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The Cassini spacecraft has been sending home images of Saturn, its rings and its moons since arriving at the gas giant in 2004. The mission ended in September with a planned fiery crash into Saturn’s atmosphere. While it studied the planet, Cassini explored moons — Titan and Enceladus — that could be home to extraterrestrial life. The probe also gave us great insight into our solar system, and will continue to do so for years as scientists pore over the data it collected.
He took out his textbooks and busied himself with his daily homework routine.
The first is the establishment of the Aero Engine Corp. of China (AECC) last year, which consolidates Chinese aero-engine know-how and capabilities, indicating that the indigenous development of aircraft engines is now a strategic priority for China. This focus is even more striking when one realizes that China now has access to rhenium, a rare metal that helps create strong superalloys necessary for the manufacture of high-pressure jet engine turbine blades. Since the 2010 discovery in the Shaanxi province of reserves, which account for 7% of the world’s total, considerable effort has been made to exploit and process this metal. Moreover, a major technological milestone was recently achieved that opens the door for mass production of single-crystal turbine blades, a key component of modern jet engines. It is thus no surprise that one of the cornerstones of the newly established joint Sino-Russian widebody aircraft program is the development of a dedicated, state-of-the-art engine.