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NASA's Juno spacecraft enters Jupiter orbit

AstronomyYesterday, NASA announced their spacecraft Juno has reached Jupiter orbit. It was launched almost five years ago to investigate the largest planet of the Solar System, especially its past.

Charles Bolden, NASA administrator, said, "Independence Day always is something to celebrate, but today we can add to America's birthday another reason to cheer — Juno is at Jupiter". He also added the spacecraft would help study the evolution of the Solar System and explore Jupiter's radiation belts.

Final panel added to China's FAST radio telescope

AstronomyOn Sunday, China announced the attachment of the final panel to its telescope named Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST). This piece marks the end of a five-year-long US$180 million (CNY¥1.2 billion) construction project.

FAST comprises about 4,500 panels and spans a diameter of 500 meters (about 1640 feet). The telescope is part of a series of ventures into space exploration by China, including planning another robotic Moon mission and creating a Chinese space station, with its core module set to be launched into space in 2018. With the country's founding centenary coming in 2049, Chinese President Xi Jinping said during a Beijing conference, "great scientific and technological capacity is a must for China to be strong".

IUPAC proposes four new chemical element names

ChemistryThe International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) announced yesterday the proposed names of four chemical elements recently discovered by scientists around the world. According to the rules of IUPAC, the four names — nihonium, moscovium, tennessine, and oganesson — are to be subject to a five-month period of public scrutiny which ends November 2016. IUPAC allows the teams of scientists who discover and synthesize new elements to name them, subject to process.

Element number 113, nihonium, is named after the Japanese name for the country of Japan — Nihon — where it was first synthesized and discovered by researchers at the RIKEN institute.

World's oldest known hafted axe fragment found in Western Australia

NewsOn Wednesday Australian archaeologists published an analysis of a previously discovered axe fragment which indicates it is up to 49,000 years old.

The axe fragment was originally discovered in Western Australia's Kimberley region in 1991 by Professor Sue O'Connor of the Australian National University but was only recently examined. The recent analysis and dating published in journal Australian Archaeology indicates the fragment came from the head of a hafted axe 46,000 to 49,000 years old. This is currently the world's oldest known hafted axe fragment.

NASA releases first topographical map of Mercury

AstronomyOn Friday, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released the first ever global digital elevation model (DEM) of Mercury.

The DEM was created using data gathered by NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft, including over 100,000 photographs, and shows a variety of Mercury's topographical features including the planet's highest and lowest points. MESSENGER principal investigator Sean Solomon said they hope the information will be used to investigate Mercury's geological history.
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