Space Log: First time China’s Shenzhou-14 crew celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival in space
Chinese astronauts, or taikonauts, got the chance to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival for the first time ever in the space, in the cozy assembly of the space station which will be fully constructed at the end of this year.
On this festive occasion, Chinese people enjoy traditional mooncakes and admire the moon, which is said to be the fullest and brightest of the year.
As for the Shenzhou-14 crew, who are in fact closest to the moon in distance, they became the first Chinese who spent the festival in the orbit – making the day quite special. In the previous space missions, Shenzhou-12 crew almost had the chance but they completed their mission and returned to Earth on September 17, 2021, four days earlier than the festival.
The taikonauts didn’t take the day off for the festival as they have had to train for the next space walk. During a break, Shenzhou-14 commander Chen Dong had taken a picture of the moon on this festive day. “We can take pictures of the moon even in the daytime when we are in the orbit. It looks much brighter and clear from the view at the space station without the cloud and the atmosphere.”
To make the day more special, the ground team has arranged a space-Earth reunion event for the taikonauts and their families, as well as the ground team. They celebrated the festival together with video calls.
The crew in the space also quite enjoyed the festival parcel, which had a heart pattern. It was pre-packed with mooncakes by the ground team.
“Thanks for the ground team for making our festival in space full of love and surprise,” said Liu Yang, one of the Shenzhou-14 crew, “and we wish everyone a happy festival!”
Besides some surprise parcels, the taikonauts also had the privilege of tasting some of lettuce they grew while in space.
“We are about to eat this space-grown lettuce in a minute,” said Cai Xuzhe, also a Shenzhou-14 teammate, holding the lettuce to show to the ground team via the video.
“Now we’re halfway through the mission, we will work hard to complete the following tasks in a way as perfect as the full moon,” said Chen Dong.
The Shenzhou-14 crew also sent their festival wishes to the earthlings via a video released by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
Liu said in the video: “How many of us have ever dreamed of flying to the moon like Chang’e? Today, from outer space on a full moon night, we are sending our sincerest wishes and greetings to everyone on Earth.”
“Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!” added Cai, “We also hope our Mother Earth becomes better and better!”
The commander of Shenzhou-14 Chen Dong summed up with a verse from a well-known poem with a theme linking the moon with a person’s beloved: “Let’s wish our beloved will live as long as they can; though miles apart, we can still share the beauty of the same moon.”
U.S. FDA rejects Elon Musk’s Neuralink to test brain chips in humans
Elon Musk once said his brain implant company, Neuralink, will make the paralyzed walk, the blind see and eventually turn people into cyborgs, however, the firm is still struggling to get clinical-trial approval to achieve such a goal.
On at least four occasions since 2019, Musk has predicted that his medical device company, Neuralink, would soon start human trials of a revolutionary brain implant to treat intractable conditions such as paralysis and blindness.
Yet the company, founded in 2016, didn’t seek permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) until early 2022, and the agency rejected the application, Reuters reported citing seven current and former employees.
In explaining the decision to Neuralink, the agency outlined dozens of issues the company must address before human testing, a critical milestone on the path to final product approval, the staffers said.
The agency’s major safety concerns involved the device’s lithium battery; the potential for the implant’s tiny wires to migrate to other areas of the brain; and questions over whether, and how the device can be removed without damaging brain tissue, the employees said.
A year after the rejection, Neuralink is still working through the agency’s concerns. Three staffers said they were skeptical the company could quickly resolve the issues, despite Musk’s latest prediction at a November 30 presentation that the company would secure FDA human-trial approval this spring.
Such FDA rejections do not mean a company will ultimately fail to gain the agency’s human-testing approval. But the agency’s pushback signals substantial concerns, according to more than a dozen experts, in FDA device-approval processes.
Report: How the U.S. seeks to maintain its technological hegemony
The U.S., the world’s leading technology superpower, has been wielding monopoly power and taking suppression measures in high-tech fields to maintain its technological hegemony, said a report released on Monday.
Most recently, the U.S. has been lobbying its allies, including the Netherlands and Japan, to further restrict export of microchips and related equipment and technology to China.
ASML, the world’s top supplier of chip-making machines based in the Netherlands, has already been banned from selling its most advanced chip-making equipment to China since 2019, because of curbs imposed by the Dutch government under pressure from the U.S.
The company warned last week that “the drive for technological sovereignty” could lead to “long-term changes in global trade, competition and technology supply chains,” which could adversely affect its business and growth prospects.
This is only the latest move by the U.S. to further strangle China’s chip industry.
Last year, the Biden Administration proposed the so-called “Chip 4 Alliance,” which includes four of the world’s top producers of semiconductors: the U.S., Japan, Korea and China’s Taiwan region. It is widely seen as Washington’s effort to contain Beijing in the cutting-edge sector.
How the U.S. suppressed Japan’s chip industry
Actually, China has not the only country targeted by the U.S. in the semiconductor sector.
In the 1980s, Japan, one of the U.S.’s closest allies, once produced about half of the world’s semiconductors. In the year 1990, six of the world’s top ten semiconductor manufacturers were Japanese companies.
In order to contain Japan’s semiconductor industry, the U.S. launched the “301” investigation, threatened to label Japan as conducting unfair trade, and imposed retaliatory tariffs, forcing Japan to sign the U.S.-Japan Semiconductor Agreement.
As a result, Japanese semiconductor enterprises were almost completely driven out of global competition, and their market share dropped from 50 percent to 10 percent.
In the same time, with the support of the U.S. government, a large number of U.S. semiconductor enterprises took the opportunity and grabbed larger market share.
U.S. put over 1,000 Chinese firms on sanction list
Now, facing competition from Chinese tech companies, the U.S. has been overstretching the concept of national security and mobilizing state power to suppress and sanction Chinese companies, like telecom giant Huawei – a leading company in 5G technologies.
Over the past years, the U.S. has restricted the entry of Huawei products into the American market, cut off its supply of chips and operating systems, and also coerced other countries to ban Huawei from undertaking local 5G network construction.
It even talked Canada into unwarrantedly detaining Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou for nearly three years.
As a matter of fact, the U.S. has fabricated a slew of excuses to clamp down on China’s high-tech enterprises with global competitiveness, and has put more than 1,000 Chinese enterprises on its sanction lists.
The U.S. has also been abusing its technological hegemony and carrying out widespread cyber-attacks and eavesdropping, the report pointed out.
The world’s No.1 superpower, with the most advanced technologies, has long been notorious as an “empire of hackers,” blamed for its rampant acts of cyber theft around the world.
And U.S. surveillance is indiscriminate. All can be targets of its surveillance, be they rivals or allies, even leaders of allied countries such as former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and several French Presidents.
Cyber surveillance and attacks launched by the U.S. such as “Prism,” “Dirtbox,” “Irritant Horn” and “Telescreen Operation” are all proof that the U.S. is closely monitoring its allies and partners.
Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, a website that has exposed U.S. surveillance programs, said that “do not expect a global surveillance superpower to act with honor or respect. There is only one rule: there are no rules.”
Chinese researchers develop amphibious ‘flying fish’ drone
Researchers have developed a prototype of a quadrotor that can both fly in the air and swim underwater, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.
Dubbed TJ-FlyingFish, the aerial-aquatic quadrotor weighs 1.63 kg with a wheelbase of 380 mm.
It adopts special designs in the propulsion and thruster configuration to cope with different fluid properties of water and air, making it capable of hovering in the air for six minutes or swimming underwater for about 40 minutes.
“For propulsion, the operating range is switched for the different mediums by the dual-speed propulsion unit, providing sufficient thrust and also ensuring output efficiency. For thruster configuration, thrust vectoring is realized by the rotation of the propulsion unit around the mount arm, thus enhancing the underwater maneuverability,” said the researchers.
The quadrotor is equipped with a cross-domain positioning and navigation system consisting of GPS, inertial measurement unit, depthmeter and mini Doppler velocity log, which enables autonomous control during its amphibious journey.
TJ-FlyingFish was jointly developed by a team of scientists from the Shanghai Research Institute for Intelligent Autonomous Systems under the Tongji University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Possible applications include resource exploration, search and rescue missions, and engineering inspections.
Source(s): Xinhua, CGTN
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