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Mahjabin Haque: Another Bangladeshi woman at NASA

From childhood dreams to the stars, Mahjabin Haque has achieved to pursue her passion for NASA. Mahjabin Haque is going to be a software engineer at NASA’s US space research firm. She is a fresh graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Wayne State University.

A brave soul with a mission

According to Dhaka Tribune, Bengali communities throughout Michigan and many more are celebrating this success with great pride. While studying at Wayne State University, Mahjabin pursued an internship at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, for two terms. She mentioned that she had worked for two departments in the span of eight months and receive quite a lot of experience. She received offers from different companies across the world including NASA. However, her heart opts for NASA.

Why NASA?

“Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to work at NASA.” mentions Mahjabin Haque herself to HiFi Public.

She participated in many curricular activities like dancing, singing and organizing events for BSA in her university. While working for NASA, she realized that they do not only look for academic success, rather they seek creativity and leadership strengths. She worked hard enough while enjoying her journey to her dreams.

Her advice to the youths who want to pursue their dreams would be not to only focus on grades, rather explore and dwell in different creative options to find what interests them the most.

In the world filled with different options to engage in, it is important for us to find what interests us the most. Instead of sticking to the good old academic books, let us explore our best and worst qualities to find who we can really become.

Everything you need to know about the first image of the Black Hole

On April 10, 2019, thirteen years after the first data collection made by the
Event Horizon Telescope, the first-ever image of a black hole was released by it. It’s the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Messier 87 galaxy. For the first time in human history, we can directly observe what a black hole looks like. Well, we can’t exactly observe it because it emits no light, or lets any light escape its event horizon. What we can observe is the surrounding area of the black hole.

The telescope is not one telescope

The Event Horizon Telescope is not one telescope. It’s a global network of radio telescopes spread all around the world. It started more than a decade ago in 2006. This network was used to create a virtual telescope with an effective diameter of the entire planet through a technique called very long baseline interferometry (VLBI). The goal of the telescope was to observe the immediate environment of supermassive black holes, for example, Sagittarius A (the black hole at the centre of our galaxy).

Explaining what we see

The black spot that we see at the centre of the bright halo, is the black hole itself. It is not a matter or an object. Think of it like a sink that absorbs everything, even visible light. This region is black because of a singularity.

The region where the fabric of time and space has collapsed on itself.

This black hole right there is the exit point of our observable universe!

The bright ring of light outside the black hole are actually matter and light constantly being absorbed into the black hole and burning into smithereens, at temperatures of billions of degrees!

A massive amount of Data!

The data captured using this global network of telescopes reached ridiculous numbers. The volume of data that was analyzed was around 5 petabytes. To put things into perspective, one petabyte is equal to one thousand terabytes. If we consider a movie to take up around five gigabytes of space, we can fit around one thousand movies into that space. If we consider each to take around two hours, it would take you nearly three months straight finish them all. It’s such a large volume that they had to load it all up into one thousand pounds of hard drives and use airplanes to get the data from one place to another.

Katie Bouman and the indomitable spirit

Safe to say, it’s a gigantic amount of data. This data had to be analyzed and made sense of. But shifting through all this data is not easy. It cannot be done manually. This is where Katie Bouman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology comes in. She led the development of the algorithm that turned all this data into the iconic image that is circulating every corner of the internet now.

Following the release of the image of the black hole, her name shot through the media too. Now she is making headlines as the mind that made it all possible. Though Katie Bouman is very keen to point out that this would not have been possible without inputs of all the brilliant scientists working together for more than a decade.

The image that defines a scientific era

The discovery of this image has set the internet ablaze, and for good reasons. The fact that we can even see the image is a testament to the sheer advancement that we as a species have made in technology over the years. The centre of the Messier 87 galaxy is around fifty-three million light years away from our Earth.

Still, we have created devices that can capture images from this tremendous distance with enough clarity to analyze and gain knowledge from. We can now finally find out if our predictions and theories match up with reality. So far, the image seems to confirm what we already theorized. This only goes to show that humanity can achieve things that defy imagination.

A Bangladeshi space app is reaching for the stars

NASA. A word that resonates in the ears of every science geek.  NASA on Saturday announced the names of six teams who came out on top in six separate categories. The champion teams are set to visit the NASA headquarters. Undoubtedly this is a huge and very prestigious opportunity for each winner.

Also read: NASA’s opportunity rover mission comes to an end.

Meet team “Olik” and Lunar VR

Bangladesh made its mark quite significantly in this contest.  SUST team ‘Olik’ won the award in the ‘Best Use of Data’ category. This achievement has spread a roar of joy and pride amongst the country people nationwide.

The project of ‘Olik’ is quite intriguing indeed.

Olik’s project was a Lunar VR(Virtual Reality)  that allows users to virtually explore the landing site of Apollo 11.

It also can orbit the moon with the LRO satellite. And quite interestingly, it can also observe the eclipse from the lunar surface.

The VR part is the most interesting part of their project. Using this mobile virtual reality application Lunar VR, anyone can experience and feel like landing on the moon though Apollo-11 and walk around the satellite. This science fiction sounding thing is something that is made feasible by these young guns. Their project is thus quite a show of innovation and creativity.

How it works:

Team Olik used a 3D model for creating a virtual environment. To make matters interesting, NASA gave the team some challenges to solve, as described by the team leader.

Team Olik’ won the best use of data category and have beaten a staggering number of 1,395 teams around the world.

About the wizards of SUST:

The members of the team representing are Professor Vishapriya Chakraborty (Mentor), Department of Computer Science and Engineering, SM Rafi Adnan, Department of Physics, Kazi Mainul Islam, Abu Sadiq Mahdi and Sabbir Hossain from Department of Geography and Environment.

This very big news came as a declaration on Saturday through an email. To Team Oliks great joy, they were asked to get ready for visiting the aeronautics and space science research center of NASA within a short time.

Earlier in the selection round ‘Team Olik’ made it to the top four along with teams from California, Kuala Lumpur and Yamaguchi, Japan on December 8.

Another team from Dhaka, Team ‘Planet Kit’ from BRAC University, was in the top in Best Use of Hardware Category, along with Argentina, Australia and Taipei but they failed to have the last smile in the final race.

Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) under the initiative of BASIS students’ forum has been organizing NASA Space Apps Challenge every year. The consistency of BASIS has paid off greatly with this award.

For this year the BASIS has chosen eight teams from Bangladesh to submit their projects for NASA after a massive competition across the country where they have sorted out top 40 projects from 2000 projects.

Opportunity realized and lost: an ode to a friend in space

NASA’s Opportunity rover is now considered permanently out of commission. Officials attribute this death to a dust storm that ended communication with the rover in the summer of 2018.

Opportunity landed on Mars 15 years ago in 2004 and was expected to last only 90 days. Astoundingly the rover sustained and survived for 5,111 days for more than 1.5 decades. It is immortalized by a selfie it took to mark its 5000th Martian day. It has set a number of records on its 28-mile journey across Mars and has lasted longer by far more than any other Mars rover in history.

Six months ago, Opportunity encountered one of the most ferocious Martian sandstorms that blocked its solar panels. This meant the rover couldn’t draw power perpetually from the sun anymore, and could only rely on its power cell to run.

“My battery is low and it is getting dark.”

That was the last message from Opportunity. It was heard on 10th June, 2018. Opportunity went dark a long time ago, but NASA were waiting on it, hoping it would resurface. But now, an emotional NASA stuff has informed that they sent over a thousand messages to Opportunity trying to get it to respond. They considered Opportunity as a family member and had given it the nickname of Oppy.

Artwork by: @isalleyokay and @teh_doodler

The weather on Mars is expected to face an extended cold spell which would destroy the powering components on Opportunity. In the end, Opportunity lived up to the title bestowed upon it, providing mankind with the opportunity to uncover a few more secrets of the vast reaches of space. Its mission completed, Opportunity will rest at the edge of Perseverance Valley.

See you, space cowboy.