Mangalyaan: India’s race for space success

LONDON: The 2014 Nobel prize for chemistry has been awarded to Eric Betzig from Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, Stefan W Hell from the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Gottingen and William E Moerner from the University of Stanford for making “an optical microscope into a nanoscope”.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced on Wednesday that for a long time, optical microscopy was held back by a presumed limitation: that it would never obtain a better resolution than half the wavelength of light.

Helped by fluorescent molecules, the Nobel laureates in Chemistry 2014 ingeniously circumvented this limitation. Their ground-breaking work has brought optical microscopy into the nano dimension.

The prize was given “for the development of

India’s maiden mission to Mars, the Mangalyaan, has arrived in orbit after a 300-day marathon covering over 670 million kilometres (420 million miles). Science writer Pallava Bagla traced its journey as it neared the Red Planet

On the morning of 24 September, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) slowed down the spacecraft sufficiently so it could be caught in the orbit of Mars.

“India will become the first Asian country to have achieved this and if it happens in the maiden attempt itself, India could become the first country in the world to have reached distant Mars on its own steam in the first attempt,” said Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan as it approached.

Both Russia and the US failed in their maiden attempts. The first Chinese mission to Mars, called Yinghuo-1, failed in 2011 alongside the Russian Phobos-Grunt mission with which it was launched. Earlier in 1998, the Japanese mission to Mars ran out of fuel and was lost.

Undoubtedly, India – a late starter – is way ahead of its Asian rivals in trying to get to the Red Planet.

“We are really not racing with anyone, but with ourselves to reach the next level of excellence,” said Mr Radhakrishnan.

‘Pink of health’

India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) – an indigenously made unmanned robotic mission weighing 1,350kg (2,976lb) – was launched from the rocket port at Sriharikota on the coast of the Bay of Bengal on a balmy afternoon on 5 November last year.

Since then, the mission “has been in the pink of health”, says Isro, and has been cruising at breakneck speed to reach close to Mars, half-way around the Sun.

The 4.5bn rupee ($74m; £45m) mission is, as Mr Radhakrishnan says, “the cheapest inter-planetary mission ever to be undertaken by the world”.

On his visit to India’s rocket port on 30 June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “The [making of the] Hollywood movie Gravity cost more than our Mars mission – this is a great achievement.”

India’s low-cost and quick turnaround satellite mission has been attracting a lot of global attention from the scientific community that seeks to better understand the mysterious Mars.

On the morning of 24 September Indian time, Isro re-oriented Mangalyaan and fired its on-board rocket motor for about 24 minutes to slow the spacecraft.

It was a very tricky operation – if it did not slow down sufficiently, it would have missed being caught by the gravity of Mars and the mission could have be lost in outer space; but if the rocket engine had fired more than required it could have slowed the Mangalyaan so much that it risked crashing down on to the red soil of Mars.

Since 1960, there have been 51 global missions to Mars and the overall success rate stands at 42% so the odds were loaded against the Indian Martian entry.

M Annadurai, head of the Indian Mars mission, said he was “confident that the laws of physics will favour India and the country could have its first robotic Martian baby soon”.

‘Delusional dream?’

Isro dubs the mission a “technology demonstrator”, essentially showcasing to the world that India is no longer a country of snake charmers but a high-tech hub that has developed its technology against the odds and stringent sanctions.

The mission also makes a big global geo-political statement ahead of Mr Modi’s imminent visit to the US.

In its six-month life, the mission will study the atmosphere of Mars and search for methane gas while asking that eternal question that has dogged humanity: “Are we alone in the universe?”

Within hours of its arrival in the orbit, the spacecraft is expected to relay the first images taken by an Indian eye of the Red Planet and help decipher why and how Mars lost its liquid water.

These are important questions essential for the long-term survival of human beings on Earth.

In the sprint for the Martian marathon, India has shown its technological capability and resilience to undertake arduous inter-planetary journeys.

Many, however, say this bid to reach Mars is a “delusional dream” of India seeking super-power status since 400 million Indians still live without electricity and 600 million people still do not have access to toilets.

However, in real terms, the Mangalyaan has cost India just about four rupees (seven cents; four pence) per person – which is chicken feed for a country of 1.2 billion people.

India sees the Mars mission as an opportunity to beat its regional rival China in reaching the planet, and with destination Mars within touching distance, it may after all meet that target.

World’s largest IMAX screen at Mall of Qatar

DOHA: The Mall of Qatar, scheduled to open at the end of this year, will be home to the largest IMAX screen in the world that would introduce a new ground-breaking 3D laser technology, it was announced yesterday.

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A19-screen cinema with over 3,000 seats will be the main feature of a multifaceted family entertainment centre of the mall.

Constructed on multiple levels, the theatre includes six exclusive VIP screens, bowling lanes and new in-theatre dining options.

Mall of Qatar has also revealed a partnership with video game developer Rovio, the company behind the highly successful ‘Angry Birds’ franchise, to create the world’s first indoor Angry Birds Activity Park.

Another concept being developed exclusively for the mall is Juniverse – a role-playing experience set in the future that offers up to 50 different modules that allow children to experience what working on a space station will be like. One of the modules features a step back in time and an encounter with life-size animatronic dinosaurs.

For those looking for thrill-based entertainment, Virtuosity will provide a variety of virtual experiences, including putting visitors in the cockpit of either Formula 1 race cars or F16 Fighter jets. As part of a virtual concept, video gamers will also have the opportunity to compete globally in a giant gaming amphitheatre.

Following on the success of concepts such as Hint Hunt and Clue Quest in London, the Mall of Qatar is bringing these amazing puzzle rooms to Qatar, offering analytical challenges that can only be solved in a team-building partnership.

At the centre of the eight-story high entertainment area will be a fully hydraulic and rotating stage, enabling live performances through a wide range of genres. Guests will be able to enjoy daily shows from the cafe terraces on all the levels surrounding it.

“The last mall to be delivered in Qatar was the Villaggio in 2006 – since this time, the national population has increased by over a million so we believe there is certainly the demand. We’ve gone to great efforts to make the Mall of Qatar stand out for its emphasis on family and entertainment. Even Carrefour will be creating a specially designed store which will be unique to the Middle East,” said UCC’s Executive Director Moutaz Al Khayyat.

“We will of course still be providing the usual luxury boutiques that have become synonymous with shopping malls in the region, and I’m delighted to confirm we’ve already signed leases for 60 percent of the 500 shops available,” said Al Khayyat.

With over five million square feet built up area, the mall will be home to some 80 F&B outlets, ranging from signature restaurants to open kitchen venues and fast food fare. There will be a five star fashion hotel featuring 210 rooms — part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. The hotel will have a direct connection to the mall’s exclusive Luxury Court.

January 1, 2014 | DOHA Grand Heritage Doha Hotel and Spa has been proud to host world renowned Italian Football team, Juventus F.C. The team chose to stay at the Victorian hotel for the Italian Super Cup, where they played an electrifying match against Italian Football association Napoli F.C.

The European club selected Grand Heritage Doha Hotel and Spa due to the hotel’s well recognized standards of service excellence. During their four day stay, the Italian football team experienced five-star personalised services, of which the hotel is renowned for in Qatar.  Grand Heritage understands the needs of professional sports athletes, and focused particularly on providing the team with the necessary recreational space and amenities needed for their fitness training. Furthermore, a rich selection of delicious international delicacies were prepared for the players during their stay, and carefully arranged accordingly by the hotel and team’s chefs to suit the players’ required health specifications.

Commenting on the Italian Football Club’s recent visit, Mr. Zeid Talhami, Director of Sales and Marketing said, “Grand Heritage Doha has been honoured to host one of the most prestigious Italian football clubs in the world. We pride ourselves in being leaders in the hospitality industry due to our impeccable services, expertise and highly qualified staff members. Furthermore, our hotel is fully equipped to provide state-of-the-art health and fitness amenities to athletes who choose to stay with us, ensuring every team receives customized lodging requirements and meal plans. We aim to be of continuous service to sporting organisations, both locally and internationally, by providing them with one of the best five star accommodation facilities in the country.”

Grand Heritage Doha Hotel and Spa has been a preferred choice for both local and international sports team. Some of the illustrious sports teams, who have enjoyed staying at the hotel, including, FC Bayern Munich, Japan’s Olympic National Team, Canada’s men’s soccer team and a range of international swimming teams.


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