SpaceX Starship test explodes again (but that's OK)

Plus, NASA's Mars helicopter is preparing to fly, Perseverance is zapping rocks, the WHO China coronavirus study, a new dinosaur and much more!
                                                                                                                                                                               
Hello humans, happy Easter!

This is a short dispatch coming to you from a man who has just consumed a lifetime's worth of chocolate. A quick wrap of the week just gone:

There was another explosive SpaceX Starship test early in the week, the fourth time the Mars prototype rocket has had a rapid unscheduled disassembly. NASA's Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, was deposited on the red planet and will take flight within the next couple of weeks -- one to watch out for. What else? The World Health Organization and China released findings from a study into the origins of the coronavirus, paleontologists unearthed a new meat-eating terror and a Goldilocks black hole was spotted after a huge explosion in deep space. That's the week in Science and it's time for me to lay down and allow my stomach to process this frankly unwise amount of chocolate. But first... the mailbag!

📧The Science Mailbag📧


Laurie asks: Thank you for the great article on Hayabusa2. I am fascinated with how the Japanese worked within their budget to create the fuel for flight. Are other countries using that technology?

Thanks for reading Laurie. The technology used in Hayabusa2's ion engine system is known as electric propulsion and it's a remarkable technology. The most familiar form of electric propulsion is the ion engine, or ion thruster, as in Hayabusa2. A number of space agencies, including NASA, have used it to get around in deep space. The most famous example for NASA is the Dawn spacecraft, which launched in 2007 to explore two worlds in the asteroid belt: Ceres and Vesta. Using ion engines allowed NASA to maneuver Dawn into orbit around two targets -- the first time this was ever achieved. Another example you may know of is SpaceX's Starlink satellites. These tiny sats have slightly different fuel for their ion thrusters than Hayabusa2 and Dawn, but they work in much the same way. There's a ton of next-generation electric propulsion systems in the works, too. You can read more about them here. Thanks Laurie!

If you have a burning question, send me an email or a DM on Twitter and let's get you some answers. Have a great week!

Enim scientia et astra!
Jackson Ryan Jackson Ryan
Science Editor, CNET
SpaceX  Starship SN11 flies high, explodes in the fog
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