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NASA’s next Mars mission to probe red planet’s deep interior

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NASA

Washington, Aug 29: NASA’s next Mars mission known as InSight, which is scheduled for a 2018 lift-off, will focus on examining the deep interior of Mars, the US space agency has announced.

The long form of InSight’s name is Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, reports Xinhua news agency.

The mission is expected to launch after May 8, 2018, from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, with a Mars landing scheduled after October 2018, the agency announced on Monday.

Information gathered by mission will boost understanding of how all rocky planets formed, including Earth.

“Because the interior of Mars has churned much less than Earth’s in the past three billion years, Mars likely preserves evidence about rocky planets’ infancy better than our home planet does,” Bruce Banerdt, InSight principal investigator of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of NASA, said in a statement.

InSight is the first mission of NASA to investigate the deep interior of Mars and is part of a legacy of robotic exploration that is helping to lay the groundwork for sending humans to Mars in the 2030s.

The mission will place a stationary lander near Mars’ equator. With two solar panels that unfold like paper fans, the lander spans about 6 metres, according to NASA.

Within weeks after the landing, InSight will use a robotic arm to place its two main instruments directly and permanently onto the Martian ground, an unprecedented set of activities on Mars.

The mission was originally scheduled to launch in March 2016, but NASA suspended launch preparations in December due to a vacuum leak in the lander’s prime science instrument.

A redesigned vacuum vessel for the instrument has been built and tested, then combined with the instrument’s other components and tested again.

The instrument redesign and two-year delay add $153.8 million to its previous budget of $675 million.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems is assembling and testing the InSight spacecraft in a clean room facility near Denver, Colorado. The Mars lander’s science payload also is on track for next year’s launch.

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Disaster

Iran’s Khamenei says all must help fight ‘tragic’ virus resurgence

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Ali Khamenei

Everyone must help fight the “tragic” resurgence of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei says.

Speaking in a video conference to parliamentarians, Khamenei stated that Iran’s “enemies” fail to achieve their “anti-Iran goals” despite strong pressure on Tehran.

Earlier, Khamenei criticized the US for using “knee on neck” policies on the whole world and also accused the US of creating COVID-19.

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China raises flood response to 2nd-highest level

The water level in Taihu Lake, the country’s second-largest freshwater lake, has risen above the alert level for 15 consecutive days, said the MWR.

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Flood in China

Beijing, July 12 : China on Sunday raised the emergency response for flood control to Level II, the second-highest in the response system, as heavy rains continued to lash vast stretches of the country.

Since July 4, alert-triggering floods have been observed in 212 rivers nationwide, among which 19 topped previous water level records, Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) as saying.

By Sunday afternoon, floods in 27 provincial regions, including Jiangxi, Anhui, and Hubei had resulted in the deaths or disappearance of 141 people, and 2.25 million emergency relocations this year.

Around 28,000 homes were flattened and 3.53 million hectares of crops affected, with the direct economic loss at 82.23 billion yuan ($11 billion).

The water level in Taihu Lake, the country’s second-largest freshwater lake, has risen above the alert level for 15 consecutive days, said the MWR.

China’s State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters also lifted the emergency response to Level II later Sunday, following its last upgrade from Level IV to Level III on July 7.

The announcement came after Poyang lake, China’s largest freshwater lake located in Jiangxi province, saw its water level at the Hukou station nearing the guaranteed level of 22.5 metres at 4 p.m. on Sunday, indicating an extraordinary emergency of flood control.

Due to severe flooding, the headquarters, the Ministry of Emergency Management, and the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration on Sunday allocated disaster-relief supplies to Jiangxi, Hunan, and Guizhou.

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Thousands march in UK in support of Black Lives Matter

The Sussex force said the man was arrested and became aggressive towards officers before being placed on the ground.

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Black Live Matter Protest Brighton

London, July 12 : Some 5,000 people took to the streets of UK’s Brighton city in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, the media reported.

Large crowds of demonstrators set off from the city’s Palace Pier on Saturday afternoon, with many carrying signs that read “Decolonise everything” and “Defund the police”, the Metro newspaper reported.

Protesters shouted “black lives matter every day” and “UK is not innocent” as they walked together along the seafront and were serenaded by a string quartet as they passed the Brighton war memorial.

Congregating at The Level, thousands of demonstrators called out together: “It is our duty to do this every day. It is our duty to fight for racial justice. It is our duty to win. We are stronger together.

“We are here with love, peace and solidarity. We have nothing to lose – too many have already lost too much.”

Saturday’s march came days after footage of a young man being held down by police emerged, according to the Metro newspaper report.

He shouted “I can’t breathe” during the incident, complaining that one of the officers was putting pressure on his neck.

The Sussex force said the man was arrested and became aggressive towards officers before being placed on the ground.

The incident has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Saturday’s demonstration follows mass anti-racism protests across the world in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American who died under police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

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