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China science

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge named China’s top technological advancement of 2018

  • World’s longest sea crossing fends off supercomputer and high-yield rice to take top spot on scientific academies’ annual rankings
  • Nasa mission to put InSight lander on Mars, cloned monkeys recognised on global achievements list
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 January, 2019, 4:27pm
UPDATED : Friday, 04 January, 2019, 5:33pm

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge has been named as China’s greatest technological advancement of last year by the country’s top scientists and engineers.

The 55km (34 mile) structure, which spans two channels of the Pearl River in southern China, comprises three cable-stayed bridges, an undersea tunnel and four artificial islands. It is both the longest sea crossing and longest fixed link on Earth.

Construction of the mega project began in 2009 and it opened to traffic on October 24 at a ceremony hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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Designed to withstand earthquakes and winds of up to 360km/h (223mph) – stronger than most typhoons – the bridge is expected to last 120 years. It was recognised on Wednesday with the publication of an annual awards list compiled by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Second on the list was the prototype of the Tianhe-3, China’s latest supercomputer, which made its debut in May and is capable of performing 1 billion billion calculations per second.

Filling the No 3 spot was a new strain of high yield hybrid rice, known as Zhongke 804, created by the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology under the CAS. The grain is recognised for its physical strength to grow in harsh environments, and resistance to disease and insect attacks.

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Scientists at the Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai, also under the CAS, ranked fourth on the awards list for their work in cloning a pair of crab-eating macaques. Hua Hua and Zhong Zhong were created through somatic cell nuclear transfer, the same technique that was used to produce Dolly the sheep in 1996. It is hoped the breakthrough will boost medical research into human diseases.

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The two Chinese academies also compiled a list of the best technological advances from around the world in 2018.

Topping the rankings was the successful landing of Nasa’s InSight lander on Mars at the end of November. Scientists hope the craft will be able to study the deep interior of the red planet.

Also on the global list was the world’s first solid-state aeroplane created by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States, and the confirmation of the existence of water on the moon by a team from the University of Hawaii using data gathered by the Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter, India’s first mission to the moon.