Science, Health & Technology Updates
The First Molecule of the Universe Detected in Space
The most ancient molecule in our universe, Helium hydride ion (HeH+), has been detected in space for the first time ever. Scientists onboard NASA's flying observatory SOFIA reported unambiguous detection of the molecule towards the planetary nebula NGC 7027. HeH+ was the first molecule that formed almost 14 billion years ago after the Big Bang. At that time, ionised hydrogen and neutral helium atoms reacted to form HeH+, universe’s first molecular bond.
NASA Sends Supplies to International Space Station
NASA successfully launched the Antares rocket from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on April 17, 2019. NASA is sending supplies to the astronauts living aboard the International Space Station. The rocket was built by Northrop Grumman and will deliver 3,450 kg (7,600 pounds) of crew supplies and hardware to the ISS.
Longest Spaceflight by Woman Soon
NASA is about to set the record for the longest spaceflight by a woman. The mission of astronaut Christina Koch aboard the International Space Station (ISS) will be extended to 328 days. This will set the longest single spaceflight by a woman. Koch arrived at the ISS on March 14, 2019 and will remain aboard till February 2020. She will surpass former Nasa astronaut Peggy Whitson's record of 288 days in 2016-17. The longest single spaceflight by a Nasa astronaut was 340 days, by former Nasa astronaut Scott Kelly during his one-year mission in 2015-16.
Nepal Launches First Satellite
Nepal successfully launched its first satellite into space on April 18, 2019. The satellite, developed by Nepalese scientists will gather detailed geographical information of the country. The satellite, NepaliSat-1 was launched from Virginia in United States. NepaliSat-1 is a low orbit satellite which will be stationed at the International Space Station (ISS) for a month and then it will be sent to orbit the earth.
Sri Lanka Launches First Satellite
Sri Lanka’s first satellite ‘Raavana-1’ was launched into space on April 18, 2019. ‘Raavana-1’ weighs around 1.05 kg with a lifespan of around one and a half years. It was launched from NASA’s Flight Facility on Virginia’s east shore. This marks the entry of the country into the global space age. The satellite was designed and built at the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan by two Sri Lankan research engineers.