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News briefs: November 3-4
Posted: Mon, Nov 5, 2001, 9:27 AM ET (1427 GMT)
Shenzhou illustration by Simon Zajc
  • China is planning to launch the third test flight of the prototype of its human spacecraft in the next few months, SpaceDaily reported this weekend. The report speculated that the Shenzhou-3 mission would likely take place in early 2002, based on pronouncements from Chinese officials and the opening of a Chinese ground station in the southwest African nation of Namibia. There is no indication, though, when China might attempt its first manned space flight.
  • An impact crater recently discovered in southern Iraq could be linked to the collapse of several Bronze Age civilizations over 4,000 years ago, the British newspaper The Telegraph reports. Satellite images of a partially-drained lake revealed that it is a relatively young impact crater, formed within the last several thousand years, according the scientists. An impact by a comet or asteroid has been suggested as one reason why a number of civilizations in the Near East went into decline around 2300 BC.
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