14
Friday
August 2020
11:37 AM IST
News Headlines
Sports Minister Rijiju to launch Fit India Freedom Run on Friday        Hoping to get the speed gun up, Starc works on muscular body during COVID lockdown        SpiceJet offers automated customer service and check-in facility on WhatsApp        Sebi issues procedure for exchanges to handle investor complaints against listed cos        Experts warn Spain is losing the 2nd round in virus fight        Bhutan imposes 1st nationwide virus lockdown        Pilot meets Gehlot, handshake signals his return        Over 3 Cr N95 masks, 1.28 Cr PPEs, 10 Cr HCQ tablets given to states, UTs by Centre for free        Bengal govt encourages organ donation: Mamata        PM unveils new tax reforms - faceless tax assessment, taxpayers' charter        Virus outbreak threatens New Zealand's fan-filled stadiums        Lahiri back in action after 5 months, joins Atwal at Wyndham        HAL s Light Combat Helicopters deployed for operations at Leh        Sensex falls over 200 pts in early trade; Nifty below 11,300        Black women, Democrats celebrate Indian-origin Senator Harris' nomination as VP        Joe Biden names Indian-American Senator Kamala Harris as running mate        Biden 'nailed this decision' in picking Harris to be his running mate: Obama        Terrorist gunned down, soldier killed in encounter in J-K's Pulwama        Mulayam Singh Yadav's condition under control: Hospital        COVID-19: 60,963 fresh cases take India's tally to 23,29,638        
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International News
NASA launches Mars rover to look for signs of ancient life
 
Cape Canaveral (US): The biggest, most sophisticated Mars rover ever built — a car-size vehicle bristling with cameras, microphones, drills and lasers — blasted off for the red planet Thursday as part of an ambitious, long-range project to bring the first Martian rock samples back to Earth to be analyzed for evidence of ancient life. NASA''s Perseverance rode a mighty Atlas V rocket into a clear morning sky in the world''s third and final Mars launch of the summer. China and the United Arab Emirates got a head start last week, but all three missions should reach their destination in February after a journey of seven months and 300 million miles (480 million kilometres). The plutonium-powered, six-wheeled rover will drill down and collect tiny geological specimens that will be brought home in about 2031 in a sort of interplanetary relay race involving multiple spacecraft and countries. The overall cost: more than USD 8 billion.

NASA''s science mission chief, Thomas Zurbuchen, pronounced the launch the start of “humanity''s first round trip to another planet.” “Oh, I loved it, punching a hole in the sky, right? Getting off the cosmic shore of our Earth, wading out there in the cosmic ocean," he said. “Every time, it gets me.” In addition to addressing the life-on-Mars question, the mission will yield lessons that could pave the way for the arrival of astronauts as early as the 2030s. “There''s a reason we call the robot Perseverance. Because going to Mars is hard,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said just before liftoff. “It is always hard. It''s never been easy. In this case, it''s harder than ever before because we''re doing it in the midst of a pandemic.” The U.S., the only country to safely put a spacecraft on Mars, is seeking its ninth successful landing on the planet, which has proved to be the Bermuda Triangle of space exploration, with more than half of the world''s missions there burning up, crashing or otherwise ending in failure. China is sending both a rover an orbiter.

The UAE, a newcomer to outer space, has an orbiter en route. It''s the biggest stampede to Mars in spacefaring history. The opportunity to fly between Earth and Mars comes around only once every 26 months when the planets are on the same side of the sun and about as close as they can get. Launch controllers wore masks and sat spaced apart at the Cape Canaveral control center because of the coronavirus outbreak, which kept hundreds of scientists and other team members away from Perseverance''s liftoff. “That was overwhelming. Overall, just ''Wow!''” said Alex Mather, the 13-year-old Virginia schoolboy who proposed the name Perseverance in a NASA competition and watched the launch in person with his parents. The launch went off on time at 7:50 a.m. despite a 4.2-magnitude earthquake 20 minutes before liftoff that shook Southern California, the site of NASA''s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is overseeing the rover mission.

If all goes well, the rover will descend to the Martian surface on Feb. 18, 2021, in what NASA calls seven minutes of terror, in which the craft goes from 12,000 mph (19,300 kph) to a complete stop, with no human intervention whatsoever. It is carrying 25 cameras and a pair of microphones that will enable Earthlings to vicariously tag along. Perseverance will aim for treacherous unexplored territory: Jezero Crater, riddled with boulders, cliffs, dunes and possibly rocks bearing signs of microbes from what was once a lake more than 3 billion years ago. The rover will store half-ounce (15-gram) rock samples in dozens of super-sterilized titanium tubes. It also will release a mini helicopter that will attempt the first powered flight on another planet, and test out other technology to prepare the way for future astronauts. That includes equipment for extracting oxygen from Mars'' thin carbon-dioxide atmosphere.

The plan is for NASA and the European Space Agency to launch a dune buggy in 2026 to fetch the rock samples, along with a rocket ship that will put the specimens into orbit around Mars. Then another spacecraft will capture the orbiting samples and bring them home. Samples taken straight from Mars, not drawn from meteorites discovered on Earth, have long been considered “the Holy Grail of Mars science,” according to NASA''s original and now-retired Mars czar, Scott Hubbard. To definitively answer the profound question of whether life exists — or ever existed — beyond Earth, the samples must be analyzed by the best electron microscopes and other instruments, far too big to fit on a spacecraft, he said. “I''ve wanted to know if there was life elsewhere in the universe since I was 9 years old. That was more than 60 years ago,” the 71-year-old Hubbard said from his Northern California cabin.

“But just maybe, I''ll live to see the fingerprints of life come back from Mars in one of those rock samples.” Said Bridenstine: "There is nothing better than bringing samples back to Earth where we can put them in a lab and we can apply every element of technology against those samples to make determinations as to whether or not there was, at one time, life on the surface of Mars.” Two other NASA landers are also operating on Mars: 2018''s InSight and 2012''s Curiosity rover. Six other spacecraft are exploring the planet from orbit: three from the US, two from Europe and one from India.


Experts warn Spain is losing the 2nd round in virus fight
Bhutan imposes 1st nationwide virus lockdown
Black women, Democrats celebrate Indian-origin Senator Harris' nomination as VP
Joe Biden names Indian-American Senator Kamala Harris as running mate
Biden 'nailed this decision' in picking Harris to be his running mate: Obama
Coronavirus breaks out again in New Zealand after 102 days
Putin says Russia develops world''s first vaccine against coronavirus
Belarus' leader wins sixth term with over 80% of votes
Malaysia's ex-finance minister charged again in graft case
Brazil makes grim milestone 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 By Marcelo de Sousa
Lebanon information minister resigns in wake of deadly blast
Leaders of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives offer condolences to families of Kerala plane crash victims
UN reports sharp increase in cybercrime during pandemic
Trump signs executive orders banning Chinese apps TikTok & Wechat
Sri Lanka election: Early results show Rajapaksa clan heading for landslide win
Lebanese Red Cross: Toll from Beirut blast rises to 100 dead
17 killed as boat capsizes in Bangladesh
Seven dead, 60 infected by new infectious disease in China: Report
Bangladesh PM Hasina assures ''proper'' probe, trial in retired army major killing
India slams Pakistan; Dismisses its ''so-called new political map'' as exercise in ''political absurdity''
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
My whole life has been a miracle: Rajinikanth
 Mumbai: From starting out as a bus conductor to becoming one of the biggest stars of the: country,  
'Game of Thrones' star Indira Varma tests positive for coronavirus
Coronavirus: Release of Ranveer Singh-starrer '83' put on hold
'Joker' earns Joaquin Phoenix his maiden Oscar
KERALA NEWS
Toll in Idukki landslide rises to 52 as three more bodies recovered
 Idukki (Ker): The toll in the landslip in Pettimudi in the high range Idukki district rose to 52 wit
1,417 Covid cases in Kerala; 36 health workers also infected
SIT formed by Kerala police to probe air crash
Kerala logs 1,211 fresh coronavirus cases; aggregate reaches 34,331
NATIONAL NEWS
Pilot meets Gehlot, handshake signals his return
 Jaipur: Sachin Pilot met Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot Thursday, the first time after he ope
Over 3 Cr N95 masks, 1.28 Cr PPEs, 10 Cr HCQ tablets given to states, UTs by Centre for free
Bengal govt encourages organ donation: Mamata
Terrorist gunned down, soldier killed in encounter in J-K's Pulwama
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