17 Photos Share your voice A 23rd-century tourist guide to the galaxy Curiosity rover’s discovery is still exciting — it just doesn’t help us confirm life on Mars. Seán Doran/Laura Martínez/CNET Curiosity, NASA’s Mars rover, has had a busy weekend. After detecting the highest levels of methane yet seen on Mars last weekend, NASA put a pause on the rover’s other science activities to follow up on the discovery. On Monday, data from Curiosity’s subsequent experiment filtered back to NASA and the spike in methane levels had disappeared, dropping to background levels.”A plume came and a plume went,” said Paul Mahaffy, principal investigator overseeing Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, during a NASA town hall event at the Astrobiology Science Conference on Monday. “We’re very confident of the measurement.”As the news of Curiosity’s startling finding broke over the weekend, many suggested the high methane could hint at the possibility of life on Mars. Methane is an important molecule on Earth and many living organisms excrete it, including microbes.Mahaffy explained that Curiosity had detected an unusually high level of methane last Wednesday during a routine experiment which tests the concentration of molecules in the atmosphere. The data came back on Thursday and showed a methane level of 21 parts per billion — around three times higher than had ever been seen before. Thus, Curiosity’s weekend plans were scrapped to run the experiment again.”The methane plume went away … it’s back down now to below 1 part per billion,” Mahaffy said, noting the measurement is consistent with what has previously been seen on Mars. NASA cautioned as the news broke over the weekend that the methane detection appears to be from a “transient plume” and Curiosity is not outfitted with the appropriate instruments to tell us whether the plume is biological or geological in origin.What does that mean for life on Mars? Well, not a lot. Although the original finding was confirmed, we’re no closer to discovering its source right now — that will be up to some of the spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet and future Mars missions. Moreover, the methane spike is certainly an unusual phenomenon but it has been seen by scientists before.”The methane mystery continues,” said Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity’s project scientist at NASA, in a statement. “We’re more motivated than ever to keep measuring and put our brains together to figure out how methane behaves in the Martian atmosphere.” Comment 1 Sci-Tech Tags NASA
[Representational Image] IANSAn arrest warrant was issued against Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday by a Kolkata court over a remark made by him in 2018 on ‘Hindu Pakistan’.A Kolkata Metropolitan Magistrate issued the arrest warrant against Tharoor after Sumeet Chowdhary, a lawyer, filed a case against him under Section 153A/295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 2 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, claiming that his controversial comments had hurt the religious sentiments of people and was an insult to India.The Congress MP from Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram had claimed that India would become like Pakistan for Hindus if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.In July 2018, Tharoor, while addressing an event at Thiruvananthapuram, said that if the BJP won the 2019 LS elections, it will destroy the Indian Constitution and create a new one that will be based on Hindu Rashtra principles, where the rights of minorities will not be respected and it will lead to the creation of a “Hindu Pakistan”.”The new one will be the one which will enshrine principles of Hindu Rashtra, that will remove equality for minorities, that will create a Hindu Pakistan and that isn’t what Mahatama Gandhi, Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad and great heroes of freedom struggle fought for,” he had said during the event.”The BJP already has more than 20 states under their belt, so a Rajya Sabha majority looks near… Now if they could muster what they managed during the last Lok Sabha polls, India is done for,” he had added.However, Tharoor did not apologise for his comments even after BJP lashed out against him for the controversial remark. He defended his comment on social media claiming that the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) idea of a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ was the mirror image of Pakistan. “We want to preserve India and not turn our beloved country into a Hindu version of Pakistan,” he wrote on Facebook on 12 July 2018. The Court had issued a summons to him last year but he did not appear for the hearing, following which the court has issued a warrant against him.
German ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Fahrenholtz called on prime minister Sheikh Hasina at Ganabhaban on Tuesday — Photo: BSSPrime minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday told the German ambassador that democracy and development will go together in Bangladesh.“Our aim is to ensure development of the country from the grassroots level,” she said while the German ambassador to Bangladesh, Peter Fahrenholtz called on her at her official residence, Ganobhaban in the city.The prime minister’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim told reporters that the prime minister, during the call on, highlighted her government’s social safety net (SSN) programs for different marginalised groups of the people.“The government will strengthen the SSN programs further in future,” he quoted the premier as saying.The press secretary said the prime minister and the German envoy also talked about the cooperation in communication sector. The prime minister said her government has given utmost importance to rail sector and it is developing waterways and roads too.Inviting the German investors in Bangladesh, the prime minister said her government is ready to allocate lands for German investors in the special economic zones.Japan, China, South Korea and other counties have already been allocated lands to set up industries, she told the envoy.The ambassador handed over a message of German chancellor Angela Merkel to the prime minister where she wished every success in the new term in her office.“I wish your country every success as it continues on its path of economic and social development,” the message read.The German chancellor said Germany is pleased to continue to stand at Bangladesh’s side in a spirit of partnership.The envoy said that he read the election manifesto of Awami League. His country will continue supports to implement the manifesto, he added.He mentioned that two German delegations, one comprised with German parliament members and another led by German Parliament Vice President, will visit Bangladesh soon.Peter Fahrenholtz said that Bangladesh has tremendous potentials and there are many sectors for enhancing cooperation between the two countries.He praised the success of Bangladesh in containing terrorism and hailed the quick steps of the government during the Holley Artisan terror attack.The ambassador said that many German companies are interested to invest in Bangladesh. He assured the Prime Minister about the training of Bangladeshi professionals in Germany.While discussing about the Rohingya issue, Peter Fahrenholtz said that he visited the Rohingya camps for three days and talked to the cross section of people there.The prime minister’s principal secretary Nojibur Rahman, principal coordinator on SDG affairs Abul Kalam Azad and military secretary Mia Md Jainul Abedin were present.
Kolkata: Bidhannagar Police has seized around 350 kg of banned firecrackers and arrested six persons on Saturday. Some unclaimed banned fire crackers were also seized from New Town area.According to police, several teams have been made especially to carry out drives against banned fire crackers. Several suspicious vehicles are being checked daily. Senior officials from the Bidhannagar Police informed that police personnel in plain clothes have been deployed throughout the Bidhannagar Police jurisdiction to monitor any suspicious movement during the festive season. They are also directed to find and seize any banned fire crackers. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeSources informed that police are being deployed at market places where fireworks are being sold. In some of the places, police personnel raided posing as buyers of banned firecrackers. They also informed that around 350 kg of banned fire crackers were seized and six persons arrested during the Saturday raid. Among six, five are the sellers of those banned fire crackers. Police are also keeping strict vigil on Narayanpur, Airport, NSCBI Airport and Baguiati Police Station jurisdiction to identify if anyone is flying sky lanterns. Previously, Bidhannagar Police issued an order regarding the ban on sky lanterns in selected areas. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed”Strict vigil will be continued on the day of Kali Puja and Diwali. The designated time will also be strictly followed. If anyone found violating the order would be taken in to custody as per the provisions of the law,” said Amit Javalgi, Deputy Commissioner (Headquarters) of Bidhannagar Police. While checking on banned firecrackers, sources informed that the traffic wing has been directed to do naka checking to prevent rash driving and driving under the influence of alcohol. Police have also urged the residents to burst permissible firecrackers within the stipulated time granted by the Supreme Court in view of air pollution.