Top Science Stories This Week

Posted: Oct 1 2016, 5:01pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


Top Science Stories This Week
World's largest radio telescope, Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST). Credit:Liu Xu/Xinhua

World’s Largest Radio Telescope Begins Operation

China has officially launched its mission to hunt for extraterrestrial life as it turned on the world’s largest radio telescope last week. 

Named FAST, or the Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, the telescope measures 500 meters in diameter and is located in the mountainous region of China’s Guizhou province. The radio telescope is designed for space exploration and also for listening to the signals from alien civilization. It took five years and $180 million to complete the telescope. 

FAST is twice as much sensitive as Arecibo Observatory, which was the largest radio telescope before the completion of new Chinese telescope.

Water Plumes Spotted on Jupiter’s Moon Europa 

NASA astronomers claim to have found water vapor plumes erupting off the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa. The plumes have been spotted using Hubble Space Telescope and they are likely originated from moon's subsurface ocean. The presence of plumes provides researchers a great opportunity to sample the Europa’s ocean without having to drill through miles of ice. 

Europa is considered to be one of the most promising places that could potentially harbor life. The water plumes will make it easier to investigate whether Europa had right chemical makeup and capacity to support life on its surface.

Rosetta Comet Plunges to its Death

Rosetta was exploring the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for the last two years . On September 30, the spacecraft has finally smashed into the surface and with that a historic space mission brought to its end.

Rosetta spacecraft was launched by the European Space Agency in 2004 but it took around a decade to touchdown comet’s surface. Rosetta sent a stream of images and data back to Earth ever since it arrived on comet. ESA researchers also made sure that the spacecraft could beam back final observations before it crashes into the comet and lose its communication with Earth forever.

United Nations will Launch its First Ever Space Mission in 2021 

United Nations have announced the details of its first ever mission to space. The mission named Dream Chaser will be launched in 2021 and will stay in a low-Earth orbit for two weeks. 

Dream Chaser is a joint venture between Sierra Nevada Corporation and (SNC) and the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and is targeted primarily at developing nations. However, any member nation can submit a proposal for a possible payload for the mission.

World's Deepest Underwater Cave Discovered in Czech Republic 

Polish explorers have discovered the world’s deepest underwater cave in the eastern Czech Republic town of Hranice.

The cave, called Hranická Propast, so far goes 1,325 feet deep into the Earth, which makes it 39 feet deeper than than what is now the world's second-deepest cave, Italy's Pozzo del Merro.

Hranická Propast was first explored in 1999. Ever since, researchers have made numerous dives but they still have not touched its bottom. However, a dive on Tuesday (Sept. 27) had managed to determine the cave's current record-breaking depth. Researchers are planning to continue exploration and to descend even deeper in the cave.

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The Author

Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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