VISITING PLUTO (冥王星): After nine years and a journey of 4.8 billion kilometres, Nasa’s (美國太空總署) New Horizons (新視野號) robotic probe becomes the first spacecraft to visit the icy dwarf planet Pluto and its largest moon Charon (凱倫). It will then enter the Kuiper belt (凱伯帶) and eventually leave the solar system (太陽系).
SANCTIONS REVIEWED: Sanctions on Russian (俄羅斯的) banks and corporations are to be reviewed. They were imposed by the European Union (歐盟) and United States (美國) after Russia (俄羅斯) annexed Crimea (克里米亞) in eastern Ukraine (烏克蘭),.
ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS: The “Bird’s Nest” (「鳥巢」) stadium stages the 15th World Championships in Athletics (世界田徑錦標賽). While in China (中國) the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF,國際田徑聯會), the sport’s governing body, will select a new president.
PHILAE RESURRECTED: Scientists hope the dead batteries of the space lander Philae (菲萊登陸器), now residing on the comet known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, will reignite when the comet’s orbit comes closer to the sun.
PAPAL VISIT: Pope Francis (教宗方濟各) is due to visit the United States for the first time since he became pope in March 2013.
BRITAIN’S QUEEN: Queen Elizabeth II (伊利沙伯二世女王) becomes Britain’s (英國) longest-reigning monarch, overtaking Queen Victoria (維多利亞女王) who reigned for 63 years, seven months and three days between 1837 and 1901. Elizabeth became queen on February 6, 1952.
JAMES BOND (占士邦): The 24th James Bond film, Spectre, is released with Daniel Craig (丹尼爾‧基克 ) playing British (英國的) secret agent 007 for the fourth time. Skyfall (《新鐵金剛：智破天凶城》), in 2012, became the highest-grossing film in the series.
CANADIAN (加拿大的) ELECTION: Canada’s (加拿大) Prime Minister Stephen Harper (哈珀) faces a tough parliamentary election, despite a booming economy. People say he does not understand the needs of his citizens.
BURMA’S (緬甸) ELECTIONS: Burma’s democracy will be questioned in a parliamentary election if opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (昂山素姬) is barred from standing because her husband and children were not citizens.
FARAWAY PLANETS: The Extreme Solar Systems III conference will be held in the United States. It will cover all aspects of research on exoplanets, ie, planets in other solar systems. The dates of the meeting happen to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the paper by Mayor & Queloz reporting the discovery of 51 Peg b, the first exoplanet discovered in November 1995.
CLIMATE SUMMIT: Hopes are high that world leaders at a United Nations (聯合國) summit will sign a global deal to agree targets on fighting climate change after 2020.
STAR WARS (《星球大戰》): Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first in a new trilogy in the film series, is released.