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India’s Ambitious Mission to Moon Crosses Crucial Milestone

Space officials say the landing module detached from the main spacecraft successfully Monday afternoon and is now about 100 kilometers

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India, Moon, Mission
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Chairman Kailasavadivoo Sivan displays a model of Chanrayaan 2 orbiter and rover during a press conference at their headquarters in Bangalore, India, Aug. 20, 2019. VOA

India’s ambitious mission to the moon has crossed a crucial milestone and is on course to place a probe on the south pole of the lunar surface later this week.

Space officials say the landing module detached from the main spacecraft successfully Monday afternoon and is now about 100 kilometers from the moon’s surface. It is scheduled to touchdown on the moon on Saturday deploying a 27-kilogram robotic rover on the South Pole.

All eyes will now be on that landing. If it takes place successfully, India will become the fourth country in the world to make a controlled landing on the moon after the United States, Russia and China. Space officials say the maneuver is extremely complex.

“All systems of the Chandrayaan 2 orbiter and lander are healthy,” said a statement by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) after the separation of the lander. Chandrayaan, which means “moon vehicle” in Sanskrit, is the name of the spacecraft carrying out the mission.

India, Moon, Mission
India’s ambitious mission to the moon has crossed a crucial milestone and is on course to place a probe on the south pole of the lunar surface later this week. LifetimeStock

The rover will stay on the moon for 14 days examining the lunar surface for presence of water, minerals and studying its topography. The aim is to explore the south side of the moon, which no country has attempted so far.

India hopes that its second moon mission will put it in the league of major space faring nations.

It has been mounted at a time of renewed interest in earth’s nearest neighbor by space faring countries. The country’s first mission in 2008 is credited with having helped confirm evidence of water on the moon.

The current mission plans to build on that. “Chandrayaan-2 has the ability to look for water—identify the presence of water rise at depths of a few meters: an important input for sustaining a future human presence on the moon,” P Sreekumar, a senior official of ISRO, said after the launch of the moon mission nearly six weeks ago.

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Space officials are also optimistic that the roughly $ 140 million moon exploration project will cement India’s reputation for conducting low cost missions at a fraction of what Western countries spend.

The moon mission is being seen as a crucial part of India’s steadily expanding space ambitions and a demonstration of the country’s technological capabilities. It has begun preparing to send a manned mission into space by 2022. (VOA)

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Novel Coronavirus: Government Deploys Health Team on Nepal Border

Many Indian students studying in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak have been stuck there

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Coronavirus
The Coronavirus outbreak, which has so far caused 41 deaths in China, and caused the country to quarantine 16 cities, is causing comparisons to the 2003 spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which decreased the value of the global economy by $40 billion. VOA

In the wake of a confirmed case of novel coronavirus in Nepal, the Union Health Ministry has subsequently strengthened its vigil in the areas bordering Nepal.

The recent deployment of health team has taken place at Panitanki in West Bengal, entry point from Nepal, said the Health Ministry on Monday.

“Update on #ncov2020 – Subsequent to confirmed #coronarvirus case in #Nepal, vigil strengthened at Panitanki (West Bengal) entry point from Nepal,” the ministry tweeted.

Earlier on Sunday the ministry had informed that in response to confirmed case of the new virus in the neighbourhood country Nepal, India stepped up vigil in districts bordering Nepal. The health ministry said that teams of medical experts were also deployed at border outpost with Nepal at Jhulaghat and Jauljibi in Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand.

Coronavirus
Southeast Asia’s proximity to China and dependence on that nation for a major share of its economy is raising concerns that the coronavirus outbreak  that started there will not only have health impacts but harm the region’s economies. VOA

In continuation of its efforts to stop the virus from entering in India and making the passengers aware, the ministry has also displayed signage advising the passengers for self reporting and other precautions, disseminated through advisories, at the Mumbai airport.

According to the health ministry, a total of 29,707 passengers from 137 flights have been screened. Fortunately, no case of coronavirus has been found till date.

Also Read: Patients May Suffer Invasive Treatments for Harmless Cancers: Researchers

According to the announcement made by Chinese health authorities on Monday, 2,744 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), including 461 in critical condition and a total of 5,794 suspected cases have also been reported. The killer virus has caused 80 deaths in China, as per Chinese authorities.

Many Indian students studying in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak have been stuck there. The health ministry said it is working closely with the Ministry of External Affairs and is in touch with the students. (IANS)