Monday, August 24, 2015

Cameras Delivered for NASA’s Mission

Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 9:45 PM
Cameras Delivered for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission as Launch Prep Continues
The first U.S. mission to return samples of an asteroid to Earth is another step closer to its fall 2016 launch, with the delivery of three cameras that will image and map the giant space rock.
A camera suite that will allow NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission to see a near-Earth asteroid, map it, and pick a safe and interesting place to touch the surface and collect a sample, has arrived at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver for installation to the spacecraft.
“This is another major step in preparing for our mission,” said Mike Donnelly, OSIRIS-REx project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “With the delivery of the camera suite to the spacecraft contractor, we will have our full complement of cameras and spectrometers.”

The OSIRIS-REx mission is scheduled to launch in September 2016 to study Bennu, a near-Earth asteroid that’s about one-third of a mile (approximately 500 meters) across. After rendezvousing with Bennu in 2018, the spacecraft will survey the asteroid, obtain a sample, and return it to Earth in 2023.
The University of Arizona’s camera suite, OCAMS, sits on a test 
bench that mimics its arrangement on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. 
The three cameras that compose the instrument–MapCam (left), 
PolyCam and SamCam – are the eyes of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx 
mission. They will map the asteroid Bennu, help choose a sample 
site, and ensure that the sample is correctly stowed on 
the spacecraft.
Credits: University of Arizona/Symeon Platts
The three camera instrument suite, known as OCAMS (OSIRIS-REx Camera Suite), was designed and built by the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. The largest of the three cameras, PolyCam, is a small telescope that will acquire the first images of Bennu from a distance of 1.2 million miles (2 million kilometers) and provide high resolution imaging of the sample site. MapCam will search for satellites and dust plumes around Bennu, map the asteroid in color, and provide images to construct topographic maps. SamCam will document the sample acquisition event and the collected sample. 
“PolyCam, MapCam and SamCam will be our mission’s eyes at Bennu,” said Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for OSIRIS-REx at the University of Arizona, Tucson. “OCAMS will provide the imagery we need to complete our mission while the spacecraft is at the asteroid.”
OSIRIS-REx is the first U.S. mission to sample an asteroid, and will return the largest sample from space since the Apollo lunar missions. Scientists expect that Bennu may hold clues to the origin of the solar system and the source of water and organic molecules that may have seeded life on Earth. OSIRIS-REx’s investigation will inform future efforts to develop a mission to mitigate an impact, should one be required.
"The most important goal of these cameras is to maximize our ability to successfully return a sample,” said OCAMS instrument scientist Bashar Rizk from the University of Arizona, Tucson. “Our mission requires a lot of activities during one trip – navigation, mapping, reconnaissance, sample site selection, and sampling.  While we are there, we need the ability to continuously see what is happening around the asteroid in order to make real-time decisions."

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, provides overall mission management, systems engineering and safety and mission assurance for OSIRIS-REx. Dante Lauretta is the mission's principal investigator at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver is building the spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA's New Frontiers Program. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages New Frontiers for the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

NEPAL:Nepal government should reach out to rural areas

Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 7:47 PM
A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of human lives in Nepal. It is a moment of unprecedented tragedy; the devastation of human lives and property is heartbreaking. This is again a testing time for the Nepal government.
The series of aftershocks have created an environment of fear. Even people whose houses suffered only small cracks or are fully intact are worried about entering their houses. Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced under the open sky without food and water. Those who are from outside Kathmandu have already left for their villages or are in the process of leaving. This is due to fear of aftershocks and the increasing risk of epidemic. There is shortage of water in the Kathmandu Valley. The risk of contaminated water beginning to circulate is real; the result will be diseases like cholera and dysentery.
The bodies still buried under the rubble, increase the likelihood of diseases and illnesses spreading. If bodies are not cleared soon, Nepal is going to face a grave health crisis and this will be more dangerous than the earthquake that hit the country on Saturday, 25 April. It is imperative that the dead and decaying bodies lying in villages and corridors of homes in villages are taken care of at the earliest. 

Rescuers have just begun to arrive in some of the worst hit villages in Gorkha, Dhading, Sindhupalchok, Kavre, and Nuwakot districts. Scores of settlements have been cut off from transportation and telecommunication services following the earthquake. The injured have not received treatment even six days after the disaster, while the displaced have been compelled to suffer, hungry under the open sky.
There is already outrage at the non-performance of the government. Some of this outrage may be genuine, because a lot of people in Kathmandu are facing immense hardship and they see no signs of the government making efforts to provide relief. The government has been slow in distributing relief packages and in reaching out to people outside Kathmandu. Given the scale and intensity of Saturday’s quake, the State’s ineffectiveness has never been more apparent.
Due of lack of efficiency in management, the government has been in a complaint mode, and has been asking foreign nations and international organizations to request permission before arriving with aid and personnel. Instead of demanding permission, the government of Nepal should be proactive enough to deploy them to earthquake affected areas outside the Kathmandu Valley where the dead have started decaying and those alive have started dying waiting for rescue and relief packages, including masks, water, food, and tents.
The rest of Nepal, outside the Valley, is where the problems, post-earthquake, are most pressing; little attention has been given to the conditions of marginalized Nepalese, who need to be helped the most immediately. Therefore, the AHRC requests the Nepal government to support aid organizations that are focusing on rural areas. Furthermore the AHRC asks that the government dedicate its relief efforts and financial support to specific causes targeting the marginalized communities and to organizations that have an on-going long-term commitment.
This is a testing moment for all countries that are providing assistance. This is a moment to show solidarity. Therefore, the AHRC appeals to all parties to engage in relief and rescue activities in the rural areas, where the visibility is low but the needs are most.
The AHRC also appeals to people of Nepal to show national solidarity and resilience; helping each other during this time of crisis is what the nation needs. The crisis will be over soon, and Nepal will stand up and rise again. The only thing required is courage and motivation.
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About AHRC:The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Relief work by RAMT

Rapid Action Medical Team helping actively
The Indian Air Force (IAF) Rapid Action Medical Team (RAMT) equipped with necessary medical aid sent to earthquake hit Nepal, seen after landing at Kathmandu Airport. (PIB)  29-April-2015