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NASA has invited citizen scientists to help them track mosquitos known to carry and spread diseases like Zika, West Nile Virus and malaria to create new forecast models that can predict the spread of these diseases.

“We do not have enough information on the geographic distribution of mosquito and time-variation in their populations. If a lot of people participated in this citizen science initiative worldwide, it will help fill in gaps and that would help our work,” Assaf Anyamba, a scientist from Universities Space Research Association at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in a statement.


NASA scientists have initiated the work with DEVELOP team — part of NASA’s Applied Sciences Programme, which addresses environmental and public policy issues — to create the models.

The teams blended the citizen science data with NASA satellite observations of land surface temperatures, humidity, soil moisture, elevation, vegetation and precipitation.

The data were then used to create an interactive, open-source map on Google Earth Engine to improve prediction models for disease-carrying mosquitoes.


Mosquito, (IANS)

Early results have showed that vegetation, humidity and soil moisture made it easier for mosquitoes to thrive during the summer months. During the winter, elevation played a stronger role in creating mosquito-friendly habitats.

The public can help track mosquitoes by downloading an app called GLOBE Observer, and then collect data over the summer using the Mosquito Habitat Mapper tool in the app, NASA said.

Also Read: NASA Spacecraft Sends Back Close-Ups of Dwarf Planet Ceres

The app guides users through the process of identifying and eliminating mosquito breeding sites in order to reduce mosquito populations in their immediate surroundings.

More citizen science data from more areas of the world could help, the US space agency noted.

“Knowing the mosquito species and their approximate populations at a given time provides useful information on the potential of occurrence of a particular pathogen, or disease transmission,” Anyamba said. (IANS)


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Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) enjoyed fruitful outings at the Tokyo Olympic Games as they secured semifinal berths in their respective weight categories at the Makuhari Messe on Wednesday.

On the opening day of the wrestling competition, Ravi Kumar defeated Bulgaria's Georgi Vangelov 14-4 on technical superiority to reach the last-four in the men's 57kg category, while compatriot Deepak Punia overcame China's Zushen Lin 6-3 on points to advance to the semifinals.

Ravi Kumar will take on Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan in the last-four, while Punia will be up against David Morris Taylor of the USA.

Earlier, Ravi Kumar had won his opening-round bout by technical superiority against Colombia's Oscar Tigreros to secure a quarterfinal spot. Competing in the Round-of-16 bout against the Colombian wrestler, the 23-year-old Ravi Kumar, who is making his Olympic debut, showed no nerves as he dominated the bout to win by technical superiority (13-2).

Ravi Kumar landed attack after attack and went 13-2 up, winning the bout by technical superiority with minutes to spare. In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.

India's 86kg freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia showed no signs of the niggle that had forced him to pull out of the Poland Open Ranking Series in Warsaw in June, as he defeated Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor on technical superiority to secure a quarterfinal berth.

He got his Olympic campaign to a fine start as he was in control from the start of the bout and hardly ever allowed his Nigerian opponent any room to maneuver his moves, finally winning with a 12-1 on technical superiority.

Punia, who had also suffered an elbow injury just before the Games, was slow at the start but came into his own as the bout progressed, inflicting takedowns at regular intervals to earn points.

The Indian wrestler eased into a 4-1 lead at the break and extended his lead comfortably in the second period.

Punia, the silver medallist from the 2019 world wrestling championships, then set up a clash with China's Lin Zushen in the quarterfinals and defeated him 6-3.

(IANS/HP)