‘Jade Rabbit’ blasts off
A rocket carrying the nation’s first rover mission to the moon blasted off early yesterday. The rover, named “Jade Rabbit,” is scheduled to arrive on the moon in the middle of this month, Xinhua news agency said. If the rocket successfully soft-lands on the moon, China will become the third country to do so, after the US and the former Soviet Union. The Jade Rabbit will travel across the moon, examining its geological structures and beaming images back to Earth. It will also set up a telescope to survey the surface as well as observe the Earth’s plasmasphere, Xinhua said.
Cold wait for crews
Two helicopter crews were stranded in Antarctica awaiting rescue yesterday, three of the group with “serious” injuries, after a chopper crash. The government’s Antarctic Division (AAD) said a pilot and two passengers were hurt when their Squirrel helicopter came down 150 nautical miles (278km) from Davis Station on Sunday night as it returned from a penguin colony surveillance mission near the Amery ice shelf. A second helicopter flying in tandem immediately set down to assist the injured trio, and its passenger and pilot were caring for them until a recovery and medical support mission could be scrambled. “Reports from the incident site are that all are warm and sheltered and being closely monitored. Communication is being maintained with Davis station,” the AAD said.
Skull cache found in ruins
Archeologists have unearthed the skulls of more than 80 young women who may have been sacrificed more than 4,000 years ago, Xinhua reported yesterday. The skulls were found in what appears to have been a mass grave at the Shimao Ruins, the site of a neolithic stone city in Shaanxi Province. The women’s bodies were not present, Xinhua said, adding that archeologists concluded that the skulls were “likely to be related to the construction of the city wall” in “ancient religious activities or foundation ceremonies” before construction began. The Shimao Ruins cover more than 4km2 and were discovered in 1976.
Bird captures camera theft
A sea eagle snatched a video camera that was recording crocodiles in the Kimberly region and captured fascinating footage of its 110km journey across the country. Wildlife rangers yesterday released video footage that reveals the bird’s caper. The bird’s flapping wings can be seen as it grabs the device and takes off, and the eagle later poses for a selfie, poking its face into the camera lens. Rangers set up the motion-sensor camera along the Margaret River in May, hoping to record images of crocodiles. The camera, which is about 10cm by 15cm long and 5cm wide, disappeared soon after and the rangers figured it had fallen into the water. The rangers recently found out the device had been found near the Mary River, about 110km away, ranger Roneil Skeen told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. The rangers plan to bolt down their cameras from now on, Skeen said.
Artist Martin Sharp dies
Psychedelic artist Martin Sharp, a founder of the controversial Oz magazine who designed posters and ablum covers for Jimi Hendrix, Cream and Bob Dylan, has died aged 71. His death on Sunday, after a long struggle against emphysema, was confirmed by artist and friend Garry Shead, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.