HAMNET Report 30th October 2022

Without much fanfare, or headline news, the Federal Government of Nigeria said on Wednesday that the number of deaths recorded as a result of the devastating flood ravaging the country has risen to 612.

The government also said over 80 billion Naira of damage to infrastructure in 154 places has so far been identified as affected by the flooding.

This is as the government has said that there is no technology to dictate natural disaster and even blamed the people in the areas for not heeding the early warnings of the impending disaster in February this year.

Already, the government said that relief materials have been delivered to 22 states, while the Nigerian Air Force would help to airlift the relief materials to Rivers and Bayelsa states where means of transportation to deliver the materials have been a problem.

Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq said 3,219,780 persons were affected and 1,427,370 persons displaced.

She said further that the impact analysis summary of the flood disaster as at 21st October, showed that 2,776 persons were injured, 181,600 houses partially damaged, 123,807 houses completely damaged as well as 392,399 farmlands totally destroyed, adding that all these sadly took place, “despite early warnings and actions coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.”

She said that the search and rescue efforts covered 25 states, 199 local government areas and 1020 communities.

Thank you to the Vanguard website for this report.

Michael ZS1MJT of HAMNET Western Cape has sent a report after last Saturday night’s annual Voortrekker Night March. He writes:

“HAMNET WC was asked to assist with tracking the teams of Voortrekkers as they took part in their annual night march, on 22nd October.

“HAMNET members met at a farm close to Riebeek Kasteel, at the headquarters of the Voortrekkers late on Saturday afternoon and we discussed best options for successfully tracking the teams as they marched around the HQ, which was situated on top of a small hill. To get best coverage, we set up an APRS digipeater to cover blind spots that were out of line of sight.

“At 18h30 and after a delicious hamburger and potato salad (supplied by the Voortrekkers) two of our team members set out to their allotted positions, to help relay progress of teams from the junior night march participants.

“As night fell, both senior and junior teams started their trek around the farmlands. Teams departed at 15-minute intervals.

“Both sets of teams had to report at 9 check points, ensuring that the teams were on the right track. At each checkpoint, they were given tasks to complete and were scored accordingly.

“At HQ, our main station was manned by Torsten Babl, ZS1ABT who was monitoring the APRS trackers on a laptop using SARTrack. The route had been imported in to SARTrack, which made it easy to see if the teams were going off course.

“The trackers worked well, and each team was easily tracked. The evening drew into morning, and we eventually packed away our equipment at 04h30 on Sunday morning.

“It was a very long day and night, but most enjoyable. All who assisted have already volunteered for next year.

“Thank you to ZS1BR, ZS1JFK, ZS1JM, ZS1REY, ZS1TAF, ZR1SWB and ZS1ABT for offering their time to help the Voortrekkers and promote HAMNET.”

And of course thank you to Michael, for organizing the whole affair.

HAMNET Western Cape members will again be involved in the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station National Nuclear Regulatory Exercise, taking place this coming Friday the 4th of November. It will be another virtual exercise, with some participating teams at the Disaster Risk Management Centre in Goodwood, and others on Skype.

I’ll convey important developments, if there are any, in next week’s report.

It’s known that water ice exists below the lunar regolith (broken rock and dust), but scientists don’t yet understand whether surface ice frost covers the floors inside these cold craters. To find out, NASA is sending Lunar Flashlight, a small satellite (or SmallSat) no larger than a briefcase. Swooping low over the lunar South Pole, it will use lasers to shed light on these dark craters—much like a prospector looking for hidden treasure by shining a flashlight into a cave. The mission will launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in mid-November.

“This launch will put the satellite on a trajectory that will take about three months to reach its science orbit,” said John Baker, the mission’s project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “Then Lunar Flashlight will try to find water ice on the surface of the Moon in places that nobody else has been able to look.”

After launch, mission navigators will guide the spacecraft way past the Moon. It will then be slowly pulled back by gravity from Earth and the Sun before it settles into a wide, looping, science-gathering orbit. This near-rectilinear halo orbit will take it 70,000 kilometres from the Moon at its most distant point and, at its closest approach, the satellite will graze the surface of the Moon, coming within 15 kilometres of the lunar South Pole.

SmallSats carry a limited amount of propellant, so fuel-intensive orbits aren’t possible. A near-rectilinear halo orbit requires far less fuel than traditional orbits, and Lunar Flashlight will be only the second NASA mission to use this type of trajectory. The first is NASA’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) mission, which will arrive at its orbit on Nov. 13th, making its closest pass over the Moon’s North Pole.

“The reason for this orbit is to be able to come in close enough that Lunar Flashlight can shine its lasers and get a good return from the surface, but also to have a stable orbit that consumes little fuel,” said Barbara Cohen, Lunar Flashlight principal investigator at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Lunar Flashlight will also be the first mission to use a four-laser reflectometer to look for water ice on the Moon. The reflectometer works by using near-infrared wavelengths that are readily absorbed by water to identify ice on the surface. Should the lasers hit bare rock, their light will reflect back to the spacecraft, signalling a lack of ice. But if the light is absorbed, it would mean these dark pockets do indeed contain ice. The greater the absorption, the more ice may be at the surface.

Let’s hope the mission is successful.

This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.