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Stunning panorama of Mars reveals the final resting place of NASA's Opportunity rover – Daily Mail

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Life on Mars! Stunning panorama of the Red Planet reveals the final resting place of NASA’s Rover Opportunity before it was declared ‘dead’ earlier this year

  • NASA shared a stunning panorama of Mars, which is also the resting place of its Opportunity rover
  • The image combines a series of 354 individual pictures that were snapped over a 29-day period
  • The view is of  the Perseverance Valley, which the rover was set to explore before it was declared dead in Feb.

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A stunning panorama of Mars shows the final resting place of NASA’s Opportunity.

The image is a series of 354 individual pictures snapped by the rover over a 29-day period before it shutdown completely and declared ‘dead’ by the American space agency earlier this year.

The desolate Martian landscape known as Perseverance Valley was the last thing the rover saw and now serves as its graveyard. 

The panorama is composed of 354 individual images provided by the rover’s Panoramic Camera (Pancam) from May 13 through June 10, or sols (Martian days) 5,084 through 5,111.

The panorama combines images from three different Pancam filters, which admit light centered on wavelengths of 753 nanometers (near-infrared), 535 nanometers (green) and 432 nanometers (violet).

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A stunning panorama of Mars shows the final resting place of NASA ¿s Opportunity. The image is a series of 354 individual pictures snapped by the rover over a 29-day period before it shutdown completely and declared 'dead' by the American space agency earlier this year

A stunning panorama of Mars shows the final resting place of NASA ’s Opportunity. The image is a series of 354 individual pictures snapped by the rover over a 29-day period before it shutdown completely and declared ‘dead’ by the American space agency earlier this year

Opportunity project manager John Callas of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said: ‘This final panorama embodies what made our Opportunity rover such a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery.’

‘To the right of center you can see the rim of Endeavor Crater rising in the distance.’

‘Just to the left of that, rover tracks begin their descent from over the horizon and weave their way down to geologic features that our scientists wanted to examine up close.’

‘And to the far right and left are the bottom of Perseverance Valley and the floor of Endeavour crater, pristine and unexplored, waiting for visits from future explorers.’

The desolate Martian landscape known as Perseverance Valley was the last thing the rover saw and now serves as its graveyard. The panorama is composed of 354 individual images provided by the rover's Panoramic Camera (Pancam) from May 13 through June 10, or sols (Martian days) 5,084 through 5,111

The desolate Martian landscape known as Perseverance Valley was the last thing the rover saw and now serves as its graveyard. The panorama is composed of 354 individual images provided by the rover's Panoramic Camera (Pancam) from May 13 through June 10, or sols (Martian days) 5,084 through 5,111

The desolate Martian landscape known as Perseverance Valley was the last thing the rover saw and now serves as its graveyard. The panorama is composed of 354 individual images provided by the rover’s Panoramic Camera (Pancam) from May 13 through June 10, or sols (Martian days) 5,084 through 5,111

NASA explained that Opportunity was not expected to last 15 years, but noted it had contributed greatly to their understanding of the planet¿s geology and environment, ¿laying groundwork for future robotic and human missions on the Red Planet¿, the American space agency said in a statement

NASA explained that Opportunity was not expected to last 15 years, but noted it had contributed greatly to their understanding of the planet¿s geology and environment, ¿laying groundwork for future robotic and human missions on the Red Planet¿, the American space agency said in a statement

NASA explained that Opportunity was not expected to last 15 years, but noted it had contributed greatly to their understanding of the planet’s geology and environment, ‘laying groundwork for future robotic and human missions on the Red Planet’, the American space agency said in a statement

NASA explained that Opportunity was not expected to last 15 years, but noted it had contributed greatly to their understanding of the planet’s geology and environment, ‘laying groundwork for future robotic and human missions on the Red Planet’, the American space agency said in a statement.

After eight months of effort and sending more than a thousand commands in an attempt to restore contact with the rover, NASA declared Opportunity’s mission complete on Feb. 13, 2019.

With the death of the Opportunity rover also comes the end of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers program, which launched from Cape Canaveral in July 2003 with the twin robots, Spirit and Opportunity. 

Spirit met its end back in 2011, a year after getting stuck in the sand and losing contact with Earth.

After eight months of effort and sending more than a thousand commands in an attempt to restore contact with the rover, NASA declared Opportunity's mission complete on Feb. 13, 2019

After eight months of effort and sending more than a thousand commands in an attempt to restore contact with the rover, NASA declared Opportunity's mission complete on Feb. 13, 2019

After eight months of effort and sending more than a thousand commands in an attempt to restore contact with the rover, NASA declared Opportunity’s mission complete on Feb. 13, 2019

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said during the press conference in February: ‘I’m standing here with a sense of deep appreciation and gratitude, as I declare the Opportunity mission complete – and with it the Mars exploration mission as compete.’

‘I will never forget the amazing work that happened here, it transformed our understanding of the red planet.’

The Mars rover, affectionately known as ‘Oppy,’ far surpassed the expectations of the team that’s operated it for so long.

The panorama shows a detailed view of the Perseverance Valley including the rover's tracks left behind as it traveled through the desolate landscape

The panorama shows a detailed view of the Perseverance Valley including the rover's tracks left behind as it traveled through the desolate landscape

The panorama shows a detailed view of the Perseverance Valley including the rover’s tracks left behind as it traveled through the desolate landscape

It was designed to last just 90 Martian days (90 sols), during which it would travel a total of 1,000 meters (1100 yards).

But somehow, Oppy survived 14-and-a-half years after touching down on the red planet, pushing its limits to travel almost 30 miles to reshape our understanding of Mars.

It withstood years of extreme temperatures and radiation, but finally met its match this past spring, when a planet-wide dust storm encircled Mars and blotted out the sun.

This proved to be a fatal blow for Opportunity, as the rover relies entirely on solar energy to power its instruments.

More than 1,000 recovery commands were sent over the course of eight months in a bid to revive the robotic geologist.

NASA made one final attempt to contact Opportunity Rover (pictured) eight months after the spacecraft last made contact. A giant dust storm blocked sunlight from Mars in 2018, stopping Opportunity's solar-powered batteries from being able to recharge

NASA made one final attempt to contact Opportunity Rover (pictured) eight months after the spacecraft last made contact. A giant dust storm blocked sunlight from Mars in 2018, stopping Opportunity's solar-powered batteries from being able to recharge

NASA made one final attempt to contact Opportunity Rover (pictured) eight months after the spacecraft last made contact. A giant dust storm blocked sunlight from Mars in 2018, stopping Opportunity’s solar-powered batteries from being able to recharge

WHAT DID ‘OPPY’ ACHIEVE ON MARS?

Though Opportunity was intended to last just 90 Martian sols, it survived for a staggering 14-and-a-half years. 

According to NASA, its many successes include:

  • A one-day Mars driving record March 20, 2005, when it traveled 721 feet (220 meters)
  • More than 217,000 images, including 15 360-degree color panoramas
  • Exposed the surfaces of 52 rocks to reveal fresh mineral surfaces, and cleared 72 additional targets with a brush to prepare them for inspection 
  • Found hematite, a mineral that forms in water, at its landing site
  • Discovered strong indications at Endeavor Crater of the action of ancient water similar to drinkable water of a pond or lake on Earth

 

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New species of crested dinosaur identified in Mexico

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A team of palaeontologists in Mexico have identified a new species of dinosaur after finding its 72 million-year-old fossilized remains almost a decade ago, Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said on Thursday.

The new species, named Tlatolophus galorum, was identified as a crested dinosaur after 80% of its skull was recovered, allowing experts to compare it to other dinosaurs of that type, INAH said.

The investigation, which also included specialists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, began in 2013 with the discovery of an articulated tail in the north-central Mexican state of Coahuila, where other discoveries have been made.

“Once we recovered the tail, we continued digging below where it was located. The surprise was that we began to find bones such as the femur, the scapula and other elements,” said Alejandro Ramírez, a scientist involved in the discovery.

Later, the scientists were able to collect, clean and analyze other bone fragments from the front part of the dinosaur’s body.

The palaeontologists had in their possession the crest of the dinosaur, which was 1.32 meters long, as well as other parts of the skull: lower and upper jaws, palate and even a part known as the neurocranium, where the brain was housed, INAH said.

The Mexican anthropology body also explained the meaning of the name – Tlatolophus galorum – for the new species of dinosaur.

Tlatolophus is a mixture of two words, putting together a term from the indigenous Mexican language of Nahuatl that means “word” with the Greek term meaning “crest”. Galorum refers to the people linked to the research, INAH said.

 

(Reporting by Abraham Gonzalez; Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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Alberta family searches for answers in teen's sudden death after COVID exposure, negative tests – CBC.ca

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A southern Alberta mother and father are grappling with the sudden, unexplained death of their 17-year-old daughter, and with few answers, they’re left wondering if she could be the province’s youngest victim of COVID-19.

Sarah Strate — a healthy, active Grade 12 student at Magrath High School who loved singing, dancing and being outdoors — died on Monday, less than a week after being notified she’d been exposed to COVID-19.

While two tests came back negative, her parents say other signs point to the coronavirus, and they’re waiting for more answers. 

“It was so fast. It’s all still such a shock,” said Sarah’s mother, Kristine Strate. “She never even coughed. She had a sore throat and her ears were sore for a while, and [she had] swollen neck glands.”

Kristine said Sarah developed mild symptoms shortly after her older sister — who later tested positive for COVID-19 —  visited from Lethbridge, one of Alberta’s current hot spots for the virus.

The family went into isolation at their home in Magrath on Tuesday, April 20. They were swabbed the next day and the results were negative.

‘Everything went south, super-fast’

By Friday night, Sarah had developed fever and chills. On Saturday, she started vomiting and Kristine, a public health nurse, tried to keep her hydrated.

“She woke up feeling a bit more off on Monday morning,” Kristine said. “And everything went south, super-fast.”

Sarah had grown very weak and her parents decided to call 911 when she appeared to become delirious.

“She had her blanket on and I was talking to her and, in an instant, she was unresponsive,” said Kristine, who immediately started performing CPR on her daughter.

When paramedics arrived 20 minutes later, they were able to restore a heartbeat and rushed Sarah to hospital in Lethbridge, where she died.

“I thought there was hope once we got her heart rate back. I really did,” recalled Sarah’s father, Ron.

“He was praying for a miracle, and sometimes miracles don’t come,” said Kristine.

Strate’s parents say her health deteriorated quickly after being exposed to COVID-19. She died at Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge on Monday. (Ron Strate)

Searching for answers

At the hospital, the family was told Sarah’s lungs were severely infected and that she may have ended up with blood clots in both her heart and lungs, a condition that can be a complication of COVID-19.

But a second test at the hospital came back negative for COVID-19.

“There really is no other answer,” Ron said. “When a healthy 17-year-old girl, who was sitting up in her bed and was able to talk, and within 10 minutes is unconscious on our floor — there was no reason [for it].”

The province currently has no record of any Albertans under the age of 20 who have died of COVID-19.

According to the Strate family, the medical examiner is running additional blood and tissue tests, in an effort to uncover the cause of Sarah’s death.

‘Unusual but not impossible’

University of Alberta infectious disease specialist Dr. Lynora Saxinger, who was not involved in Sarah’s treatment, says it is conceivable that further testing could uncover evidence of a COVID-19 infection, despite two negative test results.

However, she hasn’t seen a similar case in Alberta.

“It would be unusual but not impossible because no test is perfect. We have had cases where an initial test is negative and then if you keep on thinking it’s COVID and you re-test, you then can find COVID,” she said.

According to Saxinger, the rate of false negatives is believed to be very low. But it can happen if there are problems with the testing or specimen collection.

She says people are more likely to test positive after symptoms develop. 

“The best sensitivity of the test is around day four or five of having symptoms,” she said. “So you can miss things if you test very, very early. And with new development of symptoms, it’s always a good time to re-test because then the likelihood of getting a positive test is a little higher. But again, no test is perfect.” 

Sarah deteriorated so quickly — dying five days after she first developed symptoms — she didn’t live long enough to make it to her follow-up COVID-19 test. Instead, it was done at the hospital.

‘An amazing kid’

The Strate family now faces an agonizing wait for answers — one that will likely take months — about what caused Sarah’s death.

But Ron, who teaches at the school where Sarah attended Grade 12, wants his daughter to be remembered for the life she lived, not her death.

Strate, pictured here at three years old, had plans to become a massage therapist. She attended Grade 12 at Magrath High School and was an active, healthy teenager who was involved in sports, music and the school’s suicide prevention group. (Ron Strate)

Sarah was one of five children. Ron says she was strong, active and vibrant and had plans to become a massage therapist after graduating from high school.

She played several sports and loved to sing and dance as part of a show choir. She was a leader in the school’s suicide prevention group and would stand up for other students who were facing bullying.

“She’s one of the leaders in our Hope Squad … which goes out and helps kids to not be scared,” he father said.

“She’s an amazing kid.”

Sarah would often spend hours helping struggling classmates, and her parents hope her kindness is not forgotten.

“She’d done so many good things. Honestly, I’ve got so many messages from parents saying, ‘You have no idea how much your daughter helped our kid,'” said Ron.

“This 17-year-old girl probably lived more of a life in 17 years than most adults will live in their whole lives. She was so special. I love her so much.”

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China launches key module of space station planned for 2022

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BEIJING (Reuters) -China launched an unmanned module on Thursday containing what will become living quarters for three crew on a permanent space station that it plans to complete by the end of 2022, state media reported.

The module, named “Tianhe”, or “Harmony of the Heavens”, was launched on the Long March 5B, China’s largest carrier rocket, at 11:23 a.m. (0323 GMT) from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre on the southern island of Hainan.

Tianhe is one of three main components of what would be China’s first self-developed space station, rivalling the only other station in service – the International Space Station (ISS).

The ISS is backed by the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada. China was barred from participating by the United States.

“(Tianhe) is an important pilot project in the building of a powerful nation in both technology and in space,” state media quoted President Xi Jinping as saying in a congratulatory speech.

Tianhe forms the main living quarters for three crew members in the Chinese space station, which will have a life span of at least 10 years.

The Tianhe launch was the first of 11 missions needed to complete the space station, which will orbit Earth at an altitude of 340 to 450 km (211-280 miles).

In the later missions, China will launch the two other core modules, four manned spacecraft and four cargo spacecraft.

Work on the space station programme began a decade ago with the launch of a space lab Tiangong-1 in 2011, and later, Tiangong-2 in 2016.

Both helped China test the programme’s space rendezvous and docking capabilities.

China aims to become a major space power by 2030. It has ramped up its space programme with visits to the moon, the launch of an uncrewed probe to Mars and the construction of its own space station.

In contrast, the fate of the ageing ISS – in orbit for more than two decades – remains uncertain.

The project is set to expire in 2024, barring funding from its partners. Russia said this month that it would quit the project from 2025.

Russia is deepening ties with China in space as tensions with Washington rise.

Moscow has slammed the U.S.-led Artemis moon exploration programme and instead chosen to join Beijing in setting up a lunar research outpost in the coming years.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo and Liangping Gao; Editing by Christian Schmollinger, Simon Cameron-Moore and Lincoln Feast.)

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