Final Suit Checks and Reviews before Friday’s Spacewalk

ISS – Expedition 59 Mission patch.

March 21, 2019

Two Expedition 59 astronauts are checking their spacesuits today and reviewing procedures one final time before tomorrow’s spacewalk. The other four residents aboard the International Space Station assisted the spacewalkers, maintained the orbital lab and conducted space science.

NASA Flight Engineers Anne McClain and Nick Hague readied the Quest airlock today where they will begin the first spacewalk of 2019 Friday at 8:05 a.m. EDT. The spacewalkers will work outside for about 6.5 hours of battery upgrade work on the Port-4 truss structure. NASA TV begins its live spacewalk coverage at 6:30 a.m.

NASA experts discuss the upcoming power upgrade spacewalks

The duo also confirmed their U.S. spacesuits are ready for the excursion with all the necessary components, such as helmet lights and communications gear, installed. Afterward, Hague and McClain conducted one more spacewalk timeline review.

They then joined astronauts Christina Koch and David Saint-Jacques for a final conference with spacewalk experts in Mission Control. Both astronauts also charged and set up GoPro cameras before attaching them to the spacewalkers’ suit helmets.

Image above: NASA astronaut Anne McClain assists fellow NASA astronauts Christina Koch (left) and Nick Hague as they verify their U.S. spacesuits are sized correctly and fit properly ahead of a set of upcoming spacewalks. Image Credit: NASA.

Koch started her day cleaning ventilation screens in the Unity module and installing lights in the Permanent Multi-purpose Module. Saint-Jacques set up the AstroPi science education hardware in the Harmony module’s window then swapped fan cables in the Life Sciences Glovebox.

Commander Oleg Kononenko and fellow cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin spent the majority of their day in the station’s Russian segment. Kononenko and Ovchinin first collected and stowed their blood samples in a science freezer for a Russian metabolism experiment. Ovchinin then unpacked supplies from the recently arrived Soyuz MS-12 crew ship. Kononenko also worked on heart and radiation detection research before assisting the U.S. spacewalkers.

Related links:


Expedition 59:

Quest airlock:

Port-4 truss structure:

Unity module:

Permanent Multi-purpose Module:


Harmony module:

Life Sciences Glovebox:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Image (mentioned), Video (NASA), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.

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Jupiter Marble

NASA – JUNO Mission logo.

March 21, 2019

This striking view of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and turbulent southern hemisphere was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft as it performed a close pass of the gas giant planet.

Juno took the three images used to produce this color-enhanced view on Feb. 12, 2019, between 9:59 a.m. PST (12:59 p.m. EST) and 10:39 p.m. PST (1:39 p.m. EST), as the spacecraft performed its 17th science pass of Jupiter. At the time the images were taken, the spacecraft was between 16,700 miles (26,900 kilometers) and 59,300 miles (95,400 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops, above a southern latitude spanning from about 40 to 74 degrees.

Citizen scientist Kevin M. Gill created this image using data from the spacecraft’s JunoCam imager.

JunoCam’s raw images are available at for the public to peruse and process into image products.

More information about Juno is online at and

JUNO spacecraft orbiting Jupiter

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages JPL for NASA.

Image, Animation, Text, Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill.

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LHCb sees a new flavour of matter–antimatter asymmetry

CERN – European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

March 21, 2019

The LHCb collaboration has observed a phenomenon known as CP violation in the decays of a particle known as a D0 meson for the first time 

Image above: A CP-symmetry transformation swaps a particle with the mirror image of its antiparticle. The LHCb collaboration has observed a breakdown of this symmetry in the decays of the D0 meson (illustrated by the big sphere on the right) and its antimatter counterpart, the anti-D0 (big sphere on the left), into other particles (smaller spheres). The extent of the breakdown was deduced from the difference in the number of decays in each case (vertical bars, for illustration only) (Image: CERN).

The LHCb collaboration at CERN1 has seen, for the first time, the matter–antimatter asymmetry known as CP violation in a particle dubbed the D0 meson. The finding, presented today at the annual Rencontres de Moriond conference and in a dedicated CERN seminar, is sure to make it into the textbooks of particle physics.

“The result is a milestone in the history of particle physics. Ever since the discovery of the D meson more than 40 years ago, particle physicists have suspected that CP violation also occurs in this system, but it was only now, using essentially the full data sample collected by the experiment, that the LHCb collaboration has finally been able to observe the effect,” said CERN Director for Research and Computing, Eckhard Elsen.

The term CP refers to the transformation that swaps a particle with the mirror image of its antiparticle. The weak interactions of the Standard Model of particle physics are known to induce a difference in the behaviour of some particles and of their CP counterparts, an asymmetry known as CP violation. The effect was first observed in the 1960s at Brookhaven Laboratory in the US in particles called neutral K mesons, which contain a “strange quark”, and, in 2001, experiments at the SLAC laboratory in the US and the KEK laboratory in Japan also observed the phenomenon in neutral B mesons, which contain a “bottom quark”. These findings led to the attribution of two Nobel prizes in physics, one in 1980 and another in 2008.

CP violation is an essential feature of our universe, necessary to induce the processes that, following the Big Bang, established the abundance of matter over antimatter that we observe in the present-day universe. The size of CP violation observed so far in Standard Model interactions, however, is too small to account for the present-day matter–antimatter imbalance, suggesting the existence of additional as-yet-unknown sources of CP violation.

The D0 meson is made of a charm quark and an up antiquark. So far, CP violation has only been observed in particles containing a strange or a bottom quark. These observations have confirmed the pattern of CP violation described in the Standard Model by the so-called Cabibbo-Kobayashi-Maskawa (CKM) mixing matrix, which characterises how quarks of different types transform into each other via weak interactions. The deep origin of the CKM matrix, and the quest for additional sources and manifestations of CP violation, are among the big open questions of particle physics. The discovery of CP violation in the D0 meson is the first evidence of this asymmetry for the charm quark, adding new elements to the exploration of these questions.

To observe this CP asymmetry, the LHCb researchers used the full dataset delivered by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to the LHCb experiment between 2011 and 2018 to look for decays of the D0 meson and its antiparticle, the anti-D0, into either kaons or pions. “Looking for these two decay products in our unprecedented sample of D0 particles gave us the required sensitivity to measure the tiny amount of CP violation expected for such decays. Measuring the extent of the violation then boiled down to counting the D0 and anti-D0 decays and taking the difference,” explained Giovanni Passaleva, spokesperson for the LHCb collaboration.

The result has a statistical significance of 5.3 standard deviations, exceeding the threshold of 5 standard deviations used by particle physicists to claim a discovery. This measurement will stimulate renewed theoretical work to assess its impact on the CKM description of CP violation built into the Standard Model, and will open the window to the search for possible new sources of CP violation using charmed particles.


CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s leading laboratories for particle physics. The Organization is located on the French-Swiss border, with its headquarters in Geneva. Its Member States are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom. Cyprus, Serbia and Slovenia are Associate Member States in the pre-stage to Membership. India, Lithuania, Pakistan, Turkey and Ukraine are Associate Member States. The European Union, Japan, JINR, the Russian Federation, UNESCO and the United States of America currently have Observer status.

Related links:

Rencontres de Moriond:

CERN seminar:

Standard Model of particle physics:



LHCb paper:

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Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: CERN.

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