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Is Jeff Bezos risking his life by leaving for space?

Is Jeff Bezos risking his life by leaving for space?
Jeff Bezos will take a calculated risk when he takes off aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. © Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images; Blue Origin

When billionaire Jeff Bezos straps onto his company’s rocket capsule on July 20, he and his fellow travelers will be taking a calculated risk to their lives and physical integrity during their suborbital flight. Only 382 space flights have been launched from the United States, and four of them have ended catastrophically.

So the failure rate is around one in a hundred, which is much higher than that of commercial air transport, which is one in a million, or that of most other land-based activities, according to the. analysis by the Center for Space Policy and Strategy .

« Until we get a lot of experience, as we have done with millions of airplane flights over the years, there will be some learning, » said George Nield, co-author of the report, to Insider’s Morgan McFall-Johnsen. « With cars, boats, planes and trains, people die every year. And spaceflight will be no different in that regard. »

Work accidents are more numerous

But if you look at it another way, space flight accidents in the United States have claimed the lives of far fewer people than the number of people who die from work-related accidents. According to US labor statistics , approximately 5,000 workers die each year, while 15 astronauts have died in the history of US spaceflight. What’s more, of the 5,333 American workers who died in 2019 alone, more than 913 worked in the transportation and warehouse industry. In other words, if a person dies on the job, there is a high probability that they were driving a truck or working in a warehouse.

Across all sectors, more than half of worker fatalities are due to transportation incidents or slips, trips and falls. The rates of injury and non-fatal illness are naturally much higher. In 2019, there were about three incidents per 100 workers, in which one person suffered an illness or injury on the job that required at least one day of sick leave.

It’s difficult to make direct statistical comparisons between spaceflight and other activities, in part because the industry is still so new, which amplifies the risk. In addition, the Federal Civil Aviation Administration is not empowered to issue rules relating to the health and safety of participants in space flights.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket has made 15 flights since 2015, including three successful tests of its emergency escape system that drops the passenger capsule in the event of a rocket failure. Jeff Bezos’ flight will be the spacecraft’s first flight with humans on board. Blue Origin’s approach to product development is « much less risky » than NASA’s space shuttle program, which had a full crew on its very first flight, said John Logsdon, founder of the Space Policy Institute from George Washington University and former NASA Advisory Board member to Morgan McFall-Johnsen.

Amazon wants to reduce workplace accidents

Meanwhile, on Earth, drivers for Amazon’s delivery partners have described how the delivery scheduling app sometimes asks them to cross multiple lanes of traffic, or they have to choose between filling quotas or driving safely. security.

One of Jeff Bezos’ latest actions as CEO was to highlight the problem the company is currently having with workplace injuries and to pledge to make Amazon « the safest place in the world to. to work ». In his letter to shareholders, Jeff Bezos said he would make workplace safety one of his main areas of focus in his continued role as executive chairman. The company will invest $ 300 million (around € 253 million in 2021 to halve workplace accidents by 2025, including a $ 66 million (around € 56 million) project to prevent accidents at work. collisions between forklifts and industrial vehicles.

“Jeff Bezos is a risk taker,” John Logsdon said. « He certainly understands that there are risks [in spaceflight], and probably has a good idea of the degree of risk. »

Original version: Dominick Reuter / Insider

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The Simpsons predicted Richard Branson’s trip to space

Once again, the Simpsons had accurately predicted a historic event.

On July 11, 2021, Richard Branson flew into space aboard the VSS Unity spacecraft, a dream for the one who founded Virgin Galactic almost 17 years ago for the purpose of space tourism. He thus became the first billionaire founder of such a company to travel himself beyond the limits of the Earth, before Jeff Bezos who is to fly next week with Blue Origin, and Elon Musk who would have booked a flight. at… Virgin Galactic.

This first excursion into space, the Simpsons had already imagined it… seven years ago, in 2014. That year, in an episode of season 25 called “The Art of War” , we could see a certain Richard Branson contemplating a painting from his spaceship. Seven years later, reality replicates this fictional image almost verbatim.

Well its been known Virgin Galactic has been trying to get Richard Branson into space for 17 of the 34 years The Simpsons have been on the air, so the show wasn’t exactly being Nostradamus here.

– D. Stamos/Helodriver (@SpacecoastPix) July 13, 2021

Even so, as this surfer points out above, the Simpsons’ prediction is not so surprising. “It’s well known that Virgin Galactic has been trying to send Richard Branson for 17 years. The Simpsons are not Nostradamus here, ”he explains.

Indeed, when the episode in question aired, Branson had already founded Virgin Galactic for a decade to serve this purpose. In the end, the Simpsons did nothing but anticipate a more than probable future… correctly, once again.

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A change in the Moon’s orbit will cause exceptional flooding on Earth

Climate change and this lunar « oscillation » are a dangerous combination for coastal cities, according to NASA.

The Moon's orbit creates periods of high or low tide at a rate of approximately 18.6 years.  |  Ganapathy Kumar via Unsplash
The Moon’s orbit creates periods of high or low tides at a rate of about 18.6 years. | Ganapathy Kumar  via Unsplash

NASA scientists say that an « oscillation » of the orbit of the moon will greatly worsen maritime flooding from the next decade. Research, carried out in collaboration with the University of Hawaii, shows that this lunar oscillation will cause an increase in the number of floods, which will considerably disrupt daily life and damage the infrastructure of coastal cities, accustomed to much more flooding. weak and less frequent.

When the phenomenon starts, cities on the coast could suddenly be flooded three or four times more often than today, according to the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change last month . These repeated disasters could pose a real infrastructure problem on coastlines around the world, Futurism says . A somewhat grim reminder of the close relationship the Earth has with its natural satellites.

A natural phenomenon, made dangerous by global warming

Live Science reminds us that the change in the Moon’s orbit is in fact a perfectly natural cycle, which has always taken place and will continue to occur long after our disappearance. The Moon’s orbit creates periods of high or low tides at a rate of about 18.6 years.null

But this time around, the phenomenon could turn out to be more dangerous due to rising sea levels, caused by the effects of global warming and uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions. So when the next period of high tides begins in the early 2030s, the floods are sure to be much worse, longer and more dangerous than ever.

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Mars: We know why water has (almost) disappeared from the surface of the « red planet »

The Martian hill of Santa Cruz photographed on April 29, 2021 by NASA's Perseverance Mars rover
The Martian hill of Santa Cruz photographed on April 29, 2021 by NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover – NASA / JPL-Caltech / ASU / MSSS

Mars is known for its thin atmosphere, where CO₂ dominates and provides most of the atmospheric mass and pressure, the latter comparable to that found in the Earth’s stratosphere more than 30 kilometers above. from the surface.

But what about water? Water on Mars is currently seen on the surface as a layer of ice at the North Pole several kilometers thick, as seasonal frost at colder times of the year, and in the atmosphere, in the form of vapor and ice in the clouds. Nevertheless, the Martian atmosphere is extremely dry compared to the Earth: in proportion, 100 times less water is present in the atmosphere of Mars than in that of the Earth. While precipitation on Earth results in water films of several centimeters, the water that would be precipitated on Mars would only form a thin film less than a millimeter.

From new data to better understand why there is (almost) of water on Mars when it had to be abundant in the past.

Water escapes from the Martian atmosphere

Because everything indicates that Mars was not always the cold and arid planet we know today. Mars exhibits many testimonies on its surface of a distant past – about four billion years ago, where liquid water circulated in great streams and stagnated in the form of basins or lakes, such as in the Jezero crater as the rover Perseverance is exploring for traces of past life.

In order for liquid water to circulate as much and to reside on the surface long enough to make all these imprints, it is necessary to invoke a climate radically different from the one we observe today. Mars, Earth and Venus were arguably accreted from the same basic materials, which means they must have known great similarities very early in their history. But while the Earth and Venus have retained most of their thick atmosphere, Mars, due to its small size and low gravity, has not been able to retain its atmosphere over time.

It is indeed this “  escape theory  ” that explains the current thinness of Mars’ atmosphere. This escape occurs very high in the atmosphere, above 200 kilometers, where the molecules have already dissociated into atoms and where the lighter ones, like hydrogen, can tear themselves away from the weak gravity of Mars. Exposed to the energetic particles of the solar wind, this “  exosphere  ” of Mars is also its “Achilles heel”, because over time it has allowed the equivalent of hundreds of current atmospheres to be lost in space.

The north polar cap of Mars photographed by the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission © NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSSThe north polar cap of Mars photographed by the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission © NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

New data

New data, received from the Trace Gas Orbiter mission of ESA (the European Space Agency ) and published today in the journal Nature Astronomy , sheds light on the subtle mechanisms that govern the escape of water. .

This escape was known to all, especially because Martian water has a composition that is unique to it. Indeed, the isotopes of water, in particular “semi-heavy” water HDO where a hydrogen atom (H) is replaced by a deuterium atom (D) twice as heavy, which one has. measured on Mars since the 80s, reveal a relative concentration 6 times greater in deuterium on Mars than on Earth. This relative enrichment is interpreted precisely as the result of the escape of hydrogen, which gradually left behind the heaviest isotopes, in this case D and HDO, explaining this enrichment ratio of 6.

By extrapolation, the initial quantity of water on Mars must have been at least 6 times greater than now, or the equivalent of a liquid layer of a hundred meters covering the planet. This shows to what extent the HDO / H20 ratio is crucial for projecting oneself into the youth of Mars and for shedding light on the hypothesis of a past hot and humid climate, prior to its habitability.

These results from the Trace Gas Orbiter allow us to better understand the conditions under which water and semi-heavy water present in the lower atmosphere are transported to the very upper atmosphere and then transform into atoms capable of escaping. Indeed, we have long wondered to what extent intermediate processes can modify the way in which hydrogen and deuterium from water access the exosphere. For twenty years, two theories have suggested that hydrogen and deuterium cannot reach the exosphere in the proportions that are theirs in the water molecules of the lower atmosphere. These intermediate processes are on the one hand condensation, which forms the clouds of Martian water ice, and on the other hand photolysis., which breaks the water molecule and releases a hydrogen or deuterium atom under the action of UV rays.

Studied in the laboratory for decades, condensation and photolysis are known to affect water and its isotopes in a specific way: this is called “isotopic fractionation”. It is also thanks to our understanding of isotopic fractionation that it is possible to trace the past climatic course of the Earth by drilling ice cores at the poles, where the concentration of HDO reveals the more or less cold climate that reigned. when the water has condensed into ice. It is a discipline where the French community excels , and which has made it possible to initiate exploratory work in the Martian context within French laboratories.

On Mars, fractionation by photolysis operates in an opposite way to fractionation by condensation. Above all, the two do not operate at the same time in the course of water – this last point has a major impact on the fate of the hydrogen and deuterium atoms. In fact, the condensation of water vapor tends to concentrate the HDO in the ice formed, and thus de facto de facto depletes the vapor in HDO. Photolysis, for its part, tends to promote the release of deuterium present in the HDO molecule. For a long time, it was assumed that isotopic fractionation by condensation, which makes the vapor poorer in deuterium, dominated photolysis and forced the proportion of deuterium in the exosphere to be lower than in water in the lower atmosphere.

The Martian Zone surface annotated in this illustration contains ice © NASA / JPL-Caltech / ASU / MSSS

What the recent study reveals is that condensation actually plays a minor role in the proportion of deuterium in the exosphere. Thanks to the Atmospheric Chemistry Suite instrument of the Trace Gas Orbiter and its simultaneous measurements of H20 and HDO, we were able to show where the hydrogen and deuterium atoms come from, at an altitude and a period of the Martian year. where condensation does not have the possibility of interfering with photolysis.

It is indeed photolysis which produces most of the atoms and which dictates the isotopic fractionation of the hydrogen atoms which escape from the upper Martian atmosphere.

Next destination: understanding the path of water, from the surface to the upper atmosphere

This questioning of our understanding of the processes that lead to the escape of water poses a critical milestone in attempts to trace the history of water on Mars. Only the Trace Gas Orbiter satellite is capable of revealing the joint concentrations of H20 and HDO. But another satellite, this time from NASA, MAVEN , is able to observe and characterize the hydrogen and deuterium populations in the exosphere.

Source : 20 minutes

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Billionaire Jeff Bezos to participate in Blue Origin’s 1st space tourism trip

The wealthy businessman, boss of Amazon, announced on Monday that he would participate in the 1st space tourism trip organized by his own company, Blue Origin

It’s official ! The American Jeff Bezos, wealthy boss of Amazon, revealed on Monday that he would participate in the first space tourist trip organized by his company Blue Origin, created with the aim of lowering the costs of access to space in 2000 Accompanied by his brother Mark and the winner of an auction, he will set off in the space aboard the New Shepard capsule.

“Since I was five years old, I have dreamed of traveling in space. On July 20, I will be making this trip with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend, ”wrote the billionaire in a post on his Instagram account.

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Who is Zhurong, the first Chinese rover to land on Mars?

If on the Red Planet NASA takes center stage with the exploits of its helicopter, China should soon steal the show. In two or three weeks, or even a few days, the Zhurong rover is expected to land on Mars. He is currently aboard the Tianwen-1 probe, which is working to locate the best place to land it.

While all eyes are on the ongoing Perseverance mission and NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter , let’s not forget that China is preparing to land on the Red Planet. In orbit since February 10 around the planet, the  Chinese probe Tianwen-1 is preparing the landing of the Zhurong rover on a date that has not yet been made public but which is believed to be between mid-May and early June. If all goes according to plan, China would become the second country, after the United States, to land a rover on Mars. Note that the former USSR did succeed in landing a rover on the Red Planet in 1971, but the latter only operated for a few tens of seconds (March 3).

In order for the Zhurong rover to land safely in the southern part of Utopia Planitia , a detailed analysis of its landing site is required. Indeed, you should know that the Chinese Space Agency, unlike NASA or ESA , does not have a high resolution map of the planet Mars. Thus, NASA’s MRO orbit (and its Hirise camera) was able to provide very detailed maps, only a few tens of centimeters in resolution, of the Perseverance landing site .well before its launch. The Tianwen-1 probe is currently mapping the region to draw the most detailed maps possible. The goal is to locate the most suitable place to land the rover safely in an environment not too crowded with large rocks and as flat as possible.

An ambitious rover

The approximately 250- kilogram rover is larger than NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity rovers but about a quarter the size of Curiosity and Perseverance. Equipped with six motorized wheels that will allow it to move like a crab, Zhurong will be able to travel up to 200 meters per hour. It carries six instruments, including a laser camera very similar to the ChemCam instrument of the American rover Curiosity. Added to this are optical cameras, a radar to probe the subsoil, a spectrometer , a magnetometer and a meteorological station (measurements of temperature, pressure and windespecially). Its four solar panels will produce the energy necessary for its operation, which is expected to last more or less 90 days. The data will be relayed by the Tianwen-1 orbiter, or even the European Space Agency’s Mars Express probe if China so requests.

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Mars: Perseverance rover made oxygen on the red planet

This is a historic feat that NASA scientists achieved through the Perseverance rover: the robot transformed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere of Mars to make oxygen.

After the first flight of a human craft on Mars, the first attempt to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen on the red planet. The mission of the Perseverance rover is, for the moment, a great success. On April 20, NASA succeeded in converting CO2 into oxygen on Mars, thanks to the Perseverance robot  The space agency now hopes that this experience will serve to prepare the ground for an exploration of the red planet by humans. 

This device used by the robot could facilitate space exploration, producing oxygen for astronauts , without having to carry oxygen cylinders from Earth. Oxygen is also used to propel rockets into space, so it is a key component for all space travel.

This experiment was carried out with a Moxie box (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment), located at the front of the rover. This box uses electricity and chemistry to split CO2 molecules , thereby separating oxygen from carbon monoxide. 

In this first test, Moxie produced five grams of oxygen , enough for an astronaut to breathe for 10 minutes if he maintains normal activity. After this test, NASA engineers will multiply the experiments to try to produce more oxygen and really master this new technology. According to engineers’ calculations, Moxie could produce up to 10 grams of oxygen per hour .

The box is about the size of a 17 kilogram car battery and is coated with a thin layer of gold, to withstand temperatures up to 800 degrees Celsius .

NASA is already thinking about future applications of such technology. With a one-ton Moxie, a rocket could get the 25 tons of oxygen it needs to take off from Mars. 

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Elon Musk pockets $ 25 billion in one day

It is good to be a billionaire in new technologies. Tuesday, Jeff Bezos potentially won $ 6 billion and Mark Zuckerberg 3.8 billion … But the prize goes to the boss of Tesla and SpaceX, who touched a jackpot of $ 25 billion.

Billionaires are profiting from the infatuation of investors on the New York Stock Exchange for technology stocks.  

The billionaires in new technologies lived, Tuesday, a rather enriching day … The vaccinations in the United States, the recovery plan in the country or the prospects of an economic recovery have indeed put them back in the saddle. technology stocks on Wall Street.

The Nasdaq, which brings together the main new technology companies in the United States, recovered in the space of a day more than 3.6%, while the trend was rather trending downwards since the beginning of the year . As a result, the potential fortune of the main billionaires has grown considerably.

Jeff Bezos, the boss of Amazon, won 6 billion dollars, Mark Zuckerberg 3.8 billion … But the big winner is Elon Musk . In one day, it touched almost the equivalent of the annual GDP of Iceland or Estonia – a trifle of $ 25.1 billion. According to Bloomberg, his wealth was valued at $ 149 billion at the start of the week, now to $ 174 billion.

A boost from Bitcoin

The boss of SpaceX has mainly benefited from a positive note from an analyst for his brand of electric cars Tesla. Unlike the others, the analyst estimated that the group can achieve earnings per share of $ 12 by 2023, nearly double the current consensus of industry experts.

This note woke up investors. Tesla shares climbed 20% during the day … Elon Musk also took advantage of the craze for the virtual currency Bitcoin, which exceeded the mark of 46,600 euros, and in which he invested nearly 1, $ 5 billion.

Elon Musk is also getting closer to Jeff Bezos to become the richest man on the planet again, a place he had occupied at the beginning of the year . According to Bloomberg, he is now only $ 6 billion from the founder of Amazon.

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No, Elon Musk isn’t really dead (he just lost a lot of money)

On social networks, some are spreading the rumor of Elon Musk’s death. If the rumor has been denied, it comes at a bad time for the boss of Tesla.

© Elon Musk

At the end of the day on Friday, a funny rumor appeared on social networks, under the hashtag #RIPElon. Some internet users have tried to pretend that Tesla’s boss was dead. Elon Musk has not officially responded. We would have imagined him repeating with humor the words of Mark Twain: “the rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated”. But it is likely that he was satisfied with a simple incredulous smiley on Friday March 5 to express his state of mind.

Elon Musk facing colossal losses

We don’t really know the why and how of this affair. But some US sites believe that individuals may have wanted to benefit economically. We have seen screenshots of fake titles circulating, for example blaming a Tesla battery. Another article questioned the “consequences for the financial markets” of the death of the boss of the automobile manufacturer. Another even tried to impersonate Tesla’s communications department… which had been dissolved by Elon Musk.

While the story may seem anecdotal, this story does not come at the best time for Elon Musk. At the weekend, billionaire Ron Baron sold Tesla stock for $ 1.8 million, causing its market value to plummet. However, since Elon Musk’s wealth is mainly linked to the price of his share, he has also dropped dramatically. According to Bloomberg’s ranking, he is now $ 20 billion behind Jeff Bezos, the boss of Amazon (177 versus 157 billion). In total, Tesla stock has lost 11% of its value over the past week. A drop in the bucket when we know that the stock jumped 743% in 2020, but it also illustrates the volatility of Tesla’s stock and the stock market in general. Elon Musk himself has been playing it in recent weeks,by promoting Dogecoin among others . There is no guarantee that the last few days will make him calm down. One thing’s for sure, he’s alive and well, as he proved by tweeting again over the weekend.null

The good news ? His mother will be able to continue to rejoice us with pictures of Elon Musk as a child or with his school reports . On the financial side, the one who is still the 2nd richest man in the world should get by. We trust him.

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Why Bill Gates warns against bitcoin

Why Bill Gates warns against bitcoin

Bill Gates, the third richest person in the world, is not a fan of bitcoin, in part for environmental reasons. According to the billionaire, not only does bitcoin consume a lot of energy, it can also cause problems for investors who don’t have a lot of money to spare, given its price volatility.

“Elon (Musk, note) has a lot of money and he’s very sophisticated, so I’m not worried that his bitcoin will randomly increase or decrease,” Mr. Gates told Bloomberg in an interview . « So I’m not optimistic about bitcoin, and my general opinion is that if you have less money than Elon you should probably be careful. »

Bitcoin’s price tumbled 13% on Tuesday, to around $ 46,817, falling from a record high of $ 58,354 reached just two days ago, as investors benefited from the near doubling in price since the start of the year. ‘year.

The amount of energy used by the bitcoin in question

Climate philanthropist and activist Bill Gates, whose book “How to Avoid Climate Disaster” recently went on sale, previously said cryptocurrency has taken its toll in fairly direct ways. He also believes that the anonymity behind bitcoin transactions is not a good thing.

“The Gates Foundation does a lot in terms of digital currency, but these are things where you can see who is doing the transaction,” he said in the Bloomberg interview. « Digital currency is a good thing, it’s a different approach. »

Secretary of State for the Treasury Janet Yellen also voiced her doubts about cryptocurrencies and their environmental impact, given the amount of energy used in mining digital tokens.

“I don’t think bitcoin is widely used as a transaction mechanism,” Janet Yellen told The New York Times on Monday. « It is an extremely inefficient way of conducting transactions and the amount of energy consumed to process these transactions is staggering. »

Version originale : Shalini Nagarajan/Markets Insider