Science Wrap: Artemis delayed, cervical cancer vaccine from India, Russia's new space station plans

Shaurya Thapa
Shaurya ThapaSep 03, 2022 | 08:00

Science Wrap: Artemis delayed, cervical cancer vaccine from India, Russia's new space station plans

This week in science: the Artemis 1 launch was delayed, the largest dinosaur fossil in Europe was unearthed in Portugal, and India developed a new vaccine for cervical cancer (photo: DailyO)

This week in science news was dominated by the anticipated launch of the Mars-going probe Artemis I, which was delayed due to engine issues. Another major development in space-related news was Russia announcing its plans for building its very own space station that will be open for allies like China. 

In medicine, India has had a positive development with a new vaccine that can fight cervical cancer. Meanwhile, in Portugal, dinosaur experts have found the remains of a creature that might have lived 145 million years ago. 

1. Artemis I launch delayed

The highly-awaited launch of the uncrewed Mars-orbiting mission Artemis I was supposed to take place this Sunday. However, core stage issues delayed the launch, which has now been rescheduled to Saturday, September 3. 

The primary reason behind the delay was that one of the four engines failed to reach the appropriate temperature. Even though NASA was actively trying to get the situation under control, the two-hour launch window expired, causing the space agency to reschedule the launch altogether. 

2. Dinosaur skeleton found in Portugal

Just days after the discovery of dinosaur footprints in Texas, an entire skeleton was uncovered in Portugal’s capital city Lisbon. Belonging to a four-legged, plant-eating species known as sauropod, paleonotologists suggest that the dinosaur could have been 25 metres (82 feet) long, making it the largest ever dinosaur found in Europe.

The fossilised fragments of the sauropod were actually unearthed in 2017 by a property owner in the middle of construction-related work. However, this August, researchers from the University of Lisbon got the opportunity to dig deeper and find more remains of the skeleton. 

3. India develops first homemade vaccine for cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is the second most common form of cancer among Indian women. To combat this medical condition, the Serum Institute of India and the Department of Biotechnology have joined hands to come up with the quadrivalent Human Papilloma Virus (qHPV) vaccine. 

Expected to be priced between Rs 200 to 400 per dose, this is the first Indian vaccine to produce antibodies against cervical cancer. The vaccine is gender-neutral and experts recommend girls and boys aged 11-15 years to take the vaccine. 

4. Russia hints at new space station to compete with ISS

Claiming that the International Space Station (ISS) is “dangerous and unfit”, Russia has expressed interest in building its own orbital outpost. This development comes weeks after Russia revealed its plans and model for a space station called ROSS (Russian Orbital Space Station) in August. 

Yuri Borisov, head of the Russian space agency Roskomos, feels that the ISS suffers from outdated machinery that can endanger crew lives. Western sanctions on Russia’s space industry and the current tensions from the Russia-Ukraine war ensure that the US-led NASA will definitely not be collaborating with Russia on this project. Using the experience of Russian cosmonauts who lived and worked in the ISS for the past two decades, Borisov expressed interest in collaborating with allies like China once ROSS is functional. 

What will be interesting to see is if this Russian space station triggers another space war reminiscent of the Cold War days.

Last updated: September 03, 2022 | 08:00
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