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ISRO to practice Moon Landing in Bengaluru for Chandrayaan II

In order to help Indian space scientists overcome the challenges of landing on Moon and Mars, researchers will fly a small aircraft breaching the ‘no fly zone’ rules over Bengaluru. 
●    What’s striking is that the aircraft will carry a special payload of country’s second lunar mission — Chandrayaan-II. 
●    The aircraft will drop the payload over a scooped out area in order to mimic lunar surface with large craters and check whether the scientists can successfully touch down the surface.
●    Moon contains over 1.8 lakh craters and each of them has a diameter of over 1km which makes it difficult for scientists to land the rover on a plane surface. 
●    Scientists at ISRO will conduct several critical tests to ensure landing takes place on even surface before the commencement of second lunar mission.
●    During the same time when ISRO tests the landing of aircraft, DRDO will test Rustom-II which is an advanced Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) at the Aeronautical Test Range (ATR). 

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Record-breaking Binary found by NASA Telescope

An international team of scientists has found the first gamma-ray binary in a nearby galaxy and the most luminous one ever seen, using data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
●    The dual-star system, dubbed LMC P3, contains a massive star and a crushed stellar core that interact to produce a cyclic flood of gamma rays, the highest-energy form of light.
●    Fermi has detected only five of these systems in our own galaxy.
●    Gamma-ray binaries are prized because the gamma-ray output changes significantly during each orbit and sometimes over longer time scales
●    These rare systems contain either a neutron star or a black hole and radiate most of their energy in the form of gamma rays.
●    LMC P3 is the most luminous such system known in gamma rays, X-rays, radio waves and visible light, and it is only the second one discovered with Fermi.

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Rosetta Crash Lands on Comet : Completes Mission

The Rosetta spacecraft ended its historic mission on Friday, crashing on the surface of the dusty, icy comet it has spent 12 years chasing in a hunt that has provided insight into the early days of the solar system and captured the public's imagination.
●    The spacecraft has stalked comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko across more than 6 billion km (3.7 billion miles) of space, collecting a treasure trove of information on comets that will keep scientists busy for the next decade.
●    The mission managed several historic firsts, such as getting a spacecraft into orbit around a comet and the unprecedented landing of a probe on the surface. 
●    A handful of previous spacecraft had snapped pictures and collected data as they flew past their targets.
●    The ESA is ending the mission because 67P is racing toward the outer solar system, out of range for the solar-powered spacecraft.
●    Rosetta also has been subjected to the harsh radiation and extreme temperatures of space since launching in March 2004 and so was unlikely to last too much longer.
●    Before reaching the surface and shutting down, Rosetta's instruments and camera relayed back data and images, giving scientists insight into the structure of the comet.

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Water Plumes spotted on Jupiter's Moon Europa

The observation increases the possibility that missions to Europa may be able to sample Europa's ocean without having to drill through miles of ice.
•    The plumes are estimated to rise about 200 kilometres before raining material back down onto Europa's surface.
•    Europa has a huge global ocean containing twice as much water as Earth's oceans, but it is protected by a layer of extremely cold and hard ice of unknown thickness.
•    The plumes provide a tantalizing opportunity to gather samples originating from under the surface without having to land or drill through the ice, Nasa said.
•    The team, led by William Sparks of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in the US, observed these finger-like projections while viewing Europa's limb as the moon passed in front of Jupiter.
•    The original goal of the team's observing proposal was to determine whether Europa has a thin, extended atmosphere or exosphere.

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Ice giant planet growing around nearby star spotted

Scientists have found signs of a baby planet thought to be an icy giant – similar to Uranus and Neptune – growing around a nearby star, a discovery that may help better understand the origins of various types of planets.
•    While a number of new planets have been found in the past two decades, it is still unclear how the icy giant planets form.
•    The scientists hope that the finding could be another step towards understanding the origins of various types of planet.
•    Astronomers from Ibaraki University in Japan have observed the growing planet around TW Hydrae – a nearby young star. This star, estimated to be 10 million years old, is one of the closest young stars to Earth.
•    TW Hydrae is one of the most favourable targets for investigating planet formation.
•    Past observations have shown that TW Hydrae is surrounded by a disk made of tiny dust particles. This disk is the site of planet formation.

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China Gets Close to Manned Space Station

China on Thursday successfully launched Tiangong-2 — its space lab, which is part of an ambitious plan, stretched along several phases, to establish a manned space station around 2022.
•    A Long March-2F T2 rocket lifted the space lab from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China’s Gobi desert. 
•    After a flight of 580 seconds, it entered its designated orbit 380 kilometres above Earth. 
•    Initial tests would be conducted at this stage.
•    Subsequently, the space lab would be transferred to a slightly higher orbit, around 393 kilometres above Earth — the height of the future Chinese space station. 
•    Once this is achieved, the Shenzhou-11 manned spaceship would ferry two astronauts into space to dock with the lab in mid-to-late October.
•    The two astronauts will work in Tiangong-2 for 30 days before re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. 
•    The two astronauts will carry out experiments related to aerospace medicine, space physics and biology, quantum key transmission, space atomic clock and solar storms.

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Trio of high-end telescopes spot slowest known magnetar

Astronomers have found evidence of a magnetar — magnetised neutron star — that spins much slower than the slowest of its kind known until now, which spin around once every 10 seconds.
•    The magnetar 1E 1613 — at the centre of RCW 103, the remains of a supernova explosion located about 9,000 light years from Earth — rotates once every 24,000 seconds.
•    On June 22, 2016, an instrument aboard NASA’s Swift telescope captured the release of a short burst of X-rays from 1E 1613.
•    The Swift detection caught astronomers’ attention because the source exhibited intense, extremely rapid fluctuations on a time scale of milliseconds, similar to other known magnetars.
•    These exotic objects possess the most powerful magnetic fields in the universe — trillions of times that observed on the Sun — and can erupt with enormous amounts of energy.
•    These properties include the relative amounts of X-rays produced at different energies and the way the neutron star cooled after the 2016 burst and another burst seen in 1999.
•    The source is rotating once every 6.67 hours, much slower than the slowest magnetars known until now, which spin around once every 10 seconds.

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India only 6th Nation to successfully test indigenous cryogenic engine

While India had lagged far behind developed nations in terms of space tech, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has progressively covered the gap over the last few years. 
•    ISRO, which had successfully launched satellites to activate its regional navigation system and a reusable launch vehicle earlier this year, achieved yet another feat on Thursday as it successfully tested its indigenous cryogenic engine. 
•    While the space agency had successfully tested the engine two years ago, GSLV F05 carrying a payload of 2,211 kg INSAT-3DR weather satellite was the first commercial launch using cryogenic upper stage technology.
•    The breakthrough makes the country the sixth nation apart from the US, Russia, France, Japan and China to possess cryogenic engine technology, which uses liquid hydrogen as a fuel and liquid oxygen as an oxidiser. 
•    While India—which embarked on a cryogenic-adoption path in 1992—had been using Russian engines since 2001, it had also started in-house development. 
•    Though a big achievement in itself, this would also propel ISRO’s plans to launch larger satellites to farther destinations as cryogenic engines are more efficient.
•    It also paves the way for India to launch its second mission to the moon, the Chandrayaan 2.

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ISRO’s GSLV-F05 launches advanced weather satellite INSAT-3DR

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully launched advanced weather satellite, INSAT-3DR on 8 September 2016.
•    The advanced weather satellite was launched with the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F05), from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
•    GSLV-F05, the tenth flight of India's GSLV, carried 2211 kg INSAT-3DR into a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). 
•    GSLV is designed to inject 2 - 2.5 ton class of satellites into GTO.
•    After reaching GTO, INSAT-3DR will use its own propulsion system to reach its final geosynchronous orbital home and will be stationed at 74 deg East longitude.
•    INSAT-3DR is an advanced meteorological satellite of India configured with an imaging System and an Atmospheric Sounder.
•    INSAT-3DR is an improved variant of INSAT-3D, the improvements incorporated includes 
•    The satellite has a solar array generating 1700 Watts of power.
•    INSAT-3DR will provide a variety of meteorological services to the country.


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NASA's OSIRIX-Rex Blasts Off to Visit Asteroid

The US space agency, NASA, on 8 September 2016 launched OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer) spacecraft. 
•    The unmanned spacecraft, OSIRIS-REx, blasted off onboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
•    OSIRIS-REx is United States’ first mission to collect samples from an asteroid and return to Earth. 
•    The 800 million dollar mission will travel for two years on a journey to Bennu, a near-Earth asteroid about the size of a small mountain.
•    NASA feels that the asteroid may hold clues to the origin of the solar system and the source of water and organic molecules found on Earth.
•    Scientists at NASA said OSIRIS-REx's main goal is to gather dirt and debris at least 60 grams (2.1 ounces) from the surface of the asteroid and return it to Earth by 2023 for further study.

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