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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.

Crime

Two killed, 3 injured in firing cum traffic accident on Lahore's Baidian Road

Robbers fired at van that collided with a motorcycle

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Two killed, 3 injured in firing cum traffic accident on Lahore's Baidian Road

Lahore: Two people were killed and three others were injured as a van driver hit a motorcycle after getting fired by robbers on Baidian Road on Friday, police and rescuers said.

The deceased were borther and sister. Police inquiries showed that some robbers first opened fire on a moving van, leaving three including the driver injured.

The van driver panicked and hit a motorcycle. The deceased have been identified as Shahid and Shama. 

The injured have been identified as Abid, Waleed and Usman.

The vicitms told police that robbers riding a bike were chasing their van.  Police shifted the bodies for autopsies and launched investigation.

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Entertainment

Next two 'Mission: Impossible' movies starring Tom Cruise delayed until 2023, 2024

The new dates for the films are July 14, 2023, for the seventh installment, and June 28, 2024, for the eighth movie in the series

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Next two 'Mission: Impossible' movies starring Tom Cruise delayed until 2023, 2024

The seventh and eighth movies in the "Mission: Impossible" franchise starring Tom Cruise have been delayed until 2023 and 2024 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, producers Paramount Pictures and Skydance said in a statement on Friday.

"Mission: Impossible 7" had been scheduled to debut in movie theaters in September 2022, followed by "Mission: Impossible 8" in July 2023.

The new dates for the films are July 14, 2023, for the seventh installment, and June 28, 2024, for the eighth movie in the series.

"After thoughtful consideration, Paramount Pictures and Skydance have decided to postpone the release dates for Mission: Impossible 7 & 8 in response to delays due to the ongoing pandemic," the companies said in a statement.

Theater chains, including AMC Entertainment and Cinemark Holdings Inc, are still trying to recover from extended closures during the pandemic.

SOURCE: REUTERS

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Pakistan

ECC approves selected commodities' export to Afghanistan in Pakistani currency

The forum also approved technical supplementary grants of Rs5 billion for the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives for conducting the 7th Population and Housing Census

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ECC approves selected commodities' export to Afghanistan in Pakistani currency

Islamabad: Considering the food crisis and prevailing situation of Afghanistan, the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet Friday approved the summary presented by the Ministry of Commerce, allowing the export of selected commodities to the neighbouring country in Pakistani currency by adding them in the list of items at Para-7(1) of the Export Policy Order, 2020.

Fruits, vegetables, cement, salt and dry fruits were also included in the list of export items, while the ECC removed the 45% regulatory duty on the import of pine nuts from Afghanistan.

The forum also approved technical supplementary grants of Rs5 billion for the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives for conducting the 7th Population and Housing Census.

The ECC meeting here, which was virtually presided over by Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin, also approved Rs4 billion under the Pakistan Raises Revenue Programme (PRRP) for the financial year 2021-22 for Federal Board of Revenue.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Federal Minister for Water Resources Chaudhry Moonis Elahi, federal secretaries and senior officers attended the meeting, a Finance Ministry press release said.

The ECC also approved Rs 78.5 million for the projects of ICT (Islamabad Capital Territory) Administration, by Interior Ministry.

The meeting gave its approval for amounts of Rs 60 million and Rs3 million (equivalent to $17,133.06) for the Interior Ministry within the sanctioned budgets for purchase of spare parts for helicopters maintained by HQs Frontier Corps Balochistan North and HQs Frontier Corps Khuber Pakhtunkhwa (North) respectively.

It approved re-allocation of Rs 226.8 million surrendered funds for the year 2021-22 under Sustainable Development Goals Achievement Programme (SAP) in favour of Interior Division for further release to the ICT Administration.

The meeting gave its consent for rupee cover of $65 million (equivalent to Rs 11,960 million) to the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination, committed by Islamic Development Bank, to utilize the IsDB loan under “IVAC Covid-19 Vaccine Support for Pakistan”.

The committee, while noting the growth in exports, approved another summary of the Commerce Ministry to enhance the quota limit for export of samples to $25,000 or 0.1% of actual export proceeds during the last financial year in US dollars per exporter per annum, by amending relevant paras of the Export Policy Order, 2020.

The ECC approved a Commerce Ministry’s proposal of removal of 45 percent regulatory duty on the import of Chilghoza from Afghanistan as the tariff reduction would encourage the legal import of unprocessed Chilghoza for processing in the country for export and would also be instrumental in creation of jobs in the far flung areas of border regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and economically backward areas of Balochistan.

The committee approved a proposal submitted by the Finance Division for engaging the services of third party to carry out the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) functions of the Kamyab Pakistan Programme (KPP). The M & E responsibilities were entrusted to Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), which due to its legal status had not been able to undertake the task.

The ECC discussed and approved the Finance Division’s summary for resolving the issue of reversal of Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) unspent grant funds under amendment to MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with proposal to establish a new Credit Guarantee Company (CGC) having 56% shareholding of FCDO through Karandaaz (unspent funds) and 44 percent shareholding of Government of Pakistan, with mandate of issuance of credit guarantees against financing in the SME (Small & Medium Enterprises) sector.

The committee after deliberation and considering the depth of Pakistan’s relationship with China, and as a goodwill gesture on government level, approved the proposal of the Ministry of Water Resources for compensation package of $11.6 million for the affected Chinese nationals of Dasu Hydropower Project incident.

The ECC allowed the operations of SNGPL based plants (Fatima Fertilizer (Sheikhupura plant ) and Agritech) for a further two months post January, i.e., February- March at gas rate of Rs. 839/MMBTU on a summary of Ministry of Industries and Production to meet the Urea fertilizer requirement for remaining Rabi Season 2021-22.

It approved a summary tabled by Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication for the constitution of Advisory Committee headed by the Finance Minister for the release of IMT/5G spectrum.

The ECC also approved the draft Policy Directive of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-Organization) Act 1996 for renewal of Cellular License of Pakistan Mobile Communication Limited (PMCL/Jazz). It was presented by the Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunication.

SOURCE: APP

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