Castle Journal

Castle Journal

   The American spacecraft moved closer to Mars to act as a telecommunications relay for Mars landers and rovers after a two-month orbit tightening ended Friday.

The four-year-old spacecraft called Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) slowed down gradually by aerobraking, a process taking advantage of the Martian upper atmosphere to place a small amount of drag on the spacecraft, according to NASA.

"It's like applying the brakes on a car but instead of brake pads, we used Mars' atmosphere," said Stuart Demcak, the navigation team lead at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The spacecraft lowest altitude of the orbit lowered from 151 km to about 132 km above the Martian surface. At this altitude, the atmosphere is dense enough to provide the small amount of drag on the spacecraft to slow it down.

Also, the highest point in orbit dropped from about 6,050 km to about 4,570 km, improving MAVEN's availability to support relay communications with NASA's landers and rovers on the surface of Mars. It allowed the MAVEN orbiter to circle Red Planet more frequently and thus communicate with the Mars rovers more frequently.

An American spacecraft moved closer to Mars to act as a telecommunications relay for Mars landers and rovers after a two-month orbit tightening ended Friday.

The four-year-old spacecraft called Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) slowed down gradually by aerobraking, a process taking advantage of the Martian upper atmosphere to place a small amount of drag on the spacecraft, according to NASA.

"It's like applying the brakes on a car but instead of brake pads, we used Mars' atmosphere," said Stuart Demcak, the navigation team lead at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The spacecraft lowest altitude of the orbit lowered from 151 km to about 132 km above the Martian surface. At this altitude, the atmosphere is dense enough to provide the small amount of drag on the spacecraft to slow it down.

Also, the highest point in orbit dropped from about 6,050 km to about 4,570 km, improving MAVEN's availability to support relay communications with NASA's landers and rovers on the surface of Mars. It allowed the MAVEN orbiter to circle Red Planet more frequently and thus communicate with the Mars rovers more frequently.


Aerobraking plan for MAVEN./Photo from NASA website

The data-relay satellite will be working with NASA's Mars 2020 rover to be launched next year.

While not conducting relay communications, MAVEN will continue to study the structure and composition of the upper atmosphere of Mars.

The MAVEN, launched in November of 2013, has completed its two-year mission in space, but its fuel allows it to last through 2030, according to NASA.

(Cover photo: the four-year-old spacecraft - Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) /Photo from NASA website )

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency

Tokyo 

 the Japanese head  to elect their local  governors, mayors and lawmakers.

People across Japan are heading to the polls on Sunday to elect governors, mayors and local lawmakers. For national parties, it's an opportunity to fortify their base in the lead up to Upper House elections this summer.

Polling stations began opening at 7 a.m. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito are hoping for big wins to ensure their political agenda maintains momentum. But opposition parties see Sunday's vote as an opportunity to chip away at the ruling bloc.

Some issues cut across multiple regions... such as how to maintain services in rural areas struggling with a declining population.

11 prefectural governor seats are up for grabs...with two races generating most of the attention.

The northern prefecture of Hokkaido is the only race where the ruling and opposition blocs directly face off.

And in Osaka, the main issue dominating the campaign is what's known as the "Osaka metropolis plan," which would abolish Osaka City and reorganize it into special wards just like Tokyo.

Sunday's elections will also determine the mayors of 6 big cities, along with 17 municipal and 41 prefectural assemblies.

But two trends have been emerging in recent years. There's been a noticeable drop in voter turnout to about 50 percent. And just over a quarter of the prefectural assembly seats have candidates running unopposed.

Ballot counting will begin after the polls close at 8 p.m.

Source| NHK

Aman -Jordan 

 Dafous Economic Forum was launched yesterday in The capital of Jordan for 2 days (6-7) April where leaders of the Arabic world met during the summit.

Arab ministers have discussed relations with Israel in a session of the World Economic Forum regional meeting in Jordan.

Officials and business leaders exchanged their opinions in various sessions on different topics during the two-day forum that started on Saturday.

In a session where Arab ministers talked about Israel, Oman's Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi spoke about the need to help Israel to get out of the feeling of threat. May be he stressed on the deepest relationship that gathered Israel and Oman recently...though that Oman does not have diplomatic relations with Israel but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a surprise visit to the country in October of last year.

Arab countries have been at odds with Israel over Palestine for decades. Among those countries, only Egypt and Jordan have diplomatic relations with Israel.

But recently some Arab countries and Israel have been moving toward closer ties as they share the common interest of countering the growing influence of Iran.

The Omani foreign minister's comments could indicate changes in the country's political view.

source: NHK 

Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized nations have issued a statement after finishing their meeting...The statement saying that the ministers share concerns about China as it pushes ahead with the "One Belt One Road" economic initiative.

The foreign ministers wrapped up two days of talks in the French city of Dinard. Six foreign ministers and US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, who attended on behalf of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, issued a joint communique on Saturday.

The statement added that the ministers of the group of seven industrialized nations share concerns about China's inadequate intellectual property protection and the unfair trade practices, encouraging the country to participate responsibly in the free and open international rule-based system.

The paper also says the ministers remain seriously concerned about the situation in the East and South China seas where China has increased its maritime activity.

They stress the importance of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region based on the rule of law.

The ministers urge North Korea to continue discussions with the United States on denuclearization.

They say that they remain committed to the goal of achieving complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all of the North's weapons of mass destruction and related delivery system programs.

The communique says that they further commit to countering North Korea's sanctions-evasion tactics, including prohibited ship-to-ship transfers of goods.

They also urge Pyongyang to resolve the abductions issue immediately.

Speaking to reporters, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who chaired the meeting, expressed concern about the global spread of protectionism.

He warned that multilateral frameworks, such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, are at risk.

Le Drian said France, Japan, Germany and Canada have formed an alliance to protect the multilateral frameworks.

He added that he wants to revive multilateralism, and that the alliance seeks to be the driving force to achieve that goal.

Tel Aviv

On Saturday, the Israeli prime ministers Benjamin Netanyahu gave an interview to Israel’s Channel 12 TV where he portrayed the U.S. policy shifts on Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as his achievements, saying he had managed to persuade Trump to take these steps...

in other important subject PM Netanyahu added that he will  annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank if re-elected,

Netanyahu pledged that he would not dismantle a single Jewish settlement and that Israel would retain control of the territory west of the Jordan River — the West Bank. More than 600,000 Israelis now live on war-won lands, two-thirds in the West Bank.

An Israeli annexation of large parts of the West Bank is bound to snuff out any last flicker of hope for an Israeli-Palestinian deal on the terms of a Palestinian state on lands Israel captured in 1967.

A so-called two-state solution has long been the preferred option of most of the international community. However, intermittent U.S. mediation between Israelis and Palestinians ran aground after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital early in his term. And dismissed the Palestinian from any talks also Trump closed the office of the Palestinian authority in Washington....since then The Palestinians, who seek Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as their capital, suspended contact with the U.S.

source: AP

Caracas

Venezuelans back to support the opposition again  and Juan Gerardo Guaidó who is recognized as acting President of Venezuela

After weeks of bad economic conditions and cut off electricity in all the country pushed the Venezuelans to go back to street and demonstrate for supporting the opposition again the the former president Madore who considers himself the legal president of the country till now and run the authorities by passing the other acting president Gerardo .

In Caracas, thousands of opposition supporters assembled at a main rally point in the eastern El Marques district. Protesters said their homes had been without water for days and many had taken to drawing it from unsanitary pipes or streams running off the Avila mountain overlooking Caracas.

 According to the news said the Venezuelans, are suffering from hyperinflation and widespread shortages of food and medicine, which deepens the crisis and has worsened over the past month. That is when crippling nationwide power outages began to leave vast swaths of territory in the dark for days at a time, cutting off water supplies and cell phone service.

Guaido, head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly and recognized as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state by most Western nations, had called for rallies on Saturday to mark the start of what he has billed as a new wave of “definitive” protests to oust Maduro.

While no immediate protest-related violence was reported in Caracas, witnesses reported clashes between protesters and police in the steamy oil hub of Maracaibo. Demonstrators in the city, in the western state of Zulia, told Reuters police had fired rubber bullet rounds and tear gas to disperse them.

 Juan Guido invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency in January, denouncing Maduro as a “usurper” for beginning a second term after a 2018 election widely considered fraudulent. Maduro, who retains the support of the military and allies including Russia and China, has derided Guaido as a U.S. puppet and said he will face justice.

Source: global news ca

 

London

In the statement, for the British prime ministers Mrs Theresa said ;

" We have no choice but to reach out across the House of Commons," the prime minister said.
"The referendum was not fought along party lines and people I speak to on the doorstep tell me they expect their politicians to work together when the national interest demands it."
Getting a majority of MPs to back a Brexit deal was the only way for the UK to leave the EU, Mrs May said.
"The longer this takes, the greater the risk of the UK never leaving at all."

May pointed that after doing "everything in my power" to persuade her own party - and their backers in Northern Ireland's DUP - to approve the deal she agreed with the EU last year, she "had to take a new approach".

Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted she had to reach out to Labour in a bid to deliver Brexit or risk letting it "slip through our fingers".
In a her statement on Saturday night, Mrs May explained there was a "stark choice" of either leaving the European Union with a deal or not leaving at all.
Some Conservatives have criticised her for seeking Labour's help after MPs rejected her Brexit plan three times.

Mrs May has written to European Council President Donald Tusk to request an extension to the Brexit process until 30 June but says if MPs agree a deal, the UK should be able to leave before European parliamentary elections are held on 23 May.
She says the UK would prepare to field candidates in May's European Parliament elections if MPs failed to back a deal.

The UK is due to leave the EU on 12 April and, as yet, no withdrawal deal has been approved by the House of Commons.

Source: BBC

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