New evidence shows giant meteorite impacts formed parts of the moon’s crust

The team noted that rock samples captured during the Apollo missions show remarkable variety in terms of geology.

Newly discovered evidence shows that the moon’s crust may have formed directly as a result of giant meteorite impacts.

New research published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy shows one of nature’s most destructive events led to the creation of the moon’s unusual crust.

Led by the Royal Ontario Museum, a group of astronomers say the most ancient parts of the moon’s crust appears to have formed during the time of frequent massive meteorite impacts.

“Rocks on Earth are constantly being recycled, but the Moon doesn’t exhibit plate tectonics or volcanism, allowing older rocks to be preserved,” explains Dr. Lee White, Hatch Postdoctoral Fellow at the ROM. “By studying the Moon, we can better understand the earliest history of our planet. If large, super-heated impacts were creating rocks on the Moon, the same process was probably happening here on Earth”.

The team noted that rock samples captured during the Apollo missions in the 1960s and 1970s show remarkable variety in terms of geology. The variations found contain mineralogical evidence that it formed at incredibly high temperatures (in excess of 2300 °C/ 4300 °F), which is only achievable by the melting of the outer layer of a planet in a large impact event.

“By first looking at this rock, I was amazed by how differently the minerals look compared to other Apollo 17 samples,” says Dr. Ana Cernok, Hatch Postdoctoral Fellow at the ROM and co-author of the study. “Although smaller than a millimetre, the baddeleyite grain that caught our attention was the largest one I have ever seen in Apollo samples. This small grain is still holding the evidence for formation of an impact basin that was hundreds of kilometres in diameter. This is significant, because we do not see any evidence of these old impacts on Earth.”

Pentagon says 2,600 more troops in Afghanistan than previously disclosed

The Pentagon said Wednesday that about 2,600 more troops are serving in Afghanistan than had previously been disclosed to the public, bringing the total number deployed in the region to about 11,000 troops.

The Pentagon said Wednesday that about 2,600 more troops are serving in Afghanistan than had previously been disclosed to the public, bringing the total number deployed in the region to about 11,000 troops.

Chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White and Joint Staff Director Lt. Geg. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie Jr. announced the change during a Pentagon press briefing. They said Defense Secretary James Mattis wanted better transparency to include troops on temporary missions, a report by ABC News said.

“The secretary has been clear about his commitment to transparency in our public reporting procedures and increasing commanders’ ability to adapt to battlefield conditions in countering emergent threats,” White told reporters, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. “Following a comprehensive review of our South Asia strategy, the secretary has determined we must simplify our accounting methodology and improve … the public’s understanding of America’s military commitment in Afghanistan.”

McKenzie added that reporting approximate troop numbers allows the Pentagon to deploy complete military units instead of fragmented ones. He also said the 11,000 number does not include future deployments or the additional troops Mattis will send to Afghanistan authorized by President Trump as part of his new South Asia strategy announced last week.

White and McKenzie said the Pentagon currently is reviewing troop levels in Syria and Iraq.

“We’ll give you an answer when we have them,” McKenzie said, adding, “In both theaters, eventually we’ll apply the same two pillars: balancing transparency of reporting with a requirement to protect the forces on the ground and give the commander maximum operational flexibility. Those numbers will be forthcoming.”

U.S. Navy orders ‘pause’ in operations after USS John McCain collision

Following a collision off Singapore Sunday of the warship USS John McCain with a Liberian-flagged oil tanker, the Navy’s top admiral has ordered an “operational pause” to review safety procedures.

Following a collision off Singapore Sunday of the warship USS John McCain with a Liberian-flagged oil tanker, the Navy’s top admiral has ordered an “operational pause” to review safety procedures.

The order came as a search continued in the Strait of Malacca for 10 missing sailors, according to NBC News.

The hull of the USS John McCain sustained significant damage and flooding inundated nearby compartments, including berths, communications rooms, and for machinery. Four sailors were in hospital for non-life-threatening injuries and a fifth was hurt but did not need additional medical attention, a report by The Washington Post said.

“This is the second collision in three months and is the last in a series of incidents in the Pacific theater,” said Admiral John Richardson, in a videotaped statement. “This trend demands more forceful action… We need to get to the bottom of this, so let’s get to it.”

The collision was the fourth accident this year involving a Navy vessel in the Pacific and the second time a U.S. warship based at the 7th Fleet’s home port of Yokosuka, Japan, was involved in a collision at sea, the NBC News report sad.

Richardson also ordered the leader of the Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia, Admiral Philip Davidson, to look into Navy training procedures and practices for operations in the Pacific and said the investigation will include “looking at operational tempo, trends in personnel, materiel, maintenance and equipment. It also will include a review of how we train and certify our surface warfare community, including tactical and navigational proficiency.”

Mysterious group carries out global cyber attack

Shadow Brokers released Eternal Blue last month as part of a trove of hacking tools they said belonged to the NSA.

A global cyber attack has caused chaos around the world.

The cyber attack is reported to have been carried out with tools widely believed to have been developed by the US National Security Agency.

The tools were leaked online by a group called the Shadow Brokers.

The Russian government, British hospitals, German railways and big corporations like FedEx were among those affected by the attack on Friday.

The affected organizations were crippled by the ‘ransomware’ which swiftly spread around the globe, and which infected tens of thousands of computers in a reported 99 countries.

According to security experts, the malicious software behind the carnage appeared to exploit a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows, which had been identified by the NSA for its intelligence-gathering activities.

The National Security Agency documents were stolen and then released to the public last month by the mysterious group, Shadow Brokers.

Security experts said that the hackers – who have not yet claimed responsibility for the attack – probably made it a ‘worm,’ or a self-spread malware, by exploiting Eternal Blue, which is a piece of NASA hardware.

Shadow Brokers released Eternal Blue last month as part of a trove of hacking tools they said belonged to the NSA.

The group has raised fears that the spy agency’s cyber weapons had been compromised and repurposed by hackers with shady intentions.

The malware was blocking access to computers and demanding payments of as much as $600 to restore access and scrambling data.

The attack is thought to have affected approximately 75,000 computers, including ones owned by the Russian government.

Russia is believed to have been one of the most affected, amid reports that 1,000 computers in the country’s Interior Ministry were affected, but sources say that no information was compromised.

According to ministry spokesperson Irina Volk, they had “recorded a virus attack on the ministry’s personal computers controlled by a Windows operating system.”

Tens of thousands of victims have now been recorded in 99 countries including the US, Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Mexico.

 

 

 

China’s first locally manufactured passenger plane takes to the skies

However, aviation experts have warned that getting the plane from the test flight to mass production could pose difficulties.

China’s first domestically manufactured passenger plane completed its maiden flight on Friday.

Amid much celebration, the slim body, twin-engine C919 successfully took off the Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 7 am BST.

The single-aisle plane has been hailed as China’s response to the Boeing 737 and Airbus 320, as the Communist nation aims to compete with western airlines.

The passenger plane’s flight is China’s first step towards independence from Boeing and Airbus.

Sporting white, green and blue colors, the aircraft reached 10,000 feet with a maximum speed of 170 knots (196 miles per hour or 315 kph).

According to Huanqiu.com, an affiliation to People’s Daily, the aircraft had no passenger seats installed, and instead carried a “large number of devices” to collect data points during the maiden flight.

Huanqiu reported that the C919 was operated by a five-member team during the first flight. The crew members included two pilots, one observer, and two engineers.

The craft is built by Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), a Chinese state-owned aviation manufacturer located in Shanghai.

Ironically, COMAC obtained most important parts of the aircraft from European and US companies such as GE and Honeywell.

China’s plan is to replace all 6,000-6,800 of its Western aircrafts at an estimated cost of $1 trillion.

China is a mammoth battleground for Boeing and Airbus. Both companies congratulated China on the flight.

According to the International Airport Transport Association, the country’s travel market is expected to overtake the United States by 2024.

However, aviation experts have warned that getting the plane from the test flight to mass production could pose difficulties.

The experts are skeptical of how much value China will earn from the billions of dollars it has poured into developing the craft, as the c919 may not obtain the European and US certification needed for flights into most international markets.

 

North Korea may be capable of sarin-tipped missiles: Shinzo Abe

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday that North Korea might have the ability to deliver missiles equipped with sarin nerve gas.

Abe’s comments come amid concerns that the secretive state could soon conduct its sixth nuclear test or more missile launches.

“There is a possibility that North Korea already has a capability to deliver missiles with sarin as warheads, “Abe told a parliamentary session.

In 1995, members of a Japanese doomsday cult killed 12 people and made thousands ill, in simultaneous attacks with sarin nerve gas. The group carried out the attacks on five Tokyo rush-hour subway trains.

Tensions have escalated on the on the Korean Peninsula over North Korea’s continued missile testing program.

The United States has warned that it could take unilateral action.

Donald Trump’s US administration has also sent a navy carrier group near the Korean Peninsula, in a show of force aimed at preventing more tests.

North Korea will mark the 105th anniversary of the birth of state founder Kim II Sung on Saturday. Called the ‘Day of the Sun’ and North Korea’s biggest national day, the celebration has also been used by leaders in the past to carry out weapon tests.

Pyongyang has carried out several missile tests this year. The latest test was on April 5, when North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the sea off the country’s coast.

On Friday, China called for tension over North Korea stopped from reaching an ‘irreversible and unmanageable stage, amid fears that the North is planning to conduct its sixth nuclear weapons test.

North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test on Sep. 9, 2016.

 

Russia warns of ‘grave consequences’ of further US action in Syria

Russia has warned the United States against repeating last week’s airstrike in Syria.

Russia has warned the United States against repeating last week’s airstrike in Syria.

Speaking on Friday at a meeting on Friday with his Syrian and Iranian counterparts in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also called for an expansion of a probe into the chemical weapons that prompted American retaliation.

“We have reiterated our position, and we are united in stating that the attack was an act of aggression, which blatantly violated the principles of International law and the U.N charter,” Lavrov said during the meeting.

Lavrov also called on the United States and its allies to respect Syria’s sovereignty, and refrain from actions similar measures to the April 7 airstrike, which could impact heavily on regional and global security.

Syrian President Bashar Assad has denied culpability for the April 4 chemical attacks.

The attacks left more than 80 dead, and Assad’s allies in Russia have blamed rebel forces for the assault, saying that the poisonous gas was dispersed after conventional weapons landed on an insurgent weapons depot.

The United States has however concluded that Assad and his allies were responsible for the attack, and used the conclusion as justification to launch the airstrike against a nearby Syrian government airfield.

This week, US officials released satellite images, reports from the scene and details of the exposure gathered from victims.

According to the officials, there is enough evidence that the Syrian government conducted the chemical weapons attack, using a nerve agent called Sarin, against its people.

However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, traveling with President Vladimir Putin in Kyrgyzstan, said on Friday that the US had failed to provide tangible evidence.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is investigating the attack.