International News-Daily Digest: 2 Key Updates
1. Russia prepares for biggest war games in its history
Russia will launch the biggest military drills in its history involving 300,000 troops as well as Chinese soldiers, in a move NATO denounced as “exercising large-scale conflict”. The week-long deployment alongside Chinese and Mongolian armies dubbed “Vostok-2018” (East-2018) will start in eastern Siberia on September 11. It comes at a time of escalating tensions between Moscow and the West over accusations of Russian interference in western affairs and the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.
2. NASA s Dawn mission to asteroid belt nears end
After 11 years of gathering breathtaking imagery, and performing unprecedented feats of spacecraft engineering, Dawn — NASA’s space probe for the asteroid belt — is drawing to a close due to lack of a key fuel.
Launched in September 2007, Dawn was tasked to study two of the three known protoplanets of the asteroid belt Vesta and Ceres, which when combined, make up 45 per cent of the mass of the main asteroid belt.
The spacecraft is likely to run out of a key fuel known as hydrazine — which keeps it oriented and in communication with Earth — between September and October.
When that happens, Dawn will lose its ability to communicate with Earth, but will remain in a silent orbit around Ceres for decades.
From 2011 to 2012, the spacecraft swept over Vesta, and in 2015, it
spotted a cryovolcano and mysterious salt deposits on Ceres.