Japan’s Hayabusa2 Probe Descends Towards Final Touchdown

The probe of Hayabusa2 of Japan began descending on Wednesday for its final touchdown on a distant asteroid in the hope to collect samples that could educated about the evolution of the solar system.

“At 9:58, we made a ‘Go’ decision for the Hayabusa2 probe’s second touchdown,” the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said in a statement.

By early afternoon, JAXA said the probe had descended around five kilometres and was on track to touchdown Thursday on the Ryugu asteroid, some 300 million kilometres (185 million miles) from Earth.

If successful, it will be the second time it has landed on the desolate asteroid as part of a complex mission that has also involved sending rovers and robots.

The mission hopes to collect pristine materials from beneath the surface of the asteroid that could provide insights into what the solar system was like at its birth, some 4.6 billion years ago.

To get at those crucial materials, in April an “impactor” was fired from Hayabusa2 towards Ryugu in a risky process that created a crater on the asteroid’s surface and stirred up material that had not previously been exposed to the atmosphere.

“This is the second touchdown, but doing a touchdown is a challenge whether it’s the first or the second,” Yuichi Tsuda, Hayabusa2 project manager, told reporters ahead of the mission.

“The whole team will do our best so that we’ll be able to complete the operation,” he said.

Hayabusa2’s first touchdown was in February, when it landed briefly on Ryugu and fired a bullet into the surface to puff up dust for collection, before blasting back to its holding position.

The second touchdown requires special preparations because any problems could mean the probe loses the precious materials already gathered during its first landing.

A photo of the crater taken by Hayabusa2’s camera shows that parts of the asteroid’s surface are covered with materials that are “obviously different” from the rest of the surface, mission manager Makoto Yoshikawa told reporters.

The probe is expected to make a brief touchdown on an area some 20 metres away from the centre of the crater to collect the unidentified materials believed to be “ejecta” from the blast.

“It would be safe to say that extremely attractive materials are near the crater,” Tsuda said.

The touchdown will be the last major part of Hayabusa2’s mission, and when the probe returns to Earth next year scientists hope to learn more about the history of the solar system and even the origin of life from its samples.

“I’m really looking forward to analysing these materials,” Yoshikawa said.

At about the size of a large refrigerator and equipped with solar panels to keep it powered, Hayabusa2 is the successor to JAXA’s first asteroid explorer, Hayabusa — Japanese for falcon.

That probe returned with dust samples from a smaller, potato-shaped asteroid in 2010, despite various setbacks during its epic seven-year odyssey and was hailed as a scientific triumph.

Hayabusa2 observes the surface of Ryugu with its camera and sensing equipment but has also dispatched two tiny MINERVA-II rover robots as well as the French-German robot MASCOT to help surface observation.

Its photos of Ryugu, which means “Dragon Palace” in Japanese and refers to a castle at the bottom of the ocean in an ancient Japanese tale, show the asteroid has a rough surface full of boulders.

Launched in December 2014, the Hayabusa2 mission has a price tag of around 30 billion yen ($270 million) and is scheduled to return to Earth with its samples in 2020.

But its mission has already made history, including with the creation of the crater on Ryugu’s surface.

In 2005, NASA’s Deep Impact project succeeded in creating an artificial crater on a comet but only for observation purposes.

ISRO Puts Forward 4 Theories Behind Moon’s Origin Before Chandrayaan 2 Launch

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has come up with interesting theories just before the launch of Chandrayaan 2 on July 15. It posted a picture on tweeter and has poated four theories on the origin of the moon.

ISRO has tweeted, “Which of these theories is correct? Is there a fifth alternative that no one else has considered? We are looking to find the answer to these questions and more through Chandrayaan 2 — the world’s first mission to the Moon’s south polar region!”

The Earth’s rotational speed caused the Moon to split from the planet, while its gravitational pull anchored this fragment to become our natural satellite.

Giant Impact Hypothesis

A collision between the Earth and another celestial body caused a segment of the planet to break off and become the Moon.

Co-accretion Theory

A single cloud of gas created the Moon and the Earth while orbiting a black hole.

Capture Theory

The Moon was an untethered object before it was captured by the Earth’s gravitational field during a fly by.

Chandrayaan-2 mission consists of Orbiter, Lander and Rover. It will be in space for 59 days before it lands in the month of September. The radar will move out and rover will carry the samples.

The mission will have 14 scientific instruments (payloads), including 8 in the orbiter, 4 in the lander and 2 in the rover. One instrument in the rover is passive one from the US space agency — NASA.

ISRO has named the lander “Vikram”, after India’s space pioneer Vikram Sarabhai (1919-1971) and rover “Pragyan”, which in Sanskrit means wisdom.

“The rocket will place the orbiter in the geo-transfer orbit for its voyage to the lunar orbit, covering a whopping 385,000km from earth to moon in 50 days for the lander to have a soft landing near its south pole on 6 September,” said Sivan.

The rocket will separate the orbiter minutes after the launch at 170km perigee (nearer to earth) and 38,000km apogee (away from earth) and get into geo transfer orbit for its long journey (385,000km) to the lunar orbit in 16 days and descend to 100km from the lunar surface by 6 September.

50th Anniversary Of Man’s First Landing On Moon, Apollo 11 Mission To Be Projected From July 16- 20

On the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, a 363-feet Saturn V rocket that took man to the moon, will be projected on the east face of the Washington Monument here from July 16-20.

Towards the end, the massive projection will be accompanied by a special 17-minute show, ‘Apollo 50: Go for the Moon’, that recreates the launch of Apollo 11.

The show combines full-motion projection mapping artwork and archival footage to tell the story of the first Moon landing. It will unfold on the face of the Washington Monument and supporting screens, including a 40-feet wide recreation of the famous Kennedy Space Centre countdown clock.

The Apollo 11, which launched on July 16, 1969, with three astronauts — Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins — touched down on the moon’s surface on July 20. Exactly 50 years on, it is being marked as a historic day worldwide.

This free-to-attend presentation is by the National Air and Space Museum, the US Department of the Interior and 59 Productions. It is directed by Richard Slaney, with music by Emmy Award-winning composer Jeff Beal.

Roger Federer Announces Retirement At Wimbledon, Says He’ll Stop Playing Tennis Completely

Renowned tennis player, Roger Federer has been taking steps to preserve his ageing body. Federer chooses his tournaments wisely to avoid burning out. He gets the more his warm-up routine changes, to prevent injury.

Federer booked his place in the Wimbledon quarter-finals yesterday having cruised through the first four matches of the tournament.

But there has been one part of a matchday which Federer does not take a particular liking too.

“I mean, I just think I have to warm up much more than I used to, which is not the most fun bit, to be honest,” Federer said.

“I liked jumping up and down for a minute when I was 21 or 19.

“Now we go through this entire routine. I’m like, Really, do we really have to do it?

“I guess it helps, so I’m doing it. When I get bored of it, I’ll stop playing tennis completely or I’ll stop that routine first before I stop playing (smiling).”

Federer beat young Italian Matteo Berrettini in straight sets on Centre Court yesterday.

The 23-year-old complained of bad light towards the end of the match but Federer feels his experience helps to block out the external circumstances.

“I think again experience helps. I’ve played in all sorts of conditions,” he added.

“You look back at the French Open against Rafa [Nadal], how windy it was there. I’ve played in dark conditions in the past here, in Wimbledon, or in other places.

“When you’re older, it doesn’t really have a huge impact on you. It’s as hard this side of the court like on the other, switching sides. I think that’s where maybe age helps you a little bit.

“Fitness-wise, I would say I take things a little differently than I did before.

“I would say it’s more the quality than the quantity because I have to rest the body when I can.”

Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms Apologises For Kangana Ranaut’s Spat With Journalist

Balaji Telefilms, the banner of Ekta Kapoor expressed regret on Wednesday over actor Kangana Ranaut’s spat with a journalist during a promotional event for the film Judgementall Hai Kya.

The banner apologised saying that it would like to apologise as the “untoward incident” happened at their event on Sunday.

“A lot is being reported about the debate that ensued between our film Judgementall Hai Kya actor and journalist Justin Rao, at the film’s song launch event on July 7, 2019. Unfortunately, the event took an unpleasant turn. While the people involved in it fairly held their own perspectives but because it happened at the event of our film, we, as the producers, would like to apologize and express regret for this untoward incident. We would like to maintain that our intention was not to disrespect or hurt anyone’s sentiments,” the statement read.

The production house also hoped the media will not “let this one incident hamper the team effort that has gone behind making the film“.

The statement comes a day after a delegation from The Entertainment Journalists’ Guild of India met Kapoor and conveyed their decision to boycott Ranaut.

Members of the Guild demanded a public apology from both Kapoor and Ranaut, journalists present at Tuesday’s meeting said.

“We, as a guild, have collectively decided to boycott Ms Ranaut and not give her any media coverage,” the delegation said in its letter to Kapoor, adding that the boycott will not affect the film or the rest of the cast.

The members said in the letter that Ranaut had lashed out at the journalist even before he could complete the question he was asking at the press conference to promote the film on the pretext that he was running a “smear campaign” against her.

Ranaut had also accused Rao of writing negatively about her film Manikarnika.

The journalist denied the allegations and the actor’s claim that he personally messaged her and spent three hours in her vanity van. He said he met the actor briefly for an interview and there were no personal messages.

Ranaut’s sister Rangoli Chandel said on Twitter that the actor will not apologise.

“I promise one thing that there will be no apology from Kangana,” she tweeted and described the journalists as anti-national.

Judgementall Hai Kya,which also features Rajkummar Rao, is scheduled to be released on July 26.

US Appeals Court Calls Trump’s Blocking Of Twitter Critics ‘Unconstitutional’

A US federal court ruled on Tuesday saying that President Donald Trump violated the Constitution by blocking people whose views he disliked from his Twitter account. In a decision with 3-0 lead, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the First Amendment forbids Trump from using Twitter’s “blocking” function to limit access to his account, which has 61.8 million followers.

“The First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees,” Circuit Judge Barrington Parker wrote, citing several Supreme Court decisions.

Neither the White House nor the US Department of Justice immediately responded to requests for comment. The White House social media director Dan Scavino is also a defendant. Twitter had no immediate comment.

Trump has made his @RealDonaldTrump account a central and controversial part of his presidency, using it to promote his agenda and to attack critics.

His use of the blocking function was challenged by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, as well as seven Twitter users he had blocked.

“The decision will help ensure the integrity and vitality of digital spaces that are increasingly important to our democracy,” Jameel Jaffer, the Knight institute’s executive director, said in a statement.

Tuesday’s decision upheld a May 2018 ruling by US District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan, which prompted Trump to unblock some accounts.

The Justice Department has called her ruling “fundamentally misconceived,” saying Trump used Twitter to express his views, not to offer a public forum for discussion.

Parker, however, said Trump’s account bears “all the trappings of an official, state-run account” and is “one of the White House’s main vehicles for conducting official business.”

He said Trump and his aides have characterized the president’s tweets as official statements, and that even the National Archives views the tweets as official records.

Parker also found it ironic that Trump censored speech during a time when the conduct of the US government and its officials was subject to intense, passionate and wide-open debate.

“This debate, as uncomfortable and as unpleasant as it frequently may be, is nonetheless a good thing,” he wrote. “We remind the litigants and the public that if the First Amendment means anything, it means that the best response to disfavored speech on matters of public concern is more speech, not less.”

The case is Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University et al v Trump et al, 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 18-1691.

Congress Denies Demanding Of Front Row Seat For Rahul Gandhi In Lok Sabha

The Congress dismissing media reports talking about said on Tuesday that it has not demanded a front-row seat for Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha. It has called the contrary as “propaganda”.

The clarification came after media reports claimed the government has ignored the Congress party’s demand for an additional front-row seat in the Lok Sabha.

According to the report, the Congress was given only two seats in the first row for party leaders Sonia Gandhi and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

“We have proposed seat no. 466 for Rahul Gandhi ji. Desist from false propaganda,” Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury clarified.

The number of front row seats a party gets in the Lok Sabha depends on its strength in the House.

Rahul Gandhi recently announced his resignation, assuming responsibility for the Congress’ defeat in the 2019 general election, wherein it only won 52 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats. No announcement of the former party president’s successor has been made.

This comes after the Congress, in much turmoil in Karnataka, protested in the Parliament on Tuesday, in which Gandhi was also seen raising slogans. Several legislators of the Congress-JD(S) coalition have resigned, leading to a massive political crisis in the state.

The former Congress president is set to visit Amethi, the Congress bastion he lost to BJP’s Smriti Irani, for the first since the election on Wednesday.

Micromax Launches Fully Automatic Washing Machine, Google Certified Android TV Lineup In India

Micromax Informatics Ltd. launched two new consumer electronics in India on Tuesday. It has added a new Google certified Android TV lineup in its home entertainment products alongside its first ever fully automatic top loading washing machine for online consumers.

Both products will be made available exclusively on Flipkart.

The Google certified Android TV range will come in three display sizes including 32-inch, 40-inch and 43-inch TVs. With the 16:9 aspect ratio, these new Micromax Android TVs will come with built-in support for Google Assistant and Google Chromecast. Also, users will get access to Google Play store, games, movies, music and more. Micromax has included Dolby Digital Sound, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity like standard features with the new TV range.

Taking that a step further, today we have announced a range of two new products in the consumer durables segment, with an aim to redefine the entertainment experience and everyday solutions for the Indian consumer. The Google Certified Android TV is meant for those who want a larger than life entertainment experience by being packed with multiple compelling features and the fully automatic washing machine aims to make everyday solutions simpler and hassle-free, said Rohan Agarwal, Director, Micromax Informatics Ltd.

The new Micromax Android TV range will be available on Flipkart starting July 11. The different screen sizes cost differently, and the range starts at Rs 13,999 onwards. On the other hand, the fully automatic top loading washing machine will cost Rs 10,999. It will also be available on Flipkart starting July 15. The fully automatic top loading washing machine will be available with a wash capacity of 6.00 kg, 6.5 kg, 7.00 kg and 8.00 kg.

Last time around, Micromax had launched two big-screen 4K Ultra-HD smart televisions in India. The 49-inch and 55-inch 4K Micromax Android TVs are available at Rs 51,990 and Rs 61,990 respectively. These were company’s first ever Google Certified Android televisions. It offered 4K Ultra-HD resolution with high-dynamic range (HDR) technology. Other standard features like the Chromecast, Google Assistant support was just like the new Android TV range.

Realme C2 Reaches 1 Million Units Sale

The phone that was #DeshKaRealChoice or People’s Real Choice phone in an attempted flame war on Twitter between Realme India’s CEO Madhav Sheth and Redmi, Xiaomi’s affordable brand.

The executive mocked the newly launched Redmi 7A, highlighting some features of the Realme C2 that overshadow Redmi’s entry-level phone.

Realme C2 is priced at INR5,999 (about $85/€76) and was launched in April, meaning it managed to surpass the one-million mark in just three months. The device packs a Helio P22 chipset and up to 3GB/32 GB memory. It also has dual cameras on the back and ColorOS 6 Lite user interface.

The sale is part of Realme Million Days and goes from today until Friday, July 12. The Realme C2 can be purchased from Flipkart or at Realme’s official website.

Instead of being distributed through a flash sale where it sells in first-come-first-serve order, everyone will be able to purchase the phone.