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New type of train adapts to different gauge tracks

A photo captures the new type of high-speed train which is rolled out in Changchun, the capital city of Northeast Chinas Jilin province, on Oct 21. (Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn)A new generation of high-speed trains that can adapt to different track gauges, or widths, and climate conditions has been developed in Changchun, Jilin province.The new type of train, developed by CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co, is designed with a top speed of 400 kilometers per hour. Its ability to run on international railways with different track gauges and power supply standards makes international rail travel much more practical.Wang Lei, a senior engineer at the company, said different global gauge standards have been one of the biggest challenges holding back cross-border interconnections among different rail routes.There are currently four main types of gauge in the world-1,435-millimeter standard gauge, 1,520-mm Russian broad gauge, 1,676-mm European broad gauge and 1,067-mm narrow gauge.When ordinary trains pass through countries with different gauges, the train cars have to be lifted so that their wheel assemblies can be replaced at border stations, which takes at least two hours, not including the time and effort needed to work out any problems, he said.Since the new train has variable-gauge wheel assemblies, it enables the cars to be pulled along a different gauge track at reduced speed, which improves the efficiency of rail services and facilitates the smooth flow of traffic, he added.The train also features increased adaptability to environmental changes. It can operate in temperatures between -50 C and 50 C, the company said. The trains new technologies mean it can be used on about 90 percent of the global railway network.The new train also is more environmentally friendly, reducing average energy consumption per kilometer by 10 percent as well as cutting noise levels by two decibels, according to the company.Equipped with intelligent sensors and big dat...

Indonesia discovers 2 new crab species in Papua

Typhlocarcinops raouli, a new crab species discovered by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences in Mimika, Papua, Indonesia. (Photo courtesy of LIPI) .The Indonesian Institute of Sciences has discovered two new crab species in Mimika district, Papua province, a researcher

18 reserve astronauts selected for China's manned space program

Photo taken on May 8, 2020 shows the return capsule of the trial version of Chinas new-generation manned spaceship at the Dongfeng landing site in north Chinas Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. (File photo: Xinhua)WUHAN, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinas manned space program has entered the mission preparation stage with the selection of a new group of 18 reserve astronauts.According to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), the reserve astronauts, including one female, have been selected recently from 2,500 candidates. Among them are seven spacecraft pilots, seven space flight engineers and four payload experts.Flight engineers and payload experts have been selected for the first time as reserve astronauts to meet Chinas space station construction needs.The mission preparation stage is not only expected to deliver more scientific research output but also boost the development of commercial space programs, international cooperation and popular science education, said Hao Chun, director general of the CMSA, at a space forum in Wuhan, central Chinas Hubei Province, on Tuesday.He noted that based on the principles of openness, fairness and justice, China will pay attention to the layout planning in fields of material supply, application payloads, micro-satellites release, in-orbit maintenance, and space tourism, and gradually establish proper models for other parties to participate.The completion of the space station will provide a broader scope for commercial space development and commercial operation can be a beneficial supplement of the stations functioning, he added.Chinas space station, expected to be completed around 2022, will operate in the low-Earth orbit at an altitude from 340 km to 450 km for more than 10 years, supporting large-scale scientific, technological and application experiments.After the maiden flight of the Long March-5B that kicked off station construction, the core module and two lab capsules will be launched for asse...

China to further open up despite tech wars launched against Chinese companies

A robotic arm manufacturer in Dongguan, South Chinas Guangdong Province, displays some products for testing. The factory, like many other Chinese tech companies, is now stepping up efforts to accelerate its self-developed technologies. (File photo: Chen Qingqing/GT)China will continue to open up and encourage international technology and science cooperation, the Minister of Science and Technology said on Wednesday.Wang Zhigang, minister of science and technology, noted that although many Chinese companies, mainly high-tech companies and high-tech personnel, are increasingly squeezed out by international community, China will still unswervingly advance international technology cooperation which has been in the forefront of the countrys reform and opening up.The Global Innovation Index released by the World Intellectual Property Organization shows that Chinas ranking has jumped from 29th in 2015 to 14th in 2020, which echoed the increasing input the country has put into the science and technology field.During the 13th Five-Year Plan, Chinas funding for basic science research has nearly doubled, reaching 133.6 billion yuan ($20 billion) in 2019. The research and development expenditure has increased from 1.42 trillion yuan to 2.21 trillion yuan. The technology contract turnover has doubled, exceeding 2.2 trillion yuan in 2019.In addition to its own technology advancement, Wang noted that China has been taking a leading role in promoting global scientific and technological cooperation and talent exchanges in the past five years.Wang said that at present China has tied scientific and technological cooperation relations with 161 countries and regions, signed 114 intergovernmental scientific and technological cooperation agreements, and participated in more than 200 international organizations and multilateral mechanisms involving science and technology.Under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, China has supported a combined total...

NASA spacecraft grabs sample of rocks from asteroid

A NASA spacecraft touched down on the rugged surface of the Bennu asteroid on Tuesday, grabbing a sample of rocks dating back to the birth of our solar system to bring home.This NASA file image obtained August 11, shows an artists rendering of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft descending towards asteroid Bennu to collect a sample of the asteroids surface. (Photo: VCG)The minivan-sized OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, built by Lockheed Martin, extended its 3.35-meter robotic arm toward a flat patch of gravel near Bennus North Pole and plucked the sample of rocks, the space agencys first handful of pristine asteroid rocks."Sample collection is complete, and the back-away burn has executed," Lockheed mission operator Estelle Church added seconds later, confirming the spacecraft eased away from the space rock after making contact.The probe will send back images of the sample collection on Wednesday and throughout the week so scientists can examine how much material was retrieved and determine whether the probe will need to make another collection attempt.If a successful collection is confirmed, the spacecraft will journey back toward Earth, arriving in 2023. Japan is the only other country to have already accomplished this.Bennu could hold clues to the origins of life on Earth, scientists say.The spacecraft launched in 2016 for the journey to Bennu.

Virtual reality getting more real as industry grows

A boy experiences a VR device at the 2019 China International Consumer Electronics Show in Qingdao, East Chinas Shandong province, July 19, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)In a year that seems more "virtual" than ever, with the world struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, China is embracing the booming virtual reality (VR) industry and making it more real in terms of integrating this technology in various fields to envision a better-off and safer society.The 2020 World Conference on VR Industry kicked off on Monday in Nanchang, capital of East Chinas Jiangxi province. The two-day event focused on the key and common problems in VR industry development, discussed industry trends and solutions, and illustrated the latest achievements in the field.This years conference has prompted businesses to sign projects with contracted amounts totaling 66.2 billion yuan (about $10 billion), according to organizers.More applications, deeper integrationVR technology has been exposed to the public in more fields in the past years, such as gaming, livestreaming, shopping, and tourism. Besides these familiar life scenarios, it is also integrating with other significant industries.More than 160 exhibitors, including Huawei and Microsoft, have presented their products and projects on VR, AR (augmented reality), and MR (mixed reality) technologies at an expo during the conference.Jiangxi Copper Corporation Limited presented its VR application scenarios at the expo. Staff can monitor mining sites, whose images can be projected on screens in VR form, inside their offices.With such a vivid and intelligent approach, the company said they could increase the qualified rates of selected copper grade and sulfur grade by 11.34 percent and 4.43 percent, respectively.The application of VR in the mining process not only drives the working efficiency but also ensures the safety of workers. As technologies create a better life for humankind, the VR industry is no exception, especially in ...

Asia's largest multipurpose 'ro-ro' ship launched in east China

The multipurpose ro-ro ship "Bohai Hengda" is seen launched into the water in Longkou construction base of CIMC Raffles in Yantai, east Chinas Shandong Province, Oct. 19, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)The largest multipurpose "ro-ro" (roll-on/roll-off) ship in Asia was launched at a ceremony in east Chinas Shandong Province Monday.Named Bohai Hengda, the ship is 189.9 meters long and 26.4 meters wide with a gross tonnage of 25,000, and has lanes around 2,700 meters long to stow more than 300 vehicles. The vessel can sail up to 5,000 nautical miles.Built by CIMC Raffles, the new ship has been designed for multiple roles such as transportation of cars, trucks and containers.Yu Xinjian, general manager of Bohai Ferry Group Co. Ltd., said the ship was specially designed for the conditions and meteorological characteristics of the Bohai Bay.With advanced equipment, it will have stronger wind bearing capacity and is safer and more comfortable, Yu said.

NASA mission makes historic attempt to snag sample of asteroid Bennu

Photo provided by NASA on Oct. 20, 2020 shows Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission readies itself to touch the surface of asteroid Bennu. (Photo: Xinhua)NASA said its Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission touched down on asteroid Bennu on Tuesday and collected a sample from the asteroids surface.It is the first U.S. mission to retrieve a pristine sample of an asteroid and return it to Earth for further study.The van-size spacecraft briefly touched down its arm in a landing site on Bennu called Nightingale. Later, the spacecraft completed a back-away burn, and moved to a safe distance away from Bennu, according to NASA live broadcast."Sample collection is complete," NASA tweeted. After a Touch-And-Go maneuver to capture a sample, the spacecraft fired its thrusters to back away from Bennus surface and navigate to a safe distance away, said NASA.Preliminary data show the sample collection event went as planned, said the mission team, adding more details are expected once all the data from the event are downlinked to Earth.The spacecraft performed the entire sequence of approaching the asteroid and collecting the sample autonomously, which lasted about 4.5 hours.The spacecraft fired a pressurized nitrogen bottle into the asteroid, using the gas as a way to lift material off Bennus surface.The spacecrafts collector head, located on its robotic sampling arm, captured the stirred up material. This head is the only part of the spacecraft that touched Bennu.The sample is scheduled to be returned to Earth in September 2023."Congratulations to the entire @OSIRISREx team and all of @NASAs partners on this mission! We are on the way to returning the largest sample brought home from space since Apollo. If all goes well, this sample will be studied by scientists for generations to come!" NASA Adminis...

Chinese space firms to scale new heights, inspired by national support, SpaceX’s success

China'ssolid-fueledKuaiZhou-1AY11carrierrocketblastedoffat11:40amonWednesday.Photo:ScreenshotofvideofromChina'sCCTVNewsAstheyemergefromdisruptionscausedbyCOVID-19pandemic,Chineseplayersinthecommercialspacesector-bothstate-ownedandprivate-areacceleratingtheirinvestmentinresearchanddevelopment(R&D),as

Haidian grants big money to 5 scientists

Beijing's Zhongguancun area, once a hub for electronic products, has become a center for high-end industries.Zhongguancun Science City in Beijing's Haidian district announced the funding of five scientists with a total of 2.Intended to help scientific results transfer to industrial products, the fun

China releases list of top 50 VR firms

A visitor drives a VR motor at the 2020 World Conference on the VR Industry in Nanchang, capital of east Chinas Jiangxi Province, Oct. 19, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)A list of Chinas top 50 virtual reality (VR) firms was unveiled at the 2020 World Conference on the VR Industry, which opened on Monday in Nanchang, east Chinas Jiangxi Province.Electro-acoustic components manufacturer Goertek, Beijing Baidu Netcom Science and Technology Co. Ltd., and HTC Communication Co., Ltd. topped the list.First released in 2019, the list is produced by the Industry of Virtual Reality Alliance (IVRA), with more than 30 experts in the VR industry participating in the ranking process this year.Zhao Qinping, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and president of the Council of the IVRA, said listed enterprises are expected to enhance their technological research and development capabilities, expand their market scales and contribute to the global VR industry.China has witnessed its VR industry expand rapidly as the country pushes for the high-quality development and extensive application of new technologies. According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Chinas VR market will be valued at 54.45 billion yuan (about 8 billion U.S. dollars) by 2021.

Nation makes advances in rural electrification

A view of the transmission line project in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. (Photo: China Daily)The level of electrification in Chinas rural areas has significantly improved in recent years, with more rural residents having access to cleaner energy options, as a result of Chinas relentless and long-running poverty-alleviation campaign.Clean energy accounted for 21.8 percent of total energy consumption in Chinas rural regions in 2018,8.6 percentage points higher than in 2012, Zhang Jianhua, head of the National Energy Administration, said at a news conference in Beijing on Monday. Electrification in Chinas rural regions has reached 18 percent, 7 percentage points higher than in 2012."Most regions in the northern parts of China are adopting natural gas and biofuel for winter heating, with more than 4.69 million households opting for clean fuel, including natural gas, for winter heating in Chinas northern regions," he said."The northern rural regions shift from coal to cleaner energy for heating has not only improved air quality but also boosted infrastructure construction in rural regions and improved local residents quality of life."According to Zhang, energy development and construction has not only brought greater access to power in poverty-stricken regions but has also created more employment opportunities.Electric power development in rural regions has been the priority task in poverty alleviation, and it is necessary to transform its advantages in resources, including coal and natural gas, into favorable economic conditions, he said.Li Chuangjun, head of the new energy department of the NEA, said compared with other options for poverty alleviation, the solar photovoltaic poverty alleviation project, which combines the development of clean energy with poverty alleviation, is more easily accessed and maintained.As part of poverty alleviation efforts, the country has set up solar power stations with a tota...

BeiDou able to achieve lane level positioning

File photo of a model of the Beidou Satellite Navigation System. (Photo: Xinhua)Chinas domestically developed BeiDou Navigation Satellite System has released platform 2.0, which supports 1.2-meter accuracy and lane level positioning, and experts said that these specifications have endorsed the systems ability to compete in the same ring as GPS.The information was announced by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) recently. Media reported that the BeiDou High Accuracy Positioning Service Platform 2.0 has improved mobile phone positioning accuracy to 1.2 meters for civilian applications.Based on the BeiDou 2 and BeiDou 3 global satellite navigation systems, the platform can achieve second-level positioning and improve positioning accuracy to 1.2 meters, meaning that lane level positioning can be achieved. The accuracy can reach the sub-meter level when fitted with an on-board antenna.Realizing lane level positioning means that the navigation system is able to recognize main roads and side roads while being used, Chinese military expert and TV commentator Song Zhongping told the Global Times, noting that GPS is unable to achieve such accuracy."The release of version 2.0 of BeiDous positioning service means that lane level high-precision positioning using mobile phones has entered formal commercial use," CAICT researcher Liu Xu said. "Lane level positioning can be achieved by simply upgrading the firmware and software versions, without the need for additional hardware."Another difficulty to overcome in order to realize lane level positioning is to shorten the time of navigating. Insiders said that BeiDous high-precision service 1.0 solved this problem for newer equipment, as it helped store all ephemeris data needed in positioning, so other equipment would just extract from the high-precision service 1.0, instead of downloading data from satellites."It also provides an edge for BeiDou to...

Chinese coal producers embrace unmanned mining

A coal mine in Shuozhou, North Chinas Shanxi Province (Photo: cnsphoto)As the central government has required Chinese coal companies to prioritize miners health and safety in recent years, several coal producers are starting to embrace intelligent technologies as an alternative to traditional mining.The number of fully mechanized coal mining faces in China has increased from 3 in 2015, to 275 in 2019, and is expected to exceed 550 by the end of this year, according to data from a report by China Coal News.For now, six coal mining provinces in China are developing intelligent work faces, such as East Chinas Shandong Province, North Chinas Shanxi Province and Northwest Chinas Shaanxi Province, accounting for 80 percent of the number of Chinese coal mining work faces.By using intelligent technologies, the number of miners on the coal face has been significantly reduced. Miners are only required to monitor mining machines on the roadway or at the control center.90 percent of Yankuang Groups coal mines (which merged with the Shandong Energy Group to establish the new Shandong Energy Group) have reduced their number of underground miners by more than 9,700 by developing intelligent mines.By 2022, the number of intelligent mining faces will hit more than 1,000 in China, with output from these intelligent faces growing to between 1 billion and 1.5 billion tons. In addition, a batch of intelligent coal wells will be built, according to a three-year action plan published this year by agencies.Chinas domestically-supported 5G special network system was first used at a coal mine in Zoucheng, East Chinas Shandong Province. The coal mine, operated by Shandong Energy Group, reduced its data transmission time to 20 milliseconds through its use of 5G, achieving real-time manipulation in underground unmanned coal mining.Shendong Coal, a unit of China Energy Investment Corp, has built Chinas first intelligent mine demonstration projects, in...

Baidu Maps app helps severely injured find trauma centers

The first conference of the Chinese National Center for Trauma Medicine kicked off in Beijing, on Oct 17, 2020. [Photo provided to chinadaily.Trauma patients in China can get quicker and better medical treatment now that they can find the nearest trauma center through an application.

Bill Gates lashes out at US government for trying to silence top scientists

Bill Gates.Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates lashed out at the Trump administration for trying to undermine infectious disease expert Doctor Anthony Fauci and other government scientists during a Politico Playbook virtual discussion on Tuesday, CNN reports."We're engaged in something w

WHO study finds remdesivir didn't help COVID-19 patients

A large study led by the World Health Organization suggests that the antiviral drug remdesivir did not help hospitalized COVID-19 patients, in contrast to an earlier study that made the medicine a standard of care in the United States and many other countries.An ampule of Gilead Sciences COVID-19 antiviral remdesivir is pictured during a news conference at the University Hospital Eppendorf (UKE) in Hamburg, Germany, April 8, 2020./ReutersThe results announced Friday do not negate the previous ones, and the WHO study was not as rigorous as the earlier one led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. But they add to concerns about how much value the pricey drug gives because none of the studies have found it can improve survival.The drug has not been approved for COVID-19 in the U.S., but it was authorized for emergency use after the previous study found it shortened recovery time by five days on average. Its approved for use against COVID-19 in the United Kingdom and Europe, and is among the treatments U.S. President Donald Trump received when he was infected earlier this month.The WHO study involved more than 11,000 patients in 30 countries. About 2,750 were randomly assigned to get remdesivir. The rest got either the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, the immune-system booster interferon, the antiviral combo lopinavir-ritonavir, or just usual care. The other drugs have largely been ruled out for COVID-19 by previous studies, but not remdesivir.Death rates after 28 days, the need for breathing machines, and time in the hospital were relatively similar for those given remdesivir versus usual care.The results have not been published in a journal or reviewed by independent scientists, but were posted on a site researchers use to share results quickly.Results row"The big story is the finding that remdesivir produces no meaningful impact on survival," Martin Landray, an Oxford University professor who led other coronavirus treatment...

AI model will differentiate COVID-19 from other respiratory diseases

Chinese researchers published a paper in the journal Nature Communications earlier this month proposing an artificial intelligence model that can help doctors quickly differentiate between COVID-19, influenza, and pneumonia with high accuracy.

Beidou navigation system provides free service for civilian users

China’s Beidou Navigation Satellite System will provide free services for civilian mobile phone users with a positioning accuracy of 1.2 meters within seconds thanks to the latest Beidou high-accuracy positioning service platform released at the Beidou Summit Forum on Oct. Based on the BDS-2 and BD

NASA signs Artemis Accords with international partners

Workers pressure wash the logo of NASA on the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, US, on May 19, 2020.WASHINGTON -- NASA and several partner countries have signed the Artemis Accords to establish a practical set of principles to guide space exploration c

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