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China lands on moon in mission to collect samples from surface – Al Jazeera English

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If the Chang’e-5 mission is successful, China will become third country after US and Russia to collect lunar material.

China successfully landed a spacecraft on the moon’s surface late on Tuesday in the first mission to retrieve lunar surface samples in 40 years, said the country’s National Space Administration.

The space agency said the probe had successfully landed on the near side of the moon and sent back images.

China launched its Chang’e-5 probe which is not manned from the southern province of Hainan on November 24. The mission, named after the mythical Chinese goddess of the moon, aims to collect lunar material to help scientists learn more about the moon’s origins and the solar system more generally.

Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tweeted that the landing was a “historic step” adding that it would also benefit “international cooperation and the peaceful use of space.”

The mission will attempt to collect two kilogrammes (4.4 pounds) of samples in an area that has yet to be explored on an enormous lava plain known as Oceanus Procellarum, or “Ocean of Storms” and if completed as planned, would make China the third nation to have retrieved lunar samples after the United States and Russia.

The lander vehicle is expected to start drilling into the ground with a robotic arm to collect the lunar material in about two days, according to state media.

The samples will then be lifted into orbit and transferred to a return capsule for the return to Earth, where it is expected to land on land in China’s Inner Mongolia region.

If the mission succeeds it will be the first time scientists have secured samples of lunar rocks since Russia (then the Soviet Union) brought material back in the 1970s.

China sent its first astronaut into space in 2003 and made its first lunar landing 10 years later. In January last year, the Chang’e-4 probe touched down on the far side of the moon, the first space probe from any nation to do so and in July it launched a spacecraft to Mars to search for water.

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Canadian among crew paying $55M to visit International Space Station | News – Daily Hive

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Montreal investor Mark Pathy is among humankind’s first-ever private mission to the International Space Station, scheduled for flight next January.

As Canada continues to discourage non-essential travel, interstellar journeys seem to be fine, assuming you have over $55 million to travel.

The four-person crew (officially called Ax-1 Crew) includes former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría as commander, and the three customers: Pathy, American entrepreneur Larry Connor, and Israeli investor Eytan Stibbe.

The cost for all three passengers costs a smooth $55 million (US$70 million) and includes an eight-day stay at the ISS where customers will participate in “research and philanthropic projects,” according to Axiom Space’s press release.

If you can scratch up enough dough, the flight to space takes off in January 2022.

López-Alegría, who flew to space four times over a 20-year span, will become the first person to ever command both a civil and commercial human spaceflight mission.

Pathy, who is the CEO and Chairman of Montreal-based MAVRIK Corporation, would become the 11th Canadian astronaut to visit outer space. The Montrealer is collaborating with the Canadian Space Agency and the Montreal Children’s Hospital, “who are helping identify health-related research projects that could be undertaken during the mission.”

All of the private astronauts were required to pass a medical test and engaged in 15 weeks of training.

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“We sought to put together a crew for this historic mission that had demonstrated a lifelong commitment to improving the lives of the people on Earth, and I’m glad to say we’ve done that with this group,” Axiom Space President & CEO Michael Suffredini said. “This is just the first of several Axiom Space crews whose private missions to the International Space Station will truly inaugurate an expansive future for humans in space ­– and make a meaningful difference in the world when they return home.”

Axiom Space (From Left to Right: Michael López-Alegría, Mark Pathy, Larry Connor and Eytan Stibbe)

Axiom plans to launch its own live-in quarters on the ISS, beginning in 2024. The section would be detachable from the station and become its own private outpost.

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First Private Crew Will Visit Space Station. The Price Tag: $55 Million Each – Prairie Public Broadcasting

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A crew of private astronauts will pay around $55 million each to spend about eight days at the International Space Station next January in what would be a new step for joint private-public space missions. Axiom Space, a Houston company, says the trip will be led by former NASA astronaut and space station commander Michael López-Alegría.

The proposed Ax-1 mission will use a SpaceX rocket to put three paying customers — American Larry Connor, Canadian Mark Pathy and Israeli Eytan Stibbe – into low-Earth orbit on the space station. All of the trio are wealthy entrepreneurs and investors. The group will be under the command of López-Alegría, who is now an executive at Axiom.

It would be the first time an entirely private mission sends astronauts to the International Space Station. Russia sold the first ride to the station to a private citizen, American businessman Dennis Tito, in 2001.

All of the private astronauts for the upcoming mission are far older than the average NASA astronaut’s age of 34. The space agency does not have age restrictions for astronaut candidates, who generally range from 26 to 46 years old. At 70, Connor is surpassed in age only by John Glenn, who flew on the space shuttle when he was 77.

Under NASA’s rules for private astronaut missions, Axiom must ensure its astronauts meet the space agency’s medical standards. They must also undergo training and certification procedures required for crew members of the International Space Station.

While the paying customers represent a new era of space tourism, they will also perform research as the space station whizzes over the Earth.

Connor will work with the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic on research projects, Axiom says, while Pathy will collaborate with the Canadian Space Agency and the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Stibbe plans to do experiments for Israeli researchers, working with the Ramon Foundation and Israel’s space agency.

“We sought to put together a crew for this historic mission that had demonstrated a lifelong commitment to improving the lives of the people on Earth, and I’m glad to say we’ve done that with this group,” Axiom Space President and CEO Michael Suffredini said as the company announced the crew.

Similar missions are planned for the future, Suffredini said. Axiom hopes to arrange up to two trips per year — and the company also wants to build its own privately funded space station. Under that plan, its modules would be attached to the space station as soon as 2024. And when the space station is retired, the Axiom modules would break off to continue in orbit on their own.

NASA announced its plans to open the International Space Station to commercial activities in June 2019, saying it wants businesses to use innovation and ingenuity to speed up development of “a thriving commercial economy in low-Earth orbit.”

The space agency has a plan to recoup the steep costs of a private citizen visiting the space station. Its pricing policy lists expenses such as a daily fee of $11,250 per person for “regenerative life support and toilet” and $22,500 per person for crew supplies such as food and air. The price sheet also includes a data plan, priced at $50 per gigabyte.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Canadian Space Agency using satellite data to track endangered right whales – CBC.ca

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium estimate less than 400 North Atlantic right whales remain. (Michael Dwyer/Canadian Press/AP)

The Canadian Space Agency is harnessing satellite technology to monitor and protect endangered North Atlantic right whales in the country’s waters.

The agency said Tuesday it will lead a $5.3-million project funded by the federal government called smartWhales, which will use satellites to detect the presence of right whales and to predict the animals’ movements.

Canada is giving a total of $5.3 million over three years to five companies for a series of projects to help protect the endangered species.

One of the projects will involve a system that can rapidly provide location data and detect if the whales are approaching a fishing vessel.

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan says collecting satellite data about the movement of the whales is key to preventing collisions between whales and vessels and to spot cases where the animals are caught in fishing gear — two of the leading causes of right whale deaths.

In late October last year, the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium released its annual report card, estimating that only 356 right whales were alive at the end of 2019.

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