China Becomes 3rd Nation to Dock Spacecraft in Orbit

China has become just the third nation to dock spacecraft in orbit. The country's progress in space technology has been rapid despite being excluded from the International Space Station. 

What's the Latest Development?


As the spacecraft Shenzhou-9 docked with the small space lab Tiangong-1, China became only the third country ever to dock two crafts in space. Perhaps more impressive is that the process was completely automated and overseen by China's missions control. "Astronauts will live and work in the module for several days doing medical experiments along with studies of live butterflies, butterfly eggs and pupae. This first mission is just the beginning of China’s preparations for having a permanently manned space station, which they hope to have built by 2020."

What's the Big Idea?

At the instance of the US, China has been excluded from the International Space Station and has no presence aboard the project. Despite that, China's progress in developing space vehicles and successfully completing orbital missions has been rapid. The station to be completed in 2020 "will weigh about 60 tons and be about one-sixth the size of the 16-nation International Space Station, and just slightly smaller than NASA’s Skylab that was operational in the 1970s." Perhaps as a result of its exclusion from the ISS, China has been reluctant to cooperate with outside powers in plannings its space missions. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

 

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

Videos
  • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
  • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
Keep reading Show less

Why modern men are losing their testosterone

Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?

Flickr user Tom Simpson
Sex & Relationships
  • Several studies have confirmed that testosterone counts in men are lower than what they used to be just a few decades ago.
  • While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
  • The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
Keep reading Show less

Health care: Information tech must catch up to medical marvels

Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.

Photo: Tom Werner / Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
  • Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
  • As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
Keep reading Show less