Chinas manned Shenzhou 11 spacecraft has successfully docked with its space lab

Two astronauts, Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong, have entered the lab to begin a 30-day stay, spending a total of 33 days in space, the longest yet for China. Advancing Chinas space programme is a priority for Beijing, aiming to have a more permanent space station and the possibility for manned trips to the Moon and Mars as well as operating the worlds largest radio telescope. Oct 19, 2016

Iraqi forces advance against Islamic State in Mosul offensive

As part of the Iraqi governments offensive on Mosul, Iraqi Kurdish military forces have started to clear several villages held by Islamic State. Some 30,000 Iraqi government forces, Kurdish Peshmerga militia and Sunni tribal fighters are expected to take part in the offence to drive up to 8,000 Islamic State militants out of Mosul. If Mosul falls, Raqqa in Syria will be Islamic States last city stronghold. Oct 17, 2016

ExoMars mission to try and discover life on Mars to land on 19 October

The first mission of the ExoMars programme, scheduled to arrive at Mars on Wednesday (19 October), consists of a Trace Gas Orbiter plus an Entry, descent and landing Demonstrator Module, known as Schiaparelli. The main objectives of this mission are to search for evidence of methane and other trace atmospheric gases that could be signatures of active biological or geological processes and to test key technologies in preparation for ESAs contribution to subsequent missions to Mars. Oct 17, 2016

China launches longest manned space mission

China has launched its longest manned space mission sending two astronauts into orbit to spend a month aboard a space laboratory. The mission is part of a broader plan to have a permanent manned space station in service around 2022.The Shenzhou 11 blasted off on a Long March rocket at 7.30am (11.30pm GMT) on 16 October. The astronauts will dock with the Tiangong 2 space laboratory, which was sent into space last month. Chinas Jade Rabbit moon rover landed on the moon in late 2013 to great national fanfare, but soon suffered severe technical difficulties. The rover and the Change 3 probe that carried it there were the first soft landing on the moon since 1976. Both the US and the Soviet Union had accomplished the feat earlier. Shenzhou 11, will also carry three experiments designed by Hong Kong middle school students selected in a science competition, including one that will take silk worms into space. Oct 17, 2016

Planetary science: The impact of the 200 new craters on the Moon

More than 200 new craters on the Moon - 33 per cent more than predicted in current models - are identified in a new study in Nature this week. The study provides insight into the impact-cratering process as well as the rate of crater formation on the Moon. It is important when dating rock units on the Moon and other terrestrial bodies. Oct 12, 2016
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