Science News Roundup: Danish astronaut flying on SpaceX shuttle warns Europe not to fall behind in space; Elon Musk’s Neuralink says it has FDA approval to study brain implants in humans and more
Here is a summary of current scientific news.
Danish astronaut flying on SpaceX shuttle warns Europe not to fall behind in space
Europe risks falling behind in the global space race and missing out on key technologies, Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen has said ahead of his second trip to space aboard Elon Musk’s upcoming SpaceX mission in August. Mogensen, who will be the first non-American pilot to direct the SpaceX Crew Dragon shuttle to the International Space Station (ISS), hopes to one day fly into space as part of an independent European mission.
Elon Musk’s Neuralink says it has FDA approval to study brain implants in humans
Elon Musk’s brain implant company Neuralink said on Thursday that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had given the green light to its first human clinical trial, a critical step after difficulties prior to obtaining approval. The FDA approval “represents an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many people,” Neuralink said in a tweet. He did not specify the objectives of the study, saying only that he was not recruiting yet and that more details would be available soon.
NASA spacecraft documents how Jupiter’s lightning resembles Earth’s
Hidden beneath the brownish ammonia clouds that blanket Jupiter are clouds that, like on Earth, are made up of water. And like on Earth, lightning is often generated in these clouds – an eerie sight spotted by various spacecraft that have visited our solar system’s largest planet, including NASA’s Juno probe. The data obtained by Juno provides new insights into how lightning processes on Jupiter are similar to those on Earth despite the dramatic differences between the two planets, scientists say.
South Korea says local space rocket put satellites into orbit
South Korea’s space rocket launched a commercial-grade satellite into orbit for the first time on Thursday, the country’s science minister said, a breakthrough in its ambitions to compete in a space race with its Asian neighbors. The Nuri rocket blasted off from Naro Space Center on South Korea’s southern coast at 6:24 p.m. (0924 GMT) on its third flight after technical problems caused the launch to be canceled a day earlier.
South Korea cancels third local rocket launch due to technical issues
South Korea on Wednesday canceled the third flight of its homegrown space rocket due to technical issues hours before a launch that was expected to mark a milestone in its burgeoning space program. South Korea aspires to be a key player in space technology, competing with its Asian neighbors.
Scientists identify swirling polar cyclone on mysterious Uranus
It’s a world shrouded in mystery – the seventh planet from the sun, Uranus, only seen up close nearly four decades ago by a passing NASA probe and still guarding its secrets with caution. But new observations from a telescope in New Mexico are providing insight into its atmosphere, including the detection of a polar cyclone whose center measures a quarter of the Earth’s diameter, swirling near its north pole.
Camel cloning in Dubai is for races and beauty contests
After leading the world’s first camel cloning in 2009, Nisar Wani now breeds a few dozen a year in a lab in Dubai – a big business in the Gulf region where camels are treasured and can earn huge sums during beauty pageants and races. “We collect these eggs from the ovaries of slaughtered animals. We have to mature them in the lab for 24 hours before they reach the stage where we can use them for the cloning process,” Wani said.
Virgin Galactic conducts key spaceflight test before beginning commercial service
A Virgin Galactic spaceplane reached the edge of space on Thursday with a crew of six, performing its first spaceflight test in nearly two years as the space tourism company founded by Richard Branson prepares for commercial service both expected. The company’s VSS Unity spaceplane fell from its twin-body carrier plane around 12:24 p.m. EDT (1624 GMT) over the New Mexico desert and lifted off at the edge of space seconds later. late at about three times the speed of sound.
(With agency contributions.)