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News briefs: January 21
Posted: Tue, Jan 22, 2002, 10:23 AM ET (1523 GMT)
  • China is developing a space policy which may include staking claims on territory in space, SpaceDaily reported Monday. The article outlined a new Chinese space policy that calls for the creation of a space infrastructure of remote sensing, meteorology, and navigation spacecraft. The report also claims that China should "possess part of the space resources", although it is unclear, as the article claims, whether Chinese officials are really talking about claiming territory on celestial bodies, a violation of the Outer Space Treaty.
  • Researchers believe they have tracked down why some astronauts experience dizziness when standing up after returning from weightlessness. Scientists believe that the heart shrinks and stiffens while in space, creating a condition known as orthostatic intolerance. This condition, also experienced by the elderly, can be corrected through increased intake of salt and water, as well as exercise.
  • The Sun may be approaching a second peak in its 11-year cycle of solar activity, solar scientists report. Some peaks in the 11-year activity cycle are double-peaked: two distinct maximums separated by a year or more. The current activity cycle peaked in mid-2000, but sunspot counts and other measures of solar activity are now approaching those levels again. The last two solar maxima, around 1980 and 1990, also were double-peaked.
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