Chinese Rover Explores the Moon
The Chinese robotic rover, the Chang’e-4 spacecraft touched down on the far side of the Moon on the 3rd January 2018.
Wu Weiren repeated Neil Armstrong’s famous quote stating to the Chinese media that this is a “huge stride” for China. The Chinese rover and lander have all the necessary instruments to analyze the unexplored far side of the Moon, including the region’s geology.
This is the first attempt and landing on the far side of the Moon which has somewhat distinct characteristics compared to the side that we can see from the Earth. Weiren said to the state broadcaster CCTV:
“The separation of Chang’e 4’s rover was smooth and perfect. The rover rolled only a small step on to the Moon, but it represented a huge stride for the Chinese nation.”
China chose the name for the rover, Yutu 2. The name was chosen after a worldwide poll on how to name the rover in August 2018. In traditional Chinese folklore, Yutu is the white rabbit of Chang’e, which is the moon’s goddess whose name is chosen for the Chinese lunar mission. The number two acknowledges its predecessor, a rover called Yutu which touched down at Mare Imbrium, on the side of the Moon visible from the Earth. That mission was completed in 2013.
Anak Krakatau Volcano: Satellite Images
There are now good optical satellite images available showing the collapsed Anak Krakatau volcano, which lead to a devastating tsunami on the 22nd December 2018. Previously, poor weather conditions over the Sunda Strait interfered with the spacecraft’s images.
Images from SkySat and Dove platforms show the extent of the volcanic cone’s failure. The images show the island has been reshaped.
What was once the crate of a 340m-high edifice has been completely broken and open to form a small bay.
According to the disaster agency in Indonesia, more than two-thirds of the Anak Krakatau’s volume which was between 150 and 170 million cubic meters is now missing. It is assumed that much of it has slipped into the sea in the colossal landslide which lead to the devastating tsunami.
The Earth observation company Planet, based in San Francisco, operates one of the largest satellite constellations in the world. The network maximizes the chances of seeing the ground but only when clouds clear about the target. Planet’s Dove spacecraft captured all the details on the ground with a medium resolution. The SkySat platform has a high-resolution capability and it captured larger details.
The images gave the first hint that Anak Krakatau had collapsed and the size of the damage it produced around the volcano.
It is believed that around 430 people died when the tsunami hit the area around Java and Sumatra. Thousands of people remain displaced.
Did a Super Volcano Cause the Demise of Dinosaurs?
How come that dinosaurs disappeared from the face of the Earth? What happened millions of years ago? Could the same thing happen to us? Did a massive asteroid, the size of Mount Everest smashed into the Earth causing chaos in the form of wildfires, tsunamis, and earthquakes? Did the plumes of debris create a darkness that caused up to 75% of animals to go extinct? There are many theories surrounding the demise of dinosaurs.
A small group of scientists is questioning all these hypotheses. They believe that volcanism could be behind the demise of dinosaurs. The Deccan traps in India are home to some of largest volcanic features in the world and there is some evidence suggesting there was a lot of volcanic activities 66 million years ago. At the same time, scientists believe dinosaurs saw their demise around that time. However, this suggests that the volcanic activity was active around the world which could affect the air, lead to tsunamis and lead to the extinction of dinosaurs.