Monday, July 11th, 2022

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And with that, my week off work comes to an end. Back to the grindstone.

7/11/2022 7:10 am | | Tags: life

Interview with Jane Rigby about scheduling James Webb's workload

“Give me a telescope, and I can come up with something good to do with it,” says Jane Rigby, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center who serves as the agency’s operations project scientist for the $10-billion James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most powerful off-world observatory yet built by humankind.

Later in the interview she delves into the need for thrust for the JWTS, which I knew was a thing, but hearing the in-depth answer is absolutely fascinating

Photons striking Webb’s sunshield apply torque. Now, we could orient the sunshield to cancel out the torques—but we want to point the telescope at targets, not get the sunshield perfectly balanced by sunlight. So the photons hit the sunshield, they apply torque, and Webb’s reaction wheels spin up to counteract this effect and keep the telescope pointed. But the reaction wheels can only spin so fast. They occasionally have to dump their angular momentum. In low-Earth orbit, Hubble just couples the reaction wheels to the Earth’s magnetic field to slow them down. That doesn’t work out in deep space, so instead Webb fires thrusters to push against the spin of the reaction wheels. We do these momentum dumps periodically, each time using little propellant. But, as you mentioned, at this stage we have enough propellant to get into the 2040s, so Webb’s longevity is more likely to be limited by how long components last…. Honestly, though, it feels weird to be plotting the nursing-home days of this telescope when it’s still a newborn just opening its eyes!

7/11/2022 9:49 am | | Tags: nasa, space, science, astronomy

Here's a great comparison:

7/11/2022 3:38 pm | | Tags: astronomy, space

Born in Somaliland as Hussein Abdi Kahin, Sir Mo Farah reveals his story

Sir Mo Farah has revealed that he was illegally trafficked into Britain under the name of another child as a nine-year-old and forced into domestic servitude.

The four-time Olympic champion had previously claimed he had left Somalia aged eight to join his father, after his parents made the agonising decision to send three of their six children to London for the chance of a better life.

“Most people know me as Mo Farah, but it’s not my name or it’s not the reality,” he says. “The real story is I was born in Somaliland, north of Somalia, as Hussein Abdi Kahin. Despite what I’ve said in the past, my parents never lived in the UK.”

7/11/2022 4:34 pm | | Tags: uk politics, sports, track and field, somaliland

Re: President Biden's statement about life saving abortion treatment

After seeing a Twitter war over it, I went digging. And indeed, I checked nearly every state's filed law that bans abortion, and none of the ones I checked prevented abortions in the case of saving the mother's life.

I do not bring this fact check as a way to get people to settle down. Pro Choice is firmly the stance which is right.

The laws that I reviewed were all written with exceptions for life saving abortions. By my reading though, most of the ones I skimmed were written in such a way that the doctor could then find themselves under the microscope to determine if they're judgment that it was a life threatening situation was correct. This looming threat might could make doctors less likely to make that call, and speaks to why the President's statement today is still impactful even though the laws all already permit it, and makes clear that the federal law still supercedes their state laws in those cases.

7/11/2022 9:09 pm | | Tags: women's rights, abortion, us politics
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