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NASA releases a video showing rugged surface of Mars

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NASA has released a video showing the rugged surface of Mars from the perspective of its Curiosity space rover.

The rover is close to finishing a crossing of the most rugged and difficult-to-navigate terrain it has tackled since arriving on the red planet in 2012 to explore the Gale Crater.

The rover climbed onto the “Naukluft Plateau” of lower Mount Sharp in early March after spending several weeks investigating sand dunes.

The path of about a quarter mile (400 meters) westward across it is taking Curiosity toward smoother surfaces leading to geological layers of scientific interest farther uphill.

Curiosity earlier this month shot a panorama from what NASA said were the ‘highest viewpoints’ the rover has reached.

“The scenes show wind-sculpted textures in the sandstone bedrock close to the rover, and Gale Crater’s rim rising above the crater floor in the distance,” NASA said in a statement.

The next part of Curiosity’s journey will take it to three sites that have been key destinations since the rover landed.

The rocky surface of the plateau raised concerns about how Curiosity’s wheels would fare during its trek.

But NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory deputy project manager Steve Lee said the rover’s wheels were carefully and continually monitored, and that the rover was still expected to reach its key destinations.

“Cracks and punctures have been gradually accumulating at the pace we anticipated,” he said in a statement.

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Tourist arrivals jumped 73.5 percent in July

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KATHMANDU — Tourist arrivals to Nepal jumped 73.5 percent in the month of July, according to statistics released by Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).

The NTB said that this increment is because of a sharp increase in the number of travellers from countries like India, China, the US and the UK. The growth in the numbers has also been attributed to Indian pilgrims visiting Mount Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet, via Nepal.

The statistics show that Nepal received a whopping 73,285 international tourists in July—a time of the year that is considered to be an off-season for tourists due to the monsoons. With July’s figures, the number of foreign tourists visiting Nepal in the first seven months (January–July) of 2018 reached 593,299, which is an increase of 18 percent as compared to the same period last year.

Total 18,385 Indian tourists visited Nepal via air transport, which is up 80.4 percent compared to the same period last year.

After India, Nepal received the highest number of visitors from China. The Chinese tourist numbers have more than doubled to 13,123 in the month of July. This is a 125.4 percent growth in comparison to the arrivals in the same month last year.

Overall arrivals from SAARC countries registered a growth of 66 percent, in comparison to the same month last year. However, arrivals from Bangladesh declined by nine percent. Arrivals from rest of the Asian countries have also recorded a robust growth of 86.2 percent.

Visitors from Japan and South Korea to Nepal also increased by 36 percent and 21.9 percent respectively.

Likewise, an overall increase of 54.1 percent in July has been recorded from European source markets. However, arrivals from Austria declined by 72.6 percent.

The number of visitors from the US and Canada have also grown by 79.6 percent and 73.3 percent respectively.

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