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China welcomes foreign astronauts to space station flights

JIUQUAN, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- Astronauts from foreign countries will be able to participate in joint flights on board Chinas space station, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) announced on Thursday.Screen image taken at Beijing Aerospace Control Center on July 4, 2021 shows Chinese astronaut Nie Haisheng staying inside Tianhe in cooperation with Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo for their extravehicular activities (EVAs). (Xinhua/Jin Liwang)China welcomes foreign astronauts to its space station to carry out international cooperation, Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the CMSA, told a press conference ahead of the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft launch, which is scheduled for 12:23 a.m. (Beijing Time) on Oct. 16 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.The Shenzhou-13 spacecraft will take three astronauts -- Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu -- into space for the construction of Chinas space station."The construction of Chinas space station will provide a better platform for wider international cooperation, including joint astronaut flights," Lin said.He said the cooperation on astronaut selection and training has already taken place between China and foreign countries.Chinese astronauts once went to Russia for training. Ye Guangfu completed an underground training course organized by the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2016, Lin said.European astronauts also participated in a sea-survival training program in China in 2017, he added.International space cooperation is an important part of building a community with a shared future for humanity.In its manned space exploration, China has cooperated with countries including Russia, Germany, France, Italy and Pakistan, and with organizations such as the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the ESA."It is a common cause for mankind that needs full global cooperation, and China has always been committed to the peaceful use of space, and equality and mutual development in space exploration,&quot...

Chinese female taikonaut to give second lesson in space

JIUQUAN, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) - Chinese female taikonaut Wang Yaping on board the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft will give a lesson while in orbit, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) announced on Thursday.Wang Yaping (Photo: Xinhua)It will be the second time for the taikonaut to broadcast a live lecture in space, deputy director of the CMSA Lin Xiqiang told a press conference ahead of the Shenzhou-13 launch, which is scheduled for 12:23 a.m. (Beijing Time) on Oct. 16.Wang earned the title of Chinas first space teacher after delivering a televised science lecture to an audience of over 60 million schoolchildren during the Shenzhou-10 space mission in June 2013.According to Lin, Wang will carry out extravehicular activities during the Shenzhou-13 mission, a six-month stay in space. It will make her the first Chinese woman to leave footprints in the universe.

China discloses tasks of Shenzhou-13 crewed space mission

JIUQUAN, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) - The upcoming Shenzhou-13 crewed space mission will include two or three extravehicular activities, installation of important devices for mechanical arms as well as various sci-tech experiments and applications, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) on Thursday.(Photo: CFP)One of the main objectives of the mission is to test key technologies for assembly and construction of Chinas space station, such as module transfer supported by the robotic arm and manual remote operation, said Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the CMSA, at a press conference held at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.The astronauts will perform two or three extravehicular activities during the mission to install the dual-arm connector, the device to link the big and small mechanical arms, as well as suspension device, Lin said. The mission will further verify the health, living and working support technologies for astronauts six-month stay in orbit, he said.The astronauts will also carry out sci-tech experiments and applications in fields such as space medicine and micro-gravity physics, as well as diversified public science education activities, he said. The mission will achieve a comprehensive assessment of the functional performance of various project systems for carrying out space station tasks and the compatibility between systems, he added.The Shenzhou-13 crewed spaceship will be launched at 12:23 a.m. Saturday (Beijing Time) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.

China to launch Shenzhou-13 manned spaceship on Oct. 16

File photoJIUQUAN, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) - The Shenzhou-13 manned spaceship will be launched at 12:23 a.m. Saturday (Beijing Time) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China, announced the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) on Thursday.The spaceship will take three astronauts -- Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu -- into space for the construction of Chinas space station, said Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the CMSA, at a press conference held at the launch center.The astronauts will stay in space for about six months, the longest ever in-orbit duration for the Chinese astronauts.After entering orbit, the spaceship will conduct a fast automated rendezvous and docking with the radial port of the in-orbit space station core module Tianhe, forming a complex with the core module and the cargo crafts Tianzhou-2 and Tianzhou-3.The astronauts aboard Shenzhou-13 will be stationed in the core module, working and living according to the same timetable as on Earth, Lin said. After six months, they will return to the Dongfeng landing site in north Chinas Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region taking the return capsule.The launch will be carried out with a Long March-2F carrier rocket, which is being filled with propellant, Lin said.On Sept. 20, China launched cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-3 to deliver supplies for the Shenzhou-13 mission, including one extravehicular spacesuit for back-up, supplies for extravehicular activities, space station platform materials, payloads and propellants.Currently, cargo crafts Tianzhou-2 and Tianzhou-3 are docked at the two ends of the Tianhe core module, with all equipment functioning well, waiting for the arrival of the Shenzhou-13 crew members. The crew is in good condition, and all preparations before launch are in order, Lin said.

Chinese scientist wins International Science Council award

File photo: XinhuaA Chinese scientist on Wednesday won the Science for Sustainability Award at the first International Science Council (ISC) Awards for his contribution to sustainable development goals.Guo Huadong, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), is also a researcher at the Aerospace Information Research Institute under CAS.The prize was established in 2020 to recognize individuals or groups who have made outstanding contributions to promoting scientific development. Winners are selected every three years from global candidates.As a scientist working on radar remote sensing and digital earth science, Guo was awarded the prize for his pioneering research on big Earth data science and his contribution to the realization of sustainable development goals.

William Shatner, TV's Capt. Kirk, blasts into space

Hollywoods Captain Kirk, 90-year-old William Shatner, blasted into space Wednesday in a convergence of science fiction and science reality, reaching the final frontier aboard a ship built by Jeff Bezos Blue Origin company.This undated photo made available by Blue Origin in October 2021 shows, from left, Chris Boshuizen, William Shatner, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries. Their launch scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021 will be Blue Origin’s second passenger flight, using the same capsule and rocket that Jeff Bezos used for his own trup three months earlier. (Photo: AP)The "Star Trek" hero became the oldest person to ride a rocket, eclipsing the previous record — set by a passenger on a similar jaunt on a Bezos spaceship in July — by eight years.Dressed in a royal blue flight suit, Shatner joined three fellow passengers, four to five decades younger, aboard the fully automated capsule that took off from remote West Texas for an up-and-down flight scheduled to last just 10 minutes or so.The spaceship aimed for an altitude of 66 miles (106 kilometers), at the fringes of space, after which the capsule was set to parachute back to the desert floor.Sci-fi fans reveled in the opportunity to see the man best known as the stalwart Capt. James T. Kirk of the starship Enterprise boldly go where no star of American TV has gone before.Shatner said ahead of the countdown that he planned to spend his approximately three minutes of weightlessness gazing down at Earth, his nose pressed against the capsules windows."The only thing I dont want to see is a little gremlin looking back at me," he joked, referring to the plot of his 1963 "Twilight Zone" episode titled "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet."Bezos is a huge "Star Trek" fan — the Amazon founder had a cameo as an alien in one of the later "Star Trek" movies — and Shatner rode free as his invited guest.The blastoff brought priceless star power to Bezos s...

World's clean energy transition 'too slow': IEA

File photo The worlds clean energy transition is still far too slow to meet climate pledges in what risks fuelling greater price volatility, the International Energy Agency warned Wednesday."We are not investing enough to meet for future energy needs, and the uncertainties are setting the stage for a volatile period ahead," IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said.

Big picture, big data: Swiss unveil VR software of universe

The final frontier has rarely seemed closer than this — at least virtually.Researchers at one of Switzerland’s top universities are releasing open-source beta software on Tuesday that allows for virtual visits through the cosmos including up to the International Space Station, past the Moon, Saturn or exoplanets, over galaxies and well beyond.Hadrien Gurnel, software engineer EPFLs Laboratory for Experimental Museology (eM+) explores with a virtual reality helmet the most detailed 3D map of the universe with the virtual reality software VIRUP, Virtual Reality Universe Project developed by Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) scientists of the Laboratory of Astrophysics (LASTRO) at EPFLs Laboratory for Experimental Museology (eM+), in St-Sulpice near Lausanne, Switzerland, Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. The open-source beta software VIRUP that builds, in real-time, a virtual universe based on the most detailed contemporary astrophysical and cosmological data. (Photo: AP)The program — called Virtual Reality Universe Project, or VIRUP — pulls together what the researchers call the largest data set of the universe to create three-dimensional, panoramic visualizations of space.Software engineers, astrophysicists and experimental museology experts at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, or EPFL, have come together to concoct the virtual map that can be viewed through individual VR gear, immersion systems like panoramic cinema with 3D glasses, planetarium-like dome screens, or just on a PC for two-dimensional viewing."The novelty of this project was putting all the data set available into one framework, when you can see the universe at different scales — nearby us, around the Earth, around the solar system, at the Milky Way level, to see through the universe and time up to the beginning — what we call the Big Bang," said Jean-Paul Kneib, director of EPFLs astrophysics lab.Think a sort of Google Earth — but for the universe. Computer algor...

Chinese submersible explores deepest region of Earth

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Lunar samples brought back by Chang'e-5 identified as youngest rocks ever found on the Moon

The lunar samples No. 001 brought back by Chinas Change-5 probe is on display at the National Museum of China in Beijing, Feb 27, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)SYDNEY - The basaltic volcanic rocks, collected as part of Chinas Change-5 probe from the Moon, were about 2 billion years old, marking the youngest volcanic rocks identified on the Moon so far, according to an international research published in the journal Science on Friday.Professor Alexander Nemchin from Space Science and Technology Center of Australias Curtin University, lead author of the research, said researchers determined the age of the lunar rock samples during remote sessions with the Beijing laboratory using large mass spectrometers that have helped revolutionize geology, similar to Curtins Sensitive High Resolution Ion Micro Probe Facility (SHRIMP).The rock samples were collected during the Change-5 lunar mission in December 2020, which marked the first time any nation had collected rocks from the Moon since 1976.Nemchin said after analyzing the chemistry of the rocks, they found the samples were 1 billion years younger than those rocks previously collected on the Moon.Co-author Professor Gretchen Benedix, also from Curtins Space Science and Technology Center, said the new results would provide researchers with more calibration points for cratering chronology, enabling them to derive more accurate and higher resolution ages across many planetary surfaces."These results confirm what experts had long predicted based on remotely obtained images of the Moon and raise further questions as to why these young basalts exist," Benedix said.The task will now turn to finding a mechanism that will explain how this relatively recent heating of the Moon may have supported the formation of basaltic magmas with temperatures exceeding 1,000 degrees Celsius, and ultimately help researchers improve age dating of the entire Solar System.

US has already lost AI fight to China, FT reports

File photo shows national flags of China (R) and the United States. (File photo: Xinhua)China is heading towards global dominance because of its advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning and cyber capabilities, said ex-Pentagon software chief Nicolas Chaillan to the Financial Times (FT) on Sunday. China has won the artificial intelligence battle with the United States, the 37-year-old expert who spent three years on a Pentagon-wide effort to boost cyber security and as a military chief software officer told FT.He said U.S. cyber defenses in some government departments were at "kindergarten level."Chaillan was the Pentagons first chief software officer who resigned in protest against the slow pace of technological transformation in the U.S. military. In early September, he announced his resignation, saying military officials were repeatedly put in charge of cyber initiatives and lacked relevant experience.

Astronomical rise in demand for satellite positioning services seen

An attendee looks at a model of a Beidou Navigation Satellite at an expo in Shenyang, Liaoning province. (Photo: China Daily)By the end of 2020, the overall value of satellite-enabled navigation and positioning services in China stood at 403.3 billion yuan ($62.8 billion), a 16.9-percent increase year-on-year, according to statistics revealed at an ongoing industry conference.Figures released by the Global Navigation Satellite System and Location-Based Services Association of China at the China Beidou System Applications Conference showed that with the Beidou Navigation Satellite System completed and rapidly expanding its presence in the public and commercial sectors, the market value of navigation, positioning and timing services is expected to increase by as much as 1,000 billion yuan ($155 billion) each year by 2025.The conference opened on Sunday in Zhengzhou, capital of Central Chinas Henan province, and is scheduled to conclude on Tuesday.The Beijing-based association said that business involved in the manufacture of chips, equipment, software, data and infrastructure on the domestic market last year saw an 11-percent increase compared with in 2019.More than 500,000 Chinese nationals now work at 14,000 domestic institutes and companies involved in business related to Beidou and other satellite navigation and positioning services, the organization said.Yu Xiancheng, president of the association, said at the conference on Sunday that Beidou-enabled services are widely used in transportation, public security, disaster relief, agriculture, forestry, fishery, power generation, finance and many other public sectors. He added that many domestic enterprises have begun to take advantage of the system to boost operations, generating rising demand for Beidou-based products and services.Currently the countrys largest space-based system, Beidou is and one of four global navigation networks, alongside the United States GPS, Russias GLONASS and the Europe...

Blue Origin delays William Shatner's space flight

William Shatner who plays Captain James T. Kirk in the original version of Star Trek arrives at the Destination Star Trek London event, October 19, 2012. (Photo from CGTN)Blue Origin announced Sunday it was delaying an upcoming flight set to carry actor William Shatner to space due to anticipated winds.Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk in the cult classic TV series "Star Trek," is due to become the first member of the iconic shows cast to journey to the final frontier as a guest aboard a Blue Origin suborbital rocket.His history-making flight was scheduled for October 12.But "due to forecasted winds on Tuesday, October 12, Blue Origins mission operations team has made the decision to delay the launch of NS-18 and is now targeting Wednesday, October 13," a spokeswoman said in a statement.The new flight is scheduled for 1330 GMT.Shatner, 90, will be the oldest person ever to go to space.His trip will take him and the NS-18 rocket crew just beyond the Karman line, 100 kilometers high, where they will experience four minutes of weightlessness and gaze out at the curvature of the planet.Blue Origins decision to invite one of the most recognizable galaxy-faring characters from science fiction for its second crewed flight has helped maintain excitement around the nascent space tourism sector.For fans, the 10-minute hop from a West Texas base back to Earth will be a fitting coda for a pop culture phenomenon that inspired generations of astronauts.

Facebook unveils new controls for kids using its platforms

Facebook, in the aftermath of damning testimony that its platforms harm children, will be introducing several features including prompting teens to take a break using its photo sharing app Instagram, and “nudging" teens if they are repeatedly looking at the same content thats not conducive to their well-being.In this June 4, 2012, file photo, an unidentified 11-year-old girl logs into Facebook on her iPhone at her home in Palo Alto, Calif. (Photo: AP)The Menlo Park, California-based Facebook is also planning to introduce new controls for adults of teens on an optional basis so that parents or guardians can supervise what their teens are doing online. These initiatives come after Facebook announced late last month that it was pausing work on its Instagram for Kids project. But critics say the plan lacks details and they are skeptical that the new features would be effective.The new controls were outlined on Sunday by Nick Clegg, Facebooks vice president for global affairs, who made the rounds on various Sunday news shows including CNNs “State of the Union" and ABCs “This Week with George Stephanopoulos" where he was grilled about Facebooks use of algorithms as well as its role in spreading harmful misinformation ahead of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.“We are constantly iterating in order to improve our products,” Clegg told Dana Bash on “State of the Union" Sunday. “We cannot, with a wave of the wand, make everyone’s life perfect. What we can do is improve our products, so that our products are as safe and as enjoyable to use."Clegg said that Facebook has invested $13 billion over the past few years in making sure to keep the platform safe and that the company has 40,000 people working on these issues. And while Clegg said that Facebook has done its best to keep harmful content out of its platforms, he says he was open for more regulation and oversight.“We need greater transparency,” he told CNN’s Bash. He noted that the s...

Thyroid cancer is surging. Should we be worried?

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The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Intensified Discrimination Against East Asians, South Asians, and Hispanics in the US, Says New Study

For close to two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc across the United States where we have witnessed untold deaths, experienced severe illness, and withstood economic uncertainties. Those hardships have exacerbated prejudices that have sometimes manifested in violence against Asian Americans. While the media has reported on these acts, less has been said about less overt forms of prejudice against Asian Americans. In a recently published paper in PNAS, Yao Lu, professor of sociology at Columbia University; Neeraj Kaushal, professor of social policy at Columbia University School of Social Work; Xiaoning Huang, adjunct lecturer at Columbia University School of Social Work; and S. Michael Gaddis, assistant professor of sociology at University of California, Los Angeles, examine not physically violent, but still harmful forms of pervasive discrimination.“There have been increasing reports of anti-Asian sentiments since the outbreak of the pandemic, but most of these studies are based on self-reports of serious aggressions in public spaces,” Lu said. “We wanted to understand the full extent and nature of the issue, especially with respect to the less visible, everyday forms of social discrimination against Asians and other ethnic minority groups, which are often not reported.”Previous research has shown how health crises, like Ebola and HIV/AIDS, have activated prejudicial behavior toward certain minority groups. This discriminatory behavior is likely to be more pronounced during the COVID-19 pandemic because it has caused economic insecurity and disruption in social life that has been coupled with the rise in racist and xenophobic political rhetoric.Since more than 15 million adult Americans currently live with roommates who are not their romantic partners or family members, the researchers thought a hypothetical context of roommate selection would be a useful, and subtle, way to gauge prejudices. “Surveys based on direct questions are likely to suffer from ...

Secondary immune response stronger after infection than after shot

A girl wearing a protective face mask to prevent contracting the COVID-19 rides a toy kick scooter at a park in Seoul, South Korea, April 3, 2020. /CFPThe following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19.The Delta variant of the coronavirus does not appear to cause more severe disease in children than earlier forms of the virus, a UK study suggests.Earlier this year, the research team found the Alpha variant of the virus did not appear to make children sicker than the original form of the virus, first seen in China. New data suggests that kids also do not get any sicker from Delta than they did from Alpha.Researchers compared two groups of school-age children with COVID-19: 694 infected with the Alpha variant between late December 2020 and early May 2021, and 706 infected with Delta between late May and early July.As reported on Thursday on medRxiv ahead of peer review, children infected with Delta had slightly more symptoms. But in both groups, very few children needed to be hospitalized and long periods of illness were uncommon.In both groups, half of the children were sick for no more than five days. The researchers lacked information on differences between the groups that might have influenced the results, such as whether lockdowns were in place, and the effects of different seasons."Our data suggest that clinical characteristics of COVID-19 due to the Delta variant in children are broadly similar to COVID-19 due to other variants," the researchers concluded.That appears to jibe with data reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Although we are seeing more cases in children... these studies demonstrated that there was not increased disease severity in children," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said of the Delta-driven wave in a statement. "More children have COVID-19 because there is more disease in the community."Secondary immune response stronger after infection than vaccinationIn COVID-1...

Graphics: Why should we protect our planet species now?

Morethan500recordedspecieshavebeenpermanentlyoffthetrailinthelastdecade,causingamassivedeclineinglobalbiodiversity,accordingtodatafromtheInternationalUnionforConservationofNature(IUCN).Mammalsandbirdsfacedtheworstconsequences。

Moon rocks returned by Chang'e-5 show lunar volcanic activity 2 billion years ago

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Lunar samples of Chang'e-5 aged 1.96 bln yrs: study

Photo: China Daily BEIJING, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- Researchers have studied the lunar samples brought back by the Change-5 mission and found that they are likely around 1.96 billion years old, shedding new light on the evolution of the moon, said the China National Space Administration (CNSA) Friday.The first research article on the Change-5 samples, titled "Age and composition of young basalts on the Moon, measured from samples returned by Change-5," was published online in the journal Science Friday. It was authored by researchers from the Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, and other international institutions.The article said Chinas Change-5 probe touched down on the Oceanus Procellarum region of the moon, which hosts high concentrations of elements that generate heat through long-lived radioactive decay and may have sustained prolonged magmatic activity on the near side of the Moon.Orbital data indicate that the basalt lavas in Oceanus Procellarum are the youngest volcanic units on the Moon. The Change-5 probe collected samples of these lunar basalt lavas and brought them to Earth.The researchers analyzed two fragments from the Change-5 samples and found minerals common in lunar basalts, such as chemically zoned clinopyroxene, plagioclase, olivine, and ilmenite, with small amounts of quartz and cristobalite.The study proved that the moon still had magmatic activity 1.96 billion years ago, providing key evidence for the study of the evolution of the moon, said the CNSA.When the moons magmatic activity stopped is one of the major issues in its evolutionary history. Previous research on lunar samples has not found any magmatic activity younger than 2.9 billion years on the moon.On July 12, 2021, China delivered about 17 grams of lunar samples brought back by the Change-5 probe to 13 institutions, which had submitted applications to the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the CNS...

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