Science News Roundup: US spacecraft and Russian satellite to pass dangerously near each other, NASA says; Odysseus moon lander hailed as success as it nears mission-ending slumber and more

Texas-based Intuitive Machines said in an online update on Tuesday that its control center in Houston remained in contact with the lander as it "efficiently sent payload science data and imagery in furtherance of the company's mission objectives." North Korea's first spy satellite is 'alive', can manoeuvre, expert says North Korea's first spy satellite is "alive", space experts said on Tuesday, after detecting changes in its orbit that suggested Pyongyang was successfully controlling the spacecraft - although its capabilities remain unknown.


Devdisocurse News Desk | Updated: 29-02-2024 10:48 IST | Created: 29-02-2024 10:29 IST
 Science News Roundup: US spacecraft and Russian satellite to pass dangerously near each other, NASA says; Odysseus moon lander hailed as success as it nears mission-ending slumber and more
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Following is a summary of current science news briefs.

Odysseus moon lander still operational, in final hours before battery dies

Odysseus, the first U.S. spacecraft to land on the moon since 1972, neared the end of its fifth day on the lunar surface still operational, but with its battery in its final hours before the vehicle is expected to go dark, according to flight controllers. Texas-based Intuitive Machines said in an online update on Tuesday that its control center in Houston remained in contact with the lander as it "efficiently sent payload science data and imagery in furtherance of the company's mission objectives."

North Korea's first spy satellite is 'alive', can manoeuvre, expert says

North Korea's first spy satellite is "alive", space experts said on Tuesday, after detecting changes in its orbit that suggested Pyongyang was successfully controlling the spacecraft - although its capabilities remain unknown. After two fiery failures, North Korea successfully launched the Malligyong-1 satellite into orbit in November. Pyongyang's state media claimed it has photographed sensitive military and political sites in South Korea, the United States and elsewhere, but has not released any imagery. Independent radio trackers have not detected signals from the satellite.

US spacecraft and Russian satellite to pass dangerously near each other, NASA says

The U.S. Department of Defense is monitoring a close pass between NASA's Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics Mission (TIMED) spacecraft and the Russian Cosmos 2221 satellite, NASA said in a blog post early Wednesday. Although the spacecraft are expected to miss each other, a collision could result in significant debris, the U.S. space agency said, adding that it was continuing to monitor the situation with the Department of Defense. The statement did not say how close the spacecraft would come to each other.

India announces four-member crew for 'Gaganyaan' space mission

India on Tuesday introduced four crew members for its maiden 'Gaganyaan' space voyage, as it aims to become the world's fourth country to send a crewed mission into space just months after a historic landing on the south pole of the moon. Gaganyaan, or "sky craft" in Hindi, is the first mission of its kind for India and will cost about 90.23 billion rupees ($1.1 billion). It involves the launch of a habitable space capsule over the next year to an orbit of 400 km (250 miles) and its return via a landing in the Indian Ocean.

People with tails? No, because of this ancient genetic mutation

Director James Cameron's "Avatar" movies are populated by a species of outsized blue beings resembling humans, except with tails. So why does our species lack a tail, considering that our evolutionary forerunners in the primate lineage had them? Scientists on Wednesday identified what might be the genetic mechanism behind the tailless condition of us and our ape ancestors - a mutation in a gene instrumental in embryonic development. The tail was a feature of most vertebrates for more than half a billion years, and its loss may have offered advantages as our ancestors moved from the trees to the ground, they said.

Odysseus moon lander hailed as success as it nears mission-ending slumber

Odysseus, the first U.S. spacecraft to land on the moon in half a century, neared a mission-ending slumber on Wednesday, six days after a lopsided touchdown that hindered its operation, though NASA and the company behind the vehicle cheered its performance as a success. Despite persistent difficulties in communicating with the lander and keeping its solar batteries charged, NASA said it managed to extract some data from all six of its science payloads delivered by Odysseus, built and flown by Texas-based Intuitive Machines.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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