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US shutdown delays space missions but NASA not grounded: Report,

Just days ahead of its New Year’s 2019 close encounter, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has detected an anomaly related to its next flyby target — an icy world a billion kilometres past Pluto and more than 6.5 billion km from Earth.

The New Horizons probe, which flew past Pluto in 2015, is set to encounter the Kuiper Belt object, referred to as 2014 MU69 — nicknamed Ultima Thule.


New Horizons will flyby it on New Year’s Eve and January 1.

Among its approach observations over the past three months, the spacecraft has been taking hundreds of images to measure Ultima’s brightness and how it varies as the object rotates.

The spacecraft has not been able to detect the repeated pulsations in brightness during every rotation produced — what scientists refer to as a light curve — that accompanies all celestial objects in orbit near a bright star.

“It’s really a puzzle,” said New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute, a US-based non-profit.


New Horizons will flyby it on New Year’s Eve and January 1. Wikimedia Commons

“I call this Ultima’s first puzzle — why does it have such a tiny light curve that we can’t even detect it? I expect the detailed flyby images coming soon to give us many more mysteries, but I did not expect this, and so soon.”

The team has various explanations that could explain the tiny, still undetected light curve.

“It’s possible that Ultima’s rotation pole is aimed right at or close to the spacecraft,” said Marc Buie, also from the Institute.

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“Another is it may be surrounded by a cloud of dust that obscures its light curve, much the way a comet’s coma often overwhelms the light reflected by its central nucleus,” said Mark Showalter, from the SETI Institute, another US-based research non-profit.

However, the spacecraft, which would fly about three times closer to MU69 than it did to Pluto in July 2015, would allow cameras to provide a more detailed look that would help decode the anomaly.

New Horizons extended mission also includes observations of more than two-dozen other Kuiper Belt objects, as well as measurements of the plasma, gas and dust environment of the Kuiper Belt. (IANS)


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The Centre will launch a pilot project on the use of indigenously manufactured drones for delivering medicines in the undulating landscape of Jammu and surrounding areas from Saturday

The Centre will launch a pilot project on the use of indigenously manufactured drones for delivering medicines in the undulating landscape of Jammu and surrounding areas from Saturday with a focus on vaccines delivery initially. "This is going to be a pilot project for the area. The drone is developed and manufactured entirely by our scientists," Union Minister for Science & Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh told mediapersons. Singh said he himself will be launching the project at Jammu.

The drone is developed by the scientists at Bengaluru's National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), a constituent of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), an autonomous Society that is headed by the Prime Minister. For now, the delivery would be limited to Covid vaccines and once successful, it would be expanded to be used for regular delivery of medicines in the remote, hilly areas.

drone flying in sky The drone is developed by the scientists at Bengaluru's National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL). | Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash

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According to him Amitabh Bachchan is a great actor in the industry.

Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan shares how he feels when people compare him with his father Amitabh Bachchan on the singing reality show 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa'. He also requests contestant Rajshree Bag to sing a track 'Bahon Mein Chale Aao' featuring his mother Jaya Bachchan.

Abhishek said after looking at the performance of Rajshree, who is often compared with Lata Mangeshkar on the show, that she reminds him of being compared with his father. "Rajshree, whenever I have got the chance to watch the show, I've seen people compare you to Lata didi. It actually reminded me about how people compare me with my father and ask me how I feel about it."

According to him Amitabh Bachchan is a great actor in the industry and this is what he says to everyone making these comparisons. "My answer to them is that there's no greater actor in this film industry than Amitabh Bachchan and if I'm being compared to him, I am sure I must have done something good."

"Similarly, your voice has a different kind of magic like Lata ji and that's why people are comparing your voice with her. I feel you should always take this as a compliment," he concluded. 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa' airs on Saturday and Sunday on Zee TV. (IANS/ MBI)


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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Winters in India have always beckoned for that hot, steaming bowl of tomato and pepper rasam or the mellow, millet based Raab.

By IANSlife

Winters in India have always beckoned for that hot, steaming bowl of tomato and pepper rasam or the mellow, millet based Raab. Certain dishes like sarson ka saag, undhiyu, nimona pulao are winter specialites in the country. Seasonal food has always been an Indian speciality -- we switch our choice in fruits, vegetables, sometimes even grains with the onset of different season. The preference of using specific ingredients during certain climates is visible in our sweets as well. It's common to find local and traditional delicacies made of jaggery, instead of sugar during the winters. Case in point -- the Nolen Gur Rasgulla, a speciality made in Odisha and West Bengal between November to February.

Sarson Ka Saag | Sarson ka saag is traditional Punjabi dish Certain dishes like sarson ka saag, undhiyu, nimona pulao are winter specialites in the country. | Flickr

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