New Zealand Current Affairs - 2020

NASA launches near-space monitoring super pressure balloon from New Zealand

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has successfully launched a super pressure balloon to conduct near-space scientific investigations.

It was launched from South Island Wanaka Airport, New Zealand in the fifth attempt. Earlier four attempts to get the massive balloon airborne were thwarted by bad weather.

Key facts

  • The balloon is 532,000 cubic metres and aims to remain airborne for more than 100 days.
  • It is expected to circumnavigate the globe in the mid-latitudes of southern hemisphere once every one to three weeks, depending on wind speeds in the stratosphere.
  • Balloon’s operational float altitude is 33.5 kms and it will be visible from the ground, particularly at sunrise and sunset in the southern hemisphere’s mid-latitudes.
  • Its flight operations throughout the mission will be controlled by NASA’s balloon experts at Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility and NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.

Note: Long-duration balloon flights at constant altitudes play an important role in providing inexpensive access to the near-space environment for science and technology.

Former NZ cricket captain Martin Crowe passes away

Former New Zealand cricket captain Martin Crowe passed away in Auckland, New Zealand after a long battle with cancer. He was 53 and was suffering from lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system.

Crowe was widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s best ever batsman and had represented the country from the early 1980s until his retirement in 1996.

About Martin Crowe

  • Born on 22 September 1962 in Auckland, New Zealand. He was the son of a first-class cricketer Dave Crowe.
  • In his cricket career, he had played 77 Test matches, 143 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and 247 First-class matches. He was right-handed batsman.
  • Test Career: He had played 77 matches and had scored 5444 runs at an average of 5.36. It comprised of 17 centuries and 18 fifties and his highest score was of 299 runs.
  • ODI Career: He had played 143 matches and scored 4704 runs at an average of 38.55. It comprised of 4 centuries and 34 fifties and highest score was     107* runs.
  • He was captain of New Zealand team from 1990 to 1994 including 16 Test matches.
  • He retired in 1996 due to knee injury. Later he went on to become a television commentator and author.
  • He was named one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 1985. He was also player of the tournament in the 1992 World Cup after scoring 456 runs in 9 matches.
  • He was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in March, 2015
  • His autobiography: “Raw”.