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Scientists find supernovae showered Earth with radioactive debris

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An international team of scientists has discovered evidence of a series of massive supernova explosions near our solar system, which showered the Earth with radioactive debris.

The scientists found radioactive iron-60 in sediment and crust samples taken from the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

The iron-60 was concentrated in a period between 3.2 and 1.7 million years ago, which is relatively recent in astronomical terms, said research leader Dr Anton Wallner from The Australian National University (ANU).

“We were very surprised that there was debris clearly spread across 1.5 million years,” said Dr Wallner, a nuclear physicist in the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering. “It suggests there were a series of supernovae, one after another.

The team from Australia, the University of Vienna in Austria, Hebrew University in Israel, Shimizu Corporation and University of Tokyo, Nihon University and University of Tsukuba in Japan, Senckenberg Collections of Natural History Dresden and Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) in Germany, also found evidence of iron-60 from an older supernova around eight million years ago, coinciding with global faunal changes in the late Miocene.

A supernova is a massive explosion of a star as it runs out of fuel and collapses.

The scientists believe the supernovae in this case were less than 300 light years away, close enough to be visible during the day and comparable to the brightness of the Moon.

Although Earth would have been exposed to an increased cosmic ray bombardment, the radiation would have been too weak to cause direct biological damage or trigger mass extinctions.

The supernova explosions create many heavy elements and radioactive isotopes which are strewn into the cosmic neighbourhood.

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Government not serious in resolving Nirmala Panta’s case: Gagan Thapa

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BHIMDUTTANAGAR— Nepali Congress youth leader and lawmaker Gagan Kumar Thapa has alleged that the government was not serious about finding the perpetrators of the rape and subsequent murder of Nirmala Panta, a 13-year-old girl from Bhimduttanagar Municipality-2, Kanchanpur.

Leader Thapa was speaking in a meeting with the party workers at the Nepali Congress party district office here this morning. He said people’s trust towards the government was waning due to its nonchalance in providing justice in the Nirmala Panta’s case.

He also accused the government of not working as per the people’s aspiration despite the formation of a stable government after a long wait.

After the meeting with the party workers, Thapa met with Nirmala’s parents who are staging a sit-in in front of the District Administration Office for last two weeks demanding justice.

“Please, take care of your health. I will relay your message to the Prime Minister and the president of the Nepali Congress, the main opposition party in parliament,” he assured Nirmala’s grieving parents.

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