Stockholm, Oct 3 (AP/UNB) — The Nobel Prize in chemistry has been awarded to two researchers in the United States and one in Britain.
Half of the 9-million-kronor ($1.01 million) prize was designated for Frances Arnold of Caltech in Pasadena for work that has led to the development of new biofuels and pharmaceuticals.
The other half of the prize will be shared by George Smith of the University of Missouri and Gregory Winter of the MRC Laboratory in Cambridge. They were honored for "phage display of peptides and antibodies."
Paris, Oct 2 (AP/UNB) — All-electric vehicles with zero emissions are among the stars of the Paris Motor Show — rubbing shoulders with the fossil-fuel burning SUVs that many car buyers love.
Volkswagen's Audi and Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz both on Tuesday showed off battery-powered SUVs for affluent customers.
Mercedes also had a new, bigger version of its conventionally powered GLE sport-utility, while BMW offers a new version of its X-5 SUV that has been a pillar of sales and earnings.
The model mix at the show underlined the contradictions pulling at the industry. The European Union and China are pushing for more electric and hybrid vehicles to reduce greenhouse gases and pollution, while consumers like SUVs and remain reluctant to buy electrics due to cost and range limitations.
Cape Canaveral, Sep 26 (AP/UNB) — NASA's Mars rover, Opportunity, has been seen, but still not heard.
A spacecraft around Mars has sent back a photo of Opportunity, which has been silent ever since a massive dust storm engulfed the red planet in late spring. The rover appears in the photo as a pale dot.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took the picture last week from 166 miles (267 kilometers) up. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory released the photo Tuesday.
The global dust storm prevented sunlight from reaching Opportunity's solar panels, and the rover fell silent in June. Although the skies have cleared considerably, Opportunity has yet to send word to flight controllers. NASA has stepped up efforts to contact Opportunity, but acknowledge the nearly 15-year-old rover may not have survived the prolonged power outage.
Tokyo, Sep 23 (AP/UNB)— An unmanned Japanese space capsule is headed to the International Space Station filled with cargo including food, experiments and new batteries.
The craft was launched Sunday at 2:52 a.m. from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. It will take 4 ½ days to reach the space station.
The launch was delayed for about two weeks because of bad weather and a mechanical problem.
The delay has led NASA to postpone two space walks to install the six lithium-ion batteries until new crew members arrive next month. They will replace aging nickel-hydrogen batteries for the station's electric power, enabling an extension of its operations.
The supply ship is a 9-meter- (30-foot-) long cylinder that will be retrieved by the space station's robotic arm. It is named Kounotori, which means white stork.
The 5,500 kilograms (12,000 pounds) of cargo includes racks and equipment for experiments and an experimental re-entry capsule to try to demonstrate a novel technology to bring back samples from the space station.
Once it is unloaded, the supply craft will be filled with trash and sent Earth-ward. It will be destroyed when it re-enters the atmosphere.
Tokyo, Sep 19 (AP/UNB) — The Japanese billionaire who Tesla chief Elon Musk says plans to blast off on the first-ever private commercial space trip aboard the SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket often makes headlines in Japan. The SpaceX mission, set for takeoff in 2023, is just the latest exploit in tycoon Yusaku Maezawa's colorful and ambitious career:
Maezawa, 42, is the chief executive of Start Today Co., which he founded in 1998 as a CD sales business when he was still in his 20s. The company pioneered e-commerce in Japan and now runs the popular fashion mall Zozotown, selling various, relatively affordable clothing brands. Annual sales totaled more than 98 billion yen ($890 million) in the fiscal year that ended in March.
Forbes magazine estimates Maezawa's wealth at $2.9 billion. In a nation where billionaires are relatively rare, he gets attention for his celebrity friends and for zipping around in a private jet and fleet of sports cars. Such flamboyance is uncommon in a country where even very rich men often keep a low profile.
Maezawa's trademark defiant but disarming style may be rooted in his start as a musician, playing drums in indie rock bands. The punk band he was in, called Switch Style, signed with a major Japanese record label. He opted out of attending prestigious Waseda University in Tokyo to pursue music and then started his own business selling imported CDs. The name of his company was inspired by the title of an album by the American punk band Gorilla Biscuits.
Maezawa has invested lavishly in art, collecting works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, among others, and in designer-brand furniture from abroad. He paid $110.5 million for Basquiat's 1982 painting of a graffiti-like black and blue rendition of a human skull, a record price for an American artist, at a Sotheby's auction last year. "When I saw this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art," Maezawa said at the time. He had set the previous auction record for a Basquiat, in 2016, when he paid $57.3 million.
Maezawa recently has been dating Japanese actress Ayame Goriki. He previously had a widely publicized relationship with model and actress Saeko, the ex-wife of major league baseball player Yu Darvish. In a recent tweet, when someone asked whether he was going to get married soon, Maezawa replied, "No."
Maezawa has recently shown off a wearable technology called the Zozosuit, the centerpiece of his Zozo fashion brand. Customers first order a black, body-hugging outfit covered with white dots. They then take a smartphone photo wearing the outfit which is used to do a full body scan, determining shapes and sizes with a special app. Choices are still limited to basic pants and shirts for now, but that could change.
Maezawa says the planned trip to space is a way "to inspire the dreamer in all of us." He plans to take six or eight artists, architects and designers with him. He hasn't said who they might be or how much he is paying for the trip. The idea is for those creative minds to see the moon up close and planet Earth from afar. Maezawa says he has often wondered what Basquiat might have drawn if he had traveled into space. "I choose to go to the moon, with artists," Maezawa tweeted both in Japanese and English.