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China’s Mars Probe Tianwen-1 Sends Home Selfies Captured 15 Million Miles From Earth

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KEY POINTS

  • The CNSA released new selfies of Tianwen-1 captured 15 million miles away from Earth
  • The Mars probe took images of itself using a tiny camera ejected from the spacecraft
  • Tianwen-1 is expected to reach the red planet in February 2021

Talk about a clever way to take self-portraits in space! Tianwen-1 has snapped some selfies while in outer space using a camera ejected from its spacecraft.

While on its way to Mars, Tianwen-1 sent home new images of itself captured 15 million miles away from Earth. They were released by the China National Space Administration earlier this month as part of the country’s national day celebrations.

The small camera the Mars probe used to snap selfies had wide-angle lenses on each side and took one photo every second. It sends the images it takes to Tianwen-1, which would then transmit the pictures to Earth.

One of the many photos snapped by the camera is a close-up of the Tianwen-1 spacecraft that shows its two silver solar arrays and the conical aeroshell containing the mission’s rover. Another photo was taken from farther away and showcases the vastness of outer space surrounding Tianwen-1 as it makes its way to its mission.

The little photoshoot went both ways as the Tianwen-1 also took images of the tiny camera while it was being jettisoned into outer space and leaving the spacecraft.

Tianwen-1 was launched by China on July 23 aboard the Long March 5 rocket from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island. This mission is considered to be China’s first attempt at reaching and eventually landing on the red planet.

If all goes according to plan, Tianwen-1 should arrive on Mars in February 2021. The rover will land on the red planet’s surface somewhere along Utopia Planitia, a large empty

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Thousands Of Sea Creatures Found Dead Five Miles From Wakashio Wreck

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The true scale of the devastating Wakashio oil spill is only just becoming apparent to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.

Thousands of sea creatures have turned up dead around a small coral atoll five miles South West of the Wakashio wreck, called Ilot Brocus.

Local environmental NGO, Reef to Roots, were at the location of Ilot Brocus, a protected coral atoll, when they noticed how many sea creatures had died.

The videos, that have been widely circulated by local news in Mauritius since Monday September 28, describe the scene at low tide between the beach of Le Bouchon and Ilot Brocus the weekend prior.

Jose Berchand, Vice President of Reef to Roots explains what he saw. “At low tide between Le Bouchon beach and Ilot Brocus, there is a terrible smell. There are many sea creatures that we have found dead in the lagoon. There are many dead sea snakes, many dead eels, dead Madagascan Mud Crabs (Crabe Malgaches), dead octopus, a lot of dead fish and a really high number of dead shell creatures. You can see that they are dead within their shells.”

In the video (shown above), he also explains the smell of oil around the coral atoll, and traces of the thin oil film that can be seen floating on the surface.

The samples of the residue and dead sea creatures were taken away for analysis by the Government of Mauritius.

A coastline that was vibrant with marine life

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One Alabama university stayed safe during the coronavirus outbreak. Another, 60 miles away, struggled.

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Every student had to test negative before setting foot on campus. Everyone had to use a smartphone application to check for symptoms daily. And everyone heard the same pleas from university leaders: Keep the campuses safe.

More than a month later, 2,375 Tuscaloosa students had tested positive for the virus, 6.2 percent of the student body, according to data through Oct. 1. Birmingham had 109 cases, a tiny 0.48 percent of the students.

Michael Saag, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Medicine and a leader of the state’s testing effort, said he expected some coronavirus cases to surface, but not at the ferocious rate they did.

“I was surprised that it happened so fast,” Saag said.

The staggering disparity at two of Alabama’s large universities illustrates how the coronavirus can barrel through some schools while barely affecting others, even in a state that is considered a hot spot. Experts say it is difficult to pinpoint why Tuscaloosa and other universities faced outbreaks and others did not, but they suspect that enrollment size, the campus culture and students’ ages probably played roles. The result is that students at one school managed to enjoy a semblance of typical college life, while the other campus’s culture was upended.

Saag said he empathized with students because college is about more than going to class; it’s about socializing, networking and exploring life on their own.

“It’s about meeting people and developing really what turn out to be lifelong friends,” he said, calling those impulses “the fabric of what makes the college experience so special.”

“What’s happening is that the virus has invaded that fabric, and to the point where it’s threatening the very essence of what being in college is about,” Saag said.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey