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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY - June 2021

Jun 2021

Sep 22, 2021

NASA Announces Landing Site for VIPER Lunar Rover

  • NASA has chosen the western edge of Nobile Crater at the Moon's South Pole as the landing site for its upcoming Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER).
  • NASA's VIPER rover will land near the western edge of Nobile Crater in 2023 on a 100-day mission.
  • Part of the agency's Artemis lunar exploration program, the mobile robot will map and explore the region's surface and subsurface for water and other resources.
  • The Moon's South Pole is one of the coldest areas in our solar system.
  • Nobile Crater is an impact crater that was formed through a collision with another smaller celestial body, and is almost permanently covered in shadows, allowing ice to exist there.

Sep 21, 2021

China Launches Supplies for Under-construction Space Station

  • China launched a second unmanned cargo spacecraft, which will join the core module of the country's under-construction space station carrying supplies for future missions.
  • The robotic Tianzhou-3 cargo spacecraft was launched on a Long March 7 carrier rocket from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China's Hainan province.
  • The Tianzhou-3 is carrying supplies including water and propellant to sustain missions in the future and will dock with China's Tianhe space station, which is expected to become operational in 2022. The Tianzhou-3 mission is the fourth of 11 missions designed to build China's space station, Tiangong or "Heavenly Palace".

Sep 20, 2021

SpaceX Tourists Return to Earth

  • Four SpaceX tourists returned to Earth from a three-day extra-terrestrial excursion, marking the end of the first-ever flight to Earth's orbit flown entirely by tourists or otherwise non-astronauts.
  • SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean off coast Florida.
  • Though they're not the first tourists to travel to orbit, their mission, called Inspiration4, was notable because it did not involve a stay at the International Space Station under the tutelage of professional astronauts, as previous missions involving space tourists have.

Sep 17, 2021

Astronauts Return to Earth after China's Longest Space Mission

  • Three Chinese astronauts returned to Earth after completing the country's longest crewed space mission.
  • They spent 90 days at the Tianhe module on China's space station, some 380 km (240 miles) above Earth.
  • The three men had boarded the Shenzhou-12 crewed spacecraft and undocked from the space station.
  • The successful mission is another demonstration of China's growing confidence and capability in the space domain.
  • Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Honbo touched down in the Gobi Desert in Inner Mongolia.
  • They had left for space on 17 June, and had lifted off from the same desert.

Early Mars Experienced Volcanic Supereruptions

  • Using high-resolution images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, planetary scientists have discovered 4-billion-year-old layered deposits containing minerals consistent with altered volcanic ash throughout a region of northern Mars called Arabia Terra. They estimate that the volcanic ash observed in this region is the result of between 1,000 and 2,000 individual explosive eruptions over 500 million years.
  • Several large and deep craters in western Arabia Terra, Mars are thought to be explosive calderas, a type of volcano capable of producing supereruptions,
  • If these craters are calderas, vast layers of volcanic ash should be common in Arabia Terra.
  • While layered deposits have been observed previously in Arabia, until now, no deposits have been associated with the suggested calderas.

Infosys Launches Digital Commerce Platform Equinox

  • Infosys, a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting, launched Equinox platform to help enterprises securely deliver hyper-segmented, personalised omnichannel commerce experiences for B2B and B2C buyers. The platform's future-ready architecture offers unprecedented flexibility for enterprises to pick and choose out-of-the-box micro services and pre-built experiences to build curated digital journeys that enhance their digital commerce or launch it grounds-up in a matter of weeks.
  • The Equinox platform helps businesses transform their digital commerce across marketing, merchandising, e-commerce, store operations, supply chain and customer service through its four offerings: Infosys Equinox Microservices, Infosys Equinox Commerce, Infosys Equinox Experiences, and Infosys Equinox Marketing. Infosys Equinox also brings together best-of-breed service, product, platform and industry capabilities from Infosys, and its partners, in an integrated ecosystem.

Sep 16, 2021

OneWeb Launches 34 Satellites into Orbit

  • British-based firm OneWeb launched 34 satellites into orbit from a cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, expanding its in-orbit constellation to 322 satellites.
  • The satellites lifted off from Kazakhstan's Baikonur cosmodrome.
  • OneWeb plans to launch a total of 648 low earth orbit satellites to roll out a high-speed global internet connection including to the most remote corners of the world.

SpaceX Makes History, Sends First All-civilian Crew into Earth Orbit

  • SpaceX's first private flight blasted off with two contest winners, a health care worker and their rich sponsor, the most ambitious leap yet in space tourism.
  • It was the first time a rocket streaked toward orbit with an all-amateur crew, no professional astronauts. The Dragon capsule's two men and two women are looking to spend three days circling the world from an unusually high orbit, 100 miles (160 kilometers) higher than the International Space Station, before splashing down off the Florida coast this weekend.
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