Indonesian island lifted 10 inches by deadly quake

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This photo taken on August 9, 2018 shows tourist rental boats moored after the recent quakes at Teluk Nare port in Pemenang in northern Lombok island. (AFP)
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This graphic made available by NASA shows a map of new satellite data produced by scientists with NASA/Caltech's Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis project (ARIA) showing ground deformation on the resort island of Lombok, Indonesia following a deadly earthquake on Aug. 5, 2018. (AP)
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Indonesian Muslims perform congregational Friday prayers at an earthquake evacuation centre in Sambik Bangkol village in northern Lombok island on August 10, 2018. (AFP)
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Indonesian Muslims perform congregational Friday prayers on a field near temporary shelters in Pemenang, northern Lombok on August 10, 2018 following the August 5 earthquake. (AFP)
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Indonesian Muslims walk after attending Friday prayers at an evacuation centre in Sambik Bangkol village, in northern Lombok island on August 10, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 11 August 2018

Indonesian island lifted 10 inches by deadly quake

  • Some 270,000 people are homeless or displaced after the 7.0 earthquake
  • Indonesia is prone to earthquakes because of its location on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin

TANJUNG, Indonesia: Scientists say the powerful Indonesian earthquake that killed more than 300 people lifted the island it struck by as much as 25 centimeters (10 inches).
Using satellite images of Lombok from the days following the Aug. 5 quake, scientists from NASA and the California Institute of Technology’s joint rapid imaging project made a ground deformation map and measured changes in the island’s surface. In the northwest of the island near the epicenter, the rupturing faultline lifted the earth by a quarter of a meter. In other places it dropped by 5-15 centimeters (2-6 inches).
Some 270,000 people are homeless or displaced after the earthquake, which damaged and destroyed about 68,000 homes.
NASA said satellite observations can help authorities respond to earthquakes and other natural or manmade disasters.
Nearly a week since the 7.0 quake, Lombok is still reeling but glimmers of normality are returning and devout villagers are making plans for temporary replacements of mosques that were flattened.
In Tanjung, one of the worst affected districts in the hard-hit north of the island, a food market opened Saturday and locals bought vegetables and fish. Some shops also opened for business despite being in damaged buildings.
“I had to borrow money from someone to buy morning glory to be resold here,” said Natbudi, one of the market vendors. “If I just stay at the camp and don’t come here to sell then I don’t have money to buy rice.”
Lombok, a popular and less developed tourist destination than neighboring Bali, was hit by three strong quakes in little over a week and has endured more than 500 aftershocks.
A July 29 quake killed 16 people. An aftershock measuring magnitude 5.9 on Thursday caused panic, more damage and more than two dozen injuries.
Villager Sunarto, buying fish at the makeshift market, said it was a relief to do something ordinary.
“I feel happy and thank God that finally the market is open,” he said. “We can buy our needs while waiting for the situation to get back to normal even though we’re still worried.”
Indonesia is prone to earthquakes because of its location on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.


Japan spacecraft starts yearlong journey home from asteroid

Updated 13 November 2019

Japan spacecraft starts yearlong journey home from asteroid

  • The spacecraft will travel 180 million miles on its journey back to Earth
  • It will bring back soil samples that provide clues to life in space

TOKYO: Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft departed from a distant asteroid on Wednesday, starting its yearlong journey home after successfully completing its mission to bring back soil samples and data that could provide clues to the origins of the solar system, the country’s space agency said.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said the spacecraft left its orbit around the asteroid Ryugu, about 300 million kilometers (180 million miles) from Earth.
Hayabusa2 on Wednesday captured and transmitted to Earth one of its final images of Ryugu, or “Dragon Palace,” named after a sea-bottom castle in a Japanese folk tale, as it slowly began moving away from its temporary home, JAXA said. Hayabusa2 will continue its “farewell filming” of the asteroid for a few more days.
Then Hayabusa2 will adjust its position on around Nov. 18 after retreating 65 kilometers (40 miles) from the asteroid and out of its the gravitational pull. It will then receive a signal from JAXA to ignite a main engine in early December en route to the Earth’s vicinity.
Hayabusa2 made touchdowns on the asteroid twice, despite difficulties caused by Ryugu’s extremely rocky surface, and successfully collected data and samples during its 1½-year mission since arriving there in June 2018.
In the first touchdown in February, it collected surface dust samples. In July, it collected underground samples for the first time in space history after landing in a crater it had earlier created by blasting the asteroid surface.
Hayabusa2 is expected to return to Earth in late 2020 and drop a capsule containing the precious samples in the Australian desert.
It took the spacecraft 3½ years to arrive at the asteroid, but the journey home is much shorter thanks to the current locations of Ryugu and Earth.
JAXA scientists believe the underground samples contain valuable data unaffected by space radiation and other environmental factors that could tell more about the origin of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.
Asteroids, which orbit the sun but are much smaller than planets, are among the oldest objects in the solar system and may help explain how Earth evolved. Hayabusa2 scientists also said they believe the samples contain carbon and organic matter and hope they could explain how they are related to Earth.