! It's great to have such an uplifting story at the intersection of innovation and humanity’s desire to do great things. #LaunchAmericapic.twitter.com/iUkzqyX6gU — Christina H Koch (@Astro_Christina) August 4, 2020 "They do need to look at the data from our entry," Behnken said. "They will do a very thorough review, both on the SpaceX side and the NASA side, to make sure that they're comfortable. But from a crew perspective, I think that it's definitely ready to go." That will be good news for Behnken's wife, astronaut Megan McArthur. She's one of four astronauts scheduled to blast off next year aboard the same Crew Dragon capsule that carried Behnken and Hurley back to Earth. "My wife is assigned to a SpaceX mission, and we have a young son," Behnken said. "So I'll definitely be focused on making sure that her mission's as successful as possible and supporting her just as she did for me over the last five years." SpaceX splashdown marks a milestone03:29
SpaceX launches Starship prototype on dramatic test flight - CBS News
The Starship test rocket's single Raptor engine boosted the vehicle into the sky above Boca Chica, Texas, atop a plume of flaming exhaust and billowing clouds of smoke.
After repeated delays for a variety of technical issues, SpaceX successfully launched a methane-powered prototype of its planned high-power Starship rocket on Tuesday. The company sent a dummy stage aloft from its south Texas test facility for a brief up-and-down hop to a nearby landing pad. The test flight came just two days after a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft brought two NASA astronauts safely back to Earth with a Gulf of Mexico splashdown after a near-flawless test flight expected to clear the way for operational missions later this year. Resembling a giant metal grain silo, the Starship test rocket's single Raptor engine — powered by liquid oxygen and high-energy methane propellant — ignited at 7:57 p.m. ET, boosting the vehicle into the sky above Boca Chica, Texas, atop a plume of flaming exhaust and billowing clouds of smoke. The planned maximum altitude was 150 meters (about 490 feet), but it was not immediately known how high the prototype actually flew. Minus fins and an aerodynamic nose section, a SpaceX Starship prototype climbs into the sky above Boca Chica, Texas, the first test flight of a full-scale version of the upper stage, minus nose section and fins, that the California company is designing for eventual flights to the moon and Mars. LabPadre Streamed by LabPadre SpaceX enthusiasts near the remote coastal launch site, the rocket's exhaust plume could be seen moving back and forth as its flight computer steered the vehicle to one side of the launch stand, setting up an apparently smooth landing on a nearby pad. When the smoke cleared, the vehicle appeared none the worse for wear, a major milestone for SpaceX and the Starship rocket system the California company is designing for eventual missions to the moon and, eventually, Mars. The red planet was clearly on SpaceX founder Elon Musk's mind after the rocket successfully landed. "Mars is looking real," Musk tweeted to a follower. "Progress is accelerating." Mars is looking real — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 5, 2020 The planned 394-foot-tall rocket is made up of two stages, a huge reusable booster known as the "Super Heavy" and a fully reusable upper stage, known as "Starship," that sports fins like classic sci-fi rockets. The vehicle is intended to carry heavy-weight cargoes, propellant to refuel other spacecraft or passengers, whether astronauts, non-government researchers or space tourists. The 230-foot-tall, 30-foot-wide Super Heavy first stage, powered by 30 Raptor engines, will generate 16 million pounds of thrust, more than twice the liftoff power of NASA's Saturn V moon rocket, the most powerful booster ever successfully launched. The prototype launched Tuesday, known only as "serial number 5, or SN 5, was a full-scale version of a Starship stage's propellant tanks with a single Raptor engine. The eventual Starship stage will be 160 feet long and powered by six Raptor engines, generating a combined 1.6 million pounds of thrust.
Terrifying photos show "ultra-black fish" camouflaged in the darkest parts of the ocean - CBS News
These "ultra-black" fish are among the darkest creatures ever found.
Scientists have now uncovered the secrets behind the magical disappearing act of some of the fish lurking in some of the deepest parts of the ocean. These "ultra-black" fish are among the darkest creatures ever found, evolving to camouflage themselves to predators, even with no sunlight. According to a study published Thursday in the journal Current Biology, certain exotic species of fish have adapted the shape, size and pigment of their skin to absorb 99.5% of the light that hits them — making them about 20 times darker than everyday black objects. These fish mark the first time ultra-black has been discovered in aquatic animals, researchers said. Scientists at Duke University and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History studied 16 species of ultra-black fish, including the fangtooth, the Pacific blackdragon, the anglerfish and the black swallower, in the waters of Monterey Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The fish spanned seven different orders, which are large groupings that each have a shared evolutionary history, to determine that the modifications occurred independently from each other. The ultra-black Pacific blackdragon (Idiacanthus antrostomus), among the deep-sea fish found to have a unique arrangement of pigment-packed granules that enables them to absorb nearly all of the light that hits their skin so that as little as 0.05% of that light is reflected back, is seen in this image released in Washington, July 16, 2020. KAREN OSBORN/SMITHSONIAN The ultra-black Pacific blackdragon (Idiacanthus antrostomus) is seen in this image released in Washington, July 16, 2020. KAREN OSBORN/SMITHSONIAN Some of the fish inhabit parts of the ocean as deep as three miles, where very little sunlight can reach. At these depths, bioluminescence — light emitted by living organisms — is the only source of light. With organisms illuminating the water themselves in order to hunt, ultra-black fish adapted to hide in plain sight. The camouflage is likely the difference between eating and getting eaten, scientists said in a press release. "In the deep, open ocean, there is nowhere to hide and a lot of hungry predators," co-author and zoologist Karen Osborn of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, told Reuters. "An animal's only option is to blend in with the background." Scientists found that, compared with regular black fish, ultra-black fish have uniquely shaped melanosomes, the tiny packets of pigment with their skin cells. The skin of these fish is some of the blackest material ever discovered — they often appear as just silhouettes, even in bright light. "The darkest species they found, a tiny anglerfish not much longer than a golf tee, soaks up so much light that almost none -- 0.04% -- bounces back to the eye," researchers said. The ultra-black common fangtooth (Anoplogaster cornuta), is seen in this image released in Washington, July 16, 2020. KAREN OSBORN/SMITHSONIAN The ultra-black Pacific blackdragon (Idiacanthus antrostomus) is seen in this image released in Washington, July 16, 2020. KAREN OSBORN/SMITHSONIAN The findings rank the fish among the world's blackest-known animals: Ultra-black butterflies reflect between 0.06% to 0.5% of light and the blackest birds have 0.05% to 0.31% reflectance. Photographing the fish proved extremely difficult for researchers. "It didn't matter how you set up the camera or lighting -- they just sucked up all the light," said research zoologist Karen Osborn of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Researchers say the discovery could lead to the development of light-trapping materials with practical applications on land — ranging from solar panels to telescopes — like Vantablack, the ultra-black coating designed for defense and space applications.
World Health Organization holds briefing after scientists say airborne transmission of coronavirus is a "real risk" - CBS News
Hundreds of scientists have urged the agency and other public health organizations to amend their guidelines to reflect the risk that the coronavirus can be airborne.
The World Health Organization held briefing Tuesday as scientists urge the agency and other public health organizations to amend their guidelines to reflect the risk that the coronavirus can be airborne. The WHO has said the coronavirus is only confirmed to be airborne during aerosol-generating medical procedures performed in health care settings, such as intubation. It says the virus primarily spreads through larger respiratory droplets, which don't travel as far, which is why maintaining social distancing of about 6 feet has been recommended. But an open letter supported by 239 scientists says airborne transmission of COVID-19 is a "real risk." "Hand washing and social distancing are appropriate, but in our view, insufficient to provide protection from virus-carrying respiratory microdroplets released into the air by infected people," states the letter, entitled "It is Time to Address Airborne Transmission of COVID-19." The letter was issued as the United States sees a spike in coronavirus cases. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said Monday the country is still "knee-deep" in the first wave of the pandemic. A hostess provides hand sanitizer to patrons entering a restaurant on July 3, 2020 in the South Beach neighborhood of Miami Beach, Florida. Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images –Contributing: Nicole Brown and AFP
World Health Organization holds briefing today after scientists say airborne transmission of coronavirus is a "real risk" - watch live stream - CBS News
Hundreds of scientists have urged the agency and other public health organizations to amend their guidelines to reflect the risk that the coronavirus can be airborne.
The World Health Organization is expected to hold a briefing Tuesday as scientists urge the agency and other public health organizations to amend their guidelines to reflect the risk that the coronavirus can be airborne. The WHO has said the coronavirus is only confirmed to be airborne during aerosol-generating medical procedures performed in health care settings, such as intubation. It says the virus primarily spreads through larger respiratory droplets, which don't travel as far, which is why maintaining social distancing of about 6 feet has been recommended. How to watch the World Health Organization's briefing today
- What: World Health Organization holds a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic
- Date: Tuesday, July 7, 2020
- Time: 11 a.m. ET
- Online stream: Watch live on CBSN – in the player above and on your mobile or streaming device
Rocket Lab loses Electron booster, five small satellites in launch failure - CBS News
The innovative Electron rocket suffered a malfunction while its second stage was firing.
The second stage of a Rocket Lab Electron rocket carrying seven small satellites malfunctioned after launch from New Zealand on Saturday, suddenly slowing down and losing altitude. The company confirmed the vehicle and its payloads were lost, but no indication of what went wrong was immediately available. "We lost the flight late into the mission," company CEO Peter Beck tweeted. "I am incredibly sorry that we failed to deliver our customers satellites today. Rest assured we will find the issue, correct it and be back on the pad soon." We lost the flight late into the mission. I am incredibly sorry that we failed to deliver our customers satellites today. Rest assured we will find the issue, correct it and be back on the pad soon. — Peter Beck (@Peter_J_Beck) July 4, 2020 Rocket Lab's innovative Electron launcher, featuring 3D-printed engines and battery-powered fuel pumps, is designed to launch small satellites into low-Earth orbit at a relatively low cost, providing access to space for payloads that otherwise might have to wait for more expensive rides aboard larger boosters. The rocket launched Saturday was making the company's 13th flight. It was carrying an experimental imaging satellite built by Canon, five "SuperDove" Earth-observation imaging satellites owned by Planet and a small technology demonstration satellite built by the British firm In-Space Missions. The Electron blasted off from Rocket Lab's picturesque launch site on the rocky coast of the Mahia Peninsula at 5:19 p.m. EDT. The nine Rutherford engines powering the first stage performed normally, boosting the rocket out of the lower atmosphere. The second stage, featuring a single vacuum-optimized engine, then took over. An Electron rocket blasts off from New Zealand Saturday carrying seven small satellites. The mission ended in failure when the rocket's second stage malfunctioned. Rocket Lab But about five minutes and 41 seconds after takeoff, telemetry provided by Rocket Lab, displayed along with company-provided video from cameras on the rocket, showed the stage's velocity peaking at around 8,509 mph, at an altitude of about 119 miles, and then starting to drop. The altitude continued to increase for another 26 seconds or so, reaching 121 miles, before it, too, began decreasing. Rocket Lab ended its launch webcast a few minutes later without any comment on the telemetry or outcome of the mission. But Beck confirmed loss of mission a few minutes after that. Rocket Lab, founded in New Zealand and now headquartered in Long Beach, California, launched its first Electron in 2017. The flight was terminated after a loss of telemetry, but the booster was operating normally at the time. Saturday's loss was the company's second Electron failure in 13 flights. Spaceflight, a company that brokers rideshare missions, including Canon's launch Saturday, said in a statement "we are of course disappointed, while at the same time are always aware that launch failures are part of the business of space." "We will work closely with Rocket Lab and our customer Canon Electronics who had their CE-SAT-IB imaging satellite onboard this mission to figure out the next steps, but we are undeterred in our resolve to get our customers to space. Our hearts go out to all the teams who worked so hard on this mission." A statement from Planet expressed support for Rocket Lab. "While it's never the outcome that we hope for, the risk of launch failure is one Planet is always prepared for," the company said on its website. "We already have 26 SuperDoves ... slated for launch on (an Arianespace) Vega rocket later this summer, and several other launches over the next 12 months are on the manifest." "We have full faith that Rocket Lab will be able to bounce back from today's failure in no time, and we look forward to flying on the Electron again," Planet added. Finally, In-Space tweeted its team was "absolutely gutted by this news. Two years of hard work from an incredibly committed group of brilliant engineers up in smoke. It really was a very cool little spacecraft." The In-Space team is absolutely gutted by this news. Two years of hard work from an incredibly committed group of brilliant engineers up in smoke. It really was a very cool little spacecraft. https://t.co/llyZVdubCN — In-Space Missions (@Heads_InSpace) July 4, 2020