Peregrine Moon Trip Hits a Snag: A Bumpy Ride Back to Earth

So, the Peregrine spacecraft, on a mission to land on the moon and make history as the first US lunar lander in over 50 years, is now on a detour back to Earth. What happened, you ask? Well, it turns out a nasty fuel leak played the villain and crushed its lunar dreams. Let’s break down the saga.

1. The Fiery Goodbye: Fuel Leak Kills Lunar Ambitions

Last week, Peregrine took off, all hyped up for its lunar escapade. But fate had other plans. A fuel leak and some wonky solar-powered battery issues meant the moon landing was a no-go. Astrobotic Technology, the brains behind Peregrine, had to break the bad news – the spacecraft was turning back towards Earth for a fiery reentry. It’s a major bummer for NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, relying on private companies like Astrobotic to explore the moon.

2. Midair Breakup: Choosing a Dramatic Exit

Astrobotic had a tough call to make – how to end Peregrine’s journey. They could’ve just let it drift into space, becoming a lonely piece of cosmic clutter. But no, that wasn’t cool. Instead, they decided on a dramatic exit – letting Peregrine disintegrate midair during reentry. According to Astrobotic, it won’t pose any safety risks; the spacecraft will simply burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. Farewell, Peregrine!

3. Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda: Exploring Other Options

Astrobotic could’ve left Peregrine out in the abyss or let it crash on the moon. But they nixed those ideas, worried about the damaged spacecraft causing trouble or becoming lunar litter. The decision to bring it back to Earth came after chatting with the space community and the US Government to figure out the safest move.

4. Hurdles Along the Way: Fuel Leaks and Solar Panel Drama

Peregrine faced some serious hurdles on its way to the moon. First, an “anomaly” messed with its solar-powered battery, making it point in the wrong direction. Then, the fuel leak struck, leaving the spacecraft short on juice to complete its lunar touchdown. Astrobotic tried to keep the mission alive by turning Peregrine into a satellite, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

5. Lessons Learned: Science on the Way Down

Despite the moon landing dream going up in smoke, Peregrine didn’t come back empty-handed. Astrobotic managed to power up some science instruments on board. Two of NASA’s payloads gathered data on space radiation levels, which might not have been the original plan, but hey, it’s still useful.

6. What’s Stuck on Board: Moon-Bound Gear and Human Remains

Unfortunately, not everything went as planned. Some science instruments, like the Laser Retroreflector Array, didn’t get a chance to shine. Plus, lunar gear and tiny robots from the Mexican Space Agency, all set to operate on the moon, are now stuck on the Peregrine lander. Alongside these, Peregrine is carrying mementos, letters, and even human remains – a bit of a cosmic cargo with nowhere to go.

In a nutshell, Peregrine’s moon mission became a wild ride with more twists than a sci-fi movie. As it heads back to Earth for a spectacular finish, Astrobotic and NASA are gearing up to spill more details on this lunar rollercoaster during a news conference. So, stay tuned for the post-mortem of Peregrine’s lunar adventure on January 18!


TB and India: Chasing a Vaccine Dream

Big Goals, Tough Reality

TB and India. India’s got big dreams – they aimed to wipe out pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) by 2025, but here’s the kicker: things aren’t going as smoothly as planned. Every two minutes, someone in India loses their life to TB. That’s not the rosy picture PM Narendra Modi painted at the One World TB Summit in Varanasi.

TB’s Heavy Load in India

The World Health Organization’s report isn’t painting a pretty picture either. India’s lugging the highest global TB burden, with a whopping 27% of the 10.6 million diagnosed cases in 2022. It’s not just that – nearly half of the folks dealing with the multi-drug resistant version of the infection also call India home.

Hunting for a Vaccine

Finding a TB vaccine ain’t a walk in the park. Scientists are in the dark about what the vaccine should actually do. Should it spark antibodies? Activate certain combat cells? Or simply boost the body’s natural defenses? It’s a puzzle.

ICMR’s Trial Run

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is on it though. They’re running trials for two vaccines: VPM1002 and Immuvac. One’s got tweaked TB DNA, and the other’s basically TB bacteria zapped by heat. They’re testing these on 12,000 folks above six years old, focusing on households linked to TB patients.

Trial’s End Game

The goal? To see if these vaccines can reduce the risk of catching TB. But, hey, some experts think the trial’s dragging too long. In high-risk areas, a successful vaccine should show results within a year or two.

Hurdles Galore

Here’s the real talk – for a TB vaccine to work, it’s gotta work and be given to almost everyone in India. And guess what? Millions in India are walking around with latent TB, no symptoms but still carrying the disease.

Lessons from the Past

Remember the 17-year BCG vaccine trial from 1968 to 1987? Yeah, that was a bust. No shield against the adult form of TB, according to a 1999 report. This shows that TB’s a complicated beast, not a simple fix.

TB’s Complicated Web

TB’s more than just a health issue. It’s tangled up with social, economic, and behavioral factors. Poverty, bad housing, and poor nutrition? Perfect breeding ground for TB. Understanding all this is key to kicking TB out for good.

Challenges in Treatment

India’s got a free treatment plan, but public hospitals are stretched thin. So, many TB patients end up at private healthcare, which ain’t always effective. Plus, the money handed out to patients? Experts say it’s just not enough.

The Power of Good Nutrition

Nutrition’s a game-changer! A healthy diet for people around TB patients can cut down TB cases by 40% according to a Lancet study. Combining a vaccine with better nutrition? That’s the dream.

The Ultimate Trio

What’s the ideal scenario? Well, a three-part plan: rocking testing and treatment, boosting nutrition, and finding a vaccine that not only stops TB but also halts its spread. That’s the dream team.



Airplane Collision Chaos: What Went Down at Haneda Airport

Runway Mayhem: Collision at Haneda Airport

Haneda Airport. Alright, buckle up for the scoop! There was a serious incident at Tokyo’s Haneda airport involving two planes—a Japan Airlines (JAL) passenger jet and a coastguard aircraft. Here’s the lowdown.

The Collision

So, this smaller coastguard plane and the JAL Airbus A350 had a bit of a run-in on the runway. Turns out, air traffic control had given the green light for the JAL flight to land but didn’t clear the coastguard Bombardier Dash-8 for take-off.

Transcripts Tell the Story

Newly released transcripts revealed that the JAL Airbus got the all-clear to land on runway 34R. Meanwhile, the coastguard plane was instructed to “taxi to holding point C5,” which is like a waiting zone for planes before they get the go-ahead to take off.

Here’s the kicker: Permission for take-off wasn’t given to the coastguard plane. The transcript shows the coastguard crew acknowledged the instructions to taxi to the holding point—the last thing they said before the crash.

Conflicting Accounts

The lone survivor among the coastguard crew—the captain—told investigators they had the go-ahead to enter the runway. However, the transcripts don’t seem to match that story.

Possible Lighting Issue

There’s some talk about the lights at the holding point not working, but experts suggest there are other visual cues like painted markings that show where aircraft should stop before hitting the runway.

The Fallout

The good news? All 379 folks on board the high-tech JAL Airbus made it out safely after the collision. Phew! The flight had come from Sapporo and landed at Haneda before things got intense.

The Chaos Unfolds

Reports from passengers were pretty intense. One person said they felt a jolt upon landing and saw sparks outside the window before the cabin filled with smoke and gas. People used evacuation slides to bail out, and TV footage showed fire engines and smoke engulfing the plane.

Rescue Efforts and Sad News

The coastguard plane was on a mission to help after an earthquake. But tragically, five crew members died, and the pilot was severely injured. Japan’s Prime Minister expressed his regret over the loss, praising the crew’s dedication to their duties.

Aftermath and Investigation

At least 14 folks from the airport flight got minor injuries. This is the first big accident involving an Airbus A350, so the aircraft maker’s sending in a team to help with the investigation.

So yeah, it was a rough one at Haneda. The authorities are working hard to figure it out and make sure it doesn’t mess up earthquake relief efforts. Let’s hope they get to the bottom of this to prevent it from happening again.