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Nations and their Moon Missions

The most notable finding of the mission was the presence of water molecules on moon which in turn has revived the interest on moon missions

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Chandrayaan-2, Moon, India
Embarking on its second voyage to the moon on July 15, an Indian spacecraft and rover would land near the lunar south pole. Pixabay

It was in 1950s when mission to the moon caught the fancy of several countries. But in sometime they were abandoned. In fact, the moon itself became an abandoned planet, said M. Annadurai, former Director, U.R. Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Lately, the moon is back into trend again. And this could be credited to India’s first moon mission Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 which found water molecules on the moon, Annadurai, who was the key man behind that mission, told IANS.

The former Soviet Union (now Russia) and the US had undertaken several moon missions since 1958.

However, it was the Soviet mission in September 1959 that succeeded first when its lunar impactor carried by its rocket Luna landed on the moon’s surface. The next month Russia followed it by a flyby mission.

After that, there were several failed attempts made by Russia and the US to land on the moon.

In July 1964, the US achieved success with its impactor landed on the moon surface. The spacecraft Ranger-7 was carried by its rocket Atlas LV-3 Agena B.

In 1966, Russia’s Luna-9 became the first spacecraft to land on the moon. The same year, the US made a successful landing with its lander on the moon.

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

The first crewed mission to the moon was by the US in December 1968. The spacecraft Apollo-8 orbited the moon and returned back to Earth.

The first human moon landing mission was launched by the US on July 16, 1969 with Neil Armstrong becoming the first man to step on the moon on July 21, 1969.

Later, Japan sent up its lunar mission in 1990, followed by the European Space Agency in 2003.

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Asian giant China started its moon mission in 2007 with its orbiter. The country landed its rover on the moon in 2013. Earlier this year, China landed its spacecraft on the far side of the moon.

On its part, India began its moon mission on October 22, 2008 with its spacecraft Chandrayaan-1. The country also landed its Moon Impact Probe on November 14, 2008, thereby becoming the fourth country to have a touch down on the moon surface.

The most notable finding of the mission was the presence of water molecules on moon which in turn has revived the interest on moon missions. (IANS)

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Scientists: Nations Need Stronger Pledges to Curb Climate Change

Governments are moving in the right direction, but nowhere near enough, so hopefully they will be willing to take on much stronger commitments

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Scientists, Nations, Climate Change
A woman wearing a mask walks past buildings on a polluted day in Handan, Hebei province, China, Jan. 12, 2019. China is reportedly the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases. VOA

The vast majority of national commitments in the 2015 Paris Agreement are inadequate to prevent the worst effects of global warming, scientists said on Tuesday, naming the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitting countries as among those that must ratchet up their efforts.

“Governments are moving in the right direction, but nowhere near enough, so hopefully they will be willing to take on much stronger commitments” in next month’s United Nation’s climate summit in Spain, said Robert Watson, lead author of the report by the nonprofit Universal Ecological Fund.

The report ranked nearly 75%, or 136, of the pledges as insufficient, including ones by major carbon emitters China, the United States, and India. A dozen, by countries including Australia, Japan and Brazil, were judged only partially sufficient.

Countries at next month’s summit in Madrid will hash out some details of the international pact to curb warming. Chile withdrew as host following weeks of riots protesting inequality.

Scientists, Nations, Climate Change
A protestor holds a placard in front of the India Gate during a protest demanding government to take immediate steps to control air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 5, 2019. VOA

Of the 184 pledges countries made under the climate agreement, only 36 are ambitious enough to help reach the agreement’s goal of keeping global warming less than 1.5 Celsius (2.7 F) above pre-industrial levels, the report said.

Most of those 36 are by countries in the European Union.

Watson, a former chair of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said the report could be read two ways: “You can read ‘My God it’s hopeless’, or ‘My God this is a wake up call.'”

Watson estimated that even if all nations meet their existing pledges, the world would be headed for temperature rise of between 3 and 3.5 degrees Celsius, which could lead to more extreme weather, rising sea levels and the loss of plant and animal species.

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The report rated the European Union’s 28 member states as having sufficient pledges because they aim to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 40% below the 1990 level by 2030.

It ranked the United States as insufficient because President Donald Trump reversed former President Barack Obama’s climate policies and yanked Washington out of the pact. The administration, which argues that Paris Agreement would cost U.S. taxpayers too much money, filed official paperwork on Monday to withdraw.

China, the world’s top emitter of greenhouse gases, and India, also came in as insufficient because their pledges focus on carbon intensity targets, which lower emissions per unit of gross domestic product, or GDP. Because those economies are growing and coal produces much of their electricity, total emissions have risen sharply even though carbon intensity levels in China and India have fallen. (VOA)