Science News Roundup: Genetic study offers good news; Bezos collide after SpaceX wins moon landing contract and more
Following is a summary of current science news briefs.
Exclusive: Space entrepreneur Max Polyakov acquires South Africa's Dragonfly satellite maker
Max Polyakov, an ultra-wealthy entrepreneur with ambitions of building a space transportation empire, has acquired South African satellite maker Dragonfly Aerospace, he told Reuters. The deal gives Polyakov an anchor point in the booming but fiercely competitive market for small-satellite technology, and a potential revenue source for rocket maker Firefly Aerospace, which is majority-owned by Polyakov's Noosphere Ventures investment fund.
Genetic study offers good news for endangered Sumatran rhinoceros
A genome study involving the last remaining populations of the Sumatran rhinoceros - a solitary rainforest dweller - is providing what scientists called good news about the prospects of saving this critically endangered species from extinction. The researchers said on Monday that their study found that the two existing wild populations of this rhino on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra boast unexpectedly good genetic health and surprisingly low levels of inbreeding.
China launches robot prototype capable of catching space debris with net
A Chinese space mining start-up launched into low Earth orbit on Tuesday a robot prototype that can scoop up debris left behind by other spacecraft with a big net. The NEO-01, which will also peer into deep space to observe small celestial bodies, was launched on the government's Long March 6 rocket along with a handful of satellites, a state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
John Kerry calls on scientists to lead fight against climate change denial
Widespread mistrust of science and disputes over basic facts, tied to growing political polarisation and disinformation campaigns, are undermining efforts to tackle climate change globally, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry warned. During a virtual summit organized by the Nobel Foundation and major science academies this week, Kerry said building greater public understanding and agreement on the world's "existential" challenges was crucial to addressing them.
Blue Origin, the space rocket company backed by billionaire Jeff Bezos, is formally challenging the $2.9 billion moon lander contract awarded by NASA to rival Elon Musk's SpaceX. The two richest men in the world have been sparring in a tightly fought global space race, vying for contracts from government agencies and businesses.
(With inputs from agencies.)