Washington, Oct. 16 (Xinhua/UNB) -- The U.S. space agency NASA unveiled on Tuesday the next-generation spacesuits to be used in its Artemis program that will send the first woman and next man to the Lunar South Pole by 2024.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine showcased the ground prototypes of two spacesuits designed for lunar exploration: one for exploring the Moon's surface, known as the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU), and one for launch and re-entry aboard the agency's mew Orion spacecraft, known as the Orion Crew Survival System.
The xEMU, a red, white and blue suit, is composed of the pressure garment and a life-supporting backpack, and it can protect the astronauts from radiation, temperature extremes, and micrometeoroids, according to NASA.
One of its advantages compared with previous ones goes to its better mobility. At Tuesday's launch event, a female NASA engineer who wore the xEMU for demonstration played deep squat, full arms spinning and delicate fingers movement with much ease.
The suit's advanced mobility that enables them to accomplish much more complex tasks on the Moon's surface is partly attributed to its joint bearings, instead of zippers, on the lower torso and upper torso.
Those bearings allow full rotation of the arm from shoulder to wrist, bending and rotating at the hips, increased bending at the knees and hiking-style boots with flexible soles, according to NASA.
The xEMU has a rear-entry hatch, so astronauts can climb into it from the back of the suit, allowing the shoulder elements of the hard upper torso to be closer together than the suits currently in use, thus enabling a better fit while reducing shoulder injury risks.
Also, the spacesuit is a modular one. Its helmet features a quick-swap protective visor that protects the pressurized bubble from any wear and tear or dents, and scratches from the abrasive dirt of planetary bodies. It means that astronauts can replace only the visor before or after a spacewalk instead of sending an entire helmet back to Earth for repairs.
Before the first lunar landing in 1969, engineers worried that the lunar soil wouldn't support the weight of a spacesuit and the astronaut inside, but now a greater danger is that the lunar soil is composed of tiny glass-like shards which may damage the suit.
Astronauts in the International Space Station will test the new spacesuits in coming years and it will be used in a small space station in lunar orbit and on Mars.
Bridenstine also demonstrated the Orion Crew Survival System at the event. The orange suit will be worn during launch and re-entry of NASA's new spacecraft to provide thermal protection for the astronauts in case of a depressurizing accident.
NASA is planning to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 and to land on Mars in 2030s.
Seoul, Oct 15 (Xinhua/UNB) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday that his country aimed to commercialize autonomous driving cars by 2027 and expand the sales proportion of electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles to a third of the total by 2030.
Moon made the remarks at the Namyang R&D Center of the country's biggest carmaker Hyundai Motor in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi province to announce his government's vision to become a world leader in the future car industry.
He said South Korea aimed to become the world's first country to commercialize "fully" autonomous driving vehicles by 2027 by building up necessary infrastructure, such as wireless communication networks between roads and cars, integrated control systems and 3D precision maps, by 2024.
The Moon government also targeted the sales proportion of electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles at 33 percent of the total by 2030, while winning a global market share of 10 percent by the year.
To help achieve that goal, the government planned to install about 15,000 high-speed battery chargers by 2025 as well as 330 hydrogen charging stations by 2030 across the country.
If achieved, the environmentally-friendly vehicles would cut greenhouse gas emissions and fine dust by 36 percent and 11 percent each, the president noted.
South Korean companies planned to invest about 60 trillion won (50.6 billion U.S. dollars) in developing future car-related technologies for the next 10 years.
Moon said the government will make a separate investment of 2.2 trillion won (1.8 billion U.S. dollars) to help local companies develop core components and materials in the future car sector.
In a separate statement, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said the country aimed to launch pilot projects for the so-called flying car by 2025 and expand its businesses in a gradual manner.
Beijing, Oct 15 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Space engineers have made a key step in designing a new generation launch vehicle that could help start China's manned lunar exploration program, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
A pre-study for the carrier rocket, conducted by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) under the CASC, has passed a review by the China Manned Space Agency.
The research, started in 2017, has produced an initial blueprint for the rocket, which will be about 87 meters long and have a takeoff weight of about 2,200 tonnes.
It could carry payloads of more than 25 tonnes to the lunar transfer orbit and would have a new escape system to improve astronaut safety.
As well as the mature engine and the highly reliable flight control technologies of the Long March-5 and Long March-7 carrier rockets, production of the rocket would feature advanced manufacturing technologies and new materials.
A detailed plan to develop the carrier rocket is now on the drawing board, according to the CASC.
It has been reported that China is pushing forward the pre-study of a manned lunar landing program.
Currently, China's largest carrier rocket has a payload capacity of about 8 tonnes to the lunar transfer orbit. The manned lunar landing program needs a more powerful and reliable new generation manned launch vehicle.
Canberra, Oct. 9 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Australia's national science agency has teamed up with a fast food restaurant to develop a plant-based alternative to beef hamburgers.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Hungry Jack's, a franchisee of U.S. chain Burger King, have joined forces make and market a legume-based burger patty under a joint venture named v2food.
The burger aims to mimic the taste and texture of beef with the added benefits of fiber and nutrients as well as being environmentally friendly.
According to research by the George Institute for Global Health the sales of meat-free burger products in Australia grew by 289 percent between 2010 and 2019.
The CSIRO projects that Australia's plant-based protein industry will be worth more than 6 billion Australian dollars (4 U.S. billion dollars) by 2030.
However, Hungry Jack's owner Jack Cowin said that the industry should not be considered an enemy of the beef industry.
"We sell 30,000 tonnes of meat and we hope to be able to continue to sell the same amount of beef as we always have," he said recently, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
"We will attract a different audience that aren't currently buying products because of sustainability reasons."
Nick Hazell, the chief executive of v2food, said that the venture was born out of necessity because of the global increase in meat consumption.
"The population is growing towards 10 billion and meat consumption is also growing per capita. When you do the maths, it's actually impossible for us to feed the planet," he said.
However, the assumption that "fake meat" is healthier than the real thing, is warned against by Curtin University nutrition and public health researcher Christina Pollard.
"The problem is that often these products are not healthier than the meat-based original, because they are still heavily processed and high in fat and salt," Pollard said.
San Francisco, Oct 2 (AP/UNB) — Google is rolling out more tools for users to control their privacy settings.
The company and other tech giants are facing increased scrutiny over the amount of data they collect from their users. Google and Facebook both debuted new privacy tools this year.
Now, YouTube users will be able to set their search and viewing histories to auto-delete after a set period of time.
Google Maps will have an incognito mode, which means a user's movements won't be recorded when it's turned on. It will be available on Android this month. Google did not give an exact date for iOS.
Google also says people will be able to delete their voice histories from artificial intelligence system Assistant using a voice command.
It is also adding a way for users to check their passwords via a password manager to make sure they are still secure.