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Some remarkable happenings and discoveries of 2023

INGENUITY TAKES TO THE AIR IN RECORD TIME

Being the solitary helicopter on Mars, only its own records are available to break for NASA’s Ingenuity chopper, but that it continues to break them is a testimony to the longevity of what was and still is a mere experimental mission. On 16th September, Ingenuity executed its 59th flight, which became the longest flight of its mission till then, hovering over one particular spot for 142.59 seconds. It later on matched this duration during flight 63 on Oct. 19, in the course of which it also flew across land for 579 meters (the third largest distance it had ever covered in one flight)

NASA CONFIRMS THE HOTTEST SUMMER ON RECORD

Some records are unwelcome unequivocally. GISS (Goddard Institute of Space Studies) of NASA in New York confirmed that the 2023 Northern Hemisphere summer was its warmest since its temperature records began in 1880, a probable consequence of human-caused global warming together with the effect of El Niño, which helped raise sea temperatures. GISS scientists match global temperatures by relating them to the average summer temperatures from 1950 to 1980. They have found that June, July and August combined were on average 0.23 degrees Celsius warmer compared to the 1950–1980 average.

ANTARCTIC SEA ICE HITS RECORD LOW

There was some more depressing climate news this year. A combined study by NASA and the NSIDC (National Snow and Ice Data Center) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, has found out that the amount of sea ice in Antarctic waters reached a record low. In the Arctic, things were not much different. Using satellite data scientists discovered that on Sept. 10 Antarctic sea ice coverage of the continent was the lowest it’s ever been. Similar was the situation in Arctic too but it was not record low.

ASTRONAUT BREAKS NASA RECORD FOR TIME SPENT IN SPACE

NASA astronaut Frank Rubio unconsciously made history in 2023 by becoming the very first American to stay in space for full year on board the International Space Station (ISS). Rubio took off along with cosmonauts Dmitri Petelin and Sergey Prokopyev, joining Expedition 67. The trio were to return to Earth after spending six months in space, but a coolant leak in their Soyuz capsule caused an extended stay on the ISS of over a year. The trio finally came back to the Earth, landing in Kazakhstan on 27th September 2023 after staying in space for 371 days.

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