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NASA says people will be living on the Moon within this decade

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(Last Updated On: November 21, 2022)

Humans could be living on the Moon during this decade, where they will have “habitats and rovers on the ground,” said a NASA official.

This comes after the successful launch of Artemis I last week as part of NASA’s larger mission to take astronauts back to the Moon.

Speaking to BBC, Howard Hu, who oversees the Orion lunar spacecraft programme for the agency, said humans could be staying there for extended durations.

“Well, certainly in this decade we’re going to have people living there,” Hu told BBC.

“They will have habitats and rovers on the ground, that’s what we’re also working on at NASA.”

Humans last walked on the Moon in 1972.

Ultimately, when it comes to people being sent to the Moon, the mission is really about science, Hu added.

“That’s what we’re going to be doing, we’re going to be sending people down to the [Moon’s] surface and they’re going to be living on that surface and doing science.”

NASA says this first Artemis mission will demonstrate the performance of both Orion and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, and pave the way for future missions, including landing the first woman and first person of color on the Moon’s surface.

Orion is the vehicle that will take astronauts on Artemis missions. NASA says it’s the only spacecraft capable of human deep space missions and high-speed return to Earth.

NASA’s long-term plan is to establish a “sustainable presence” on the Moon in preparation for missions to Mars.

“Moving forward is really to Mars. That is a bigger stepping stone, a two-year journey depending on the orbit you take,” Hu told the BBC.

“These are the stepping stones that hopefully will allow this future capability … and give those opportunities and option for our kids and their grandkids and their kids.”

NASA hopes to send four astronauts around the Moon on the next flight, in 2024, and land humans there as early as 2025.

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NASA’s Orion spacecraft enters lunar orbit

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2022)

NASA’s Orion spacecraft was placed in lunar orbit on Friday, as it neared the halfway mark of its test flight.

About ten days after the spacecraft blasted off from Florida bound for the moon, flight controllers “successfully performed a burn to insert Orion into a distant retrograde orbit,” NASA said on its website.

According to the US space agency, Orion will fly about 64,400 kilometers above the moon.

Orion is expected to take astronauts to the moon in the years to come. This first test flight without a crew on board is intended to ensure the safety of the vehicle.

While in lunar orbit, flight controllers will monitor Orion’s key systems and perform checks while in the environment of deep space, the agency said.

The spacecraft will reach a maximum distance of almost 432,000 kilometers from the Earth in a few days. That will set a new distance record for a capsule designed to carry people.

It will take the capsule about a week to perform a half orbit around the moon, after which it will exit the lunar orbit again to begin its return to the Earth.

Orion’s landing in the Pacific Ocean is scheduled for December 11, after just over 25 days of flight.

The success of this mission will determine the future of the Artemis 2 mission, which aims to take astronauts around the moon without landing in 2024.

It will be followed by the Artemis 3 mission, which is expected to finally mark the return of humans to the lunar surface in 2025.

NASA aims to land US astronauts on the moon again for the first time in almost 50 years. The US sent 12 astronauts to the moon between 1969 and 1972.

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Pakistan-made footballs make it to this year’s FIFA World Cup

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(Last Updated On: November 25, 2022)

Pakistan, ranked 194th in FIFA ranking, won’t be at Qatar for the FIFA World Cup 2022 but Pakistan-made footballs will be at the world’s most prestigious sporting event.

Pakistan is one of the suppliers of the official match ball “Al Rihla” for Qatar World Cup.

Pakistan’s Forward Sports, in the city of Sialkot, is one of two manufacturers that have provided FIFA with at least 300,000 balls for this event. The other company is a China-based firm.

Forward Sports told local media it has produced about one-third of the total number of balls, called Al Rihla, which is Arabic for “the journey” and that the ball was unveiled in March by German sportswear company Adidas as the official World Cup ball.

This was the third successive contract after the company also landed deals for the 2014 and 2018 World Cup events.

“There is a match ball — used by players during the international game. But there is another — the more economical balls that are sold in the open market. We have a 35 percent share in match balls (for 2022), but a substantially higher proportion of the open-market product at around 70 percent,” Hassan Masood, director at Forward Sports, was quoted as saying in Business Recorder.

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Europe’s space agency gets 1st ‘parastronaut’

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(Last Updated On: November 24, 2022)

The European Space Agency made history Wednesday by selecting an amputee who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident to be among its newest batch of astronauts — a leap toward its pioneering ambition to send someone with a physical disability into space.

John McFall, a 41-year-old Briton who lost his right leg when he was 19 and went on to compete in the Paralympics, called his selection at Europe’s answer to NASA “a real turning point and mark in history.”

“ESA has a commitment to send an astronaut with a physical disability into space … This is the first time that a space agency has endeavored to embark on a project like this. And it sends a really, really strong message to humanity,” he said.

The newly-minted parastronaut joins five career astronauts in the final selection unveiled during a Paris news conference — the conclusion of the agency’s first recruitment drive in over a decade aimed at bringing diversity to space travel, associated Press reported.

The list also included two women: France’s Sophie Adenot and the UK’s Rosemary Coogan, new ambassadors for another greatly underrepresented section for European astronauts. A small minority of those who have explored space have been women, and most of those were Americans.

ESA’s Director of Human and Robotic Exploration David Parker said it was still a “long road” for McFall but described the fresh recruitment as a long-held ambition.

Parker said it started with a question. “Maybe there are people out there that are almost superhuman in that they’ve already overcome challenges. And could they become astronauts?”

Parker also says that he “thinks” it may be the first time the word “parastronaut” has been used, but “I do not claim ownership.”

“We’re saying that John (McFall) could be the first parastronaut, that means someone who has been selected by the regular astronaut selection process but happens to have a disability that would normally have ruled him out,” he said.

It will be at least five years before McFall goes into space as an astronaut — if he is successful.

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