World's oceans continue to warm, despite reduced carbon emissions - CGTN
Despite reductions in global carbon emissions due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the world's oceans in 2020 were the warmest in recorded history, according to a new study.
Despite reductions in global carbon emissions due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the world's oceans in 2020 were the warmest in recorded history, according to a new study. Published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences earlier this week, the study was conducted by 20 scientists from 13 institutes in China, the United States and Italy. Compared with 2019, the upper 2,000 meters of the Earth's oceans have absorbed a greater amount of heat, enough to boil 1.3 billion kettles, each containing 1.5 liters of water. The increase in heat within the oceans is responsible for the increasing trend of record-breaking global ocean temperatures, said the study. Cheng Lijing, lead author of the study and researcher at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said ocean heating is a key indicator for quantifying climate change, since more than 90 percent of global heat ends up in the oceans. "However, due to the ocean's delayed response to global warming, the trend of ocean warming will persist for decades at least," said Cheng, explaining that the world's ocean temperatures kept rising last year, despite reports that global carbon emissions fell as people stayed indoors due to COVID-19 restrictions. The study also found that over the past eight decades, the world's oceans have been warmer in each decade than in the previous one. The effects of ocean warming manifest in the form of more typhoons, hurricanes and extreme rainfall. In addition to ocean temperatures, researchers involved in the study calculated the salinity of ocean water. They found that areas of high salinity had increased in salinity, whereas the opposite was true for areas of lower salinity. Researchers also shared data recorded by China's IAP and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the study. Cheng called for more global research efforts on the subject of ocean warming. "Any activities or agreements to address global warming must be coupled with the understanding that the oceans have already absorbed an immense amount of heat and will continue to absorb excess energy in the Earth's system." (Cover image via CFP) (If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at [email protected])
World In A Week: China's moon mission, Putin's year-end conference - CGTN
Global Watch's weekend round-up of news stories that have made headlines over the past seven days. Here's what have covered: China's Chang'e-5 probe returns to Earth with lunar samples; Putin praises Russia's economy amid pandemic in annual year-end news conference; Biden secures win over Trump with U.S. Electoral College vote; EU, UK unveil plans to toughen tech regulations; South Africa launches program to protect undocumented minors.
Returner was retrieved, but what about Chang'e-5's ascender, lander and orbiter? - CGTN
Hailing the safe landing of the returner of China's Chang'e-5 probe with precious lunar samples, people may also wonder what happens with the ascender, the lander and the orbiter?
The safe landing of China's Chang'e-5 returner on Earth carrying precious lunar samples was hailed as a success. But what ever happened to Chang'e-5's ascender, lander and orbiter? In order to unveil more details and stories behind the Chang'e-5 mission, CGTN talked to Professor Yang Yuguang, vice chair of Space Transportation Committee of the International Astronautical Federation, during a live interview on Friday. Click here to review the interview. After transferring the lunar samples, the ascender used the rest propellants to lower its altitude and crashed on the lunar surface. "We deorbited the ascender to let it crash. This is to avoid making it space rubbish or influencing other missions in the future," the professor said. Similarly, after separating from the returner, the orbiter carried out an orbiter maneuver "to avoid collision with the returner," and "was deorbited into the atmosphere and burned out." Different from the ascender and the orbiter, the lander, which finished its task after the ascender lifted off, "will remain permanently on its landing site" on the north of the Mons Rumker in Oceanus Procellarum, also known as the Ocean of Storms, on the near side of the moon, said Yang. Interestingly, a U.S. robotic spacecraft orbiting the moon, known as Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), has taken a photo of the lander using its high-resolution cameras, he added. Samples collected in two ways The professor also shared more details on the two ways Chang'e-5 collected lunar samples drilling from beneath the lunar surface and scooping on the surface. As the lunar environment is harsh, drilling and scooping, two different measures armed with different technologies, serve as a backup for each other. "If one failed, we still had a chance with the other," explained Yang. In the terms of scientific research, samples collected in both ways are useful in helping scientists know the history of the moon. "The soil is influenced by the solar wind and also by the extremely high and low temperatures of the moon. So much information is damaged. If we can drill deep under the surface, we can get some original examples," said Yang. Beneath the lunar surface, there are different layers of soil, and "the sequence of the layers is very useful information" as different layers correspond to different eras. Solar wind also has a significant influence on the surface soil. "Studying the influence of solar wind and the lunar surface environment is important for Earth, and useful for us to construct a lunar base in the future," Yang said. When drilling for the samples, Chang'e-5 used a stick of two colors. The bottom of the stick is black and the rest is white. "This kind of design isn't for good looks, but for dealing with various drilling situations," Yang explained. "We don't know the hardness of the soil, so we must make the stick hard enough. The black part is made of a very hard material." However, "every gram is valuable," so a different material is used to reduce the weight, which is the white part.
China and Europe team up to monitor the impact of solar winds - CGTN
CGTN Europe talked to ESA's Mark McCaughrean about the future of space exploration collaboration.
This week the Chinese lunar mission Chang'e-5 returned to Earth with a precious cargo of dust and rocks. But this important marker in China's collaborative space missions is just one stop on a longer journey the China National Space Administration and partners like the European Space Agency have already launched. "With Chang'e-5 coming back, [we] have talked extensively about international collaboration and sharing out of samples," Mark McCaughrean, Senior Science and Exploration advisor at ESA, told CGTN Europe. Pei Zhaoyu, deputy director of the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of CNSA, confirmed some Chang'e-5 materials would be shared internationally. The mission's deputy chief designer Li Chunlai added that some of the lunar discoveries would be reserved for public display. CLICK:HOW CHANG'E-5 HAS REVIVED LUNAR EXPLORATION McCaughrean said this was a part of a wider mission to improve international relations, and continue to do work the ESA could not do alone. "[It's] a way of creating good relations in order to go ahead and do things together that we wouldn't be able to do on our own," he said. "Scientifically there's a lot of work to be done on the moon and Chang'e-5 is a key stepping stone in that." Solar weather warning One of the areas McCaughrean pointed at as an example of global collaboration is the SMILE project, which hopes to further understanding of "solar weather." But unlike the cloud and wind we're used to here on Earth, "solar wind" affects the planet's magnetic bubble and can even inflict power surges here when extreme cases hit. "When you have big solar storms and material flows out from the sun, an explosion can occur what we call a coronal mass ejection," explained McCaughrean. "If that's directed at the Earth and enough particles hit the Earth all at once, they can knock out your power systems." Chang'e-5 sets off for the moon and it won't be the last. /Mark Schiefelbein/AP Chang'e-5 sets off for the moon and it won't be the last. /Mark Schiefelbein/AP "The last time this happened was actually in the 1850s we got hit by one of these big storms. "Back in the 1850s, they had telegraphs. And the power coming from the sun at that point actually was enough to throw the telegraph operators off their chairs because power flowed through their wires. But imagine that now in the 21st century with all the electronics we have." Although such "mass ejections" hitting Earth is rare (McCaughrean estimates a 10 percent chance every decade), measuring, understanding, and even predicting the weather in our solar system is a crucial mission in the human journey to space. "The space weather stuff will actually have a real impact on human society on the Earth," McCaughrean warned. "And to be quite honest, we're not prepared for it. So there's a lot of work to be done to harden our systems." Video editor: Riaz Jugon
Solar eclipse plunges southern Chile, Argentina into darkness - CGTN
Thousands of people turned their heads to the sky to watch a solar eclipse that lasted around two minutes on Monday as southern Chile and Argentina were plunged into darkness.
Thousands of people turned their heads to the sky to watch a solar eclipse that lasted around two minutes on Monday as southern Chile and Argentina were plunged into darkness. Heavy rain had threatened to prevent stargazers in Chile from seeing the eclipse but at the last moment the clouds parted just enough for the phenomenon to be partially visible. "It was beautiful, unique. The truth is that no-one held much hope of seeing it due to the weather and clouds, but it was unique because it cleared up just in time. It was a miracle," an emotional Matias Tordecilla, 18, told AFP in the town of Pucon on the shores of Lake Villarrica. "It's something that you don't just see with your eyes but also feel with your heart," added Tordecilla, who traveled 10 hours with his family to see the eclipse. It was the second total eclipse for Chile in the last 18 months. This one struck at 1:00 p.m. (1600 GMT) as thousands of tourists and residents gathered, hoping the clouds would disappear in time. "It gave me goosebumps all over," said Pucon resident Cinthia Vega. In Argentine Patagonia, several families and foreigners had set up camp between the towns of Villa El Chocon and Piedra del Aguila hoping to see the eclipse. While there was no rain there, strong winds had threatened to impact visibility. Despite COVID-19 restrictions on movement, almost 300,000 tourists had arrived in the Araucania region around 800 kilometers south of the capital Santiago. Dozens of amateur and professional scientists set up telescopes on the slopes of the Villarrica volcano one of the most active in Chile to observe the phenomenon when the moon passes between the sun and Earth. The eclipse was due to be visible along a 90-kilometer wide corridor from the Pacific coast in Chile across the Andes mountain range and into Argentina. In July 2019, some 300,000 people turned out in the Atacama desert in Chile's north, home to several observatories, to see the previous eclipse. Major celestial events in 2021 January 3: Quadrantids meteor shower May 6: Eta Aquarids meteor shower August 12: Perseids meteor shower December 4: Total solar eclipse, visible in Antarctica, South Africa, southern Atlantic December 14: Geminids meteor shower.
Limit alcohol and eat healthily if getting COVID-19 vaccination, says WHO's Harris - CGTN
The World Health Organization urges the public to follow a healthy lifestyle to boost their immune systems.
People receiving coronavirus vaccines should limit their alcohol intake, eat less processed food and ensure they get plenty of sleep, according to Margaret Harris, of the World Health Organization (WHO). "That's our recommendation, basically, look after your health," she told CGTN Europe, noting that the WHO did not have specific guidance over exactly what measures should be followed in what time frame around getting a vaccine. Russia's consumer safety watchdog this week urged the public to avoid drinking alcohol for around two months around the time they are given the Sputnik V jab. Speaking from the WHO's base in Geneva, Harris said she couldn't comment on the specifics around the Russian case but confirmed that in general it is recommended to take a range of actions to strengthen the body's immune system whenever receiving vaccinations. Other steps could include consuming more fresh food, stopping smoking and taking part in exercise, she added.
'Poorer countries will need support to receive and store vaccine' - CGTN
Sian Griffiths, who chaired the SARS inquiry for the Hong Kong government in 2003, discusses the challenges that lie ahead in the global effort to end the pandemic.
Wealthier countries will have to provide support to more disadvantaged parts of the world in the distribution of the new Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine due to the costs of delivering and storing it, said Sian Griffiths, emeritus professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. "We must remember this is a global disease and that low-income countries in particular will need the support of high-income countries," Griffiths, who co-chaired Hong Kong's SARS inquiry in 2003, told CGTN. "This vaccine has logistical challenges, because it needs to be kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius and in lower- and middle-income countries, you really won't have those facilities, or in rural areas you won't have those facilities, so it is quite complicated to make this distribution." This week, a 90-year-old UK woman, Margaret Keenan, was the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech injection after regulators approved its use in Britain last week. About 70 hospital hubs in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are dispensing the jab, with priority being given to those aged over 80 and some key health and care staff. It is the biggest vaccination program in British history but Griffiths is worried that poorer people globally might not get access to the jab. "At the moment, we need to concentrate on getting this vaccine to as many people as possible to ensure the most vulnerable are vaccinated and we start to think about how this can be done on a global basis," she said. "As we have more choice, we will probably find that the decisions are made by government, not by individuals, because it will be about supply, demand, logistics ... all those issues that are so complicated in this massive and very ambitious program."
Raising a flag on the moon is much harder than you think - CGTN
The cute pop-up mechanism is the result of years of hard work.
Almost all of us have had a flag raising experience. Hold it, then raise it. It's so easy. But doing so on the moon can be exceptionally difficult. As the Chinese moon sampler Chang'e-5 raised the national flag on the moon, let's check out the effort engineers put into this significant achievement. How to make it fly? The moon is so small compared to the Earth that it cannot maintain an atmosphere, which leads to the first problem for flag raising there's no wind to keep the flag expanded. You may have seen images of the U.S. flag apparently flying during the Apollo missions. That's just an illusion. The fact is, in addition to the vertical pole where the flag is attached to, there's also a horizontal pole to make it stay horizontal. The Chinese design of the flag pole is a bit different. In the previous Chang'e missions, the national flag was painted on the surface of the moon landers and rovers. But in the Chang'e-5 mission, the flag was rolled up before being expanded. Also, as a Chinese astronaut has yet to land on the moon, the work has to be done by machines a robotic arm, to be specific. According to a report from China National Radio, the whole flag raising system must weigh less than 1 kg in order to keep the whole lander lightweight. Yet the robot arm must be able to endure sudden temperature changes during the launch, the radiation from the sun and the air-less environment on the moon. The engineers tried many mechanisms to display the flag, including memory metal and unfolding the flag like a traditional Chinese fan. Eventually the rolling-out solution worked best in simulations. Finding the best cloth Normal flags on Earth will be bleached or even destroyed on the moon because of the radiation from the sun. Many speculated that this may have happened to some of the six Apollo flags, though there have been no observations to prove that yet. "Strong fabrics are usually hard to dye, while easy-to-dye fabrics are usually fragile," said Cheng Chang, who is in charge of the flag-raising system of the Chang'e-5. "It took our team more than a year to find the perfect material." The researchers behind the cloth revealed how they made it. The team works for the Wuhan Textile University, and is led by professor Xu Weilin. "The flag was mainly made of high-end aramid fibers with our own technology," the university wrote on its website. "It can endure extreme ultraviolet radiation." The team also used their own nanomaterial to prevent the color from vaporizing. "It's a highly customized product for the space mission," China Space News reported. While the Chinese-language internet is amazed at how adorable the pop-up flag is, we should also know and remember the teams behind this complicated effort.
China's Chang'e-5 completes lunar surface sampling and sealing - CGTN
China's Chang'e-5 probe finished the task of gathering and sealing samples from the Moon's surface at 22:00 BJT on December 2, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA). Launched on November 24, the spacecraft landed on the north of the Mons Rumker in Oceanus Procellarum, also known as the Ocean of Storms, on the near side of the moon on December 1. It was tasked to retrieve China's first samples from an extraterrestrial body.
China's Chang'e-5 successfully lands on moon to collect samples - CGTN
The Chang'e-5 probe successfully landed on the near side of the moon, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced on Tuesday.
The Chang'e-5 probe successfully landed on the near side of the moon, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced on Tuesday. With the space probe's ascender on top, its lander made a touchdown at around 11:00 p.m. (Beijing Time), becoming China's third probe that has successfully made a soft landing on the moon. It has sent back footage of the moment it landed. In the next two days, the lander will collect about two kilograms of lunar samples. The Chang'e-5 probe includes a lander, ascender, orbiter, and returner. After the spacecraft entered the circular lunar orbit 200 kilometers above the moon, the lander-and-ascender pair split, descended, and landed at the planned area on the moon. The lander will shovel some surface material and also drill a two-meter-deep hole and scoop up the soil from inside it, which will act like an archive of the moon, with the bottom recording information from a billion years ago and the top more closely reflecting the present day. The samples will then be stored in the ascender, which will lift off from the lunar surface to transfer the moon samples to the returner and orbiter waiting in the lunar orbit. The unmanned rendezvous and docking in the lunar orbit will also be the first such task conducted by China. Then, at a proper time, the returner will separate from the orbiter and carry the samples back to Earth, which will finally land in North China's Inner Mongolia. Read more: China's Chang'e-5 moon mission explained in graphics Tech It Out: Chang'e-5, China's most complex space mission ever Once completed, the Chang'e-5 probe will become part of the world's first unmanned sample return mission from the moon in 40 years, and will make China thethird country in the world to bring back lunar samples after the U.S. and the former Soviet Union. The Chang'e-5 probe was launched on the early morning of November 24. It's one of China's most complicated and challenging space missions so far, which will contribute to scientific studies in fields such as the formation and evolution of the moon. Read more: China successfully launches Chang'e-5 to collect moon samples (CGTN's Liu Hui also contributed to the report.)
Chang'e-5's lander-ascender and return vehicle successfully separated - CGTN
Chang'e-5's lander-ascender combination and the orbiter-sample return vehicle combination of the probe have successfully separated in preparation for landing on the moon. All the systems are in good condition, and the communication for ground measurement and control works well. The combination of the orbiter and the sample-return vehicle will remain flying on the lunar orbit.
10 COVID vaccines seen by mid-next year: Head of global pharma group - CGTN
Ten COVID-19 vaccines could be available by mid-2021 if they win regulatory approval, however, their inventors need patent protection, the head of the global pharmaceutical industry group said on Friday. The vaccines by Pfizer and BioNtech as well as Moderna and AstraZeneca show promising results in large clinical trials, but there is no question of 'cutting corners, according to Thomas Cueni, Director-general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA). "So far 3 we have 3 out of 3 were hits. I would expect that we will see something similar with Johnson & Johnson, I would expect that we would see similar positive results with Novavax, and many others, Sanofi Pasteur, GSK are in there, Merck, Cueni said. Cueni told a Geneva news briefing that, 'Big Pharma' and biotech firms have heavily invested in research and development and in boosting manufacturing during the COVID-19 pandemic to allow them to roll out vaccine doses. He stated that it would be a mistake to lift patent protection to allow compulsory licensing and try to make vaccines requiring such complex quality assurance without expert staff and quality control procedures. "We will hopefully by the next summer have probably 10 vaccines which have proven their value. But all of them really need to be submitted by rigorous scientific scrutiny by the regulators,Cueni said. At the World Trade Organization (WTO), India and South Africa have proposed allowing a temporary waiver to allow compulsory licensing for patented products during the pandemic. The United States, European Union and Switzerland and others have rejected it, trade officials say. Cueni, asked about the proposal, said: "For me, this questioning of IP is really primarily politics, but it's politics which is not helpful because it would send very negative signals in terms of disrespect to the system which allowed the world to react so fast and so responsibly. Vaccine manufacturing plants often need 50 quality assurance staff making hundreds of checks during production, he said, emphasizing that the companies would not exploit the pandemic. IFPMA archives showed there had never been a compulsory license granted for a vaccine and pointed to the difficult technology and know-how, according to Cueni. Nearly every member company had committed to "not-for-profitor socially responsible pricing during the pandemic, he added. (With input from agencies)