What follows is a summary of current scientific news.
Apollo and Gemini astronaut James McDivitt dies at 93
James McDivitt, a former American astronaut who commanded some of NASA’s earliest and most ambitious space missions, died in his sleep last week at age 93, NASA said in a statement late Monday. McDivitt, who was selected to NASA’s second class of astronauts in 1962, was the pilot in command of the US space agency’s Gemini 4 mission in 1965 and Apollo 9 in 1969, a mission that helped pave the way for the first human moon landing
Genetic finds from Siberian caves give insight into Neanderthal life
Remains of bones and teeth from two Siberian caves are helping scientists for the first time to unravel the social organization of our Neanderthal cousins through genetic research, including the remains of a father and his teenage daughter. Researchers on Wednesday described genomic findings from the remains of 13 Neanderthals, 11 from Chagyrskaya Cave and two from Okladnikov Cave in Russia’s Altai Mountains, in one of the largest genetic studies of a Neanderthal population to date. Paleolithic remains date back to about 54,000 years ago.
Virgin Orbit to launch Europe’s first satellite in six weeks: Branson
Richard Branson’s small satellite services provider, Virgin Orbit Holdings Inc, will make its first launch from European soil in the next six weeks, its founder said on Tuesday. “Virgin Orbit can launch satellites into space from anywhere in the world in any orbit at days’ notice,” Branson said during a news conference in Milan.
Europe plans the first launch of the Ariane 6 rocket in the fourth quarter of 2023
Europe plans to launch the first Ariane 6 rocket, its next-generation space launcher, in the fourth quarter of 2023, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Wednesday. The 22-nation agency had previously said it would delay the first launch from 2022 to 2023 without elaborating.
(With contributions from agencies).