In December 1972, NASA astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt drilled into the surface of the moon to collect lunar soil samples for transport back to Earth. This week, NASA finally opened one of the vacuum-sealed samples for the first time.
“We have had an opportunity to open up this incredibly precious sample that’s been saved for 50 years under vacuum,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, in a statement. “We finally get to see what treasures are held within.”
The tube is a time capsule, not only from the deep geological history of the moon, but also from an earlier time in the space age when our tools were more primitive.
“The agency knew science and technology would evolve and allow scientists to study the material in new ways to address new questions in the future,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division.
Zurbuchen says the timing is also serendipitous because it helps NASA prepare for its upcoming return to the moon later this decade as part of the Artemis program.
“Understanding the geologic history and evolution of the moon samples at the Apollo landing sites will help us prepare for the types of samples that may be encountered during Artemis,” he said.
Getting at the preserved sample wasn’t as simple as just popping a cap. Before the contents of the sealed tube could be extruded, it was first scanned using X-ray CT technology to create a 3D image of what the team could expect to find inside. Then all of the gas in an outer, protective tube was collected for study.
Next, the inner container was pierced to extract any gases present inside.
“We have extracted gas out of this core, and we hope that will help scientists when they’re trying to understand the lunar gas signature by looking at the different aliquots [samples taken for chemical analysis],” said Ryan Zeigler, Apollo sample curator.
Finally the powdery gray contents were pushed out of the cylinder and separated into half-centimeter increments.
Even before starting the process on Monday, the team had conducted dry runs using a mock-up in the lab. The whole process had to be done by sticking hands into huge gloves inside a vacuum glovebox and manipulating specialized tools to get at the sample.
The work was done as part of the Apollo Next Generation Sample Analysis Program, or Angsa, at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Now, with the cat out of the bag, or rather the regolith out of the tube, the sample needs to be analyzed to see what exactly has been waiting half a century to be discovered.
NASA astromaterials curator Francis McCubbin says today’s astronauts will also pay the gift forward to scientists working in the latter half of this century.
“We curated these samples for the long term, so that scientists 50 years in the future could analyze them,” McCubbin says. “Through Artemis, we hope to offer the same possibilities for a new generation of scientists.”
Overwatch 2 Beta Begins Tomorrow: Start Time and What to Expect
Overwatch 2 starts its second beta on Tuesday, June 28, for PC and console players. The beta begins at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT and runs through Monday, July 18. Sign-ups are still open for a chance to participate, and you can still get guaranteed access if you’re willing to spend some cash.
The next beta will be our first look at Junker Queen, a new tank hero who first appeared in posters on the Junkertown map that was released in 2017. Fans have been hoping to play her ever since, and five years later, we’re finally getting the chance. The new beta also adds a new hybrid map, Paraiso. The developers have laid out their goals for the beta, which include testing server capacity and hero balance.
Overwatch 2 is the sequel to Blizzard’s class-based shooter, featuring two teams of five players fighting over objectives. Overwatch devs announced in June that the game will be. The injected a frantic pace into the game, which was a welcome change from the slower, more grinding pacing that’s plagued Overwatch in recent years. The free-to-play PvP element will bring the game more in line with other competitive shooters, like Valorant and Apex Legends.
How to sign up for the Overwatch 2 beta
Anyone can sign up for Overwatch 2’s second beta, but it’s not technically an open beta. The game will add people gradually as it ramps up server capacity, and the first big wave of beta access will happen on July 5, according to the beta FAQ page. Even if you were in the previous beta, you’ll need to sign up again.
Here’s how to sign up:
1. Go to the Overwatch 2 beta site.
2. In the top right corner, log in to your Blizzard Account.
3. At the bottom of the Overwatch 2 beta page, choose your platform (and region for PlayStation players).
4. Then hit Request Beta Access.
If you want guaranteed beta access on June 28, you can purchase the Watchpoint Pack ($40). In addition to beta access on day one, you’ll also get two legendary character skins, a unique player icon and enough digital currency to buy the first two battle passes.
How do I download the Overwatch 2 beta?
Blizzard hasn’t released details on downloading the second beta, but it should follow the same process as the first beta. Here’s how that worked:
1. Log in to your Battle.net account and navigate to Overwatch on the game launcher.
2. In the bottom left, click the Game Version drop-down.
3. Select Overwatch 2 Tech Beta to install.
4. When the download is complete, hit the blue Play button to start.
Junker Queen abilities
The new beta finally gives fans a chance to play as Junker Queen, a hero we’ve all been excited about and/or thirsting over since she was first teased on the Junkertown map. Here’s what we know about Junker Queen’s abilities, from the Overwatch Twitter account:
New Hybrid Map: Paraiso
The beta also adds Paraiso, a new hybrid map that explores Lucio’s home, including the DJ’s Clube Sinestesia. As with all hybrid maps, players will start by attacking or defending a control point, and if the attackers succeed, players will spend the rest of the map attacking or defending a payload.
For more Overwatch 2 news, check out everything we learned from the.
Icebergify: How To Create an Iceberg of Your Most Listened to Spotify Artists
Been on social media today? Seen those bizarre musical Icebergs floating around in your feed? You’re not alone. Screenshots like this have been doing the rounds today, particularly on Twitter.
It’s all created via the magic of a website called Icebergify.
Using the data from your Spotify listening habits, Icebergify creates an Iceberg of your most listened to artists ranked by popularity. At the tip of the iceberg? Your favourite “mainstream” artists. Your Taylor Swifts, your Beyonces, your Drakes, etc. The further down you go, the more obscure it becomes. It looks a little like this…
If you want to see your own iceberg, you can head to the website directly. Be warned: it does require your Spotify log-in.
The Icebergify website was developed by Akshay Raj, a freshman studying Computer & Data Science at Rice University. He says he has no plans to monetize the site or use the data collected — which is limited to your username, Spotify account ID and the top 50 tracks and artists listened to over the past few years.
How does it work? It’s fairly simple. Icebergify takes your most listened to artists and sorts them according to popularity rankings. Streams, shares, saves, likes, and followers are all taken into account. This is why Beyonce might be at the top of your iceberg, but lesser known artists are at the bottom, beneath the ocean. Also worth noting: It seems like Icebergify is being flooded due to its surprising popularity. Head back later if it doesn’t immediately work.
Apple’s First Mixed-Reality Headset May Sport New M2 Processor
Apple’s first mixed-reality headset could come with the company’s flagship M2 processor, just one of the “deluge” of new products the company is expected to unveil in the next year, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported Sunday.
The M2, unveiled in June, features redesigned central processing units and a significant memory increase, which would provide a significant boost to the much-rumored headset over the previous M1 chip.
The much-rumored headset incorporating both virtual and augmented reality environments is expected to provide a boon to the gaming industry. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier week that the headset —— would be the most complicated product Apple has designed yet.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been vocal about his excitement about AR. Earlier this week, he explained that the tech industry is still in the “very early innings” of this technology’s possibilities.
“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we’ve seen in this space, and sort of stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer,” Cook told China Daily.
Other products Gurman expects to debut in the next 12 months include four iPhone 14 models, three Apple Watch variations, several Macs with M2 and M3 chips, iPads, updated AirPods Pro earbuds, a fresh HomePod, and an upgraded Apple TV.
Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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