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Mars Mission launches competition for UAE students

Three winners will be selected from the entries received, qualifying for prizes of AED 10,000, 7,000 and 5,000 respectively. Students have until Saturday, 20th November, 2021, to register for the competition…reports Asian Lite News

The Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) team has launched the fifth cycle of its Explore Mars Competition, offering science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students an opportunity to explore Mars using scientific data from EMM’s Science Data Centre for the first time.

The competition gives students the chance to analyse the science data gathered by the Hope Probe, working individually or collaborating in teams of up to three people. To enter, students are required to produce an A1 format scientific poster – a commonly used presentation of science data used in international science meetings and events. The posters will be judged by a panel and evaluated based on their scientific content and insight, design and presentation.

EXPO 2020

Three winners will be selected from the entries received, qualifying for prizes of AED 10,000, 7,000 and 5,000 respectively. Students have until Saturday, 20th November, 2021, to register for the competition.

For competition guidelines and registration, students should contact

Omran Sharaf, Project Director of the Emirates Mars Mission at MBRSC, said: “This is the first time in the five years we have been holding the Explore Mars competition that we have been able to offer students the chance to analyse live data from our own instruments, so we are particularly excited to see what insights and discoveries they manage to pull together. The EMM Science Data Centre is currently hosting data gathered from Hope’s first mission phase, including ground-breaking observations of Mars’ discrete aurora and our findings of unusually high concentrations of atmospheric oxygen and carbon monoxide.”

The Explore Mars Competition is geared towards honing and refining students’ research skills by exposing them to the EMM Science Data Center (SDC) and the analytical tools required to compare and contrast the Hope Probe’s unique data sets.

Hessa Al Matrooshi, Emirates Mars Mission Science Lead, said: “Launching the fifth version of the Explore Mars competition highlights our ongoing commitment to inform, educate and inspire the next generation of talent. After sharing the first batch of data gathered by Hope Probe with the scientific community, we are excited to use this contest as an opportunity to get students excited about using the data to serve as a launch pad to inspire and encourage them to explore careers in space science.”

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The Emirates Mars Mission is studying the relationship between the upper layer and lower regions of the Martian atmosphere, giving the international science community full access to a holistic view of the Martian atmosphere at different times of the day, through different seasons.

The Hope Probe carries three state-of-the-art instruments: EXI – The Emirates eXploration Imager is a digital camera that will capture high-resolution images of Mars along with measuring water ice and ozone in the lower atmosphere through the UV bands.

EMIRS – The Emirates Mars InfraRed Spectrometer will measure the global distribution of dust, ice cloud, and water vapor in the Martian lower atmosphere.

EMUS – The Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer will measure oxygen and carbon monoxide in the thermosphere and the variability of hydrogen and oxygen in the upper atmosphere.

Data from these instruments is uploaded every three months to the EMM Science Data Centre and made publicly available to scientists, researchers and enthusiasts globally, without embargo.

The Mission’s Hope Probe is following its planned 20,000 – 43,000 km elliptical science orbit, with an inclination to Mars of 25 degrees, giving it a unique ability to complete one orbit of the planet every 55 hours and capture a full planetary data sample every nine days throughout its one Martian year (two Earth year) mission to map Mar’s atmospheric dynamics.

EMM and the Hope probe are the culmination of a knowledge transfer and development effort started in 2006, which has seen Emirati engineers working with partners around the world to develop the UAE’s spacecraft design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities. Hope is a fully autonomous spacecraft, carrying three instruments to measure Mars’ atmosphere. Weighing some 1,350 kg, and approximately the size of a small SUV, the spacecraft was designed and developed by MBRSC engineers working with academic partners, including LASP at the University of Colorado, Boulder; Arizona State University and the University of California, Berkeley.

The Hope Probe’s historic journey to the Red Planet coincides with a year of celebrations to mark the UAE’s Golden Jubilee.

-Top News China USA

US House nod for legislation to boost scientific research

The US lawmakers passed two bills on a bipartisan basis to increase funding for the National Science Foundation…reports Asian Lite News

The US House of Representatives on Monday passed legislation that would boost scientific research in an effort to make the US more competitive than China.

The US lawmakers passed two bills on a bipartisan basis to increase funding for the National Science Foundation and establish a new directorate for science and engineering to expand research opportunities, as well as authorise research funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, reported The Hill.

“We must significantly boost funding for science. For years, we have allowed millions of dollars of excellent research go unfunded,” said House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson.

“We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history and we need to be more focused on the role of science in our society,” he added.

The first bill, called the National Science Foundation for the Future Act was passed in a 345-67 vote while the second measure, titled the Department of Energy Science for the Future Act was passed 351-68. They would increase funding for the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy’s Office of Science by about seven per cent annually.

Republicans also added a provision in committee to ban grant applicants from participating in talent programs associated with foreign governments of concern such as the Thousand Talents Program, which is tied to the Chinese government, according to The Hill.

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“It is critical that we strike the correct balance between keeping our research enterprise open but also from protecting it from adversaries who seek to take advantage of our open system,” said Republican Representative Michael Waltz.

Aside from the two bills passed on Monday, which originated out of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, separate legislation out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is also in the works, The Hill reported.

The bill, introduced by Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks would provide temporary protection or refugee status to people in Hong Kong and Uyghurs facing human rights violations by the Chinese government and invest in manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines to promote U.S. “vaccine diplomacy” to counter Chinese vaccines, which are less effective than the ones developed in the US.

This comes after the US Senate passed a mammoth package earlier this month to provide funding for the National Science Foundation, Department of Commerce, Department of Energy and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The Senate legislation also includes provisions to increase diplomatic pressure on China, such as mandating a diplomatic boycott at the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing.

In May, the Senate voted 84-11 to move ahead with the Endless Frontiers Act introduced by Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer, which seeks up to USD 100 billion over five years for basic and advanced tech research and another USD 10 billion to create new technology hubs across the country.

Under the former President Donald Trump’s administration, ties between the two countries had deteriorated over issues such as human rights violations in Xinjiang, encroachment on the special status of Hong Kong, accusations of unfair trade practices by Beijing, lack of transparency concerning the pandemic and China’s military aggression in various parts of the world. (ANI)

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-Top News India News Science

India successfully test fires nuke capable Agni P

Agni P is a new generation advanced variant of Agni class of missiles. It is a canisterised missile with range capability between 1,000 and 2,000-km…reports Asian Lite News

India successfully carried out test firing of a new generation nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni P from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha, Balasore on Monday.

“Various telemetry and radar stations positioned along the eastern coast tracked and monitored the missile. The missile followed text book trajectory, meeting all mission objectives with high level of accuracy,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

Agni P is a new generation advanced variant of Agni class of missiles. It is a canisterised missile with range capability between 1,000 and 2,000-km

The ballistic missile weighs 50 percent less than Agni III and has new guidance and a new generation of propulsion. Since the missile is canisterised, it can be launched from rail and road and stored for a longer period and transported all across the country as per operational requirements.

The missile, which has a range between 1000km to 2000km, can be used to target enemy armadas in the Indo-Pacific.

On June 25, the DRDO successfully test fired extended range version of indigenously developed Pinaka rocket from a Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) at Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off the coast of Odisha.

Twenty-five Enhanced Pinaka Rockets were launched in quick succession against targets at different ranges. All the mission objectives were met during the launches.

The enhanced range version of Pinaka Rocket System can destroy targets at distances up to 45-km.

On the same day, India’s premier defence research organisation successfully test fired enhanced range versions of indigenously developed 122mm Caliber Rocket from a Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) at ITR, Chandipur off the coast of Odisha.

Four enhanced range version of 122mm rockets were test fired with full instrumentation and they met the complete mission objectives.

These rockets have been developed for Army applications and can destroy targets up to 40-km. (INN)

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UK News

PM sets out plan to make Britain a ‘science superpower’

Downing Street says Johnson is tasking the whole of government, working with the new council, to take the success of the UK’s approach to vaccines and apply it to other priorities, reports Asian Lite News

Sir Patrick Vallance is to run a new science and technology office aimed at maximising the UK’s strengths in both sectors, Downing Street has announced.

The Office for Science and Technology Strategy will be based in the Cabinet Office and tasked with driving Whitehall priorities in those areas.

Sir Patrick is taking up the role of national technology adviser alongside his current position as the government’s chief scientific adviser.

“The new Office for Science and Technology Strategy will put science and technology right at the heart of policy-making and strengthen the way we work across government. I look forward to working with the National Science and Technology Council to help identify cutting-edge research and technologies that will deliver strategic advantage for the UK,” Sir Patrick said in a statement.


It forms part of a plan by No 10 to “reinforce the position of the UK as a science superpower”.

A new National Science and Technology Council will also be established and chaired by Boris Johnson.

The prime minister will instruct the council to provide strategic direction on the use of science and technology as tools to tackle society’s challenges and level up across the country.

Downing Street says Johnson is tasking the whole of government, working with the new council and office, to take the success of the UK’s approach to vaccines and apply it to other priorities.

Officials say the first task of the Office for Science and Technology Strategy will be to review the technology bets the UK should back and prioritise for strategic advantage.

The PM said: “From discovery to delivery, our vaccination programme has proven what the UK can achieve at scale and at speed.

“With the right direction, pace and backing, we can breathe life into many more scientific and technological breakthroughs that transform the lives of people across the UK and the world.”

He added: “That’s why I’m establishing a new ministerial council and office at the centre of government, so we can realise the limitless possibilities that research and technology has to offer and cement the UK’s place as a global science superpower.”

Patrick Vallance (Wikipedia)

The development comes even as Britain reported another 9,284 coronavirus cases in the latest 24-hour period, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,630,040, according to official figures released on Sunday.

The country also recorded another six coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 127,976. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test.

British scientists on Sunday warned of “pretty miserable winter” ahead for the country due to likely emergence of new respiratory viruses, with further lockdowns a possibility.

Calum Semple, member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), a British government advisory body, said that children and elderly people will be especially vulnerable to endemic viruses at the end of the year.

Scientists have warned that a third wave of coronavirus infections is “definitely under way” in England due to the fast spread of the Delta variant first identified in India, even though hospital admissions will hopefully not be on the same scale as in January.

The recent data published by Public Health England showed the AstraZeneca vaccine is 92 per cent effective against hospitalisation from the Delta variant after two doses, and the Pfizer vaccine, 96 per cent effective.

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