Philippine Team wins 2018 NASA Space Apps Challenge

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 22, 2019   •   2033

Philippine Team iNON bags first prize in the 2018 NASA Space Apps Challenge Galactic Impact category.  Team iNON members include (left-right): Matthew Concubierta, Revbrain Martin, Marie Jeddah Legaspi, and Julius Czar Torreda.

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Out of the 1,395 teams around the world, Philippine team iNON won first place in the 2018 NASA Space App Challenge Best Galactic Impact category with their ISDApp, an app that communicates crucial information about real-time weather and sea conditions to fisher folks.

Using NASA Globe observer data, the app will be able to provide life-saving weather information to fisherfolk’s cellphones without the use of internet.

U.S Ambassador to the Philippnes, Sung Kim congratulated the five-man team composed of Matthew Concubierta, Revbrain Martin, Marie Jeddah Legaspi, Leandro de Guzman and Julius Czar Torreda, for their achievement.

“I am deeply impressed by team iNON’s fantastic achievement in defeating teams from around the world to win first place in the Galactic Impact category of the NASA Space Apps Challenge.  They can inspire other Filipino youth to develop innovative solutions to problems in their own communities,” Ambassador Kim said.

Team Leader, Legaspi explained the importance of the said app which, according to him, “is a simple solution with an important purpose, which we believe helped it swim to success.  This is proof that even technology needs a heart.” — Aileen Cerrudo

Monsoon rains still affecting Luzon after TS Falcon’s exit

Marje Pelayo   •   July 19, 2019

File photo

MANILA, Philippines – Tropical storm Falcon (international name Danas) has exited the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) yet monsoon rains will still affect most parts of Luzon.

As of 4:00 am on Friday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms will prevail over Metro Manila, Cordillera Administrative Region, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, and the rest of Central Luzon and Cagayan Valley.

Likewise, the southwest monsoon or habagat will continue to affect the regions of Ilocos, Batanes, Babuyan Group of Islands, Zambales, and Bataan.

The rest of the country will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers brought about by localized thunderstorms.

Meanwhile, the new low pressure area (LPA) that PAGASA has been monitoring remains outside PAR and has no direct effect yet to the country.

TD ‘Chedeng’ enters PAR; storm signal no. 1 raised in 6 areas

Marje Pelayo   •   March 18, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Tropical depression ‘Chedeng’ has slightly slowed down while maintaining its strength after it entered the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) on Sunday (March 17) afternoon.

As of 4:00 a.m., the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the center of “Chedeng” was estimated at 650 km East of Davao City packed with maximum sustained winds of up to 45 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 60 km/h.

It moves towards the west direction at at 15 km/h.

The state weather bureau said tropical cyclone warning signal (TCWS) number 1 is raised over Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Davao del Sur, Davao City, Davao Occidental, Southern part of Davao del Norte including Samal Island, Eastern part of North Cotabato and Eastern part of Sarangani.

Residents in these areas are expected to experience winds of 30 to 60kph in the 36 hours.

Meanwhile, widespread moderate to heavy rains will prevail over the areas of Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur, Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, and Davao del Norte today (March 18) and in most parts of Mindanao tomorrow (March 19).

Residents of these areas, especially those living in flood and landslide-prone areas are advised to undertake necessary preparations and continue monitoring for updates.

Those with small seacrafts are advised not to venture out over the eastern seaboards of Visayas and Mindanao, as well as the seaboards of areas under tropical cyclone warning signal. Chedeng is expected to make landfall over the eastern coast of Davao Oriental between Monday night and Tuesday morning. — Marje Pelayo (with details from Rey Pelayo)

Mars Opportunity rover ends 15-year mission

admin   •   February 14, 2019

Still image of Opportunity rover | NASA/JPL via Reuters

Scientists announced Wednesday (February 13) that the Mars Opportunity Rover has officially ended its illustrious 15-year career of scientific exploration. NASA lost touch with ‘Oppy’ on June 10, 2018 following a global dust storm. There has been no communication since.

Scientists had expressed optimism that Opportunity would survive but, the sustained duration of inactivity led the scientific team to end the rover’s historic mission. The Opportunity rover was built to operate for three months but has thrived on Mars since January 2004, giving scientists volumes of data to study and learn more about Mars than anticipated.

The massive dust storm last year coated solar panels that powered the the rover, preventing the six-wheeled robotic explorer from generating the electricity necessary to needed to operate. — Reuters

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