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NASA launches spacecraft to test asteroid defense concept

Spacecraft will help protect the Earth from a possible meteorite collision

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NASA launches spacecraft to test asteroid defense concept
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Los Angeles: NASA launched a spacecraft Tuesday night on a mission to smash into an asteroid and test whether it would be possible to knock a speeding space rock off course if one were to threaten Earth.

The DART spacecraft, short for Double Asteroid Redirection Test, lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in a $330 million project with echoes of the Bruce Willis movie “Armageddon.”

If all goes well, in September 2022 it will slam head-on into Dimorphos, an asteroid 525 feet (160 meters) across, at 15,000 mph (24,139 kph).

“This isn’t going to destroy the asteroid. It’s just going to give it a small nudge,” said mission official Nancy Chabot of Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, which is managing the project.

Dimorphos orbits a much larger asteroid called Didymos. The pair are no danger to Earth but offer scientists a way to measure the effectiveness of the collision.

Dimorphos completes one orbit of Didymos every 11 hours, 55 minutes. DART’s goal is a crash that will slow Dimorphos down and cause it to fall closer toward the bigger asteroid, shaving 10 minutes off its orbit.

The change in the orbital period will be measured by telescopes on Earth. The minimum change for the mission to be considered a success is 73 seconds.

The DART technique could prove useful for altering the course of asteroid years or decades before it bears down on Earth with the potential for catastrophe.

A small nudge “would add up to a big change in its future position, and then the asteroid and the Earth wouldn’t be on a collision course,” Chabot said.

Scientists constantly search for asteroids and plot their courses to determine whether they could hit the planet.

“Although there isn’t a currently known asteroid that’s on an impact course with the Earth, we do know that there is a large population of near-Earth asteroids out there,” said Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer at NASA. “The key to planetary defense is finding them well before they are an impact threat.”

DART will take 10 months to reach the asteroid pair. The collision will occur about 6.8 million miles (11 million kilometers) from Earth.

Ten days beforehand, DART will release a tiny observation spacecraft supplied by the Italian space agency that will follow it.

DART will stream video until it is destroyed on impact. Three minutes later, the trailing craft will make images of the impact site and material that is ejected.

 

SOURCE: AP

Siddra Sumreen

Syeda Siddra has been working as a web journalist for over the past seven years. She earned her M.Phil degree in Mass Communication from the Lahore Leads University. Ms. Siddra has previously worked with other renowned channels and is now associated with GNN as Senior Content Writer.

Sports

Pakistani boxer Muhammad Waseem wins WBC Silver title

Muhammad Waseem clinched the silver title by defeating the Colombian boxer

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Pakistani boxer Muhammad Waseem wins WBC Silver title

Dubai: Another success for Pakistan, former WBC champion Muhammad Waseem defeated Colombian boxer Rober Barrera in a bout at the Boxing Arena in Dubai.

According to reports, in a 12-round fight of World Boxing Council (WBC), Muhammad Waseem clinched the silver title by defeating the Colombian boxer.

Waseem has so far won 11 bouts during his career with eight knockouts. He lost just one. During his excellent career Waseem has won the WBC flyweight world silver title two times. He also remained WBC No1 for quite some time. He won the WBC world silver title only in his fourth professional bout.

Barrera is said to be more experienced, as he competed in 26 fights and lost 3. The foreign fighter, who has a record of 13 knockouts, will try his best to obtain a triumph that will catapult him to a greater projection at world level.

 

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Pakistan

Nasla Tower demolition: Police baton-charge protesters

The protestors tried to enter the building to halt the demolition process

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Nasla Tower demolition: Police baton-charge protesters

Karachi: Police have fired tear gas shells and baton-charged at protesters near the Nasla Tower shortly after authorities deployed a heavy contingent of anti-riot and anti-encroachment personnel at the building.

According to details, residents of the area stage protest against the demolition of the residential building located in Sindhi Muslim Society, recently declared illegal by the Supreme Court. 

The protestors tried to enter the building to halt the demolition process of the building. The police tried to stop the protestors and later restored to baton-charge and fired gas shells as the protestors kept on coming.

The deputy chairman ABAD and several other people got injured in the shelling.

The tear gas also affected houses in the locality and hampered road traffic on the Sharae Faisal.

The protest came after the Supreme Court (SC) gave a one-week deadline to demolish the Nasla Tower. Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Gulzar Ahmed took up the case at the SC Karachi registry. During the hearing, the court was informed by the Karachi commissioner that 200 people are working on demolishing the tower.

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Regional

2 killed in Lahore road accident

Mishap took place when a speeding vehicle rammed into the people standing on the sidewalk

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2 killed in Lahore road accident

Lahore: Two young men were killed in a traffic accident in Defense area of Lahore on Saturday morning.

According to GNN, the accident took place in Defence’s Phase VI where the car hit the footpath and turned over resulting in two deaths and injuries to another man.

Those died on the spot were identified as 24-year-old Faisal and 25-year-old Ali Ahmad

According to the traffic police, another young person named Amir was also injured in the accident and was shifted to General Hospital for medical treatment.

Earlier on yesterday, at least three students have lost their lives in an accident in Bahawalpur.

According to details, the mishap took place when a speeding trailer rammed into the students in Musafir Khana area.

Receiving information about the incident, rescue teams and security personnel arrived at the scene and shifted the victims to the nearby hospital. 

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