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Friday
November 2020
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News Headlines
End of an era: Argentina football legend Diego Maradona dies        Greg Barclay elected ICC's Independent Chair        Have great respect for Indian bowlers but our batsmen have seen them a lot: Langer        Rupee rises 6 paise to 73.95 against US dollar in early trade        Biden seeks swift Cabinet votes, but GOP Senate stays silent        As virus cases spike, financial outlook for world's airlines dims        Nivar makes landfall, weakens into severe cyclonic storm        Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel passes away at 71        India's COVID-19 caseload goes past 92 lakh; no. of active cases increases by 6,079        Left Govt moves ahead with projects having no central clearances: Chennithala        Kerala Cabinet decides to approach Governor to repeal new ordinance        Kerala reports 5,420 new COVID cases, 5,149 recoveries: CM        Cyclone Nivar : heavy rain lashes Chennai, suburbs, govt holiday today        UP okays ordinance against conversion for marriage, violators face up to 10 yrs in jail        Govts have to work as team to ensure vaccination drive is smooth, sustained: PM Modi        ICC nominates Kohli, Ashwin for Men''s Player of the Decade Award        Rohit, Ishant to miss first two Australia Tests, also doubtful for remaining two: BCCI source        India''s home series against England to feature four Tests instead of five        Odisha pay the penalty as Hyderabad keep first-ever clean sheet        Looking at India squad, Surya could have been there: Brian Lara        
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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.


Biden seeks swift Cabinet votes, but GOP Senate stays silent
As virus cases spike, financial outlook for world's airlines dims
Biden's first Cabinet picks expected Tuesday amid roadblocks
Hong Kong's Joshua Wong to plead guilty to protest charges
Federal Judge Dismisses Trump Lawsuit Seeking to Delay Pennsylvania Vote Certification
Moderna to charge governments $25-$37 per dose of its candidate vaccine - CEO
G-20 summit opens with Saudi urging united response to virus
Mala Adiga appointed policy director of Jill Biden
Tibetan leader Sangay visits White House for first time in 6 decades
China will have to play by rules; US to rejoin WHO: Biden
Biden wins Republican stronghold Georgia
Douglas Stuart''s ''Shuggie Bain'' wins 2020 Booker Prize, Indian-origin author Avni Doshi misses out
US says settlement products can be labelled ''Made in Israel''
Pak military had ties with Taliban, possibly Al Qaeda: Obama
JuD chief Saeed convicted in terror financing case
Biden and Harris receive briefing from national security experts
Transfer of power will be orderly and happen right on time: top Republican leader
Singapore needs more talent for growth of tech industry: PM Lee
Certain elements inside Pak military had links to al-Qaeda: Obama on raid that killed Osama
More Americans ''may die'' due to COVID if Trump does not cooperate with transition process: Biden
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
Left Govt moves ahead with projects having no central clearances: Chennithala
 Thiruvananthapuram: Opposition leader in Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala on Tuesday alleged that
Kerala reports 5,420 new COVID cases, 5,149 recoveries: CM
Ker FM hits out at ED over reported probe against KIIFB; Opp says he has "something to hide"
Kerala adds 5,294 fresh COVID-19 cases; Active cases 65,856
NATIONAL NEWS
Nivar makes landfall, weakens into severe cyclonic storm
 Chennai: Very severe cyclonic storm Nivar made landfall near Puducherry in the early hours of Thursd
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel passes away at 71
India's COVID-19 caseload goes past 92 lakh; no. of active cases increases by 6,079
Cyclone Nivar : heavy rain lashes Chennai, suburbs, govt holiday today
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