Science News Roundup: Amazon's billionaire founder Jeff Bezos to fly to space next month; Relativity Space raises $650 million for bigger 3D-printed rocket and more
Following is a summary of current science news briefs.
French lecturer reaches for stars with astronaut application
In a break from his job teaching engineering to students in France's Normandy region, Matthieu Pluvinage put the finishing touches on an application for a new job: astronaut. Pluvinage, 38, is taking advantage of a European Space Agency initiative to run an open recruitment drive for new astronauts for its manned flight programme.
China's Shenzhen dangles financial incentives to spur satellite sector
China's southern tech city of Shenzhen said on Monday it would offer up to 300 million yuan ($47 million) in financial incentives per project as part of a push to become an innovation hub for satellite development and related industry applications.
The city, in Guangdong province, will support projects with up to 40% of their total investment, or as much as 300 million yuan per project, its economic planning agency said.
New dinosaur species discovered in Australia, one of world's biggest
Scientists have confirmed the discovery of a new dinosaur species in Australia, one of the largest found in the world, more than a decade after cattle farmers first uncovered bones of the animal. The plant-eating sauropod lived in the Cretaceous period between 92 million and 96 million years ago when Australia was attached to Antartica, according to a research paper https://peerj.com/articles/11317 published on Monday.
Amazon's billionaire founder Jeff Bezos to fly to space next month
Amazon's billionaire founder Jeff Bezos said on Monday he and his brother Mark will fly on the first crewed space flight from his rocket company Blue Origin next month. "Ever since I was five years old, I've dreamed of traveling to space. On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother," Bezos, who is one of the richest people in the world, said in an Instagram post.
Relativity Space raises $650 million for bigger 3D-printed rocket
Venture-backed startup Relativity Space, which aims to build the world's first fleet of 3D-printed rockets, said on Tuesday it has raised $650 million from a raft of new investors including BlackRock, hedge fund Soroban Capital, and the actor Jared Leto. Though it has yet to launch a rocket, the latest capital raise gives Relativity a market valuation of $4.2 billion, making it the second-most valuable privately-held space firm behind Elon Musk's SpaceX.
Scientists saving endangered salmon get help from gene-slicing tool
A gene-editing tool that has led to new cancer therapies and a rapid test for COVID-19 is now helping scientists find endangered species of salmon in the San Francisco Bay. The CRISPR-based Sherlock tool can identify four types of Chinook salmon, including Sacramento winter-run and Central Valley spring-run, which are both protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Russia to U.S.: Lift sanctions on space sector or we'll exit space station
The head of Russia's space agency on Monday suggested Moscow would withdraw from the International Space Station in 2025 unless Washington lifted sanctions on the space sector that were hampering Russian satellite launches. Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, was addressing parliamentarians ahead of a summit in Geneva later this month between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden.
(With inputs from agencies.)