News Mash-up: Space

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. give the go-ahead / gɪv ðə ˈgoʊ əˌhɛd / (idiom) – to allow someone to start doing something

    Before we can start working on the project, the company directors must first give the go-ahead.

  2. cosmonaut / ˈkɒz məˌnɔt / (n.) – an astronaut from Russia

    The cosmonauts on the International Space Station took pictures of the Earth.

  3. counterpart / ˈkaʊn tərˌpɑrt / (n.) – someone whose job or function is the same as another person from a different location, office, company, etc.

    European leaders met with their Asian counterparts and discussed international economic policies.

  4. remnant / ˈrɛm nənt / (n.) – a small part that’s left after something is broken or destroyed

    Looking at the sharp stones more closely, the scientists realized that they’re remnants of an ancient weapon.

  5. coordinate / koʊˈɔr dn ɪt / (n.) – one of a pair of numbers used to determine the exact location of a place on a map

    The man refused to share the coordinates of where he found the treasure.


Read the text below.

Russia planning to launch own space station

Russia is ready to start building its own space station with the aim of launching it into orbit by 2030 if President Vladimir Putin gives the go-ahead, the head of its Roscosmos space agency said on April 21.

The project would mark a new chapter for Russian space exploration and an end to more than two decades of close cooperation with the United States aboard the aging International Space Station.

Russian cosmonauts have worked with counterparts from the U.S. and 16 other countries aboard the ISS since 1998 — one of the closest fields of cooperation between Moscow and Washington, whose relations are currently in deep crisis over human rights and a range of other issues. (Reuters)

Chinese rocket debris lands in Indian Ocean

Remnants of China’s biggest rocket landed in the Indian Ocean on May 9, with most of its components destroyed upon reentry into the atmosphere, ending days of speculation over where the debris would hit but drawing U.S. criticism over lack of transparency.

The coordinates given by Chinese state media, citing the China Manned Space Engineering Office, put the point of impact in the ocean, west of the Maldives archipelago. The debris is from the Long March 5B, which blasted off from China’s Hainan island on April 29. (Reuters)

These articles were provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • If approved, the new Russian space station will mark an end to more than two decades of close cooperation with the US. Do you think more countries will do the same, bringing an end to international cooperation in space? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • The first piece of the aging ISS was launched into space in 1998. Do you think it’s important to invest more in space infrastructure? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • One US official has said that “spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth,” adding that it’s clear that China “is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris.” What, if anything, should be done about China’s failure to meet world standards? Why? Discuss.
  • It’s been estimated that over 25,000 pieces of space trash are now flying around the Earth. Such debris can break satellites and even cause damage down on Earth. How concerned are you about space trash? What should be done about it? Why? Discuss.