May 18, 2023
Four of Uranus’ Moons Might Have Liquid Oceans, Too
The study of ocean worlds, planetary bodies with potential interior reservoirs of liquid water, has come to the forefront in terms of astrobiology and the search for life beyond Earth. From Jupiter’s Galilean Moons to Saturn’s Titan and Mimas to Neptune’s Triton and even Pluto, scientists are craving to better understand if these worlds truly possess interior bodies of liquid water. But what about Uranus and its more than two dozen moons? Could they harbor interior oceans, as well? This is what a recent study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research hopes to reveal as a team of researchers examined the likelihood that interior liquid oceans might currently exist on the five largest of Uranus’ 27 moons—Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, and Oberon, and Miranda. This study comes as the future exploration of Uranus, specifically the Uranus Orbiter and Probe (UOP) mission, was emphasized in the National Academies’ “Origins, Worlds, and Life: A Decadal Strategy for Planetary Science and Astrobiology 2023-2032″, which was published in 2022. “When it comes to small bodies – dwarf planets and moons – planetary scientists previously have found evidence of oceans in several unlikely places, including the dwarf planets Ceres and Pluto, and Saturn’s moon Mimas,” said Dr. Julia Castillo-Rogez, who is a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and lead author of the study. “So, there are mechanisms at play that we don’t fully understand. This paper investigates what those could be and how they are relevant to the many bodies in the solar system that could be rich in water but have limited internal heat.” For the study, the researchers built computer models to calculate the potential for interior oceans on the five moons based on data from a myriad of sources, one of which is Voyager 2, which remains the only spacecraft to explore Uranus and its moons, having accomplished this in January 1986. The remaining sources included ground-based observations along with several other spacecraft missions, such NASA’s Galileo, Dawn, Cassini, and New Horizons, all of which discovered at least one ocean world during their respective missions. The study’s findings indicated potential interior liquid oceans for Titania (diameter: 1,580 km/980 mi), Oberon (1,520 km/950 mi), Umbriel (1,170 km/726 mi), and Ariel (1,160 km/720 mi) due to their abilities to sustain interior heat “with little or no tidal heating at present”, as the study notes. Unfortunately, Miranda (470 km/270 mi) was deemed as too small to sustain enough interior heat to possess a liquid ocean. The five major moons of Uranus: Titania, Oberon, Umbriel, Ariel, and Miranda. (Credit: NASA/JPL/Jason Major) The researchers determined that interior heat wasn’t the only component necessary for these moons to maintain interior oceans, as antifreezes such as chlorides, ammonia, and salt could also be responsible for the presence of interior liquid oceans, as well. As noted, the UOP mission was a key topic of the most recent Decadal Survey, and having a better understanding of both the surface and interior compositions of these moons will allow scientists and engineers to make the most informed decisions pertaining to what science instruments would be used on a space mission. This includes instruments meant for surveying the surface and probing their interiors for liquid. A January 2023 study published in Acta Astronautica proposed using aerocapture for the UOP mission, which involves using atmospheric drag and only a single pass through a planet’s atmosphere to slow down the spacecraft enough for orbit insertion without expending any fuel during the process. While aerocapture has been long-theorized as a potential method for planetary missions, it has yet to be used on a real-world space mission. Artist rendition of a spacecraft using aerocapture to enter Mars orbit. (Credit: NASA) The study notes that current baseline mission estimates put the flight time and orbital mission for UOP at 13 years and 5 years, respectively. In contrast, using the aerocapture approach, along with specific masses for the orbiter and probe and a Falcon Heavy Expendable as the launch vehicle, the study projects a flight time and orbital mission for UOP at 8 years and 10 years, respectively, with an anticipated launch date between 2028 and 2038 to meet missions schedule requirements. What new discoveries will scientists make about Uranus’ moons in the coming years and decades, and how will UOP change our understandings of these unique worlds? Only time will tell, and this is why we science! As always, keep doing science & keep looking up! The post Four of Uranus’ Moons Might Have Liquid Oceans, Too 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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