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Plush toys launched into space, interplanetary mining missions and more


By Tushna Commissariat

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft has, as of this week, spent two full years in orbit around comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, since it reached its destination in August 2014. While Rosetta was the mothership, it also deposited its “baby” lander called Philae onto the comet’s surface in November that year. Sadly Philae was switched off in July this year. If you feel like you want to relive the excitement of the initial launch, take a look at the video above. The folks over at Design and Data, who created Rosetta’s iconic cartoons and memorabilia for ESA, launched a plush-toy version of the spacecraft into space, to see how it would fare. Watch the video to see how their “mission” played out.

Next month, NASA will be launching its first spacecraft that will rendezvous with an asteroid and return a sample of it to Earth. The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft, plans to study asteroid Bennu. Interestingly, private company Deep Space Industries also announced this week that it plans to fly the world’s first commercial interplanetary mining mission. As these missions progress and become the norm, the world’s countries will have to hash out the rules and regulations of interplanetary mining resources.

If you have been enjoying the Olympics, don’t forget the large variety of physics concepts at play, the knowledge of which helps athletes to win their medals. Take a look at the excellent infographic put together by the folks at the Perimeter Institute on “The physics of the Olympics”.

For some weekend reading, find out how a 1967 solar storm that jammed radar and radio communications at the height of the Cold War nearly took the US to the brink of war. And as we continue to celebrate 50 years of the iconic sci-fi TV series Star Trek, check out the infographic put together by InterFocus on”10 times Star Trek predicted the future (and other amazing sci-fi inventions that became scientific fact)“.

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