Moon

AI will let us read ‘lost’ ancient works in the library at Herculaneum for the first time

Retrieved on: 
Friday, February 16, 2024

It was soon discovered the carbonised lumps they thought were rolled-up hunting or fishing nets, or bolts of cloth, in fact contained writing.

Key Points: 
  • It was soon discovered the carbonised lumps they thought were rolled-up hunting or fishing nets, or bolts of cloth, in fact contained writing.
  • What these peasants had found turned out to be a huge building from the ancient Roman age, when the town was known as Herculaneum.
  • I have worked on the scrolls in the Herculaneum library since 2010, when I began my PhD thesis on Philodemus’s text On Poems.
  • This means no one alive has ever read the first sentence of a Herculaneum text, only the first visible, surviving sentence.

Unrolling and reading the library

  • In 1753, Italian priest and scholar Antonio Piaggio, on loan from the Vatican library, invented a machine to unroll the papyri by slowly pulling the outer layer off.
  • Hundreds of Herculaneum papyri were thus unrolled, though their harder outer bits were cut off to get at the better preserved insides.
  • Philodemus of Gadara is the most common author in the library.
  • Epicurus makes up a substantial proportion of the library too – especially On Nature, his magnum opus.

What will we find?

  • The chances of finding lost Ancient Greek literature are slim because none has so far been found in the Herculaneum library, though it would be thrilling.
  • But there’s real hope for more Latin literature at Herculaneum – lost works from the first centuries BC and AD.
  • There will be more Philodemus and, as a scholar of his work, I am over the moon about this.


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Michael McOsker does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Rocket Lab Prepares to Bring In-Space Manufacturing Capsule Back to Earth for Varda Space Industries

Retrieved on: 
Thursday, February 15, 2024

Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, today announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the reentry of Varda Space Industries’ (“Varda”) in-space manufacturing capsule, enabling Rocket Lab to commence a series of complex in-space maneuvers and de-orbit burns on the Rocket Lab-built and operated satellite currently hosting the capsule on orbit.

Key Points: 
  • Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, today announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the reentry of Varda Space Industries’ (“Varda”) in-space manufacturing capsule, enabling Rocket Lab to commence a series of complex in-space maneuvers and de-orbit burns on the Rocket Lab-built and operated satellite currently hosting the capsule on orbit.
  • In the coming days, Rocket Lab will conduct a series of maneuvers to bring the capsule, named Winnebago-1, back to Earth.
  • This mission is the first of four which will use identical Rocket Lab spacecraft to support Varda’s in-space manufacturing.
  • Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with an established track record of mission success.

NASA Selects Texas A&M as First Approved Exploration Park Facility

Retrieved on: 
Thursday, February 15, 2024

The A&M System will develop a facility to enable human spaceflight research and development that enables the commercial space economy.

Key Points: 
  • The A&M System will develop a facility to enable human spaceflight research and development that enables the commercial space economy.
  • NASA Johnson Director Vanessa Wyche, Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, and Texas A&M University President Mark Welsh III announced the new collaboration at the AIAA-hosted Ascend Texas (ASCENDxTexas) Conference at South Shore Harbour Conference Center.
  • We are grateful to NASA, the Board of Regents and the State of Texas for their vision and support of Texas A&M's work in space exploration."
  • Through the development of Exploration Park, the center will broaden the scope of the human spaceflight community that is tackling the many difficult challenges ahead.

IM-1 Mission Nova-C Lunar Lander Successfully Enroute to the Moon Following its Launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 9

Retrieved on: 
Thursday, February 15, 2024

“We are keenly aware of the immense challenges that lie ahead,” said Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus.

Key Points: 
  • “We are keenly aware of the immense challenges that lie ahead,” said Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus.
  • It reached its intended orbit approximately 48 minutes later and established first communication with the lander at 1:59 a.m. EST.
  • The Intuitive Machines IM-1 mission is the Company’s first attempted lunar landing as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (“CLPS”) initiative, a key part of NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration efforts.
  • The science and technology payloads sent to the Moon’s surface as part of CLPS intend to lay the foundation for human missions and a sustainable human presence on the lunar surface.

Introducing Spyro: The Legendary Meme Dragon of Crypto

Retrieved on: 
Sunday, February 11, 2024

Spyro, the most memeable meme dragon in existence, has soared into the scene, leaving flames hotter than Elon’s tweets in its wake.

Key Points: 
  • Spyro, the most memeable meme dragon in existence, has soared into the scene, leaving flames hotter than Elon’s tweets in its wake.
  • Spyro, deployed on the ERC20 network in the auspicious Year of the Dragon, brings a fresh perspective to the crypto space.
  • With an appetite for adventure and a penchant for breakfasting on dogs, frogs, and pork, Spyro embodies the spirit of the crypto meme culture.
  • In the mythical Year of the Dragon, Spyro burst onto the crypto scene, determined to claim the ultimate hodl treasure amidst a cacophony of competing meme tokens.

NASA Welcomes Greece as Newest Artemis Accords Signatory

Retrieved on: 
Friday, February 9, 2024

"Congratulations to Greece on becoming the 35th country to join the Artemis Accords family," said Nelson.

Key Points: 
  • "Congratulations to Greece on becoming the 35th country to join the Artemis Accords family," said Nelson.
  • The Artemis Accords were established in 2020 by the United States together with seven other original signatories .
  • Since then, the Accords signatories have held focused discussions on how best to implement the Artemis Accords principles.
  • Learn more about the Artemis Accords at:
    View original content to download multimedia: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nasa-welcomes-greece-as-newest-...

HAUSER RETURNS WITH CLASSIC II AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE FRIDAY, APRIL 19

Retrieved on: 
Friday, February 9, 2024

NEW YORK, Feb. 9, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Global cello sensation HAUSER brings his artistry and passion to a new selection of classical music's greatest melodies with the release of his new album Classic II, a follow-up to the worldwide success of 2020's Classic. For the new album, which arrives Friday, April 19, HAUSER has chosen and realized 18 unforgettable melodies in revelatory new arrangements, which were recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robert Ziegler. Heralding the album's arrival today alongside preorder is the release of HAUSER's deeply felt interpretation of the romantic "Kiss the Rain" by the internationally acclaimed Korean composer and pianist Yiruma – listen here and watch the music video.

Key Points: 
  • On Classic II, which he produced himself, HAUSER reunites with his creative collaborators on Classic – arranger Robin Smith, Ziegler and the London Symphony Orchestra.
  • "This is such a pleasure for me," HAUSER says, calling Classic II and Classic his "dream albums."
  • Two of the melodies he chose for Classic II had a life-changing significance for HAUSER.
  • Of Classic II, he makes the same point, adding, "The world needs this music now – more than ever."

MHI Contributes to Successful Acquisition of First Observation Images by JAXA's "XRISM" X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission Satellite

Retrieved on: 
Friday, February 9, 2024

MHI technology supported the data acquisition of the distribution and chemical composition of high-temperature plasma weaving through the galaxies by the XRISM satellite's onboard soft X-ray imager (Xtend) and soft X-ray spectrometer (Resolve).

Key Points: 
  • MHI technology supported the data acquisition of the distribution and chemical composition of high-temperature plasma weaving through the galaxies by the XRISM satellite's onboard soft X-ray imager (Xtend) and soft X-ray spectrometer (Resolve).
  • XRISM's mission is to document, in unprecedented detail, the formation of stars, galaxies and galaxy clusters.
  • MHI, which serves as manufacturer of the mission instruments, is responsible for designing and manufacturing Xtend's X-ray charge coupled devices (CCD) (Note2) detector and the data processors for Xtend and Resolve.
  • The mission data processors employed on both Xtend and Resolve are "SOI-SOC2" satellite-mounted microprocessor units (MPUs) jointly developed by JAXA and MHI.

Top 5 Most Romantic Cheeses to Melt Your Valentine's Heart

Retrieved on: 
Thursday, February 8, 2024

This Valentine's Day, Wisconsin Cheese is here to help you create the most romantic and delicious experience with these top 5 cheese recommendations.

Key Points: 
  • This Valentine's Day, Wisconsin Cheese is here to help you create the most romantic and delicious experience with these top 5 cheese recommendations.
  • Ready to melt your Valentine's heart?
  • Soak these adorable little Mozzarella hearts from Crave Brothers in a strawberry compote and serve with champagne.
  • Do you and your Valentine go together like Wisconsin cheese and fine wine?

A new generation of spaceplanes is taking advantage of the latest in technology

Retrieved on: 
Thursday, February 8, 2024

However, the US space agency’s replacement for this vehicle, Orion, returned to the conical capsule design familiar from the Apollo missions.

Key Points: 
  • However, the US space agency’s replacement for this vehicle, Orion, returned to the conical capsule design familiar from the Apollo missions.
  • This was because Nasa intended that this newer craft be used for exploring targets in deep space, such as the Moon.
  • A runway also allows ground support crews and infrastructure to be ready at the landing location.

Cost and complexity


But spaceplanes are more complex and heavier than an equivalent capsule. The winged body shape poses a particular challenge for designing thermal protection systems (TPS) – the heat-resistant materials that protect the craft from scorching temperatures on re-entry. These additional costs mean it’s impractical to design a spaceplane for a single flight. They need to be used again and again to be viable.

  • A military spaceplane project called Dyna-Soar was started in the US in 1957, then cancelled just after construction started.
  • Other space agencies invested in the 1980s and 1990s, in Europe, with the Hermes spaceplane, and Japan, with the HOPE vehicle.
  • Both programmes were cancelled in large part because of cost.

Feeling the heat

  • Spaceplanes have specific requirements for the final part of their journeys – as they return from space.
  • A blunt nose design (where the edge of the spacecraft is rounded) is an ideal shape because it reduces build-up of heat at the foremost part of the vehicle.
  • The space shuttle TPS included ceramic tiles that were especially heat resistant and a reinforced carbon-carbon matrix that was capable of withstanding temperatures as high as 2400°C.
  • This resulted from a piece of insulating foam flying off the shuttle’s external tank during Columbia’s launch and hitting the wing.

Current vehicles

  • Little information is available on China’s Shenlong, but the US military’s X-37B is better known.
  • The ability to return comparatively fragile cargo to the surface because of a softer landing is a key capability.

Future developments

  • However, concepts such as the Skylon vehicle are leading to technical developments that could eventually support development of an SSTO craft.
  • For the foreseeable future, spaceplanes look promising for the following reasons: new design techniques, improved materials for the TPS, advanced computer modelling and simulation tools for optimising different aspects of design and flight parameters and continuous improvements in propulsion systems.
  • Given that several governments, space agencies, and private companies worldwide are investing heavily in spaceplane research and development, we could see a future where flights with these vehicles become routine.


The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.