From the closeness of the Moon to far beyond the orbit of Pluto, space probes have been making both headlines and history, with China successfully making humanity’s first soft landing of a space probe (and rover!) on the far side of the Moon, and the New Horizons probe beaming new images back to Earth from its encounter with Ultima Thule at the edge of the Solar System.
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In the escalating space-race that has been re-kindled between the world’s spacefaring nations, the controversial EM Drive could be taking a leading role in propelling new spacecraft through the cosmos, as China has not only successfully tested their own version of the reactionless propulsion device, but NASA has also published a paper saying that the device does indeed work. China has now taken the next step in proving whether or not the device will be viable for use in space, and is currently conducting experiments on a proof-of-concept drive on board the Tiangong-2 space station.
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Twenty-five cities across northern China are under red pollution alerts, the highest pollution warning in the Chinese system. Due to the thick haze, thousands of flights have been cancelled. Beijing is under a yellow alert, the second highest pollution warning level. The pollution is due to stagnant air hanging over the northern half of the country. The jet stream has dropped down over southern China, as is normal in winter, but the lack of air circulation bordering the stream, coupled with generalized poor pollution controls in factories and power plants throughout China, has led to this extreme situation.
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On August 1, China launched their Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) satellite from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert. This satellite, a joint Austrian-Chinese collaboration, is intended to facilitate long-distance experiments in quantum optics, to allow the development of secure quantum-encryption communications and quantum information teleportation technology. On August 19, Beijing’s control center successfully received 202 megabytes of data from the satellite, nicknamed Micius after the 5th century Chinese scholar, secured using quantum encryption keys.
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