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AM News Brief: NASA’s Jupiter Mission, Grand Canyon Entrance & Navajo Nation Remembers

EuropaClipper_Poster_08_2020_002_2_.jpg
NASA/JPL-Caltech
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Utah State University's Space Dynamics Laboratory announced Thursday the delivery of a crucial subsystem to support NASA's interplanetary mission to Jupiter. This story and more in the Friday morning news brief.

Friday morning, March 19, 2021

State

What’s Next For Farmers And Utahns Under State’s Drought Emergency

Gov. Spencer Cox declared a state of emergency earlier this week due to Utah’s drought conditions. Seventy percent of the state is considered in “exceptional drought” right now, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Statewide reservoir storage is currently at 67% of capacity — down 14% from the year before. Laura Haskell with the Utah Division of Water Resources said one of the main reasons for declaring a public emergency is to tap into several pools of state and federal funding. Farmers and ranchers hurt by the drought are eligible to apply, but the money can also go to things like wildfire fighting and tourism. Read the full story. Jon Reed

16 Utah Department Of Corrections Inmates Have Died From COVID-19

The Utah Office of the Medical Examiner reported five new COVID-related inmate deaths Thursday, all of whom were men. Four were between the ages of 65 and 84, and one was between the age of 45 and 64. Sixteen incarcerated people in Utah Department of Corrections facilities have now died from the virus, all between December 2020 and January. The medical examiner removed two deaths after determining they were not due to COVID-19. The UDC is still awaiting the final report on the removed deaths. — Bob Nelson

Northern Utah

Utah State University Contributes To NASA’s Jupiter Mission

Utah State University's Space Dynamics Laboratory announced Thursday delivery of a crucial subsystem to support NASA's interplanetary mission to Jupiter. The mission is to see if Jupiter's Galilean moon Europa is inhabitable. NASA's mission is called Europa Clipper. USU lab officials said students designed, built, tested, and delivered the thermal management system of the Mapping Imaging Spectrometer for Europa which provides the cooling source for the instrument and its detector and rejects the waste heat into space. The Europa Clipper spacecraft is planned for launch in 2024. — Bob Nelson

Region/Nation

Asian Americans In The Mountain West React To Week’s Shootings

Some Asian Americans in the Mountain West are speaking out about the mass shooting of several Asian women at two Georgia spas on Tuesday. They said they’re heartbroken but not surprised — and point to America’s historically racist policies against Asian Americans and the hypersexualization of Asian-American women. — Robyn Vincent, Mountain West News Bureau

Grand Canyon East Entrance To Reopen In Late May

The plan to reopen Grand Canyon National Park's east entrance in late May has some Page, Arizona residents disappointed. They say the sooner the better for the tourist-dependent small city. Park officials said they closed that entrance last year for health and safety concerns for the neighboring Navajo Nation. It left Page with many empty campsites and other vacant facilities. The tribe is reopening some of its own facilities as the spread of the virus has recently slowed. Park officials said there are several factors to consider and May 21 is the tentative date for reopening the park's eastern entrance. — Associated Press

Navajo Nation Marking Year Anniversary Of COVID-19

The Navajo Nation is marking one year since the first confirmed case of the virus with a virtual Navajo Nation Day of Prayer. On Friday, nation leaders, newly-confirmed U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, faith leaders, and the Indian Health Service are to be part of the morning event. The Navajo Department of Health reported 16 COVID-related deaths on the Nation over the past week. The department also said the total number of positive cases is now 29,987, including one delayed reported case. That's an increase of 76 new cases week over week. — Bob Nelson