The Search for the Next Big Idea in Magnetic Field Mapping

In August of 1905, a strange ship set sail from San Francisco Bay. The wooden brig, called Galilee—also the name of the sea where Jesus, riding in a boat himself, once allegedly soothed a storm—had been retrofitted for a new job: The Carnegie Institution‘s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism wanted to sail it around the Pacific Ocean, to measure and map the planet’s magnetic field. That field matters, in part, for navigation. To get around using a compass, you have to know how far off magnetic north is from the static north on your map. And for that, you need a pretty precise idea of how this field drapes across the planet.

To that end, workers removed all the magnetic parts they could from Galilee, swapping, for instance, the steel rigging out for hemp rope, and constructing a new spot high above the ship’s iron bolts, where the scientific equipment would feel their effects less acutely. Galilee swashbuckled through the seawater until 1908, but its science was always stormy: The material alterations were never quite good enough.

“There was too much metal in the boat,” says Mike Paniccia of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. That agency, the NGA, is today in charge of distributing exactly the sort of magnetic-field information the Galilee sought. And it’s currently running a contest called MagQuest, whose final phase started on March 18, to find cool, novel ways to gather that data. The competition reaches out to universities, labs, and private companies, asking for their most innovative new ways to map magnetism.

Back in the early 20th century, the “innovative new way” was just to build a better mousetrap ship. So, soon, the Carnegie Institution constructed its own vessel from the waterline up—aptly named the Carnegie. It had almost no magnetic meddling. Its metal was limited mostly to copper and bronze, which don’t respond to the twists and turns of magnetism. The Carnegie sailed, sucking up data all the while, for 20 years. (Then it exploded during a refueling session—RIP).

You might wonder why, after making 20 years’ worth of magnet maps, people need more of them. It turns out that you can’t just one-and-done map Earth’s magnetic field, because it’s shifting all the time. One must redraw and redraw and redraw.

That perpetual updating was smoother sailing once airplanes could capture magnetic-field data. Today, the task largely falls (up) to satellites, whose readings feed into the World Magnetic Model, which the NGA releases every five years or so (sometimes sooner if the field is changing a lot). It’s part of a larger program called the World Geodetic System 1984, which also has models for gravity and geographic coordinates. Its mission, as Paniccia puts it, is “defining the Earth.” The majority of the magnetic data currently come from the European Space Agency’s Swarm satellites, with additional bytes from a ground-based system called Intermagnet.

Your ability to move about the world without getting lost actually depends on these measurements. Sure, GPS satellites tell us all where we are at any given moment, no matter how far into the woods we find ourselves. But there’s a hitch: GPS doesn’t know what direction you’re facing or moving. When you change direction, pointing your phone down the street till the arrow matches the block you want to head toward, you’re not just using GPS data; you’re also using your phone’s internal compass. Its matchup with your map depends on Earth’s magnetism. Your compass checks itself against the World Magnetic Model, lest it wreck itself and your car.

The model doesn’t just help you get from the office to Taco Bell: Ships and planes—civilian and military—also rely on it. “One of NGA’s biggest customers is the military,” says Paniccia. “If you’re sailing across the ocean in an aircraft carrier, it’s very important you know where you are and you’re not going into enemy territory.”

That requires information from the magnetic model, and hence uses data from the Swarm mission. Swarm uses satellites of the old-school sort: giant, expensive, full of lots of sensors measuring lots of different things, including but not limited to magnetism. “It was not launched for the purpose of collecting magnetic data,” says Paniccia. It’s currently funded through 2023 (and may get a life extension), but it won’t last forever, and it doesn’t belong to the US. So now is the time to start thinking about what a newer, better, potentially US-based mousetrap looks like.

“We’re looking for what’s the next best way to get the data,” says Paniccia. Is that small, specialized satellites? Tiny sensors on the ground? “That’s where this MagQuest idea comes from,” he continues. “Let’s open it up.” The agency staff want to see who—at a university, in a lab, or at a private company—has got a big idea.

When the agency opened the competition, officials weren’t sure anyone would have any ideas. “Our biggest worry when we started this was we’d get zero submissions. Or two,” says Paniccia. Instead, during the first phase, they got 40 competitors, all of whom sent in descriptions of the systems they’d like to construct.

The 10 winners of that phase each got $20,000—with no stipulations or earmarks, just cold cash. In the second phase, competitors had to drill down on the details of their instruments. They had to produce detailed designs and plans for how they would collect data, including what their sensor would be like, what platform it would be on, and how they would analyze the data. How would the system perform? What were its risks? And how might the team manage a future program? Based on those schemes, five winners split $1 million total.

Now, in the just-announced Phase III, innovators will bring their polar visions even closer to reality, vying for a $900,000 prize. The NGA isn’t under any obligation to buy the winning technology, or any magnetism-measuring technology, after the competition. But it may. “We have planted the seed that at some point in the future NGA is most likely going to put in a formal procurement for something,” says Paniccia. A winner of MagQuest would likely have a leg up in the quest for that hypothetical contract.

One of the teams, based at the University of Colorado Boulder, is planning to construct a small satellite: 10 centimeters wide and high, and 74 centimeters long, like a high-tech hot dog. That length isn’t for looks. The device that will measure the magnetic field—a magnetometer—will go on one end. The rest of the setup goes on the other end. That’s because the gear—like the metal on the long-gone boat—could mess up the magnetic measurements. Keeping the parts away from each other makes the data cleaner.

And keeping the whole apparatus small and uncomplicated—spacing out the instruments but not using a robotic arm to do so, for instance—is meant to appeal to NGA’s goal. Stuff that goes to space doesn’t live forever—radiation degrades it over time, for instance. So sometimes your best bet is to build clones that you can just keep launching. “If we’re going to have a solution that’s going to last for decades, we’re going to have to replace it,” says Boulder’s Bob Marshall, a professor at the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research and a leader of this MagQuest team. Small, simple satellites like this are inexpensive(ish). While it’s not trivial to send up reinforcements, it’s not nearly as costly as launching another Swarm.

Five other teams are also reaching for the MagQuest crown. The Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium is developing a network of 103 magnetic sensors that will live on land and on the seafloor. Stellar Solutions is working on mini-magnetism-measurers that could ride aboard already-planned satellite missions, as well as on the ground. Spire Global, Iota Technology, and SB Technologies are all working on their own small-satellite solutions.

The material in SB Technologies’ magnetometer makes it a little different from the traditional sort: It involves a diamond. “A specially-engineered diamond,” says Rachel Taylor, SB’s cofounder and chief operating officer. The diamond, because of natural impurities, is super-sensitive to magnetism, and its quantum properties change as it encounters different magnetic conditions. The device shoots a green laser into the diamond, which excites it and makes it glow red. The red light changes with the magnetism in a quantifiable way, which allows researchers to measure the magnetic field.

Such shiny, compressed carbon devices should work well in space: Diamonds don’t react that much to the extreme temperatures or radiation, they’re small, and they don’t draw a lot of power. And by the end of MagQuest’s Phase III, perhaps SB Technologies will convince the NGA that those positives make their magnetometer the best design. Or perhaps one of the other teams will win out.

That decision will come in September (pandemic willing). The most important quality in a candidate? “In an ideal, perfect world, whatever it is we land on is something that can get data—good data—for many, many years,” says Paniccia. “Something that’s easily replenished.”

After all, the US has been taking this sort of data since 1905. “I expect we’ll still be collecting it in 2105,” says Paniccia.

More Great WIRED Stories

Read More

A cruise liner with two coronavirus deaths and at least 12 infections just docked in Miami– have a look at how it wound up there


GettyImages 1209133145GettyImages 1209133145

Coral Princess cruise ship.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

  • The Coral Princess cruise liner, which has verified cases of COVID-19 aboard and two dead guests, docked in Miami.
  • The Princess Cruises ship was among a number of cruise liner stuck at sea seeking a port, and was turned away numerous times prior to reaching Miami.
  • The coronavirus has infected more than one million individuals around the globe, and the United States has the biggest reported outbreak.
  • Visit Company Expert’s homepage for more stories

The Coral Princess cruise liner, which has at least 12 people infected with COVID-19 onboard and two dead from the illness, docked in Miami on Saturday.

COVID-19, the coronavirus disease, closed down most of the cruise industry in March, however some ships were already at sea when the order came. Since March 31, Company Expert’s Mark Matousek reported that 10 ships were still cruising Cases of the infection spread quickly on other cruise ships from the Princess line. The Diamond Princess, which docked in Japan in February, had 700 cases of COVID-19 and 6 deaths as travelers were continued board. Likewise, the Grand Princess had an outbreak aboard its ship, and deboarded travelers were quarantined at a California military base.

Here’s how the Coral Princess ended up in Miami.

The Coral Princess left from Chile on March 5.

GettyImages 1209133087

Coral Princess cruise ship.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

Source: CNN

On March 12, Princess Cruises revealed a voluntary suspension of all cruises.

GettyImages 1209133156

Coral Princess cruise ship.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

It docked in Buenos Aires, Argentina on March 19 for what was expected to be completion of the journey.

GettyImages 1216797120

Coral Princess cruise liner.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

However already, coronavirus infections had actually spread around the world, and just travelers with Argentine passports were allowed to disembark.

GettyImages 1216797104

Coral Princess cruise liner.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

Still, no one aboard had yet tested positive for COVID-19

GettyImages 1209133086

Coral Princess cruise ship.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

The Coral Princess then picked up supplies in Uruguay on March 21.

GettyImages 1209137491

Coral Princess cruise liner.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

It was rejected permission to disembark in both Uruguay and Brazil.

GettyImages 1209133098

Coral Princess cruise liner.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

Source: Princess

After getting more products in Barbados, on March 31 Princess Cruises revealed a high number of individuals with “influenza-like signs,” and visitors were asked to self isolate in their spaces.

GettyImages 1216797693

Coral Princess cruise liner.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

Source: Princess

On April 2, 7 visitors and 5 crew members were verified to have COVID-19, for a total of 12 known infections on board.

GettyImages 1216797112

Coral Princess cruise liner.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

Loading Something is loading.

There were 1,020 travelers and 878 crew member on the chip.

GettyImages 1209133145

Coral Princess cruise ship.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

The ship then got consent to dock in Fort Lauderdale, however coast guard authorities then blocked the ship due to “an unacceptable risk of medical emergency situation due to the inherent and high probability of transmission of COVID-19 aboard.”

GettyImages 1209137476


Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

Source: The Guardian

By Friday night, 2 people had died onboard.

GettyImages 1216797106

Coral Princess cruise liner.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

Source: Orlando Sentinel

On April 4, the ship was finally permitted to dock at the Port of Miami, Florida.

GettyImages 1216801744

Coral Princess cruise ship.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

Visitors will start to disembark April 5, a process that Carnival says will take several days.

GettyImages 1216797082

Coral Princess cruise ship.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

Source: Princess

Any passengers or crew who are sick with breathing signs are needed to remain aboard up until cleared by medical professionals.

GettyImages 1216801442

Coral Princess cruise ship.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images).


cruise line

Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous/ next navigation options.

Learn More

CDC extends its “no sail order” for all cruise liner

The Centers for Illness Control and Avoidance extended a “no sail order” for all cruise ships.

The CDC made the statement Thursday saying the timeline was indefinite but would remain in place for a minimum of 100 days. In current weeks, at least 10 cruise liner reported crew or guests that tested favorable or knowledgeable respiratory signs or flu-like illness.

The United States Coast Guard and health authorities assisting– providing resources for individuals who are sick and keeping close communication with captains. There have to do with 100 cruise ships idling in the Atlantic, Pacific or Gulf Of Mexico, either in port or offshore.

Together, they have nearly 80,000 crew aboard. A few of those ships, from Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Lines, have actually docked in Jacksonville over the previous couple of weeks.

” The cruise market has actually certainly taken a hit during corona, however I’m confident we’ll return stronger than ever,” stated Scott Lara, a travel representative. “There will be changes, there might be reduced cruisings, but the cruise market will continue to be dynamic. Saudi Arabia recently invested in Carnival. So I feel financial the market is on good steady ground.”

The industry is losing billions of dollars and serious damage to some business’ credibilities, but Lara said cruise companies will weather this storm, while keeping travelers safe and healthy.

” The ship market is not only doubling efforts to keep ships tidy, but likewise working to education travelers and crew on staying safe,” Lara said.

Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.

About the Authors:

Read More

Launching the Hubble Space Telescope: ‘Our window into the universe’

In 1990 the Hubble Space Telescope was launched, putting into orbit one of the most remarkable scientific instruments that has ever existed.

But initially the mission ran into problems, including a flawed mirror that meant the first images from Hubble were blurry.

Nasa astronaut Kathryn Sullivan was one of the five crew members who launched the Hubble.

Witness History: The stories of our times told by the people who were there.

Read More

Cruise Ships Keep Cruising Regardless Of Coronavirus Break Out

Need help? Contact us

We’ve discovered unusual activity from your computer network

To continue, please click the box below to let us know you’re not a robot.

Why did this occur?

Please make sure your internet browser supports JavaScript and cookies and that you are not obstructing them from loading. For more details you can examine our Terms of Service and Cookie Policy

Need Help?

For questions connected to this message please contact our assistance group and offer the recommendation ID below.

Block reference ID:

Read More

Figuring Forward in an Uncertain Universe

Alleviations from the cosmic plan.

By Maria Popova

Figuring Forward in an Uncertain Universe

We make things and seed them into the world, never ever totally understanding– frequently never ever understanding at all– whom they will reach and how they will blossom in other hearts, how their significance will unfold in contexts we never pictured. (W.S. Merwin recorded this poignantly in the final lines of his gorgeous poem “Berryman.”)

Today I offer something a little apart from the typical, or sidelong rather, amid these unusual times: A number of days earlier, I received a moving note from a woman who had actually read Figuring and found herself revisiting the last page– it was helping her, she said, live through the terror and confusion of these uncertain times. I figured I ‘d share that page– which follows 544 others, tracing centuries of human loves and losses, trials and triumphs, that gave us some of the masterpieces of our civilization– in case it assists anyone else.

On the other hand, someplace in the world, somebody is having sex and another a poem. In other places in the universe, a star manyfold the mass of our third-rate sun is living out its final moments in a wild spin before collapsing into a black hole, its exhale bending spacetime itself into a well of nothingness that can swallow every atom that ever touched us and every datum we ever produced, every poem and statue and symphony we’ve ever known– an entropic spectacle insentient to concerns of blame and grace, without why

In 4 billion years, our own star will follow its fate, collapsing into a white dwarf.

However till that day comes, absolutely nothing as soon as produced ever completely leaves us.

I will die.

You will pass away.

The atoms that gathered for a cosmic blink around the shadow of a self will go back to the seas that made us.

What will make it through of us are shoreless seeds and stardust.

Learn More

1961 Chevrolet Corvette 327 4-Speed (Fuel Injected)

A traditional for Spring: The 1961 Chevrolet Corvette.

Fact be informed, I was never a giant fan of cars made from what is basically a formed bonded plastic– Fiberglass is for boats, not cars! They squeak, rattle, and creak like an old cruising ship. Years in the future, carbon fiber and Aluminum will do a much better job with less weight and higher tensile strength.

It does not matter.

About the 283 engine: The power output for the fuel-injected engine was 275 hp. The replacement 327 engine in this cars and truck was available in later years and makes 315 hp.

This car as of this writing is bid to $61 k; they can go for as much as $150 k

I was never a big Corvette-head– I appreciated them, and I truly like the brand-new one– but this one, produced in the year I was born, I would add to the stable of horses in the barn.

Source: Bring A Trailer

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Read More

Coronavirus cuts short Princess Cruises’ ‘Love Boat’ world cruise, ship heads to Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES — The “Love Boat,” caught up in the coronavirus pandemic, is coming to the port that made it famous.

The Pacific Princess, the next generation of the cruise ship that gained fame from the popular “Love Boat” television series in the 1970s and 1980s, is sailing to Honolulu and then on to Los Angeles, Princess Cruises said Wednesday.

The ship departed Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Jan. 5, for a 111-day, around-the-world cruise. Its voyage ended prematurely March 21 in Freemantle, Australia.

The ship is carrying only 115 passengers, ones who were unable to disembark in Freemantle because of medical or other fitness issues that prevented them from flying home with the others. Princess Cruises said their conditions are not connected with COVID-19.

More: Holland America passengers disembark cruise ships with coronavirus cases

More: Australia launches criminal investigation into coronavirus cruise ship deaths

More: If you sailed on these cruise ships, you may have been exposed to coronavirus

The cruise had been expected to visit 42 ports in 26 countries and not end until April 26, in Fort Lauderdale. The itinerary called for passage through the Panama Canal and, after visiting Los Angeles, going on to Hawaii, French Polynesia, New Zealand and Australia. Sailing westward, it then was headed to Asian destinations including Bali, Indonesia; Singapore; and Phuket, Thailand.

No. 3: Around the World Cruise. Guests aboard the 2020 Around the World Cruise with Princess Cruises get to explore five continents, 26 countries and 42 destinations on a 34,287-nautical mile journey aboard the Pacific Princess. Travelers can opt for the full 111-day experience, or come on for shorter segments.

No. 3: Around the World Cruise. Guests aboard the 2020 Around the World Cruise with Princess Cruises get to explore five continents, 26 countries and 42 destinations on a 34,287-nautical mile journey aboard the Pacific Princess. Travelers can opt for the full 111-day experience, or come on for shorter segments.

From there, the Pacific Princess had been slated to visit Sri Lanka, the Maldives and the Seychelles. It would then round Africa and sail directly to Brazil before working its way back to Florida. Fares started at $22,999.

The voyage ended abruptly with a U-turn after the visit to Australia.

Pacific Princess made a stop in Melbourne and is headed to Honolulu, Hawaii, where it is due to arrive next week. After that stop, it will steam to Los Angeles, a journey expected to take 21 days in total, the cruise line said. The original Pacific Princess was seen every week on the TV show at its berth in the Port of Los Angeles.

As of Sunday, Pacific Princess was the last of Princess Cruises’ 18 cruise ships still underway and in operation. The rest are scattered at ports around the world and are no longer going to sea with passengers.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus: ‘Love Boat’ cuts world cruise short, headed to Los Angeles

Read More

Clueless New Yorkers Gather To View USNS Convenience Arrive, Completely Missing The Point

While some New Yorkers have actually been separating themselves and following social distancing standards during the coronavirus pandemic, others in the city are being reckless relating to others’ welfare.

On Monday morning, the USNS Convenience shown up in New York City’s harbor.

The USNS Comfort seen cruising to New York Harbor from a NYS escort vessel.

The Comfort brings 1,000 much-needed medical facility beds & 1,200 workers to New york city. I’ll be in New York City to receive a briefing upon its arrival.

— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 30, 2020

Ahead of the ship’s arrival in the Hudson River, dozens of New Yorkers collected on Manhattan’s west side to see it arrive.

Images from Getty Images that were likewise published on social networks reveal crowds of people collected on Monday, the majority of whom are not keeping 6 feet of distance from others as advised by health specialists to restrict the spread of the infection.

so we’re just going to remain in quarantine forever huh

— web infant (@kirkpate) March 30, 2020

A crowd seen gathering to welcome US Navy hospital ship at New York City on March 30, 2020.
USNS Comfort arrived at Pier 90. It has a 1,000-bed capacity, which will be augmenting New York City hospitals.

COVID-19 is believed to spread in between people who are in close contact with one another, which the CDC determines as “within about six feet.” The disease can likewise transfer through respiratory droplets produced when a contaminated individual coughs or sneezes.

The ease of transmission is the reason that citizens of New york city state, which has ended up being the global center of the pandemic, are being directed to stay at home through April 15.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) also announced on Monday that New york city state now has more than 66,000 cases of the coronavirus.

Those in the crowd should have missed the paradox that they were putting themselves at higher risk of infection to see a ship that existed only since the city was struggling to include infections.

Stay at home. No Instagram post deserves your life.

Calling all HuffPost superfans!

Register for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter

Find Out More