ISRO to inject Chandrayaan 2 into lunar orbit

Agencies
August 19,2019

New Delhi, Aug 19: In a significant milestone for India's Moon mission, ISRO will fire Chandrayaan2's liquid engine on Tuesday to insert the spacecraft into a lunar orbit.

"It's tomorrow morning (tentatively between 8.30 am and 9.30 am). It's challenging," Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation K Sivan told PTI on Monday on the operation to put the spacecraft in an orbit around the Moon.

Following this, there will be further four orbit manoeuvres to make the spacecraft enter into its final orbit passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from Moon's surface, ISRO has said.

Subsequently, the Vikram lander will separate from the orbiter on September 2, according to the Bengaluru-headquartered space agency.

Two orbit manoeuvres will be performed on the lander before the initiation of powered descent to make a soft landing on the lunar surface on September 7, ISRO said.

Chandrayaan2, launched on July 22 by GSLV MkIII-M1 vehicle, had entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory on August 14 after final orbit raising manoeuvre of the spacecraft was successfully carried out.

The health of the spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennas at Byalalu, near Bengaluru.

All systems on board Chandrayaan2 spacecraft are performing normal, ISRO said on August 14.

According to ISRO, Chandrayaan2 — India's second lunar expedition — will shed light on a completely unexplored region of the Moon, its South Pole.

"This mission will help us gain a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon by conducting detailed topographical studies, comprehensive mineralogical analyses, and a host of other experiments on the lunar surface," the space agency has said.

"While there, we will also explore discoveries made by Chandrayaan1, such as the presence of water molecules on the Moon and new rock types with unique chemical composition," it said.

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Home-made face masks may need at least two layers to stop Covid-19 spread: Study

News Network
July 24,2020

Melbourne, Jul 24: Home-made cloth face masks may need a minimum of two layers, and preferably three, to prevent the dispersal of viral droplets associated with Covid-19, according to a study.

Researchers, including those from the University of New South Wales in Australia, noted that viral droplets are generated by those infected with the novel coronavirus when they cough, sneeze, or speak.

As face masks have been proven to protect healthy people from inhaling infectious droplets as well as reducing the spread from those who are already infected, several types of material have been suggested for these, but based on little or no evidence of how well they work, the scientists said.

In the current study, published in the journal Thorax, the researchers compared the effectiveness of single and double-layer cloth face coverings with a surgical face mask (Bao Thach) at reducing droplet spread.

They said the single layer covering was made from a folded piece of cotton T shirt and hair ties, and the double layer covering was made using the sew method described by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The scientists used a tailored LED lighting system and a high-speed camera to film the dispersal of airborne droplets produced by a healthy person with no respiratory infection, during speaking, coughing, and sneezing while wearing each type of mask.

Their analysis showed that the surgical face mask was the most effective at reducing airborne droplet dispersal, although even a single layer cloth face covering reduced the droplet spread from speaking.

But the study noted that a double layer covering was better than a single layer in reducing the droplet spread from coughing and sneezing.

According to the researchers, the effectiveness of cloth face masks is dependent on the number of layers of the covering, the type of material used, design, fit as well as the frequency of washing.

Based on their observations, they said a home made cloth mask with at least two layers is preferable to a single layer mask.

"Guidelines on home-made cloth masks should stipulate multiple layers," the scientists said, adding that there is a need for more research to inform safer cloth mask design.

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Market movement to hinge on corporate earnings, COVID-19 trend: Analysts

Agencies
July 19,2020

New Delhi, Jul 19: Indian equities will be driven by a host of factors like corporate earnings, coronavirus cases trend and geo-political developments this week, according to analysts.

Market participants will also keenly watch the progress of monsoon, with experts saying that the farm sector revival will play a key role in lifting the coronavirus-hit economy.

"With no major event, the ongoing earnings season and global cues will continue to dictate the market trend. Besides, the progress of monsoon will also be closely watched," Ajit Mishra, VP - Research, Religare Broking, said.

Globally, the rising coronavirus infections and geo-political tensions have created uncertainty on the economic recovery front.

With India's COVID-19 cases fast approaching the 11 lakh mark, the third-highest behind the US and Brazil, and the death toll nearing 27,000, participants are expected to tread cautiously going forward.

At global level, confirmed COVID-19 cases have crossed 1.4 crore and deaths totalled about 6 lakh.

Markets globally will closely follow developments on the trade and political level between the US and China, according to analysts.

"We would continue witnessing stock-specific action as the earnings season unfold. Though the near-term momentum looks positive, we would advise traders to be cautious, given flaring US-China trade relations, persistent rise in virus cases and implementation of fresh lockdowns in parts of the country," said Siddhartha Khemka, Head - Retail Research, Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd.

HDFC Bank will remain in focus on Monday after having announced its June quarter earnings on Saturday.

The lender reported 19.6 per cent rise in its standalone net profit at Rs 6,658.62 crore for April-June 2020; while its income rose to Rs 34,453.28 crore during the quarter.

Other major companies to announce their quarterly results this week are Axis Bank, Bajaj Finance, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Bajaj Auto and ITC.

"Going ahead market participants will closely track the development related to covid vaccine, the rising infection of coronavirus, development on economic activities, corporate earnings and US-China relationship," said Sumeet Bagadia, Executive Director, Choice Broking.

On weekly basis, the Sensex gathered 425.81 points or 1.16 per cent, and the Nifty gained 133.65 points or 1.24 per cent.

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Entire Earth vibrating less due to COVID-19 lockdowns says study

Agencies
July 25,2020

In a study conducted in 117 countries, researchers have found that the world is experiencing the most dramatic reduction in the seismic noise (the hum of vibrations in the planet's crust) in recorded history due to global COVID-19 lockdowns.

Measured by instruments called seismometers, seismic noise is caused by vibrations within the Earth, which travel like waves and the waves can be triggered by earthquakes, volcanoes, and bombs - but also by daily human activity like travel and industry.

This quiet period was likely caused by the total global effect of social distancing measures, closure of services and industry, and drops in tourism and travel, the study published in the journal Science, reported.

The new research, led by the Royal Observatory of Belgium and five other institutions around the world including Imperial College London (ICL), showed that the dampening of 'seismic noise' caused by humans was more pronounced in more densely populated areas.

"Our study uniquely highlights just how much human activities impact the solid Earth, and could let us see more clearly than ever what differentiates human and natural noise," said study co-author Stephen Hicks from ICL in the UK.

For the findings, the research team looked at seismic data from a global network of 268 seismic stations in 117 countries and found significant noise reductions compared to before any lockdown at 185 of those stations.

Researchers tracked the 'wave' of quietening between March and May as worldwide lockdown measures took hold.

The largest drops in vibrations were seen in the most densely populated areas, like Singapore and New York City, but drops were also seen in remote areas like Germany's the Black Forest and Rundu in Namibia.

Citizen-owned seismometers, which tend to measure more localised noise, noted large drops around universities and schools around Cornwall, UK and Boston, US - a drop in noise 20 per cent larger than seen during school holidays.

The findings showed that countries like Barbados, where lockdown coincided with the tourist season, saw a 50 per cent decrease in noise.

"The changes have also given us the opportunity to listen in to the Earth's natural vibrations without the distortions of human input," the study authors wrote.

Earlier in April, a study published in the journal Nature, reported at least a 30 per cent reduction in that amount of ambient human noise since lockdown began in Belgium.

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