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Inside Space (Sep 11th, 2019)

2. A launchpad fire forced Japan to postpone the launch of an H-2B rocket loaded with cargo for the International Space Station. The fire at the Tanegashima Space Center occurred during the final countdown. It took firefighters about two hours to extinguish the flames. The rocket was set to transport an HTV capsule loaded with 8,326 pounds (3,777 kg) of equipment, experiments and provisions for the ISS, including six lithium-ion batteries to upgrade the station's external power modules. NASA said that the delay won't affect the six-person crew aboard the ISS because the station is well supplied. The Mitsubishi Heavy Industries H-2B rocket has a flawless record, having successfully transported seven cargo vessels to the ISS since 2009. The Japanese space agency JAXA is investigating the cause of the fire. – CBS

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3. Startup Made in Space plans to manufacture fiber optic cable aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The company will be producing ZBLAN, a type of glass with high conductive properties that is hard to manufacture on Earth. Made in Space has already sent a ZBLAN experiment to the ISS and now plans to send a bigger facility. Despite the high costs of sending the raw materials to the ISS, the CEO of Made in Space, Andrew Rush, said it will be a profitable business because a kilogram of raw material can produce thousands of meters of ZBLAN, and each meter sells for more than $100. – WIRED

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4. According to a regulatory filing, SpaceX plans to fly the Mk1 Starship prototype to an altitude of 12.5 miles. Engineers are working around the clock to have the new prototype ready by September 28, when CEO Elon Musk will give the media an update on the development of the Starship. Musk has indicated that the inaugural flight of the Mk1 could take place in October. SpaceX flew a smaller prototype called the Starhopper to an altitude of about 500 feet last month. – TESLARATI

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5. All comets may share a common origin, a new study says. For their research, a team of astronomers at Leiden University, in the Netherlands, used models to study the chemical composition of fourteen well-known comets and found that they all originated from the same time and place in the solar system. At that time, the sun was encircled by a planetary disk and the planets were still forming. The models suggest that comets formed relatively away from the young sun in an area that was so cold that all molecules there turned into ice – comets are composed of ice, dust and small rock-like particles. – FUTURISM

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6. Astronomers have detected water vapor in an exoplanet within the habitable zone of its host star. According to a new study, K2-18b could host clouds that rain liquid water. Although liquid water is essential to life on Earth, astronomers think that K2-18b is unlikely to host life because its atmosphere is too thick and its core may be partially made up of water ice. K2-18b is about nine times as massive as planet Earth and is 111 light-years away. The study, which is based on observations made with the Hubble Space Telescope, was mainly founded by NASA. – THE VERGE

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7. Six "cavenauts" will venture into a cave in Slovenia for a six-day training exercise this month. The team includes ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, NASA astronauts Joe Acaba and Jeanette Epps, Roscosmos’ cosmonaut Nikolai Chub, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Josh Kutryk and Japan’s Takuya Onishi. During the exercise, they will carry out a dozen experiments and will search for water and living organisms. The exercise will equip participants with the necessary skills to explore "uncharted terrains on the Moon and Mars," ESA said. – ESA

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8. Over the next few days, researchers from around the world will discuss strategies to mitigate the risks of a potential asteroid impact. This week, at a workshop in Rome, NASA and ESA personnel will talk about the DART and Hera missions, while experts from both agencies will meet in Munich to discuss future responses to asteroid risks. During the third meeting, in the German city of Darmstadt, ESA experts will meet with the representatives of civil protection agencies from six countries to discuss emergency responses to a potential asteroid impact. ESA estimates that there are 878 asteroids with a "non zero chance" of hitting Earth over the next 100 years. – SPACE DAILY

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9. Is Earth's magnetic field reversing? In this 14-minute video, PBS host Matt O'Dowd explains how the magnetic field protects our planet from deadly space radiation and what would happen if it weakens and flips upside down – which has happened many times in our planet's history. – PBS

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10. Image of the Day: This image of the aftermath of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center was captured by the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) Landsat 7 satellite. 

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Written and curated by Eduardo Garcia in New York. Eduardo is a graduate of the Columbia Journalism School M.A. Science program and writes regularly for the New York Times Climate Fwd: newsletter. In one of his previous lives, Eduardo worked as a Reuters correspondent in Latin America for nearly a decade. 

Editor:  David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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