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NASA suspends 2016 launch of key Mars mission
In a setback to future Mars exploration, NASA has decided to suspend the planned March 2016 launch of the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission to Mars.
 
The decision follows unsuccessful attempts to repair a leak in a section of the prime instrument in the science payload, the US space agency said in a statement on Tuesday.
 
“We push the boundaries of space technology with our missions to enable science but space exploration is unforgiving and the bottom line is that we're not ready to launch in the 2016 window,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, DC.
 
“A decision on a path forward will be made in the coming months, but one thing is clear: NASA remains fully committed to the scientific discovery and exploration of Mars,” he added.
 
The instrument involved is the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), a seismometer provided by France’s Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES).
 
Designed to measure ground movements as small as the diameter of an atom, the instrument requires a vacuum seal around its three main sensors to withstand the harsh conditions of the Martian environment.
 
“InSight's investigation of the Red Planet's interior is designed to increase understanding of how all rocky planets, including Earth, formed and evolved,” said Bruce Banerdt, InSight principal investigator.
 
Mars retains evidence about the rocky planets' early development that has been erased on Earth by internal churning Mars lacks.
 
“Gaining information about the core, mantle and crust of Mars is a high priority for planetary science, and InSight was built to accomplish this,” he added.
 
A leak earlier this year that previously had prevented the seismometer from retaining vacuum conditions was repaired, and the mission team was hopeful the most recent fix also would be successful.
 
However, during testing in extreme cold temperature (-45 degrees Celsius), the instrument again failed to hold a vacuum.
 
NASA officials determined there is insufficient time to resolve another leak, and complete the work and thorough testing required to ensure a successful mission.
 
“It’s the first time ever that such a sensitive instrument has been built. We were very close to succeeding, but an anomaly has occurred, which requires further investigation,” said Marc Pircher, director of CNES’s Toulouse Space Centre.
 
“Our teams will find a solution to fix it, but it won’t be solved in time for a launch in 2016,” Pircher noted.
 
The spacecraft, built by Lockheed Martin, was delivered to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
 
With the 2016 launch canceled, the spacecraft will be returned from Vandenberg to Lockheed’s facility in Denver.
 
For InSight, that 2016 launch window existed from March 4 to March 30.
 
NASA is on an ambitious journey to Mars that includes sending humans to the Red Planet.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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RBI working on payment systems vision document
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is in the process of preparing a new Payment Systems Vision document, Deputy Governor R. Gandhi said on Tuesday.
 
"The Reserve Bank is working on the next Payment Systems Vision document. In this context, it is also imperative that market participants also continue to take serious interest in developing the payment systems," he said at an event organised by National Payments Corporation of India here.
 
The payments landscape in India is changing fast and the key elements are the regulatory focus on creating robuse payments infrastructure, technology enabling solutions and others, said Gandhi, adding that the interoperability of the technology is the key and critical ingredient for evolving a larger payment ecosystems.
 
"The retail payments in the next 3-5 years are likely to be driven essentially through mobile payments. This is to ride on over one billion mobile connections in the country and the financial Inclusion drive," he said.
 
Citing the availability of the digital payment channels in tier I and II cities, Gandhi said it is important that population of over six lakh villages in India is exposed to alternate delivery channels.
 
He said electronic benefit transfer is a clear strategy to promote efficient payment systems.
 
Apart from interoperability of technological systems, Gandhi said the end customers need to have simple ways of accessing digital channels while making the channels safe and secure to build the customer confidence on using digital payment channels.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Raids on IRS officer, crores in cash and property unearthed
The CBI raided seven locations - official and residential - of an IRS officer accused of corruption, and recovered Rs.20 crore cash, records of investment of another Rs.20 crore and details of other property, an official said on Tuesday.
 
The agency had registered a case against the IRS officer, presently a financial advisor and chief accounts officer at the Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) here, for allegedly accumulating assets in his name which are disproportionate to his known sources of income.
 
Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer Sanjay Kumar, his wife Smita Soni, some unidentified persons and two other firms based in Mumbai and New Delhi have been booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the case.
 
"It was alleged that the officer of EPFO had accumulated assets in his name and in the names of his family members which are disproportionate to his known sources of income," said a CBI official.
 
The IRS officer's wife had allegedly abetted him in the offence by investing the money through the said firms.
 
The agency conducted searches at seven locations in New Delhi, Mumbai and Patna.
 
"The searches were carried out at the official and residential premises of the IRS officer and others which led to the recovery of Rs.20 crore cash, incriminating documents relating to investments worth Rs.20 crore, properties, fixed deposits and others," the official said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

Subramani P K

12 months ago

Confiscate the properties & all the money with this officer & his relatives who ever is benefited by his corrupt practice. Similar raids should be conducted at the premises of all govt. officials, politicians,businessmen, cine actors,professionals etc. and all unaccounted money confiscated without fear or favour. If all unaccounted money is confiscated lot of relief in taxation can be given to salaried class who are subject to TDS. If taxation is reduced to an acceptable limit tax evasion can also be controlled.

REPLY

Sreenivas Ananthakrihna

In Reply to Subramani P K 12 months ago

It's hard to believe anything that comes in news these days. Maybe this officer was honest and this is a setup to implicate him and save other senior officers.

D S Ranga Rao

In Reply to Sreenivas Ananthakrihna 12 months ago

Well, whom do you believe? Kirti Azad or Arun Jaitley? The news of both sides has been deafening the ears of the country for quite some time past, as you know, regarding the affairs of the Delhi Cricket Association, etc.

D S Ranga Rao

12 months ago

Mere arrest and recovery of alleged disproportionate assets from the government officials is not enough, please. All his assets, including those of his family members, blood relatives, etc., should be attached forthwith immediately after the arrest, before the accused gets bail and should be in the court custody till the final disposal of the case. The modus operandi of the accused paying to his lawyers, his family expenses, etc., should be thoroughly checked and scrutinized so as to know the sources of his income after the arrest and seizure of his property and assets. The instant case being a high official of the EPFO, where a lot of innocent workers and hard laborers save their hard earned money in good faith and trust, the accused doesn't deserve any mercy or leniency at all.

S K Gupta

12 months ago

Make some real product and services to make money. Add some value to the society. Sitting on a plump post and milking the exchequer cow, how long will it go on?

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