What's New in Space

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What's New in Space?
Aquarius 28, 07 (Jan 28, 2023)

Space is like a boundless ocean: its depths harbour an incredible unexplored world and a multitude of events that are invisible to the human eye. Only a small part of them is revealed to us. Today, we offer our readers a new rundown of these most exciting events that we know of.

The Geotail spacecraft has completed its operation due to the failure of two onboard data recorders. According to scientists, it was expected that it would operate for only four years, but the spaceprobe has functioned for 30 years, having received a huge amount of scientific data, according to NASA website.

Geotail is a spacecraft designed to study the Earth's magnetosphere, developed by NASA and JAXA, launched into space on 24 July 1992. The orbit of the spacecraft, with an altitude ranging from 30 to 210 Earth radii, allowed it to perform extensive research into the structure and dynamics of the Earth's magnetosphere, in particular its tail. The payload of the spacecraft consisted of seven scientific devices recording electric and magnetic fields, plasma and plasma waves.

Initially, it was scheduled that Geotail would operate for four years, but the scientific programme has been extended many times because of the value of the data obtained. In particular, the spacecraft determined the location of regions where magnetic reconnection (rearrangement of magnetic topology) occurs, studied the formation of plasmoids in the magnetosphere, the mechanisms of aurora borealis formation, and discovered oxygen, silicon, sodium and aluminum in the Moon’s exosphere while flying around it.

Japan's aerospace agency has successfully completed comprehensive acoustic and vibration tests of the new XRISM X-ray Space Observatory. Development of XRISM (X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission) started in 2017, the project should help to close the time gap in observations resulting from the possible failure of current space observatories such as Chandra and XMM-Newton, and the slow development of next-generation X-ray telescopes such as Athena. XRISM will be a new X-ray telescope for Japan, which previously lost the Suzaku and Hitomi telescopes. The launch to Earth orbit is scheduled for later this year, according to the mission's tweet.
The 45-centimetre telescope operates in the soft X-ray range and is equipped with two devices, the Resolve spectrometer and the Xtend camera. The observatory's scientific objectives include studying galaxy clusters, the structure of plasma surrounding compact objects in stellar systems and active galaxies, and studying the chemical composition of the intragalactic medium.
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