Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2018

West Antarctic Ice Sheet warming rapidly

As per a new study, the western part of Antarctica is experiencing nearly twice as much warming as previously thought. The temperature record from Byrd Station, a scientific outpost in the center of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), recorded a marked increase of 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit (2.4 degrees Celsius) in average annual temperature since 1958 — that is, three times faster than the average temperature rise around the globe. This finding places West Antarctica among the fastest-warming regions on Earth.

Its melting currently contributes 0.3 mm to sea level rise each year — second to Greenland, whose contribution to sea level rise has been estimated as high as 0.7 mm per year.

What is Byrd Station?

It is an important scientific outpost in the center of the WAIS which is the indicator of climate change throughout the region. It is located some 700 miles from the South Pole and near the center of the WAIS.

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NASA to transform asteroid into space station

For the first time in history of space endeavors, a celestial object would be moved by humans.

NASA scientists are planning to capture a 500,000 kg asteroid, relocate it and turn it into a space station for astronauts to refuel at on their way to Mars.

An allocation $2.6 billion will be considered by the White House’s Office of Science and technology as it prepares to set its space exploration agenda for the next decade.

How this would be achieved?

  1. imageAn old Atlas V rocket will be used to attach and ‘asteroid capture  capsule’.
  2. It will then be launched towards the asteroid b/w the Earth and the Moon.
  3. On reaching closer, the asteroid capsule would release a 50 ft diameter bag that would wrap around the spinning rock using drawstrings.
  4. The craft would then turn on its thrusters to stop the asteroid in its tracks and tow it into a gravitationally neutral spot.
  5. Now, from here space explorers would have a stationary base from which to launch trips deeper into space in future.
  6. It would also be possible to mine other asteroids for their metals and minerals.

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