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Current Events

These current events will be updated prior to each MAWG Wing Staff meeting (normally held first Wednesday of the month). Please feel free to use them at your own units, and forward any interesting current events you might have to me to include here.

The following are current events for the March 2021 staff meeting:

Rolls-Royce tests jet engine which runs on sustainable fuel: The Rolls-Royce company modified an engine that will be used on the new Gulfstream G700 bizjet to be able to run on 100% sustainable fuel. It recently successfully completed tests on the engine. Currently, the SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) certification is limited to at most 50% sustainable fuel (the rest being jet fuel). Aircraft using a 100% sustainable fuel would reduce CO2 emissions by 75%, so there’s a definite need for this type of engine.


Anti-matter stars circling the Milky Way? No, this isn’t something out of Star Trek; astronomers believe there may be a cluster of “anti-stars” which are orbiting our galaxy, shedding anti-matter. Anti-matter particles are rare, but scientists believe that we may be able to detect these particles on Earth that the anti-stars are ejecting. Next step: find dilithium crystals and build a warp engine!


The Sun used to be more active: It turns out that tree rings not only can provide a historical record of the Earth’s environmental past, but it can also (indirectly) show us the Sun’s environmental past. The scientists studied tree rings dating back over 1000 years; when the Sun is active, it emits energetic particles which Although the Sun has an 11-year pattern of activity in which the number of sunspots increases and decreases, it appears the Sun was much more active in the past. 


Water and chlorine in the Martian atmosphere: A joint ESA (European Space Agency) and Roscosmos (Russian space agency) mission to Mars has identified that during the Martian summer there is both water and chlorine present in the atmosphere. The chlorine is actually in the form of hydrochloric acid (HCl), which scientists believe is an indicator of geologic activity on Mars (like from volcanos), although it can be from salt (NaCl) interacting with water. The study of water in the atmosphere is important because once we know how it varies throughout different areas of Mars and over time, we can determine how much water there used to be on Mars.


Perseverance sends secret message back to Earth: When Perseverance was going through its “seven minutes of terror” prior to landing on Mars, in was also taking lots of pictures and video. One of the video was of the parachute opening, which showed an interesting pattern on the parachute. It turns out that was a message (written in the computer ASCII code) that read, “Dare Mighty Things” (and also contained the latitude and longitude of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory).

Air Force looking into a plane the opposite end of the spectrum from their usual aircraft: While most USAF fly fast and high, the newest plane, well, doesn’t. The USAF bought a reincarnated Piper Cub (CubCrafters XCub) that will have a LASH (Low Altitude Sensing Helmet) system installed. The plan is for the Cub to fly over a battlefield to help find and rescue military personnel in remote areas, possibly in those areas in which the military does not have air dominance. The low-and-slow Cub is an ideal platform for the LASH system, which can also be installed on other General Aviation aircraft.

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