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Portland mayor looks to refund police after spike in homicides

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After a rise in homicides and violent crime, Portland mayor Ted Wheeler is looking to refund the police in his city.

Wheeler requested $2 million in funding for the police force and other agencies. Members of the city council have not signaled commitment to the proposal.

The news comes after Antifa set fire to a Portland courthouse Thursday night with people inside. At least one person was arrested.

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The call for more funding came Wheeler’s state of the city address Friday. It was three days after a man was murdered in broad daylight in a Portland park and city officials began scrambling to find ways to rectify the crisis.

“This shooting was brazen and horrific,” Wheeler tweeted. “The City and its partners are working hard to prevent and reduce gun violence. It’s a public health crisis that’s harming our entire community.”

Wheeler discussed the need for more funding in a Thursday press conference — namely that the city needs a gun violence detective unit. The mayor said it would be different from past policing units.

“What’s going to be different this time, and Chief Lovell said it very clearly, they believe we need a prevention and intervention function, but he also made it clear that he would not stand that up unless the community supported it, unless there was community oversight, and unless there was the transparent collection and dissemination of data,” Wheeler said.

Whether the city council will back Wheeler in proving an additional $2 million to the police has yet to be seen.

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Returns After 7-Year Journey with Asteroid Samples

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After a remarkable seven-year voyage spanning nearly 4 billion miles in space, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is set to make its triumphant return to Earth on Sunday. OSIRIS-REx, an acronym for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer, was launched in 2016 on a groundbreaking mission to collect material from an asteroid in space.

The capsule, holding a precious cargo of nearly 9 ounces of rocks, dust, and dirt gathered from the asteroid Bennu, will detach from the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft before making an anticipated landing inside the Defense Department’s Utah Test and Training Range. According to reports from Fox News, teams from NASA and Lockheed Martin, the vehicle’s builder, will eagerly await its arrival.

Describing the precision required for this endeavor, OSIRIS-REx Deputy Project Manager Michael Moreau likened it to a challenging game of accuracy, stating, “It’s like putting a dart board at one end of a basketball court and throwing the dart from the other end and getting a bull’s-eye.”

This years-long mission holds significant scientific importance. It will aid researchers in investigating the formation of planets, shed light on the origins of life, and enhance NASA’s understanding of asteroids that could pose potential threats to Earth.

Furthermore, the collected sample is expected to offer “generations of scientists a window into the time when the Sun and planets were forming about 4.5 billion years ago,” according to NASA.

Moreover, the mission could contribute crucial information to Earth’s defense against a potential collision with Bennu, an asteroid roughly the size of the Empire State Building. NASA estimates a 1-in-2,700 chance of Bennu impacting Earth in the latter half of the 2100s.

The journey leading up to this momentous return has been a long and meticulous one. OSIRIS-REx arrived at Bennu in 2018 and spent two years closely orbiting the asteroid, gathering vital data.

In 2020, the spacecraft made history with a successful landing on Bennu’s surface, collecting a “touch and go” sample in under a minute. Despite an initial setback due to a jammed door that led to the loss of some space dust, the sample collected still surpasses the mission’s requirement of two ounces.

Once the capsule safely touches down in the Utah desert, a dedicated NASA team will transport the precious material to a meticulously clean environment. Subsequently, the Bennu samples will find their way to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Approximately 70% of the asteroid material will be preserved for future research endeavors, allowing scientists worldwide to delve into its mysteries. Additionally, a portion of the sample will be shared with the Japanese Space Exploration Agency as part of an exchange for samples collected by Japan’s Hayabusa spacecraft.

Looking ahead, OSIRIS-REx is set to continue its mission by studying another asteroid named Apophis, named after a demon serpent in ancient Egyptian mythology, symbolizing evil and chaos. This ambitious mission marks another chapter in humanity’s ongoing exploration of our solar system and beyond.

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