Science News Roundup: U.S. FAA authorizes next three SpaceX launches; Vaccine protects COVID-19 survivors against variants and more
Following is a summary of current science news briefs.
Deep-sea mining tests resume after robot rescued from Pacific Ocean floor
Belgium's Global Sea Mineral Resources has resumed tests that could lead to the mining of battery minerals from the Pacific Ocean floor after it managed to recover a robot stranded at a depth of thousands of meters. Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR) has been testing Patania II, a 25-tonne mining robot prototype, 4 km (13,000 ft) below the surface in its concession in the Clarion Clipperton Zone since April 20.
U.S. FAA authorizes next three SpaceX launches
The Federal Aviation Administration said on Thursday it authorized the next three launches of the SpaceX Starship prototype and confirmed the agency's head spoke to Chief Executive Elon Musk about safety last month. The FAA said that prior to the launch of SN15, the FAA would
Vaccine protects COVID-19 survivors against variants; virus' spike protein damages blood vessels
The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. The vaccine protects COVID-19 survivors against variants
Polish scientists discover ancient Egyptian mummy was pregnant woman
An ancient Egyptian mummy once believed to be the remains of a male priest is actually the embalmed body of a woman in the third trimester of pregnancy, Polish scientists said on Friday. Marzena Ozarek-Szilke, an anthropologist at the Warsaw Mummy Project, was examining a CT scan of a mummy at the National Museum in the Polish capital when she spotted something peculiar.
NASA tells SpaceX to halt lunar lander work pending contract challenges
U.S. space agency NASA has told Elon Musk's SpaceX to halt work under a contract it won to develop a lunar spacecraft, pending the outcome of challenges by rival bidders at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the agency said on Friday. NASA's decision means SpaceX has to stop any work specifically related to the moon program contract until the GAO makes a ruling, expected Aug. 4 at the latest.
After exceeding all expectations with its initial four test flights, the first-ever by an aircraft over the surface of another planet, NASA's tiny Mars robot helicopter Ingenuity is ready for graduation. The U.S. space agency announced on Friday that Ingenuity is shifting from a pure proof-of-concept, technology demonstration mode to a more ambitious mission gauging how aerial scouting and other functions might benefit future scientific exploration of the Red Planet.
China launches key module of space station planned for 2022
China launched an unmanned module on Thursday containing what will become living quarters for three crew on a permanent space station that it plans to complete by the end of 2022, state media reported. The module, named "Tianhe" , or "Harmony of the Heavens", was launched on the Long March 5B, China's largest carrier rocket, at 11:23 a.m. (0323 GMT) from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre on the southern island of Hainan.
(With inputs from agencies.)