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[ScienceTechnology] Remember That Weird 'Cube' on The Moon? Yutu-2 Finally Took Closer Pictures

 

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The Yutu-2 image of the ‘mysterious hut’. (CNSA/CLEP/Our Space)
The mysterious Chinese “moon cube” is no longer a mystery. The big reveal: it's a rock that doesn't even have the shape of a cube. National rover Yutu2  discovered the object - which appeared to be a gray cube looming above the lunar horizon - in early December. China's National Space Administration (CNSA) dubbed it the “mystery hut,” playfully speculating that the cube could be an alien house or a spaceship.
 The news called it the "moon cube".

 The CNSA estimated that the object was about 80 meters (262 feet) away, according to the blog  affiliated with the agency, and ready to point the rover towards it. The blog said it would take two or three months to reach the cube.
 After several weeks of preparation and driving, the rover is close enough to see that the "mystery hut" is just a rock. Its sharp geometric aspect on the horizon was a simple turn of perspective, light and shadow.

In an updated posted on Friday, Our Space published the rover's latest photo of its target, below.

moon cube-moon-nasa
Yutu-2 image of the closer rock. (CNSA/CLEP/Our Space)


One of the rover's ground controllers noted on the blog that the rock is shaped like a rabbit, with smaller rocks in front  that resemble a carrot. The rover's name, Yutu, means "jade rabbit," which is now also the name of the rock too.

Yutu2 reached the moon in January 2019, when the Chang'e4 lander landed on the lunar surface and launched a ramp for the rover's descent. It was the first mission to land on the opposite side of the moon. 

Over the next three years, Yutu2 traveled over 1,000 meters (3,200 feet), used ground-penetrating radar to reveal a surprisingly deep layer of lunar soil, and identified rocks in the lunar mantle, below the crust, which have been pushed to the surface. when an asteroid crashed into the moon billions of years ago.
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A closer look at the rock. (CNSA/CLEP/Our Space)


The rover has survived long past its initial three-month mission, meaning Yutu-2 had plenty free time for a wild cube chase.
Published:1/10/2022 8:35:59 AM
[Markets] CCP Extending "3 Warfares" Strategy Into Space: Expert CCP Extending "3 Warfares" Strategy Into Space: Expert

Authored by Andrew Thornebrooke via The Epoch Times,

A Chinese robot trundles about in the dust. It collects rock samples, measures chemical compounds, and observes craters never before seen by humankind. It’s beyond the reach of U.S. sensors. It’s beyond the rule of international laws and norms. It’s on a mission.

It’s on the dark side of the moon.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been operating Yutu-2 on the far side of Luna since 2019. Ostensibly part of the CCP’s lunar exploration program, rovers such as Yutu-2 are preparing the way for the construction of a new robotic research base on the moon. That base, in turn, will prepare the way for a crewed moon landing and a new lunar base managed jointly by China and Russia.

The exploration phase of this process, of which Yutu-2 is a part, is planned to extend through 2025 with six more missions conducted by China and Russia. Following that, construction on the base is expected to last until at least 2035, with full operational capacity being achieved by 2036.

The ambition piques the interest of scientists, ever hungry for new knowledge about Earth’s only moon. The secrecy shrouding the project, however, unnerves strategists who don’t see this little rover as merely one small step for mankind, but as one giant leap for Chinese military capabilities.

Indeed, some experts believe that Yutu-2’s lunar rock collection isn’t only a continuation of Sino–U.S. competition, but might actually provide the keys to victory in a future war.

Space Is a Warfighting Domain

Michael Listner is an attorney of a very peculiar sort. He specializes in space policy and has, for some years, led the publication of “The Précis,” a legal newsletter that examines the basis of space law and its ramifications for international policy in every field from business to national security.

He says the CCP is extending its “Three Warfares” strategy into space. This vast new frontier will be central to the regime’s campaigns of media aggrandizement, the subject of psychological warfare, and, vitally, the centerpiece of new legal battles that will reshape the international order as China seeks to claim the United States’ global hegemon status for its own.

The strategy, he said, is designed to undermine and perhaps defeat the enemy without firing a shot.

“Space is a warfighting domain,” Listner said. “It’s going to be part of the struggle and it’s going to be part of a future conflict.”

“They are fighting on all these fronts right now,” Listner added of the CCP’s three warfares strategy in space. “In fact, I really look at it as preparing the battlefield.”

That effort to shape the battlefield, central to any military, is particularly meaningful to Chinese military strategists who, since at least the fifth century B.C., have studied the writings of the eminent philosopher of war Sun Tzu, who argued that preparing the battlefield was the means of mastering the enemy.

As such, it’s feared that the Chinese regime will effectively ensure that should conflict break out, it has the strategic advantage by preparing a favorable legal landscape, positioning assets in orbit, and building alliances in its space operations.

The reason for the continuation of this effort on the moon is simple enough: America can’t work without space.

“The American dependence and reliance on space is almost absolute,” said Paul Crespo, president of the Center for American Defense Studies.

“From communications to banking to air and ground travel and GPS, our economy, society, and military cannot survive without U.S. space dominance.”

Crespo, a Marine veteran who served in the Defense Intelligence Agency, has spent years examining the CCP’s malign influence abroad and its efforts to degrade and undermine its adversaries through dual-use technologies and legal warfare.

Both Crespo and Listner fear that the moon will be China’s next “nine-dash line,” and that it will be used to bend the rule of law to the CCP’s advantage, just as it has in the South China Sea.

The Chinese regime claims about 85 percent of the disputed South China Sea demarcated by its nine-dash line, a claim that was rejected by a 2016 international tribunal. Several other countries also lay claim to parts of the waterway.

Despite the ruling, Beijing has built military outposts on artificial islands and reefs in the region, and deployed coast guard ships and Chinese fishing boats to intimidate foreign vessels, block access to waterways, and seize shoals and reefs.

Experts fear the CCP will use its moon and space infrastructure to similarly box out competition and control the happenings of the region, in violation of international laws and norms.

“The CCP has proven it has no respect for international law or norms, and is willing to bully, threaten, coerce and push its way into any place it deems vital to its strategic goals,” Crespo said.

“That’s crystal clear with its illegal expansion into, and claims on, most of the South China Sea.”

“This certainly will be even more true for China in space where the norms are far less established and codified.”

The United States’ response to CCP space adventurism has been mixed.

During the administration of President Donald Trump, the nation took a hardline stance and sought to outrace the CCP to the moon. Indeed, the Artemis Accords were initially designed to guide those nations that were to partake in the Artemis Program, a U.S.-led effort to establish a base on the moon.

Trump’s Space Policy Directive-1, likewise, sought to “lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities.”

To accommodate these ambitions, NASA attempted to step up its original goal of establishing a moon presence from 2028 to 2024. That date was quickly pushed back to 2025, however. Since then, NASA has changed course again, and slated 2025 as the earliest date for a U.S. flight around the moon, but which won’t land on the moon.

A Long March 5B rocket lifts off from the Wenchang launch site on China’s Hainan island on May 5, 2020. Another variant of the Long March rocket was used to get China’s hypersonic missile into orbit in July. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Usurping the Advantage

The moon race has the potential to revolutionize international relations more than any other facet of Sino–American competition. When it comes to dictating what the law is beyond the earth’s atmosphere, Crespo and Listner believe that who gets there first wins.

“It’s all really about great power competition,” Listner said.

“The general consensus about great power competition is who’s going to eventually make the rules in an international arena. In other words, who’s going to have the most influence in shaping what’s legal and what the worldview looks like in the next few decades.”

Listner described the struggle between the United States and China for influence in shaping the world and its norms as one of competing visions, in which two radically different ways of understanding and operating in the world are being pitted against one another.

That struggle, he said, is playing out in space.

“Right now, there are two competing visions,” Listner said.

“One is the Artemis Accords, which the Trump administration started.”

“The Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China countered with their own competing vision, called the International Lunar Research station.”

The Artemis Accords, Listner said, are a framework for international cooperation regarding the exploration and use of Luna, Mars, and other astronomical objects. The effort is based largely on the U.N. Outer Space Treaty of 1967, and seeks to affirm peaceful cooperation, promote interoperability, and register objects in space with uniform standards.

The Outer Space Treaty currently has 111 signatories, including China and Russia. The Artemis Accords, first signed in 2020, has 14 signatories; China and Russia didn’t sign, viewing the effort as a commercial agreement needlessly favorable to the United States.

The International Lunar Research Station, on the other hand, is the CCP and Russia’s effort to wrest international space leadership away from the United States’ NASA, and champion a new, Eurasian order.

Indeed, little Yutu-2 is just the first of seven exploratory missions planned by China and Russia, which will prepare the way for the construction of the base. That matters when the future of space dominance is on the line.

“It’s about the competing view of what the rule of law is going to be and who’s going to make the rules on the lunar surface and in exploiting space,” Listner said.

“Whoever gets there first and starts building will be the one who makes the rules.”

To that end, Crespo warned that the CCP is attempting to reforge space in its own image, undercutting the United States’ ability to sustain itself not only as a world superpower, but possibly as a civilization.

“Neutralizing our space dominance will severely hamper our ability to win any major conflict, and ultimately even our ability to maintain a stable, modern, functioning society,” he said.

“If the Chinese move beyond simply neutralizing our dominance and gain clear space dominance themselves, that will become almost a fait accompli in terms of America losing its ability to remain a world power, and even simply an independent sovereign nation.”

Listner said that it’s gray-zone conflict at its finest, and that the United States and China are engaged in war by any other name.

“From the perspective of the PRC, we’re at war,” Listner said, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

Chinese People’s Liberation Army HQ-9 surface-to-air missile launchers are seen during a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Sept. 3, 2015. A modified version of this missile was used to shoot down a satellite in a test by China in 2007. (Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images)

The Lunar Threat

That gray-zone conflict, in which nations engage in hostilities stopping somewhere short of opening fire, is in full swing in outer space.

“Any manned Chinese and/or Russian base on the moon would provide them a significant strategic advantage militarily, legally, and economically,” Crespo said.

In early December, Gen. David Thompson, the U.S. Space Force’s first vice chief of space operations, said that the CCP is launching attacks on U.S. space infrastructure “every single day.” These reversible attacks, in which U.S. satellite architecture or cyber systems are compromised temporarily, are largely understood to be a testing of the waters.

That is, preparation for a real war.

Thompson said in separate remarks that the Chinese regime is developing space capabilities at double the rate of the United States. Moreover, its growing array of platforms designed for space warfare is growing.

“[The Chinese] have robots in space that conduct attacks,” Thompson said.

“They can conduct jamming attacks and laser dazzling attacks. They have a full suite of cyber capabilities.”

“If we don’t start accelerating our development and delivery capabilities, they will exceed us. And 2030 is not an unreasonable estimate,” he said.

Such advancements point to weaknesses in existing laws such as the Outer Space Treaty, which many people erroneously believe bans the development of space weapons.

“Conventional weapons in space aren’t banned by the Outer Space Treaty, as can be seen by the Russian Federation’s ASAT [Anti-satellite weapon] demonstration a few weeks ago,” Listner said.

“However, nuclear weapons in certain circumstances are prohibited by the Outer Space Treaty.”

Listner’s remarks refer to the recent demonstration by Russia of an ASAT missile that it used to explode a satellite in orbit. Critics accused Russia of putting the lives of astronauts at risk, as the thousands of pieces of debris could destroy space vehicles. The event was similar to an incident carried out by China in 2007.

Indeed, the CCP is rapidly expanding its military capabilities as part of an all-out push to usurp military and commercial dominance from the United States. That effort is designed to provide the CCP with an overwhelming new blitzkrieg of military technologies worthy of science fiction.

The effort includes the development of hypersonic weapons, electromagnetic pulse devices, new naval vessels capable of launching rockets into space, and a nuclear reactor to power space travel, reportedly 100 times more powerful than those planned by the United States.

In all, the CCP plans to launch 10,000 satellites by 2030 in its efforts to topple U.S. space dominance.

There are several ways in which the CCP could use the moon, or space assets more generally, to exploit weaknesses in its adversaries or further its weaponization efforts. Increased presence would allow China greater communication and control of its space assets, most notably satellite architecture, which is key to U.S. and allied GPS systems that the military depends upon. Experts have long argued that a preemptive strike on U.S. GPS systems would be China’s first move in a war, including one over Taiwan.

Other potentialities are more hypothetical, such as the long-theorized use of a kinetic bombardment system that could leverage Earth’s gravitational pull against it. Such a system could effectively turn objects as simple as tungsten rods into weapons of mass destruction due to the velocity with which they would hit the earth.

This would effectively allow a satellite- or moon-based system to throw heavy objects at the Earth with the destructive power of a meteor, a feat for which the proposed weapon has long been termed “Rods from God.”

Though costlier than other systems, the idea for such a system has existed since the Cold War, and the Pentagon reportedly considered developing it in 2006 before pursuing hypersonic glide vehicle research instead.

Listner said the CCP’s continued conquest of space was partially owed to the failure of U.S. and allied leaders to recognize fundamental differences in Western and Eurasian ways of conceptualizing the world and politics.

“Fundamentally, we have to understand that the PRC and the Russian Federation do not think like the U.S. and Western nations,” Listner said.

His comments reflected a growing consensus, recognized by new U.S. congressional reports, that the CCP is advancing a global campaign to champion Marxism as an alternative to American capitalism, and to supplant the United States as a global hegemon.

To this end, the international community may like to play at lawmaking, such as is the case with the Artemis Accords, but the CCP has demonstrated a repeated unwillingness to adhere to such norms.

“NGOs, peace groups, and disarmament groups believe the PRC and the Russians think like us when they don’t,” Listner said.

“It’s called ‘mirror thinking,’ and it’s a very, very dangerous trap to play into.”

This picture released on Jan. 11, 2019, by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) via CNS shows the Yutu-2 moon rover, taken by the Chang’e-4 lunar probe on the far side of the moon. (China National Space Administrat/AFP via Getty Images)

A Base for Whom?

Perhaps nowhere is this trap more apparent than in the CCP’s so-called dual-use policy.

The CCP publicly denies that its space systems and projects, including its moon plans and satellite, are used for military purposes. For instance, it characterized its grabber satellite as a means of cleaning space junk, and its hypersonic missile test as a reusable spacecraft.

Critics of the CCP point out that the ambiguity about whether such technology is ultimately civilian or military in nature is a feature of dual use.

Dual use is the practical realization of the CCP’s policy of “civil-military fusion,” aimed at erasing all barriers between private and public life to ensure that all civilian technologies also advance Chinese military dominance.

The rockets used to launch Yutu-2 to Luna are one such example. The same type of rocket was used to launch the CCP’s new hypersonic weapons system, which U.S. leaders fear is a nuclear first-strike weapon.

CCP leaders said that the test was for the benefit of its space program.

“Virtually everything that enables a country to launch objects into space is indistinguishable from intercontinental ballistic missiles or hypersonic weapons,” Crespo said.

“For China, that distinction is fairly moot.”

Crespo said that that ambiguity is part of the program, designed to obscure whether the military or civilian function of any project was intended to be dominant.

Such ambiguity makes a difference on the moon, where all Chinese taikonauts are in the employ of the Chinese military.

Any moon base serves scientific purposes while also clearly providing China a strategic lunar presence that will need to be defended, and can be used for surveillance, reconnaissance or military attacks of all types against satellites and other space assets,” Crespo said.

“No lunar base will be purely civilian to the CCP.”

A World to Gain

Space has been described by researcher Paul Szymanski as “the most obscure battlefield.” Its obscurity doesn’t, however, diminish its centrality to the future of nations. To the contrary, the economic, military, and political ramifications of space, and of the control of Luna, in particular, are nigh impossible to overstate.

“Space is America’s greatest asset and its greatest vulnerability,” Crespo said.

“The Chinese and Russians see it as our Achilles heel.”

To that end, one may consider the strategic value of space as the foremost point of CCP ambitions. It is the gateway through which one growing power might leapfrog a global hegemon to dictate the future of earthly affairs.

Indeed, it isn’t an overstatement to say that the moon is to the CCP what the Alps were to Hannibal. Should it be taken, the rest may fall like dominoes.

“The stakes are that high,” Crespo said. “Whoever controls space may control the world.”

Tyler Durden Sat, 01/01/2022 - 23:10
Published:1/2/2022 4:34:16 AM
[Markets] Debris Cloud Threatens Space Station As Astronauts Take Shelter  Debris Cloud Threatens Space Station As Astronauts Take Shelter 

NYTimes' space reporter Joey Roulette reports astronauts and cosmonauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) dashed into their spacecrafts last night/early this morning to take shelter from debris clouds.  

The source of that debris has yet been disclosed by the U.S. Space Command or NASA, but a statement released by Space Command said,

"We are aware of a debris-generating event in outer space. We are actively working to characterize the debris field and will continue to ensure all space-faring nations have the information necessary to maneuver satellites if impacted." 

Two U.S. officials told CNN's national security respondent Kylie Atwood that they are "very concerned about a major Russian anti-satellite weapons test conducted over the weekend and the State Department is preparing to put out a statement on the matter today." 

Russian space agency Roscosmos tweeted Monday morning that astronauts and cosmonauts took shelter from debris in their respective spacecraft. 

The incident comes days after a piece of debris from a Chinese weather satellite forced ISS crew to move the station out of orbit to prevent a collision. 

*This is a developing story. 

Tyler Durden Mon, 11/15/2021 - 12:11
Published:11/15/2021 11:23:24 AM
[Politics] WATCH: Kamala Harris asks NASA if they can use SATELLITES to measure TREES by RACE for environmental justice Kamala Harris is a very special vice president don’t you think? Special. And she asked a very special question, interrupting a NASA presentation to do it, on the issue of tree justice. . . . Published:11/7/2021 1:23:22 AM
[Middle Column] Schwarzenegger get it right: ‘Nothing is getting done’ at UN climate summits – Echoes Greta’s ‘Blah Blah Blah’ analysis

Politico: Speaking at an environmental justice conference put on by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, Schwarzenegger — who signed California's first economywide greenhouse gas mandate in 2006 — said the international climate process was largely an exercise in futility. "What does a promise and a pledge mean in the end?" he asked. "Nothing. Over and over, year after year, they make these pledges and they come out to declare victory, but then nothing is getting done." ... 

"I think it's set up the wrong way," Schwarzenegger said. "Every time you meet and you meet and you meet, and now decades later, you have the same problems as you have had decades before, you ask yourself, 'How much longer do you want to go and do the same thing?' Remember what Einstein said, 'The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.' You're not going to get different results." ... "Biden can go over to Glasgow and he can promise everything," he said. "But as you could see, he cannot get anything passed right now."

#

Climate Depot's Morano: "Arnold is joining a growing coalition of climate activists who realize that UN summits are meaningless. Climate skeptics will be descending on the UN climate summit in Scotland next week to support the accurate claims of Schwarzenegger, Greta, Kerry, Hansen, etc."

’30 years of blah blah blah’: Thunberg (correctly) questions value of climate talks

Published:10/28/2021 9:23:36 AM
[Foreign Policy] GooTube: Dems' Kiddie Propaganda Arm, by Michelle Malkin In case you hadn't heard, Vice President Kamala Harris' venture into government space propaganda for children was a galactic bust. The veep's smarmy performance in a NASA agitprop video touting World Space Week was universally ridiculed and exposed this weekend after a local Monterey, California, TV station interviewed one of five child actors who auditioned... Published:10/14/2021 6:15:08 PM
[Entertainment] NASA Rover Captures Breathtaking Mars Landscape Photo You Can't Miss

Mars' landscape may be barren and dangerous to human life, but thanks to photos like this from NASA's advanced rovers, that doesn't stop it from looking any less stunning. Although humans have yet to set foot on Mars, robotics and other technologies have allowed astronomers to closely analyze the mysterious planet. Whether it be bleeding-edge telescopes, rovers, helicopters, orbiters, or something else, humans have found inventive ways to closely study a planet we've never actually visited.

One such rover contributing to Mars exploration is Perseverance. Perseverance landed on Mars this past February with a simple yet ambitious goal — to traverse the planet searching for ancient life. People have long theorized that Mars was once home to alien lifeforms. If this is true, Perseverance will be the rover to answer that question once and for all. In just a few short months, Perseverance has already collected Martian rock samples, explored new areas on the planet, and more.

Related: NASA's Mars Orbiter Captures Mesmerizing 'Blue Dunes'

Another way Perseverance has kept itself busy is by capturing thousands of photos and sharing them with everyone to see. Wherever Perseverance goes, it takes tons of photos with multiple cameras, shares them with NASA, and NASA then uploads all of those RAW files for the world to browse through. One such photo is the one see above and below, depicting the vast landscape on Mars. This black-and-white image was acquired by Perseverance on September 28 at the local mean solar time of 12:58 using its Left Navigation Camera.

Perseverance has shared countless photos of the Martian surface, but this one stands out as one of the most impressive yet. Unlike most pictures which are usually tight squares, this one is a wide panorama shot of Mars. Looking at the photo, there's a lot on display. It highlights Mars' rolling sand dunes, the sea of rocks scattered throughout those dunes, and detailed patterns in the sand left by wind and dust storms. All of this is set against the Martian sky, which appears eerie and haunting even without the iconic yellow glow.

While this picture doesn't necessarily reveal anything new about Mars, it's yet another reminder of how beautiful and mysterious the planet is. It's devoid of any life, has freezing temperatures, and is nothing but endless dust, rocks, and sand. Even so, it still manages to be extremely alluring. It remains unclear if Perseverance will be successful in its hunt for ancient life, but so long as it keeps taking photos like this, we'll consider the mission a win.

Next: Perseverance Rover Images Confirm Presence of Lake On Ancient Mars

Source: NASA



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Published:10/9/2021 10:13:53 PM
[Quick Takes] NASA Plans to Launch Mission to Nudge Asteroid’s Moon in November

It's refreshing to see real science used to solve a genuine global threat for a change.

The post NASA Plans to Launch Mission to Nudge Asteroid’s Moon in November first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:10/7/2021 1:13:11 PM
[Markets] Futures Surge On Debt Ceiling Reprieve, Slide In Energy Prices Futures Surge On Debt Ceiling Reprieve, Slide In Energy Prices

The nausea-inducing rollercoaster in the stock market continued on Thursday, when US index futures continued their violent Wednesday reversal - the biggest since March - and surged with Nasdaq futures up more than 1%, hitting a session high, as Chinese technology stocks rebounded from a record low, investors embraced progress on the debt-ceiling impasse in Washington, a dip in oil prices eased worries of higher inflation and concerns eased about the European energy crisis fueled a risk-on mood. At 7:30am ET, S&P futures were up 44 points or 1.00% and Dow futures were up 267 points or 0.78%. Oil tumbled as much as $2, dragging breakevens and nominal yields lower, while the dollar dipped and bitcoin traded around $54,000.

Wednesday's reversal started after Mitch McConnell on Wednesday floated a plan to support an extension of the federal debt ceiling into December, potentially heading off a historic default, a proposal which Democrats have reportedly agreed to after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer suggested an agreement would be in place by this morning. While the deal is good news for markets worried about an imminent default, it only kicks the can to December when the drama and brinksmanship may run again.

Markets have been rocked in the past month by worries about the global energy crisis, elevated inflation, reduced stimulus and slower growth. Meanwhile, the prospect of a deal to boost the U.S. debt limit into December is easing concern over political bickering, while Friday’s payrolls report may shed light on the the Federal Reserve’s timeline to cut bond purchases.

“We have several things that we are watching right now -- certainly the debt ceiling is one of them and that’s been contributing to the recent volatility,” Tracie McMillion, head of global asset allocation strategy at Wells Fargo Investment Institute, said on Bloomberg Television. “But we look for these 5% corrections to add money to the equity markets.”

Tech and FAAMG stocks including Apple (AAPL US +1%), Nvidia (NVDA +2%), Microsoft (MSFT US +0.9%), Tesla (TSLA US 0.8%) led the charge in premarket trading amid a dip in 10-year Treasury yields on Thursday, helped by a slide in energy prices on the back of Putin's Wednesday announcement that Russia could ramp up nat gas deliveries to Europe, something it still has clearly not done.

Perhaps sensing that not all is at Putin said, after plunging on Wednesday UK nat gas futures (NBP) from 407p/therm to a low of 209, prices have ominously started to rise again.

As oil fell, energy stocks including Chevron, Exxon Mobil and APA led declines with falls between 0.6% and 2.1%. Here are some of the other big movers today:

  • Twitter (TWTR US) shares rise 2% in U.S. premarket trading after it agreed to sell MoPub to AppLovin for $1.05 billion in cash
  • Levi Strauss (LEVI US) rises 4% in U.S. premarket trading after it boosted its adjusted earnings per share forecast for the full year; the guidance beat the average analyst estimate
  • NRX Pharmaceuticals (NRXP US) drops in U.S. premarket trading after Relief Therapeutics sued the company, alleging breach of a collaboration pact
  • Osmotica Pharmaceuticals (OSMT US) declined 28% in premarket trading after launching an offering of shares
  • Rocket Lab USA (RKLB US) shares rose in Wednesday postmarket trading after the company announced it has been selected to launch NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System, or ACS3, on the Electron launch vehicle
  • U.S. Silica Holdings (SLCA US) rose 7% Wednesday postmarket after it started a review of strategic alternatives for its Industrial & Specialty Products segment, including a potential sale or separation
  • Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT US) climbed 2.6% in Wednesday after hours trading while Sage Therapeutics (SAGE US) dropped 3.9% after Jefferies analyst Akash Tewari kicked off his biotech sector coverage

On the geopolitical front, a senior U.S. official said President Joe Biden’s plans to meet virtually with his Chinese counterpart before the end of the year. Tensions are escalating between the two countries, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticizing China’s recent military maneuvers around Taiwan.

European equities rebounded, with the Stoxx 600 index surging as much as 1.3% boosted by news that the European Central Bank was said to be studying a new bond-buying program as emergency programs are phased out. Also boosting sentiment on Thursday, ECB Governing Council member Yannis Stournaras said that investors shouldn’t expect premature interest-rate increases from the central bank. Here are some of the biggest European movers today:

  • Iberdrola shares rise as much as 6.8% after an upgrade at BofA, and as Spanish utilities climbed following a report that the Ministry for Ecological Transition may suspend or modify the mechanism that reduces the income received by hydroelectric, nuclear and some renewables in relation to gas prices.
  • Hermes shares climb as much as 3.8%, the most since February, after HSBC says “there isn’t much to worry about” from a possible slowdown in mainland China or questions over trend sustainability in the U.S.
  • Edenred shares gain as much as 5.2%, their best day since Nov. 9, after HSBC upgrades the voucher company to buy from hold, saying that Edenred, along with Experian, offers faster recurring revenue growth than the rest of the business services sector.
  • Valeo shares gain as much as 4.9% and is Thursday’s best performer in the Stoxx 600 Automobiles & Parts index; Citi raised to neutral from sell as broker updated its model ahead of 3Q results.
  • Sika shares rise as much as 4.2% after company confirms 2021 guidance, which Baader said was helpful amid market concerns of sequentially declining margins due to rising raw material prices.
  • Centrica shares rise as much as 3.6% as Morgan Stanley upgrades Centrica to overweight from equalweight, saying the utility provider will add market share as smaller U.K. companies fail due to the spike in wholesale energy prices.

Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rallied, boosted by a rebound in Hong Kong-listed technology shares and optimism over the progress made toward a U.S. debt-ceiling accord. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed as much as 1.3%, on track for its biggest jump since Aug. 24. Alibaba, Tencent and Meituan were among the biggest contributors to the benchmark’s advance. Equity gauges in Hong Kong and Taiwan led a broad regional gain, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 also rebounded from its longest losing run since 2009. Thursday’s rally in Asia came after U.S. stocks closed higher overnight on a possible deal to boost the debt ceiling into December. Focus now shifts to the reopening of mainland China markets on Friday following the Golden Week holiday, and also the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report due that day. READ: China Tech Gauge Posts Best Day Since August After Touching Lows “Risk off sentiment has persisted due to a number of negative factors, but worry over some of these issues has been alleviated for the near term,” said Shogo Maekawa, a strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management in Tokyo. “One is that concern over stagflation has abated, with oil prices pulling back.” Sentiment toward risks assets was also supported as a senior U.S. official said President Joe Biden plans to meet virtually with Chinese President Xi Jinping before the end of the year.

Of note, holders of Evergrande-guaranteed Jumbo Fortune bonds have yet to receive payment; the holders next step would be to request payment from Evergrande. The maturity of the bond in question was Sunday October 3rd, with a Monday October 4th effective due data, though the bond does have a five-day grace period only in the event that payment failure is due to an administrative/technical error.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.7% to close at 7,256.70. All subgauges finished the day higher, with the exception of energy stocks as Asian peers tumbled with a retreat in crude oil prices.  Collins Foods was among the top performers after the company signed an agreement to become KFC’s corporate franchisee in the Netherlands. Whitehaven tumbled, dropping the most for a session since June 17.  In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.5% to 13,104.61.

Oil extended its decline from a seven-year high as U.S. stockpiles grew more than expected, and European natural gas prices tumbled on signals from Russia it may increase supplies to the continent.

The yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury was 1.526%, little changed on the day after erasing a 2.4bp increase; bunds outperformed by ~1.5bp, gilts by less than 1bp; long-end outperformance flattened 2s10s, 5s30s by ~0.5bp each. Treasuries pared losses during European morning as fuel prices ebbed and stocks gained. Bunds and gilts outperform while Treasuries curve flattens with long-end yields slightly richer on the day. WTI oil futures are lower after Russia’s offer to ease Europe’s energy crunch. Negotiations on a short-term increase to U.S. debt-ceiling continue.   

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed and the greenback was weaker against most Group-of-10 peers, though moves were confined to relatively tight ranges. The U.S. jobs report Friday is the key risk for markets this week as a strong print could boost the dollar. Options traders see a strong chance that the euro manages to stay above a key technical support, at least on a closing basis. Risk sensitive currencies such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars as well as Sweden’s krona led G-10 gains, while Norway’s currency was the worst performer as European natural gas and power prices tumbled early Thursday after signals from Russia it may increase supplies to the continent. The pound gained against a broadly weaker dollar as concerns over the U.K. petrol crisis eased and focus turned to Bank of England policy. A warning shot buried deep in the BoE’s policy documents two weeks ago indicating that interest rates could rise as early as this year suddenly is becoming a more distinct possibility. Australia’s 10-year bonds rose for the first time in two weeks as sentiment was bolstered by a short-term deal involving the U.S. debt ceiling. The yen steadied amid a recovery in risk sentiment as stocks edged higher. Bond futures rose as a debt auction encouraged players to cautiously buy the dip.

Looking ahead, investors will be looked forward to the release of weekly jobless claims data, likely showing 348,000 Americans filed claims for state unemployment benefits last week compared with 362,000 in the prior week. The ADP National Employment Report on Wednesday showed private payrolls increased by 568,000 jobs last month. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a rise of 428,000 jobs. This comes ahead of the more comprehensive non-farm payrolls data due on Friday. It is expected to cement the case for the Fed’s slowing of asset purchases. We'll also get the latest August consumer credit print. From central banks, we’ll be getting the minutes from the ECB’s September meeting, and also hear from a range of speakers including the ECB’s President Lagarde, Lane, Elderson, Holzmann, Schnabel, Knot and Villeroy, along with the Fed’s Mester, BoC Governor Macklem and PBoC Governor Yi Gang.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 1% to 4,395.5
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 1.03% to 455.96
  • MXAP up 1.2% to 193.71
  • MXAPJ up 1.8% to 633.78
  • Nikkei up 0.5% to 27,678.21
  • Topix down 0.1% to 1,939.62
  • Hang Seng Index up 3.1% to 24,701.73
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 3,568.17
  • Sensex up 1.2% to 59,872.01
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.7% to 7,256.66
  • Kospi up 1.8% to 2,959.46
  • Brent Futures down 1.8% to $79.64/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,762.96
  • U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.19
  • German 10Y yield fell 0.6 bps to -0.188%
  • Euro little changed at $1.1563

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • Democrats signaled they would take up Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s offer to raise the U.S. debt ceiling into December, alleviating the immediate risk of a default but raising the prospect of another bruising political fight near the end of the year
  • The European Central Bank is studying a new bond-buying program to prevent any market turmoil when emergency purchases get phased out next year, according to officials familiar with the matter
  • Market expectations for interest-rate hikes “are not in accordance with our new forward guidance,” ECB Governing Council member Yannis Stournaras said in an interview with Bloomberg Television
  • Creditors have yet to receive repayment of a dollar bond they say is guaranteed by China Evergrande Group and one of its units, in what could be the firm’s first major miss on maturing notes since regulators urged the developer to avoid a near-term default
  • Boris Johnson’s plan to overhaul the U.K. economy is a 10-year project he wants to see out as prime minister, according to a senior official. The time frame, which has not been disclosed publicly, illustrates the scale of Johnson’s gamble that British voters will accept a long period of what he regards as shock therapy to redefine Britain
  • The U.K.’s surge in inflation has boosted the cost of investment-grade borrowing in sterling to the most since June 2020. The average yield on the corporate notes climbed just past 2%, according to a Bloomberg index

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac stocks traded positively as the region took impetus from the mostly positive close in the US where the major indices spent the prior session clawing back opening losses, with sentiment supported amid a potential Biden-Xi virtual meeting this year, and hopes of a compromise on the debt ceiling after Senate Republican Leader McConnell offered a short-term debt limit extension to December. The ASX 200 (+0.7%) was led higher by strength in the tech sector and with risk appetite also helped by the announcement to begin easing restrictions in New South Wales from next Monday. The Nikkei 225 (+0.5%) attempted to reclaim the 28k level with advances spearheaded by tech and amid reports Tokyo is to lower its virus warning from the current top level. The Hang Seng (+3.1%) was the biggest gainer owing to strength in tech and property stocks, with Evergrande shareholder Chinese Estates surging in Hong Kong after a proposal from Solar Bright to take it private. Reports also noted that the US and China reportedly reached an agreement in principle for a Biden-Xi virtual meeting before year-end and with yesterday’s talks in Zurich between senior officials said to be more meaningful and constructive than other recent exchanges. Finally, 10yr JGBs retraced some of the prior day’s after-hours rebound with haven demand hampered by the upside in stocks and after the recent choppy mood in T-notes, while the latest enhanced liquidity auction for longer-dated JGBs resulted in a weaker bid-to-cover.

Top Asian News

  • Vietnam Faces Worker Exodus From Factory Hub for Gap, Nike, Puma
  • Japan’s New Finance Minister Stresses FX Stability Is Vital
  • Korea Lures Haven Seekers With Bonds Sold at Lowest Spread
  • Africa’s Free-Trade Area to Get $7 Billion in Support From AfDB

Bourses in Europe hold onto the gains seen at the cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.5%; Stoxx 600 +1.1%) following on from an upbeat APAC handover, albeit the upside momentum took a pause shortly after the cash open. US equity futures are also firmer across the board but to a slightly lesser extent, with the tech-laden NQ (+1.0%) getting a boost from a pullback in yields and outperforming its ES (+0.7%), RTY (+0.6%) and YM (+0.6%). The constructive tone comes amid some positive vibes out of the States, and on a geopolitical note, with US Senate Minority Leader McConnell offered a short-term debt ceiling extension to December whilst US and China reached an agreement in principle for a Biden-Xi virtual meeting before the end of the year. Euro-bourses portray broad-based gains whilst the UK's FTSE 100 (+1.0%) narrowly lags the Euro Stoxx benchmarks, weighed on by its heavyweight energy and healthcare sectors, which currently reside at the foot of the bunch. Further, BoE's Chief Economist Pill also hit the wires today and suggested that the balance of risks is currently shifting towards great concerns about the inflation outlook, as the current strength of inflation looks set to prove more long-lasting than originally anticipated. Broader sectors initially opened with an anti-defensive bias (ex-energy), although the configuration since then has turned into more of a mixed picture, although Basic Resource and Autos still reside towards the top. Individual movers are somewhat scarce in what is seemingly a macro-driven day thus far. Miners top the charts on the last day of the Chinese Golden Week Holiday, with base metal prices also on the front foot in anticipation of demand from the nation – with Antofagasta (+5.1%), Anglo American (+4.2%) among the top gainers, whist Teamviewer (-8.2%) is again at the foot of the Stoxx 600 in a continuation of the losses seen after its guidance cut yesterday. Ubisoft (-5.1%) are also softer, potentially on a bad reception for its latest Ghost Recon game announcement.

Top European News

  • ECB’s Stournaras Reckons Investor Rate-Hike Bets Are Unwarranted
  • Shell Flags Financial Impact of Gas Market Swings, Hurricane
  • Johnson’s Plans for Economy Signal Ambitions for Decade in Power
  • U.K. Grid Bids to Calm Market Saying Winter Gas Supply Is Enough

In FX, the latest upturn in broad risk sentiment as the pendulum continues to swing one way then the other on alternate days, has given the Aussie a fillip along with news that COVID-19 restrictions in NSW remain on track for being eased by October 11, according to the state’s new Premier. Aud/Usd is eyeing 0.7300 in response to the above and a softer Greenback, while the Aud/Nzd cross is securing a firmer footing above 1.0500 in wake of a slender rise in AIG’s services index and ahead of the latest RBA FSR. Conversely, the Pound is relatively contained vs the Buck having probed 1.3600 when the DXY backed off further from Wednesday’s w-t-d peak to a 94.102 low and has retreated through 0.8500 against the Euro amidst unsubstantiated reports about less hawkish leaning remarks from a member of the BoE’s MPC. In short, the word is that Broadbent has downplayed the prospects of any fireworks in November via a rate hike, but on the flip-side new chief economist Pill delivered a hawkish assessment of the inflation situation in the UK when responding to a TSC questionnaire (see 10.18BST post on the Headline Feed for bullets and a link to his answers in full). Back to the Dollar index, challenger lay-offs are due and will provide another NFP guide before claims and commentary from Fed’s Mester, while from a technical perspective there is near term support just below 94.000 and resistance a fraction shy of 94.500, at 93.983 (yesterday’s low) and the aforementioned midweek session best (94.448 vs the 94.283 intraday high, so far).

  • NZD - Notwithstanding the negative cross flows noted above, the Kiwi is also taking advantage of more constructive external and general factors to secure a firmer grip of the 0.6900 handle vs its US counterpart, but remains rather deflated post-RBNZ on cautious guidance in terms of further tightening.
  • EUR/CHF/CAD/JPY - All narrowly mixed against their US peer and mostly well within recent ranges as the Euro reclaims 1.1500+ status in the run up to ECB minutes, the Franc consolidates off sub-0.9300 lows following dips in Swiss jobless rates, the Loonie weighs up WTI crude’s further loss of momentum against the Greenback’s retreat between 1.2600-1.2563 parameters awaiting Canada’s Ivey PMIs and a speech from BoC Governor Macklem, and the Yen retains an underlying recovery bid within 111.53-23 confines before a raft of Japanese data. Note, little reaction to comments from Japanese Finance Minister, when asked about recent Jpy weakening, as he simply said that currency stability is important, so is closely watching FX developments, but did not comment on current levels.

In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are on the backfoot, in part amid the post-Putin losses across the Nat Gas space, with the UK ICE future dropping some 20% in early trade. This has also provided further headwinds to the crude complex, which itself tackles its own bearish omens. WTI underperforms Brent amid reports that the US was mulling a Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) release and did not rule out an export ban. Desks have offered their thoughts on the development. Goldman Sachs says a US SPR release would likely be of up to 60mln barrels, only representing a USD 3/bbl downside to the year-end USD 90/bbl Brent forecast and stated that relief would only be transitory given structural deficits the market will face from 2023 onwards. GS notes that any larger price impact that further hampers US shale activity would lead to elevated US nat gas prices in 2022, and an export ban would lead to significant disruption within the US oil market, likely bullish retail fuel price impact. RBC, meanwhile, believes that these comments were to incentivise OPEC+ to further open the taps after the producers opted to maintain a plan to hike output 400k BPD/m. On that note, sources noted that the OPEC+ decision against a larger supply hike at Monday's meeting was partly driven by concern that demand and prices could weaken – this would be in-fitting with sources back in July, which suggested that demand could weaken early 2022. The downside for crude prices was exacerbated as Brent Dec fell under USD 80/bbl to a low of near 79.00/bbl (vs 81.14/bbl), whilst WTI Nov briefly lost USD 75/bbl (vs high 77.23/bbl). Prices have trimmed some losses since. Metals in comparison have been less interesting; spot gold is flat and only modestly widened its overnight range to the current 1,756-66 range, whilst spot silver remains north of USD 22.50/bbl. Elsewhere, the risk tone has aided copper prices, with LME copper still north of USD 9,000/t, whilst some also cite supply concerns as a key mining road in Peru (second-largest copper producer) was blocked, with the indigenous community planning to continue the blockade indefinitely, according to a local leader. It is also worth noting that Chinese markets will return tomorrow from their Golden Week holiday.

US Event Calendar

  • 7:30am: Sept. Challenger Job Cuts YoY, prior -86.4%
  • 8:30am: Oct. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 348,000, prior 362,000; Continuing Claims, est. 2.76m, prior 2.8m
  • 9:45am: Oct. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 54.7
  • 11:45am: Fed’s Mester Takes Part in Panel on Inflation Dynamics
  • 3pm: Aug. Consumer Credit, est. $17.5b, prior $17b

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

On the survey, given how fascinating markets are at the moment I think the results of this month’s edition will be especially interesting. However the irony is that when things are busy less people tend to fill it in as they are more pressed for time. So if you can try to spare 3-4 minutes your help would be much appreciated. Many thanks.

It was a wild session for markets yesterday, with multiple asset classes swinging between gains and losses as investors sought to grapple with the extent of inflationary pressures and potential shock to growth. However US equities closed out in positive territory and at the highs as the news on the debt ceiling became more positive after Europe went home.

Before this equities had lost ground throughout the London afternoon, with the S&P 500 down nearly -1.3% at one point with Europe’s STOXX 600 closing -1.03% lower. Cyclical sectors led the European underperformance, although it was a fairly broad-based decline. However after Europe went home – or closed their laptops in many cases – the positive debt ceiling developments saw risk sentiment improve throughout the rest of New York session. The S&P rallied to finish +0.41% and is now slightly up on the week, as defensive sectors such as utilities (+1.53%) and consumer staples (+1.00%) led the index while US cyclicals fell back like their European counterparts. Small cap stocks didn’t enjoy as much of a boost as the Russell 2000 ended the day -0.60% lower, while the megacap tech NYFANG+ index gained +0.82%.

Risk sentiment improved following reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was willing to negotiate with Democrats to resolve the debt ceiling impasse and allow Democrats to raise the ceiling until December. This means President Biden and Congressional Democrats would be able to finish their fiscal spending package – now estimated at around $1.9-2.2 trillion – and include a further debt ceiling raise into one large reconciliation package near year-end. Senate Majority Leader Schumer has not publicly addressed the deal yet, but Democrats have signaled that they’ll accept the deal, although they’ve also indicated they’d still like to pass the longer-term debt ceiling bill under regular order in a bipartisan manner when the time came near year-end. Interestingly, if we did see the ceiling extended until December, this would put another deadline that month, since the government funding extension only went through to December 3, so we could have yet another round of multiple congressional negotiations in just a few weeks’ time.

The news of a Republican offer coincided with President Biden’s virtual meeting with industry leaders, where the President implored them to join him in pressuring legislators to raise the debt limit. Treasury Secretary Yellen also attended the meeting, and re-emphasised her estimate for the so-called “drop dead date” to be October 18. Potentially at risk Treasury bills maturing shortly thereafter rallied a few basis points, signaling investors took yesterday afternoon’s debt ceiling developments as positive and credible.

This was a far cry from where markets opened the London session as turmoil again gripped the gas market. UK and European natural gas futures both surged around +40% to reach an intraday high shortly after the open. However, energy markets went into reverse following comments from Russian President Putin that the country was set to supply more gas to Europe and help stabilise energy markets, with European futures erasing those earlier gains to actually end the day down -6.75%, with their UK counterpart similarly reversing course to close -6.96% too. The U.K. future traded in a stunning 255 to 408 price range on the day.

We shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves here though, since even with the latest reversal, prices are still up by more than five-fold since the start of the year, and this astonishing increase over recent weeks has attracted attention from policymakers across the world as governments look to step in and protect consumers and industry. In the EU, the Energy Commissioner, Kadri Simson, said that the price shock was “hurting our citizens, in particular the most vulnerable households, weakening competitiveness and adding to inflationary pressure. … There is no question that we need to take policy measures”. However, the potential response appeared to differ across the continent. French President Macron said that more energy capacity was required, of which renewables and nuclear would be key elements, while Italian PM Draghi said that joint EU gas purchases had wide support. However, Hungarian PM Orban took the opportunity to blame the European Commission, saying that the Green Deal’s regulations were “indirect taxation”, which shows how these price spikes could create greater resistance to green measures moving forward. Elsewhere, blame was also cast on carbon speculators, with Spanish environment minister Rodriguez saying that “We don’t want to be hostages of external financial investors”, and outside the EU, Serbian President Vucic said that his country could ban power exports if there were further issues, which just shows how energy has the potential to become a big geopolitical issue this winter.

Those declines in natural gas prices were echoed across the energy complex, with both Brent Crude (-1.79%) and WTI (-1.90%) oil prices subsiding from their multi-year highs the previous day, just as coal also fell -10.20%. In turn, that served to alleviate some of the concerns about building price pressures and helped measures of longer-term inflation expectations decline across the board. Indeed by the close, the 10yr breakeven in the US had come down -1.4bps, and the equivalent measures in Germany (-4.6bps), Italy (-6.1bps) and the UK (-4.2bps) had likewise seen declines of their own.

In spite of those moves for inflation expectations, this proved little consolation for European sovereign bonds as higher real rates put them under continued pressure, even if yields had pared back some of their gains from the morning. Yields on 10yr bunds (+0.6bps), OATs (+0.9bps) and BTPs (+3.2bps) were all at their highest levels in 3 months, whilst those on Polish 10yr debt were up +13.7bps after the central bank there unexpectedly became the latest to raise rates, with the 40bps hike to 0.5% marking the first increase since 2012. However, for the US it was a different story, with yields on 10yr Treasuries down -0.5bps to 1.521%, having peaked at 1.57% earlier in the London morning.

There was a late story in Europe that could bear watching in the coming weeks as Bloomberg reported that the ECB is studying a new bond-buying tool that could help ease market volatility if a “taper tantrum”-esque move were to happen when the PEPP purchases end in March. The plan would reportedly target purchases selectively if there were to be a larger selloff in more heavily indebted economies, which differs from the existing programs that buys debt in relation to the size of each member’s economy.

Asian stocks overnight have performed strongly, with the Hang Seng (+2.28%), Nikkei (+1.68%) and KOSPI (+1.61%) all advancing after the positive news on the debt-ceiling, as well on news that US President Biden was set to meeting with Chinese President Xi by the end of the year. All the indices were lifted by the IT and consumer discretionary sectors, and the Hang Seng Tech index has rebounded by +3.29% this morning. Separately, Evergrande-related news has been subsiding in recent days, but China Estates, a company controlled by a backer of Evergrande, rose 30% after the company disclosed an offer to take it private for $245mn. Otherwise, US futures are pointing to a positive start later, with those on the S&P 500 (+0.50%) and DAX (+1.19%) both advancing.

Turning to Germany, exploratory talks will be commencing today between the centre-left SPD, the Greens and the Liberal FDP, who together would make up a so-called “traffic-light” coalition. That marks a boost for the SPD, who beat the CDU/CSU bloc into first place in the September 26 election, although CDU leader Armin Laschet said that his party were “still ready to hold talks”. However, the CDU/CSU have faced internal tensions after they slumped to their worst-ever election result, whilst a Forsa poll out on Tuesday said that 53% of voters wanted a traffic-light coalition, versus just 22% who favoured the Jamaica option led by the CDU/CSU. So momentum seems clearly behind the traffic light option for now.

Looking at yesterday’s data, in the US the ADP’s report at private payrolls came in at an unexpectedly strong +568k (vs. +430k expected), which is the highest in their series for 3 months and comes ahead of tomorrow’s US jobs report. However in Germany, factory orders in August fell by -7.7% (vs. -2.2% expected) amidst various supply issues.

To the day ahead now, and data releases include German industrial production and Italian retail sales for August, whilst in the US we’ve got the weekly initial jobless claims and August’s consumer credit.From central banks, we’ll be getting the minutes from the ECB’s September meeting, and also hear from a range of speakers including the ECB’s President Lagarde, Lane, Elderson, Holzmann, Schnabel, Knot and Villeroy, along with the Fed’s Mester, BoC Governor Macklem and PBoC Governor Yi Gang.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/07/2021 - 07:57
Published:10/7/2021 7:14:46 AM
[Uncategorized] NASA Shoots Down Petition to Rename New ‘Homophobic’ Space Telescope

After two decades in construction, James Webb Space Telescope is on its way to its launch site.

The post NASA Shoots Down Petition to Rename New ‘Homophobic’ Space Telescope first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:10/3/2021 3:16:10 PM
[Markets] Bezos' Blue Origin Prepares For Next Human Flight As UN Bashes "Billionaires Joyriding To Space" Bezos' Blue Origin Prepares For Next Human Flight As UN Bashes "Billionaires Joyriding To Space"

It's only been a few months since billionaires Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk launched private space crews into low Earth orbit. The latest was Musk's SpaceX's Inspiration4 mission that catapulted the first-ever private crew of astronauts 150 miles higher than the International Space Station for three days.

Musk can't have all the limelight. Bezos' Blue Origin announced Monday that New Shepard's 18th mission, NS-18, will lift off on Oct. 12. The crew will include Dr. Chris Boshuizen, a former NASA engineer and co-founder of Planet Labs, Glen de Vries, Vice-Chair, Life Sciences & Healthcare, Dassault Systèmes and Medidata, according to a company press release. There are also going to be special announcements of two other astronauts in the coming days.

NS-18 follows Blue Origin's successful first human flight on July 20 when Bezos, his brother, and two others launched into space. 

With billionaires focused on who can go the deepest into space, the Federal Aviation Administration recently grounded Branson's Virgin Galactic after its space mission on July 11. 

Meanwhile, the secretary-general of the United Nations has bashed the billionaires for their "joyriding to space while millions go hungry on earth."

Tyler Durden Tue, 09/28/2021 - 13:50
Published:9/28/2021 1:16:05 PM
[Markets] Rare Solar Superstorm Could Prompt ‘Internet Apocalypse’ Lasting Several Months: Study Rare Solar Superstorm Could Prompt ‘Internet Apocalypse’ Lasting Several Months: Study

Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The “black swan” event of a solar superstorm directed at earth could prompt an “internet apocalypse” across the entire globe that could last for several months, new research (pdf) has warned.

University of California Irvine assistant professor Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi presented the new research, titled “Solar Superstorms: Planning for an Internet Apocalypse,” last month during the Association for Computing Machinery’s annual conference for their Special Interest Group on Data Communication (SIGCOMM).

“One of the greatest dangers facing the internet with the potential for global impact is a powerful solar superstorm,” Jyothi wrote in the new research paper.

“Although humans are protected from these storms by the earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere, they can cause significant damage to man-made infrastructure. The scientific community is generally aware of this threat with modeling efforts and precautionary measures being taken, particularly in the context of power grids. However, the networking community has largely overlooked this risk during the design of the network topology and geo-distributed systems such as DNS and data centers,” he continued.

A solar storm, also known as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), occurs when a large mass of plasma and highly magnetized particles violently eject from the sun. Large CME’s can contain up to a billion tons of matter and can get accelerated to large fractions of the speed of light.

When the earth is in the direct path of a CME, these magnetized and charged solar particles interact with the earth’s magnetic field, producing geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) that can potentially disrupt communication satellites and long-distance cables that provide the world with the internet.

According to Jyothi’s research, power grids, oil and gas pipelines, and networking cables are the most vulnerable to the impacts of GIC’s, while submarine cables, which span hundreds or thousands of kilometres, are even more vulnerable than land cables, due to their larger lengths.

Owing to a lack of real world data on the impacts of GIC’s on these submarine cables, scientists still don’t know how long it would take to repair them if such an event were to occur, and—just like natural disasters such as earthquakes—CME’s are extremely difficult for scientists to predict.

The research noted that the “distribution of internet infrastructure is skewed when compared to the distribution of internet users,” and high-latitude climates are more at risk if a solar storm were to occur.

Artist’s rendering of a solar storm hitting Mars and stripping ions from the planet’s upper atmosphere. (NASA)
Cables on servers at an internet data center in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on July 25, 2018. (Yann Sschreiber/AFP/Getty Images)

“The U.S. is one of the most vulnerable locations with a high risk of disconnection from Europe during extreme solar events. Intra-continental connections in Europe are at a lower risk due to the presence of a large number of shorter land and submarine cables interconnecting the continent,” the report notes.

Meanwhile, if a severe solar superstorm were to occur, Singapore would maintain good connectivity to neighboring countries, while cities in China would be more likely to lose connectivity than India because China connects to much longer cables.

Australia, New Zealand, and other island countries in the region would be at high risk of losing most of their long-distance connections.

The research warns that a collapse of the internet—even one lasting a few minutes—could cause devastating losses to service providers and damage cyber-physical systems. The economic impact of an internet disruption for a day in the United States is estimated to be over $7 billion.

While the likelihood of a solar superstorm hitting earth is rare—with astrophysicists noting that the probability of extreme space weather events that directly impact earth occurring are between 1.6 percent to 12 percent per decade—they can still happen.

In 1921, a solar storm, driven by a series of coronal mass ejections, triggered extensive power outages and caused damage to telephone and telegraph systems associated with railroad systems in New York City and across the state.

Years later, in 1989, a solar storm bought an electrical power blackout to the entire province of Quebec, Canada.

“Although we have sentinel spacecraft that can issue early warnings of CMEs providing at least 13 hours of lead time, our defenses against GIC are limited. Hence, we need to prepare the infrastructure for an eventual catastrophe to facilitate efficient disaster management,” Jyothi said.

The research pointed to “increasing capacity in lower latitudes for improved resiliency during solar storms,” and having “mechanisms for electrically isolating cables connecting to higher latitudes from the rest” at submarine cable landing points to prevent large-scale failures.

The paper has yet to appear in a peer-reviewed journal.

Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 22:00
Published:9/25/2021 9:16:31 PM
[Quick Takes] NASA Discovers Evidence of Ancient “Super Eruptions” on Mars

Scientists find evidence that northern Mars experienced thousands of massive eruptions.

The post NASA Discovers Evidence of Ancient “Super Eruptions” on Mars first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:9/17/2021 1:29:38 PM
[Markets] "Rules Are For Other People": Amazon's Kuiper Systems Slams Musk's SpaceX In Regulatory Filing "Rules Are For Other People": Amazon's Kuiper Systems Slams Musk's SpaceX In Regulatory Filing

The space race is back on. Except this time, it's the United States versus the United States and the profit motive is helping drive the competition. 

Amazon's satellite subsidiary Kuiper Systems took a swipe at rival SpaceX in a regulatory filing with US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week.

"Whether it is launching satellites with unlicensed antennas, launching rockets without approval, building an unapproved launch tower, or re-opening a factory in violation of a shelter-in-place order, the conduct of SpaceX and other Musk-led companies makes their view plain: rules are for other people, and those who insist upon or even simply request compliance are deserving of derision and ad hominem attacks,” Kuiper said in a regulatory filing, pointing out the propensity for Musk-led companies to play by their own rules.

Musk and Bezos have been locked in competition since they were both vying for the same $2.9 billion lunar lander contract from NASA. The contract eventually went to Musk's SpaceX, who then poached members of Blue Origin to work on its team. 

Blue Origin, saw "at least" 17 of its top staffers defect from the company, we wrote last month. One employee, a lead engineer, left to take a job at SpaceX, according to reporting by Insider. Another employee wound up at Firefly Aerospace.

CNBC then followed up, noting that "many other engineers and key leaders" also left Blue Origin and that some of them were part of the team that tried to land the lunar contract. Blue Origin had appealed not getting the contract back in April, but the appeal was rejected by the Government Accountability Office in July. 

The "friendly competition" between Bezos and Musk looks to be accelerating on other fronts, too. We noted just days ago that Bezos has been an investor in Altos Labs, described as "a Silicon Valley startup working on technology to rejuvenate cells and potentially prolong life."

The project could be seen as competition to Musk's Neuralink. It plans on implementing reprogramming technology, used to turn adult, specialized cells into stem cells, to treat vision loss, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries and other age-related bodily degeneration.

After the news broke, Musk couldn't help but take a parting jab at Bezos:

Tyler Durden Fri, 09/10/2021 - 13:40
Published:9/10/2021 12:56:52 PM
[Middle Column] ‘Raw authoritarian power’: Morano on Newsmax TV – Covid lockdowns & vaccine passports are transforming USA into Chinese-style one-party state

File:Flag Map of USA China.png - Wikimedia Commons

Morano: "For decades the progressive movement has tried to impose and sought a one-party state in America. Climate activists from Tom Friedman on the pages of the New York Times extolled the virtues of China's one-party system. UN climate chiefs talked about a centralized transformation and praised china for getting it right on climate. So what happened was they spent decades trying to scare us about overpopulation, global cooling, the amazon rainforest (allegedly disappearing), and finally, climate change, and they failed. A virus comes along and they realized that this cut across ideologies, cut across political affiliation and they were able to declare an emergency and suspend normal democracy. They were able to achieve their one-party state with an unelected bureaucracy."

Published:9/10/2021 11:30:13 AM
[Markets] International Space Station Alarms Triggered After "Burning Plastic Smell" International Space Station Alarms Triggered After "Burning Plastic Smell"

Less than one week after Russian cosmonauts discovered small cracks on the aging International Space Station (ISS), smoke alarms were triggered on the station in the early hours of Thursday, according to AP. Crew members reported dark smoke and the smell of burnt plastic coming from the Russian segment of the space station. 

Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, said the incident unfolded at 0155 ET in the Russian-built Zvezda module during an overnight recharge of the station's batteries. 

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet said, "the smell of burning plastic or electronic equipment" made its way through the station into the US segment, RIA Novosti reported, citing a NASA broadcast.

Pesquet and other crew members turned on air filters to scrub the station's air of smoke/smell. There was no word on how much smoke was emitted, but reports indicate astronauts went back to sleep after air quality levels returned to normal. 

It appears that whatever was burning didn't affect operations on the station. Hours later, a planned spacewalk was conducted by cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy who fished an "ethernet" data cord around the outside of the multipurpose laboratory module of the space station. 

The aging space station has suffered numerous failures, including air leaks, cracks, and misfiring engines. Russia said in April that it would leave the station in 2025, citing structural fatigue that could suggest it may not be capable of operating beyond 2030. 

Meanwhile, the Chinese have launched a new space station that is expected to outlast the ISS. 

The smoke incident comes a week after "superficial fissures have been found in some places on the Zarya module," according to Vladimir Solovyov, the chief engineer of Moscow-based company Energia, the top contractor for Russia's spaceflight program.  

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/09/2021 - 22:20
Published:9/9/2021 9:30:31 PM
[Markets] "This Is Bad" - Russian Cosmonauts Discovery Tiny Cracks In Space Station "This Is Bad" - Russian Cosmonauts Discovery Tiny Cracks In Space Station

Russian cosmonauts have discovered small cracks on the International Space Station (ISS), and it's unclear whether the cracks are causing air leaks in the orbiting space lab, according to Reuters

Vladimir Solovyov, the chief engineer of Moscow-based company Energia, the top contractor for Russia's spaceflight program, told Russia's state-owned RIA news agency that "superficial fissures have been found in some places on the Zarya module." 

Solovyov warned: "This is bad and suggests that the fissures will begin to spread over time."

He didn't mention if the cracks were the source of air leaks which Russian cosmonauts discovered.

The 23-year old space station has been fraught with problems. NASA and the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos searched for a small air leak last year when air pressure dropped in the space station.  

Readers may recall, in 2018, the station experienced an air leak that was initially thought to be the result of a micrometeorite - but turned out to be a "deliberate sabotage." 

Several other recent incidents have been reported on the space station, such as a software glitch that ignited thrusters on the Russian research module Nauka and sent the ISS out of normal pitch. There was also a piece of space junk that sliced through a robotic arm

Meanwhile, Moscow has given their farewell warning that it will depart from the ISS in 2025. Russian officials have said the aging ISS is too dangerous for their cosmonauts: 

"We can't risk the lives [of our cosmonauts]. The situation that today is connected to the structure and the metal getting old, it can lead to irreversible consequences - to catastrophe," Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov recently said.  

At the same time, China has launched a new space station that is expected to outlast the ISS. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 09/04/2021 - 09:55
Published:9/4/2021 9:20:31 AM
[Aerospace] Pandemic-driven liquid oxygen shortage threatens ULA, SpaceX launches The ongoing reverberations from the COVID-19 pandemic are continuing to make themselves felt in the most unlikely of places: spaceflight. On Friday, NASA took the unexpected step to ground a September satellite launch due to pandemic-related shortages of liquid oxygen (LOX), and there may be more launch delays yet to come. Demand for oxygen has […] Published:8/31/2021 10:14:00 AM
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