ISRO racing against time to salvage lander Vikram

first_imgBengaluru: ISRO is racing against time to spring ‘Vikram’ back to lifeand salvage the lander-rover part of the Chandrayaan-2 mission.The lander Vikram, with rover ‘Pragyan’ tucked inside it, lost communication with the ground-stations during its final descent, just 2.1 kms above the lunar surface, minutes before the planned soft-landing in the early hours of Saturday. ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) said on Sunday Vikram had a “hard-landing”. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The Bengaluru-headquarterd space agency on Tuesday again confirmed that the lander has been located on the lunar surface by the on-board cameras of the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter which is circling the moon in its intended orbit. “All possible efforts are being made to establish communication with (the) lander”, ISRO further said in a tweet. A senior ISRO official associated with the mission said: “The images from the orbiter camera showed that Vikram is in single piece lying on the lunar surface; not broken into pieces. it is in a tilted position. It’s not in its four legs, as usual”. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThis official added on condition of anonymity: “it’s not upside down. It’s lying on its side”. ISRO officially did not comment on the condition of the lander. Chandrayaan-2 comprises an orbiter, lander (Vikram) and rover (Pragyan). The mission life of the lander and rover is one Lunar day, which is equal to 14 earth days. ISRO Chairman K Sivan said on Saturday evening that the space agency would try to restore link with the lander for 14 days and it has been reiterating the resolve since then. An ISRO official said Vikram hit the lunar surface at a place about 500 metres away from where it was originally planned to touch-down. But there was no official word on this from ISRO. Sources said an ISRO team is trying to see if they can reorient the antennas of the lander in such a way that communication can be restored. “Efforts are going on”, they said. According to a senior ISRO official, orientation may have been lost during the final descent when velocity was reduced, due “sensor or on-board software or computer anomaly”. “A committee is looking into what has gone wrong. They will come out with answers soon”, this official said. Meanwhile, flawless and precise launch and efficient management of the Chandrayaan-2 mission —- till the lander ‘Vikram’ lost communication with ground-stations –, has paid rich dividends to the ISRO on the orbiter front. The 2,379 kg orbiter whose mission life was designed to be one year would now be able function for almost seven years. “Enough fuel is available with the orbiter. Up to (lunar) orbit insertion, we did not have any flaw. Additional fuel which was anticipated was not used at all. Everything went as per the plan. Additional fuel is available with us (on-board the orbiter)”, an ISRO official said. Another ISRO official said, “One of the limiting factor is on-board fuel availability. Because the performance of GSLV-MK III (which launched the spacecraft) and efficient mission management, we have enough fuel for continuing it forward for seven years.” The space agency also said, the precise launch and mission management has ensured a long life of almost seven years instead of the planned one year for the orbiter. ISRO had said 90 to 95 per cent of the Chandrayaan-2 mission objectives have been accomplished and it would continue to contribute to Lunar science , notwithstanding the loss of communication with the Lander which hit lunar surface after failing in its planned attempt to soft-land in the early hours of Saturday. Noting that Chandrayaan-2 mission was a highly complex one, which represented a significant technological leap compared to the previous missions of ISRO, the space agency said it brought together an orbiter, lander and rover to explore the unexplored south pole of the Moon. This was a unique mission which aimed at studying not just one area of the Moon but all the areas combining the exosphere, the surface as well as the sub-surface of the moon in a single mission, it added.last_img read more

Pipelines asylum seekers tuberculosis how politics touched us this week

first_imgOTTAWA – Parliament Hill was a swirl of fresh faces and a storm of news this week in the rush to get things done and square events away before the Thanksgiving break.In a sea of pageantry, the next Governor General, astronaut Julie Payette, was sworn in to her new position, replacing David Johnston. Premiers and Indigenous leaders from across the country then gathered nearby for a meeting with the prime minister — a meeting that led to a more solid picture of what legalization of cannabis will eventually look like.The next day, the NDP’s new leader, Jagmeet Singh, took a victory lap through his party’s caucus room, inspiring a jubilance not seen since the days of Jack Layton.Personalities aside, there were impactful developments on pipelines, asylum seekers and tuberculosis. Here’s how politics affected Canadians’ everyday lives this week:PIPELINE APOPLEXYTransCanada has followed through on its hints this summer and cancelled its $16-billion plans for the Energy East pipeline — an announcement that prompted a vicious round of finger-pointing, blame-casting and, in some corners, celebration.Whether the cancellation was because of market forces (as the Liberals contend) or unreasonable public policy (as the Conservatives argue), environmental activists and the mayor of Montreal claimed victory.The animosity exposed unresolved quandaries for Canadian public policy. Will companies in the West find other, better, ways to export oil and gas, and will the public buy in? Will climate policy lead to depressed demand and low prices — and eventually mean Canada turns forcefully away from the natural resources that have buoyed its economy for an eternity? If not oil and gas, then what?And as political leaders in Western Canada lash out at their eastern counterparts, is there any hope of forging a national consensus on how or whether the oil industry can or should coexist and prosper alongside a warming earth?THE FATE OF ASYLUM SEEKERSCanadians are beginning to learn about what is happening to the thousands of asylum seekers who walked across the Canada-U.S. border illegally over the past few months.Their refugee claims are now working their way through a clogged system. Progress is slow. And about half of the claims are being rejected.Government officials said this week they have finalized about 240 cases of about 8,000, and the rejection rate is about 50 per cent. That’s normal for Haitian claims, and most of the claimants over the summer were Haitians crossing into Quebec.At the same time, the federal government is scrambling to live up to a commitment to bring 1,200 Yazidi women and girls into Canada as refugees from northern Iraq, where they had been too often forced into sex slavery.Ottawa promised a year ago to bring them in, and this week Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said 800 had arrived. The Conservatives are questioning his numbers, however, second-guessing whether the 800 are actually Yazidis.The minister insists that the delay in the Yazidi effort has nothing to do with the resources required to process the asylum seekers at the border. But it’s clear that setting up a new home in Canada is not a walk in the park.TACKLING TUBERCULOSISIt’s almost unheard of as a problem in most of Canada, but tuberculosis is a scourge in the Inuit population. This week, the federal government rolled out a plan to eliminate what can be a deadly infectious lung disease.Inuit in Nunavut are 270 times more likely to have TB than the rest of the population, a long-standing problem propelled by poverty and overcrowded, substandard housing.The eradication plan involves setting up a task force with Inuit organizations, combining their prevention and treatment approaches, and incorporating housing into their plans.In the last federal budget, about $1 million was earmarked for TB prevention in the Inuit population — meant to amplify ongoing efforts to improve diagnosis, prevention and new medical treatments.But the TB problem is so entrenched that the government is still grappling with its long legacy. For decades, Inuit infected with the disease were flown south to receive treatment. They often never returned, dying or lost without their family supports. Officials are now trying to track down their graves.last_img read more