The US federal government has outlined a strategy to try to protect an endangered species of whale while also developing offshore wind power off the East Coast.
President Joe Biden’s administration has made a priority of encouraging offshore wind along the Atlantic coast as the U.S. pursues greater energy independence. Those waters are also home to the declining North Atlantic right whale, which numbers about 340 in the world, AP reported.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released a draft plan this month to conserve the whales while allowing for the building of wind projects. The agencies said the ongoing efforts to save the whales and create more renewable energy can coexist.
“As we face the ongoing challenges of climate change, this strategy provides a strong foundation to help us advance renewable energy while also working to protect and recover North Atlantic right whales, and the ecosystem they depend on,” said Janet Coit, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries.
The development of offshore wind is going on along the migratory routes of the whales, which travel from Georgia and Florida to New England and Canada every year. That potentially leaves the whales vulnerable to disturbance or injury. The agencies said they plan to provide offshore wind developers with guidance about mitigation measures to help navigate the regulatory process as part of the whale strategy.
The strategy focuses on “improving the science and integrating past, present and future efforts related to North Atlantic right whales and offshore wind development,” said Jon Hare, the director of NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center and a lead author on the document. It also identifies mitigation measures related to project planning, leasing and siting, he said.
The right whales have been declining in recent years and face threats such as collisions with ships and entanglement in fishing gear. Environmentalist groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, have called for more protections for the whales.
The protection strategy is promising, but it needs funding for implementation and requirements for measures that minimize harm to the whales, said Alison Chase, a senior policy analyst with the council. Those include speed and noise reductions, Chase said.
“We need offshore wind, and we need to do it right,” Chase said. “But as we fight climate change, we must avoid, minimize, and mitigate threats to ocean life in whatever ways we can.”
The government will take public comment on the draft strategy until Dec. 4.
Moon landing: US clinches first touchdown in 50 years
A spacecraft built and flown by Texas-based company Intuitive Machines landed near the south pole of the moon on Thursday, the first U.S. touchdown on the lunar surface in more than half a century and the first ever achieved by the private sector, Reuters reported.
The uncrewed six-legged robot lander, dubbed Odysseus, touched down at about 6:23 p.m. EST (2323 GMT), the company and NASA commentators said in a joint webcast of the landing from Intuitive Machines’ (LUNR.O), opens new tab mission operations center in Houston.
The landing capped a nail-biting final approach and descent in which a problem surfaced with the spacecraft’s autonomous navigation system that required engineers on the ground to employ an untested work-around at the 11th hour.
It also took some time after an anticipated radio blackout to re-establish communications with the spacecraft and determine its fate some 239,000 miles (384,000 km) from Earth.
When contact was finally renewed, the signal was faint, confirming that the lander had touched down but leaving mission control immediately uncertain as to the precise condition and position of the vehicle, according to the webcast.
“Our equipment is on the surface of the moon, and we are transmitting, so congratulations IM team,” Intuitive Machines mission director Tim Crain was heard telling the operations center. “We’ll see what more we can get from that.”
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson immediately hailed the feat as a “triumph,” saying, “Odysseus has taken the moon.”
As planned, the spacecraft was believed to have come to rest at a crater named Malapert A near the moon’s south pole, according to the webcast. The spacecraft was not designed to provide live video of the landing, which came one day after the spacecraft reached lunar orbit and a week after its launch from Florida, read the report.
Thursday’s landing represented the first controlled descent to the lunar surface by a U.S. spacecraft since Apollo 17 in 1972, when NASA’s last crewed moon mission landed there with astronauts Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt.
To date, spacecraft from just four other countries have ever landed on the moon – the former Soviet Union, China, India and, mostly recently, just last month, Japan. The United States is the only one ever to have sent humans to the lunar surface.
Odysseus is carrying a suite of scientific instruments and technology demonstrations for NASA and several commercial customers designed to operate for seven days on solar energy before the sun sets over the polar landing site.
The NASA payload will focus on collecting data on space weather interactions with the moon’s surface, radio astronomy and other aspects of the lunar environment for future landers and NASA’s planned return of astronauts later in the decade.
The IM-1 mission was sent on its way to the moon last Thursday atop a Falcon 9 rocket launched by Elon Musk’s company SpaceX from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The arrival of Odysseus also marks the first “soft landing” on the moon ever by a commercially manufactured and operated vehicle and the first under NASA’s Artemis lunar program, as the U.S. races to return astronauts to Earth’s natural satellite before China lands its own crewed spacecraft there, Reuters reported.
NASA aims to land its first crewed Artemis in late 2026 as part of long-term, sustained lunar exploration and a stepping stone toward eventual human flights to Mars. The initiative focuses on the moon’s south pole in part because a presumed bounty of frozen water exists there that can be used for life support and production of rocket fuel.
A host of small landers like Odysseus are expected to pave the way under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, designed to deliver instruments and hardware to the moon at lower costs than the U.S. space agency’s traditional method of building and launching those vehicles itself.
Leaning more heavily on smaller, less experienced private ventures comes with its own risks.
Just last month the lunar lander of another firm, Astrobotic Technology, suffered a propulsion system leak on its way to the moon shortly after being placed in orbit on Jan. 8 by a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Vulcan rocket making its debut flight.
The malfunction of Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander marked the third failure of a private company to achieve a lunar touchdown, following ill-fated efforts by companies from Israel and Japan.
Although Odysseus is the latest star of NASA’s CLPS program, the IM-1 flight is considered an Intuitive Machines mission. The company was co-founded in 2013 by Stephen Altemus, former deputy director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and now the company’s president and CEO.
The proliferation of commercial space ventures has itself been driven by leaps in technology in recent decades.
The Apollo program and robot lunar Surveyor missions that preceded it flew at the very dawn of the computer age, before the advent of modern microchips, electronic sensors and software, or the development of super light-weight metal alloys and myriad other advances that have spurred a revolution in spaceflight.
Ministry establishes secure gateway for all Internet users in Afghanistan
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has established an internal gateway or Internet Exchange Point Center (NIXA) for the purpose of security of Internet traffic and confidentiality of citizens’ information, whereby all Internet user information in Afghanistan is protected.
The ministry’s spokesman said in a post on X that in the past, this was done by the Internet supplier countries, but there were many disadvantages.
“Internet data and information were not safe because the traffic was carried out through them so that these countries could have easy access to information and information of Internet users,” said the ministry’s spokesman Anayatullah Alokozay.
“Internet traffic used to be very expensive in foreign countries, but now the said traffic is done cheaply and safely inside the country, and finally due to the length of the route from foreign countries, the quality of services is low and sometimes information and data are lost,” added Alokozay.
Alokozay said that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology values the security of information and information of Internet users within the country and considers it its responsibility and duty to create a safe, secure and valuable environment.
The Internet Exchange Point Center of Afghanistan (NIXA) is the physical infrastructure through which the Internet traffic of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) is exchanged.
The Internet Exchange Point Center (NIXA) was established to build an internal gateway for Afghanistan’s internal Internet traffic, privacy of information, improving the quality of the Internet and reducing bandwidth consumption.
By the establishment of the center, customer’s information will be safe and secure, internal traffic speed will increase, and the leak of Information abroad will be prevented.
Japan successfully launches next-generation H3 rocket after failure last year
Japan successfully launched its new H3 flagship rocket on Saturday, putting its space programme back on track after multiple setbacks including the failure of the rocket’s inaugural flight last year.
The launch also marks a second straight win for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) after its lunar lander, SLIM, achieved a “pinpoint” touchdown last month and made Japan only the fifth country to put a spacecraft on the moon, Reuters reported.
A relatively small player in space by number of launches, Japan is seeking to revitalise its programme as it partners with ally the United States to counter China.
The H3 lifted off at 9:22 a.m. local time (0022 GMT) and after it successfully released a small satellite, jubilant scientists at the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan clapped, yelled and hugged each other.
The rocket also released a microsatellite and a dummy satellite during its flight of nearly two hours.
“The newborn H3 has just made its first cry”, JAXA project manager Masashi Okada, who has led the decade-long development of the new rocket, told a news conference.
“And we need to start preparing for the third H3 launch as soon as tomorrow.”
The H3 is due to replace the two-decade-old H-IIA, which is retiring after two more launches. Another failed flight would have seen Japan face the prospect of losing independent access to space.
The first launch in March ended up with ground control destroying the rocket 14 minutes after liftoff when the second-stage engine failed to ignite. JAXA listed three possible electrical faults in a review released in October but could not identify the direct cause.
Five months earlier, JAXA’s small rocket Epsilon had also failed to launch.
“So happy to see this incredible accomplishment in the space sector that follows on from the success of the SLIM moon landing,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a post on X.
The 63 m (297 ft) H3 is designed to carry a 6.5 metric ton payload and over the long-term, the agency wants to reduce per-launch cost to as low as five billion yen ($33 million) – half of what an H-IIA launch costs – by adopting simpler structures and automotive-grade electronics.
JAXA and primary contractor Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (7011.T), opens new tab hope those features will help them win launch orders from global clients.
“It’s taken some time for the program to get to this point but with this launch, they will be fielding inquiries from around the world,” said Ko Ogasawara, a professor at the Tokyo University of Science.
The Japanese government plans to launch about 20 satellites and probes with H3 rockets by 2030 for domestic use. The H3 is scheduled to deliver a lunar explorer for the joint Japan-India LUPEX project in 2025 as well as cargo spacecraft for the U.S.-led Artemis moon exploration program in the future.
Satellite launch demands have skyrocketed thanks to the rise of affordable commercial vehicles such as SpaceX’s reusable Falcon 9 and a number of new rockets are being tested this year.
Last month marked the successful inaugural flight of the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket, a joint venture between Boeing (BA.N), opens new tab and Lockheed Martin (LMT.N), opens new tab. The European Space Agency also plans to launch its lower-cost Ariane 6 for the first time this year.
Masayuki Eguchi, the head of Mitsubishi Heavy’s defence and space business, said the company has a long-term target of launching eight to ten rockets a year, which would boost its 50 billion yen space business sales by 20-30%.
That would require additional production capacity, he added, noting the company’s factories can currently only produce five to six H3 rockets a year.
First cargo flight takes place from UAE to Balkh since IEA takeover
Afghanistan A cricket team to tour Sri Lanka in April
IEA will attend future UN meetings if demands accepted: deputy PM
A company will invest $27.5 million in ruby mining on the outskirts of Kabul
Strong consensus on collective interests in Afghanistan exist: Thomas West
Well-known Quran reciter Qari Barakatullah Saleem dies
Economic Commission approves installation of scanners at 12 customs units at border crossings
Pakistan court jails ex-PM Imran Khan for 10 years ahead of elections
World Court says Israel must take steps to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza
Afghanistan announce squad for Test match against Sri Lanka
Tahawol: Anniversary of Kabul people’s uprising against Soviet occupation
Saar: US’s remarks on Durand Line discussed
Tahawol: Deputy PM’s meeting with China’s ambassador in Kabul discussed
Saar: Russia’s remarks about Doha meeting on Afghanistan discussed
Tahawol: UN chief’s call for lifting restrictions on women
Business4 days ago
Import, export volumes total $7.5 billion in 1st nine months of this solar year
World5 days ago
Israel opposes ‘unilateral’ imposition of Palestinian state
Latest News5 days ago
Death toll in Nuristan landslide rises to 25
Regional4 days ago
Pakistan’s majority parties struggle to form coalition government
Latest News4 days ago
Norway to hold a meeting on climate change in Afghanistan in near future
Sport4 days ago
Sri Lanka clinch T20I series after beating Afghanistan by 72 runs
Latest News3 days ago
Uzbekistan’s electricity exports to Afghanistan drop 50% due to technical issues
Latest News4 days ago
Afghanistan envoys aim for future meetings with IEA, says UN chief