This week you can now use binoculars to see the toolbag dropped by ISS astronauts on a recent spacewalk, the world’s first “chimeric” monkey with a high proportion of stem cell-derived cells was born alive, and we may have just had our first fight in space. Finally, we question if “panda diplomacy” might be coming to an end.
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The World Is About To Get An Incredible View Of Uranus
Good news everybody, on Monday the world is going to have an excellent view of Uranus (grow up) as it makes its closest approach to Earth this year. On November 13, people will be able to get the best look at Uranus as it reaches opposition 2.78 billion kilometers (1.74 billion miles) from our planet. While that sounds far, Uranus is wide. With a small amateur telescope or even binoculars, the ice giant should be visible at its closest approach. Read the full story here
You Can Now See The Toolbag ISS Astronauts Dropped With Just Binoculars
Last week astronauts dropped a toolbag while carrying out repairs to external parts of the International Space Station (ISS). The bag has now been picked by trackers of space junk under the code 58229/1998-067WC, and its orbit calculated. It turns out there is more to the story, however, because you don’t need a high-powered telescope to see it, just darkish skies and a pair of binoculars. Read the full story here
World First: Live Birth Of “Chimeric” Monkey With High Contribution From Stem Cells
For the first time ever, a chimeric monkey containing a large number of cells derived from embryonic stem cells has been born alive. The infant’s cells originate from two different embryos, meaning they are genetically distinct, therefore rendering the young primate a “chimera”. Read the full story here
We May Have Just Had Our First-Ever Fight In Space
Humanity may have conducted its first-ever fight in space last week after Israel claims its air force shot down an "aerial threat" outside of the Earth's atmosphere. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) claims that it shot down a surface-to-surface missile allegedly fired from Yemen on October 30 using its Arrow system. If true, this would likely be the first-ever military fight in space. Read the full story here
A New Island Has Been Born Off The Coast Of Japan In The Pacific
In the wake of an underwater eruption late last month, a new volcanic island has popped up along the coast of Japan, billowing smoke and slowly growing in size. The new island can be seen from the coast of Iōtō (formerly Iwo Jima), part of the Ogasawara Islands over 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) south of Tokyo in the Pacific Ocean. Read the full story here
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Feature of the week:
Why US Zoos Are Rapidly Losing Pandas Amid Tensions With China
This week, two adult pandas, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, and their 3-year-old cub, Xiao Qi Ji, departed from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo to return to China. Against the backdrop of hairy political tensions between the US and China, this trio isn't the first set of pandas in “the West” to journey back to their ancestral homeland. Now, some are wondering whether this could be the end of “panda diplomacy”. Read the full story here
Check out season 3 of IFLScience's The Big Questions Podcast in which we asked: