As­tro­naut rolls out red car­pet for Mars

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

Mean­while, Is­rael re­opened the holy site af­ter it was closed fol­low­ing Fri­day’s at­tack, but Mus­lim wor­ship­pers were re­fus­ing to en­ter due to new se­cu­rity mea­sures in­clud­ing metal de­tec­tors and cam­eras.

The site in­cludes the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

A call to prayer rang out from al-Aqsa, but Mus­lim wor­ship­pers held mid­day prayers out­side the site in protest at the new se­cu­rity mea­sures.

Dozens of wor­ship­pers gath­ered to pray at an en­trance to the com­pound next to the Lions’ Gate en­try to the Old City.

“We re­ject the changes im­posed by the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment,” said Sheikh Omar Kiswani, al-Aqsa direc­tor.

“We will not en­ter through these metal de­tec­tors.”

Is­rael took the highly un­usual de­ci­sion of clos­ing the al-Aqsa mosque com­pound for Fri­day prayers, trig­ger­ing anger from Mus­lims and Jor­dan, the holy site’s cus­to­dian.

The site re­mained closed on Satur­day, while parts of Jerusalem’s Old City were also un­der lock­down.

Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties said the clo­sure was nec­es­sary to carry out se­cu­rity checks.

Po­lice said on Sun­day that so far two gates lead­ing to the holy site had been opened, equipped with metal de­tec­tors, adding that more than 200 peo­ple had en­tered.

Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu spoke of the se­cu­rity mea­sures late on Satur­day be­fore de­part­ing for a trip to Paris, say­ing they were vi­tal in es­tab­lish­ing “com­plete con­trol over what goes on there”.

The Haram al-Sharif/ Tem­ple Mount is cen­tral to the Is­raeli-Pales­tinian con­flict, with Pales­tini­ans fear­ing Is­rael may one day seek to as­sert fur­ther con­trol over it.

It is con­sid­ered the third holi­est site in Is­lam and the most sa­cred for Jews.

Jews are al­lowed to visit but not pray there to avoid pro­vok­ing ten­sions.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — Forty-eight years af­ter he landed on the moon, Apollo 11 as­tro­naut Buzz Aldrin on Satur­day rolled out a red car­pet for the red planet at a starstud­ded gala at the Kennedy Space Cen­ter.

Aldrin, 87, com­mem­o­rated the up­com­ing an­niver­sary of the 1969 mis­sion to the moon un­der a his­toric Saturn V rocket and raised more than $190,000 for his non­profit space ed­u­ca­tion foun­da­tion, ShareS­pace Foun­da­tion.

Aldrin be­lieves peo­ple will be able to land on Mars by 2040, a goal that NASA shares. The space agency is de­vel­op­ing the Space Launch Sys­tem and the Orion space­craft to send peo­ple to deep space.

Apollo as­tro­nauts Walt Cun­ning­ham, Michael Collins and Har­ri­son “Jack” Sch­mitt joined Aldrin, one of 12 peo­ple to walk on the moon, at the sold-out fundraiser.

“I like to think of my­self as an in­no­va­tive fu­tur­ist,” Aldrin told a crowd of nearly 400 peo­ple in the Apollo/Saturn V Cen­ter. “The pro­grams we have right now are eating up ev­ery piece of the bud­get and it has to be re­duced if we’re ever go­ing to get any­where.”

Dur­ing the gala, the ShareS­pace Foun­da­tion pre­sented Jeff Be­zos with the first Buzz Aldrin Space In­no­va­tion Award.

Be­zos, the founder of Ama­zon.com and the space­flight com­pany Blue Ori­gin, is try­ing to bring the cost of space travel down by reusing rock­ets.

“We can have a tril­lion hu­mans in the so­lar sys­tem. What’s hold­ing us back from mak­ing that next step is that space travel is just too darned ex­pen­sive,” Be­zos said. “I’m tak­ing my Ama­zon lottery win­nings and ded­i­cat­ing it to (re­us­able rock­ets). I feel in­cred­i­bly lucky to be able to do that.”

The foun­da­tion also hon­ored for­mer NASA as­tro­naut Mae Jemi­son, the first AfricanAmer­i­can woman to travel in space, with the Buzz Aldrin Space Pi­o­neer­ing Award.

Space mem­o­ra­bilia was auc­tioned at the gala, in­clud­ing an au­to­graphed first day in­sur­ance cover that flew to the sur­face of the moon that went for $42,500.

The gala is the first part of a three-year cam­paign lead­ing up to the 50 th an­niver­sary of the moon land­ing to help fund ad­vance­ments that will lead to the fu­ture habi­ta­tion of Mars.

We re­ject the changes im­posed by the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment.” Sheikh Omar Kiswani, direc­tor of al-Aqsa mosque

FREDY BUILES / REUTERS

Brazil­ian Air Force pi­lots in Su­per Tu­cano planes per­form aer­o­bat­ics dur­ing the F-Air Colom­bia 2017 air fes­ti­val in Rione­gro, Colom­bia, on Satur­day.

ALEX SANZ / ASSOCIATED PRESS

As­tro­naut Buzz Aldrin speaks at the gala for his non-profit space ed­u­ca­tion foun­da­tion at the Kennedy Space Cen­ter in Cape Canaveral, Florida, US, on Satur­day.

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