Macau’s Cyber-security Law: More About Surveillance (And Censorship)

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

Macau’s Cybersecurity Law: Less About Security, More About Surveillance (And Censorship)

Graffiti art of surveillance camera. Published and labeled for reuse on Pixabay.

The following article is based on a translation of a post that appeared first in Chinese on Hong Kong citizen media outlet inmediahk.net.

Macau, a former Portuguese colony and a special administrative region on the south coast of China, has begun public consultations on a proposed Cybersecurity Law.

The Macau government is proposing the legislation in an effort to ensure the “security of network communications.” The law would establish a local cybersecurity standing committee and a cybersecurity center which would monitor online information flows in binary code to keep track of and investigate future cyber attacks. The center would coordinate with government departments to supervise and implement protection procedures for companies in 11 crucial sectors, including internet operators, media organizations, water and energy suppliers, financial and banking companies, gambling companies and medical institutions, among others.

The law would also obligate telecommunication operators and internet service providers (ISPs) to implement a real-name registration system, in which all users would be required to be fully identified in all their online activities. The law would require ISPs to keep users’ online activity logs for at least one year.

Various critics say the proposed law will provide a legal framework for mass surveillance, much more so than improve network security.

To look into the rationality behind the legislation, the Chinese Q&A news team interviewed a senior information security analyst who works in one of the 11 crucial sectors listed in the consultation document, to get an insider’s perspective.

Q: Have any hacking incidents taken place in Macau in the past few years? Does the information security sector find it necessary to set up a mechanism for monitoring data flows?

A: There haven’t been any major hacking incidents [affecting public security] in Macau in recent years, neither the public nor the public sector has been attacked by hackers. (The WannaCry kind of ransomware is not target specific attack.)

[Editor’s note: according to media report, apart from the WannaCry ransomware, a Macau ISP operator was hacked in January 2013, but only 34 clients’ information were stolen. This, however, was not considered a serious security breach.]

There is no need to set up a mechanism for monitoring data flows. If we have to monitor data flows, we have to record and analyze all of the data, much like immigration officers unpacking travelers’ baggage. Moreover, this type of monitoring system cannot prevent a cyber attack.

To take it a bit further, here are the two most common forms of cyber attack:

1. Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDOS): A massive DDoS would produce a tremendous amount of data. Recording the data flow would require a huge storage space and a good deal of manpower. In other words, you can’t possibly monitor data flows in a DDoS attack.

2. Hacking of website and private network: In the case of targeted hacking attack, the incident response team of the cybersecurity center would have to get evidence from the server under attack. Of course, evidence can be obtained from a network facility. However, recording and unpacketing all the data packet on the network is a very ineffective way of gathering evidence in the investigation of a cyber attack.

On the other hand, the data flow monitoring mechanism is effective for keyword filtering. For example, when the data packet contains keyword like “Vindication of June 4”, the monitoring system can send out an alert. But this is not a network security measure — it looks much more internet censorship, in the style of mainland China.

Q: The proposed Cybersecurity Law will affect the 11 crucial sectors the most. Has the commercial sector submitted any opinion so far?

A: Commercial sector representatives are still in the process of understanding the content of the proposal. For example, the proposal mentioned that operators of the 11 crucial sectors have to hand in a network security report, but it did not mention what should be included in the report. It also said that operators should conduct a qualification and professional background check when appointing key positions. But what do they mean by “qualification”? Should the employees obtain a license from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information? And what is the meaning of “background check”? Do they need to prove that they love China and Macau? These are major concerns from the information security sector.

Q: Has there been any consultation on the listing of 11 businesses as crucial sectors?

A: There was no consultation among the business sector. The proposal was released on 8 December 2017 without prior notification and we had just one week to prepare for the consultation, which made it a very rushed process.

Q: For the IT sector, what kind of mechanism is more reasonable?

A: As a cybersecurity worker, I don’t think the proposed cybersecurity management framework is capable of maintaining what the draft proposes, which is a “three-level monitoring system that involves top [government authorities] and bottom [business operators] who will integrate strategy and implementation in an organic manner”. To the contrary, the framework will obstruct cybersecurity work.

From the cybersecurity sector’s viewpoint, policy makers and executive personnel should be familiar enough with the technology in order to integrate strategy and implementation in an organic manner.

In the so-called three-level cybersecurity management framework, the business operators would be supervised by government administrative bodies.

Would the government authorities have the ability [i.e. technical know-how] to supervise and protect network safety or assist the business operators to defend against cyber attacks? Why not set up an independent department with professional knowledge to manage the cybersecurity work?

Q: Would the proposed law, such as the policy of SIM card real name registration, affect the economic interest of the business sectors, in particular the gambling, media and ISP sectors?

A: First, regarding real-name registration of SIM cards, the policy would have little effect on the gambling and ISP sectors. Currently when applying for service, users have to provide their identity card or passport for registration. As for media, this is rather sensitive. Reporters’ communication is subjected to wiretapping. If all SIM cards have to be registered with real name, there will be certain negative impact.

Second, regarding operators’ cybersecurity reports, the content of the reports may involve some business secrets and of course the business sector doesn’t want any third party (including the government) to get hold of their secrets. Would the government allow the operators to submit a security report that hides sensitive and important information?

Third, regarding the duty of cooperators, the proposal mentioned that operators have to allow representatives of the cybersecurity center to enter its facilities and offices and assist their work by providing information and cooperation as requested. For those who cannot fulfill their duties, they would be seen as violating the administrative regulation and subjected to a MOP$50,000-150,000 fine for a minor offense and a MOP$150,000-5,000,000 fine for a serious offense.

However, if a business is subjected to cyber attack, the first thing that they do is try to recover the system. In the case of gambling businesses, the security incident would be handled by internal security staff as well as cybersecurity subcontractors who have the most advanced tools and knowledge. Moreover, they have signed an agreement of confidentiality. However, according to the government proposal, the police and the director of Postal and Telecommunication services would be responsible for cybersecurity alerts and prevention measures. For the business sector, of course they would seek help from a professional security team rather than the government authorities. Yet, by doing so, will the business be fined? If the government demands that investigation should come before system recovery, who would cover the loss?

Q: Would the proposed law infringe citizens’ privacy and freedom?

A: It would create a chilling effect for the public. Real-name registration will assist the monitoring of data and people will be worried about the security of private communication. Moreover, currently, ISPs already have the power to monitor our online activities or even intercept the data in the network. With this legislation, such power would be in the hands of the police and people would not know if their communication is being intercepted.

Chinese police spot suspects with surveillance (Face Recognition) sunglasses

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Chinese police spot suspects with surveillance sunglasses

Image shows a police officer wearing a pair of sunglasses with a facial recognition system at Zhengzhou East Railway Station in Zhengzhou in China's central Henan province.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionThe modified sunglasses are connected to an internal database of suspects

Police in China have begun using sunglasses equipped with facial recognition technology to identify suspected criminals.

The glasses are connected to an internal database of suspects, meaning officers can quickly scan crowds while looking for fugitives.

But critics fear the technology will give even more power to the government.

The sunglasses have already helped police capture seven suspects, according to Chinese state media.

Police used the new equipment at a busy train station in the central city of Zhengzhou to identify the suspects.

The seven people who were apprehended are accused of crimes ranging from hit-and-runs to human trafficking.

Police also identified 26 people who were using fake IDs, the ruling communist party’s People’s Daily newspaper reported.

Media captionIn your face: China’s all-seeing surveillance system

The technology allows police officers to take a photograph of a suspicious individual and then compare it to pictures stored in an internal database. If there is a match, information such as the person’s name and address will then be sent to the officer.

But there are fears that China’s authoritarian leaders will use the sunglasses to track political dissidents or profile ethnic minorities.

China is a world leader in facial recognition technology and regularly reminds its citizens that such equipment will make it almost impossible to evade the authorities.

The country has been building what it calls “the world’s biggest camera surveillance network”.

An estimated 170 million CCTV cameras are already in place and some 400 million new ones are expected be installed in the next three years.

Many of the cameras use artificial intelligence, including facial recognition technology.

Related Topics

Big Troubles Are Coming, What Are You Going To Do?

BIG TROUBLES ARE COMING, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?

 

There are many things that have happened that are horrible, but even worse things are soon to come upon the human race. The secular world does not know, they do not see, because they do not study, because they do not believe the things that are about to come upon all of us. Ignorance to reality will not save any of us from that reality, I wish it would, but it won’t. Here in America, a Nation that was founded on Christian beliefs has turned its back on anything and everything to do with the Bible, faith, and Jesus and then we wonder why our Nation and the world has turned so violent and hate filled. Hollywood and the media teach society that they are the path to follow, that total ego is the true path to follow if we want a life of happiness. Hollywood and the media push violence, cursing, and filth at everyone from birth to the grave and call it good and call it progress. Hollywood and the liberal left now insist that women not having the ‘right’ to murder their babies is stone age thinking and they say the far right is trying to take away this “right”. If a person was to believe Christian or Jewish Scripture then they would understand that our excepted society is evil, this is why they constantly have to attack these faiths trying to demonize them. You see these faith-based religions teach that what our society is teaching is evil, this is why they attack all that is Scripturally sound Doctrine otherwise they would have to admit that they are the ones that are pure evil.

About a month ago in this blog I wrote of some bad things that have happened, things past tense that were secret evils. By no means am I saying that I know everything, nor that I have been shown everything, nor that I understand everything past or future, I can only tell you the things that I have been shown and the things that I believe. All I can do is bring them to your attention, believe whatever you wish; I’m just trying to be helpful. I am going to tell you things that I know are going to happen to America in the very near future and something’s that are America and world related that are soon to happen most within this next generation. I would like to say “may God have mercy upon all of us”, but that would be misleading if we don’t even know what God means by mercy. People, friends, brothers, sisters, the world has never seen the level of Hell that is coming to the face of this planet.

Now I will start to tell you of the things that are soon to come here in America then I will expand to some more global issues.–The mark of the Devil and the sign of the Antichrist ARE NOT the same thing! When I was growing up in a Christian believing household I was always led to believe that there was simply one “Devil”, well, there is only one Satan but also thousands of other former Angels turned Demons. Demons can only possess one person at a time unlike the Spirit of God who can possess billions at one time. So, these Demons, who do you think would be their prime targets to possess? Would the prime targets be the average office worker or factory worker, or politicians and world leaders?  Which leaders would be the most prime targets? All leaders would be targets but the most prime ones would obviously be the leaders with the most power, of the countries with the most power. Where do you think our leaders would place on the Demons want list? People, the governments are evil and they are only going to get worse!

As any American knows if they are paying any attention to life around them we are having trouble securing our borders and we are having trouble securing our money supply from fraud. Also identity theft is becoming more and more of a problem in our society. At every level our society and it’s so called securities are breaking down. As we all know, the governments are becoming all-powerful and it is only through their great wisdom that we the people can be “saved”. We become totally dependent upon our leaders, we must all do what they say or we become the enemy of our nation. The government must come up with a program that can secure the nation’s borders for our own security. The government’s money supply and the finances of our people must be secured so that everyone’s savings and property isn’t stolen by the bad guys. But, how can such a thing be done?–Revelation 13:16 and 17, “And He (the beast) caused everyone, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their forehead: So that no man could buy or sell, unless he had the mark,…”.  Also Revelation 14: 9-11, “…if any man worships the Beast and His image, and receives his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wrath of the wine of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation: and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the Holy Angels, and in the presence of the Lamb (Jesus): And the smoke of their torment will ascend up forever and ever: and they shall have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name”. Friends, this is just a small piece of the trouble that is already busting through our doors, we all need to think about what we are doing and what we are going to do.

I’ll just put a couple of questions out to you, all I ask is that people just quietly think about them in the quite of their own thoughts . These are what if questions, what if I am correct about what I have told you. I know these things by faith, prayer, study, and a lifetime of observation.  What if our federal government decides that they have no choice but to implement a chip policy? Chip systems have been in place now for a long time, a different type of chip, but you ease in controversial changes to get people to learn to conform to their “necessary requirements”. We started out with putting chips in our animals so we wouldn’t lose them, then came added information like health records. Well, before you say that’s just about animals, there has been a program now for several years putting chips in newborns for the same type reasons as the animals. O’ by the way, preschool and grade school children by parental requests have been getting these for the same type reasons, getting lost, stolen, medical info ect.

 

Now, about us adults, we all have to decide what we are going to do when these chips are required instead of the current permission/request policy. Everyone in this country is a number from birth, that makes things easy enough. We are all going to have to decide in our own minds what we are going to do if/when this happens. Millions will go along with it without thought; it will sound like a great idea. These are the people who are usually ignorant of the Scriptures and who usually have no religion/faith in their up bringing. Many people, even those who say they are Christian will not like it, but they will conform. The reasons for this are simple, if there is no cash system, then no plastic, only the chip in your wrist/hand (during the Roman Empire and the time of the first advent the wrist was considered to be part of the hand) and all financial information is loaded onto your chip, and without the chip you have no financial means to survive, what you going to do?

When you cannot work, buy, sell, or rent a place to live, not even a skid row flee bag motel; when you cannot buy gas or food and you are going to lose absolutely everything you thought you owned, what are you going to do? When you find yourself out in the street with no shelter or food and no way to get any, are you going to allow the chip? Remember how the government in the late 1800’s stole everything the Indian people owned, then those they hadn’t already killed they forced onto reservations? How many times once the people were rounded up and disarmed did the military get sent in to scorch the earth of them? History lessons make perfect examples of evil and how too! The only people who absolutely refuse to be chipped will be the true faithful of the Christian population and some of our Jewish brothers. These people will become enemy number one of the state who will get blamed for all the worlds problems. Remember Germany/Hitler/WWII, how did this evil empire almost accomplish its goal of killing every Jewish person on earth? The slogan after the war was “never again”, people, that was only a blueprint to grow from when you have evil running your countries.

Whatever we put first in our life IS our God, how about our money, is that our God? These things are coming; they are not that far away. Again, I ask you the question, friends, what are you going to do?

 

Lasers Reveal a Maya Civilization So Dense It Blew Experts’ Minds

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Photo

Tikal, home to temples and palaces, is one of the best known Maya sites in northern Guatemala.CreditJustin Lane for The New York Times

They were hidden there, all this time, under the cover of tree canopies in the jungles of northern Guatemala: tens of thousands of structures built by the Maya over a millennium ago.

Not far from the sites tourists already know, like the towering temples of the ancient city of Tikal, laser technology has uncovered about 60,000 homes, palaces, tombs and even highways in the humid lowlands.

The findings suggested an ancient society of such density and interconnectedness that even the most experienced archaeologists were surprised.

“Everywhere that we looked, there was more settlement than we expected,” said Thomas Garrison, a National Geographic explorer and an archaeologist at Ithaca University. “We knew there was going to be more, but the scale of it really blew our minds.”

Researchers found the structures by shooting lasers down from planes to pierce the thick foliage and paint a 3-D picture of the ground below. The technology is called Light Detection and Ranging, or lidar.

200 MILES

Gulf of

Mexico

Maya

Biosphere

ReserveGuatemala

Beli

Caribbean

Sea

MEXICO

BELIZE

GUATEMALA

HONDURAS

EL SALVADOR

Pacific

Ocean

NICARAGUA

The method has been used elsewhere, including around the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia. But this lidar project is the largest ever undertaken. More than 800 square miles of the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala’s Petén region have been mapped, according to an exclusive report by National Geographic, which is airing a Feb. 6 television special about the project.

Continue reading the main story

“This world, which was lost to this jungle, is all of a sudden revealed in the data,” said Albert Yu-Min Lin, an engineer and National Geographic explorer who worked on the television special. “And what you thought was this massively understood, studied civilization is all of a sudden brand new again.”

The lasers are only the first step, he added, noting that he and archaeologists still had to trek through jungles to verify the data while contending with thick undergrowth, poisonous snakes, swarms of killer bees and the odd scorpion.

Photo

Lidar data highlighted about 60,000 structures that had been hidden in the jungle for hundreds of years.CreditWild Blue Media/National Geographic

The project was started by Pacunam, a Guatemalan nonprofit organization, and carried out with help from the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping, which is based at the University of Houston. The lidar technology essentially allows researchers to spot bumps in the landscape. Most of the ruins look like rocky mounds — even in person, and to the naked eye — but experts can often identify a collapsed quarry, palace or street.

The Maya culture was known for its sophisticated approach to agriculture, arts and astronomy. The peak era for the civilization, which some archaeologists refer to as the Classic Period, is generally considered to have lasted from around A.D. 250 to 900.

The total population at that time was once estimated to be a few million, said Diane Davies, an archaeologist and Maya specialist based in the United Kingdom. But in light of the new lidar data, she said it could now be closer to 10 million.

Dr. Davies was not involved in the lidar project but considered it “really big, sensational news.” She said the data should encourage people not only to re-evaluate Maya civilization, but also to learn from it.

“To have such a large number of people living at such a high level for such a long period of time, it really proves the fact that these people were highly developed, and also quite environmentally conscientious,” she said.

Among the structures uncovered were roads, built wide and raised high above the wetlands to connect fields to farmers and markets to metropolises. There were also small dwellings, quarries and intricate irrigation systems. “We’re seeing the spaces in between, and that’s where really interesting stuff was happening,” Dr. Garrison said.

He added that in addition to changing people’s perception of the Maya culture, lidar represented “a sea change” in the field of archaeology.

“I don’t think you see a lot of discoveries happening across the sciences right now that sort of turn a discipline on its head,” he said. “It’s exciting to know that it can still happen.”

(Theology) Everything Can Be A God

EVERYTHING CAN BE A GOD

 

In your mind, in your opinion, is Jesus Christ ‘a God’? Outside of Christianity the prevailing answer to that question, is no, He is not. For the first three to four hundred years after the death of Jesus even the Churches heavily debated that question. Within the other two Palestine major religions, Judaism and Islam, Jesus is usually referred to as a ‘misguided’ Prophet. Even though Jesus was born and raised as a Jew His own people, then and now, do not believe that He was/is the Christ, the Messiah, the Promised One. For the purpose of trying to make a point in this commentary today I am going to ask you a question that will seem quite odd to most of you, please bare with me as you will understand more clearly as the article continues. The question is, if I carve a piece of wood to make it look like a human and then I decide to call this piece of wood Jesus Christ, is it really Jesus Christ? Hopefully all of you would say, well of course not, wouldn’t you? If I see a beautiful waterfall or a beautiful rock formation and I say look, this is Jesus Christ, does it make either of them really be Jesus Christ? I sure hope you said no. If I decided to start-up a new Church and I tell everyone that I am Jesus Christ, even if I believed it my self, would that make it be so?

 

Throughout the Bible there are a few different names for God and when you get into not just the different English translations but into various language translations such as Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, German and so on, you will find many names for God the Father and for God the Son. For the English speakers who wish to get uppity you need to understand that in the original Hebrew and Greek there was no letter ‘J’. That means there is no such word as Jehovah or Jesus in the original Scriptures . In the Hebrew the name for ‘the Father’ is Yahweh and the name for ‘the Son’ is Yeshiva. Only after these names were ‘washed’ through several other languages did we come up with the English names of Jehovah and Jesus.

 

If you are a person who is a believer in Buddhism and you are holding a carving of ‘the Buddha’ in your hand and you say that this is Buddha my God, does it make it so? If you are a believer of Hinduism and you are holding one of the many different Hindu Gods in your hand and you say this is a Hindu God, does it make it so? If you are a Christian and you bow down to and worship some statue, is that statue really God? If not, then why are you bowing down to it? If you use a non-English name for Jesus, say Russian, it is Иисус. 

 

What I am getting at is we humans have many names for what we call God and in many religions they have many Deity’s (Gods). I know that many of my ancestors came from Norway so I am quite sure that in the early times of my ‘family tree’ I had relatives who bowed down to the Viking Gods. So with that in thought if Odin was their main God and they made a carving and said this is Odin and bowed down to it, was it really Odin? The Ancient Egyptians worshiped the ‘Gods of the underworld’, folks were they really Gods? We are told in Old Testament and New that mankind has bowed down to dumb rocks and pieces of wood and most of them were nothing but dumb rocks and pieces of wood that could do nothing, but some of them were Demons. If you are worshiping ‘Gods’ of the ‘underworld’ you need to get a grip on reality.

 

Within the Old Testament one of the earliest names for God is ‘Elohim’, by my understanding I have been told from a couple of trusted sources that in the ancient Arabic language for Elohim is the name Allah. So technically then the name Allah is one of the names for God, just not an English name. Now the climax of this article, just because you or I decide to use the name Allah for God, does that automatically mean that because we call something ‘God’ or ‘Allah’ does that make that object really be God? Even Jesus said that because Satan and His Angels used to be Angels of Light that they can portray themselves as Angels of Light to this day. Jesus told us that Satan and His Angels are such good liars/deceivers that they will be able to even deceive some of the Saints.

 

I know that I have many readers who are believers in the Islamic faith and I also know that many get very upset if anyone says that they are not worshiping the one true God, Allah. Folks, this is quite understandable, Christians don’t like to be told that we aren’t really worshiping God, just as folks who believe in other religions feel the same way. What I am saying to our Islamic brothers and sisters isn’t that the name Allah isn’t a name for God, what I am saying is that the Deity that they are worshiping isn’t really God (Allah), that they have been deceived. The believers of Islam do not believe that the ‘people of the Book’ (Jews and Christians) are worshiping the one true God but when those same table are turned and we or anyone else says the same to them you end up with the ‘Islamic Terrorism’ that the world sees today. In the name of God, Jehovah, Jesus, Yahweh, Elohim, Allah, Buddha or any Hindu God, no one spills the blood of anyone. To do so is simply murder, no one is allowed to be an aggressor toward another. If ‘our God’ and His Scriptures are telling its followers to commit violence, then that Deity is not God, that Deity is a Devil! The reason the title says ‘everything can be a God’ is simple, if you or I worship it, no matter what ‘it’ is, diamonds, gold, money, whatever, we have made this item our ‘God’.

 

Thick Layers Of Ice Water Discovered Below Surface Of Mars

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TECH TIMES)

 

Thick Layers Of Ice Water Discovered Below Surface Of Mars

 By Maui Hermitanio Tech Times
Nasa building new rover for Mars 2020 mission
Underground ice found beneath Mars’ surface extending to its middle latitude. This discovery is a game changer in mankind’s exploration of the read planet.   ( Aynur Zakirov | Pixabay )

Geological features comprising 300 feet of thick ice was exposed in the surface of Mars.

Eroded slopes of pure water ice called scarps were scanned by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. At least eight scarps were found in both northern and southern hemisphere of Mars’ middle latitudes.

Pure Water Ice Discovered From Mars’ Surface

The pictures sent back to Earth by MRO showed a more detailed cross-section view of thick ice sheets below a layer of ice-cemented rock and dust on Mars’ surface. The 3D images were studied by scientists using the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera.

In 2001, the Mars Odyssey spacecraft discovered that a third of Mars’ surface is covered in shallow ice. Also, its poles are full of ice deposits through the detection of hydrogen using gamma rays.

In 2008, the Phoenix lander analyzed and confirmed the Odyssey findings as it discovered buried water ice at 68 degrees north latitude or about one-third into the planet’s pole. However, previous scans using the MRO’s Shallow Radar instrument were not enough to determine the extent and makeup of ice on the Red Planet.

Scientists were astonished to discover that Mars’ mid-latitudes contained pure water ice.

“It was surprising to find ice exposed at the surface at these places. In the mid-latitudes, it’s normally covered by a blanket of dust or regolith,” loose bits of rock atop a layer of bedrock, said Colin Dundas, research geologist of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.

The ice sheets appear bluish in the high-resolution images and look like steep cliffs of glaciers, up to 100 meters tall. The discovery points to a vast area of underground ice buried only a meter or two below Martian ground surface. The location of the scarps was at 55 to 58 middle latitudes or the equivalent of Scotland or the tip of South America on Earth.

Shayne Byrne of the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson said the discovery was like looking at an ant farm from a glass on the side and seeing what’s hidden beneath the ground.

How Scarps Were Formed

No definitive information was provided on how the scarps were formed. Scientists said once the buried ice is exposed to Mars’ atmosphere, a scarp likely grows wider and taller as it retreats. It is also possible that layers of snow were compressed every climate cycle, resulting in the building deposits of ice over time.

The varying shades of light to a dark blue color of ice as shown on the images suggest that the thick slabs of ice are stacked. The ice could also be remnants of glaciers that existed millions of years ago.

Unlimited Source Of Water And Possible Life On Mars

The discovery is considered a game changer in mankind’s exploration of Mars. Scientists have raised the possibility that the thick ice sheets could become a potential accessible source of water for future scientific exploration and visit to Mars. Byrne suggested that would-be visitors to Mars can just use a bucket and shovel and collect water from the sources.

The latest research gave scientists a glimpse of Mars’ climate history and would be the basis for further study of its water sources. It will also help NASA and other agencies plan upcoming rover and human missions to Mars.

The study was published in the journal Science.

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China’s out-of-control space station may crash to Earth in 2 months

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘THE BUSINESS INSIDER’)

 

China’s out-of-control space station may crash to Earth in 2 months

china tiangong 1 space station model reutersA scale model of China’s Tiangong-1 space station. Jason Lee/Reuters

  • In 2016, China lost control of its first space station, called Tiangong-1 or “Heavenly Palace.”
  • The Aerospace Corporation expects the spacecraft to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere in mid-March, give or take a couple of weeks.
  • Chunks of the 8.5-ton vessel should be durable enough to reach our planet’s surface.
  • Any surviving pieces of Tiangong-1 will most likely land in the ocean.

China’s first space station, called Tiangong-1 or “Heavenly Palace,” will soon explode over Earth into a rain of fiery debris.

Aerospace Corporation, a nonprofit research company, predicted last month that the derelict spacecraft would reenter Earth’s atmosphere in mid-March, give or take two weeks — so possibly as early as the end of February or as late as April.

When it does, extreme heat and pressure caused by plowing through the air at more than 15,000 mph will destroy the 8.5-ton vessel.

Not everything may vanish, though.

There’s a good chance that gear and hardware left on board could survive intact all the way to the ground, according to Bill Ailor, an aerospace engineer who specializes in atmospheric reentry. That durability is thanks to Tiangong-1’s onion-like layers of protective material.

“The thing about a space station is that it’s typically got things on the inside,” Ailor, who works for Aerospace Corporation, previously told Business Insider. “So basically, the heating will just strip these various layers off. If you’ve got enough layers, a lot of the energy is gone before a particular object falls out, it doesn’t get hot, and it lands on the ground.”

For example, he said, after NASA’s Columbia space shuttle broke up over the US in 2003, investigators recovered a working flight computer — an artifact that ultimately helped explain how the deadly incident happened.

Predicting Tiangong-1’s crash to Earth

Tiangong-1 is a two-room space station for two taikonauts, or Chinese astronauts. It has a volume of 15 cubic meters, about 1/60th of the football-field-size International Space Station.

Though China superseded Tiangong-1 in 2016 with Tiangong-2, space experts hailed it as a major achievement for the nation’s space program, since it helped pioneer a permanent Chinese presence in orbit.

“It conducted six successive rendezvous and dockings with spacecraft Shenzhou-8, Shenzhou-9, and Shenzhou-10 and completed all assigned missions, making important contributions to China’s manned space exploration activities,” said a memo China submitted in May to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

tiangong 1 chinese space station cmsaAn illustration of Tiangong-1, China’s first space station, orbiting Earth. China Manned Space Agency

In the memo, China said it lost contact with the spacecraft on March 16, 2016, after it “fully fulfilled its historic mission.”

By May 2017, Tiangong-1 was coasting about 218 miles above Earth and dropping by about 525 feet a day, the memo said. Its altitude has since plummeted to less than 175 miles, according to Aerospace Corporation data.

“For any vehicle like this, the thing that brings them down is atmospheric drag,” Ailor said. “Why there’s a lot of uncertainty in the predictions is that it depends on what the sun’s doing, to a large measure.”

The sun can unleash solar storms and solar flares — bursts of X-rays and ultraviolet light — that heat Earth’s outer atmosphere, causing the air to expand and rise. That forces low-flying objects like Tiangong-1 to plow through denser gases.

“This puts just a little bit of a higher force on these objects that causes them to come down,” Ailor said.

An analysis of the combined effects of solar activity and Tiangong-1’s orbital speed, direction, and altitude, as well as other factors, helped the Aerospace Corporation provide its most recent estimate of a mid-March de-orbit. Before the big moment, however, the company may refine its estimate as conditions change.

What will happen when China’s space station is destroyed

atv spacecraft atmospheric reentry burning up fireball esa d ducrosAn illustration of Europe’s ATV spacecraft breaking apart and burning up as it reenters Earth’s atmosphere.ESA/D. Ducros

Tiangong-1 is likely to crash over the ocean, as water covers about 71% of Earth’s surface. But there’s a decent chance some pieces may strike land as it breaks up over a long and thin oval footprint.

“The whole footprint length for something like this could be 1,000 miles or so,” Ailor said, with heavier pieces at the front and lighter debris toward the back.

If anyone is lucky enough to witness Tiangong-1’s atmospheric breakup from an airplane, it may look similar to the destruction of the European Space Agency’s 14-ton Automated Transfer Vehicle — an expendable spacecraft that was once used to resupply the ISS.

When asked for comment on Tiangong-1’s threat to ongoing NASA missions, the space agency told Business Insider it “actually doesn’t track any debris.”

Ailor says pieces of China’s space station are “really unlikely” to hit anyone or anything on Earth.

“It’s not impossible, but since the beginning of the space age … a woman who was brushed on the shoulder in Oklahoma is the only one we’re aware of who’s been touched by a piece of space debris,” he said.

Should a hunk of titanium, a computer, or another piece smash through a roof or windshield, however, international space law covers compensation for victims.

“It’s China’s responsibility if someone gets hurt or property gets damaged by this,” NASA’s representative said.

New Evidence That Supermassive Black Holes Eventually Suck the Life out of Big Galaxies

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GIZOMDO)

 

New Evidence That Supermassive Black Holes Eventually Suck the Life out of Big Galaxies

The Centaurus A galaxy, showing the characteristic jets of gas thrown off by a supermassive black hole. (Image: ESO/WFI (Optical); MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A.Weiss et al. (Submillimetre); NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al. (X-ray))

At the core of each large galaxy lies a supermassive black hole with the mass of 1 million suns. New research shows that these celestial vacuum cleaners do more than just devour nearby objects—they also grow to a size that eventually suppresses a galaxy’s ability to churn out new stars, effectively rendering them sterile.

Young galaxies are absolutely bursting with bright, newly formed stars. As time passes, however, star formation eventually grinds to a halt. A new study published in Nature shows that supermassive black holes play a critical role in determining when large galaxies stop producing new stars, a process known as “quenching.”

Stars form out of cold gas, so when a galaxy runs out of cold gas it’s effectively quenched. One possible way this could happen—at least for galaxies with supermassive black holes—is that the gas that pours onto a supermassive black hole triggers the production of high-energy jets. The energy released by these jets can expel cold gas out of the galaxy, causing star formation to shut down.

At least that’s the theory. This idea has been around for quite some time, but no observational evidence existed to support the alleged correlation between supermassive black holes and star formation. The new study, led by Ignacio Martín-Navarro from the University of California Santa Cruz, now fills this gap in our knowledge.

Using data collected by the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Massive Galaxy Survey, Martín-Navarro’s team analyzed the spectra of light coming from distant galaxies. This allowed them to separate and measure the varying wavelengths of light coming from these distant objects. The scientists used this data to create a historical snapshot of a galaxy’s star formation history. They then compared this history with black holes of different masses, which resulted in some striking differences—differences that correlated with black hole mass, but not the shape, size, or other properties of black holes.

“The subsequent quenching of star formation takes place earlier and more efficiently in galaxies that host higher-mass central black holes,” wrote the researchers. “The observed relation between black-hole mass and star formation efficiency applies to all generations of stars formed throughout the life of a galaxy, revealing a continuous interplay between black-hole activity and… cooling.”

As Martín-Navarro clarified in an accompanying statement, for galaxies with the same mass of stars, but with a different black hole mass in the center, “those galaxies with bigger black holes were quenched earlier and faster than those with smaller black holes.” This means that star formation will last longer in galaxies with smaller central black holes. “[…Accretion onto more massive black holes leads to more energetic feedback from active galactic nuclei, which would quench star formation faster,” he said.

It’s an exciting result, but there’s still lots of work to do. While the researchers managed to produce observational evidence showing that black hole mass can be connected to the quenching of star formation, they’re still unclear about the exact mechanical processes involved. As study co-author Aaron Romanowsky explained, “There are different ways a black hole can put energy out into the galaxy, and theorists have all kinds of ideas about how quenching happens, but there’s more work to be done to fit these new observations into the models.”

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, features its own super massive black hole and is not immune to this process. It is currently transitioning from star-forming mode to a passive, sterile existence. Eventually, a few billion years from now, all the stars in the Milky Way will be extinguished, and the super massive black hole at center will evaporate into nothing. It’s a grim prospect, but such is the way of the indifferent cosmos.

China’s 2018 Moon Mission Is To Go A ‘Step Beyond’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘THE GUARDIAN’ NEWS)

 

This time next year, there may be a new world leader in lunar exploration. If all goes according to plan, China will have done something no other space-faring superpower has been able to do: land on the far side of the moon. China is rocketing ahead with its plans for lunar exploration. In 2018, they will launch a pair of missions known collectively as Chang’e 4. It is the fourth mission in a series named after the Chinese moon goddess.

The first component of Chang’e 4 is scheduled to lift off in June. It will be a relay satellite stationed some 60,000km behind the moon and will provide a communications link between Earth and the lunar far side. Once this link is established, it will allow China to send the second part of the mission: a lander to the far side’s surface.

Landing on the far side of the moon is something no one has tried before. “The Chinese are pushing back the frontier with such a technically challenging mission,” says Brian Harvey, space analyst and author of China in Space: The Great Leap Forward.

China’s lunar exploration programme started in 2007 with Chang’e 1, a simple lunar orbiter. In 2010, Chang’e 2 also went into lunar orbit before setting off for a trek across the solar system that culminated in a flyby of asteroid Toutatis in 2012.

In 2013 Chang’e 3, deploying the Jade Rabbit rover, made headlines for the first soft landing on the moon since 1976. So far, so impressive, but all China had done was catch up with the achievements of the US and USSR. Chang’e 4, however, will be a space first.

China’s first lunar probe, Chang’e I, lifts off from its launch pad in Xichang, Sichuan province, in 2007
Pinterest
 China’s first lunar probe, Chang’e I, lifts off from its launch pad in Xichang, Sichuan province, in 2007. Photograph: Getty Images

Nobody has landed on the far side of the moon, mainly because of the communications difficulty. Yet the scientific payoff is huge. Being in the shadow of the moon allows stray radio signals from Earth to be blocked so the view of the radio universe is unparalleled.

Heino Falcke, Radboud University, Nijmegen, is hoping to take full advantage of this by supplying a radio telescope to the Chinese mission. His aim is to test how easy it will be to pick up signals from the early universe before there were any stars.

Astronomers call this the dark ages because nothing was emitting light. But hydrogen atoms were giving out radio waves, which Falcke hopes to catch. He designed the instrument for a lunar mission that the European Space Agency(ESA) considered building about five years ago. When that spacecraft was put on hold, it looked as if his plans were scuppered. But when the king of Holland visited China as part of a trade delegation, the idea was revived.

“China has always made a big play about wanting to do international collaboration,” says Harvey. “I think there may be an element of wanting to do it to show the US that they have an international reach, despite the America effort to stop them.”

Working with the Chinese has not proved to be seamless, however. “China is not the giant bloc it looks like from outside. Knowing who are the right people to talk to isn’t always clear,” says Falcke.

As a result, his instrument is still not guaranteed to make it on to the spacecraft in time for the proposed summer launch, yet he remains optimistic. “I think we built up a lot of good relations in China and there is goodwill on both sides to make this happen,” says Falcke.

It is not just the Chinese that have a programme of lunar exploration. The ESA is contributing two significant instruments to a Russia-led lunar lander, planned for 2022. The ESA are also supplying the primary power and population system for Nasa’s Orion space capsule that is planned to orbit the moon uncrewed in 2019. Finally, they are involved in exploratory talks with the Chinese National SpaceAdministration to identify potential opportunities for future collaboration on robotic exploration missions.

ESA’s collaborative approach is perhaps exemplified by their Moon Village concept, which was put forward by director general Jan Woerner, shortly after taking office in 2015. The Moon Village is envisioned as an open-ended endeavour for a sustainable permanent surface presence on the moon, both robotic and human. “The concept entails ESA acting in a non-traditional role as “honest broker”, facilitator and catalyst towards interested parties globally,” says Piero Messina of ESA’s strategy department.

But it is safe to say that China’s plans are the most advanced. After Chang’e 4, they are on course for a series of other robotic lunar missions that will build towards an attempted human landing in about 15 years. The key to this is the Long March 9 rocket, which is in development and due to fly in 2028-2030. It’s a behemoth that will be able to land something bigger than the Apollo lunar module, which carried pairs of astronauts to the moon and back in the 1960s and 70s.

“It is reasonable to presume that China will have its own people on the surface early in the 2030s,” says Harvey. And this puts them well in the lead over Nasa, which has no firm plans for landing people at present.

The ultimate question is whether the Chinese spirit of international collaboration could extend all the way through to the human landings, with their rockets carrying other nationalities? Maybe.

This summer, ESA astronauts trained with their Chinese counterparts for the first time. It was a survival exercise unrelated to lunar exploration, but it signalled an openness on both sides. “The reception was warm. We truly felt the spirit of belonging to one universal astronaut family, sharing the same values, goals and vision,” said ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer at the time. Clearly, the moon is where humankind is going next. The surprise is that the Chinese are now poised to have such a leading role in the endeavour.

That may prove a bitter pill for the US to swallow as Nasa are prohibited from working with the Chinese. In spring 2013, the US Congress passed a further law effectively banning Chinese nationals from even setting foot inside a Nasa facility.

Given the pace of Chinese progress, this could prove to be an own goal. On 11 December, the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 17 lunar landing (the last time people walked on the moon), President Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1, which directs Nasa to take astronauts to the moon with the help of US commercial space industry.

Yet there is little detail about how and when this might happen and how much the White House is prepared to spend. “Trump’s directive was very vague,” says Harvey. “We’re still no more definite about when the Americans will set foot back on the moon.”

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3 Astronauts Take Off For International Space Station

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

 

Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, bottom, U.S. astronaut Scott Tingle, above, and Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai, prior to the launch of the Soyuz-FG rocket in Kazakhstan, on Dec. 17, 2017
Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, bottom, U.S. astronaut Scott Tingle, above, and Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai, prior to the launch of the Soyuz-FG rocket in Kazakhstan, on Dec. 17, 2017
Shamil Zhumatov—AP

By ASSOCIATED PRESS

December 17, 2017

(BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan) — A capsule carrying three astronauts from Russia, Japan and the United States has blasted off for a two-day trip to the International Space Station.

The Soyuz capsule with Anton Shkaplerov, Norishige Kanai and Scott Tingle launched at 1:23 p.m. (0723 GMT; 2:23 a.m. EST) Sunday from Russia’s manned space-launch complex in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. It entered orbit nine minutes later.

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It is the first space flight for Tingle and Kanai; Shkaplerov is on his third mission to the ISS.

The capsule is to dock on Tuesday with the orbiting space laboratory. The three will join Russia’s Alexander Misurkin and Joe Acaba and Mark Vandde Hei of NASA, who have been aboard since September.

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