The International Space Station has some competition: China

Plus, vale Michael Collins, more wild NASA records, Musk thinks you'll probably die on Mars, Hubble questions and much more!
                                                                                                                                                                               
CNET
Science
Hello, humans!

Did you enjoy the email from Sarah last week? She's a star and filled in for me at the last minute because I forgot I was on holiday. Yes, thank you for asking, it was marvellous. I stayed on an apple farm and read two whole books, including the latest by The Martian author Andy Weir -- more on that next week. Let's talk about this week in science!

Perhaps the biggest story last week was China launching the core module of its own space station. Over the next 18 months or so, the Chinese space agency will assemble their three-module station in orbit. In other space news, Musk is at it again, telling would-be Mars explorers they will "probably die" out there. Mars is a long way away, so that makes sense, but it's a grim truth. The same fate awaits our robots currently exploring the surface of the red planet, including NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity which completed its fourth flight last week. Coming back to Earth, literally, the Crew-1 astronauts made a rare nightime splashdown after returning from the International Space Station on Sunday.

Finally, we say vale to Michael Collins, the Apollo 11 astronaut who remained in the command module as Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon. This email often tries to capture the spirit of one of his most famous quotes: "Exploration is not a choice, really; it's an imperative." Hope you enjoy exploring the world and the cosmos through the stories in this email. First... the mailbag.

📧The Science Mailbag📧

Andrea has a few questions about NASA's Hubble telescope this week: How much time elapses between Hubble's spotting galaxies and stars and the scientists receiving pictures? Can we imagine 100 years and beyond of continued transmissions?

Hubble is a darling, really. It launched in 1990 and, although there has been a few hiccups in between, since then it has produced countless photographs of dazzling cosmic phenomena. Hubble produces tons of data each week -- about 140 gigabits is downloaded from the telescope each week, with twice-daily downlinks occurring. Hubble will, sadly, not last 100 years. It's a wonderful machine but a successor has already been crowned: The James Webb Space Telescope. That's also had a troubled life with multiple launch delays, but it's scheduled to launch in October. It will look at the universe in a different way to Hubble and, because it has a larger mirror, it will be able to look deeper into the cosmos -- and thus, further back in time. Let's hope launch goes smoothly. Thanks, Andrea! If you have a burning question for Jackson, send him an email or a DM on Twitter and check back soon for answers. Have a great week!

Enim scientia et astra!
Jackson Ryan Jackson Ryan
Science Editor, CNET
China launches  first piece of a new space station
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