Tech

World waits to see where a Chinese booster will come down

Enlarge / An artist’s depiction of the Tianhe station module. While that’s safely in orbit, the booster that got it there isn’t in a stable orbit. (credit: Xia Yuan / Getty Images) In late April, China successfully launched a major component of its planned space station. Since then, the booster that put the component into […]

Tech

SpaceX successfully lands a Starship test flight

Enlarge / Starship SN15 descending back to Texas under two of its three upgraded raptor engines. Successful landing! (credit: Trevor Mahlmann) By now many readers are familiar with SpaceX’s Starship tests. The rocket makes its way skyward and performs maneuvers that seem like impossibilities to a generation raised on rockets that simply shot things to orbit. […]

Tech

Biden backs plan to accelerate vaccine production by waiving patents

Enlarge / Pharmaceutical bottles on a conveyor belt in South Africa. (credit: Westend61 / Getty Images) The Biden administration has thrown its weight behind an international effort to loosen patent and other legal protections for COVID vaccines. “The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver […]

Tech

“Agricomb” is the perfect tool for measuring gases from cow burps

Enlarge / It’s a myth that cows fart methane; they actually burp out the greenhouse gas. Agriculture now has a new tool for measuring that methane, which could help design cleaner and more productive farms. (credit: BerndBrueggemann/iStock/Getty Images) Optical frequency combs are essentially high-tech “rulers” for measuring different colors of light; they’re useful for making […]