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India Aborts Launch of Spacecraft Intended to Land on Far Side of Moon

The Chandrayaan-2 mission was called off when a “technical snag” was observed in the 640-ton, 14-story rocket launcher

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India, Spacecraft, Moon
A spectator holds an Indian flag after a mission of Indian Space Research Organization's Chandrayaan-2, with the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle on board was called back because of a technical snag in Sriharikota, India, July 15, 2019. VOA

India aborted the launch Monday of a spacecraft intended to land on the far side of the moon less than an hour before liftoff.

The Chandrayaan-2 mission was called off when a “technical snag” was observed in the 640-ton, 14-story rocket launcher, Indian Space Research Organization spokesman B.R. Guruprasad said.

The countdown abruptly stopped at T-56 minutes, 24 seconds, and Guruprasad said that the agency would announce a revised launch date soon.

Chandrayaan, the word for “moon craft” in Sanskrit, is designed for a soft landing on the lunar south pole and to send a rover to explore water deposits confirmed by a previous Indian space mission.

India, Spacecraft, Moon
FILE – Indian space scientist and Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization Kailasavadivoo Sivan speaks during a press conference at the ISRO headquarters Antariksh Bhavan, in Bangalore, June 12, 2019. VOA

With nuclear-armed India poised to become the world’s fifth-largest economy, the ardently nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is eager to show off the country’s prowess in security and technology. If India did manage the soft landing, it would be only the fourth to do so after the U.S., Russia and China.

Dr. K. Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, said at a news conference last week that the estimated $140 million Chandrayaan-2 mission was the nation’s “most prestigious” to date, in part because of the technical complexities of soft landing on the lunar surface, an event he described as “15 terrifying minutes.”

After countdown commenced Sunday, Sivan visited two Hindu shrines to pray for the mission’s success.

Criticized program pays off

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Practically since its inception in 1962, India’s space program has been criticized as inappropriate for an overpopulated, developing nation.

But decades of space research have allowed India to develop satellite communications and remote sensing technologies that are helping solve everyday problems at home, from forecasting fish migration to predicting storms and floods.

With the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission this month, the world’s biggest space agencies are returning their gaze to the moon, seen as ideal testing grounds for technologies required for deep space exploration, and, with the confirmed discovery of water, as a possible pit stop along the way.

“The moon is sort of our backyard for training to go to Mars,” said Adam Steltzner, NASA’s chief engineer responsible for its 2020 mission to Mars.

India, Spacecraft, Moon
India aborted the launch Monday of a spacecraft intended to land on the far side of the moon less than an hour before liftoff. Pixabay

Seeking water on the moon

Because of repeated delays, India missed the chance to achieve the first soft landing near the lunar south pole. China’s Chang’e 4 mission landed a lander and rover there last January.

India’s Chandrayaan-1 mission orbited the moon in 2008 and helped confirm the presence of water. The Indian Space Research Organization wants its new mission’s rover to further probe the far side of the moon, where scientists believe a basin contains water-ice that could help humans do more than plant flags on future manned missions.

The U.S. is working to send a manned spacecraft to the moon’s south pole by 2024.

Also Read- Around 53% People Interested in Travelling to Space: Survey

Modi has set a deadline of 2022 for India’s first manned spaceflight. (VOA)

Next Story

Hackers Target 1 Indian Firm Over 1,500 Times a Week

Misconfiguration of cloud resources is still the number one cause for Cloud attacks, but now we also witness an increasing number of attacks aimed directly at Cloud service providers

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Bharat Bhise HNA, Hacker, Business
Hackers have the power to bring down your website or your entire network if they so wish. Pixabay

A single organisation in India was attacked an alarming 1,565 times per week on average in the past six months, compared to 474 attacks by hackers per organisation globally, says a new report.

According to researchers at Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point Research, 93 per cent of malicious files in India were delivered via the web, compared to 35 per cent of malicious files globally.

The most common vulnerability exploit type in India is information disclosure, impacting 64 per cent of the organisations and the top malware in India is “XMRig” that impacts 17 per cent of firms, said Check Point’s ‘2020 Cyber Security’ report.

“2019 presented a complex threat landscape where nation states, cybercrime organisations and private contractors accelerated the cyber arms race, elevating each other’s capabilities at an alarming pace, and this will continue into 2020,” said Lotem Finkelsteen, Threat Intelligence Group Manager, Check Point Software Technologies.

It is pertinent to note that cryptominers still dominate malware landscape.

Even though cryptomining declined during 2019, linked to cryptocurrencies’ fall in value and the closure of the Coinhive operation in March, 38 per cent of companies globally were impacted by crypto-miners in 2019, up from 37 per cent in 2018.

This is because the use of crypto-miners remains a low-risk, high-reward activity for criminals.

“Detecting and automatically blocking the attack at an early stage can prevent damage. Check Point’s 2020 Security Report shares what organisations need to look out for, and how they can win the war against cyber attacks through key best practices,” Finkelsteen added.

Twenty eight per cent of organisations globally were hit by botnet activity, an increase of over 50 per cent compared with 2018.

Iranian, Hackers, Cyberattacks
FILE – In 2010, the Stuxnet virus disrupted operation of centrifuges at a uranium enrichment facility in Iran. VOA

Emotet was the most common bot malware used, primarily because of its versatility in enabling malware and spam distribution services. Other botnet actions such as sextortion email activity and DDoS attacks also rose sharply in 2019.

While the number of impacted organisations is relatively low, the severity of the attack is much higher — as seen in 2019’s damaging attacks against US city administrations.

Criminals are choosing their ransomware targets carefully, with the aim of extorting the maximum revenue possible.

Notably, 27 per cent of organisations worldwide were impacted by cyberattacks that involved mobile devices in 2019, down from 33 per cent in 2018.

While the mobile threat landscape is maturing, organisations are also increasingly aware of the threat, and are deploying more protection on mobiles.

Currently, more than 90 per cent of enterprises use Cloud services and yet 67 per cent of security teams complain about the lack of visibility into their Cloud infrastructure, security, and compliance.

The magnitude of Cloud attacks and breaches has continued to grow in 2019.

Also Read: 84% Indians Hope to Retain Their Jobs Despite Automation: WEF

Misconfiguration of cloud resources is still the number one cause for Cloud attacks, but now we also witness an increasing number of attacks aimed directly at Cloud service providers.

“Even if an organisation is equipped with the most comprehensive, state-of-the-art security products, the risk of being breached cannot be completely eliminated. Beyond detection and remediation, organizations need to adopt a proactive plan to stay ahead of cybercriminals and prevent attacks,” explained Finkelsteen. (IANS)