We're doing science again. Why? I like WSWS. I didn't realize they did a report July 31t on the missions to Mars. Don Barrett (WSWS) reports:
With yesterday’s launch of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover, the three Mars missions being attempted in this year’s “window” of efficient access to the red planet are off successfully. Perseverance joins the Chinese Tianwen-1 orbiter/lander/rover mission, launched on July 23, and the United Arab Emirates/US Hope orbiter, launched July 19.
Mars presents favorable circumstances about every 26 months for missions from the Earth. This is the same interval as between “oppositions,” where the two planets reach their closest approaches, Mars in a near line outwards from the Sun to the Earth. Launch windows occur about two months before the close approaches, with travel time about 8.5 months before spacecraft reach Mars.
It has been 60 years since the first exploited launch window, in 1960, saw a pair of Soviet spacecraft sent on their way. Around 50 missions have used the 27 subsequent launch windows until the present one. Only in the last two decades have successes overtaken failures: more than half of attempts to reach Mars to date have failed.
Prior to the spacecraft age, each Martian opposition was the source of intense Earth-based telescopic exploration. Even at these close approaches, however, Mars is 150 times the distance of our own Moon, and the features easily visible through a telescope on the Moon, its mountain chains and craters, were invisible from Earth-bound telescopes. As a result, much of what we now know about Mars is the product of the past 60 years of “up close” exploration with our robotic probes.
What was known within the first century after Galileo turned the telescope into an astronomer’s instrument was that Mars had bright white spots that appeared at its poles, correctly interpreted as icy polar caps (that the ice is substantially carbon dioxide would not be suspected until much later). While several wealthy amateurs in the late 19th century would begin several decades of feverish promotion of the idea that Mars had a system of “canals,” supposedly visible through the telescope and representing signs of a civilization, sober scientists deployed new technologies as they became available and, laboring largely in public obscurity, laid the groundwork for the Mars science of today.
Thus by the turn of the 20th century the astronomical spectroscope suggested a closer similarity of Mars to the Moon rather than the Earth, 1920s measurements of radiated heat showed very cold (-85C–7C) surface temperatures, and 1930s measurements showed that oxygen, if present, could not be more than one percent of Earth levels. An early 1970s measurement from a high-flying plane, above most of Earth’s atmosphere, also recorded the signature of chemically-bound water on the Martian surface, suggesting a different and wetter past.
I liked that article. I like the sixty years section and, by the way, we had something similar when we wrote a science article for THIRD "" and I meant to note that here. I am just typing away, no writer here. But C.I. brought that and other facts into the piece we did and I told her at the time, "I wish I thought to look up things like that."
Amanda Kooser (CNET) reports:
Cue an Ennio Morricone sound track. NASA released a fresh view of Mars, and it looks like Clint Eastwood is about to stroll across the red planet.
NASA's Curiosity rover arrived on Mars on Aug. 5, 2012 (or Aug. 6 depending on your location). To celebrate, the space agency released eight eye-catching images of Mars this week that tie into the rover's past and present experiences on the planet.
One of the newly released looks shows what NASA describes as a "Spaghetti Western landscape." Curiosity snapped the 130 images used for the panorama in December 2019. It shows a spot called Western Butte in the foreground.
You can check out the full, massive panorama on NASA's Mars Exploration Program site.
Another newly released image shows a striking portrait of Mount Sharp, the massive central mountain inside the Gale Crater, in October 2019.
And here's a video.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
The Iraqi economy, having suffered extensive collateral damage from the oil war, has weakened. Powerful, Iran-backed militias have grown more brazen. Corruption, already ingrained in the body politic, seems to have metastasised across every aspect of the state.
Even the weather has been worse than expected. Iraq is now wilting in the hottest summer ever recorded, with temperatures nearing 52 degrees Celsius (125 Fahrenheit) in Baghdad and 53C (127F) in Basra last week.
The heat threatens to bring the protests against electricity and water shortages — a summer fixture in the Iraqi political calendar — to a fever pitch. Some demonstrations in Baghdad have already boiled over into clashes with security forces: Two protesters were killed last Monday.
The political blocs that stand to lose in new elections will have sufficient incentive to try to stall them. Nahrain University Political Science Professor Yaseen al-Bakri told Al Monitor that “they want the current parliamentary term to be completed and avoid going to early elections because they are well aware of the little chances they have in the early elections.”
Stalling the electoral process could be as easy as hampering progress towards the establishment of a new electoral law. While parliament has passed the law, it has not sent the law to the president for approval because of disagreements between parliament’s rival factions.
Jalil Gadani, a long-time member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), passed away at Hiwa hospital in the Kurdistan Region’s eastern city on Thursday after being in intensive care for almost a week, according to an official statement published by the group on Thursday.
Gadani, who has been involved in Kurdish Iranian politics for more than six decades, split from the KDPI in 2006 with a number of senior members to form the splinter group called Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP-Iran). He held senior positions in both parties for decades.
"Jalil Gadani was a book that was written over a 60 years period, my condolences to the Kurdish people," said Facebook user Hassan Ahmed.
On Sunday, Iraqi security forces detained a Kurdistan 24 team that was covering a clash between Kurdish villagers and several Arab families in the disputed Kirkuk province.
The incident occurred in the Guli Tapa village in southern parts of Kirkuk, where a confrontation ensued over land-ownership disputes. Shortly after, a Kurdistan 24 media team, made up of a reporter and a cameraman, arrived on the scene.
Local Kurds in Daquq district, where Guli Tapa is located, claimed that the Iraqi Federal Police had supported Arab families coming and attempting to take over lands Kurds own.
Upon arrival, "we were detained by a unit of Iraq's Federal Police for three hours in a window-tinted car," said Soran Kamaran, Kurdistan 24's reporter in Kirkuk province. Kurdistan 24 cameraman Nawzad Mohammad was accompanying Kamaran.
"We were told [by the security forces] that they do not allow such incidents to be reported," Kamaran said. He added that the police unit also confiscated their equipment and still hold on to them.
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