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Why Russia Is Abandoning The International Space Station

With its programs aging, Russia has announced that it's pulling out of the International Space Station in 2020. Where does that leave space exploration for the rest of the world?

U.S. astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson looking out the ISS
U.S. astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson looking out the ISS
Elena Kudryavtseva

MOSCOW — An alarm went off in the American section of the International Space Station (ISS) on Jan. 14, warning that ammonia, which is used to cool the space station's energy system, had leaked into the atmosphere. Without it, the station would blow up like a can of food placed on an open flame. Following instructions, the three American astronauts fled to the safety of the Russian section, joining three astronauts there. It turned out that the space station's atmospheric monitoring system was simply malfunctioning.

A similar incident had happened before, in May 2013, when the astronauts spent six hours trying to find the problem. "A sensor that goes off erroneously is a signal that the space station can't stay in use forever," explains Andrei Ionin, an expert in space technology at the Academy of Astronautical Science. "At the beginning, the International Space Station was supposed to work through 2015 — that is, until about right now. There was good reason for deciding on that period of time, since the various systems on board have a certain guaranteed length of service."

The number of malfunctions and errors will only increase from now on, which is among the reasons why Russia's decision to pull out of the ISS in 2020 was a wise one, Ionin says.

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Economy

The Bogus Concept Of "Carbon-Neutral" Oil

The Colombian president recently said that the country had exported one million barrels of carbon-neutral or offset oil. But in an unregulated carbon market, such a claim is pure greenwashing.

People walk in the streets of Bogotá

María Mónica Monsalve Sánchez

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ - In March this year, various national and corporate leaders met in Houston, Texas, for CERAWeek, an annual conference to discuss the world's energy challenges. Colombia's President Iván Duque took the opportunity to remind participants that his country produced just 0.6% of the world's carbon emissions even as it had raised crude production to one million barrels a day.

He said oil should not be seen as an enemy, since the fight was really against greenhouse gas emissions. He also revealed at the event that the country's national oil firm, Ecopetrol, had sold the Asian market its first million barrels of carbon-neutral or offset crude, consisting of the entire extraction, production and exportation chain.

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