Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Two Chinese scientists were charged with trying to steal patented seed samples from a biopharmaceutical company in Kansas, according to the U.S. district attorney.
The defendants, Weiqiang Zhang and Wengui Yan, are both Chinese nationals living legally in the U.S. According to U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, they were caught in August when stolen seeds were allegedly discovered in the luggage of a group of visitors from China. The company from which the seeds were stolen has not been identified, but according to Grisson has invested about $75 million in patented seed technology. Zhang and Yan, if convicted, each face up to 10 years in federal prison.
In a separate set of charges, six men were charged with conspiring to steal patented seed corn from Pioneer Hybrid and Monsanto — two of the nation’s leading seed developers — and send it back to China. Only one, so far, has been arrested: Robert Mo Hailong, a Chinese national employed in the U.S. The loss of a patented seed line, according to U.S. Attorney Nicholas Klinefeldt, could have cost the companies anywhere from $30 million to $40 million.
In August 2012, the FBI attached listening and GPS tracking devices to a car rented by [employees Wang Lei, and Lin Young] and recorded conversations about how they collect seed, what they would do with it, what might happen if they get caught, and how Li [Shaoming, CEO of Kings Nower Seed] was directing the activity.
On Sept. 30, 2012, the FBI tracked Ye and Li as they prepared to fly from Chicago to China. U.S. Customs searched them and found corn seed in their luggage. Ye had seed concealed in his pockets 13 napkins from a Subway sandwich shop.
Wang flew to Burlington, Vt., and rented a car to drive into Canada. The FBI notified border agents to watch for him and he was searched. According to court documents, 44 bags containing corn seeds were hidden under the car seat and in his luggage.
The inevitable movie is going to be great.
Lindsay Abrams is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email email@example.com.More Lindsay Abrams.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.