Ian Becomes a Major Hurricane as it Nears Landfall Over Western Cuba

Hurricane Ian has evolved into a major hurricane as it nears landfall over western Cuba on its way to the southern U.S. state of Florida.

Forecasters at the Miami-based National Hurricane Center say Ian is moving over the Caribbean Sea carrying maximum sustained winds of 185 kilometers an hour, making it a Category 3 storm on the center’s five-level scale that measures a storm’s maximum sustained wind speed and destructive potential.

Ian was last spotted 135 kilometers east of the western tip of Cuba, and 55 kilometers from the city of Pinar Del Rio, traveling at a speed of 20 kilometers an hour. The NHC says the storm will remain a major hurricane as it travels over the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.

If the storm continues on its current track, it is expected to reach the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg on Florida’s western Gulf Coast as early as Wednesday. The area has not sustained a direct hit by a major hurricane since 1921.

Forecasters have issued hurricane, tropical storm and storm surge warnings and watches for parts of western Cuba and Florida that are in the current path of Hurricane Ian. Hurricane Ian is expected to produce between 15 to 25 centimeters of rainfall in western Cuba, with the Florida Keys expected to receive 10 to 15 centimeters and central west Florida to get between 15 to 30 centimeters of rainfall.

U.S. President Joe Biden has issued an emergency declaration for Florida, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster-relief efforts and provide more federal funding. Authorities have issued evacuation orders for hundreds of thousands of residents along Florida’s Gulf Coast. The potential devastation from Ian has even prompted officials at the U.S. space agency NASA to roll its massive Artemis 1 moon rocket and space capsule from its launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center — located on Florida’s eastern coast — back to the Vehicle Assembly Building, further delaying its planned test flight.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.


NASA Spacecraft Crashes Into Asteroid in Defense Test

A NASA spacecraft rammed an asteroid at blistering speed Monday in an unprecedented dress rehearsal for the day a killer rock menaces Earth.

The galactic slam occurred at a harmless asteroid 9.6 million kilometers away, with the spacecraft named Dart plowing into the space rock at 22,500 kph. Scientists expected the impact to carve out a crater, hurl streams of rocks and dirt into space and, most importantly, alter the asteroid’s orbit.

“We have impact!” Mission Control’s Elena Adams announced, jumping up and down and thrusting her arms skyward.

Telescopes around the world and in space aimed at the same point in the sky to capture the spectacle. Though the impact was immediately obvious — Dart’s radio signal abruptly ceased — it will take days or even weeks to determine how much the asteroid’s path has changed.

The $325 million mission was the first attempt to shift the position of an asteroid or any other natural object in space.

“We’re embarking on a new era of humankind,” said NASA’s Lori Glaze, planetary science division director.

Earlier in the day, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson reminded people via Twitter that, “No, this is not a movie plot.” He added in a prerecorded video: “We’ve all seen it on movies like ‘Armageddon,’ but the real-life stakes are high.”

Monday’s target: a 160-meter asteroid named Dimorphos. It’s actually a moonlet of Didymos, Greek for twin, a fast-spinning asteroid five times bigger that flung off the material that formed the junior partner.

The pair have been orbiting the sun for eons without threatening Earth, making them ideal save-the-world test candidates.

Launched last November, the vending machine-size Dart — short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test — navigated to its target using new technology developed by Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, the spacecraft builder and mission manager.

Dart’s onboard camera, a key part of this smart navigation system, caught sight of Dimorphos barely an hour before impact.

“Woo-hoo!” exclaimed Adams, a mission systems engineer at Johns Hopkins. “We’re seeing Dimorphos, so wonderful, wonderful.”

With an image beaming back to Earth every second, Adams and other ground controllers in Laurel, Maryland, watched with growing excitement as Dimorphos loomed larger and larger in the field of view alongside its bigger companion. Within minutes, Dimorphos was alone in the pictures; it looked like a giant gray lemon with boulders and rubble on the surface. The last image froze on the screen as the radio transmission ended.

Flight controllers cheered, hugged one another and exchanged high fives.

A mini satellite followed a few minutes behind to take photos of the impact. The Italian Cubesat was released from Dart two weeks ago.

Scientists insisted Dart would not shatter Dimorphos. The spacecraft packed a scant 570 kilograms, compared with the asteroid’s 5 billion kilograms. But that should be plenty to shrink its 11-hour, 55-minute orbit around Didymos.

The impact should pare 10 minutes off that, but telescopes will need anywhere from a few days to nearly a month to verify the new orbit. The anticipated orbital shift of 1% might not sound like much, scientists noted. But they stressed that over years, it would amount to a significant change.

Planetary defense experts prefer nudging a threatening asteroid or comet out of the way, given enough lead time, rather than blowing it up and creating multiple pieces that could rain down on Earth. Multiple impactors might be needed for big space rocks or a combination of impactors and so-called gravity tractors, not-yet-invented devices that would use their own gravity to pull an asteroid into a safer orbit.

“The dinosaurs didn’t have a space program to help them know what was coming, but we do,” NASA’s senior climate adviser Katherine Calvin said, referring to the mass extinction 66 million years ago believed to have been caused by a major asteroid impact, volcanic eruptions or both.

The nonprofit B612 Foundation, dedicated to protecting Earth from asteroid strikes, has been pushing for impact tests like Dart since its founding by astronauts and physicists 20 years ago. Monday’s feat aside, the world must do a better job of identifying the countless space rocks lurking out there, warned the foundation’s executive director, Ed Lu, a former astronaut.

Significantly less than half of the estimated 25,000 near-Earth objects in the deadly 140-meter range have been discovered, according to NASA. And fewer than 1% of the millions of smaller asteroids, capable of widespread injuries, are known.

The Vera Rubin Observatory, nearing completion in Chile by the National Science Foundation and U.S. Energy Department, promises to revolutionize the field of asteroid discovery, Lu noted.

Finding and tracking asteroids, “That’s still the name of the game here. That’s the thing that has to happen in order to protect the Earth,” he said.


Росіяни масово звертаються на гарячу лінію для здачі в полон Україні через мобілізацію – ГУР

21 вересня президент Росії Володимир Путін оголосив про часткову мобілізацію


У Львові запрацювала мобільна майстерня протезування

Усе необхідне обладнання, матеріали, комплектуючі Україні надала німецька компанія з виготовлення протезів


Україна отримує достатню кількість вакцин від грипу та від COVID-19 – Радуцький

Раніше МОЗ застерегло щодо зростання кількості хворих на COVID-19


NASA’s Asteroid-Deflecting DART Spacecraft Nears Planned Impact With Target 

Ten months after launch, NASA’s asteroid-deflecting DART spacecraft neared a planned impact with its target on Monday in a test of the world’s first planetary defense system, designed to prevent a doomsday collision with Earth.

The cube-shaped “impactor” vehicle, roughly the size of a vending machine with two rectangular solar arrays, was on course to fly into the asteroid Dimorphos, about as large as a football stadium, and self-destruct around 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) some 11 million kilometers from Earth.

The mission’s finale will test the ability of a spacecraft to alter an asteroid’s trajectory with sheer kinetic force, plowing into the object at high speed to nudge it astray just enough to keep our planet out of harm’s way.

It marks the world’s first attempt to change the motion of an asteroid, or any celestial body.

DART, launched by a SpaceX rocket in November 2021, has made most of its voyage under the guidance of NASA’s flight directors, with control to be handed over to an autonomous on-board navigation system in the final hours of the journey.

Monday evening’s planned impact is to be monitored in real time from the mission operations center at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland.

DART’s celestial target is an asteroid “moonlet” about 170 meters in diameter that orbits a parent asteroid five times larger called Didymos as part of a binary pair with the same name, the Greek word for twin.

Neither object presents any actual threat to Earth, and NASA scientists said their DART test cannot create a new existential hazard by mistake.

Dimorphos and Didymos are both tiny compared with the cataclysmic Chicxulub asteroid that struck Earth some 66 million years ago, wiping out about three-quarters of the world’s plant and animal species including the dinosaurs.

Smaller asteroids are far more common and pose a greater theoretical concern in the near term, making the Didymos pair suitable test subjects for their size, according to NASA scientists and planetary defense experts.

Also, their relative proximity to Earth and dual-asteroid configuration make them ideal for the first proof-of-concept mission of DART, short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test.

Robotic suicide mission

The mission represents a rare instance in which a NASA spacecraft must ultimately crash to succeed.

The plan is for DART to fly directly into Dimorphos at 24,000 kilometers per hour, bumping it hard enough to shift its orbital track closer to its larger companion asteroid.

Cameras on the impactor and on a briefcase-sized mini-spacecraft released from DART days in advance are designed to record the collision and send images back to Earth.

DART’s own camera is expected to return pictures at the rate of one image per second during its final approach, with those images streaming live on NASA TV starting an hour before impact, according to APL.

The DART team said it expects to shorten the orbital track of Dimorphos by 10 minutes but would consider at least 73 seconds a success, proving the exercise as a viable technique to deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth — if one were ever discovered. A small nudge to an asteroid millions of miles away could be sufficient to safely reroute it away from the planet.

The test’s outcome will not be known until a new round of ground-based telescope observations of the two asteroids in October. Earlier calculations of the starting location and orbital period of Dimorphos were confirmed during a six-day observation period in July.

DART is the latest of several NASA missions in recent years to explore and interact with asteroids, primordial rocky remnants from the solar system’s formation more than 4.5 billion years ago.

Last year, NASA launched a probe on a voyage to the Trojan asteroid clusters orbiting near Jupiter, while the grab-and-go spacecraft OSIRIS-REx is on its way back to Earth with a sample collected in October 2020 from the asteroid Bennu.

The Dimorphos moonlet is one of the smallest astronomical objects to receive a permanent name and is one of 27,500 known near-Earth asteroids of all sizes tracked by NASA. Although none are known to pose a foreseeable hazard to humankind, NASA estimates that many more asteroids remain undetected in the near-Earth vicinity.

NASA has put the entire cost of the DART project at $330 million, well below that of many of the space agency’s most ambitious science missions.


ЗСУ відбили атаки військ РФ біля кількох населених пунктів – Генштаб

Триває двісті п’ятнадцята доба протистояння України російському вторгненню


Розвідка попереджає про російські кібератаки на критичну інфраструктуру України та союзників

Окрім України, DDoS-атаки можуть зазнати критичні об’єкти Польщі та країн Балтії


Повітряні сили ЗСУ пояснили, чому Росія використовує іранські дрони замість ракет

«Шахід-136» – дрон-камікадзе, який виготовляє Іран. Дальність його польоту 2000 км


В окупованому Сватовому військові РФ вручають повістки людям, які досягли 18 років – Генштаб

«Окремих громадян, водіїв вантажівок, одразу відправляють до військових частин»