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This Happened

This Happened — June 7: Yellow River Flood

On this day in 1938, the Yellow River experienced a major flood during the Second Sino-Japanese War when the Chinese Nationalist government deliberately destroyed the dikes along the river to halt the advancing Japanese forces.

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Why did the Chinese intentionally flood the Yellow River?

The decision to intentionally flood the Yellow River was made by the Chinese Nationalist government as a strategic move to impede the Japanese troops' progress. By breaching the dikes, the floodwaters created natural barriers, slowing down the Japanese army and causing significant damage.

How severe was the Yellow River flood during the war?

The deliberate flooding of the Yellow River during the war resulted in a catastrophic disaster. The breach of the dikes caused widespread flooding across a vast area, affecting numerous cities, towns, and villages. It led to the displacement of millions of Chinese civilians and caused significant loss of life and property.

How did the Chinese government respond to the Yellow River flood?

The Chinese government, led by Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Party, initiated relief and reconstruction efforts in response to the Yellow River flood. They focused on providing aid to the affected populations, rebuilding infrastructure, and restoring agricultural land to ensure food security in the region. These efforts were challenging due to the ongoing war and resource constraints.

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Life On "Mars": With The Teams Simulating Space Missions Under A Dome

A niche research community plays out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another planet.

Photo of a person in a space suit walking toward the ​Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

At the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

Sarah Scoles

In November 2022, Tara Sweeney’s plane landed on Thwaites Glacier, a 74,000-square-mile mass of frozen water in West Antarctica. She arrived with an international research team to study the glacier’s geology and ice fabric, and how its ice melt might contribute to sea level rise. But while near Earth’s southernmost point, Sweeney kept thinking about the moon.

“It felt every bit of what I think it will feel like being a space explorer,” said Sweeney, a former Air Force officer who’s now working on a doctorate in lunar geology at the University of Texas at El Paso. “You have all of these resources, and you get to be the one to go out and do the exploring and do the science. And that was really spectacular.”

That similarity is why space scientists study the physiology and psychology of people living in Antarctic and other remote outposts: For around 25 years, people have played out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another world. Polar explorers are, in a way, analogous to astronauts who land on alien planets. And while Sweeney wasn’t technically on an “analog astronaut” mission — her primary objective being the geological exploration of Earth — her days played out much the same as a space explorer’s might.

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