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Orangutan’s use of medicinal plant to treat wound intrigues scientists; Boeing sending first astronaut crew to space after years of delay and more

Following is a summary of current science news briefs.

German company launches candle wax-powered rocket on test flight into space

German company HyImpulse successfully launched on Friday a candle wax-powered rocket capable of carrying commercial satellites on a test suborbital flight into space for the first time. “We’re signaling Germany’s progress as a spacefaring nation and expanding Europe’s access to space,” HyImpulse’s chief executive Mario Kobald said in a statement.

Boeing sending first astronaut crew to space after years of delay

Boeing is prepared to send the first Starliner space capsule with a crew of humans into orbit next week, giving it a long-delayed chance to score a badly needed win as it struggles to compete with Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The CST-100 Starliner test mission, a years-delayed milestone after more than $1 billion in cost overruns, will ferry two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in a final demonstration before the spacecraft can be approved to fly routine space trips under the space agency’s commercial crew program.

Orangutan’s use of medicinal plant to treat wound intrigues scientists

In June 2022, a male Sumatran orangutan named Rakus sustained a facial wound below the right eye, apparently during a fight with another male orangutan at the Suaq Balimbing research site, a protected rainforest area in Indonesia. What Rakus did three days later really caught the attention of scientists. Researchers on Thursday described observing how Rakus appeared to treat the wound using a plant known for its pain-relieving properties and for supporting wound healing due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antioxidant qualities.

Scientists discover possible hammerhead shark nursery in Ecuador’s Galapagos

A team of researchers has discovered a potential breeding ground for smooth hammerhead sharks off an island in Ecuador’s Galapagos archipelago, in what would be a “very rare” sighting, the national park said in a statement on Thursday. The so-called “nursery” would be the first breeding site for smooth hammerheads, or Sphyrna zygaena, in the Galapagos if confirmed, the park said.

Factbox-China’s missions to the moon – past, present and future

China on Friday launched a mission to collect samples from the moon’s “hidden” side, a first in space exploration history, and marked a new phase in China’s 20-year-old Chang’e lunar program, named after the mythical moon goddess. CHANG’E-1

China launches historic mission to retrieve samples from far side of the moon

China on Friday launched an uncrewed spacecraft on a nearly two-month mission to retrieve rocks and soil from the far side of the moon, the first country to make such an ambitious attempt. The Long March-5, China’s largest rocket, blasted off at 5:27 pm Beijing time (0927 GMT) from Wenchang Space Launch Center on the southern island of Hainan with the more than 8 metric ton Chang’e-6 probe.

(With inputs from agencies.)