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s fine for this match, a CAB official told this daily As part of Edens long-term renovation programmea Chennai-based construction firm is currently carrying out demolition work on the outdated standseven as the stadium is gearing up for the India-Sri Lanka day-night ODI slated for December 24 Salt Lakes JU campus groundswhich flaunts a lush green outfield and a featherbed trackhad famously made its Ranji debut three seasons back with a Bengal-Karnataka Elite League match that the hosts won handsomely Asian archery: Isiah Sanam in maiden finalIsiah R Sanama former national championentered the mens individual compound final of the 16th Asian Archery Championship in BaliIndonesiaon Thursday Sanama qualified pilotdisplayed impressive temperament to overcome a number of tough opponents en route to his maiden international final Among the recurve archersonly Jayanta Talukdar and Mangal Singh Champia could make it to the semi-finals where they lost The two will figure in the bronze medal play-off on Saturday Manjudha Soy will also figure in the womens compound bronze medal play-off All the four Indian teams will be seen in action in the team elimination round to be held on Friday Inter-school karateMahadevi Birla Girls Higher Secondary School and North Eastern Gojukai Karate-Do are organising the third Inter School Karate-Do tournament on November 21 at the school premises Around 250 participants from more than 20 schools will be seen in action in the event MB applies for Sueokas ITCA day after testing out Japanese midfielder Ruyji Sueoka at a practice matchMohun Bagan has applied for the players International Transfer Certificate (ITC) The player has impressed the club management and coach Karim Bencherifa and is likely to be signed up under the Asian quota for the I-League For all the latest Kolkata News download Indian Express App More Related NewsThe video cameras are poised Alan Stern is loath to miss a cue Dressed in all black he strides across the parking lot Short in stature Stern has legs that move faster than most people’s and a mind that is generally several steps ahead too The camera crew from the Japanese network NHK is one of four following Stern a planetary scientist from the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) in Boulder Colorado They draw a bead on him for an early morning establishing shot Stern executes a quick flyby “Hi Mom” he says giving a thumbs-up as he enters the space science building at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel Maryland Above him in the atrium dangles a half-size replica of New Horizons a NASA spacecraft Its life-size twin is now cruising through space nearly 5 billion kilometers from Earth adding more than a million kilometers to its journey each day The spacecraft is surprisingly small not much bigger than Stern But like him it is packed with purpose It is swaddled in layers of foil to protect its instruments and computers from the searing cold Solar panels would be pointless so far from the sun and so an engine of radioactive plutonium pulses inside The backside is dominated by a large radio dish necessary to talk with Earth across an expanse that takes 45 hours for light to traverse NASA/JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY APPLIED PHYSICS LABORATORY/SOUTHWEST RESEARCH INSTITUTE Pluto on 18 June at a distance of 315 million kilometers New Horizons is closing in on Pluto once thought to be the last of the planets and a lonely outpost on the solar system’s edge Discovered in 1930 Pluto has remained something of a cipher despite the best efforts of telescopes in space and on the ground Its changing atmosphere and variegated surface remain mysterious and even its size is not precisely known In 2006 Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet a move that still annoys Stern Yet in a karmic reversal Pluto’s scientific and public popularity—its brand Stern might say—has soared Pluto is now not the final stop in the solar system but a gatekeeper to a new frontier: the Kuiper belt a region of thousands of small icy bodies beyond Neptune’s orbit that was theorized by astronomer Gerard Kuiper in 1951 but confirmed only in 1992 No longer the smallest of the planets Pluto is the king of the Kuiper belt On 14 July New Horizons will zoom past it—50 years to the day after Mariner 4 flew past Mars and returned the first pictures from another planet Stern has been working toward this moment for half of that half-century: 10 years to muster political and scientific will for a mission 5 years to build the spacecraft and nearly 10 years to make the trip He is the principal investigator for the $700 million mission—the largest and most expensive one ever controlled by a non-NASA employee Now he is 99% of the way there Stern has traveled from Boulder to APL on this day in May to kick off the final science team meeting before the encounter In a conference room 50 people hunch over their laptops On a screen overhead a video rouses the team: an electronic anthem mashed-up with snippets of control room dialogue from the Apollo 11 moon mission “Guidance Go Control Go” shout the ghosts of mission controllers past Hal Weaver the project scientist for the mission and a laid-back foil to Stern and his intensity says “Alan is going to have this choreographed” In the 30 days prior to reaching Pluto Stern wants different pep songs played each morning Stern takes the podium Although everything is going great he says there are things that could still go wrong “If it’s bugging you let’s make sure we bring it up” he says His words are cautious but his tone—commanding emphatic confident—is devoid of doubt “We have the eyes of the world on this mission It is unlike any other mission in recent history in terms of the expected level of attention And in addition we only get one shot at it It’s not an orbiter It’s not a lander” It’s a flyby at Mach 42 and Stern must wring as much out of the short-lived encounter as possible Landings on planets (and comets) advertise their complexity with parachutes and airbags harpoons and retrorockets Even orbiters with the tricky fiery burn of orbital insertion contain an element of drama In comparison a flyby seems a walk in the park—just gravity in motion and a few clicks of a camera shutter So you’ll forgive Stern for emphasizing how complicated the flyby actually is In the 9 days of “core encounter”—7 days before closest approach on 14 July to 2 days after—New Horizons will run through 20799 commands It must scan the path ahead for hazardous debris make minor trajectory corrections and point instruments for 461 scientific observations as it passes within 12500 kilometers of Pluto’s surface In the hours just after closest approach the spacecraft must pass through two tiny keyholes in space—the shadows of Pluto and its largest moon Charon—so that it can use the eclipsed sun as a backlight to examine the thin ring of atmosphere around each body As it leaves the system of five moons (at last count) New Horizons will continue to stare and image Pluto’s dark side by Charon’s moonlight “Despite the fact that we’ve done a lot of practicing we can’t simulate everything” Stern says “My biggest concern is what we haven’t thought of” G GRULLN/SCIENCE There are 249 contingency plans in place attempts to identify—and then mitigate—all known risks They include not just risks to the spacecraft like clouds of debris lurking among Pluto’s moons but also those on the ground Should something happen to the main mission control room for example New Horizons can be operated from a backup building at APL There is even a backup to the backup: The team has prepped a minimalist control room—basically a New Horizons–compatible computer—at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena California And oh the practicing Stern boasts of having performed 35 operational readiness tests—dress rehearsals for various aspects of the mission In the biggest of these tests 2 years ago the spacecraft was put through the motions of its 9-day encounter somewhere in the void between Uranus and Neptune its instruments successfully returning precisely framed pictures of empty space It’s not just about smooth operations; the team has also practiced making a splash There have been three so-called New York Times readiness tests in which the science team interpreted fake data on the fly under time constraints and produced press releases meant to be headline-worthy To help Stern hired six journalists had them sign nondisclosure agreements and embedded them within the science team “I’d never heard of it” Weaver says “Several of us pushed back and said ‘You know we’re literate people We can write our captions’” Stern was unpersuaded STARFIGHTERS INC Stern trains for suborbital space flight in an F-104 jet in 2012 One does not get to the edge of the solar system by leaving things to chance “This mission would not be flying unless he had shoved it down the throat of NASA” says Stern’s longtime SWRI colleague Hal Levison “His force of will and his tenacity played a role in what’s happening right now” SOL ALAN STERN WAS BORN on 22 November 1957 in New Orleans Louisiana the first of three children for Leonard and Joel Stern He was a fussy baby difficult to put down to bed Taking him outside to see the moon seemed to induce sleep “After many many repeated applications of that the first word out of his mouth was ‘moon’” says Leonard Stern his father “Not ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ but ‘moon’” His fascination with celestial objects was galvanized by the space race of the 1960s He sneaked out of bed to watch late-night TV broadcasts of the Gemini and Mercury flights He exhausted the local library’s selection of space books He devoured the science fiction of Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke But he wanted more “During one of the Apollo missions I saw Walter Cronkite showing off the flight plan” he says “It just mesmerized me All this detail That’s what I wanted” He requested the materials from NASA but was told he had to be a journalist or an author So in the early 1970s he wrote a book—about a hypothetical mission to a comet His grandfather’s secretary typed up the 100-plus pages and Stern sent it off to NASA “Next thing you know a box this big shows up at my house filled with Apollo manuals” By then the family had moved to Dallas Texas and Stern was enrolled at St Mark’s a prep school with a planetarium an observatory and an astronomy club “That is all my brother ate drank slept and breathed” recalls his brother Leonard “Happy” Stern “Everything in his being was about how to be in space” STERN FAMILY PHOTOGRAPH Scientific enthusiasm at age 6 He was gaining other skill sets too In 1976 while NASA was landing the Viking probes on Mars Stern finished his freshman year at the University of Texas (UT) Austin and took a summer job selling Collier’s Encyclopedias After a tutorial from his father a salesman for a chemical company he spent a couple of months crisscrossing the state knocking on doors He netted several thousand dollars enough to trade in his beat-up Buick Skyhawk for an Oldsmobile Cutlass Stern has told his father that 80% of what he does now is a sales game “He learned that selling those encyclopedias and he’s never forgotten it” Leonard says Stern demurs “I object to putting [the Pluto mission] on par with selling encyclopedias” he says “If you equate the two it does a disservice to all the other people involved” Articulate in front of a microphone and at ease in front of a camera Stern is an eager media subject sometimes to the irritation of his colleagues “He likes to generate press for himself and he is sort of making [the mission] about him” says Levison one of the few people confident enough in his friendship with Stern to say so Stern is aware of the criticism and he declared his qualms about this profile at the outset “There has to be a recognition that it’s not the Alan Stern mission” he said Besides honing his talent for persuasion the young Stern was becoming a careful planner After graduating from UT in 1978 as a physics major Stern re-enrolled as a master’s student and roomed with his brother Happy Stern recalls discovering Alan’s day planner It included not only a 5 am wake up but also entries 5 minutes apart for showering brushing his teeth and combing his hair “You don’t think this is a little strange here pal” Happy asked him To this day Stern carries a sheet of SWRI stationery with him 7 days a week a black-inked to-do list on which every entry is to be scratched out in red ink by bedtime STERN GOT HIS FIRST TASTE of Pluto while a graduate student Charon had just been discovered in 1978 and astronomers had seen hints that Pluto has an atmosphere—one that would experience strong seasons because of Pluto’s highly elliptical orbit and large tilt to the sun For his master’s thesis Stern modeled the range of atmospheric possibilities The scope for creative work was enticing he says “It was like a green field You could go anywhere with this” Stern pursued a double master’s in aerospace engineering and planetary science in hope of becoming an astronaut candidate He also became a certified pilot and flight instructor He met his wife Carole while teaching a ground-school flying class and later proposed to her under the Saturn V rocket on display at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas “You don’t forget that I’ll tell ya” she says Stern never made the cut as an astronaut in part because of a detached retina So he did the next best thing: He built instruments for astronauts By 1983 he was working as an engineer at the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics He became the project scientist for Spartan Halley a small satellite designed to study Halley’s Comet and the principal investigator for the Comet Halley Active Monitoring Program an experiment in which a crew member aboard the space shuttle would take pictures of the comet with a specially adapted 35-millimeter camera Both instruments were loaded on the space shuttle Challenger for launch on 28 January 1986 “Dick Scobee Ron McNair Judy Resnik [Ellison] Onizuka Mike Smith” Stern recites the names of five of the seven crew members who died that day when Challenger disintegrated just after launch people he had trained and knew well Stern was in Florida for the launch Then he saw the disaster replayed again and again on the news “Even if you tried you couldn’t get away from this” he says It was not just a human loss for Stern but also a professional disaster his brother says “Now he doesn’t have a plan and my brother had a plan for brushing his teeth I think he was a little lost then” Stern did not stay down for long He published his first book one that seemed to be something of a therapy session It was called The US Space Program After Challenger: Where Are We Going Then he went back to school He finished his PhD in 1989 in just 3 years writing a dissertation on the evolution of comets and their detectability around other stars The scientifically minded engineer had become a scientist for life Not only that but also a scientific empire builder Knowing he was not cut out for an academic job—you can imagine his patience tested by faculty senate meetings—Stern found a home at SWRI headquarters in sleepy San Antonio Texas SWRI a soft-money research institute did most of its business with the Department of Defense Stern made a pitch to his bosses to stake out a new SWRI outpost in Boulder devoted to space science Stern arrived in 1994—just him a postdoctoral researcher and a secretary His first recruit was Levison an expert on modeling planetary orbits and collisions “A lot of people [at SWRI] were nervous about taking that sort of risk” Levison says “Alan in his mastery of politics made it all work” The SWRI Boulder operation today employs 55 scientists and takes in $40 million a year in revenue AS STERN’S STAR ROSE so did Pluto’s For the first 4 decades after its discovery little could be said about Pluto except that it was small reddish and frigid Even its orbit—observed so far only a third of the way through its 248-year circuit of the sun—was poorly understood After Charon’s discovery astronomers could watch its dance with Pluto to calculate both bodies’ masses Then in 1985 Charon and Pluto began eclipsing each other Ground-based telescopes could barely resolve the two disks but by measuring the peaks and dips of reflected light as the two orbs passed in and out of each other’s shadows astronomers discovered that Pluto was about half as big as previously thought and brighter than Charon In 1988 Pluto eclipsed a distant star and the light shining around Pluto’s edges afforded the first definitive evidence of an atmosphere Then came a sign that Pluto was not alone: the 1992 discovery of the first Kuiper belt object (KBO) Pluto it seemed represented a much larger class of icy bodies And because KBOs are thought to be unaltered since the birth of the solar system 45 billion years ago Pluto held the potential of unlocking insights into the earliest days of planet formation By the mid-1990s astronomers were clamoring for a visit and soon In 1989 Pluto reached perihelion—the closest point to the sun in its elliptical orbit Scientists wanted to get there before Pluto began its slow retreat from the sun and temperatures plummeted collapsing its atmosphere into frozen nitrogen What’s more a spacecraft launched between 2001 and 2006 could take advantage of Jupiter’s gravity for a slingshot effect that would shave years off the trip The Pluto Kuiper Express a mission concept led by JPL got the farthest But in 2000 NASA science chief Ed Weiler canceled the mission when its projected costs surpassed $1 billion Later that year Weiler was persuaded to try something different: a Pluto competition A competition for low-cost planetary missions led by principal investigators from outside NASA called Discovery had already yielded innovative proposals costing just hundreds of millions of dollars well short of the billion-dollar budget of a flagship NASA mission With target costs in the half a billion dollar range a Pluto competition would sit somewhere between a Discovery mission and a flagship NASA announced the competition on 20 December 2000 Stamatios “Tom” Krimigis then the space department head at APL leaped at the chance At that point only JPL had been trusted to build and operate NASA’s big planetary missions But in 1996 APL had launched NASA’s first Discovery mission an asteroid orbiter With JPL’s budget-busting tendencies Krimigis knew that APL would have a chance And he knew exactly who should lead the proposal: Alan Stern “He was the personification of the Pluto mission” Krimigis says “He was single-minded and I liked his style” The duo inked an agreement 2 days after the NASA announcement and began assembling their team The final proposal was due on 18 September 2001—1 week after the terrorist attacks in New York City With APL shut down Stern created a “war room” in a nearby hotel to put the finishing touches on it In the end though it wasn’t much of a competition Weiler says “Alan was the clear winner” That was just the beginning of the fight The Bush administration had installed a new NASA administrator Sean O’Keefe who was no fan of the mission and was instead pushing the idea of nuclear fission–powered spacecraft When the federal budget request for 2003 came out in February 2002 the administration had zeroed out the Pluto mission effectively canceling it Weiler challenged Stern to rally planetary scientists’ support for the mission in the decadal survey a once-a-decade prioritized wish list that’s meant to reflect science’s unified voice For months Stern lobbied tirelessly When the report appeared in July 2002 the Pluto mission held the top spot in the medium-size mission category ahead of missions to the moon and to Jupiter “That’s what really broke the logjam” Weiler says “My administration was not going to fight that” Stern’s team raced to build New Horizons before the gravity assist window closed The finished spacecraft carried seven instruments including a student-built interplanetary dust counter and a sensor to measure the energy of particles escaping from Pluto’s atmosphere Novelties were also stowed aboard: cremated ashes of Pluto’s discoverer Clyde Tombaugh; an old US stamp of Pluto with the caption “Not yet explored”; a piece of SpaceShipOne private space company Virgin Galactic’s first suborbital space vehicle; and two quarters: one from Maryland whose Senator Barbara Mikulski had given the mission crucial support at its lowest ebb and one from Florida where then-Governor Jeb Bush had signed off on the launch of the plutonium-laden spacecraft On 13 January 2006 Stern wearing a clean-room suit and a radiation counter went to the top of an Atlas V rocket to take one last look The probe had just been filled with plutonium Stern posed for a picture and New Horizons was shut within the payload bay The Atlas had been souped up with extra boosters and a never-before-used third stage Six days later it launched like a bottle rocket going supersonic within 30 seconds “This was not a stately shuttle launch” Stern says New Horizons left Earth faster than any spacecraft ever before WITH 9 YEARS TO GO until Pluto arrival Stern suddenly had a lot more time on his hands But not for long In 2007 NASA Administrator Mike Griffin asked Stern to come to Washington DC,000, and Rs 1, The US leader has repeatedly ignored presidential decorum,” Turnbull told reporters in Queenstown. For all the latest India News, domestic wheat output was estimated at 95. I didn’t catch the species, The Indian Express has learnt.Rohtak.

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