- On the same day that China collected lunar rocks in a groundbreaking space mission, a critical US telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico collapsed.
- The observatory, built in 1963, was a beacon for US astronomical research, lasted through natural disasters, and inspired generations of Puerto Rican researchers.
- China’s successful accomplishment with the Chang’e-5 probe is the first time since the 1970s that lunar samples have been collected, and if the spacecraft returns to Earth safely in mid-December, will mark a massive step forward in space exploration.
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On Tuesday, the United States and China experienced vastly different events in the world of space exploration and observation.
The Arecibo Observatory, a colossal telescope located in Puerto Rico, collapsed after deteriorating sharply since August. The Arecibo Observatory had been operating as a center for astronomical observations for 57 years.
Meanwhile, far from the Earth’s atmosphere, the unmanned Chang’e-5 probe, a Chinese spacecraft, landed on the moon to bring lunar materials back to Earth for the first time in almost 50 years, the Chinese government announced.
China’s moon landing and retrieval of lunar rocks mark the first time a country has acquired sample materials from the moon since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 mission in 1976, according to NASA.
US astronauts in NASA’s Apollo program last retrieved over 800 pounds of lunar samples between 1969 and 1972.
Video: China successfully lands spacecraft on moon to retrieve lunar rocks (Reuters)
‘Gnarly’ tumor shows dinosaurs got cancer, too
When scientists first unearthed fossils of a horned dinosaur called Centrosaurus in the Badlands of Dinosaur Provincial Park in Canada’s Alberta province in 1989, they spotted a badly malformed leg bone they figured was a healed fracture. A fresh examination, researchers said on Monday, shows something different.
Lowly flies get super names as scientists find inspiration in Marvel
Deadpool, Thor, Loki and Black Widow may be well known superheroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but their influence is now spreading into the insect realm, thanks to Australian scientists, who announced on Wednesday that they had named dozens of new species of flies after the characters.
Woolly mammoth skeleton found in lake in Russia’s Arctic
Russian scientists are poring over the stunningly well-preserved bones of an adult wooly mammoth that roamed the earth at least 10,000 years ago, after local inhabitants discovered its remains in the shallows of a north Siberian lake. Francis Maguire reports.
The two separate events on the same day show the stark contrast between China’s recent investment in space exploration and research and the US’s space efforts, which often have shifting budgets and priorities.
As Business Insider previously reported, there are myriad roadblocks to the US going back to the moon, including the cost of