SCIENCE IN THE NEWS WEEKLY
Falcon 9 Launch Successful
A private cargo rocket built by Space Exploration Technologies Corp. of Hawthorne, Calif. blasted off last week, headed to the International Space Station. The rocket carried only about 1,000 pounds of cargo. The importance of the launch was more technical and symbolic.
In other space news, stargazers will have a chance on June 5 to glimpse a transit of Venus, in which the planet passes directly between Earth and the sun. Venus will take six hours to march across the star's face, appearing as an inky black dot in silhouette against the solar disk.
The moon nearly blotted out the sun last week, creating a blazing "ring of fire" eclipse visible in many parts of the world.
In 2019, a spacecraft known as Euclid will begin a mission to study dark energy. But it is being launched by the European Space Agency, not NASA, with American astronomers serving only as very junior partners.
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VIDEO: The Promise and Peril of Drones
The automation of tasks at work and at home is just around the corner, including driving cars, piloting planes, delivering packages, and transporting weapons. Unmanned aerial vehicles are rapidly evolving to meet both society’s and the military’s needs in automation and better efficiency.
During her time as one of the first female fighter pilots in the US Navy, Dr. Missy Cummings observed that computers could take off and land a plane more precisely than humans. Because of this breakthrough and her fascination with this growing technology, she began human–drone interaction research.
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