Stories about NASA

Is Fawad Chaudhry really the best person for the job?

It’s March 25, 1992. England is chasing a target of 250 to become the victor of the cricket World Cup in Australia. Experienced duo Allan Lamb and Neil Fairbrother have tilted the game in England’s favour, and Pakistan captain Imran Khan has to apply his cricket dexterity to take a wicket as blocking runs isn’t going to work. He needs to ensure the right person throws the ball, and brings in Wasim Akram. The rest, as they say, is history. References to the 1992 World Cup final are generally used a lot these days to offer sarcastic commentary on PM ...

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Pakistan’s space programme: Achievable goal or impossible dream?

Last year, newly anointed Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry boldly announced that Pakistan would launch its first manned space mission in 2022, and as expected, many people took to social media to voice their amusement. The statement cracked many smiles and it became the subject of much ridicule and cynicism. For the first time in a long time, a Pakistani minister had publicly shown interest in and hinted at developing a space programme. Although space travel may not seem like a necessary concern for a developing nation like Pakistan, the feat would require incomparable resources and in the process ...

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Bidding goodbye to a year of political turmoil, endless warfare and myopic leadership

In the blink of an eye, another year has passed. Like the previous year, 2018 has been intriguing, exciting and alarming. We have witnessed several positive, and unfortunately, an equal number or even more negative events during the year. These include SpaceX conducting a successful maiden flight of Falcon Heavy, Vladimir Putin getting elected for a fourth term as the Russian president, the United States withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), and of course, France experiencing its worst civil unrest since the protests of 1968, to name a few. Would I say the world is becoming scarier with each passing ...

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If Neil Armstrong was your childhood hero, then ‘First Man’ is not the movie for you

Of the many, many elements that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) needed to get right to ensure the success of Apollo 11, perhaps one of the most crucial was the selection of the mission’s crew, particularly its commander. As it turned out, the American space agency couldn’t have possibly made a better choice than Neil Armstrong. Armstrong was a remarkable man, ideal for the space program in every aspect, from his qualifications and experience to his temperament. His courage and composure before and during the lunar landing as well as his modesty thereafter has made him one of ...

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If not Trump, what?

Donald Trump now looks set to be the Republican presidential nominee. So for those of us appalled by this prospect — what are we supposed to do? Well, not what the leaders of the Republican Party are doing. They’re going down meekly and hoping for a quiet convention. They seem blithely unaware that this is a Joe McCarthy moment. People will be judged by where they stood at this time. Those who walked with Trump will be tainted forever after for the degradation of standards and the general election slaughter. The better course for all of us — Republican, Democrat and independent — is to step ...

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Science ka Adda Episode 1: Pluto – A New World

Is there life elsewhere in the universe? How did our Solar System form? Are there black holes at the centre of galaxies? How long do stars live? These are just some of the questions that ‘Science ka Adda’ (Cafe Scientifique) and its host, yours truly, seeks to address. Pluto was discovered in 1930. Up until 2015, we did not know much about this little planet in our Solar System. The flyby of The New Horizon spacecraft has revealed Pluto to be a fascinating object hosting tall mountains made of ice, smooth plains with nitrogen ice flows, and a big moon Charon that appears six times deeper ...

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We are making history today with our closest approach to Pluto

If you are out and about this afternoon or either sitting at home reading this article, at 4:49pm (PST), look up at the sky (please don’t look straight towards the sun) and wait to be blown away by our advancement in technology. At this precise moment, a machine built by humans will be making its closest approach to Pluto – at the frontiers of our Solar System. This spacecraft, called ‘New Horizons’ has been traveling at the incredible speed of 50,000 kilometres per hour. In case you’re still not impressed, check your speedometer when you are driving on a highway and ...

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Interstellar – A quest for the human spirit

Set in the near-future where an agricultural crisis has brought the world to its knees, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a widower who lives on a farm with his two kids, daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy) and son Tom (Timothée Chalamet), and his father-in-law, Donald (John Lithgow). Though a farmer by default due to a “blight” that has affected the food supply on Earth, Cooper was once a pilot, an engineer and an explorer – a past life he often dreams about. Photo: Interstellar Official Facebook Page While Tom is more than satisfied being a farmer and is encouraged ...

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How to fall in love with a city: Embrace the adventure, Marco Polo ki aulad!

As I sit on the plane headed for Pakistan before moving to Paris, I silently grieve for what was home for two years and go over some of my most memorable moments as well as my mental notes about the place. Suddenly, on the jazz music channel (thank you, noise-cancelling headphones) I hear Carmen McRae crooning ‘The loveliness of Paris…’ and then Ella Fitzgerald ‘April in Paris’. All I needed was this nudge from the universe to begin to look forward to a new adventure. Sometimes we do things right instinctively. Sometimes we need a teacher. Sometimes we need to make a ...

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Mars: The perfect place for vacation?

On December 25, an aircraft was developed by Sheikh Hamza Jilani, famously known as the ‘Populator’. It was widely spoken about throughout the world. The news had greatly disturbed and pestered my parents, who were quite obviously averse to the idea of living on another planet. The government would decide the people who would be flown to a place, completely unknown to every one of us. My brother seemed rather disturbed by that fact. “That means one of us could be sent, alienated from our home but right next to aliens?!?” I, likewise, despised the idea from the core of my heart. On a regular ...

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