Something is Cooking Under Enceladus

first_imgPlanetary scientists have been puzzling over Enceladus, a small moon of Saturn, since geysers were discovered erupting from its south pole three years ago.  Some models suggested that eruptions could occur without liquid water, but others were not sure.    Opinion now seems to be shifting back to the necessity of a wet interior, according to a press release from JPL.  The Cosmic Dust Analyzer instrument (CDA) aboard Cassini measured ice grains that seem to require a hot interior (see paper in Nature1).  “The large number of ice particles observed spewing from the geysers and the steady rate at which these particles are produced require high temperatures, close to the melting point of ice, possibly resulting in an internal lake,” the article says.    The observed velocity of the particles, also, requires sufficient energy for them to be launched so far and so fast.  The ice-vapor mixture jets out of the south-polar cracks at supersonic jet speeds: 500 meters per second, or 1,100 miles per hour.  For the larger particles to remain accelerated to escape velocity as they ricochet off the walls, vapor must re-accelerate them on the way out, scientists figure.  Only about 10% of the particles actually escape to feed the E-ring.  Much of the rest falls back onto Enceladus, coating it with fresh ice and making it the brightest object in the solar system.    The influence of this little moon on the whole Saturn system is astonishing.  Not only do the geysers create the vast E-ring, a torus of micron-size particles extending from the G-ring to the orbit of Rhea, the ionized gas also creates a drag on the magnetosphere and distorts our measurements of Saturn’s rotation.  Another JPL press release this week announced another surprise: Enceladus is feeding the main rings, too.This is the latest surprising phenomenon associated with the ice geysers of Enceladus to be discovered or confirmed by Cassini scientists.  Earlier, the geysers were found to be responsible for the content of the E-ring.  Next, the whole magnetic environment of Saturn was found to be weighed down by the material spewing from Enceladus, which becomes plasma — a gas of electrically charged particles.  Now, Cassini scientists confirm that the plasma, which creates a donut-shaped cloud around Saturn, is being snatched by Saturn’s A-ring, which acts like a giant sponge where the plasma is absorbed.How long has this been going on?  How long could it go on?  Neither press release discussed these questions.    The Cassini team and planetary scientists around the world are looking ahead eagerly for the closest flyby ever of Enceladus next month.  On March 10, Cassini will speed by this moon just 100 miles above the surface at closest approach, and then perform a daring maneuver: flying through the outer edge of the plume.  This will allow Cassini’s instruments to actually “taste” the plume material.  If successful, Cassini will try even closer encounters with the plume in future passes.  Come back here on March 10-11 for the latest news on this long-awaited, nail-biting, closest encounter ever.1.  Schmidt, Brilliantov, Spahn, and Kempf, “Slow dust in Enceladus’ plume from condensation and wall collisions in tiger stripe fractures,” Nature 451, 685-688 (7 February 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06491.How can this little moon, no bigger across than the British Isles, put out so much energy?  How long can it pump out so much material?  Why is it still so hot inside?  The scientists never think to question the assumed age of the Saturn system (4.5 billion years), but then struggle to deal with what they cannot deny: the observations.    Most of the time, the press releases talk matter-of-factly about the assumed billions of years.  They get strangely silent about time issues, though, as more detail is presented about Enceladus and Titan.    This is similar to how evolutionary biologists behave.  Evolutionary theory thrives on glittering generalities.  The more detail about the intricacy of the cell, DNA and other high-tech wonders in biology, the quieter the Darwin-talk gets.(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Boeing expects 737 MAX efficiency improvements to continue

first_imgPhoto: Boeing Boeing expects to continue a 737 family tradition of continuous improvement with its new fuel-efficient planes and sees scope for the kind of efficiency gains it saw with the successful “Next Generation” family.The US manufacturer’s  737 MAX aircraft are 14 per cent more efficient than the latest NG’s but they are 20 per cent more efficient than the planes that introduced the type in 1998.This is because in 2001 the company added winglets to the NG and in 2008 it reduced the weight of the aircraft with a carbon brake system. Further aerodynamic and engine improvements in 2011 reduced the fuel burn of the NGs by 6 per cent over their 1998 counterparts. The boost was in addition to an improvement of about 13 per cent between the introduction of 737 classics in the 1980s and the NG.The MAX program’s chief project engineer and deputy program manager, Michael Teal, expects similar efficiency improvements to occur with the new aircraft.“Our expectation is absolutely,’’ he says about continuing the “family tradition”.  “So, yes, we continuing to look at learnings from the flight test program where we can improve the drag of the airplane and I know the engine company as well is looking at their opportunities.“Together,  our expectation is we’re just going to continually improve the product similar to what we did on the NG family.’’Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Boeing’s single-aisle workhorse achieved another milestone on Thursday when the MAX-9 conducted its first flight over Puget Sound near Seattle.The aircraft took off from Renton, the 737’s manufacturing base, and completed a successful flight of two hours and 42 minutes during which flight crew Christine Walsh and Ed Wilson performed tests on flight controls, systems and handling qualities.The MAX 9, with a maximum capacity of 220 passengers and a range of 3,515 nautical miles, will undergo comprehensive flight testing ahead of customer deliveries in 2018. It is the second variant of the MAX family to take to the air and the smaller MAX 8 is due to enter service next month.The MAX 8 has the same range as the MAX 9 and is able to carry up to 200 passengers in a single class configuration or 162 passengers in two classes.The smallest member of the family, the MAX 7 is due to complete final assembly in the fourth quarter of 2017 with first delivery scheduled in 2019. The longer-range MAX 7 will be the aircraft best suited to operations in hot and high conditions.Currently being offered to airlines, but yet to be confirmed, is the MAX 10X.Assuming it gets the response it needs from airlines, firm configuration for the MAX 10X is scheduled for the end of 2017 with delivery around 2020.Teal sees this as an aircraft, with its capacity to up to 12 additional passengers compared to the MAX 9 and a similar range, that could be attractive in the lucrative Asia-Pacific market. “That is going to put an aircraft in the marketplace with lowest seat-mile costs compared to any of the competitor’s aircraft and bringing more revenue in with that additional 12 seats,’’ he said. “So I think that airplane is very, very well suited to that marketplace.’’The MAX range is competing with the Airbus A320neo family, which is already in service and has also has proved popular with airlines.Boeing says its planes have lower operating costs than the A320neo family and so far it has 3700 firm orders from 86 customers.  It is ramping up production to cater for the demand and expects to be producing 57 a month by 2019.Read: Boeing 787-10 and AirbusA319neo have first flights.The biggest boost to the MAX’s efficiency has been the CFM LEAP-1B engine but there are also aerodynamic tweaks to the wings and the tail that allow it to deliver its 14 per cent better fuel burn.The MAX AT winglet improves the aircraft’s lift over drag by creating an effective span, according to Teal.“We’ve proven it in the flight test program by measuring it. We are getting efficiency improvements from it.Boeing engineers also improved the aft body aerodynamics from the flat tail design that has adorned the aircraft since 1967 by changing the shape to improve drag.There are also fly-by-wire spoilers to improve the handling characteristics and a new electronic engine bleed system that can vary the air pulled from the engine according to the passenger load.Internal improvements include a move from five screens on the flight deck to four bigger displays that are common to the B787 and B777X and are designed to improve situational awareness.At the same time, it has retained commonality with the NG so that less than a day’s training using a laptop is required to move between the two.There is also an onboard network system that holds electronic data on key aircraft parameters in one storage space that allows airlines to access the plane’s health management systems wirelessly during flight or the ground.Maintenance personnel can now also check for problems from the flight deck displays and decide whether an aircraft can continue on with minimum equipment list fault.“That is to improve the dispatch reliability of the airplane,’’ says Teal, who says he expects that reliability to be close to the NG’s 99.7 per cent from the get-go. “Airlines from around the world have been working with us on that system and their mechanics have been on the airplane and they just love it.”It’s really going to improve the maintainability and the reliability of the aircraft.’’From a passenger standpoint, the MAX family features the Boeing Sky Interior that has been available since 2011 and optional space bins that allow wheelie bags to be stored on their sides.last_img read more

In Pursuit of the Crown: Play Your Part Ambassador set to Compete at Mrs. Globe 2019

first_imgBy Phindi MadunaOn 25 November to 8 December 2019, businesswoman and philanthropist, Mrs. Lucia Ochan will represent Africa during the Mrs. Globe 2019 pageant in that will be held in Shenzhen, China.In addition to being the Mrs. Mpumalanga 2017 second runner-up, Mrs. Ochan is also the reigning Mrs. Africa Globe 2019. She was also recently awarded the ‘Inspirational Woman of the Year’ award at the 4th Annual Sunrise Women Award 2019 which took place in her home province of Mpumalanga.She uses these esteemed platforms to raise worldwide awareness on work  being done  to advance the rights of the elderly, women and children.Addressing issues around the education, leadership, health, safety and security of the elderly, women and children, especially young girls, is close to Mrs Ochan’s heart. She is committed to making change that allows for  exercising the values enshrined in the South African Constitution.It is noteworthy that her participation in the pageant coincides with the period when South African will be observing the 16 Days of Activism of Violence against Women and Children Campaign between 25 November to 10 December 2019. South Africa has over the years dedicated this period to draw attention to issues on violence against women and children and finding meaningful ways to address it.Brand South Africa wishes Mrs. Ochan well in her endeavor to fly the flag and amplify the voice of the country’s people. This is how she continues to Play her Part.last_img read more

Philanthropists honoured for their good work

first_img2015 Inyathelo Philanthropy Awardees pose with Inyathelo Executive Director, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge (center). Left to right: Tyrone Aaron, Paul Modjadji, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, Shamillah Wilson, Judy Stuart, Nonkululeko Xulu. (Image: Inyathelo)The most deserving philanthropists in the country were honoured at the ninth annual Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards, which celebrate and honour those people whose personal giving has contributed towards sustainable social change in our country.Initiated by Inyathelo The South African Institute for Advancement, the awards took place on 5 November at the V &A Waterfront in Cape Town. All of the awardees demonstrated initiative and leadership and had used their personal funds in a strategic way to make a difference, said Inyathelo executive director Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge.“Philanthropy is dependent on the interest, passion, commitment, generosity and foresight of individuals like those we have honoured today,” she said. “Our awards seek to inspire others to give by recognising the incredible role models that live and work amongst us.“We believe philanthropists play a critical role in effecting real systemic change as they are able to support more innovative and often unconventional solutions to our numerous social, environmental and economic challenges in South Africa.”LEADERS IN PHILANTHROPYIn the nine years of its existence, Inyathelo has honoured over 90 philanthropists from very different backgrounds, including Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu; 10-year-old rhino campaigner Afeefah Patel; founder of the Hope Warriors Children’s Charity Patrick Mashanda; former vice-chancellor of Rhodes University Dr Saleem Badat; Paul Bruns, who set up a project to rehabilitate convicted offenders; co-founder of the Spread Luv Movement Kgomotso Mokoena; and Alice Wamundiya, a former car guard from Rwanda who established an organisation to provide tertiary education for refugees.According to Madlala‐Routledge, individual or private giving is now the second biggest source of income for civil society organisations and anchor institutions like universities.“I believe anyone can be a philanthropist. South Africa is a nation of givers. The spirit of ubuntu is ingrained in us all. It really doesn’t matter how much you give, it’s what you are able to achieve with what you share that really counts.“Growing philanthropy in support of our civil society and higher education institutions will help strengthen our democracy and realise its fruits for those who have been excluded and marginalised. We hope the passion, commitment, generosity and vision demonstrated by all our awardees will inspire others in South Africa to go out and make a difference.”WINNERSThis year’s winners are: Paul Modjadji, Tyrone Aaron, Judy Stuart, Nonkululeko Xulu, and Shamillah Wilson.Modjadji is an internationally acclaimed choreographer, dancer and director of Dare to Dream. He is the recipient of the 2015 Inyathelo Award for Philanthropy in the Arts.He established Dare to Dream five years ago in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, where he grew up, with the intention of empowering young people to follow their own dreams by offering free art, drama and leadership programmes to disadvantaged youngsters. Since then, he has reached over 10 000 young people across South Africa.A two-time world dance champion, in August US President Barak Obama presented Modjadji with the prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship Young African Leaders Award at a ceremony in Washington DC. In the past two years, he was crowned top dancer globally by the New York-based Talent America Showcase and he made history by being crowned the first African dancer to win the European Star Dance Union World Championships.Modjadji’s next project is to raise funds to build dance academies in South Africa’s townships.Tyrone is a 13-year-old pianist and community activist. He is the recipient of the 2015 Inyathelo Award for Children in Philanthropy.With a father as a musician, his passion for the piano was ignited when he was just six. He started on the keyboards and within a few years he was composing his own songs.When Tyrone heard about the possible closure of an organisation that cared for people with intellectual disabilities just before his 10th birthday, he asked his mother to organise a concert to raise funds for the home. The concert raised R25 000.It was his first but not last effort for others. Since then, he has helped children who suffered during the xenophobia crisis as well as the Marikana mining strikes by providing them with warm clothing and shoes. He recently raised over R45 000 for the Sabi Sands Conservation Trust and Rhino SA after reading about the brutal killing of more rhinos by poachers in Mpumalanga.Tyrone is due to release a CD of original songs later this year, including a song about the rhinos which he hopes will help create awareness and raise funds for those working to stop the slaughter.Stuart is a Howick dairy farmer and the founder of the Future Farmers Foundation. She is the recipient of the 2015 Inyathelo Award for Philanthropy in Economic Development. She initiated an informal farming apprentice placement programme in 2006 for disadvantaged learners from Zakhe Agricultural College in KwaZulu-Natal.In addition, Stuart organises for young people to serve apprenticeships on commercial farms. She also finds placements for the best students on globally competitive farms around the world. On their return to South Africa, she helps them to find jobs with local farmers.Xulu is an entrepreneur and founder of The X Foundation. She is the recipient of 2015 Inyathelo Award for Philanthropy in Education.Her passion is to uplift and empower disadvantaged youngsters by providing them with bursaries and the necessary resources they need to support their studies. Like many South Africans, she believes education is one of the pathways out of poverty.The X Foundation was established in 2010 and targets schoolchildren in Umlazi, Durban.last_img read more

Alia Bhatt is flaunting her bra straps with a classy dress, and we couldn’t be prouder

first_imgLet us just put it out there, in the simplest of the words–women have breasts, and they wear bras to support them.It has been a constant struggle for women to hide their bra straps under broad-shoulder tops, or wear excruciatingly painful, skin-digging transparent straps with off-shoulder clothes, only because bra straps seem to bother people.With Alia Bhatt wearing a Dior gown, we recommend everyone to get comfortable with the idea of women wearing bras, and not hiding their proof anymore.Alia Bhatt made a winsome appearance at the GR8 Women Awards held in Dubai last night in an exquisite Christian Dior red strappy, pleated gown. She wore a bold-red lip shade and absolutely no accessories, because the stunning ensemble didn’t need any; the high bun she sported gave the look a rather classy appeal. Also Read: Alia Bhatt or Anushka Sharma? We can’t decide who looks better in these denim outfitsApart from how gorgeous she looked, there was something about her attire that blew us away. The red Christian Dior gown had its embedded bra straps visible, and it was deliberate.Slamming patriarchy in the face, the backless gown had the back bra-support strap showing too, with Christian Dior written all over.Alia’s attire is a reminder of how unfair it is for women to be told to hide their bra straps, when most of them have no issues with it showing. The beautiful gown was an example of progressive dressing, and we’ve never been so proud of Alia! advertisementAlso Read: What Parineeti Chopra wore is not something we’d want in our closets, everA man’s vest doesn’t cause any turbulence, but a woman’s bra strap has the potential to launch missiles of criticism, lewd comments and general looks of utter disrespect. So, thanks for a slap in their face, Alia.Kudos on starting a revolution, Alia. Now, let’s see how many others follow through.last_img read more