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Watch NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and two cosmonauts launch into space tonight

Four years after her first flight to the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins will return to space today (Oct. 14). 

Today at 1:45 am EDT (0545 GMT), Expedition 64 astronaut Rubins will fly to the space station aboard Russia’s Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft, launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan along with cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. Soon after her arrival at the station, Rubins will welcome a SpaceX crew aboard and celebrate space station history.

You can watch Rubins and her crewmates launch live here and on the Space.com homepage, courtesy of NASA TV. Launch coverage will begin at 12:45 a.m. EDT (0445 GMT).

Related: NASA astronaut Kate Rubins will vote from space

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins (left) and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov (center) and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov (right) of Roscosmos pose for a photo while in quarantine on Oct. 13, 2020 ahead of their Oct. 14, 2020 flight to the International Space Station.   (Image credit: NASA/GCTC/Andrey Shelepin)

“I’m starting to get excited,” Rubins told Space.com ahead of the upcoming flight. “We just finished our final exams before spaceflight, and it’s a little bit hard to think about anything except for the exams when you’re getting ready for them.”

But, she added, “now that we’re through those, I’m really looking forward to launch and to getting back up into space.”

Rubins’ launch could mark the last time that a NASA astronaut flies to space aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket, as crewed commercial launch capabilities from the United States are growing rapidly. This past May, for example, SpaceX launched its crewed Demo-2 mission, which sent two NASA astronauts to the space station aboard the company’s Crew Dragon vehicle. SpaceX’s first fully operational crewed mission, Crew-1, will launch four astronauts this fall, and Rubins will be on the space station to welcome those spaceflyers aboard. 

“I think I think it’s incredibly exciting,” Rubins said. “I’m really looking forward to welcoming the first operational commercial crew vehicle to station, not just because it represents such a milestone in commercial crew, but I have some really good friends in that vehicle. So I can’t wait to see them come across the hatch.” 

“I think we’re gonna always have this incredible partnership; we have international partners all over the world,” she added. “The [NASA] Commercial Crew Program just allows us to have more presence on the space station, but it doesn’t mean an end to the partnership. So we’re constantly going to be working with our partners all around the world. That’s one of the strengths of the space station.”

In addition to possibly being the last NASA astronaut to ride a Soyuz to space, Rubins will also be a part of space station history as, during her stay, the orbiting lab will celebrate its 20th anniversary of having a continuous human presence. Rubins will also vote from space, as could the NASA astronauts launching with Crew-1. (Crew-1 will lift off no sooner than “early to mid-November,” according to NASA officials.) 

Science

NASA and eight nations sign Artemis Accords for moon exploration

Artemis Accords NASA

Among other things, the accords provide a legal framework for exploring the moon, Mars, comets and asteroids.


NASA

NASA has signed a space exploration cooperation agreement with eight nations. The Artemis Accords, signed Tuesday by space agencies in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg and the United Arab Emirates, is aimed at creating “a safe, peaceful and prosperous future in space for all of humanity.”

The Artemis program should see NASA send the first woman and the next man to the moon in 2024.

“Artemis will be the broadest and most diverse international human space exploration program in history, and the Artemis Accords are the vehicle that will establish this singular global coalition,” said Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator.

The Artemis Accords, announced in May, provide a legal framework for exploring the moon, Mars, comets and asteroids, as well as releasing scientific data, registering space objects and “preserving outer space heritage.” The space agencies have also committed to peaceful exploration, transparency, providing emergency assistance to those in distress and “preventing harmful interference.”

More nations are set to join the Artemis Accords in future, NASA said.

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Eileen Briamonte for Holmdel Board of Education

HOLMDEL, NJ – Three seats are up for grabs on the Holmdel Township Board of Education, according to the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office.

Current board members Eileen Briamonte, Jamie Collins and Peter Reddy will be seeking to retain their spots on the board, challenged by newcomers Zhenling “Linda” Zhang and Irfan Lateef.

Related: Election 2020: Who’s Running For School Board In Holmdel?

Briamonte was first appointed to the Holmdel Board of Education in 2016 for a one year term. She was re-elected in 2017 for a three-year term. She has been a Holmdel resident for 20 years alongside her husband Chris. The pair have two daughters at Holmdel High School.

Briamonte holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Villanova University. She has been a private tutor for SSAT, SAT and ACT for 12 years, with prior experience as a computer analyst.

“We came to Holmdel because we had multiple relatives raising families here and we saw how great those kids were growing up,” Briamonte told Patch. “We knew that Holmdel Schools provided a foundation for their successes.”

Are you running for a spot on the board of education? Contact Nicole Rosenthal at nicole.rosenthal@patch.com for information on being featured in a candidate profile and submitting campaign announcements to Patch.

Why are you seeking a seat on the school board:

I am seeking re-election because we need experienced leadership to continue moving the district forward. Although the referendum is close to the finish line, the school board still needs people who have been actively involved to see it through to completion. Over the summer, I advocated for securing the services of a seasoned professional to serve as interim superintendent, understanding we needed a person with depth of experience so that we could successfully reopen schools. Now there is an excitement around the district with Dr. Seitz, and I look forward to our continued collaboration with him as we plan for more in person instruction. I am inspired by the great things that will come from the culmination of renovated buildings, new educational spaces, extraordinary new courses, new sports facilities and renovated artistic spaces. There is always more work to be accomplished, and goals to be set, and I’m prepared and ready for the ongoing challenges.

The single most pressing issue facing our school district is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it:

The Board will conduct a search for a permanent Superintendent (as an interim can only serve for 2 years) shortly. The position where the Board has the most influence is the selection of the Superintendent. This election is important because those individuals elected will be involved in the process to identify the next Superintendent. The type of foresight needed for our Board can only be gained from direct experience. It is critical that this decision is made by those who are trusted and have the experience to make this decision in the most decisive and informed manner. My four years as a Board member provides

Saints WR Emmanuel Sanders had career-high 12 catches vs. Chargers

“Whew,” breathed New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to close out his postgame conference call. “I’m tired.”

That followed a 12-catch, 122-yard effort from Sanders to help his team defeat the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday night, 30-27. It’s a new personal high for Sanders in receptions, which he noted during his press conference. It’s also nearly as many completions as he had in the previous four games combined (14).

He’s come close several times, catching 11 passes three different times — most recently in a 2019 game against the Chicago Bears, gaining 98 yards as a member of the Denver Broncos. His previous 11-catch outings came in 2014 (picking up 149 yards) and 2016 (100 yards even).

From a pure yardage standpoint, this was the ninth-highest total in Sanders’ career. It’s the most receiving yards Sanders has gained in a game since last year’s matchup against the Saints as a member of the San Francisco 49ers, ironically.

Talk about a vintage performance for the 33-year old. He and Drew Brees are in sync as well as any quarterback-receiver duo could hope to be.

And that bodes well for the offense once Michael Thomas is back in the lineup, after serving his one-game suspension. The Saints have a week of rest ahead of them during the bye, and then they’re onto Week 7’s matchup with the Carolina Panthers’ vulnerable secondary. If Sanders can keep this momentum going, there’s no telling what sort of heights he could reach.

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C.J. Anderson Comes Full Circle Back to Berkeley After NFL Career

C.J. Anderson is accustomed to starting at the bottom and working his way to a prominent position. He did it as a running back at Cal, then as an undrafted player who eventually scored a touchdown in a Super Bowl victory.

And now that his seven-year professional playing career is over, the 29-year-old Vallejo native is taking the next step in his football journey as a voluntary coach on Cal’s offensive staff.

Anderson, who retired from the NFL last month, hinted on social media that a coaching assignment was in his immediate future.

Asked by a fan a couple weeks back about becoming an NFL assistant, Anderson wrote on Twitter: “I want to coach a college team 1st. I’ve learned a lot from great players and coaches. I’m excited for my opportunity to grow and get my own program one day. If a NFL team calls about running them I’ll be ready.”

Turns out that first coaching opportunity comes at his alma mater, where in 2011 and ’12 Anderson rushed for 1,135 yards and 12 touchdowns.

C.J. Anderson fends off a Chargers would-be tackler.
Photo by Mark J. Rebelias, USA Today

“C.J.’s going to join us in a voluntary position, off the field, to support our offense and the football staff as needed,” coach Justin Wilcox told reporters on Tuesday. “He can’t coach the players — there’s rules as to what he can and cannot do. But we’re excited to have him here.”

Bradrick Shaw said on a Sunday call with reporters that Anderson has been part of recent Zoom meetings with the running backs.

CJ Anderson is excited to be back at Cal as a volunteer offensive assistant coach

Anderson got his start at Jesse M. Bethel High in Vallejo, where he rushed for nearly 4,000 career yards. Mostly overlooked by college recruiters, he attended Laney College for two seasons, where he attained JC all-state honors as a sophomore in 2010 when he rushed for 1,644 yards.

Even after averaging 6.3 yards per carry as a senior at Cal, Anderson went undrafted in 2013. Instead, the Denver Broncos signed him as a free agent, and Anderson spent five seasons with the club.

He earned Pro Bowl honors in 2014 when he ran for 849 yards and scored eight touchdowns. He also helped the Broncos to Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium, rushing for 90 yards and scoring a TD in their 24-10 win win over the Carolina Panthers.

C.J. Anderson won a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos

Three years later he gained a carer-best 1,007 yards with the Broncos, after which Denver cut him. Carolina and the Raiders both signed him and he played portions of the 2018 campaign for both before each of those teams also cut him.

But Anderson never lost belief in his abilities and was signed by the Rams one week after the Raiders let him go.

He was an immediate smashing success on a team quarterbacked by ex-Cal star Jared Goff. Anderson rushed for 167 yards and a touchdown against Arizona just four days after signing, then had 132 yards and another TD in a regular-season ending win over the 49ers.

Anderson opened the playoffs with

Pluto’s Cthulhu mountains are covered in ice, but not like Earth

nh-cthulhusnowcapsfull

The methane-capped mountains of Pluto’s Cthulhu region. False color images, in purple, show methane across the region correlates with the snow caps.


NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Gazing at Pluto’s Cthulhu mountain range from space, you could mistake it for the Alps, Europe’s picturesque spine of rock dusted with snow. When NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft zipped past the dwarf planet in 2015, it imaged Cthulhu and the region’s dazzling, reflective spine of mountains, which ascend to almost half the height of Mount Everest. It’s cold on Pluto, way out at the edge of the solar system, and while peaks in Cthulhu may resemble the Alps, they’re not capped with snow. They’re frozen over with methane-rich ice.

Not the best place to go skiing, then.

A new study, published in the journal Nature on Tuesday, attempts to understand the mechanisms driving the formation of the Methane Alps, which has been something of a mystery. Some of the regions imaged by New Horizons showed features strikingly similar to those on Earth. Using high-resolution simulations, a team of planetary scientists have shown that looks can be deceiving — the methane-ice mountains are likely formed in the opposite way to the Alps’ snow-capped peaks.

On Earth, winds drive moist air up the side of mountains where cold temperatures cause water to condense and form snow which falls onto mountaintops. But that process is due to Earth’s atmospheric conditions. Pluto’s atmosphere is much thinner and even collapses as it moves from from the sun. And unlike Earth, temperature increases as you move upward in the atmosphere. The methane-ice can’t be explained by processes we understand down here. 

But by recapitulating Pluto’s climate and methane cycle in numerical simulations, the team were able to create a model that agreed with the observations from NASA’s New Horizons and other observations taken from Earth.

The new work suggests Pluto’s methane-ice peaks are like a Bizarro-Alps where everything is backward.

The thin atmosphere of Pluto is warmer than its surface and carries methane gas from the northern hemisphere to equatorial plains like the Cthulhu region. The air above these regions is rich with methane gas, which condenses at night across the entire area. But during the day, much of the frozen methane sublimates, turning from solid to gas. But in higher altitude terrains, like Cthulhu’s peaks, it persists during the day and slowly builds up over time. 

The team conclude that it’s remarkable to find two phenomena producing similar landscapes that are formed by such dissimilar processes. Understanding the methane cycle on Pluto, they suggest, might help explain other unique features of the dwarf planet’s surface. The Tartarus Dorsa mountains, photographed by New Horizons, are bizarrely textured, showing “intricate by puzzling patterns of blue-gray ridges and reddish material in between,” according to NASA. This “bladed” texture may be a result of methane condensation. 

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What’s the best play in Auburn vs. South Carolina?

I had another .500 week in Week 6, going 2-2. I nailed two underdog plays (Kansas State and East Carolina both won outright), but was way off in my two other picks — especially my under play in the Notre Dame vs. Florida State game. Yikes. 

At this point in the year, I have a respectable 15-13 record. I’ll take it. 

Compared to last week, Week 7 is looking a little less enticing from a quality standpoint. That’s other than the No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 2 Alabama game, of course. But there are still opportunities on the board at BetMGM — including four weeknight games. Two of those are highlighted below. 

(Note: All times ET, odds from BetMGM)

Coastal Carolina at No. 21 Louisiana

Time: 7:30 p.m. (Wednesday) | TV: ESPN | Line: UL -7.5 | Total: 58.5

I had this game in my picks last week before it was postponed from Saturday to Wednesday due to Hurricane Delta. Last week I liked Coastal Carolina at +7, and I like CCU even more with the hook. 

CCU is averaging 44.3 points per game after trouncing Arkansas State 52-23 in its most recent game. Louisiana opened the season with a road win over Iowa State but has won its last two games by a combined five points against two subpar Sun Belt opponents, failing to cover the spread both times. CCU is 5-1 against the spread in its last six games as a road underdog. Let’s make it 6-1. 

Pick: Coastal Carolina +7.5

No. 14 BYU at Houston

Time: 9:30 p.m. (Friday) | TV: ESPN | Line: BYU -3.5 | Total: 63

BYU is off to a 4-0 start, but last week’s 27-20 win over UTSA was the first time this year it didn’t thoroughly dominate its opponent. Perhaps it was because the Cougars were looking ahead to this game against Houston. Houston, after several false starts due to COVID-19 issues with its opponents, finally opened its season last week with a 49-31 win over Tulane. 

BYU doesn’t have many high-profile matchups this year, so I like Kalani Sitake’s team to come out swinging and refocused on Friday night in a primetime matchup. BYU QB Zach Wilson should be able to have plenty of success through the air, and I think Houston will have a tough time protecting turnover-prone QB Clayton Tune. 

Pick: BYU -3.5

Gallery: College football Week 6: Picks and preview (Yardbarker)

No. 15 Auburn at South Carolina

Time: Noon | TV: ESPN | Line: Auburn -3.5 | Total: 50.5

The natural inclination here with these two programs is to lean toward the under. But I think this could end up being a fairly high-scoring game. Auburn has been nasty on defense in recent years, but not so far this year. Just last week, the Tigers allowed 437 yards to Arkansas in a game they barely won. South Carolina has been able to move the ball fairly well with transfer Collin Hill at quarterback. On the other

Japan, UK, Australia, Italy, UAE among nations signing U.S. Artemis Accords on moon exploration

In an interview ahead of the announcement, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said the accords are “intended to create norms of behavior that all countries can agree to so that we can keep peace and prosperity moving forward in space and avoid any kind of confusion or ambiguity that can result in conflict.”

He said the accords, first announced in May, would build on the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which bans the use of nuclear weapons in space and prohibits nations from laying sovereign claim to the moon or other celestial bodies.

“There is nothing in the Artemis Accords that isn’t enshrined in the Outer Space Treaty,” Bridenstine said. “It’s a forcing function to get nations to comply with the Outer Space Treaty.”

The seven nations that signed are the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates and Italy. It’s a somewhat eclectic mix, with countries like Japan, that have long been partners on the International Space Station, joining others, such as Australia and the UAE, that have relatively new but up and coming space programs. Bridenstine said the event Tuesday was only the beginning and that other nations would soon be joining. Ultimately, he said, the U.S. would create “the biggest, most diverse coalition of nations ever in the exploration of the moon and beyond.”

Signing the accords would also be a requirement for any nation wishing to partner with the U.S. in its Artemis program to return astronauts to the surface of the moon. But not all nations have reacted favorably to the agreements, or the lunar plan.

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, previously compared the accords to an invasion that would lead to another “Iraq or Afghanistan.” On Monday, during the International Astronautical Congress, a global space conference, he said Russia was not likely to participate in NASA’s moon mission, which he said was “too U.S.-centric.”

He said NASA’s approach to lunar exploration, which would use a station in orbit around the moon called the Gateway, differs from the cooperation between nations on the International Space Station.

“The most important thing here would be to base this program on the principles of international cooperation that, which were used in order to fly ISS,” he said, speaking through a translator. “If we could get back to considering making these principles as the foundation of the program then Roscomos would also consider its participation.”

Bridenstine said “the Gateway uses the exact same international agreement, the IGA, that the International Space Station uses.” He added that NASA has “shared with with Roscosmos what we would like to do with the Gateway in terms of collaborating with them and seeing what they’re interested is, and we just haven’t heard back.”

By law, the United States is effectively barred from cooperating with China in space. But NASA officials said that even if Russia and China are not signatories, the accords would be successful because they would create a baseline for the world to follow.

“Precedent

Ole Miss vs. Alabama the Most-Watched College Football Game of 2020

This Ole Miss vs. Alabama game keeps setting records.

On Saturday, the matchup featured the most ever total points and yards in an SEC, regulation meeting. It’s now the most watched game of the entire season.

According to an ESPN press release, the Ole Miss vs. Alabama game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium this past weekend drew 4.9-million fans. That makes it the most watched game of the season, regardless of network and the most-viewed Alabama game on the ESPN family of networks in nearly three years.

Only five college football games this season have drawn viewership numbers north of four-million viewers. The second most-watched game of the year was last week’s Texas A&M and Alabama game, which drew 4.76-million viewers. 

Really, networks have been loving the return of the Southeastern Conference to play. Over the course of the three weeks before the SEC came back, the average top-weekly game was pulling in just around 3.3-million viewers, and only five games on the whole year before the SEC’s return cracked that three-million plateau.

Now, with the SEC’s return, networks can count on about two games per week drawing north of 4-million. 

More From The Grove Report:

Is It Possible to Fix the Ole Miss Defense This Year? “I Hope So”

The Grove Report’s Week 4 SEC Power Rankings

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16 Amazing Winners Of Wildlife Photographer Of The Year, In Photos

‘A welcome embrace,’ a rare glimpse of a Siberian tigress hugging a tree has won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020 competition, #WPY56.

The moving image by Russian photographer Sergey Gorshkov shows an Amur tigress hugging an ancient Manchurian fir tree at the Land of the Leopard National Park in Russian Far East.

Amur, or Siberian, tigers are found only in this region and it took more than 11 months for the photographer to capture this moment with hidden cameras. The race – regarded as the same subspecies as the Bengal tiger – counts only a small number surviving over the border in China and possibly a few in North Korea.

“The announcement was made by Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of the Museum, during an online awards ceremony live-streamed from the Natural History Museum, London, on 13 October,” the organizers said.

The chair of the judging panel, renowned writer and editor Rosamund ‘Roz’ Kidman Cox, praises the photo as “a scene like no other, a unique glimpse of an intimate moment deep in a magical forest. Shafts of low winter sun highlight the ancient fir tree and the coat of the huge tigress as she grips the trunk in obvious ecstasy and inhales the scent of tiger on resin, leaving her own mark as her message. It’s also a story told in glorious color and texture of the comeback of the Amur tiger, a symbol of the Russian wilderness.”

MORE FROM FORBESWildlife Photographer Of The Year: 16 Stunning Shortlisted, Highly-Commended Images

“Hunted to the verge of extinction in the past century,” explained jury member Dr. Tim Littlewood, Executive Director of Science at the Natural History Museum, “the Amur population is still threatened by poaching and logging today. The remarkable sight of the tigress immersed in her natural environment offers us hope, as recent reports suggest numbers are growing from dedicated conservation efforts.

Through the unique emotive power of photography, we are reminded of the beauty of the natural world and our shared responsibility to protect it.”

Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020

Liina Heikkinen was awarded the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020 for her dramatic image, ‘The fox that got the goose.’

With feathers flying, the young fox is