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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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Nigeria: Woman Dies During Church Deliverance in Lagos

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A 51-year-old woman, Taibat Kareem, has collapsed and died during a deliverance service in a Cherubim and Seraphim Church  community, Lagos after allegedly drinking a substance said to be given to her by the church prophet, Olowomeye Ola, for deliverance.



The issue provoked reactions from the residents who went to the church and brought out the pastor to mob him on the street.

However, before he could be mobbed, the Isheri Police Division moved to the church, arrested two suspects including the pastor and took them to the police station for interrogation.

The incident happened at Oriofe Street in Ijegun in the outskirts of Lagos where the church is located.

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According to the residents, her supplier, one Ayodele Isaac, a herbalist, invited the late Taibat, who dealt in local herbs, to take some herbs for sale. She was going to take the herbs when Pastor Ola accosted her and told her that she needed deliverance. He then took her to the church for prayers; it was during the prayer session that Pastor Ola gave her a liquid substance to drink. Immediately she drank the substance, she collapsed on the ground inside the church.

 Pastor Ola reportedly took her to his own room where he allegedly tried to revive her. It was in the midst of the confusion that the residents raised the alarm, attacked the pastor and attempted to mob him before the police rescued him.
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The corpse of the deceased, Taibat, was deposited at an undisclosed mortuary for autopsy while the two suspects mentioned over her death, Ola and Isaac, were transferred to the SCIID Panti, Yaba, for further investigation.

 When our correspondent visited Isheri Osun Police Division, the DPO was not around to comment on the incident.

However, police sources at the station that the matter had been transferred to SCIID’s Homicide Department.

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Lawyers in Egypt move to change president’s 2-term limit

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A host of Egyptian lawyers declared they have filed a court case to force the parliament to start a debate on amending a constitutional clause that bars President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi from running for a third term in 2022.



Ayman Abdel-Hakim Ramadan told The Associated Press on Saturday that a Cairo court will hold its first hearing on the case Dec. 23.

Egypt’s constitution was adopted in 2014, after el-Sissi, as defense minister, led the military’s ouster of a freely elected but divisive Islamist president.

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El-Sissi was elected president later that year. This year, he won a second four-year term in office. He ran virtually unchallenged after authorities either jailed or intimidated potentially serious candidates out of the race.

Ramadan says el-Sissi has overseen an “incredible” number of achievements since 2014.

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