Following is a summary of current science news briefs.
Siemens, Deutsche Bahn launch local hydrogen trains trial
Siemens Mobility and Deutsche Bahn have started developing hydrogen-powered fuel cell trains and a filling station which will be trialled in 2024 with view to replace diesel engines on German local rail networks. The prototype, to be built by Siemens, is based on electric railcar Mireo Plus which will be equipped with fuel cells to turn hydrogen and oxygen into electricity on board, and with a battery, both companies said.
Timeline: Major milestones in Chinese space exploration
China plans to launch an unmanned probe to the moon early this week to bring back lunar rocks in the first attempt by any nation to retrieve samples from Earth's natural satellite since the 1970s. If successful, the mission will make China only the third country to have retrieved lunar samples, following the United States and the Soviet Union decades ago.
China sets launch window for mission to moon
China plans to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the moon between 4 am and 5 am Beijing time on Tuesday (2000-2100 GMT on Monday), the official Xinhua news agency said, citing information from the country's National Space Administration. The Chang'e-5 probe, to be launched from China's southern Hainan province, is being sent to bring back lunar rocks in the first attempt by any country to retrieve samples from the moon since the 1970s.
China launches robotic spacecraft to retrieve rocks from the moon
China on Tuesday launched a robotic spacecraft to bring back rocks from the moon in the first bid by any country to retrieve samples from the lunar surface since the 1970s, a mission that underscores Chinese ambitions in space. The Long March-5, China's largest carrier rocket, blasted off at 4:30 a.m. Beijing time (2030 GMT on Monday) in a pre-dawn launch from Wenchang Space Launch Center on the southern Chinese island of Hainan carrying the Chang'e-5 spacecraft.
Drying habitat makes Australia's platypus vulnerable, scientists say
Australian scientists pushed on Monday to list the platypus as a vulnerable species after a report showed the habitat of the semi-aquatic native mammal had shrunk more than a fifth in the last 30 years. Severe drought brought by climate change, land clearing for farming and dam-building are to blame, said researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) who made recommendations to government scientific panels.