MOM Celebrated Its 1,000th Day In Space, And Will Last Longer Than Expected

mom spacecraft

The MOM spacecraft recently celebrated its 1,000th day spent up in space.

The Mars Orbiter Mission or MOM celebrated its 1,000th Earth day in space, a feat not many expected it to achieve as the orbiter was estimated to last 180 days or over six months in space. Also, its remaining fuel levels also mean that the orbiter may still have “more years” left.

MOM Outlasted its Expected Target

MOM was launched on November 5, 2013, aboard a PSLV-C25 rocket and reached its Martian target nine months later. Starting with September 24, 2014, the spacecraft has been in a fixed orbit around the Red Planet. Also since then, it has been collecting and beaming back data. Until now, MOM’s onboard camera returned over 715 pictures.

Initially set to orbit the planet for 180 days, Mars Orbiter Mission outlived this estimates by almost ten times. However, the spacecraft did have to face some quite serious issues. One of them is its “blackout”, which lasted from June 2, 2015, to July 2, 2015. This is considered to have been caused by a solar conjunction.

Also, from May 18, 2016, up till May 30, 2016, MOM had a “whiteout”, which left it unable to communicate with Earth. This was generated by Earth coming in between Mars and the Sun.

ISRO (the Indian Space Research Organization) launched MOM with a fixed 852 kilograms of fuel on board. Back in March 2015, its then fuel levels offered the first chance to extend its mission by a further six months. Now, the still remaining fuel will help further increase the mission’s duration.

The 1,000 Earth days spent orbiting Mars correspond to 973,24 Mars Sols or Martian Solar days. During this period, MOM completed 388 orbits. Its remaining 14 to 15 kilograms of fuel are expected to keep it going for another few years, according to an ISRO release.

Also, ISRO points out that “First-year data from MOM was released to the public on September 24, 2016, through ISSDC website. “

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Ori And The Blind Forest Is Officially Getting A Sequel

ori and the blind forest poster

Ori and the Blind Forest is officially getting a sequel only about a year after its Definitive Edition release.

Ori and the Blind Forest is officially getting a sequel, named Ori and the Will of the Wisps, announced during the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2017. This reveal also came with a trailer, which offers a first look at the new game. Presently, its developer has yet to announce a release date.

Ori and the Blind Forest is a platform adventure, Metroidvania-style video game designed and developed by Moon Studios. The single-player game is published by Microsoft Studios, which also announced on June 11, during the E3, that it will be getting a sequel.

Sequel Announced Only Around A Year After the Release of the Ori and the Blind Forest Definitive Edition

The sequel, “Ori and the Will of the Wisps”, will have quite a name to hold. Its predecessor was both critically acclaimed and loved by its players. Both have praised Ori’s gameplay, the story, its action sequences, and beautiful environmental design. They also point out the game’s quite haunting soundtrack. Or the fact that its painted art brings to mind works of traditional animation.

For the sequel announcement, Microsoft Studios maintained the game’s haunting atmosphere by having a pianist play live music. Although it did not offer exact details as to the sequel, most assume that Ori and the Will of the Wisps will come with a similar Metroidvania gameplay. Presumably, it will also star Ori, who is the first game’s titular and which also appeared in the trailer.

This presents a new series of beautiful environments. It also features Ori, who is seemingly consoling a sad owlet gazing at what could be the skeletal remains of its parents. In the first game, players had control over Ori, a white guardian spirit, and Sein. This is “the light and eyes” of the Forest’s Spirit Tree.

To advance, gamers have to move between platforms, all the while solving puzzles. The game also comes with an upgrade system, which can increase Ori’s skills. It also has “soul links” or a system which allows users to save the game at will.

A release date for the sequel has yet to be revealed. Ori and the Will of the Wisps will be available exclusively on the Windows 10 Store and Xbox One.

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Playing Video Games Can Seemingly Be Good For College Students

people playing video games

Research claims that playing video games for a moderate number of hours can improve and help develop academic skills.

A new study goes to contradict the common belief that playing video games, at least on a moderate scale, can impose on a student’s academic results. Research claims that such an activity can actually be helpful as it encourages the development of mental adaptability and also communication skills.

Playing Video Games Can Help Academics

This study was conducted by researchers part of the University of Glasgow and led by Matthew Barr. Results are available in a paper in Computer & Education. Research involved the participation of 36 undergraduate students in Arts and Humanities. These were randomly split into units, one of which acted as a control group. Members of the other were asked to log in 120 minutes of play on a number of games.

These had to be achieved over a period of eight weeks, and in total represented 14 hours of gameplay. Participants were offered commercial titles, not targeted at developing skills or learning. The games included Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, Minecraft, Borderlands 2, and others.

The study did not impose game hours or a specific number of minutes per day. Instead, they opened a drop-in basis game lab, open in between specific hours, on particular days. On them, the students could come in and play, but the time management was their own responsibility.

“This work demonstrates that playing commercial video games can have a positive effect on communication ability, adaptability, and resourcefulness in adult learners, suggesting that video games may have a role to play in higher education,” states Barr.

He adds that video games can actually have positive effects for their kids. Barr points out that these commercial video games can help develop and encourage critical thinking and reflective learning. They can also improve adaptability, communication, and problem solving, to state just a few.

The study underlines that this activity can be helpful with academics. But the gained qualities are also featured as desirable attributes and extra points in employability.

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Mars’s Life Supporting Window Was Longer Than Initially Estimated

mars life supporting window

Mars’s life supporting window may have lasted longer than initially believed, according to a new study.

A new study offers evidence that Mars’s life supporting period may have been longer than initially believed, as it could have gone further back into the past. The researchers reached this conclusion after the Curiosity rover discovered “halos”.

Study results are available in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The Planet’s Groundwater lengthened Mars’s Life Supporting Window

The first evidence brought for Mars’s potential habitability came back in 2012. In August of that year, NASA’s Curiosity rover touched down inside the Gale Crater, a 96-miles wide structure. Observations of the area showed that it had once housed a potential lake-and-stream system sometime in its ancient years.

Now, the Gale Crater presented further evidence to sustain this theory and even lengthen Mars’s potential habitability period. Curiosity detected “halos” of silica-rich bedrock. These were noted to surround a series of structures situated near the crater’s floor.

These recent halos were established to be overlying ancient lake sediments. According to the mission team, they presented a high silica content. In turn, this seems to indicate that the halos detected in younger such rocks were very likely “remobilized” from older sedimentary rocks by “the water flowing through the fractures.”

“What this finding tells us is that, even when the lake eventually evaporated, substantial amounts of groundwater were present for much longer than we previously thought,” states Jens Frydenvang.

He is a scientist part of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and also of the University of Copenhagen. Frydenvang is the lead author of the new study as well. He continued by pointing out that the longer presence of groundwater basically extends Mars’s life supporting window.

Curiosity discovered these new silica halos as it was studying the lower north slope of Mount Slope. This is 3.4-miles high mountain situated in the center of the Gale Crater. The rover analyzed its new discovery with many instruments including its cameras, and an X-ray spectrometer. It also used its laser-firing Chemistry and Camera instrument.

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Bleaching Seems To Have Affected The Great Barrier Reef Even Worse

coral bleaching

Coral bleaching may have had an even worse than believed effect on the Great Barrier Reef.

For the past two years, coral reef bleaching has been affecting the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. As scientists have been trying to combat its effects, a new survey claims that the damage inflicted may be even worse than initially believed.

Coral Bleaching and its Worse Than Believed Effects

According to the National Ocean Service, bleaching occurs when the coral turns white due to stress caused by environmental conditions. The Great Barrier Reef is now experiencing its second consecutive year of such a phenomenon, caused by the warming waters.

Now, scientists are claiming that the affected areas are beyond repair. Biologist Terry Hughes, director of the Arc Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Queensland Australia, stated that over 55% of the coral reef was bleached in 2016.

He also said that, when combined with 2017, two-thirds of the Northern parts of the Great Barrier Reef have already been bleached. Other areas around the world are also suffering from bleaching but were not included in this percentage.

Terry Hughes argues that greenhouse gas emissions are to blame for the dying reefs. He also mentioned that the window to limiting greenhouse gas emissions is getting smaller. That if we want to act on it, now is the time to do so.

While reducing greenhouse emission levels may not restore the worse affected corals, it may potentially help save the remaining ones. Also, it could possibly contribute to the disappearance of the primary cause.

Presently, a biologist is cross breeding coral to try and make them withstand the warmer temperatures. This could help increase their adaptability. In turn, it may contribute to reducing mass bleaching levels, possibly even prevent them.

A study published last year in the journal Nature also analyzed the effects and various consequences of the first of the two consecutive periods of bleaching.

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California Could Lose Most Of Its Salmonids In A Century

salmonids

A new report shows that California’s salmonids may be quite close to becoming extinct within a century.

A new study released earlier this week claims that California is at a very high risk of losing most of its salmonids within a century’s time. This includes both the Chinook salmon, highly prized specimens, as well as many other trout and salmon species.

The new report on the matter is called “State of the Salmonids II: Fish in Hot Waters” and comes as an update to a first similar such study, released in 2008. Research was carried out by UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences and the California Trout, a conservation group.

Climate Change and Dams are Just Some of the Dangers Faced by Salmonids

According to the report, California salmonids are put at risk by quite a number of factors. One of them is the ever present climate change and warming temperatures. Salmons and trouts rely on cold and clean water. But if snow starts thinning and glaciers melting, this latter could also start being a rarity.

Local agriculture was also presented as a risk factor. The study shows the negative effects of farming and grazing on the waterways. It points out how chemicals and eroded sediments can foul the otherwise clean waters. Irrigations can also reduce local water levels and leave salmonids stranded in shallow and warm water.

Presently, California holds some 31 genetically distinct kinds of trout and salmon. The report estimates that 23 of these may be gone within the next century. The 50-years outlook is even worse, all things considered. If current trends don’t change, some 14 species and subspecies could go extinct over the following five decades.

Still, the study researchers point out that salmonids may still have a chance. They suggest restoring coastal marshes and riverside floodplains, areas in which young fish should have plenty of food. Also, the scientists point out the need for focusing conservation efforts on mountain springs.

“We do still have time, and we are optimistic that with some effort, we can have a future that involves these fish,” says Curtis Knight. He is the executive director of the California Trout.

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Research Spots Rare Phenomenon In Antarctica, The Dragon Skin Ice

dragon skin ice

Researchers recently spotted a rare and bizarre phenomenon in Antarctica known as the dragon skin ice.

An international team of researchers just revealed that they recently spotted a rare and odd phenomenon in Antarctica. Referred to as the “dragon skin ice”, this was last noted in the region back in 2007. The scientists that witnessed it are currently on their way to the Ross Sea. On their way there, they are also taking a closer look at sea ice of Antarctica.

Guy Williams is a researcher at the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. He is also part of the Ross Sea international expedition and the one to release the news about this strange phenomenon.

“Dragon-skin ice is very rare, bizarre evidence of a darker chaos in the cryospheric realm, not seen in Antarctica since 2007,” said Williams.

The Rare Dragon Skin Ice, An Explanation

Scaly sheets of ice characterize this rare phenomenon. These are similar to either dragon scales or the microscopic structures on a butterfly’s wing. Dragon skin ice is considered a rare sight. As it is, some point out that it might be a phenomenon characteristic of the Antarctica winter, which is still quite unexplored.

Dragon skin ice is said to be an effect of winds or waves on slushy ice. As either one of them hits the ice, it goes to sculpt into it into this unique fashion. Williams also noted that dragon skin ice might be a variation of the so-called “pancake ice”. This is the name given to sea ice that forms into small disks and then stacks upon one another.

The dragon skin was observed among Antarctica’s coastal polynyas. This is an area of open waters well known for its considerable production of ice which is driven forth and kept active by the force of katabatic winds.

The team of scientists is quite interested in these winds and area. They are studying the impact of the polynyas on both the local and global oceanography.

At the time of the dragon skin ice report, the international team of 27 researchers and its U.S. icebreaker, the Nathan B. Palmer, were stuck. They were stalled by the intense waves and winds in the area. As such, they were waiting for them to calm them to continue their study of the water beneath the ice shelf.

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More Screen Time May Mean Less Sleep Time For A Toddler

toddler less sleep

Preliminary studies found that the more young children play video games, the less sleep they get.

Toddlers, even babies playing with smartphones and tablets can be seen everywhere nowadays. But as more and more young children are given electronic games to play, some parents and researchers are questioning their effects and consequences.

Preliminary studies found that the more young children play video games, the less sleep they get. These new touch screen games can help teach dexterity and sharpen mental skills. However, they shouldn’t take away the life-regenerating sleep kids need.

New Study Found That Spending More Time In Front of a Screen May Also Lead To Less Sleep

A new research showed that for every hour spent playing on a device, young children get 15 minutes less sleep. The study team stated that:
“It isn’t a very a massive amount when you’re sleeping  10 -12 hours a day in total, but every minute matters in young development because of the benefits of sleep.”
Most experts agree toddlers need their sleep. It is while sleeping that their bodies grow, their hearts are strengthened and weight regulated. Their immune function improves, and the attention span and learning skills increase.
Sleep also helps them store up the energy needed to face the next day. If more sleep meant less crying and tantrums, every parent would insist on it.A good night’s sleep for a toddler or baby can be ensured by limiting the amount of screen time during the day. Do not allow them to play on the devices after dinner. Instead, you could play board games, go for a walk or take playful baths. Once settled in bed, you can tell them stories or read books that are gentle and comforting and will help ensure your child gets an adequate amount of rest.

Sleep is one of the essential building blocks of a healthy body and mind, regardless of age. But for babies and toddlers, it is absolutely critical to mental and physical growth. Let the electronic games be an occasional activity and ensure that sleep regains its prominent place in the life of a child.

A paper presenting the study results of this new study was published in the Scientific Reports journal.
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Scientists Use Technology To Study The Antarctic Whales

antarctic whales

A team of scientists turned to technology in their mission to monitor and analyze Antarctic whales and their feeding habits.

A team of scientists turned to technology in their mission to monitor and analyze Antarctic whales and their feeding habits. As such, the AAD or the Australian Antarctic Division started using electronic tags which come with cameras and motion sensors.

Such devices have been placed on humpback whales living in the Gerlache Strait, in the Antarctic. According to Ari Friedlaender, the project lead, this will give the team an idea as to where these gigantic mammals actually feed. Also, it will provide information such as their feeding frequency.

The tiny electronic tags will also provide various other data. For example, they may reveal the place where the Antarctic whales go to rest. Such insight on their habits could have a significant conservational value. The data may help in the management and the protection of both the Antarctic whales and their ecosystems.

The Tiny Cameras Placed On The Antarctic Whales Should Help Protect The Giant Mammals

These electronic tags should indicate any possible changes in the whales’ main food source, the krill population. As they do so, the devices will also be registering the effects of such fluctuations. Also, the tiny cameras can help report changes in the whales, their habits and habitat as they experience climate change or go through ocean acidification. It may also help determine the impact of commercial fishing on these mammals.

The tiny cameras get attached with help from suction cups which can last for about two days. As they fall off, they are then retrieved by the research team which then analyzes the gathered data.

“We have been able to show that whales spend a great deal of time during the days socializing and resting and then feeding largely throughout the evening and night time.”

The large humpback Antarctic whales are also not the only ones being monitored with help from electronic tags. Longer-term such devices were also placed on the smaller minke whales living in the Antarctic.

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Supermarket Groceries Carry More Germs Than You Think

supermarket groceries

A new study shows that our supermarket groceries have more germs that we might believe.

Germs are very dangerous for us. They can be found anywhere, even in the most unusual places and things. A new study shows that our supermarket groceries have more germs that we believe. Despite the fact that we didn’t suspect groceries to have germs, they do.

Although supermarkets are clean, we can still find germs there. Also, brands need to pass many health inspections before they can put their products on the shelves. Despite this, germs find a way to hide in our shopping carts.

The leader of the study, Charles Gerba, is a microbiologist at the University of Arizona. He mentioned that people need to understand that microbes are everywhere. The germ exposure is much higher when it comes to meat containers. This is because there the microbes breed faster there.

Charles Gerba made this study and showed which are the most dangerous things when it comes to microbes. One of those is the shopping cart handle. A lot of people touch the same handle every day. This is the fastest way to transmit bacteria. In order to get rid of microbes, people should use hand sanitizer.

The fresh produce section is also a place where microbes love to spread. Almost everybody touches or squeezes the goods before buying them. The researcher mentioned that it is best to buy products that are not cut. When the products are cut microbes spread there.

Seafood and meat have more germs than other products. People should always use two bags to put meat and seafood. These products should be separated from the other supermarket groceries. This measure should be taken in order to avoid cross-contamination.

When they are buying supermarket groceries, people should avoid buying canned products that have damages. If the cans are swollen or they are leaking, you should not touch it or buy it. The risk of bacterial contamination is bigger in this case.

Despite the fact that people don’t notice them, germs are everywhere. Microbes can be found even in supermarkets. In order to avoid them, people should follow the recommendations made by Charles Gerba.

What is your opinion about this study? Did you know that supermarket groceries have a lot of germs?

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