HAMNET Report 19 May 2019

One of the strongest solar magnetic storms in recent years, which began early on 14 May and was forecast to continue through the evening, could have increased the possibility of spacecraft de-orbiting, and caused problems in satellite navigation and communication, the Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (LPI RAS) said.

“In accordance with the developed scale of magnetic storms, level three storms have a noticeable impact on technology, especially in space, including causing [space] vehicles to de-orbit and creating problems with maintaining their orientation”, the LPI RAS Laboratory of X-ray Astronomy of the Sun said in a statement.

The lab added that interruptions in satellite navigation and problems with low-frequency radio navigation, as well as interruptions in high-frequency radio communication were expected. In turn, Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos told Sputnik that it did not record changes in the work of Russian satellites [as a result of] the magnetic storm.

The most powerful geomagnetic storm seen in almost two years, caused by the solar activity, began on Tuesday morning, chief scientist of the Laboratory of Solar X-ray Astronomy of the Lebedev Physical Institute Sergey Bogachev told Sputnik.

“In comparison with the events of recent years, this is a major event. Over the past year and a half or two, this is the severest magnetic storm, an impressive event. This event forms aurora, and creates interference in radio communications”, Bogachev said.

According to the scientist, the geomagnetic storm can affect meteo-sensitive people too.

The storm began on Tuesday around 03h00 UTC and was expected to last through the evening, as this kind of event usually lasts up to ten hours. Normalisation of the Earth’s magnetic field was expected by the early hours of Wednesday.

Thanks to Space Daily for that report.

The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station team (ARISS) is pleased to announce that it has worked together with Hamvention again this year. Hamvention’s 2019 theme is “Mentoring the Next Generation”, and ends today the 19th..

ARISS’s mission is all about mentoring and inspiring. Tens of thousands of people have been touched by the programme: students, educators, community members, and new hams–all wanting to explore STEM and Amateur Radio through ARISS.

Hamvention’s support to ARISS began with approval for their first-ever ARISS Forum, held last Friday at 1:15pm local time. A group of speakers presented current and future lifelong learning activities for hams and students via ARISS SSTV, APRS, voice repeaters, radio experiments and robots.

Attendees heard about the next generation on-orbit hardware systems, updates on school activities, ARISS’s visionary initiative to fly ham radio on the human spaceflight lunar Gateway, how to maximize hams’ opportunities to make ARISS connections and listen to the ISS crew in home stations, and to meet special guests.

And that report came from the Southgate Amateur Radio News.

This week’s World Health Organisation report says that dementia affects around 50 million people globally with nearly 10 million new cases every year. Dementia is a major cause of disability and dependency among older people.

Here’s important advice for you: You can reduce your risk of dementia by getting regular exercise, not smoking, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, controlling your weight, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, according to new guidelines issued by WHO.

Strangely, there’s no mention of the important benefit to health of qualifying for and using an amateur radio licence. The authors must be chided for overlooking this important fact!

The dates fixed by NASA to return to the Moon are 2024, and 2033 to land on Mars, but, according to experts and industry insiders, reaching the Red Planet by 2033 is highly improbable, barring a Herculean effort on the scale of the Apollo programme in the 1960s.

“The Moon is the proving ground for our eventual mission to Mars,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said at a conference this week.

“The Moon is our path to get to Mars in the fastest, safest way possible. That’s why we go to the Moon.”

Amongst the psychological challenges facing the journey to Mars:

Well, from the design, manufacture, and testing of the rockets and spaceships required, to learning the best way to grow lettuce, all the groundwork remains to be done.

Just getting there will take six months at least, as opposed to three days to the Moon.

The whole mission could take two years, since Mars and the Earth are closest to each other every 26 months, a window of opportunity that must be taken.

Key tasks include finding a way to shield astronauts from prolonged exposure to solar and cosmic radiation, said Julie Robinson, NASA’s chief scientist for the International Space Station.

“A second is our food system,” she added. The current plant system ideas “are not packageable, portable or small enough to take to Mars.”

And then there’s the question of dealing with medical emergencies. Astronauts will need to be able to treat themselves in case of any accidents.

Techniques to exploit Martian resources to extract water, oxygen and fuel necessary for humans to live there don’t yet exist — and must be tested on the Moon by the end of this decade.

Finally there’s the most fundamental question: how will a group of people cope with the psychological stress of being totally isolated for two years?

It won’t be possible to communicate in real time with Houston mission control. Radio communications will take between four and 24 minutes between the planets, one-way. NASA plans to test out delayed-communication exercises on board the ISS in the coming years.

Artificial intelligence must also be developed to assist and guide the astronauts.

Thank you to Yahoo News for the report on this very formidable task awaiting NASA.

This is Dave Reece  ZS1DFR  reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.