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India Becomes First Asian Country To Enter Martian Gravity

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 India Becomes First Asian Country To Enter Martian Gravity


India Becomes First Asian Country To Enter Martian Gravity

Bangalore: India Monday successfully “woke up” from nine-month slumber the engine of Mars spacecraft as it glided through deep space, and also became the first Asian country to enter the Martian sphere of influence.

“The main liquid apogee motor (LAM) was test fired at 2.30 p.m. for nearly four seconds and we got a confirmation of its success 12.5 minutes later,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientific secretary V. Koteshwara Rao said.

About 500 gm of the liquid fuel was used for test firing the engine.

India also became the first Asian country to enter the Martian sphere of influence after the spacecraft swung into the gravitational pull of the red planet at 9 a.m. Monday.

“Our navigators’ calculation shows that our Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) has entered the gravitational sphere of influence of Mars around 9 a.m. today (Monday),” the space agency said on the mission’s progress in its Facebook updates.

“We have also successfully conducted the fourth course (trajectory) correction of the spacecraft to ensure its smooth insertion into the Martian orbit Wednesday at 7.30 a.m. from sun orbit using the LAM,” Rao said from the mission’s control centre at the space agency’s telemetry, tracking and command network (Istrac), 20 km from this tech hub.

The orbit insertion will take place when the spacecraft will be 423 km from the Martian surface and 215 million km away (radio distance) from the earth.

“The spacecraft’s velocity (speed) has been reduced to 2.14 metres per second from 22.2 km per second to ensure the Orbiter does not escape the Mars’ sphere of influence and facilitate its transition into the Martian orbit,” Rao pointed out.

India will be the first country in the world to insert a spacecraft into the Martian orbit in a maiden attempt, if the operation succeeds Sep 24.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to witness the historic occasion from the mission control centre here.

The 475-kg (dry mass) Orbiter spacecraft with five scientific experiments onboard will explore the fourth planet away from the Sun.

The Rs.450-crore ($70 million) ambitious Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) was launched Nov 5, 2013, on board a polar rocket from spaceport Sriharikota off Bay of Bengal, about 80 km northeast of Chennai.

The state-run ISRO will be the fourth space agency after National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the US, Russian Federal Space Agency (RFSA), and the European Space Agency to have undertaken Mission to Mars.

As the second smallest celestial body in the solar system, Mars is also known as red planet due to the presence of iron oxide in abundance, giving it a reddish appearance.

Though both the Earth and Mars have equal period of revolution around their axis, Mars takes slightly more – 24 hours and 37 minutes – to complete a revolution. The Earth takes 365 days to orbit sun while Mars takes 687 days to move around sun.

“Mars sways human imagination like no other planet in the solar system because its conditions are believed to be hospitable as it is similar to the Earth in many ways,” ISRO chairman K. Radhakrishnan said.

Mars mission is a major step forward in our space programme and a turning point for us, as India will foray into the vast inter-planetary space for the first time with an indigenous spacecraft to demonstrate our technological capabilities,” Radhakrishnan asserted.

Co-incidentally, America’s spacecraft Maven (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) also entered the Martial orbit in early hours of Monday after a 10-month 442-million mile journey from the Earth to explore the red planet’s upper atmosphere, its history and climate for human expeditions in future.

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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Nawaz sharif

Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.

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