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Why does India's air look different from space?

Why does India's air look different from space?

Science
There is something very distinct about the air over India and the surrounding countries in South Asia. It is the presence of formaldehyde - a colourless gas that is naturally released by vegetation but also from a number of polluting activities. The elevated concentrations have been observed by Europe's new Sentinel-5P satellite, which was launched last October to track air quality worldwide. It is information that will inform policies to clean up the atmosphere. Compared to the major constituents like nitrogen and oxygen, the formaldehyde signal is actually very small; in every billion air molecules just a few will be CH₂O. But it can be a signifier of more general pollution problems, says Isabelle De Smedt from the Royal ...
'Our destiny': Trump creates US space force

'Our destiny': Trump creates US space force

Technology
Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to create a US "space force", which he said would become the sixth branch of the American military. The president said the force would be "separate but equal" to the US Air Force, adding that the move represents a "big statement".Speaking at a meeting of the National Space Council, Mr Trump framed space as a national security issue, saying he does not want "China and Russia and other countries leading us".He added: "Our destiny beyond the Earth is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security."When it comes to defending America it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space." Image: Mike Pence addressed the N...
Russian space capsule with 3 astronauts lands in Kazakhstan

Russian space capsule with 3 astronauts lands in Kazakhstan

Technology
A Russian Soyuz space capsule carrying three astronauts from the International Space Station has landed safely in the steppes of Kazakhstan. The capsule hit the ground at 6:39 p.m. (1239 GMT) Sunday without apparent problems, descending under a red-and-white parachute. Aboard were Russian Anton Shkaplerov, American Scott Tingle and Japan's Norishige Kanai, ending a 168-day mission. All three were extracted from the capsule within 30 minutes. They appeared to be in good condition as they sat in lounge-type chairs near the capsule so they could re-adjust to the pull of gravity. The astronauts will later be taken to Karaganda, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) to the northeast. There they will undergo a longer medical exam and then be flown either to Moscow or Houston. The orbiting laborator...
Branson's astronaut training as space race hots up

Branson's astronaut training as space race hots up

Technology
Sir Richard Branson has said he is undergoing astronaut training and is just months away from being catapulted into space. The 67-year-old Virgin boss has set his sights on turning commercial space travel into a reality since he founded Virgin Galactic and hopes to be among the first space tourists."We're talking about months not years - so it's close. There are exciting times ahead," he told BBC Radio 4's You And Yours, to be broadcast on Monday."I'm going for astronaut training, I'm going for fitness training, centrifuge and other training so that my body will hopefully cope well when I go to space." Image: Sir Richard Branson says 'exciting times' are ahead He said he has increased his fitness training by ...
Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson readies himself for space

Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson readies himself for space

Science
Sir Richard Branson says he's training to be an astronaut and will take his first trip into space soon. He told BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme: "We're talking about months away, not years away - so it's close. There are exciting times ahead."I'm going for astronaut training; I'm going for fitness training, centrifuge and other training, so that my body will hopefully cope well when I go to space."The 67-year-old multi-millionaire has been investing in commercial space travel since 2004, when he founded space tourism company Virgin Galactic. Media playback is unsupported on your device Sir Richard, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos are now in a race to ge...