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How To Spend New Year’s Eve With NASA Watching New Horizons’ Flyby of Ultima Thule




An artistic rendering of New Horizons visiting Ultima Thule Image: NASA

An artistic visualization of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft visiting the Kuiper Belt Object Ultima Thule. (Credit: NASA)

A New Year With New Horizons

This New Year’s, you can go to a boring old bar like everyone else, or you can celebrate the dawning of another year by watching NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft make history.

At 12:33 a.m. EST on January 1, the craft will fly within 2,200 miles (3,540 km) of 2014 MU69, more commonly known as Ultima Thule, an object far out beyond Pluto in the Kuiper Belt. NASA will be broadcasting the event on NASA TV and providing updates through their social media channels. You can find more details through the mission page.

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Ultima Thule At Last

This will be the farthest object ever visited by a spacecraft, and New Horizons will come three times closer to Ultima Thule than it came to Pluto in 2015. The object is around 19 miles (30km) in diameter, shaped something like a peanut and is likely red in color. Ultima Thule orbits the sun about once every 295 years, and has likely been almost undisturbed since it was formed during the early days of the solar system, making it an exciting target for astronomers.

The flyby will take place about four billion miles (6.6 billion km) from Earth. Because of this, radio signals carrying information from New Horizons to NASA’s Deep Space Network will take more than six hours to make the trip, and we’ll have to wait just a little bit longer to see Ultima Thule.

The first (extremely) grainy images of the space rock will arrive by the afternoon of New Year’s Eve as the spacecraft is still making its approach. They’ll have a resolution of around 75 km per pixel, meaning the entire object will take up less than one pixel at that distance.

The resolution will continue to increase as the craft approaches and, by the evening on January 2, the images will be 1.8 km per pixel. By New Year’s Day, though, we should be rewarded with some fairly high-resolution photos of the trans-Neptunian object, allowing scientists and the general public to cast eyes on this ancient object at long last.

Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory will provide a live webcast of the event which can be viewed here. The webcast will include live coverage of the event including real-time flyby simulations. Additionally, coinciding with the spacecraft’s close approach on New Year’s Day, Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May will release his new single “New Horizons.” This will be May’s first solo release in over two decades.


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Yukon and Northern BC First Nations tackle climate change using Indigenous knowledge and science




YUKON, June 18, 2021 /CNW/ – The Government of Canada is working together in partnership with Indigenous and Northern communities in finding solutions to adapt to the impacts of climate change in the North.

Today, Minister of Northern Affairs, Daniel Vandal, along with Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency), Larry Bagnell, highlighted progress on three unique, Indigenous-led projects that are helping communities in Yukon and Northern British Columbia adapt to the challenges posed by climate change.

The Minister and Parliamentary Secretary met virtually with Carcross/Tagish First Nation (C/TFN) to learn about their community-led climate change monitoring program. C/TFN has partnered with Tsay Keh Dene Nation (TKDN) and Chu Cho Environmental of Prince George, British Columbia, to build a community-led monitoring project that examines environmental data and Indigenous knowledge to create a holistic picture of how the climate is changing across C/TFN and TKDN traditional territories. The project combines tracking of current and historical climate trends with knowledge shared by Elders while also providing opportunities for youth mentorship and climate change awareness.

The Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN) is also leading a unique project to assess the impacts of climate change within their traditional territory. Climate change is causing many of the culturally significant ice patches to melt, exposing organic artifacts to oxygen and leading to rapid deterioration. The TRTFN ice patch mapping project will involve performing archaeological assessments to prevent the degradation of artifacts. Research will be guided by traditional knowledge, Elders and oral histories, when available, and heavily involve community, Elders, youth and Knowledge Keepers.

The Pelly Crossing Selkirk Development Corporation is leading the Selkirk Wind Resource Assessment project through the installation of a Sonic Detection and Ranging (SODAR) system. The initiative includes a feasibility study leading up to the construction of a renewable energy facility, including wind, solar and battery energy storage. Expanding clean energy within the region will have direct benefits for communities, including reduced reliance on diesel, job creation and revenue generation for Selkirk First Nation. 

These projects are delivering important environmental, social and economic benefits that lead to healthier, more sustainable and resilient communities across Yukon and Northern British Columbia. They also build community clean energy capacity and help to avoid the impacts of climate change.

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Atlantic Provinces Ready For Aquaculture Growth




Aquaculture is an important economic driver for rural, coastal and Indigenous communities, and Atlantic Canada is well positioned to increase aquaculture production as global demand for sustainably sourced seafood grows.

That is why the ministers responsible for aquaculture in the Atlantic provinces have agreed to the ongoing development and management of their industries based on common principles. A new memorandum of understanding has been signed by the four ministers, which extends the previous agreement signed in 2008.

“In a time when food security is especially important, it is good to see our aquaculture industry has grown steadily and is poised for continued growth in 2021 based on environmentally responsible, science-based policies and practices,” said Keith Colwell, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture for Nova Scotia. “Our Atlantic partnership continues to help the industry grow sustainably.”

Cooperation between the provinces and the aquaculture industry has led to improvements in pest management, environmentally sustainable aquaculture methods, aquatic animal health and policies to support the shared use of marine and freshwater resources. It also aims to align regulation and policy between the provinces to make the regulatory requirements easier to understand by industry and the public.

Each province has a comprehensive and robust legislative and regulatory framework to ensure environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and public accountability. The provinces update their legislation and regulations regularly. Nova Scotia revamped its regulatory framework in 2015; New Brunswick received Royal Assent for a new Aquaculture Act in 2019 and is working on the supporting regulations; Newfoundland and Labrador completely revised its aquaculture policy in 2019; and Prince Edward Island has recently drafted a new Aquaculture Act.

The ministers have agreed to continue to use science-based evidence for management decisions, thereby increasing public and investor confidence in the Atlantic Canadian aquaculture industry.

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COMING SOON: A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy 2.0




We all want the same thing: a clean and responsible energy future for our children and future generations while continuing to enjoy a high standard of living.

On December 11, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a new climate plan which he claimed will help achieve Canada’s economic and environmental goals.

The proposed plan by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) entitled “A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy” will have an initial investment of $15 billion of taxpayer’s money. It is built on 5 pillars of action:

  1) Making the Places Canadians Live and Gather More Affordable by Cutting Energy Waste

2) Making Clean, Affordable Transportation and Power Available in Every Community

3) Continuing to Ensure Pollution isn’t Free and Households Get More Money Back

4) Building Canada’s Clean Industrial Advantage

5) Embracing the Power of Nature to Support Healthier Families and More Resilient Communities  

In my paper, “A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy 2.0” I will objectively critique each pillar in the government’s new climate plan and provide alternative solutions to the same issues.

  This is an alternative plan that supports workers, protects lower income earners and creates economic growth while respecting the environment and focusing on the dignity of work.

  This plan abandons virtue-signaling projects and relies on Canadian ingenuity to build our economy and restore Canada’s role of responsible leadership in the world.

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