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This Week In Science!

author

Chris Carpineti

Senior Video Editor

clockAug 20 2021, 14:57 UTC
This week in science IFLScience

Jeff Bezos Is Now Suing NASA For Choosing SpaceX Not Blue Origin In Lunar Contract Row 

Jeff Bezos’s space company Blue Origin has filed a complaint in federal court against NASA. This is escalating its original complaint that NASA unfairly awarded the lunar lander contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX back in April. Blue Origin accused NASA of "moving the goalposts", giving SpaceX an unfair advantage by allowing it to revise the pricing of its pitch after a change to NASA’s budget. NASA has until October 12 to respond. 

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July 2021 Was Earth’s Hottest Month Since Records Began 

Global temperatures have been measured by NOAA since 1880, and July 2021 stands as the hottest month recorded. July is usually the hottest month of the year worldwide – and at 0.93°C (1.67°F) above the 20th-century global average, this year breaks a record that was set in July 2016 and matched twice since. It is the 45th July in succession to exceed the 20th-century average. 

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US Will Begin Wide Distribution Of COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters Next Month 

The United States will begin to offer a third "booster" dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to people who have had their second dose at least eight months prior. All eligible Americans that received Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech shots can get a booster beginning the week of September 20. Johnson & Johnson's single-shot vaccine recipients will likely need a booster, but officials are awaiting more data before making an official recommendation. 

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Major Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough Achieved In The US 

An experiment on August 8 made a leap towards the threshold of “ignition” of inertial confinement fusion. The facility where it took place uses lasers on a very small target. The experiment released 1.3 Megajoules of fusion energy – an eight-fold improvement on the test conducted this past spring, and 25 times better than the record-breaking experiments in 2018. Nuclear fusion could revolutionize energy production and nuclear weapons research. 

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Astronomers Discover 3,000-Light-Year "Break" In One Of Milky Way’s Spiral Arms 

Astronomers discovered a "break" in a spiral arm of the Milky Way. The “splinter” is an oddly angled 3,000 light-year-long protuberance. The finding is an outcome of the Spitzer Space Telescope, which has discovered more than 100,000 very young and previously hidden stars in this area. Amateur and professional astronomers have spent many hours looking at parts of the possible spur without recognizing it is there. 

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"Blue Hydrogen" Has Been Touted As A Clean Fuel. In Fact, It May Be Even Dirtier Than Coal 

You may have heard the term “blue hydrogen” – but what is it, what does it mean, and is it really a cleaner energy? We delve into new research on the alternative energy oft-touted by fossil fuel companies as the future to see if it’s as clean as it seems.

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