In Today's Issue: Huge Chinese Rocket to Crash-Land on Earth

The following story appeared in the [post_published] issue of The Daily Juice. The text is from the 9th-10th grade version. To access the other grade levels, interactive vocabulary (words in bold), quiz questions, and more, sign up for The Juice.

US aerospace scientists are tracking a massive Chinese rocket as it reenters Earth’s atmosphere but say it’s extremely unlikely that it will crash down on a populated area. The scientists point out that rocket debris is far more likely to hit water than land.

Still, it remains unclear what US defense officials would do if the 22-metric-ton spacecraft were headed for a populated region.  

The booster rocket is among the 10 largest objects ever to haphazardly reenter Earth’s atmosphere without a clear landing spot. No humans have ever been killed by reentering space debris. However, a cow in Cuba was killed in 1961 by a metal fragment that fell from the sky. 

Pentagon scientists don’t know where or when the rocket will crash land, but they point to a 42-hour window centered on Saturday night. Despite the craft’s massive bulk, US officials said it’s unknown how much of the rocket would hit the Earth’s surface because they don’t know its size, shape, or how much would melt when reentering the atmosphere.

The situation has caused rising tensions between the US and China, which are competitive in space exploration. China launched the rocket in late April as the first module of a space station the country is assembling in orbit.  

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US Politics (Grades 11-12)

Biden Executive Orders Will Reverse Trump Policies

President-elect Joe Biden plans to sign a flurry of executive orders soon after his inauguration tomorrow. He plans to address what he’s calling the four crises facing the country. They are COVID-19, the economic downturn, racial injustice, and climate change.

An executive order is a written directive from the president carrying powers similar to a federal law. Presidents have historically used these orders to push policies forward quickly because they do not require approval from Congress. The downside of executive orders is that they are easily overturned by any new president. That is not true for federal laws.

Among other moves overturning Trump administration policies, Biden’s orders will return the US to the Paris Climate Accord and to the Iran nuclear deal.

Related to the pandemic, Biden will require face masks on federal properties and during interstate travel. Other orders will be aimed at safely reopening schools and businesses.

On immigration, Biden will order agencies to determine how to reunite children separated from their families after crossing the US-Mexico border. Another order will end travel restrictions targeting majority-Muslim countries.

Other orders will address “equity and support communities of color,” criminal justice reform, and access to healthcare.

Photo from Reuters.

Bold words are interactive vocab words in The Juice.

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