In this week's science news, India gears up for its first mission to the Sun after achieving the historic feat of landing on the south pole of the Moon. On the other hand, the world witnessed the phenomenon of the 'super' blue moon in the night sky this week.
Chandrayaan-3, meanwhile, has recorded an unusual heat on the south side of the moon. And in an astonishing case, a woman was found with an 8-centimetre-long worm in her brain.
Here are the top science news of the week in details.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is achieving remarkable feats. Just under 10 days after making history as the first space agency to softly touch down near the Moon's south pole, ISRO is gearing up to launch the Aditya-L1 solar probe. This launch is scheduled for 11.50 am on Saturday, September 2, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
Aditya-L1 is primed for liftoff atop the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). It will follow a trajectory akin to Chandrayaan-3, initially entering Earth's orbit before escalating its speed and altering its trajectory to position itself on a course toward the Sun. This journey to a distance of approximately 1.5 million kilometres from L1 is expected to take around four months.
Aditya-L1 is set to be India's pioneering space mission for solar research. Its mission objective is to establish a stable orbit around the Sun-Earth first Lagrange point (L1).
The world witnessed an extraordinary phenomenon on August 30 when the night sky was taken over by a beautiful "super" moon, and on top of all that, it was blue.
A supermoon occurs when the moon follows an elliptical path around Earth, approaching its nearest point while coinciding with a full moon phase. This results in the moon appearing significantly larger and brighter in the night sky.
This particular supermoon marked the largest among the four supermoons this year. The moon was at a distance of 2,22,043 miles (3,57,344 km) from Earth, creating an appearance noticeably more substantial than usual.
Now, let's explore the concept of a "blue moon." A "blue moon" denotes the phenomenon where two full moons appear within a single calendar month. This August, the first full moon graced the skies on the 1st, and the second full moon that we saw on the 30th, was bestowed with the title of a "blue moon".
In late January 2021, a 64-year-old woman from southeastern New South Wales had been admitted to her local hospital after suffering from abdominal pain and diarrhoea for three weeks, followed by a persistent dry cough, fever, and night sweats.
Finally, this week, it was found that she had a live, 8-cm-long parasitic roundworm inside her brain.
The symptoms had reportedly worsened over time, all thanks to the long worm and she had started showing signs of forgetfulness and depression, leading to her referral to Canberra Hospital, Australia.
An MRI scan of her brain revealed the worm making itself at home in the 64-year-old's brain, sparking the need for immediate surgery to remove the unwanted guest.
This is the longest worm ever reported, at approximately 8 centimetres in length.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has unveiled first-of its kind findings regarding surprisingly high scale of temperature on the Moon's surface. Chandra's Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE) payload, which is positioned close to the lunar south pole, aboard Chandrayaan-3's Vikram lander on August 27, found the Moon's surface to be very hot.
Chandrayaan-3 Mission:— ISRO (@isro) August 27, 2023
Here are the first observations from the ChaSTE payload onboard Vikram Lander.
ChaSTE (Chandra's Surface Thermophysical Experiment) measures the temperature profile of the lunar topsoil around the pole, to understand the thermal behaviour of the moon's… pic.twitter.com/VZ1cjWHTnd
ChaSTE payload took out the reading as it is equipped with a penetration mechanism, seeks to unveil the Moon's thermal behaviour by gauging temperature variations in the lunar topsoil at different depths.
Beyond Borders, Across Moonscapes:— ISRO (@isro) August 30, 2023
India's Majesty knows no bounds!.
Once more, co-traveller Pragyan captures Vikram in a Snap!
This iconic snap was taken today around 11 am IST from about 15 m.
The data from the NavCams is processed by SAC/ISRO, Ahmedabad. pic.twitter.com/n0yvXenfdm
The temperature data delivered by ChaSTE astonished ISRO scientists. Initially, they anticipated lunar surface temperatures to fall between 20 to 30 degrees Celsius. However, the recorded temperatures exceeded these expectations, hitting a scorching 70 degrees Celsius.