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China is creating a ‘magpie bridge’ to the far side of the moon

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Although it’s sometimes called the “dark side” of the moon, it’s not actually dark. The moon circles the Earth and gets illuminated by the sun in a tidal lock orbit, meaning the orbital period matches its rotational period. In other words, the same side is always facing us, and that’s where nearly all lunar missions have landed.



The Chang’e 4 mission will land on the surface and dispatch a rover for observation and analysis. Direct communication through the enormous mass of the moon is not possible, so Queqiao will provide a relay link to Chinese mission control. It will station itself at a Lagrange Point, a spot of gravitational equilibrium “behind” the moon as viewed from Earth.

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The name Queqiao means “bridge of magpies” and it comes from a folklore tale, as the state-owned Xinhuanet media outlet explains: “In a Chinese folktale, magpies form a bridge with their wings on the seventh night of the seventh month of the lunar calendar to enable Zhi Nu, the seventh daughter of the Goddess of Heaven, to cross and meet her beloved husband, separated from her by the Milky Way.”

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As detailed by Spaceflight Insider, Queqiao is part of Chang’e 4, China’s fourth lunar mission. The two Chang’e 1 and Chang’e 2 probes orbited the moon in 2007 and 2010, and Chang’e 3 landed a rover on the moon’s surface in 2013. The experimental Chang’e 5 T1 mission, launched in 2014, sent a capsule around the moon and returned to Earth. The capsule demonstrated its capability by surviving re-entry, and in 2019 Chang’e 5 will land on the lunar surface, collect rock and soil samples, then lift off and return them for scientific study.

Aside from its relay duties, Queqiao also includes a radio scanner known as the Netherlands-China Low-Frequency Explorer. Because it’s in the “shadow” of the moon, unaffected by the Earth’s interference, it can search for ancient radio signals of very low frequencies dating back to the early formation of the universe and perhaps even the Big Bang itself.

“Underlying the strong humming sound from the Milky Way, there are some emissions from the early phase of the universe and it will recur at certain frequencies,” astrophysics professor Heino Falcke told Quartz. “If you don’t have much background noise you may be able to see some certain frequencies and that tells us something about the universe. It requires an extremely quiet environment.”

The lander-rover duo Chang’e 4 will launch and land on the moon later this year, and China has made no secret of their plans for a manned mission to the moon in the future.

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Ahmed Musa fires to revive Nigeria, Argentina hope.

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Ahmed Musa scored both goals as Nigeria swept aside World Cup debutants Iceland to leave Group D intriguingly poised with one round of games to go.

The Super Eagles would have gone out with defeat but came good in Volgograd.

Musa showed superb technique to fire Nigeria ahead on the half-volley before the Leicester player rounded keeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson to make it 2-0.

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Iceland missed a late penalty awarded after a video assistant referee review, Gylfi Sigurdsson firing over.

The result gives a slight lift to beleaguered group rivals Argentina. Victory over Nigeria in their final game would see La Albiceleste safely into the last 16 – as long as Iceland do not beat group leaders Croatia. In that event, goal difference would decide who progressed.

Victory in that game for Nigeria, on the other hand, would now guarantee their progress. Having started the day bottom of the group, they find themselves second – three points behind Croatia, who have already qualified for the knockout stage.Ahmed

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Last gasp Coutinho, Neymar goals lifts Brazil’s hope

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Brazil managed to beat Costa Rica 2-0 in their second game in Group E of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia at Volgograd Arena on Friday afternoon.

Both nations were looking for a win as Costa Rica came into this match at the back of 1-0 defeat against Serbia whilst the Selecao drew against Switzerland on Sunday.

Costa Rica had a glorious opportunity to take the lead when they attacked through Celso Borges, but he failed to direct the ball into an empty net in the 13th minute.

Although they had the favourites tag, the Brazilians failed to create chances. They did manage to find the back of the net in the 26th minute through Gabriel Jesus, but he was ruled offside.

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 Following that disallowed goal, Tite’s troops piled pressure on the opposite defence, but Marcelo’s shot was collected by Keylor Navas in the 41st minute.

Despite more attacking from the 2014 hosts, there were no goals to show for their efforts at the interval.

Upon their return from the interval, Brazil continued to attack with Neymar failing to lower his effort as he blasted over the cross bar on the hour mark.

Towards the 80th minute, Neymar continued to cause all sorts of problems for Costa Rica and he looked like he was pulled in the box, but the VAR referees disagreed.

The Brazilians would break the deadlock in the 90th minute through Philippe Coutinho when he pounced on a loose ball in the box, 1-0.

Right in the injury time, Neymar made it 2-0 when he easily tapped in a cross from the right wing and ensured they bagged their first win in the group.

In the wake of the win, the Brazilians move to the top of the table with four points leaving Costa Rica at at the bottom with zero points.

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Malawi to Consider a New Typhoid Vaccine

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Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) Aziza Mwisongo has advised the Ministry of health to speedily consider adopting for the new typhoid vaccine.

Mwisongo said Typhoid is an epidemic in Malawi, with research showing that more than 16,000 cases are reported every year.

Mwisongo was speaking in Mponela on Wednesday during a workshop organized by Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) to brief health practitioners on the importance of the new typhoid vaccine called Typbar-TCV.

She said drug resistance has caused typhoid incidence in Malawi to increase over the past years and an estimated 64 percent of typhoid cases and 67 percent of typhoid deaths occur in children under 15 years of age.

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“While typhoid is rarely fatal, the recovery is long and difficult, the disease takes time, money, and productivity from those infected and their families it is associated with numerous, long-term complications,” she said

She said the Typbar-TCV is a typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) and is effective in the sense that it has a longer lasting protection, require fewer doses, and reduces the need for antibiotics, slow further emergence of drug-resistant typhoid strains and save lives.

Mwisongo said the vaccine is suitable for children 6 months of age and older, and offers protection for at least 3 years to adults and infants over 6 months of age.

“In Malawi, TyVAC and project partners are studying how well TCVs prevent typhoid in children between 9 months and 12 years of age as well as the safety, impact, and cost of the vaccine,” she said

She added, “While the WHO already recommends TCV introduction in all typhoid epidemic countries, this additional evidence will help inform ongoing decisions about TCV vaccination in low and middle income countries.”

Deputy Director in the Ministry of Health and population responsible for immunology Matthew Kagoli acknowledged the importance of the typhoid vaccine saying the disease was serious in the country because it affected people in communities as outbreaks.

Kagoli said with the available data it is undoubtedly true that the country needs the vaccine, but further consultations have to be done before adopting the vaccine in the country.

“The vaccine is important and the country will benefit from it but further and thorough consultations need to be done before we take a stand as a country regarding the vaccine,” he said

Typhoid is an enteric fever caused by Salmonella Typhi, it is spread through contaminated food and water and is a substantial public health issue in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa.

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