Nini – OverMortal

An evening pause: The music appears to come from a video game, which this video heavily promotes. No matter. She performs it using both a classic Chinese instrument and a modern electric guitar, and the contrast is striking.

Hat tip Judd Clark.

Pro-Hamas lefty arrested for several arson attacks on UC-Berkeley campus

Casey Goonan, a pro-Hamas activist arrested for arson
Casey Goonan, a pro-Hamas activist
arrested for arson

If you want to know the mentality of the pro-Hamas movement across America and largely centered on many “elite” campuses, you need only look at the story of Casey Goonan. Goonan is a 34-year-old long time leftist activist who was previously arrested in September 2023 for “felony vandalism & resisting arrest” (he had used a hammer to destroy the sign of a hotel at the protest site).

He has now been arrested again as the prime suspect in a series of four arson attacks on the UC-Berkeley campus in the past three weeks.

On Monday evening [June 17], Cal Fire announced the arrest of 34-year-old Casey Robert Goonan “in connection with the firebombing attack of a UC Berkeley Police Department vehicle and three other arson attacks on UC Berkeley campus during the month of June.”

Goonan was arrested Monday “following a comprehensive investigation” by Cal Fire’s Office of the State Fire Marshal Arson and Bomb Unit, UC Berkeley police, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Goonan is now facing multiple felony charges, authorities said, including “the possession and use of destructive devices and multiple counts of arson.” He is in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $1 million, according to Monday’s statement.

In all these arson attacks, the firebomber (allegedly Goonan) released anonymous statements claiming credit. The first such statement, proudly admitted to firebombing a UC-Berkeley police vehicle and concluded as follows:
» Read more

June 18, 2024 Zimmerman/Space Show podcast

David Livingston has now posted my two-hour appearance on the Space Show last night, with the podcast available for download here.

The show was especially enlivened by the many phone calls and excellent questions from listeners. Thank you.

I must also thank Charles Lurio (of the Lurio Report) for phoning me personally after the show to clue me into some centrifuge research on ISS that I was unaware of. Thank you Charles!

Astronomers see a quiet galaxy become active for the first time

Using a number of space- and ground-based telescopes, astronomers have for the first time seen in real time what had previously been a very inactive and quiet galaxy become active and energetic, suggesting a major event at the galaxy’s center had taken place to change its behavior.

From the abstract of the paper [pdf]:

We conclude that the variations observed in SDSS1335+0728 could be either explained by a ∼ 10 6 M ⊙ AGN [a one million solar mass black hole] that is just turning on or by an exotic tidal disruption event (TDE). If the former is true, SDSS1335+0728 is one of the strongest cases of an AGN observed in the process of activating. If the latter were found to be the case, it would correspond to the longest and faintest TDE ever observed (or another class of still unknown nuclear transient). Future observations of SDSS1335+0728 are crucial to further understand its behaviour.

As noted in the press release:

Some phenomena, like supernova explosions or tidal disruption events — when a star gets too close to a black hole and is torn apart — can make galaxies suddenly light up. But these brightness variations typically last only a few dozen or, at most, a few hundreds of days. SDSS1335+0728 is still growing brighter today, more than four years after it was first seen to ‘switch on’. Moreover, the variations detected in the galaxy, which is located 300 million light-years away in the constellation Virgo, are unlike any seen before.

If the central black hole is switching from being quiet to active, this galaxy is providing astronomers critical information for understanding such changes. This is particularly important to us here in the Milky Way, which has a very inactive central supermassive black hole weighing about 4 million solar masses. It would be very useful to understand what would cause it to become active, especially because such an event might even have an impact — possibly negative — throughout our entire galaxy.

Scientists release first image from Hubble in one-gyro mode

First Hubble image in one-gyro mode
Click for original image.

The Hubble science team today released the first image from the Hubble Space Telescope produced in its new one-gyro mode.

That image it so the right, cropped, reduced, and sharpened to post here, and shows NGC 1546, a nearby galaxy in the constellation Dorado about 52 million light years away. The inset shows at full resolution the small red galaxy near the top, to give some sense of the telescope’s capabilities in this one-gyro mode.

The details astonish me, and prove my pessimism about this new mode to have been wrong. I expected future images to be more fuzzy, with Hubble’s ability to take sharp images largely limited. The resolution here is excellent, and bodes well for future science observations.

Nonetheless, the telescope is still working under major limitations:

Although one-gyro mode is an excellent way to keep Hubble science operations going, it does have limitations, which include a small decrease in efficiency (roughly 12 percent) due to the added time required to slew and lock the telescope onto a science target.

As previously noted, prior to the use of the fine guidance sensors, fixed head star trackers position Hubble’s pointing closer to the target. If Earth or the moon block two of the fixed head star trackers’ fields of view, Hubble must move further along in its orbit until the star trackers can see the sky and its stars again. This process encroaches upon science observation time. Second, the additional time the fine guidance sensors take to further search for the guide stars adds to the total time the sensors use to complete the acquisition.

Third, in one-gyro mode Hubble has some restrictions on the science it can do. For example, Hubble cannot track moving objects that are closer to Earth than the orbit of Mars. Their motion is too fast to track without the full complement of gyros. Additionally, the reduced area of sky that Hubble can point to at any given time also reduces its flexibility to see transient events or targets of opportunity like an exploding star or an impact on Jupiter.

When combined, these factors may yield a decrease in productivity of roughly 20 to 25 percent from the typical observing program conducted in the past using all three gyros.

It really is time for the astronomical community to get its act together and begin work on developing and launching more large optical telescopes into space. Hubble has shown us the potential of in-space optical astronomy. That astronomers have not flocked in the last three decades to build more such telescopes is puzzling beyond belief.

Slovenia becomes 23rd member nation of the European Space Agency

Formerly part of Yugoslavia and largely aligned with the communist bloc during the Cold War, Slovenia has now signed on to become the 23rd member nation of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Slovenia has been working with ESA since 2008, when it signed a first Cooperation Agreement, followed by a European Cooperation Agreement. This cooperation was strengthened with its accession to associate membership in 2016, which it upgraded in 2020 with a new Agreement for an enhanced Association. This included a provision that after its expiration in 2025, Slovenia can apply for ESA membership.

Slovenia’s membership still needs to be ratified, but that is expected.

Increasingly Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine has proven to be incredibly stupid. It has not only trapped Russia in a quagmire that it can’t easily escape, with victory nowhere in sight, it has caused all of its other neighbors to look west, away from Russia, out of fear of getting invaded themselves. Slovenia is just the most recent example.

SpaceX launches 20 Starlink satellites

After a ten day pause in launches, which included one launch abort at T-0, SpaceX yesterday successfully launched 20 Starlink satellites, its Falcon 9 rocket lifting off from Vandenberg in California.

The pause is noteworthy because it is possibly SpaceX’s longest pause in launches this year (I haven’t gone back and checked). Consider this fact: A ten day pause between launches would have once been considered a fast launch pace. Now it seems like something is wrong.

The rocket’s first stage completed its fifth flight, landing on a drone ship in the Pacific.

The leaders in the 2024 launch race:

63 SpaceX (with another launch scheduled for later today)
27 China
8 Russia
7 Rocket Lab

American private enterprise now leads the world combined in successful launches, 73 to 41, while SpaceX by itself leads the entire world, including other American companies, 63 to 51.

June 18, 2024 Quick space links

Courtesy of BtB’s stringer Jay. This post is also an open thread. I welcome my readers to post any comments or additional links relating to any space issues, even if unrelated to the links below.

 

 

 

Massive Martian landslides

Massive Martian landslides
For original images go here and here.

Overview map

Today’s two cool images above provide a nice sense of the massive nature of many Martian landslides. Scientists often call this kind of slide “mass wasting,” because rather than it occurring because a single rock propagates a larger flow of rocks as it starts rolling downhill, this slide occurs because a large section of the hillside suddenly breaks free and moves downward as a unit, carving a path as it goes.

Mars has a lot of these kinds of slides, likely caused partly by its lower gravity, 39% that of Earth’s.

The overview map to the right marks the location of both slides by their numbers. Number one took place on the eastern interior rim of a 56-mile-wide and 7,000-foot-deep unnamed crater the dry tropics of Mars. The slide dropped about 3,000 feet, beginning about halfway down from the top of the rim and not quite reaching the crater floor. The picture was taken by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) on March 31, 2024.

Number two occurred on the western interior rim of a 32-mile-wide and 6,500-foot-deep unnamed crater in the mid-latitudes where near-surface ice and glacial features are often found. In this case the slide fell downward about 3,500 feet. The picture was taken by MRO’s high resolution camera on March 14, 2024.

Despite the different latitudes and thus different climates and geological settings, both landslides look similar. It is possible they occurred under similar conditions, but at very different times. Or it is also possible that the Mars gravity and general environment promotes these mass wasting events everywhere.

Kansas sues Pfizer for lying about the safety and effectiveness of its COVID jab

Apparently a company of liars
Apparently a company of liars

The state of Kansas yesterday filed a detailed suit against the pharmaceutical company Pfizer over the many lies and misrepresentations it pushed as it rolled out its COVID jab, such as hiding the actual documented “adverse events”, including many deaths, that occurred after people got jabbed.

You can read the complaint here [pdf]. It opens as follows;

Pfizer misled the public that it had a “safe and effective” COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Pfizer said its COVID-19 vaccine was safe even though it knew its COVID-19 vaccine was connected to serious adverse events, including myocarditis and pericarditis, failed pregnancies, and deaths. Pfizer concealed this critical safety information from the public.
  • Pfizer said its COVID-19 vaccine was effective even though it knew its COVID-19 vaccine waned over time and did not protect against COVID-19 variants. Pfizer concealed this critical effectiveness information from the public.
  • Pfizer said its COVID-19 vaccine would prevent transmission of COVID-19 even though it knew it never studied the effect of its vaccine on transmission of COVID-19.
  • To keep the public from learning the truth, Pfizer worked to censor speech on social media that questioned Pfizer’s claims about its COVID-19 vaccine.

The lawsuit has lots of juicy factoids. For example, Pfizer kept its own database of adverse events after people took its jab, and lied about that data to the public.
» Read more

Starliner return delayed again to June 26th

In a press briefing today, Boeing and NASA announced that they have decided to delay the return of Boeing’s Starliner capsule, carrying two astronauts, another four days to June 26, 2024. The landing would take place just before dawn, landing at White Sands in New Mexico.

The decision to delay is related to the results from the hot fire tests of the aft thrusters of Starliner on June 15, 2024. Engineers want to review the data, which included finding that one of the eight thrusters is producing unacceptable results and will not be used for the rest of the flight. The other seven thrusters however produced acceptable results, “good thrust” as noted by one official.

The extra time to review the data is also because these thrusters are on the service module, which will not return to Earth. They want to make sure they understand the issues entirely. The longer time docked to ISS is also giving them better data for future longer missions.

As for the helium leaks, the level of leaking appears to be dropping, and in fact dropped after the hot fire burns, and “appears to be somehow related to the thrusters.” Either way, the safety margins remain sufficient so that the return is not threatened in any way by these leaks.

The valve issue also seems under control, with all the valves now working as expected.

Overvall, engineers have decided they have a safe vehicle that can not only be used to return to Earth as scheduled, they are confident that they could also use Starliner as a lifeboat in a sudden emergency.

Surprise! Scientists discover that eating cheese makes you happier in old age!

Science discovers the obvious: A computer analysis of 2.3 million people in Europe has found that eating cheese helped make them healthier and happier as they aged.

A mediation analysis identified 33 factors that mediate “between the well-being spectrum and the aging-GIP” – essentially, statistically, the disease, behaviors and lifestyle choices that significantly reduce the healthy aging score. Key ones included TV watching, smoking, medication use, heart failure, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), stroke, coronary atherosclerosis and ischemic heart disease.

Cheese, on the other hand, swung the pendulum the other way in both its impact on the well-being spectrum and aging-GIP. One of five key lifestyle mediators the data testing identified, it had a 3.67% positive impact on those healthy aging factors (whereas, for example, higher fruit intake had a 1.96% positive result and too much TV time, an indication of a more sedentary lifestyle, had a 7.39% negative impact on the score for both indicators).

While interesting, this research is generally junk. The number of uncertainties and assumptions are so large that no one should take any of these positive and negative scores very seriously. Furthermore, the study basically discovers something that is patently obvious from the beginning: If you are active and eat well, you will be healthier in old age. If you are a couch potato who smokes, you will likely be sicker in old age.

Why cheese (and fruit) should improve these scores is intriguing, but simply suggests that the study is not very useful. The intriguing (and amusing) nature of these results guarantees however that it will blasted by every mainstream news source in the coming days, with little mention of the weakness of the research.

Once again, the first known binary of two supermassive black holes flares as predicted

The predicted orbit of OJ287

Using a variety of space telescopes astronomers have successfully predicted and then observed a major flare that occurred on November 12, 2021 from OJ287, the first known binary of two supermassive black holes located 3.5 billion light years away at the center of a very active galaxy dubbed a blazar.

On Nov. 12, 2021, TESS detected OJ 287 brightening by about two magnitudes for about 12 hours, as it released as much energy in that short burst as 100 average galaxies would release in the same time. This flare was attributed to a jet from the second black hole; observations from the other telescopes supported that result as well, with Fermi in particular detecting a significant outburst of gamma rays.

The figure to the right comes from the published paper [pdf], and shows the orbit of the smaller supermassive black hole — weighing 150 million solar masses — as it circled the larger central supermassive black hole — weighing 18 billion solar masses — from 2000 to 2021.

This was not the first time such a flare from OJ287 had been predicted and observed. Astronomers also did it in 2019. These observations now strongly confirm the predicted orbit of the small black hole, as shown in the figure.

Rocket Lab gets a new 10-launch contract from Japanese satellite company

Rocket Lab yesterday signed a new 10-launch contract with the Japanese satellite company Synspective, with the launches scheduled for the 2025-2027 timeframe.

Rocket Lab has been Synspective’s sole launch provider since 2020, having already launched four of its satellites, with two other launches already under contract. Thus, the satellite company has bought sixteen total launches from Rocket Lab. Its constellation is designed to provide surface data in any weather condition, using radar.

On the radio

I will be doing a long appearance tomorrow (Tuesday) with David Livingston of The Space Show, beginning at 7 pm (Pacific). You can access the live broadcast here. This was the rescheduled show we had had to cancel in May due to technical problems.

I hope my readers will consider calling in. It is always more fun to have a give-and-take with someone live, rather than simpl answering emailed questions.

June 17, 2024 Quick space links

Courtesy of BtB’s stringer Jay. This post is also an open thread. I welcome my readers to post any comments or additional links relating to any space issues, even if unrelated to the links below.

 

  • Webb observes the most distant Type 1a supernova yet discovered
  • Type 1a supernovae were used to discover dark energy, based on the assumption that their brightness is always the same. Thus, the dimmer they are, the farther away they are. The data from this supernovae doesn’t break that assumption, according to the abstract, but it uncovered some pecularities that need explaining.

The insane mountain slopes of Mars’ deep canyons

Overview map

The insane mountain slopes of Mars' deep canyons
Click for original image.

Cool image time! The picture to the right, rotated, cropped, reduced, and sharpened to post here, was taken on April 25, 2024 by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

The scientists label this layered deposits, but that hardly describes what we are looking at. This slope, as shown in the overview map above, is the north flank of the central ridgeline inside the giant enclosed canyon depression dubbed Hebes Chasma, located just north of the main canyon of Valles Marineris, the largest known canyon in the solar system.

From floor to peak the ridge is around 16,000 feet high. Yet, its peak sits more than 6,000 feet below the plateau that surrounds Hebes. In this one picture the drop from high to low is only 5,700 feet, with thousands of feet of cliff unseen below and above.

Yet every single foot of these gigantic cliffs is layered. Based on close-up data obtained by Curiosity on the slopes of Mount Sharp in Gale Crater on the other side of the planet, the layers we can see here only represent the most coarse sedimentary boundaries. Within these layers are likely thousands upon thousands of thin additional layers, each likely representing some cyclical climate proces on Mars, even down to individual years.

Note too that the lower slopes in this picture (near the top) suggest some form of erosion flowing downhill. What caused that erosion process however remains unknown. It could have been liquid water, or glaciers, or some other process unique to Mars that we still haven’t uncovered.

Just remember: These obnoxious disturbers of the peace are all Democrats

They’re coming for you next: In what is actually a relatively mild example of the obnoxious and almost always illegal protests by pro-Hamas supporters — such as taking over and trashing buildings, attacking Jews and blind children, and blocking traffic — for the past six months protesters have been disturbing the peace at late evening and early morning hours in the residential neighborhood where senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) lives with his family in Houston.

For the past 6 months, anti-Israel protestors have come to my home just about every Sat morning at 7 am and most Fri nights until 10 or 11 pm. They scream, disturb the peace & wake the neighbors.

I have embedded below the video of these protesters that Cruz included with his tweet:
» Read more

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter snaps picture of Chang’e-6 on far side of the Moon

Chang'e-6's landing site
Click for original image of Chang’e-6 on the Moon

The science team running Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) have now released an image of China’s Chang’e-6 lander on far side of the Moon, taken on June 7, 2024 one week after the spacecraft touched down.

Chang’e 6 landed on 1 June, 2024, and when LRO passed over the landing site almost a week later, it acquired an image showing the Chang’e 6 lander on the rim of an eroded ~50 meter diameter crater.

The LROC team computed the landing site coordinates as 41.6385°S, 206.0148°E, at -5256 meters elevation relative to the average lunar surface, with an estimated horizontal accuracy of plus-or-minus 30 meters.

The overview map to the right, showing the entire far side of the Moon, shows that picture as the inset in the lower left, cropped to post here. The black and white dot in the center is Chang’e-6’s lander, with the surrounding brightened ground showing the blast area produced by the engines during touchdown.

According to the LRO press release, the large dark area that surrounds the lander — as seen in the wider inset in the upper right — is a “basaltic mare deposit” — similar to the vast dark frozen lava seas evident to our own eyes on the near side of the Moon.

Webb produces false color infrared image of the Crab Nebula

The Crab Nebula as in infrared by Webb
Click for original image.

The false-color infrared picture to the right, reduced and sharpened to post here, was taken by the Webb Space Telescope of the Crab Nebula, located 6,500 light years away and created when a star went supernova in 1054 AD, in order to better understand its make-up and origins. From the caption:

The supernova remnant is comprised of several different components, including doubly ionized sulfur (represented in green), warm dust (magenta), and synchrotron emission (blue). Yellow-white mottled filaments within the Crab’s interior represent areas where dust and doubly ionized sulfur coincide.

The spectroscopic data from this infrared observation has in fact increased the puzzle of the Crab’s origin. Previously the data suggested the supernova that caused it was one type of supernova. This data now suggests it could have been a different type, without precluding the possibility of the first.

“Now the Webb data widen the possible interpretations,” said Tea Temim, lead author of the study at Princeton University in New Jersey. “The composition of the gas no longer requires an electron-capture explosion, but could also be explained by a weak iron core-collapse supernova.”

You can read the published science paper here [pdf].

German rocket startup looking for alternatives to Saxaford spaceport

Australian commercial spaceports
Australia’s commercial spaceports. Click for original map.

Because of regulatory delays at the Saxaford spaceport in Great Britain, the German rocket startup Hyimpulse has signed a launch deal with the Australian commercial spaceport Southern Launch.

In May, HyImpulse launched the inaugural flight of its suborbital SR75 rocket from the Southern Launch Koonibba Test Range. The flight had initially been expected to be launched from SaxaVord in Scotland, but delays in the construction of the facility forced the company to look elsewhere for a host.

On 6 June, Southern Launch announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with HyImpulse for the launch of additional SR75 missions from Koonibba. The agreement also included provisions for the pair to explore the possibility of launching orbital flights aboard the HyImpulse SL1 rocket from Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex on the south coast of Australia.

According to Hyimpulse’s November 2023 deal with Saxaford, it was to have flown two suborbital flights of the SR75 in 2024 and one orbital flight of SL1 in 2025.

It could very well be that SL1’s first orbital test launch will still take place from Saxavord, but the several years of delays caused by the red tape from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority in approving Saxavord has forced its customers to seek alternatives. Hyimpulse for example now has agreements not only with Southern Launch in Australia. The French space agency CNES has approved it to launch from French Guiana as well.

In addition, the German rocket startup Isar Aerospace in November 2023 signed a deal with the new Andoya commercial spaceport in Norway. Andoya had come into this spaceport competition very late, but it apparently won this deal because Isar saw the regulatory problems in the UK and decided to look elsewhere.

June 14, 2024 Quick space links

Courtesy of BtB’s stringer Jay. This post is also an open thread. I welcome my readers to post any comments or additional links relating to any space issues, even if unrelated to the links below.

 

 

  • On this day in 1967, Mariner 5 launched to do the second fly-by of Venus
  • NASA had built it as a backup for its Mariner 4 Mars fly-by mission, and repurposed it for Venus, adding a sunshield. It zipped past Venus on October 19, 1967, one day after the Soviet Venera lander made the first attempt to soft land there. Both confirmed that Venus was a hot hellhole with an atmospheric temperature of 800 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Today’s blacklisted American: Entire family kicked out of Catholic school because their 13-year-old son supported patriotism to America

Jimmy Heyward, blacklisted for touting American patriotism
Jimmy Heyward, blacklisted for extolling
American patriotism

They’re coming for you next: When 13-year-old Jimmy Heyward decided to run for the position of “commissioner of spirit and patriotism” at St. Bonaventure Catholic middle school in Huntington Beach, California, he wrote a campaign speech that not only extolled the idea of patriotism, but wittily mimicked Donald Trump’s own campaign slogans. His conclusion:

So accordingly, I Jimmy Heyward, am running for Commissioner of Patriotism and School Spirit. I want to clarify that my ideas are not promises, but I can promise to make pep rallies great again! … I will make the school spirit great again! I will make patriotism within SBS great again! And most importantly I will MAKE SBS GREAT AGAIN!

The school principal, Mary Flock, didn’t like that. How dare he!
» Read more

New evidence suggests some titanium on Boeing and Airbus planes might be fake

According to information provided to the FAA from Boeing, the documentation from a subcontractor for some of the titanium used on some Boeing and Airbus planes might be faked, suggesting that the titanium is fake as well.

Boeing discovered this possibility when one of its suppliers discovered holes in some metal pieces due to corrosion.

Apparently, Italian parts supplier Titanium International Group found small holes in titanium in December 2023, and also raised suspicions about the authenticity of documentation. It notified Spirit AeroSystems of the issue, which in turn informed Airbus and Boeing in January 2024. According to three anonymous sources close to the matter, affected planes include those built between 2019 and 2023 and involve the Boeing 737 MAX, 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A220 programs.

…The problem has been traced back to a Chinese supplier that sold titanium to Turkish company Turkish Aerospace Industries in 2019. Documentation from this Chinese supplier claimed that the titanium had been sourced from another Chinese firm, Baoji Titanium Industry – however, Baoji Titanium has confirmed that it did not provide this batch of titanium “and has no business dealing with this company.” [emphasis in original]

In other words, no one has any idea where that first Chinese supplier got the titanium, because its documentation was false.

Both Airbus and Boeing have done numerous tests and found no problems, though both have said they will remove any suspect parts. Spirit meanwhile has removed all the suspect parts, even though tests suggested the parts were “of sufficient quality for the aerospace industry.”

The real story here is not that these parts are unsafe (they apparently are not). The real story is the dependence by these airplane companies on so many subcontractors, some of which are subcontractors of subcontractors of subcontractors and also come from a hostile power. It leaves them all very vulnerable to others’ mistakes or malfeasance. During the Cold War it would have been inconceivable to rely on Soviet-built parts. Yet, today American airlines routine rely on Chinese companies when the Chinese government has made it clear it sees us as an enemy to be defeated.

Archaeologists discover 35 glass jars at Mount Vernon from 1700s, most containing edible preserved fruits

During an on-going renovation at George Washington’s Mount Vernon home, archaeologists have discovered 35 glass jars from the 1700s, with most containing preserved cherries and berries that appear completely edible.

Of the 35 bottles, 29 are intact and contain perfectly preserved cherries and berries, likely gooseberries or currants. The contents of each bottle have been carefully extracted, are under refrigeration at Mount Vernon, and will undergo scientific analysis. The bottles are slowly drying in the Mount Vernon archaeology lab and will be sent off-site for conservation.

Only a small quantity of the preserved fruits has been analyzed, with the following results:

  • 54 cherry pits and 23 stems have been identified thus far, suggesting that the bottles were likely full of cherries before bottling. Cherry pulp is also present.
  • Microscopy suggests that the cherries may have been harvested by snipping from trees with shears. The stems were neatly cut and purposefully left attached to the fruit before bottling.
  • The cherries likely are of a tart variety, which has a more acidic composition that may have aided in preservation.
  • The cherries are likely candidates for DNA extraction, which could be compared against a database of heirloom varieties to determine the precise species.
  • The pits are undergoing an examination to determine if any are viable for germination.

The last point is most fascinating. Imagine if a new cherry tree could be grown from a pit that was likely picked when George Washington was alive.

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