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There has been a lot of scientific activity over the past several weeks and months. The highlight has been Nasa’s launch and landing of Perseverance on Mars. Somewhat under the radar, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency reported (some time in December) that its Hayabusa2 spacecraft had found more than the anticipated amount of soil and gases inside a small capsule from a distant asteroid, brought it back to Earth and thereby marked a milestone in planetary research.

Further below the radar, the Indian Space Research Organisation has so far carried out about 111 spacecraft missions and 79 launch missions. Undergirding some of these momentous applications of science are academic research outputs which, when seen together, have strong correlations with economic expansion...

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