The US space agency NASA’s Curiosity rover touched down on Mars at 5.14am (GMT) today after an apparently perfect entry and descent dubbed the “seven minutes of terror” by NASA staff. The period referred to the anxious moments during which the spacecraft punched into the Martian atmosphere at 13,000 mph, performed a series of exquisite manoeuvres, and came to a standstill on the ground, all without human intervention.
The first pictures, taken from a low-resolution camera aboard the rover, suggested the vehicle had touched down away from large rocks. The first picture sent was a small one. In one, one of the rover’s wheels was visible. In another, the rover cast a shadow over the floor of the Gale crater as tweeted by it.
Curiosity is the largest and most sophisticated rover NASA has ever sent to another planet. It ushers in a new era of exploration that could turn up evidence that Mars ever had the necessary ingredients for life — or might even still harbor life today.
I was quite interested to see it land successfully on the surface of the red planet and so I was following its twitter handle for latest, accurate and first hand information in the morning today. August 6, 2012 is definitely a great day for science and today’s achievement may sober down the dark, sad memories; we haven’t forgotten that Hiroshima was nuclear bombed on this day 67 years back and that’s also a gift of science.
Just for info, an Indian scientist Amitabh Ghosh, chair of the science operations working group at NASA Mars Exploration Rover Mission, was a member of the team that zeroed in on the Gale crater location where the car-sized rover successfully landed.
I had booked a trip for my wife, Jaya and our son, Babai for Aurangabad & Shirdi. The trip was planned and the itinerary was finalized with MakeMyTrip. Things were going on fine and I was discussing the issues with their representative.
They asked for payments and I made it. Then next day that representative sent me the related vouchers also. I did send him Jaya & Babai’s name and age for adding their names in the reservations. However, when I received the vouchers, I found the entire itinerary was booked under my name!
It would be a problem especially in case of hotels. I emailed that person asking him to confirm that it would not be a problem at hotels otherwise he should send me revised vouchers. He agreed to send revised vouchers. But then he became totally silent. There was no response from him, whatsoever.
I was a bit puzzled and was thinking what to do and then I thought of tweeting at their official twitter handle. Last night I tweeted them that I am not getting the promised service. Today, one of their representatives, Ms. Sayani Gupta, Senior Executive – Customer Delight called Jaya and then sent me email asking for the problems. I sent her complete details. She immediately responded back with revised vouchers with correct name.
Thanks to Twitter, the issue is resolved fast. Thanks to MakeMyTrip for quickly attending to the tweets.
The image below is probably familiar to everyone. This particular Mickey Mouse impression, however, has been caught on planet Mercury by NASA’s Messenger spacecraft.
This particular crater configuration is in Mercury’s south, near a crater named Magritte. “The shadowing helps define the striking ‘Mickey Mouse’ resemblance, created by the accumulation of craters over Mercury’s long geologic history,” says NASA in the photo description on Flickr.
Messenger is the first spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury. During its one-year primary mission, Messenger acquired 88,746 images and other data sets. The spacecraft is currently in a yearlong extended mission, with plans to acquire more than 80,000 additional images of Mercury.
43 years ago today, on July 20th, 1969, astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong aboard Apollo 11 became the first humans to land on the moon. Six hours later, Armstrong reported the moon’s surface dust as “very fine-grained” and “almost like a powder.” As he stepped off the lunar module he then spoke his famous words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” as the world watched in awe.
On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 was launched from Cape Kennedy Space Center atop a huge Saturn V rocket. On July 20, 1969, the Lunar Module, nicknamed the “Eagle”, touched down on the surface of the moon at Tranquility Base. Upon landing, Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong reported “The Eagle Has Landed”. A few hours later, Neil Armstrong, stepped off of the Eagle’s ladder, placed one foot upon the moon’s surface and proclaimed: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”.
I still remember then I was a small child studying in class-2. There were no televisions at our homes. The television was quite a new phenomenon during those days. We had one television in our school. It was in the evening, we all gathered at the school hall to watch the first landing of human beings on the surface of the moon. I believe that was my first Television show as I cannot remember any show on television that I watched prior to that. It was really a memorable incident and we all clapped with joy as we saw Neil Armstrong jumped to land on the moon. We were all awestruck!
July 20th is observed as Moon Day to commemorate the day man first walked on the moon in 1969. Happy Moon Day!
Nine-year-old Martha Payne, a pupil at Lochgilphead Primary School in the west of Scotland had started a blog – Neverseconds taking photos of her school meals and rating them. This became a worldwide hit. It has already more than 5.3 million page views.
Martha, an aspiring journalist, began the blog in late April as a writing project with her father. With permission from her teachers, she posted photos of her school lunches alongside commentary on each meal’s tastiness, nutritional value, the number of mouthfuls it took to eat it and whether any hairs had been found. Soon, readers from as far away as the United States and Taiwan began sending in photos of lunches that often appeared more edible than Martha’s.
But last week, a local government council in her home town in western Scotland banned photography in her school’s cafeteria, effectively putting an end to her wildly popular project. That was their first mistake: censoring a nine-year-old who probably has more popularity on the web than many newspapers these days. So that prompted the first part of the Twitter backlash, using the hashtag #neverseconds, the name of Martha’s blog. Amid the torrent of bad publicity, the council swiftly revoked the ban.
Throughout all this, Martha also had a charity page set up to raise funds for Mary’s Meals which provides meals in African communities and helps build kitchens. Martha has used her site to raise money for Mary’s Meals, a charity that helps feed children in poor countries. Before the ban, she had raised about $3,000 for the charity. She has now already raised more than $110,000.
The web, social media has made it possible due to its immediate and wide reach. People can voice their opinions. It’s definitely a nice way to gather the public opinion. True, that this is available only to those who have the access to the technology. With the increasing spread of internet and mobile network the technology has now reached to quite a large section of the society.
The concept of watching TV when and where you want got a shot in the arm today with the announcement of NimbleTV. A new cloud-based television platform launched yesterday, April 23, providing access to pay-TV cable and satellite providers on any connected device without the need of a set-top box or digital video recorder.
The concept is an exciting one. NimbleTV, the TV Everywhere software service acts as an intermediary to traditional multichannel video program distributors by allowing users to sign up for bundled service accessed through a high-speed broadband connection.
According to the company’s website, how it works is this: you buy a cable package, and the service allows you to stream the channels (including live content) from that package to any computer, smartphone, tablet or TV. It even allows you to record up to 10,000 hours of shows to watch later.
“Customers should be able to access the TV they pay for wherever they happen to be,” CEO Anand Subramanian said. Currently in beta testing, NimbleTV bowed with two dozen channels, with additional channels and complete pricing is yet to be determined.
It isn’t clear at this point how much the service will cost or how much the cable packages you purchase through it will cost and where those packages are coming from. We’ll wait and see on pricing, but this looks like a pretty cool service.
Tessy Thomas, a scientist from India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is a rare woman who has played a key role in the making of its most potent long-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile, the Agni-V, which was successfully tested on Thursday, April 19, 2012.
She was named after Mother Teresa, the late Nobel laureate who worked with the poor in Kolkata. She grew up near a rocket launching station at Thumba (Kerala) and said her fascination with rockets and missiles began then. Interesting!
She is thought to be one of the very few women working on strategic nuclear ballistic missiles in the world. Ms. Thomas is also now being called as Agniputri, or one born of fire, after the missiles she has helped develop.
Congratulations, Ms. Thomas!
As the world-wide web continues to expand, it becomes necessary to ensure that the opportunities for fraud and extortion do not expand with it. From the banks’ perspective, a strong, secure Internet is an absolutely vital component of the global financial system.
The internet body ICANN is introducing new “top-level domains” (those suffixes such as .com and .org at the end of website addresses) to help surfers find the businesses they seek. For instance, a bank could use .bank as well as .com as a suffix. But to ensure these suffixes are not abused, and are only awarded to regulated financial institutions, there needs to be an official awarding body in place.
The US-based Financial Services Roundtable and the American Bankers’ Association have established a new body – fTLD Registry Services – to provide exactly this assurance to users. The name – fTLD – stands for “financial Top-Level Domains”. fTLD Registry Services has applied to ICANN to authorise and manage the .bank and .insurance suffixes for the financial services industry.
The objective is to create the most secure cyber environment for customers of banks and insurance firms online. I wish that this comes into a reality soon and we will have separate top-level domains for the financial industry. This will be a major step to prevent phishing of bank and insurance sites.