April 27, 2023
One Day Astronauts Will Be Breathing Oxygen Made From Rocks
When there’s a permanent base on the Moon, astronauts will need a way to replenish their oxygen supply. Fortunately, there’s an almost infinite amount of oxygen in the surrounding regolith, locked up the rocks and soil. The key would be to figure out a cost-effective way to extract it. Now, NASA has demonstrated that they can harvest oxygen from the lunar regolith, even in the vacuum conditions of space. They used a device called a carbothermal reactor to successfully extract oxygen from a simulated lunar regolith, while also simulating the heat that would be produced by a solar energy concentrator. While oxygen has previously been extracted from lunar regolith simulant, this was the first time the extraction was performed in a vacuum environment, inside one of the vacuum chambers at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. NASA says this demonstration helps pave the way for lunar astronauts to be able to incorporate in-situ resource utilization by being able to use the resources in the lunar environment, “This technology has the potential to produce several times its own weight in oxygen per year on the lunar surface, which will enable a sustained human presence and lunar economy,” said Aaron Paz, NASA senior engineer project manager of the Carbothermal Reduction Demonstration (CaRD) team at JSC. Carbothermal Reduction Demonstration (CaRD) test team in front of the vacuum chamber used to conduct the test. From left: Bill Heausler (JSC), Bill Holton (JSC), Matt Green (JSC), Maggie Meller (JSC), Wayne Smith (JSC), Desmond O’Connor (JSC), Todd Peters (JSC), John Lauterbach (JSC), Anastasia Ford (JSC), Janine Captain (KSC), Te’Sean Pemberton (JSC), Aaron Paz (JSC), David Reinderknecht (KSC), Jeff Michel (JSC), Malay Shah (KSC), Mike Reddington (JSC), Nilab Azim (KSC) Although the process of heating the regolith is relatively straightforward, NASA needed to be able to mimic the vacuum conditions of space while using the kind of power that would be available to future lunar explorers. A carbothermal reactor uses the process of heating materials to release any embedded oxygen.  Carbothermal reduction has been used for decades on Earth to produce items like solar panels and steel by producing carbon monoxide or dioxide using high temperatures. The CaRD team test was performed inside a special spherical chamber with a 4.5 meter (15-foot) diameter called the Dirty Thermal Vacuum Chamber. The chamber is considered “dirty” because the samples don’t have to be sterile. Illustration of a construction technology system on the Moon.Credit: ICON/BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group The team used a high-powered laser to simulate heat from a solar energy concentrator and melted the lunar soil simulant within a carbothermal reactor developed for NASA by Sierra Space Corporation. In a press release, NASA said that after the soil was heated, the team was able to detect oxygen and carbon monoxide using a device called the Mass Spectrometer Observing Lunar Operations (MSolo). One of the next steps is to perform a test like this on the Moon, using actual lunar regolith. Two upcoming robotic missions to the Moon’s South Pole will carry devices similar to MSolo: the Polar Resources Ice Mining Experiment-1 (PRIME-1) will be the first mission designed to harvest water ice from the Moon. It will use a drill and MSolo will evaluate the drill cuttings for water, oxygen and other chemical compounds. For this mission, NASA has selected the commercial space company Intuitive Machines to set down a lander on the lunar south pole. The current launch date is targeted for June of this year, 2023. An artist’s concept of the completed design of NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER. VIPER will get a close-up view of the location and concentration of ice and other resources at the Moon’s South Pole. Credits: NASA/Daniel Rutter The second mission, NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) is set to launch in November 2024 that will explore Mons Mouton, a large flat-topped mountain inside a crater at the Moon’s south pole, to get a close-up view of the location and concentration of water ice and other potential resources. The golf-cart-sized rover is due to be sent to the moon by a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket in late 2023, as the primary payload on Astrobotic’s Griffin robotic lunar lander. The post One Day Astronauts Will Be Breathing Oxygen Made From Rocks appeared first on Universe Today.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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