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NASA space lasers to reveal new depths of planet’s ice loss

NASA is poised to launch Saturday its most advanced space laser ever, ICESat-2, a $1 billion dollar mission to reveal the depths of the Earth's melting ice as the climate warms. The half-ton satellite, about the size of a smart-car, is scheduled to blast off atop a Delta II rocket on September 15 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The 40-minute launch window opens at 5:46 am local time (1246 GMT). The mission is "exceptionally important for science," Richard Slonaker, ICESat-2 program executive at NASA,…

Macron wins Chinese fans with Mandarin lesson

BEIJING: A behind-the-scenes video of French President Emmanuel Macron wrestling with the Mandarin pronunciation of his climate change slogan "Make our planet great again" has delighted Chinese social media. The candid footage shows Macron sneezing and wondering when to breathe as he diligently repeats the phrase after his instructor, while a woman touches up his make-up and two bemused men in military garb look on. Macron was able to show off his new skills in a keynote speech on the future of Sino-French relations…

China tests self-sustaining space station in Beijing

BEIJING: Sealed behind the steel doors of two bunkers in a Beijing suburb, university students are trying to find out how it feels to live in a space station on another planet, recycling everything from plant cuttings to urine. They are part of a project aimed at creating a self-sustaining ecosystem that provides everything humans need to survive. Four students from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics entered the Lunar Palace-1 on Sunday with the aim of living self-sufficiently for 200 days. They say…

Scientists launch campaign to restore Pluto to the planet club

A team of scientists seeking to restore Pluto to planethood launched a campaign on Tuesday to broaden the astronomical classifications which led to its demotion to a "dwarf planet" a decade ago. Six scientists from institutions across the United States argued that Pluto deserves to be a full planet, along with some 110 other bodies in the solar system, including Earth's moon. In a paper presented at an international planetary science conference at The Woodlands, Texas, the scientists explained that geological…