Here's live coverage of the UAW @HopeMarsMission in English—the spacecraft is going to make its orbital insertion burn *in one minute*!! (1030 hrs Eastern)


We should know whether the burn started successfully at around 1041 hrs Eastern
The start of the @HopeMarsMission burn is confirmed—the spacecraft will now attempt to slow itself from ~120,000 kmh to ~18,000 kmh

So far, data from the spacecraft indicate that the burn is going as planned, and the spacecraft is healthy.

The burn will last for ~27 minutes

The @HopeMarsMission MOI burn should have ended by now.

We'll know how it went by around 1108 hrs Eastern.
Confirmation that the burn is complete!



This is an *incredible* achievement—about half of all missions launched to Mars have historically failed, and the UAE is now only the fifth nation/entity to successfully get a spacecraft into orbit around Mars!


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More from @ThePlanetaryGuy

9 Feb
Lawyer reassures judge that he is, in fact, not a cat.
The cat's panicked expression
"Meow what's the problem, Your Honor?"
Read 4 tweets
29 Jan
Normalise backing off from things when you realise you're overcommitted/out of spoons—a short, personal 🧵

Yesterday, I let the organisers of an upcoming conference know that I was withdrawing my abstract.

I really didn't want to do this.

But I realised that I had way too much on my plate to get my presentation done.

Bad planning? Maybe. But a bunch of new stuff arose between the abstract and now.

So after thinking long and hard about it, and prioritising what I absolutely *have* to do, I made the call.

The folks running the meeting were very understanding, and I'll certainly *attend* the conference and will contribute as I can.

I feel bad for dropping this ball—it's the first time I've ever done this.

But I also feel *much* more relieved.

Read 5 tweets
8 Dec 20
I don't know who needs to hear this, but planets are basically just big chemical processing engines Image
(Could be that no one needs to hear this. That's OK.)
I mean, it's not just the interior—though that's a huge part of it. Turn a chondritic asteroid into a silicate crust and an iron core. But the atmosphere gets processed, the mantle itself, and there's lots of interaction there especially if volatiles get recycled.
Read 5 tweets
18 Sep 20
OK, buckle up, kiddos—here's a 🧵 on our new Geology paper about the enigmatic tesserae on #Venus, and what our new results mean for our understanding of the Hell Planet

Here we go!
First off: what *are* the tesserae (sing. "tessera")?

In short: dunno! Ha.

The longer answer is that they're very heavily tectonically deformed rocks, and where they're found they're the oldest things around: everything else is on top of them.

Here's what they look like:
Lots of work has focused on the tesserae since they were discovered in the 1980s (and named by Russian scientists for parquet flooring!).

We've found lines in several tessera units that curve in such a way that they seem to follow topography. And that's a bit... unexpected.
Read 16 tweets
16 Sep 20
Things have quietened enough that I'm going to share my thoughts about the detection of #phosphine on #Venus announced yesterday.

In short: this is a BIG fucking deal. And here's why:

(a 🧵)
Phosphine (PH₃) is a fairly rare gas. It forms in giant planets, like #Jupiter, because of the extreme conditions inside them (and because of their hydrogen-rich atmospheres). Neither condition applies to Venus.

PH₃ is also produced by biological activity.
As a result, it's thought to be a useful thing to look for in the atmospheres of #exoplanets that might be habitable.

But nobody expected to find it in the atmosphere of Venus—a world the team led by Prof. Greaves (@jgreaves6) used to test their detection methods.
Read 12 tweets
18 May 20
At 8:32 am Pacific time, May 18, 1980, it happened.

#MountStHelens exploded, producing the largest landslide ever recorded, sending a tower of rock and ash 19 km into the stratosphere, and killing 57.

I've added the Empire State Building to this image for scale.

A thread:
A shallow earthquake caused the entire northern flank of the volcano to slide. The reduced pressure allowed a huge "cryptodome" of hot, pressurised magma inside the volcano to explode—creating a lateral blast that flattened trees for tens of kilometres.
The eruption blasted fragments of volcanic rock and glass, powered by superheated gases, into a huge column (a Plinian eruption) that reached 19 km into the atmosphere; ash blanketed towns 400 km, and some even landed in the Great Plains, 1,500 km away.
Read 8 tweets

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