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China’s space program discovers new mineral from the Moon in 46-year first

  • China has discovered a new mineral from the Moon for the first time in the country’s history, 46 years after Russia’s Luna 24 mission in 1976.
  • The mineral, which has been named Changesite-(Y), was confirmed by the New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification of the International Mineralogical Association as a new type of mineral on Friday.
  • Changesite-(Y) was included in the 1,731 grams of lunar samples that the Chang’e-5 probe collected from Oceanus Procellarum, a basalt area on the Moon formed by lunar volcanic eruptions billions of years ago, during the moon mission in December 2020.
  • "We brought back 1,731 grams of lunar samples from the Chang'e-5 probe. And through joint research, we've achieved substantial scientific results,” Liu Jizhong, director of China's Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center, said.

China has discovered a new mineral from the Moon after sifting through the first lunar samples gathered in 46 years.

The new mineral, Changesite-(Y), named after China’s lunar exploration project Chang’e Project, was included among the 140,000 lunar sample particles studied by the Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology through high-tech procedures like X-ray diffraction.

Chinese astronauts successfully grow rice in space

  • Chinese astronauts have successfully grown rice on the Tiangong space station as an experiment into how astronauts can grow food on long space missions.
  • The tall shoot rice seedlings were planted in the experimental cabin of China’s Wentian lab module shortly after it was launched into orbit in July.
  • The rice seedlings have reportedly grown to a height of about 30 centimeters while a dwarf rice variety has grown to about 5 centimeters.
  • The astronauts will continue to observe the plants, and if successful, will gather the new seeds and return to Earth for further research.

Chinese astronauts onboard the Wentian space laboratory have successfully grown a variety of rice seedlings. 

The Wentian space laboratory was docked with the Tiangong space station and launched into orbit on July 24. The space lab is China’s largest and heaviest spacecraft with a weight of 23 metric tons and a height of 17.8 meters.

A Chinese unmanned Mars mission has successfully mapped the entirety of the Red Planet

  • The China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced on Wednesday that the unmanned Tianwen-1 mission has mapped the entire Mars surface, successfully completing its planned scientific exploration tasks.
  • Tianwen-1’s orbiter was able to gather imagery data after circling the Red Planet over 1,300 times while a robotic rover, Zhurong, collected data on the surface.
  • Among the orbiter’s significant captures was China's first photographs of the Martian South Pole, where nearly all of the planet’s water resources are locked.
  • Tianwen-1 also captured photographs of the 2,485-mile canyon Valles Marineris, impact craters Arabia Terra situated in the north of Mars, the edge of the Maunder crater and a top-down view of the large shield volcano Ascraeus Mons located in the Tharsis region.

China’s unmanned Tianwen-1 mission has successfully mapped Mars, capturing images that cover the entire planet.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced on Wednesday that the Tianwen-1 orbiter and the robotic rover Zhurong have accomplished their planned scientific exploration tasks. 

China publishes — and then deletes — report it detected what may be an alien signal

  • Researchers in China released a now-deleted report of a “suspicious” signal from space that may be evidence of an advanced alien civilization.
  • The signals were discovered by China’s FAST radio telescope, also known as Sky Eye, which has been involved in alien research since 2020.
  • A team of researchers found “possible technological traces” that will need further investigation, which they described as “a long process.”
  • The team previously discovered two groups of strange signals in 2020.

In a now-deleted report, researchers in China discovered “suspicious” signals picked up by the Sky Eye telescope, the world’s largest telescope. 

The report, shared by Science and Technology Daily, the official newspaper of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, revealed that a team of researchers led by chief scientist Zhang Tonjie captured narrow band electromagnetic signals through the Sky Eye telescope, located in Guizhou Province of southwestern China. 

‘Cause I, I, I’m in the stars tonight’: BTS’ ‘Dynamite’ to be first K-pop song played in space

  • BTS’ “Dynamite” may be the first-ever K-pop song to be played in outer space.
  • The Korea Aerospace Research Institute in collaboration with the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute will launch their lunar orbiter, the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, on August 1st.
  • One of the project’s missions is to determine the feasibility of wireless internet environments connecting to satellites and exploration robots without a usual data delay of 1.281 seconds between the Earth and the Moon.
  • BTS’ “Dynamite” is intended to be the first song transmitted through KPLO from lunar orbit. KPLO will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 booster.

BTS’ “Dynamite” is set to become the first K-pop song played in outer space. 

South Korea’s space program will be launching its lunar orbiter, the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO) developed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), on August 1, 2022. Part of the project is to test whether or not a wireless internet environment can be created through space equipment technologies, connecting to satellites or exploration robots without a delay in data exchange between the Earth and the Moon. 

China plans to conduct asteroid defense system test that can blow space rocks out of orbit by 2025

China asteroid defense system
  • China has announced its plan to test its asteroid monitoring and defense system, Wu Yanhua, the deputy director of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), revealed on Sunday.
  • The system will study space rocks and attempt to alter their paths using spacecraft as early as 2025.
  • During an event that celebrated China’s seventh national space day in Wenchang, Hainan Province, Wu shared that CNSA is developing simulation software that will test and verify operations against any near-Earth objects.
  • The Chinese space administration is also planning to set up a combination of ground-based and space-based monitoring and warning systems that will analyze asteroids that pose potential threats.

China has announced its plan to test its asteroid monitoring and defense system that will attempt to alter the paths of space rocks as early as 2025.

Wu Yanhua, the deputy director of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), revealed the plan during an event that celebrated China’s seventh national space day in Wenchang, Hainan Province, on Sunday. The event also marked the 52nd anniversary of the launch of Dongfanghong-1, China’s first satellite.

Chinese astronauts back home after historic 6-month mission in space

  • Three Chinese astronauts returned to Earth on Saturday after successfully completing a six-month mission aboard China’s Tiangong space station.
  • Shenzhou 13’s crewmembers Wang Yapin, Ye Guangfu and commander Zhai Zhigang spent 183 days on China’s unfinished space station
  • The astronauts conducted two spacewalks, performed a variety of tests and held virtual lectures for students on Earth.
  • Wang became the first Chinese woman to conduct a spacewalk and the first Chinese woman to visit the station’s Tianhe module.
  • China plans to complete the station by the end of 2022 with the launch of two lab modules, Wentian and Mengtian.

Following a six-month mission aboard China’s Tiangong space station, three Chinese astronauts successfully made their return to Earth over the weekend.

Also known as “taikonauts,” the crew of the Shenzhou 13 landed in the Inner Mongolia desert at 9:56 a.m. (local time) on April 16. The spacecraft is the second of four planned crewed missions and the fifth of 11 total missions to finish constructing Tiangong.

Indian American astronaut Raja Chari conducts his first spacewalk

  • NASA's SpaceX Crew-3 mission commander Raja Chari conducted his first spacewalk on Tuesday.
  • Chari, 44, spent almost seven hours in the vacuum of space alongside NASA flight engineer Kayla Barron.
  • The pair carried out a modification kit installation at the International Space Station (ISS) to support upcoming solar array upgrades, which will increase the station’s total electrical capacity.
  • The Indian American astronaut became the commander of the Crew-3 mission in 2020 and was launched to the ISS last year.

Indian American astronaut Raja Chari, commander of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station (ISS), conducted his first spacewalk on Tuesday. 

After more than a week of spacewalk preparation, Chari finally stepped out of the airlock alongside NASA flight engineer Kayla Barron. They spent almost 7 hours in the vacuum of space to carry out ISS upgrades. It was Barron’s second time walking outside the station.

China’s Chang’E 5 lunar lander is first in history to find water on the moon up close

change moon water
  • China’s Chang'E- 5 became the first lunar mission to detect water on the Moon’s surface in real time in 2020.
  • The craft’s onboard mineralogical spectrometer found up to 120 parts per million of water content in the regolith and 180 parts per million in a boulder.
  • The study revealing the findings was recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances.

China’s recent lunar sample return mission made history by becoming the first to detect water on the Moon’s surface in real time.

The Chang’E-5 probe, which landed on the Moon on Dec. 1, 2020, found water at its landing site in the Northern Oceanus Procellarum’s basin, according to recently published research in Science Advances.

A spacecraft is named after Ellison Onizuka, NASA’s first Asian American astronaut

Ellison Onizuka, the first Asian American astronaut, was recently honored with a NASA spacecraft named after him. 

A fallen hero: Aerospace company Northrop Grumman named its NG-16 Cygnus spacecraft S.S. Ellison Onizuka after the astronaut died along with six other crew members in the tragic Space Shuttle Challenger mishap on Jan. 28, 1986, reported the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.