Following is a summary of current science news briefs.
NASA’s Orion capsule returns to Earth, capping Artemis I flight around moon
NASA’s Orion capsule barreled through Earth’s atmosphere and splashed down in the Pacific ocean on Sunday after making an uncrewed voyage around the moon, winding up the inaugural mission of the U.S. agency’s new Artemis lunar program 50 years to the day after Apollo’s final moon landing. The gumdrop-shaped Orion capsule, carrying a simulated crew of three mannequins wired with sensors, plunked down in the ocean at 9:40 a.m. PST (1740 GMT) off Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, demonstrating a high-stakes homecoming before flying its first crew of astronauts around the moon in the next few years.
Japan’s ispace launches world’s first commercial moon lander
A Japanese space startup launched a spacecraft to the moon on Sunday after several delays, a step toward what would be a first for the nation and for a private company. ispace Inc’s HAKUTO-R mission took off without incident from Cape Canaveral, Florida, after two postponements caused by inspections of its SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
How daredevil drones find nearly extinct plants hiding in cliffs
Ben Nyberg stood on a knife-edge ridge along Hawaii’s Na Pali Coast, his eyes scouring the leafy recesses of the neighboring red-rock ridges. It was quiet, if not for a faint buzzing of a drone flying among flocks of curious white-tailed tropicbirds. Nyberg steered the drone closer toward the opposing ridge, scanning the iPad in his hands, which acted as a viewfinder. Then, he saw it: Wilkesia hobdyi.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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