Stories about NASA

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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SUPARCO: Dr Abdus Salam’s long forgotten dream

In 1961, Dr Abdus Salam and late Pakistan Air Force (PAF) commodore WJM Turowicz were busy laying down the foundations of Pakistan’s space agency called Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Corporation (SUPARCO). Little did they know that 52 years later, the nation’s space agency would be lagging woefully behind times, renting foreign built satellites or else hitchhiking on foreign country’s rockets to launch indigenously built satellites (in a manner of speaking) into space. The beginning of SUPARCO reflected the dreams and goals of its founders and the scientists involved. Frequent rocket tests, collaborations with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) regarding training of Pakistani rocket scientists and ...

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December 21, 2012: The end of the world?

With exactly seven days to go, the air is booming with buzz about an impending doomsday set to fall on December 21, 2012. I’m sure you already know what the fuss is about, but for the uninitiated, here goes. It is predicted by historians, astrologers, astronomers, the Mayans, scientists and even internet wizards that the world is going to end this December. Yes, that’s right this very month, even before Christmas and the New Year holidays! Now, let me share with you a few fascinating historical revelations that, for some, point towards the end of the world as we know it.  1. The Mayan ...

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