NASA’s Juno probe will get close to Jupiter’s moon Ganymede on Monday

On Monday NASA’s Juno space probe, which has been orbiting Jupiter since 2016, will get a close-up look at Jupiter’s biggest moon Ganymede, the agency said in a press release. It will be the closest NASA has gotten to the largest moon in the solar system for more than 20 years— Galileo cruised by Ganymede in 2000— coming within 645 miles of its surface. The information Juno gathers will give insight into the moon’s composition and ice shell, as well as provide data for future missions to Jupiter.

“Juno carries a suite of sensitive instruments capable of seeing Ganymede in ways never before possible,” said principal investigator Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “By flying so close, we will bring the exploration of Ganymede into the 21st century, both complementing future missions with our unique sensors and helping prepare for the next generation of missions to the Jovian system.”

Those missions include NASA’s Europa Clipper (launch date still TBD) and the European Space Agency’s JUpiter ICy moons Explorer [JUICE] mission, slated to launch next year and arrive at Jupiter in 2029 (and kudos to the ESA for going the extra mile on that acronym).

Ganymede is bigger than Mercury and is the only moon in the solar system with its own magnetosphere, which NASA describes as “a bubble-shaped region of charged particles” that surrounds it. The JunoCam, which has taken many of the most striking photos of Jupiter during its mission will only be able to snap about five images during the flyby, since Ganymede will appear and fade from view all within a 25-minute window. Three hours before Juno gets to its closest point near Ganymede, its science instruments will begin collecting data.

“Literally every second counts,” said Matt Johnson, Juno mission manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “On Monday, we are going to race past Ganymede at almost 12 miles per second (19 kilometers per second).” And less than 24 hours later, Juno will make its 33rd science pass of Jupiter, he added.

Juno is expected to get closest to Ganymede at about 1:35PM ET on Monday. You can track where Juno is now with NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System interactive.


How to watch E3 2021

After being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, E3 is back for 2021 in an all-digital format, kicking off on June 12th. And with Microsoft and Nintendo finally having announced the dates and times for their big showcase presentations, the event schedule is starting to fall into place.

If you want to attend the virtual event as a fan, you can now register to attend on E3’s website so that you can get access to the E3 portal and app. But if you want to follow along with the press conferences and announcements, we’ve put together a rough timeline of events with everything that we’re aware of. (Note that the exact times of some presentations haven’t been announced yet.)

When is E3?

E3 technically takes place from Saturday, June 12th, to Tuesday, June 15th, but you can expect some big announcements a couple days before E3 at Summer Game Fest’s Kickoff Live event.

Thursday, June 10th

  • 2PM ET: Summer Game Fest’s Kickoff Live event hosted by Geoff Keighley

Saturday, June 12th

  • 11AM ET: Guerrilla Collective (note that this is the second Guerrilla Collective show — the first takes place on June 5th)
  • 1PM ET: E3 broadcast pre-show
  • 3PM ET: Ubisoft Forward
  • TBA time: Gearbox press conference, Devolver Digital show

Sunday, June 13th

  • 11:45AM ET: E3 broadcast pre-show
  • 1PM ET: Microsoft’s Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase
  • 3:15PM ET: Square Enix Presents
  • TBA time: “Special presentations” from the PC Gaming Show and the Future Games Show. E3 parent company ESA also says that Warner Bros. Games & Back4Blood and 24 Entertainment “will be featured” on the E3 broadcast on Sunday.

Monday, June 14th

  • 11AM ET: E3 broadcast pre-show
  • TBA time: “Press conferences from several indie developers” and “presentations from Take-Two Interactive, Mythical Games, Freedom Games, Razer and Capcom.” Verizon and Intellivision will also be “featured,” the ESA says.

Tuesday, June 15th

  • 11AM ET: E3 broadcast pre-show
  • 12PM ET: Nintendo’s Nintendo Direct, which will have “roughly” 40 minutes of information about upcoming games, followed by a Treehouse Live with about three hours of gameplay demoed.
  • TBA time: “Focused events” from Bandai Namco, Yooreka Games, and GameSpot
  • The day will close out with the Official E3 2021 Awards Show

How can I watch E3?

E3 will be airing its broadcast on Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. For the presentations hosted by individual companies, you may be able to find official streams on their social platforms.

Update June 3rd, 11:18AM ET: Added Square Enix Presents.


One of NASA’s Solar Orbiter tools caught its first video of a coronal mass ejection

One of the instruments aboard Solar Orbiter, a probe built by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA, caught its first video of a coronal mass ejection while whizzing around the other side of the Sun in February. Solar Orbiter, which launched in early 2020, has detected these massive bursts of energy in the past, but the explosion captured in February this year was an exciting first for NASA.

NASA built the Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager, or the SoloHI instrument for the Solar Orbiter. It recently captured an energetic gust of solar plasma jetting from the star’s surface as the spacecraft was meandering around the Sun. Scientists didn’t expect the spacecraft to beam back any exciting images at this point — data is slow to reach Earth from such a far distance, and Solar Orbiter’s main mission doesn’t kick off until November.

The first coronal mass ejection captured by the Solar Orbiter’s Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager (SoloHI).
ESA & NASA/Solar Orbiter/SoloHI team/NRL

But SoloHI delivered the goods anyway, as it came out from behind the Sun and reentered Earth’s line of sight, beaming back what NASA called a “happy accident.” Two other instruments aboard the Solar Orbiter, the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) and the Metis coronagraph, may have captured different views of the coronal mass ejection around the same time.

Scientists are still piecing together the images from the different instruments to get a clear picture of what was going on near the Sun that day. Around the same time that SoloHi recorded its first detection of a coronal mass ejection, EUI and METIS detected a pair of coronal mass ejections. Other solar-focused spacecraft also captured images and video of the eruptions that day.

The same coronal mass ejection Solar Orbiter’s SoloHI instrument observed, captured by NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory-A — one of two spacecraft launched in 2006.

Coronal mass ejections are lively bursts of plasma that send geomagnetic shockwaves across the solar system. The bigger ones that cross paths with Earth can wreak havoc on satellites in space, potentially disrupting radio transmissions or (for really rare and massive ones) knocking power grids offline. The plasma emitted from these ejections pummel Earth’s protective magnetosphere and slide around into its polar regions, clashing with the atmosphere and giving rise to the Northern and Southern Lights, or aurora.

Solar Orbiter’s main mission is to study the Sun up-close, helping scientists understand the causes of solar wind and how it affects Earth. The minivan-sized craft, coming as close as 26 million miles from the Sun, is among the closest human-made objects to probe the star. It’s second only to NASA’s Parker Solar Probe which is designed to get even closer, zipping around the Sun at a distance of just 3.8 million miles.

In July last year, Solar Orbiter’s Extreme Ultraviolet Imager nabbed some high-resolution shots of what scientists dubbed “campfires” — tiny surface explosions more formally called nanoflares.


Here’s how E3’s all-virtual event will work this year

The world’s biggest gaming showcase, E3, is going all-virtual for the first time in its history, with organizers revealing today how they plan to keep enthusiasts interested without the sights and sounds of the show floor. The virtual E3 will run from June 12th to June 15th. The showcase will include an online portal with access to virtual exhibitor booths with video content and articles, live streams, and social elements like forums, customizable user profiles, leaderboards, and “lounges.” Registration is free and opens later this month.

This will be the second year in a row that E3 has not taken place in person in Los Angeles due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the show’s cancellation was announced in March, and the show’s organizers, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), did not present an official online version of the event. In its place, a collection of digital events emerged, collectively called the Summer Game Fest. This year, however, the ESA is coordinating a centralized virtual E3 event, while the Summer Game Fest is also returning.

Along with its virtual show floor, the E3 app and portal will host video streams with interactive elements like viewer polls and featured tweets. Broadcasts will include press conferences, industry panels, and game showcases. In addition to the official app and portal, streams will also be available via the official E3 Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook pages.

As well as the public show, there’ll also be a “media access week” running from June 7th in which the ESA says media will be able to use the online portal and app to connect directly with E3 exhibitors. Today’s press release doesn’t detail exactly who these exhibitors are, but last month the ESA announced that E3’s lineup would include Nintendo, Xbox, Capcom, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, and Warner Bros. Games. Sony and EA were absent from the list. The PlayStation manufacturer skipped E3 2019 and announced it would not be attending E3 2020 prior to its cancellation. Meanwhile, EA will host its own EA Play Live event the following month in July. Despite being on the ESA’s original list, Konami later announced in a tweet that it would not be participating at this year’s E3.

E3 has evolved a lot over its history. Although certain aspects like the big publisher press conferences have been publicly viewable for years, until recently, the in-person show itself was an industry and media-only affair. It was only in 2017 that the ESA officially opened its doors to the public with tickets priced at $250. This year’s format is dropping the high price of attending in person, though it’s unclear how much of the magic of the show floor can be recreated in virtual booths.

Update May 13th, 9:18AM ET: Updated to note Konami’s tweet confirming it will not be presenting at this year’s E3.


SpaceX capsule with four astronauts on board docks with the International Space Station

A SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft with four astronauts aboard successfully docked with the International Space Station early Saturday to start its six-month mission, NASA announced. Crew-2, as it’s been dubbed, is SpaceX’s third astronaut mission under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. It brings NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Thomas Pesquet, a French aerospace engineer from the European Space Agency (ESA) to the ISS, which travels at more than 17,000 miles per hour in orbit roughly 250 miles above Earth.

A Falcon 9 rocket which was used for SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission in 2020, launched early Friday for its 24-hour trip to the ISS. The Falcon 9 carried Endeavour, the same Crew Dragon capsule that launched SpaceX’s debut astronaut mission last year.

The four astronauts were welcomed aboard the ISS shortly before 8AM ET by the Expedition 65 crew of Shannon Walker, Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Mark Vande Hei of NASA, as well as Soichi Noguchi of JAXA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov.

Kimbrough, McArthur, Hoshide, and Pesquet will now spend six months in space conducting science experiments, including a focus on “tissue chips,” which NASA describes as “small models of human organs containing multiple cell types that behave much the same as they do in the body.” The chips may help identify drugs or vaccines more quickly than the current processes.

The mission marks the first time SpaceX has reused a craft for a crewed mission. SpaceX has launched and reused several Falcon 9 rockets and uncrewed Dragon capsules as part of an initiative to save time and money on space exploration.

SpaceX launches its third astronaut crew, the first on a used Crew Dragon capsule

SpaceX launched its third crew of astronauts to the International Space Station early Friday morning, reusing a Crew Dragon space capsule to fly humans for the first time. The mission, dubbed Crew-2, is the latest flight under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, and will add four more astronauts to the orbital space station.

A used Falcon 9 rocket, last flown for SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission last year, lifted off at 5:49AM ET from Cape Canaveral, Florida carrying Endeavor, the same Crew Dragon capsule that first launched SpaceX’s debut astronaut mission nearly one year ago. For this flight, the Endeavor capsule carried four astronauts from three different countries — SpaceX’s most diverse NASA-managed crew yet.

“Off the Earth, for the Earth, Endeavor is ready to go,” NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, the mission’s spacecraft commander, told SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California minutes before lifting off.

Kimbrough and fellow NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, serving as the pilot, accompanied mission specialists Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Thomas Pesquet, a French aerospace engineer from the European Space Agency (ESA). The crew will spend roughly 23 hours in transit as Endeavor autonomously raises its orbit toward the ISS ahead of a 5:10AM ET docking tomorrow, April 24th.

Sunlight beamed into the windows of Crew Dragon Endeavor as it separated from its Falcon 9 second stage booster roughly 12 minutes after its pre-dawn liftoff, prompting cheers and applause from engineers on a video feed in SpaceX’s mission control. “Thanks for flying our first flight-proven, crewed Falcon 9,” mission control said to Endeavor.

“We’re great, it’s good to be back in space for all of us, and we’ll send our regards to Crew-1 when we get there,” Kimbrough replied from Endeavor. The capsule’s separation occurred just as Falcon 9’s first stage booster returned back to Earth for landing on SpaceX’s “Of Course I Still Love You” drone-ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

Kimbrough, McArthur, Hoshide and Pesquet will spend six months in space and join seven astronauts already aboard the space station, an orbital science laboratory flying more than 17,000 miles per hour in orbit roughly 250 miles above Earth. Two days after the crew’s arrival, four other astronauts from SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission, which launched to the ISS November 15 last year, will board a separate Crew Dragon capsule and return to Earth to cap their own six-month stay.

Crew-2 marks SpaceX’s third astronaut mission under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, the agency’s public-private initiative to revive its human spaceflight capabilities after a nearly 10-year dependence on Russian rockets. It’s the second of six operational missions SpaceX is contracted to fly under that program, which awarded the company $2.6 billion in 2014 to develop and fly Crew Dragon. SpaceX’s first crewed mission in May 2020, carrying Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, counted as a test flight.

Accompanied by two Russian cosmonauts and NASA’s Mark Vande Hei, who all launched on a Russian Soyuz rocket on April 9th, Crew-2’s stay aboard the ISS will make for an 7-person crew in space for the next several months. During their stay, the crew will conduct an array of microgravity science experiments. The Crew-2 astronauts’ science efforts will center on a cassette-sized device containing human cells to study how those cells respond to various drugs and health conditions in microgravity.

The increased crew size means other science experiments, including a few projects tracking how plants grow and behave in space, will also see some progress. “It’s like a party up there,” said Annmarie Eldering, a project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory working on Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3, a device astronauts will use to measure carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere. “When you get all those measurements from space, in the same time, same place, it’s really powerful for science,” Eldering said Friday morning in a live NASA broadcast.



How to watch SpaceX’s third crewed mission to the ISS

SpaceX is slated to launch its third crew to the International Space Station early Friday morning, ferrying two astronauts from NASA, one from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and the first European Space Agency astronaut to fly a private US spacecraft to orbit. The four-person crew will launch atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket at 5:49AM ET on Friday.

The mission, dubbed Crew-2, marks the second operational mission under the Commercial Crew Program, NASA’s public-private initiative to revive its human spaceflight capabilities after a 10-year dependence on Russian rockets. It will mark the first time NASA astronauts fly a reused crew capsule — Crew-2’s ride first flew in May 2020 as SpaceX’s first astronaut mission, carrying Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.

The crew includes NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, the mission’s spacecraft commander, and Megan McArthur, serving as the pilot. JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, a French aerospace engineer, will serve as mission specialists. All the astronauts are in Florida ahead of the launch, and they’ll wake up at 11:09PM ET Thursday to prepare for flight.

NASA’s live coverage of the mission will begin hours before liftoff, at 1:30AM ET Friday. Liftoff is at 5:49AM ET. The trek to the International Space Station will take a little less than a day — the crew is scheduled to dock with the space station at around 5:10AM ET Saturday, April 24th. They’ll spend six months on the station.


SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will take off on Friday, April 23rd, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Scheduled launch time: New York: 5:49AM / San Francisco: 2:49AM / London: 10:49AM / Berlin: 11:49AM / Moscow: 12:49PM / New Delhi: 3:19 PM / Beijing: 5:49PM / Tokyo: 6:49PM / Melbourne: 7:49PM


Live stream: NASA’s live stream coverage can be found on YouTube and on the agency’s website.


Ubisoft will host E3 showcase on 12th June

Matthew Wilson
1 day ago
Featured Tech News, Software & Gaming

Last week, the ESA finally began making some of its plans for E3 2021 official announcing press conferences and appearances from a number of large publishers. Now, we are starting to get date and times for when to tune in, with Ubisoft being the first to announce its major E3 conference.

For those who missed last week’s announcement, E3 2021 will include appearances from Nintendo, Xbox, Ubisoft, Take-Two, Warner Bros, Capcom, Konami and Koch Media. Not every conference has been given a date and time yet, but we do know when Ubisoft will be taking over the spotlight.

Ubisoft’s E3 conference, known as Ubisoft Forward, will be taking place on the 12th of June at 8PM BST here in the UK, 9PM CEST, 3PM EST and 12PM PST. Whether or not a new Assassin’s Creed will be announced is up in the air, with recent rumours pointing to a 2022 return for the series to give Valhalla some extra breathing room.

What we can expect to see is future updates for Rainbow Six Siege, Rainbow Six Quarantine/Parasite, Far Cry 6, the Prince of Persia remake and the long-awaited return of Skull & Bones. We’ll likely see Splinter Cell pop up again in the rumour mill and of course, Ubisoft is also now working on a Star Wars game, but that project is still in very early development, so I wouldn’t place any bets on it being shown.

E3 2021 takes place from the 12th of June through to the 15th.

KitGuru Says: Ubisoft has a lot of projects in the works, so there’ll be plenty to announce at E3. Will many of you be tuning in for Ubisoft’s E3 showcase?

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