Reuters Science News Summary
Following is a summary of current science news briefs.
Russia plans first manned space mission since rocket failure
The first manned mission to the International Space Station since a Russian rocket failed to launch earlier this month may take off on Dec. 3, space agency Roscosmos said on Wednesday. A Russian cosmonaut and U.S. astronaut were forced to abort their mission on Oct. 11 and perform an emergency landing after a launch accident that Roscomos said was caused by a faulty sensor.
Stephen Hawking's thesis, wheelchair heading for auction
From a copy of his PhD thesis to his wheelchair, items belonging to Stephen Hawking are headed for auction, offering fans of the late British physicist famed for his work exploring the origins of the universe a chance to buy some of his possessions. Known for his acclaimed research on black holes, the wheelchair-bound Hawking, who suffered from motor neurone disease and used an electronic voice synthesizer, died in March at the age of 76.
Musk shakes up SpaceX in race to make satellite launch window: sources
SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk flew to the Seattle area in June for meetings with engineers leading a satellite launch project crucial to his space company's growth. Within hours of landing, Musk had fired at least seven members of the program's senior management team at the Redmond, Washington, office, the culmination of disagreements over the pace at which the team was developing and testing its Starlink satellites, according to the two SpaceX employees with direct knowledge of the situation.
Soviet-era moon fragments could reach $1 million at N.Y. auction
Wealthy space buffs will have the chance to own three small particles of lunar matter when what Sotheby's describes as the only known documented "moon rocks" to be legally available for private ownership hit the auction block in November. Sotheby's said on Tuesday it expects the fragments, retrieved from the moon by a Soviet space mission in 1970, could fetch between $700,000 to $1 million at the Nov. 29 auction in New York.
NASA retires its planet hunter, the Kepler space telescope
The Kepler space telescope has run out of fuel and will be retired after a 9-1/2-year mission in which it detected thousands of planets beyond our solar system and boosted the search for worlds that might harbor alien life, NASA said on Tuesday. Currently orbiting the sun 94 million miles (156 million km) from Earth, the spacecraft will drift further from our planet when mission engineers turn off its radio transmitters, the U.S. space agency said.
Russian Soyuz rocket failure caused by faulty sensor: agencies
The Soyuz rocket launch failure this month was caused by a faulty sensor, Russian news agencies reported citing an official from space agency Roscosmos. Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and American astronaut Nick Hague had to abort their mission on October 11 and perform an emergency landing after the Soyuz rocket supposed to carry them to the International Space Station failed.
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