Science News Roundup: China to launch next crewed mission on Sunday to build space station; Sony to build space lasers with new satellite services unit and more

Following is a summary of current science news briefs.

Vaccination during pregnancy cuts infant infections; vaccines only modestly reduce long COVID risk

The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review. Vaccines in pregnancy reduce infants’ COVID-19 risk

Beast built for head-butting reveals early giraffe neck evolution

Fossils unearthed in China of a forerunner of the modern giraffe are offering insight into the early evolution of this mammal’s trademark long neck, driven not only by the benefit of reaching high foliage but also by head-bashing competition between males for mates. Researchers on Thursday described skeletal remains including a thick skull and strong neck bones of an early member of the giraffe family called Discokeryx xiezhi, roughly the size of a large bighorn sheep, that lived about 17 million years ago in the Xinjiang region in northwestern China.

Sony to build space lasers with new satellite services unit

Sony on Thursday said it formed a new company that will build and supply devices that allow small satellites in orbit to communicate with one another via laser beams, dipping into the fast-growing space sector. Sony Space Communications Corp, registered on Wednesday, is meant to take advantage of laser technology to avoid a bottleneck of radio frequencies. The devices will work between satellites in space and satellites communicating with ground stations.

China to launch next crewed mission on Sunday to build space station

China will launch a spacecraft on Sunday carrying three astronauts to the core module of the unfinished Chinese space station, where they will work and live for six months as construction enters advanced stages. A Long March-2F rocket carrying the Shenzhou-14 spacecraft is set to blast off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the northwestern province of Gansu at 10:44 a.m. local time (0244 GMT) on Sunday, a China Manned Space Agency official told a news conference on Saturday.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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