Science News Roundup: Climate tech company to launch large-scale CO2 absorbing plants from the air; For pandas, it’s two thumbs up for millions of years and counting

Here is a summary of current scientific news.

Climate tech company to launch CO2 from the air absorbing plants on a large scale

Construction is set to begin Wednesday on what could become the world’s largest factory to capture carbon dioxide from the air and deposit it underground, the company behind the nascent green technology said. Swiss start-up Climeworks AG said its second large-scale direct air capture (DAC) plant will be built in Iceland in 18-24 months and will have the capacity to suck 36,000 tonnes of CO2 per year from the air.

For pandas, it’s two thumbs up for millions of years

Fossils discovered in China are helping scientists better understand one of the wonders of evolution: the giant panda’s false thumb, which helps this vegetable-loving bear chew the bamboo that makes up most of its diet. Researchers said on Thursday they discovered near the city of Zhaotong in northern Yunnan province, fossils about 6 million years old of an extinct panda called Ailurarctos that bore the oldest known evidence of the figure. additional improvised – actually a greatly enlarged wrist bone called the radial sesamoid.

Chinese spacecraft acquires images of entire planet Mars

An unmanned Chinese spacecraft has acquired imagery data covering all of Mars, including visuals of its south pole, after circling the planet more than 1,300 times since the start of last year , state media reported on Wednesday. China’s Tianwen-1 successfully reached the Red Planet in February 2021 during the country’s inaugural mission. A robotic rover has since been deployed to the surface as an orbiter surveys the planet from space.

Chinese commercial rocket company hits new heights with latest funding round

Chinese commercial rocket launcher ExPace raised 1.59 billion yuan ($237 million), the largest funding round for such a venture in recent years. Wuhan-based ExPace, a subsidiary of state-owned spacecraft and missile maker China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC), on Monday announced the conclusion of its Series B funding round, which began in early 2021.

US approves SpaceX’s Starlink internet for use with ships, boats and planes

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday allowed Elon Musk’s SpaceX to use its Starlink satellite internet network with moving vehicles, giving the green light to the company’s plan to expand broadband offerings to commercial airlines , transport vessels and trucks. Starlink, a rapidly growing constellation of satellites beaming the internet from orbit, has long sought to expand its customer base, from individual broadband users in rural internet-poor areas to enterprise customers in the potentially lucrative automotive, shipping, and shipping industries. and air transport.

(With agency contributions.)