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Science & Technology current affairs 2019

Following the current events and news in the area of science and technology is very very important for the general studies paper in the UPSC exam. In recent times questions are set on only those topics that have made news. Regular study of science from NCERT books or otherwise is no longer required. The idea is to follow the current affairs news related to science and technology and understand the science behind those issues. This is true for all levels of teh IAS exam - prelims, mains and also the interview.




Current Affairs Quiz

Current Affairs in Science & Tech - May 2019

  • Chandrayaan 2: It is India's second lunar exploration mission after Chandrayaan-1. Developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation, the mission is planned to be launched to the Moon by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced the launching of Chandrayaan-2,’ India’s second lunar mission’ which is scheduled to be launched between July 9th and 16th 2019. Chandrayaan-2 is India’s second lunar mission. It will be launched using India’s most powerful rocket GSLVMK-III RIN Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. It’s objective is to collect scientific information on lunar (moon) topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice. It has three modules (a detachable self-contained unit of a spacecraft) namely Orbiter, Lander named Vikram and Rover named Pragyan.All these three modules have been made in India. The Chandrayaan-2’s lander will touch down near Moon’s south pole on 6th September 2019. Chandrayan-2 mission would make a soft landing on southern pole of the moon, which is still unexplored by any of the countries. This will not only be important but also historically significant as it would give ISRO the opportunity to name the site on the moon.
  • Yeti:
    It is a folkloric ape-like creature taller than an average human, that is said to inhabit the Himalayan mountains. Indian Army Mountaineering Expedition to Mt Makalu claims to have discovered the footprints of snowman ‘Yeti’ the abominable snowman as it is known in legends, near the Makalu Base Camp by posting photographs of ‘ mysterious footprints’ that measure about 32×15 inches, on Twitter. But several scientists that are based at Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII), who have worked in Nepal , also said the footprints could be those of a bear. Besides the Joint secretary of Nepal’s forest department Maheshwar Dakal said the Makalu-Barun National Park has a healthy population of the brown bear but they have no evidence that the Yeti exists in the area. ‘We cannot ascertain the presence of the Yeti unless we have the picture of yeti as a proof. The footprint does not explain all and could be of bear or snow leopard,’ Dakal said.
  • IIT Madras: It is a public engineering institute that was set up in the year 1959 in Madras through an Act of Parliament. In a significant development, a research team from IIT Madras has developed a common unified script for nine Indian Languages. According to different sources, the script was developed taking cue from European languages, were several of them had the same (Roman letter–based) script. The team led by Srinivasa Chakravathy’s team at IIT Madras developed developed a unified script for nine Indian languages, named the Bharati script. The team has now gone a step further since developing the script: it has developed a method for reading documents in Bharati script using a multi-lingual optical character recognition (OCR) scheme. The team has also created a finger-spelling method that can be used to generate a sign language for hearing-impaired persons. In collaboration with TCS Mumbai, the researchers have found a way for persons with hearing disability to generate signatures using this finger-spelling technique.

Current Affairs in Science & Tech - April 2019

  • Mars: It is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System after Mercury. NASA spacecraft has detected what's believed to be a ‘marsquake' on planet Mars. According to report from NASA, the space agency's InSight lander, which touched down on Mars in November after a seven-month journey, sensed the seismic signal on April 6. Mission scientists are still working to confirm the source of the faint trembling, though it appears to have come not from the wind or movement of the lander's robotic arm but from below the Martian surface. If confirmed, it would be the first seismic activity ever detected on Mars. 'We've been collecting background noise up until now, but this first event officially kicks off a new field: Martian seismology!' Bruce Banerdt, a geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and the principal investigator of the InSight mission, said in a statement. The 800-pound lander is parked on the Elysium Planitia, a broad, mostly rock-free plain just north of the Martian equator. The lander is designed to operate on the surface of Mars for two years, learning about the Martian interior as a way to boost our understanding of the formation of Mars and other rocky worlds, including Mercury, Venus, Earth and the moon.
  • Genome Sequencing : It is the process of determining the complete DNA sequence of an organism's genome at a single time. In a bid to educate students about the usefulness of genomics, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has decided to map the population diversity. According to a report, nearly 1,000 rural youth from the length and breadth of India will have their genomes sequenced by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Globally, many countries have undertaken genome sequencing of a sample of their citizens to determine unique genetic traits, susceptibility (and resilience) to disease. This is the first time that such a large sample of Indians will be recruited for a detailed study. The project is an adjunct to a much larger government-led programme, still in the works, to sequence at least 10,000 Indian genomes.
  • Antibotics: They also known as antibacterials, are medications that destroy or slow down the growth of bacteria. With reports of adverse reactions after the usage of commonly-used antibiotics, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has now asked manufacturers to ensure that this information be made available to the general public. In a letter to drug manufacturers, CDSCO asked them to mention in leaflets inserted into drug packets or on promotional literature, information about the adverse reactions of these medicines. All of the seven formulations — antibiotics Cefotaxime, Ofloxacin and Cefixime; Tranexamic Acid, used to control bleeding; antipsychotic drug Quetiapine; anti-rheumatoid drug Sulfasalazine and the anti-epileptic medicine Sodium Valproate — have been instructed to warn patients of the new side effects. The letter was sent out by CDSCO on April 9.
  • Homo luzonensis : It is an extinct species of the genus Homo. Researchers in the Philippines have discovered a species of ancient human Homo Luzonensis which was previously unknown to science. The small-bodied hominin, named Homo luzonensis, lived on the island of Luzon at least 50,000 to 67,000 years ago. The hominin—identified from a total of seven teeth and six small bones—hosts a patchwork of ancient and more advanced features. The landmark discovery, announced in Nature on Wednesday, makes Luzon the third Southeast Asian island in the last 15 years to bear signs of unexpectedly ancient human activity. Scientists have for a long, long time, felt that there is nothing Philippine islands. Homo luzonensis flips the script, and it continues to challenge the outdated idea that the human line neatly progressed from less advanced to more advanced species.
  • Mitochondrial donation: It is an experimental IVF treatment involving an egg from the mother, sperm from the father and another egg from a female donor. A baby with DNA from three people has been born in Greece following this fertility treatment. The baby boy, weighing 2.9kg (6lb) was born. Both he and his mother, who is 32, are said to be in good health. The doctors behind the treatment, from Greece and Spain, said that the birth marks a historic advance – it is the first time an IVF technique involving DNA from three people has been used with the aim of addressing fertility problems. But UK experts criticised the decision to proceed with the treatment, which they said was not backed by evidence and involved unjustifiable risks.
  • Stratolaunch aircraft: It is a world’s largest airplane which completed its first test flight. According to officials, the aircraft achieved its maximum speed of 189 miles per hour (302.4 km per hour). The plane developed by aerospace venture Stratolaunch (set up by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2011) flew for 2.5 hours over the Mojave Desert at altitudes up to 17,000 feet. The plane has a dual fuselage design and its wingspan is greater than the length of an American football field. As per the information provided on the Stratolaunch website, the test flight took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in California at 6:58 am Pacific Time (7:28 pm India time). As part of the initial flight, the pilots evaluated aircraft performance and handling qualities before landing successfully back at the Mojave Air and Space Port, Stratolaunch said in a statement. The test team conducted standard aircraft testing exercise including a variety of flight control manoeuvres to calibrate speed and test flight control systems. The Stratolaunch aircraft is designed to act as a flying launch pad for satellites and put payloads in orbit. With 117 meters wingspan and 73 meters nose-to-tail length, the company describes its aircraft as the world’s largest plane. While it does have the largest wingspan, it does not have the longest nose-to-tail length.
  • Self destructive mechanism : It is new mechanism discovered by Chinese scientist. It is also known as death switch mechanism. According to officials, this mechanism will triggers infected cells to self-destruct, thus limiting the spread of the disease and keeping other parts of the plant healthy. This research can lead to a new generation of disease-resistant crops that use significantly less pesticide and are more environmentally friendly. The research was done by scientists from Tsinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Genetics and Development Biology. Their findings were published in the journal Science. About 20 years ago, scientists discovered that plants, like animals, have robust immune systems that can protect them from pathogens including viruses, fungi, bacteria and parasites.
  • Global Cooling Coalition : It is a new coalition launched at the first Global Conference on Synergies between the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement held at Copenhagen, Denmark. It is supported by the UN, Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL). This coalition includes environment ministers from Chile and Rwanda and foreign affairs from Denmark as well as heads of Danish engineering firms ENGIE and Danfoss and leaders from civil society, research and intergovernmental institutions. The Global Cool Coalition is a unified front that links action across the Kigali Amendment, Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. The Coalition aims to, Inspire ambition, identify solutions and mobilise action to accelerate progress towards clean and efficient cooling. Complement and build upon ongoing successful programmes to advance clean and efficient cooling, including, the Cooling for All Secretariat, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Programme, private sector action like the Global Cooling Prize, and other initiatives. Provide all with sustainable cooling at a scale that would ensure safe food, safe vaccine and comfort at work.
  • National Institutional Ranking Framework 2019 : It is ranking initiative carried out by Ministry of Human Resources Development. According to the report, The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-Madras) beat Indian Institute of Science (IISc) to grab the top spot in the latest edition of National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2019. IIT-Madras has been ranked as the top institute in the overall category, followed by IISc in the second position. Barring IISc in the second spot, the IITs dominated the top ten slots in the overall category. While IIT Delhi was ranked third, IIT-Bombay, IIT-Kharagpur and IIT Kanpur followed in the fourth, fifth and sixth position. IIT-Roorkee got the eight position while IIT-Guwahati ranked ninth. JNU and BHU also found the place in the list at seventh and tenth positions respectively.
  • Spacex Falcon : It is the most powerful and reusable heavy-lift launch vehicle designed and manufactured by SpaceX launches the world first commercial mission. The launch is considered as a key demonstration for billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's space company in the race to grasp lucrative military launch contracts. Roughly three minutes after clearing the launch pad, Falcon Heavy's two side boosters separated from the core rocket for a synchronised landing at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, just like it did for the rocket's debut last year. The middle booster, after pushing the payload into space, returned nearly 10 minutes later for a successful landing on SpaceX's seafaring drone ship waiting 645 kilometres off the Florida coast. A successful lift-off with Falcon Heavy's new military-certified Falcon 9 boosters was a crucial element in the race against Boeing-Lockheed venture United Launch Alliance and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin to secure lucrative military contracts. Musk's SpaceX, working to prove the flight-worthiness of its rocket fleet one mission at a time, aims to clinch one-third of all US National Security Space missions — coveted contracts that are worth billions of llars. The US Air Force tapped SpaceX in 2018 to launch a classified military satellite, which cost it USD 130 million and in February added three more missions in a USD 297 million contract.
  • Cafe Scientifique: It is a new initiative aimed making science relevant, powerful and important to the public. It is promoted by a group of science experts of the Hume Centre for Ecology and Wildlife Biology. It is targeted at younger generations. Various topics such as universe, climate change, evolution, genetics and human-animal relations will be discussed in every monthly gathering.CK Vishnudas an ornithologist and director of the centre said, 'first such initiative in the State, envisages to bring science back into popular culture by demystifying scientific research for the public and empowering non-scientists to comfortably assess science and technology issues, particularly those that impact social policy making. We are planning to organise meetings of science enthusiasts in the district every month at a café or a convenient place, where one or more scientists are invited to talk to the public about new developments in science.
  • 5G : It is the latest generation of cellular mobile communications. It succeeds the 4G (LTE-A, WiMax), 3G (UMTS, LTE) and 2G (GSM) systems. 5G performance targets high data rate, reduced latency, energy saving, cost reduction, higher system capacity, and massive device connectivity. South Korea launched the world’s first nationwide 5G mobile networks. Three top telecom providers of the South Korea namely SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus have begun their 5G services two days ago. Hyper-wired South Korea has long had a reputation for technical prowess, and Seoul had made the 5G rollout a priority as it seeks to stimulate stuttering economic growth. Along with the United States, China and Japan, South Korea had been racing to claim the title as the first to provide the ultra-fast network nationwide. Experts say 5G will bring smartphones near-instantaneous connectivity -- 20 times faster than 4G -- allowing users to download entire movies in less than a second. The technology is crucial for the future development of devices such as self-driving vehicles and is expected to bring about USD 565 billion in global economic benefits by 2034, according to the London-based Global System for Mobile Communications, an industry alliance.

Current Affairs in Science & Tech - March 2019

  • Young Scientist Programme: It is a special programme for School Children launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is also known as Yuva Vigyani Karyakram. The Program is primarily aimed at imparting basic knowledge on Space Technology, Space Science and Space Applications to the younger ones with the intent of arousing their interest in the emerging areas of Space activities. ISRO has chalked out this programme to Catch them young. The residential training programme will be of around two weeks duration during summer holidays and it is proposed to select 3 students each from each State/ Union Territory to participate in this programme covering state, CBSE, and ICSE syllabus. Those who have just finished 9th standard (in the academic year 2018-19) and waiting to join 10th standard (or those who have started 10th Std just now) will be eligible for the programme. The selection will be based on the 8th Std marks. A few seats are left for the programme from various states. The interested students can register online from 25th March 2019 (1800 hrs) to 03rd April 2019 (1800 hrs). The selection is based on the academic performance and extracurricular activities. Students belonging to the rural area have been given special weightage in the selection criteria. The list of the provisionally selected candidates from each state will be announced on 06th April 2019. The provisionally selected candidates will be requested to send the supporting documents through E-mail to ISRO. This Email ID will be intimated to selected candidates. After verifying the relevant certificates the final list will be published on 13th April 2019. The progamme is planned at 4 centres of ISRO during the second half of May 2019. For more information log on to www.isro.gov.in
  • Biomedical Research Career Programme (BRCP) : It is programme developed by India for attracting high quality Indian scientists working abroad to return to India. The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the continuation of the Biomedical Research Career Programme beyond its initial 10-year term from 2008-09 to 2018-19 to a new five year phase from 2019-20 to 2023-24. The programme is run by the Department of Biotechnology and UK- based biomedical research charity – Wellcome Trust. With the extension, the DBT would be increasing its commitment to the programme by two times, in comparison to that of the Welcome Trust. The total financial implication of the same will be Rs 1092 crore with DBT and WT contributing Rs 728 crore and Rs 364 crore respectively.
  • Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules 2019: It is the new notification announced by Union Health Ministry for promoting clinical research in the country. The new rules will apply to all new drugs, investigational new drugs for human use, clinical trials, bio-equivalence studies and ethics committees. The highlights of the notification includes reduction in time for approving applications, which has now come down to 30 days for drugs manufactured in India and 90 days for those developed outside the country. Also, in case of no communication from Drugs Controller General of India, the application will be deemed to have been approved. As per the new rule the requirement of a local clinical trial may be waived for approval of a new drug if it is approved and marketed in any of the countries (EU, UK, Australia, Japan and US) specified by the Drugs Controller General with the approval of the government. The new rules will ensure patient safety and an ethics committee will monitor the trials and decide on the amount of compensation in cases of adverse events. Meanwhile, the Indian Society for Clinical Research (ISCR) said that the new Clinical Trial Rules are well balanced and will further the conduct of ethical and quality clinical trials in the country which, in turn, will benefit patients.
  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO): It is the space agency of the Government of India headquartered in the city of Bengaluru. ISRO will launch 29 satellites including the primary payload EMISAT, on the first of April. Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C45 will take off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota tentatively at 9:30 AM carrying the satellites onboard. EMISAT has been developed for monitoring radar network by India. An ISRO release says, EMISAT, weighing 436 kg, is intended for electromagnetic spectrum measurement. It will be placed in an orbit of about 753 km altitude. The customer payloads are from Lithuania, Spain, Switzerland and the US. They will be hurled into space at an altitude of about 505 km. After all the satellites are put into orbits, the fourth stage of the rocket will be propelled to a different elevation and will be used as a platform for different experiments by Indian institutions, including ISRO. Indian Institute of Space Science (IISc) and the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation are the other two institutions that will have their devices on the experimental platform. Normally the rocket engine is left redundant as space debris once the launch mission is over. But ISRO uses it for such experiments for the second time in a series. During the last PSLV mission also it adopted the same innovative method.
  • Bennu: It is a carbonaceous asteroid in the Apollo group discovered by the LINEAR Project on 11 September 1999. It is a potentially hazardous object that is listed on the Sentry Risk Table with the second-highest cumulative rating on the Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale. NASA scientists have found water, particles in Asteroid Bennu. NASA's OSIRIS-Rex mission found plumes erupting from the cosmic body’s surface — among a numerous other findings including evidence of water-bearing minerals. NASA spacecraft which will be returning to earth would be bringing a sample of asteroid in 2023. Bennu also revealed itself to be more rugged than expected, challenging the mission team to alter its flight and sample collection plans, due to the rough terrain. Bennu is the target of NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (Osiris-REx) mission, which began orbiting the asteroid on December 31 last year. Bennu, which is only slightly wider than the height of the Empire State Building, may contain unaltered material from the very beginning of our solar system. Speaking on the development ante Lauretta, Osiris-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona said, ' The discovery of plumes is one of the biggest surprises of my scientific career. And the rugged terrain went against all of our predictions. Bennu is already surprising us, and our exciting journey there has just getting started.
  • Geological Survey of India (GSI) : It is a government body and the prime provider of basic earth science information to government, industry and general public, as well as the official participant in steel, coal, metals, cement, power industries and international geoscientific forums. GSI has launched 22 permanent global positioning system (GPS) stations across India to identify seismically hazardous zones and encourage mapping activities. The 22 GPS-Geodetic (pertaining to Geodesy, the science of earth measurement) observatories are located in Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Jaipur, Pune, Dehradun, Chennai, Jabalpur, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Raipur, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Gandhinagar Vishakhapatnam, Agartala, Itanagar, Mangan, Jammu, Lucknow, Nagpur, Shillong and Little Andaman. The new 13 stations will be located in Aizawl, Faridabad, Uttarkashi, Pithoragarh, Cooch Behar, Zawar, North Andaman, Middle Andaman, South Andaman, Ranchi, Mangalore, Imphal and Chitradurga. These stations are meant to delineate high strain zones for earthquake probability, determine a seismic motion on faults that may lead to a rupture and produce thematic maps with high positional accuracy. The GSI is also keen on getting youngsters interested in geology and has taken several initiatives for this, the first being introduction of geology at the school level.
  • ISRO: It is an acronym for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is the space agency of the Government of India. It will launch a special programme for School Children called Young Scientist Programme. The Program is primarily aimed at imparting basic knowledge on Space Technology, Space Science and Space Applications to the younger ones with the intent of arousing their interest in the emerging areas of Space activities. The program is thus aimed at creating awareness amongst the youngsters who are the future building blocks of our Nation. This will further help them to appreciate what they are being taught in the school and its real application in Space Science & Technology. ISRO has chalked out this programme to ‘Catch them young’. The programme will be of around two weeks duration during summer holidays and the schedule will include invited talks, experience sharing by the eminent scientists, facility and lab visits, exclusive sessions for discussions with experts, practical and feedback sessions. It is proposed to select 3 students each from each State/ Union Territory to participate in this programme every year covering CBSE, ICSE and State syllabus. Those who have finished 8th standard and currently studying in 9th standard will be eligible for the programme.

Current Affairs in Science & Tech - February 2019

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO): It is the space agency of the Government of India headquartered in the city of Bengaluru.ISRO will be launching an electronic intelligence satellite Emisat for the DRDO. The satellite weighs about 420 kg. The 28 satellites belonging to our customers would cumulatively weigh about 250 kg. The DRDO's Emisat is an electronic intelligence satellite. The ISRO will also be launching two more defence satellites sometime in July/August with its new rocket Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV). After launching Emisat at an altitude of 763 km, the rocket will be brought down to put into orbit the 28 satellites at an altitude of 504 km.
  • Mission to Moon: Israel's non-profit SpaceIL launched its spacecraft from Florida's Cape Canaveral on board a Falcon 9 rocket, in a bid to become the fourth country to make a soft landing on the moon. According to an official release, the unmanned craft, weighing 1,300 pounds and standing approximately five feet tall, began an approximate seven-week journey to the moon, from where it will send back images of the rocky surface and conduct experiments on the lunar magnetic field.
  • Water Generator : It is a water generator, which generate water straight from the humidity present in the atmosphere. It was developed by Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) in collaboration with CSIR-IICT and MAITHRI, a start-up company based in Hyderabad. This water Generator employs a novel technology to extract water from the humidity present in the atmosphere and purify it. It uses heat exchange for condensing the atmospheric moisture to produce pure, safe and clean potable water. The AWG comes with a Mineralisation Unit, which is used to add minerals which are required to make the water potable. The AWG is configurable in static and mobile (vehicular) versions and is available in 30 litres/day, 100 litres/day, 500 litres/day and 1,000 litres/day capacities. The Atmospheric Water Generator can be used to provide drinking water in community centres and public places like health care centres, schools, colleges, offices, railway stations, bus stands, airports, sea ports, off-shore oil rigs, military establishments, remote field areas and remote establishments and residential complexes. The Atmospheric Water Generator is being manufactured by BEL in collaboration with CSIR-IICT and MAITHRI, a start-up company based in Hyderabad. It is on display at the BEL stall at Hall-E at Aero India 2019. BEL has, as part of the Government of India's Start-up India Initiative, extending its support to start-up Companies.
  • ISRO: It is an acronym for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is the space agency of the Government of India. India will launch its latest communication satellite onboard European launch services provider Arianespaces launch vehicle on February 6 from French Guiana. Weighing about 2,535 kg, the Indian satellite, GSAT-31, will provide continuity to operational services on some of the in-orbit satellites. The satellite derives its heritage from ISROs earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series, the space agency said, adding that it provides Indian mainland and island coverage. GSAT-31 is the country's 40th communication satellite which is configured on ISRO's enhanced 'I-2K Bus', utilising the maximum bus capabilities of this type. This satellite will augment the Ku-band transponder capacity in Geostationary Orbit. With a mission life of around 15 years, GSAT-31 will be used for supporting VSAT networks, Television uplinks, Digital Satellite News Gathering, DTH-television services, cellular backhaul connectivity and many such applications. It also provides wide beam coverage to facilitate communication over large oceanic region, comprising large parts of Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean, using a wide band transponder.

Current Affairs in Science & Tech - January 2019

  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras: It is a public engineering institute located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. As one of the Indian Institutes of Technology, it is recognised as an Institute of National Importance. The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has established three mission centres at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) at the collective cost of Rs 50 crore. The centres were aimed at research and development in the field of solar and water treatment. Harsh Vardhan, the Union Minister for Science and Technology, inaugurated the three DST mission centres, namely, DST -IITM Solar Energy Harnessing Centre, DST- IITM Centre for Sustainable Treatment, Reuse and Management for Efficient, Affordable and Synergistic Solutions for Water (Water-IC for SUTRAM of EASY WATER), and DST-IITM-KGDS Test-bed on Solar Thermal Desalination Solutions in Narippaiyur, Ramanathapuram District, Tamil Nadu. The DST – IITM Water – IC for SUTRAM of EASY WATER will be available for CSIR-CLRI Chennai, Anna University, VIT Chennai, PRIST University, Indian Institute of Toxicological Research-Lucknow, IIT Tirupati, Kumaon University, IISER Bhopal. This Centre has been supported at a cost of Rs 9 crore.
  • South Asian Nitrogen Hub: It is a new scientific hub created to study nitrogen pollution in South Asia. It was launched by United Kindgom. Eighteen research institutions in India are among a group of 50 institutions — called the South Asian Nitrogen Hub (SANH) — in the United Kingdom and South Asia that have secured £20 million (about Rs 200 crore) from the U.K. government to assess and study the quantum and impact of nitrogen pollution in South Asia. While nitrogen is the dominant gas in the atmosphere, it is inert and doesn’t react. However, when it is released as part of compounds from agriculture, sewage and biological waste, nitrogen is considered reactive, and it may be polluting and even exert a potent greenhouse gas (heat trapping) effect.
  • Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC): It is a newly inaugurated centre in Indian Space Research Centre (ISRO). It will be the hub of ISRO's future manned missions, was inaugurated at ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru. It will be responsible for the implementation of Gaganyaan project — which involves mission planning, development of engineering systems for crew survival in space, crew selection and training and also pursue activities for sustained human space flight missions. HSFC will take the support of ISRO centres to implement the first developmental [crewed] flight'.
  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO): It is the space agency of the Government of India headquartered in the city of Bengaluru. Its vision is to "harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration. ISRO is planning to launch an exclusive satellite for the home ministry to help it further strengthen its frontiers with Pakistan and Bangladesh among others. According to an official statement issued, the move is part of recommendations made by a task force on the use of space technology in improving border management which have been accepted by home minister Rajnath Singh. To execute the project in a time bound manner, a short, medium and long-term plan has been proposed for implementation in five years in close coordination with the ISRO and the defence ministry. Major recommendations of the report are to build capacity in border guarding forces to use space resources for security, operational planning and border infrastructure development. In short term, immediate needs of border guarding forces will be met by procurement of high resolution imagery and hiring of bandwidth for communications. In mid-term, one satellite is being launched by the ISRO for exclusive use of the MHA. ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C44)successfully injected Microsat-R andKalamsat-V2 satellites into their designated orbits. Microsat-R was successfully injected into intended orbit of 274 km. After injection, two solar arrays of the satellite were deployed automatically and ISRO Telemetry Tracking & Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bengaluru assumed control of the satellite. Subsequently , the fourth stage (PS4) of the vehicle was moved to a higher circular orbit of 453 km after two restarts of the stage, to establish an orbital platform for carrying out experiments. Kalamsat-V2, a student payload, first to use PS4 as an orbital platform, was taken to its designated orbit about 1 hour and 40 minutes after lift-off. This flight marked the first mission of PSLV-DL, a new variant of PSLV with two strap-on motors. In the previous PSLV launch on November 29, PSLV-C43 had successfully launched India’s HysIS as well as 30 customer satellites from abroad.
  • Young Scientist Programme: It is a new launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for the young minds who want to explore themselves in space research. Under Young Scientist programme at ISRO, three students from each state will be selected. They will be given lectures and they will be given access to R&D labs and practical experience of building a small satellite. Three students from each of the 29 States and 7 Union Territories will selected for the Young Scientist program.
  • UNNATI: It is acronym for UNispaceNanosatellite Assembly &Training by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). ISRO has launched UNNATI programme to provide opportunities to the participating developing countries to strengthen in assembling, integrating and testing of Nanosatellite. The is planned to be conducted for 3 years by U.R. Rao Satellite Centre of ISRO in 3 batches and will target to benefit officials of 45 countries. The first batch started today in which 30 delegates from 17 countries are participating. Each batch will be for 8-week duration and will comprise of theoretical course work on nanosatellite definition, utility, laws governing their impact on space debris, design drivers, reliability & quality assurance and hands-on training on assembly, integration and testing of nanosatellites. The first batch of this programme is starting on January 17, 2019 with 30 participants from 17 countries (Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Oman, Panama and Portugal). These participants were selected from 87 applications from 34 countries.
  • NASA: It is an acronym for National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. NASA’s latest planet-hunting probe has discovered a new world outside our solar system, orbiting a dwarf star 53 light years away. This is the third new planet confirmed by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) since its launch in April last year. The planet, named HD 21749b, orbits a bright, nearby dwarf star about 53 light years away, in the constellation Reticulum, and appears to have the longest orbital period of the three planets so far identified by TESS. HD 21749b journeys around its star in a relatively leisurely 36 days, compared to the two other planets — Pi Mensae b, a super-Earth with a 6.3-day orbit, and LHS 3844b, a rocky world that speeds around its star in just 11 hours.
  • The Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT): These are autonomous public institutes of higher education, located in India. They are governed by the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 which has declared them as institutions of national importance and lays down their powers, duties, and framework for governance etc. IIT Madras scientists have created what they call 'space fuel' by simulating interstellar conditions in the lab, a method that may be used to convert atmospheric CO2 into a next generation energy source on Earth. The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), could help curb greenhouse gases as well as provide a new, sustainable source of energy. IIT Madras researchers formed such hydrates in vacuum, one thousand billion times below the atmospheric pressure called ultra-high vacuum (UHV) and temperature close to minus 263 degree Celsius. These are the conditions present in deep space.
  • Chang’e 4: It is the name of Chinese spacecraft which has become the first space craft to land on the far side of the moon in a historic moment for human space exploration. This move has been hailed as the major technical feat and is seen as a important step towards China’s wider ambitions in space. The robotic probe Chang’e 4 landed in the unexplored South Pole-Aitken basin, the biggest known impact structure in the solar system, at about 2.30am GMT on Thursday. Prior to confirmation of the landing and the release of the first close-up shots of the far lunar surface by the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, many details of the mission, including the planned timing of the landing, had been kept secret.
  • Gaganyaan: It is an Indian crewed orbital spacecraft intended to be the basis of the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme. The spacecraft is being designed to carry three people, and a planned upgraded version will be equipped with rendezvous and docking capability. Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the Gaganyaan Programme with demonstration of Indian Human Spaceflight capability to low earth orbit for a mission duration ranging from one orbital period to a maximum of seven days. A human rated GSLV Mk-lll will be used to carry the orbital module which will have necessary provisions for sustaining a 3-member crew for the duration of the mission. The necessary infrastructure for crew training, realization of flight systems and ground infrastructure will be established to support the Gaganyaan Programme. ISRO will collaborate extensively with National agencies, laboratories, academia and industry to accomplish the Gaganyaan Programme objectives.
  • Samwad scheme: It is a new initiative launched by ISRO. The scheme aims to constantly engage youngsters across India to capture their scientific temperament. The new conversation mission will inspire students cutting across schools and colleges. The first SwS event saw 40 wards and 10 teachers from select schools interact with ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan at the Anthariksh Bhavan. During the three-hour stay at ISRO HQ, the students were first briefed about Indian space programme and their benefits to the common man. In his opening remarks Dr Sivan said the SwS aims at drawing inspiration and motivation from young India. “All of you with your boundless energy and endless curiosity are going to be my biggest source of inspiration and motivation. With so many challenging on hand this year, I thought it is important to seek the well wishes of students who are the future of this country,” Dr Sivan said.
  • IIT Guwahati: It is a public institution established by the Government of India, located in Guwahati, in the state of Assam in India. It is the sixth Indian Institute of Technology established in India.Scientists from Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, have developed a simple paper kit that can test freshness of milk. Aided with a smart phone app, the kit can help ensure that milk is consumed before it turns too sour. Milk being widely consumed food; its safety is of prime concern to consumers. More so because it is highly perishable and prone to action of enzymes and microorganisms inherently present in it. Although pasteurization, freezing and preservation using additives are widely used to prevent spoilage, perishability of milk is still a concern.
  • Chandrayaan 2:
    It is India's second lunar exploration mission after Chandrayaan-1. Developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation, the mission is planned to be launched to the Moon by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III. It includes a lunar orbiter, lander and rover, all developed by India. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is likely to launch Chandrayaan-2, the country’s second mission to the Moon, next month. Chandrayaan-2, a totally indigenous venture, comprises an orbiter, a lander and a rover. After a controlled descent, the lander would soft-land on the lunar surface at a specified site and deploy a rover, according to the ISRO. The six-wheeled rover will move around the landing site on the lunar surface in a semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands.

Current Affairs in Science & Technology - December 2018

  • GSAT-7A : It is new satellite launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It was meant for the exclusive use of the Indian Air Force. Dubbed as the "Indian Angry Bird", the satellite will connect all IAF assets like planes, air-borne early warning control platforms and drones with each other and ground stations, and work towards a network-centric warfare capability. It will also reduce the possibility of snooping and leakage of information that's possible while using satellites launched by foreign operators. The 2,250-kg satellite is piggybacking on the GSLV MK II (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) which is powered by an indigenous cryogenic engine. This is the seventh flight of the rocket with Indian-made cryogenic engine.
  • Exoplanets: These are planets beyond our own solar system. Thousands have been discovered in the past two decades, mostly with NASA's Kepler Space Telescope. Scientists have discovered a cache over 100 new exoplanets using data from NASA’s Kepler Space telescope as well as ground-based observatories. The diverse planets are expected to play a large role in developing the research field of exoplanets and life in the Universe. Exoplanets, which revolve around stars other than the Sun, have been actively researched in recent years.
  • Digital Sky : It is registration process initiated by the government for operations of remotely piloted aircraft, to come into effect from December 1. Under these norms, drone users will be required to do one-time registration of their drones. They will also need to register the pilots of drones as well as their owners. For drones of micro size and above categories, operators are required to register on the Digital Sky portal. This digital platform has begun accepting registrations of users, and payments for Unmanned Aerial Operator’s Permit (UAOP) and Unique Identification Numbers (UIN) will be accepted through the Bharat Kosh portal (bharatkosh.gov.in). According to the ministry, to get the permission to fly, RPAS (remotely piloted aerial system) or drone operators or remote pilots will have to file a flight plan. Flying in the ‘green zones’ will require only intimation of the time and location of the flights via the portal or the app. Permissions will be required for flying in ‘yellow zones’ and flights will not be allowed in the ‘red zones’. The location of these zones will be announced soon. Permission will be made available digitally on the portal.
  • Train 18: It is the first locomotive less train in India. The train has breached the 180 kmph speed limit during a test run recently. According to an official release, train 18 breached the 180 kmph speed limit in the Kota-Sawai Madhopur section. The major trials are now over, with just some more remaining. Based on the reports, fine tuning would be done if needed. As of now no major technical problem has cropped up. Train 18 will be planning to commence its commercial run from January 2019. Normally the trials take three months. But now it is happening faster than expected. If all things go well, Train 18 will replace the current Shatabdi Express - a day train. Train 18 is capable of touching 200 kmph provided the rest of Indian Railways' system such as tracks and signals permit. The ICF will roll out one more Train 18 this fiscal and four by the next fiscal.
  • ISRO: The Indian Space Research Organisation is the space agency of the Government of India headquartered in the city of Bangalore. Its vision is to "harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration. ISRO launches its heaviest satellite from French Guyana. GSAT-11, the heaviest satellite built by Isro (Indian Space Research Organization), was launched successfully. The satellite was onboard Ariane-5 VA246, which blasted off from Kourou Launch Zone in French Guiana at 20:37 GMT. The 5,854-kg satellite, almost double the biggest one built or launched by Isro till date, was launched aboard the European launch vehicle Ariane 5 ECA. The heavy-duty Ariane-5 vehicle was also carrying GEO-KOMPSAT-2A for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). GSAT-11 would play a vital role in providing broadband services across the country and provide a platform to demonstrate new generation applications, Isro said.
  • Silent airplane with no propellers: It is a new airplane built by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It is was inspired from the movie and television series "Star Trek", have, in a breakthrough, built and flown the first-ever silent airplane with no moving propellers. The aircraft is powered by an "ionic wind" -- a silent but mighty flow of ions that is produced aboard the plane, that generates enough thrust to propel the plane over a sustained, steady flight. And unlike propeller-driven drones, the new design is completely silent. "This is the first-ever sustained flight of a plane with no moving parts in the propulsion system," said Steven Barrett, Associate Professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the MIT.
  • Indian Meterological Department: It is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India. It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology. It has been developed technology called the 'Impact Based Forecasting Approach' to assess the rise of water level in rivers and reservoirs by rain and can help state governments to minutely monitor the impact of rainfall. It shows "pre-event scenario" can help authorities in taking real-time decisions.
  • Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP): It is a segment of Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP) which was launched by Ministry of Health in seven states. It is a path-breaking initiative will provide near-real-time data to policy makers for detecting outbreaks, reducing the morbidity and mortality and lessening disease burden in the populations and better health systems. The first one-of-its-kind initiative by the Government of India, IHIP uses the latest technologies and digital health initiatives. The success of this platform will depend primarily on the quality of data shared by the states. The effective implementation of the platform, 32,000 people at the block level, 13,000 at the district level and 900 at the state level have been trained.
  • NASA Insight lander: It is a new explorer which made its successful landing in planet Mars. The satellite landed on November 26, 2018, after an almost seven-month journey through deep space. This is the eighth time in human history that NASA has executed a successful landing on the red planet and the first in six years. The landing kicks off a two-year mission for the InSight lander to study Mars' deep interior. Operated by NASA, the explorer is built by scientists in the United States, France and Germany. It is designed to give the Red Planet its first thorough checkup since it formed 4.5 billion years ago. It is the first outer space robotic explorer to study in-depth the "inner space" of Mars: its crust, mantle, and core. InSight was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on May 5, 2018. It touched down November 26 near Mars' equator on the western side of a flat, smooth expanse of lava called Elysium Planitia. It will carry out mission objectives on the surface of Mars for a period of two years (one Martian year, plus 40 Martian days) till November 24, 2020. The landing signal was relayed to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, through one of NASA's two small experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats, which launched on the same rocket as InSight and followed the lander to Mars. They are the first CubeSats sent into deep space. After successfully carrying out a number of communications and in-flight navigation experiments, the twin MarCOs were set in position to receive transmissions during InSight's entry, descent and landing.
  • Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro): It is the space agency of the Government of India headquartered in the city of Bangalore. Its vision is to "harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration. ISRO has launched hyperspectral imaging satellite (HySIS), an earth observation satellite, from the Sriharikota. Over 30 foreign commercial satellites will be launched along with primary payload HySIS by the PSLV C43 rocket. The satellite, which can see in 55 spectral or colour bands from 630 km above the ground, will be used for a range of applications like agriculture, forestry and assessment of coastal zones, inland waters, soil and other geological environments. Being an earth observation satellite, HySIS will also be used by the military for surveillance purpose. The optical imaging detector array chip in the HySIS satellite has been designed by Isro's Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre and manufactured by its electronic arm, Semi-Conductor Laboratory, Chandigarh. The hyspex technology is still an evolving science and has become a new global trend. Hyperspectral imaging combines the power of digital imaging and spectroscopy. It collects and processes information from across the electromagnetic spectrum. Hyspex imaging enables distinct identification of objects, material or processes on the Earth by reading the spectrum for each pixel of a scene from space. Soon after the HySIS launch on November 29, Isro will shift its eye to the European spaceport as its heaviest commercial satellite Gsat-11 weighing 5.7 tonnes will be launched from French Guiana on December 5 (December 4 evening according to Indian standard time). The high-throughput satellite, which carries 40 transponders in the Ku-band and Ka-band frequencies, is capable of "providing high bandwidth connectivity" with up to 14 gigabit per second (GBPS) data transfer speed. Gsat-11, which will help increase internet speed in the country, was earlier this year recalled from French Guiana in order to check for possible glitches. Isro felt the need to take the unusual step of recalling the satellite in April as a precaution especially after the failure of the Gsat-6A satellite mission around the same time.
  • eDrishti: It is a new software launched by Indian Railways. The software has been developed by the Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS). The software was connected with the base kitchens of the Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corp (IRCTC) following complaints regarding the quality of food served on trains. This software helps Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to keep a track of punctuality of trains as well as freight and passenger earnings – and much more – from anywhere in the country. The minister will reportedly be able to keep a track of all information related to Indian Railways. The Minister can track any information with just a click of the mouse — whether from his office or while on the move. The Minister will also be able to know at any given point of time the day’s freight and passenger earnings, freight loading and unloading, punctuality, progress of major projects, and public grievances. Further, the movement of trains across the country, and details of railway stations and many more informations will be in the reach of Railway minister.
  • Sashastra Seema Bal: It is one of India's Central Armed Police Forces. Dudhwa Tiger Reserve and Sashastra Seema Bal have joined hands to provide security to Dudhwa forests and its rich wildlife. “A consensus was reached among all security agencies including SSB on the border and the Dudhwa field staff to strengthen the patrolling in and around Dudhwa to check forest and wildlife crimes,” DTR Field Director Ramesh Kumar Pandey said.

Current Affairs in Science & Technology - November 2018

  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) : It is a public engineering institute located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. As one of the Indian Institutes of Technology, it is recognised as an Institute of National Importance. has developed a portable solar-powered cold storage device with a 500 kg capacity for storing vegetables, and fruits, among other items. The device will help farmers store their produce for sufficient time so that it does not get spoilt before it is sold, thereby preventing wastage of agricultural produce. The first unit of the device, which provides storage facility with temperature ranging between four and 10 degree celsius, was deployed at a farm in Madurantakam in Kancheepuram district, around 80 km from Chennai.
  • SpiNNaker: It is the world’s largest supercomputer designed to work in the same way as the human brain has been switched on for the first time. The Spiking Neural Network Architecture machine is capable of completing more than 200 million million actions per second, with each of its chips having 100 million transistors. SpiNNaker, built at the University of Manchester in the U.K., can model more biological neurons. Biological neurons are basic brain cells present in the nervous system that communicate by emitting ‘spikes’ of pure electro-chemical energy. It is unique as it mimics the massively parallel communication architecture of the brain, sending billions of small amounts of information simultaneously to thousands of different destinations. SpiNNaker completely re-thinks the way conventional computers work.
  • GSAT 29: It is the newest communication satellite launched Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is was launched into orbit on the GSLV-MkIII D2's second developmental flight from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR), Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. At exactly 5.08 pm, the GSLV-Mk III rocket began fly from the second launchpad in Sriharikota. The MkIII, in its second developmental test launch before its carries Indian astronauts to space, launched the GSAT-29 satellite into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). The satellite will then be positioned in Earth's Geostationary Orbit (GEO) using thrusters, at an altitude of 207 kilometres above ground
  • Technology Facility Center (TFC): It is a new centre established in the premises of the CSIR-North East Institute of Science & Technology (NEIST) in Jorhat, Assam. The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) will bear the cost of setting up of this new Science Centre and has, to begin with, allocated Rs.40 crore for its construction. Present on this historic occasion were, among others, Member of Lok Sabha from Jorhat, Kamkhya Prasad Tasa, Director CSIR-NEIST Dr S. Chattopadhyaya, Chairman Research Council Dr G.N. Qazi, Secretary NEC (North-Eastern Council) Shri Ram Muivah, Vice-Chancellor and National University, Dr Pardeshi Lal. TFC will prove to be a boon for young aspiring youth and will emerge as a Center of Excellence for all the eight States of Northeast as well as the rest of India.
  • Social media : These are interactive computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks US scientists have developed a web-based tool to help monitor the prevalence of fake news on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Developed by researchers at the University of Michigan in the US, the tool uses a Platform Health Metric called the Iffy Quotient, which draws data from two external entities: NewsWhip and Media Bias/Fact Checker. NewsWhip, a social media engagement tracking firm, collects URLs on hundreds of thousands of sites every day and then gathers information on which of those sites have engagements on Facebook and Twitter. Iffy Quotient queries NewsWhip for the top 5,000 most popular URLs on the two social media platforms. Then the tool checks to see if those domain names have been flagged by Media Bias/Fact Check, an independent site that classifies various sources based on their reliability and bias. The first report issued by the researchers confirms what was suspected about the 2016 US presidential election: the Iffy Quotient increased dramatically on both Facebook and Twitter during the election.

Current Affairs in Science & Technology - October 2018

  • Artificial Moon: It is a latest scientific initiative proposed by Chengdu aerospace science and technology microelectronics system research institute. The city of Chengdu has unveiled plans to replace the city’s streetlights with a satellite that will boost the glow of the real moon. The artificial moon will be able to light an area with a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometres. Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu aerospace science and technology microelectronics system research institute, announced the news and said that the artificial moon would be eight times brighter than the real moon. The testing of the illumination started years ago and is now ready. The manmade moon will have a coating that can reflect light from the sun with solar panel-like wings. The angles of these wings can then be adjusted to allow the light to focus on a precise location. The exact details of the spacecraft, the launch date and how the artificial moon would be maintained were not revealed. Officials from the city of Chengdu said they were hoping to save money on street lighting and also increase tourism.
  • Artificial Intelligence:It is a way of making a computer, a computer-controlled robot, or a software think intelligently, in the similar manner the intelligent humans think. NITI Aayog has inked agreement with Microsoft India to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to deal with problems in agriculture and health care and promote adoption of area language computing among the other folks. This partnership will assist NITI Aayog to shift over and above pilots and understand how to scale AI implementation in sectors characterized by preponderance of community products. Below the agreement, Microsoft will present NITI Aayog sophisticated AI-dependent remedies to handle worries in agriculture and health care which includes farm advisory services, health care screening styles at Major Health Centres (PHCs) and build potential for AI by education between some others. It will also assist NITI Aayog by combining cloud, AI, investigate and its vertical skills for new initiatives and options throughout various main parts.
  • Climate change: It is a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns when that change lasts for an extended period of time. Climate change may refer to a change in average weather conditions, or in the time variation of weather within the context of longer-term average conditions. India has suffered economic losses of $79.5 billion due to natural disasters during the last two decades, according to the United Nations (UN). Between 1998 to 2017, two of the worst years for lower-middle income countries -- a category that India falls into -- were 2002 when a severe drought in India affected 300 million people, and 2015 again with a drought hitting India and other countries, according to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction report. It warned of growing risk from climate change, which would hit developing countries the hardest. The last 20 years have seen a dramatic rise of 151 per cent in direct economic losses from climate-related disasters, the report said. During that period 77 per cent of the economic losses $2,908 billion were due to climate-related disasters.
  • ISRO: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the space agency of the Government of India headquartered in the city of Bangalore. Its vision is to "harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration. The Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will be working together on the first manned space mission. At end of delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladmir Putin, a MoU was inked between ISRO and the Federal Space Agency of Russia ‘ROSCOSMOS’ for joint activities in the field of Human Spaceflight Programme. The Russian side has offered a ride to Indian astronaut a short visit to International Space Station (ISS) on board a Soyuz spacecraft for a short training mission in 2022. India hopes to send its first manned mission Gaganyaan in 2022.
  • Bioelectronic medicine: It is a new development in the scientific world where an implantable, biodegradable wireless device that speeds nerve regeneration and improves the healing of a damaged nerve. Researchers at the Washington University in the US developed a device that delivers regular pulses of electricity to damaged peripheral nerves in rats after a surgical repair process, accelerating the regrowth of nerves in their legs and enhancing the ultimate recovery of muscle strength and control. The size of a dime and the thickness of a sheet of paper,the wireless device operates for about two weeks before naturally absorbing into the body, according to the study published in the journal Nature Medicine. This method offers therapy and treatment over a clinically relevant period of time and directly at the site where it’s needed, thereby reducing side-effects or risks associated with conventional, permanent implants. While the device has not been tested in humans, the findings offer promise as a future therapeutic option for nerve injury patients.
  • Stanford University: It is a private research university in Stanford, California. Stanford is known for its academic strength, wealth, proximity to Silicon Valley, and ranking as one of the world's top universities. Stanford University takes first place on Reuters' list of the World's Most Innovative Universities for the fourth consecutive year. Backed by producing new patents and papers that influence researchers around the world, the university has locked down the top spot. According to the report, the patents and research works include several developments in the field of rtificial intelligence. Members of the department of Electrical Engineering have come up with an AI camera system that analyzes images faster and with less energy than current systems. The work could lead to a new generation of smart camera applications in autonomous vehicles, surveillance systems and medical devices. At the university's department of Computer Science, researchers have designed an AI system that can predict potential drug interactions before new pharmaceuticals are ever tested on humans. The system, called Decagon, could help researchers find better drug combinations to treat complex diseases.
  • Nobel Prize: The Nobel Prize is a set of six annual international awards bestowed in several categories by Swedish and Norwegian institutions in recognition of academic, cultural, or scientific advances. The will of the Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel established the prizes in 1895.
  • 2018 Nobel Physics Prize : Arthur Ashkin of the United States won one half of the nine million Swedish kronor (about USD 1.01 million or 870,000 euros) prize, while Gerard Mourou of France and Donna Strickland of Canada shared the other half.
  • 2018 Nobel Medicine Prize: Two immunologists, James Allison of the US and Tasuku Honjo of Japan, won this year's Nobel Medicine Prize for research into how the body's natural defences can fight cancer.
  • 2018 Nobel Chemistry Prize: US scientists Frances Arnold and George Smith and British researcher Gregory Winter won the Nobel Chemistry Prize for applying the principles of evolution to develop enzymes used to make everything from biofuels to pharmaceuticals. Arnold, just the fifth woman to win the Nobel Chemistry Prize, won one half of the nine million Swedish kronor (about USD 1.01 million or 870,000 euros) award, while Smith and Winter shared the other half.
  • 2018 Nobel Peace Prize: Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict. The prize is worth nine million Swedish kronor (USD 1.01 million).The winners have been chosen from among 331 nominations (216 individuals and 115 organisations) which the second highest number of nominees ever, next only to the 376 nominated in 2016.

Current Affairs in Science & Technology - September 2018

  • Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences (INMAS): It is a laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation. Located in New Delhi, it is involved in Nuclear medicine research and responding to nuclear accidents and explosions. The scientists at a INMAS claim to have developed India's first indigenous medical kit that may ensure protection from serious injuries and faster healing of wounds resulting from nuclear warfare or radioactive leakage. The kit, developed after two decades of work by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) here, has over 25 items, including radio-protectors that provide 80-90 per cent protection against radiation and nerve gas agents, bandages that absorb radiation as well as tablets and ointments. Developed in India for the first time, it's a potent alternative to similar kits that were till now being procured from strategically advanced nations such as the US and Russia at much higher prices. The contents include an advanced form of Prussian blue tablets, highly effective in incorporating Radio Cesium (Cs-137) and Radio Thallium, among the most feared radioisotopes in nuclear bombs that destroy human body cells. The tablet provides 100 per cent absorption from the gut and other portals of entry to the human body, according to documents inside the medical kit accessed.
  • Eyerovtuna: It is the country's first underwater robotic drone developed at Maker Village, which can send real-time videos of ships and other underwater structures to help with their repair and maintenance, was launched and handed over to the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL) of DRDO on Friday. The drone will be used by NPOL for research and development activities which in turn would result in a commercial product for defence purposes. The first commercial Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)/ underwater drone, Eyerovtuna was developed by EyeROV Technologies. NPOL, a laboratory of Delhi-headquartered Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), made the first order of the product. The development of the product of EyeROV was largely supported by Kerala Start up Mission (KSUM) through various schemes.
  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) : It is the space agency of the Government of India headquartered in the city of Bangalore. Its vision is to "harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration. ISRO has launched two satellites from the United Kingdom , NovaSAR and S1-4 from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. The lightest version of the PSLV, flying in its core-alone version without the six strap-on motors, the PSLV-C-42 rose into the skies at 10.08 p.m. Almost 18 minutes later, the two satellites were placed in the desired orbit by ISRO. This was the 12th such launch of a core-alone version of the PSLV by ISRO. The two satellites, owned by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) were placed in a circular orbit around the poles, 583 km from Earth. The commercial arm of ISRO, Antrix Corporation earned more than ₹220 crore on this launch. The NovaSAR is a technology demonstration mission designed to test the capabilities of a new low cost S-band SAR platform. It will be used for ship detection and maritime monitoring and also flood monitoring, besides agricultural and forestry applications. The S1-4 will be used for environment monitoring, urban management, and tackling disasters. Among the slew of launches scheduled over the next few months, the much-awaited and delayed, India's second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2 finally has a launch window. Chandrayaan-2 is planned for a window from January 3 to February 16, 2019 that we are targeting. It can happen anytime during that window. But we are aiming for the beginning of the window, January 3. Right now with the status of the rocket, the GSLV Mk-3 M1, and the present status of the satellite, we are not expecting any more delay. At the same time tests are going on. If unexpected things happen, that may have some impact. But right now, we are not anticipating any delay. The other launches include the GSAT series that will provide bandwidth speeds of up to 100 Gbps per second, as part of the government's Digital India efforts.
  • SBand Polarimetry Doppler Weather : It is newly inaugurated facility at Sriharikota spaceport near Chennai. The radar has been developed by Bharat Electronics Ltd, Bengaluru under ToT (Training of Trainers) from ISRO. The Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) provides advanced information, enhances the lead-time essential for saving lives and property in the event of a natural disaster associated with severe weather. While conventional radars are able to track and predict cyclones, the DWR provides detailed information on a storm's internal wind flow and structure. The severity of the weather systems can be quantitatively estimated and more precise advanced warnings can be generated for saving human lives and property. The polarimetric capability of the radar will significantly improve the accuracy of rainfall estimation leading to accurate and timely flash flood warnings, according to ISRO's earlier release.
  • India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP): It is a system planned by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) for the cooling requirement across sectors and lists out actions which can help reduce cooling demand. Its thrust is to look for synergies in actions for securing both environmental and socio-economic benefits. ICAP's overarching goal is to provide sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for all while securing environmental and socio-economic benefits for the society. Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has released draft India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP). It makes India first country in world to develop such document. The draft was prepared by Ozone Cell of MoEFC. It aims to provide sustainable cooling while keeping in mind, at the same time, the need to protect the ozone layer from substances that can deplete it. It provides a 20-year perspective, with projections for cooling needs in 2037-38. Hydrogen powered train: The new train will carry a hydrogen tank and fuel cells on the roof, and produce electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen. Germany has rolled out the world's first hydrogen-powered train. The landmark move, signals to push the challenge that might of polluting diesel trains with costlier but more eco-friendly technology. Two bright blue Coradia iLint trains, built by French company Alstom, began running a 100km route between the towns and cities of Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervoerde and Buxtehude in northern Germany a stretch normally plied by diesel trains.
  • Cyclotron: It is an apparatus in which charged atomic and subatomic particles are accelerated by an alternating electric field while following an outward spiral or circular path in a magnetic field. India's largest Cyclotron, a type of particle accelerator that produces radioisotopes, for medical applications became operational last week in Kolkata. According to the Department of Atomic Energy, the facility called Cyclone-30 at the Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC) in Kolkata will provide affordable radioisotopes and related radiopharmaceuticals. Cyclone-30 is in the first phase of production generating Flourodeocyglucose (FDG), a radioisotope used for date imaging and oncological tissue imaging. The machine is soon expected to produce Germanium 68 and Gallium 68 radioisotopes both imported and expensive. Cyclone-30 will become the first and only facility in the country to produce Germanium 68 isotopes, which is used in the diagnosis of breast cancer. Simultaneously, we will be able to produce Palladium 103 isotopes which is used for the treatment of prostate cancer. The machine at VECC was likely to bring down costs of radioisotopes for the pharmaceutical industry such as Germanium 68 by almost half.
  • Gaganyaan Mission: It is India's maiden human spaceflight programme. The mission was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 72nd Independence Day speech. It is India's first manned space mission that will be launched by ISRO by 2022. The mission will send a three-member crew to space for a period of five to seven days. The crew will do microgravity experiment during the mission. The crew will be selected by Indian Air Force (IAF) and ISRO jointly after which they will undergo training for two-three years. GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle, having the necessary payload capability for this mission, will be used to launch Gaganyaan. The programme will make India the fourth nation in the world to launch a Human Spaceflight Mission. So far, only the USA, Russia and China have launched human spaceflight missions. India and France have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to constitute a working group for Gaganyaan Mission, India's first manned space mission. The French space agency CNES and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will be combining their expertise in fields of space medicine, astronaut health monitoring, life support, radiation protection, space debris protection and personal hygiene systems. The ambit of the cooperation includes ISRO's access to space hospital facilities in France. Both the sides have decided that infrastructure such as CADMOS centre for development of microgravity applications and space operations or the MEDES space clinic will be used for training of future Indian astronauts. French-Indian space cooperation includes climate monitoring, with a fleet of joint satellites devoted to research and operational applications. The two countries also have plans to work on Mars, Venus and asteroids.
  • Space Elevator: It is a proposed type of planet-to-space transportation system. The main component would be a cable anchored to the surface and extending into space. Researchers from Shizuoka University, Japan are planning to conduct world's first experiment to test small prototype of space elevator in space by using two mini satellites. According to official sources, two ultra-small cubic satellites developed by Shizuoka University Faculty of Engineering will be used for demonstration of space elevator technology. Each satellite measures 10 centimeters each side. Roughly 10-meter-long steel cable will be employed to connect twin satellites. The pair of satellites will be released from International Space Station (ISS) and container acting like elevator car will be moved on cable connecting satellites using motor. The movement of motorised elevator box will be monitored with cameras in the satellites.
  • Google: It is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. Google has announces new AI technology to combat online child sexual abuse. Google said its cutting-edge AI technology uses deep neural networks for image processing to help discover and detect child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online. The new tool based on the deep neural networks will be made available for free to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other "industry partners," including other technology companies, via a new Content Safety API service that could be offered upon request.

Current Affairs in Science & Technology - August 2018

  • Innovation Cell: Innovation cell is Ministry of Human Resource and Development's initiative and has been established at AICTE premises with a purpose to systematically foster the culture of Innovation in all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across the country. The primary mandate of Innovation Cell is to encourage, inspire and nurture young students by exposing them to new ideas and processes resulting in innovative activities in their formative years fostered through Network of Innovation clubs in Higher Educational Institutions. In yet another game changing initiative, the Union Minister for HRD, Shri Prakash Javadekar and Union Minister of State for HRD, Dr. Satya Pal Singh launched the Innovation Cell at AICTE, New Delhi.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO): It is the space agency of the Government of India headquartered in the city of Bangalore. ) ISRO has unveiled India's Gaganyaan programme for manned space flight before 2022 as announced by the Prime Minister on the Independence Day. The manned mission to space having 3 crew members will be in space for 5-7 days. After the takeoff, the manned flight will reach the orbit in 16 minutes. The crew, while coming back to the Earth, could land in the Arabian Sea off the Gujarat coast or in the Bay of Bengal or even on land, he added. He said the mission may be executed six months before India completes its 75th Independence Day with the help of GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle. The spacecraft will be placed in a low earth orbit of 300-400 km and the total programme cost is expected to be less than Rs 10,000 crores.
  • European Space Agency (ESA): It is an intergovernmental organisation of 22 member states dedicated to the exploration of space. ESA has successfully launched wind-sensing satellite named Aeolus into orbit on board of Vega rocket from French Guyana. It is world's first wind-sensing satellite dedicated to map Earth's wind on global scale in particular tropical winds which are very poorly mapped because of almost complete absence of direct observations. The satellite is Aeolus named after guardian of wind in Greek mythology. It will be placed at altitude of 320km above the Earth. It is part of the Copernicus project, a joint initiative of European Union (EU) and European Space Agency (ESA) to track environmental damage and aid disaster relief operations.
  • Jatropha: Jatropha is a genus of flowering plants in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. The name is derived from the Greek words meaning "physician", hence the common name physic nut. A blend of oil from jatropha seeds and aviation turbine fuel propelled the country's first ever bio jet fuel-powered flight on Monday between Dehradun and Delhi. The 43 minute flight was operated by SpiceJet's Bombardier Q-400 aircraft with 20 officials and five crew members on board. A blend of 25% of bio jet fuel and 75% of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) was carried in one of the two engines of the plane, while the other engine carried only ATF. International standards permit a blend rate of upto 50% biofuel with ATF.
  • E-Cigaratte: It is a handheld electronic device that simulates the feeling of tobacco smoking. Union Health Ministry has instructed all the States that e-cigarettes and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) should not be sold under their jurisdiction. Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Mizoram, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have already prohibited the use of e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn devices, E-Shisha and e-nicotine-flavoured hookahs, and have prohibited the manufacture, import, sale and distribution of ENDS. The Health Ministry has issued an advisory for the other States to follow suit. ENDS products are a great health risk to the public at large, especially to children, adolescents, pregnant women and women of reproductive age. States and Union Territories are advised in larger public health interest, and in order to prevent the initiation of ENDS by non-smokers and youth, with special attention to vulnerable groups, to ensure that ENDS are not sold..., it said. Thirty countries including Australia, Singapore and Sri Lanka have already brought in such bans.
  • Influenza: It is a commonly known as "the flu", is an infectious disease caused by an influenza virus. The Indian government and the European Union (EU) has joined hands for Rs. 240 crore research programme to develop a Next Generation Influenza Vaccine to protect citizens worldwide. Both the EU and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) ), Government of India, have also committed EUR 15 million each to fund this joint call for the program named "Horizon 2020".
  • Wheat : Wheat is one of the world's most commonly consumed cereal grains. It comes from a type of grass (Triticum) that is grown in countless varieties worldwide. Bread wheat, or common wheat, is the most common species. Several other closely related species include durum, spelt, emmer, einkorn, and Khorasan wheat. Scientists have decoded the entire DNA of wheat for the first time. Researchers hope the findings will allow them to produce new low allergy varieties as well as crops that need less water. It is hoped the research will benefit sufferers from Coeliac disease - who become ill when eating gluten. It is the world's most widely-cultivated crop on Earth and detailing it was a far more complex task than that of the human genome. Wheat has 16 billion base pairs - the building blocks of DNA - five times more than the humans. More than 200 scientists from 73 research institutions including the UK's John Innes Centre worked on the mammoth task - the results of which are published in the journal Science. Wheat has 21 chromosomes, 107,891 genes and more than 4 million molecular markers.
  • Cyclone warning centre: It is one of the most important functions of the Indian Meteorological Department. The Centre has proposed to set up a Cyclone Warning Centre in Thiruvananthapuram. New centre would further strengthen the present forecasting activity in IMD's existing office in Kerala. The ministry is also planning to set up another C-Band Doppler Weather Radar at Mangalore by end of 2019 which would cover the northern parts of Kerala. At present, there are two Doppler Weather Radars in the state -- at Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. With these three radars, the entire state would be covered for monitoring of rainfall and severe weather events, and adequately warn the people well in advance. The IMD has developed many new models and tools from nowcasts (2-3 hours) to extended range forecasts (15-20 days' lead time). The MoES is also planning to organise an awareness and training workshop for the state disaster management authorities of all states and other stakeholders by next month, to brief and train them on the new tools and their use for effective decision making.
  • Global Positioning System (GPS): It is a satellite navigation system used to determine the ground position of an object. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed an in-body GPS system, called ReMix, which can identify the location of ingestible implants inside the body via low-power wireless signals. Scientists team expects that such implants can be used to track tumours by monitoring even slight movements. In the future, the implants may also help in dispensing drugs to a specific area in the body. ReMix is being developed by MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in alliance with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). The in-body GPS system is based on a wireless technology that MIT previously developed to detect heart rate, breathing and movement. To validate the system, the researchers implanted a small marker in animal tissues. They used a wireless device that reflects radio signals off the patient to track the marker's movement. This marker does not transmit any signals of its own. It merely reflects those transmitted by the wireless device. As a result, the marker does not need a battery or any external source of energy.
  • Laboratory of Conservation of Endangered Species: It is a first of its kind genetic resource bank, which could have far reaching implications in conservation and revival of extinct and endangered species in the near future. It was inaugurated at Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology's (CCMB) Laboratory of Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES) facility. It is dubbed as National Wildlife Genetic Resource Bank and inaugurated by Union Minister for Science and Technology and Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the genetic bank will cryopreserve living cell lines, gametes and embryos of endangered wild animal species in India. Such a genetic bank will be a priceless resource material for conservation, taking up artificial reproduction, conducting studies in evolution biology and wildlife medicine. This is the first-of-its-kind facility in India where genetic material will be stored for posterity and will be a ready reckoner for future generations. Biotechnology research in basic Biology is developing at a very fast pace and in coming years, there will be a definite need for such resources. The CCMB-LaCONES is the only laboratory in India that has developed methods for collection and cryopreservation of semen and oocytes from wildlife and successfully reproducing blackbuck, spotted deer and pigeons. The operating costs for maintaining such a genetic resource bank at CCMB-LaCONES will be around Rs 1 crore a year.
  • Aerogel : It is a new transparent heat-resistant gel developed using beer waste. The material which features the look like a flattened plastic contact lens, could also be used on buildings on Mars, Earth to help make huge savings on energy costs. The gel is so resistant to heat that you could put a strip of it on the hand and a fire on top without feeling a thing, researchers said. However, unlike similar products on the market, the material is mostly see-through.
  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO): It is the space agency of the Government of India headquartered in the city of Bangalore. India will send a human to space by 2022, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his Independence Day speech. The project would cost about Rs 100 billion. If India succeeds, it will be the fourth country to achieve this landmark. Modi said, I want to give the country some good news: We have resolved that by 2022, before we celebrate 75 years of Independence, India will place an Indian in space. India is proud of our scientists, who are excelling in their research and are at the forefront of innovation. In 2022, or if possible before, India will unfurl the tricolour in space. K VijayRaghavan, principal scientific advisor to the Government of India, said the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was well on track to do this. Technologies being used and developed will have many benefits to society
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-Madras) : It is a public engineering institute located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. A group of computer scientists and students from IIT-Madras have development first of a family of six industry-standard microprocessors. The initial batch of 300 chips, named RISECREEK and produced under Project Shakti, have been fabricated free at Intel's facility at Oregon, U.S., to run the Linux operating system. According to an official source, its microprocessors can be adapted by others, as the design is open source. They optimise power use and compete with international units such as the Cortex A5 from Advanced RISC Machines (ARM).
  • ISRO: The Indian Space Research Organisation is the space agency of the Government of India headquartered in the city of Bangalore. The launch of India's second lunar mission 'Chandrayaan-2', has been postponed to October. Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, in-charge of the Department of Space, Jitendra Singh had on 16 February last said the lunar mission under which the Isro will for the first time attempt to land a rover on the moon's south pole, will be launched in April. Sivan had earlier said the window to launch the Rs 800 crore mission was between April and November 2018. While the targeted date was April, Isro would launch the mission in October or November, he had said. According to Isro, Chandrayaan-2 is a totally indigenous mission comprising an orbiter, lander and rover".
  • Akademik Lomonosov: It is the world's first floating nuclear power station. Constructed by the state nuclear power firm Rosatom, the 144 by 30 metre (472 by 98 foot) ship holds two reactors with two 35 megawatt nuclear reactors that are similar to those used to power icebreaker ships. The 21,000-tonne barge will be towed in the summer of 2019 to the port of Pevek in the autonomous Chukotka region in Russia's extreme northeast, 350 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. The barge can produce enough electricity to power a town of 2,00,000 residents, far more than the 5,000 who live in Pevek, Russia's northernmost town. It will be primarily used to power oil rigs as Russia pushes further north into the Arctic to drill for oil and gas and needs electricity in far-flung locations.
  • Nipah Virus: Nipah Virus is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes a severe disease in both animals and humans. This virus was first identified in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998. At that time, it was primarily caused in pigs and through them got transferred to humans. Nipah Virus infected as many as 265 people then, out of which 40 per cent were taken under intensive care due to the infection having spread severely. As quoted by the WHO, the natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus. Nipah Virus is usually associated with inflammation of the brain due to which severe days of fever can often lead to a state of confusion, disorientation and even persistent drowsiness. If not taken care of, these symptoms can even cause a coma in a span of 24-48 hours. There are many patients who show neurological, respiratory and pulmonary signs as well. Therefore, do not ignore any such signs.
  • New frog species: Scientists from Karnataka have found a new frog species in a small industrial region in coastal Karnataka. The new frog named as Microhyla kodial after the city of Mangaluru (called kodial in the Konkani language) from where they spotted it two years ago. The frog is found only in a small industrial region here a former timber dumping yard surrounded by seaport, petrochemical, chemical and refinery industries. The yard is bounded by the rail line of the Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited on one side and the busy National Highway 66 on another.
  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO): It is the space agency of the Government of India headquartered in the city of Bangalore. Its vision is to harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration. Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have reported progress in the development of an environment-friendly propellant to power satellites and spacecraft. The effort is to replace the conventional hydrazine rocket fuel, a highly toxic and carcinogenic chemical, with a greener propellant for future missions. Initial tests by a research team at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) have shown promising results in the formulation and associated tests of a propellant blend based on hydroxylammonium nitrate (HAN).
  • National Wind Solar Hybrid Policy (2018): It is a new policy announced by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to promote to promote new hybrid projects as well as hybridisation of existing wind/solar projects. The objective of the policy is to provide a framework for promotion of large grid connected wind-solar PV hybrid system for efficient utilization of transmission infrastructure and land. It also aims at reducing the variability in renewable power generation and achieving better grid stability. The Policy provides for procurement of power from a hybrid project on tariff based transparent bidding process for which Government entities may invite bids.
  • National Policy on Biofuels (2018): It is a new policy approved by Union Cabinet, which aims to seek farmers dispose of their surplus stock and reduce India's oil-import dependence. The Policy categorises biofuels as Basic Biofuels. First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel and Advanced Biofuels - Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc. to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category. The policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of sugarcane juice, sugar containing materials like sugar beet, sweet sorghum, starch containing materials like corn, cassava, damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, rotten potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
  • National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation: It is a health created for the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure. The Union Cabinet Chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the establishment of National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR) at Bhopal. The estimated cumulative cost of the project is Rs 179.54 crore in first three years. This includes non-recurring expenditure of Rs 128.54 crore and recurring expenditure of Rs 51 crore.
  • Hidden reserves of water found in Moon: Scientists have found a mineral in a lunar meteorite pointing to the presence of abundant hidden reserves of water ice under the surface of the Moon. A team from the Tohoku University in Japan found the mineral, called moganite, in a lunar meteorite discovered in a desert in northwest Africa. Moganite, a crystal of silicon dioxide, is known to form on Earth in specific circumstances in sedimentary settings from alkaline fluids. It has never before been detected in samples of lunar rock. Researchers believe the mineral formed on the surface of the Moon in the area called Procellarum Terrane, as water originally present in lunar dirt evaporated due to exposure to strong sunlight."For the first time, we can prove that there is water ice in the lunar material," said Masahiro Kayama from Tohoku University, who led the study.
  • Atomic clock: It is a clock device that uses an electron transition frequency in the microwave, optical, or ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum of atoms as a frequency standard for its timekeeping element. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), has developed an atomic clock to be used in navigation satellites to measure the precise location data. This clock is currently undergoing a series of qualification tests. Once it successfully clears all tests, the desi atomic clock will be used in an experimental navigation satellite to test its accuracy and durability in space.
  • Plastic eating enzyme: A group of international scientists have accidently developed a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks. The accidental break through could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis by enabling for the first time the full recycling of bottles. The new bacterium was found eating plastic at a waste dump in Japan. Scientists have now revealed the detailed structure of the crucial enzyme produced by the bug. Prof John McGeehan, at the University of Portsmouth, UK, who led the research said, What we are hoping to do is use this enzyme to turn this plastic back into its original components, so we can literally recycle it back to plastic. It means we won't need to dig up any more oil and, fundamentally, it should reduce the amount of plastic in the environment.
  • Odilorhabins: It is new class of antibiotics, discovered by a team of scientists from the University of Illinois, Chicago (US). Odilorhabdins are produced by a symbiotic bacterium found in soil-dwelling nematode worms. Called Xenorhabdus nematophila, the bacterial symbiont produces toxins and immuno-modulators, enabling the nematode to colonize and kill insects. The bacteria further benefit the host nematode by releasing antibiotics that prevent the invasion of the insect's carcass by other competing bacteria and fungi.
  • IRNSS-1I: It is a navigation satellite launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 12 April. IRNSS is launched to create India's own navigation system which would be quite similar to the US' GPS or Global Positioning System. IRNSS can also provide accurate position information service to users in India as well as the region extending up to 1,500 km from its boundary. IRNSS-1I also carries two types of payloads for navigation and ranging. The navigation payload will transmit navigation service signals to the users, while the ranging payload consists of a C-band transponder, which facilitates accurate determination of the range of the satellite.
  • GSAT-6A: It was the India's largest communications satellite and carrying a 6-metre antenna for enabling more efficient ground communication. The satellite itself was successfully placed into a geosynchronous orbit, but has lost communication. When the satellite was on course to normal operating configuration for the third and final firing, scheduled for April 1, 2018, communication from the satellite was lost. Efforts are underway to establish the link with the satellite. The second orbit raising operation of GSAT-6A satellite has been successfully carried out by LAM Engine firing for about 53 minutes on March 31, 2018, in the morning.
  • TRAI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is a statutory body set up by the Government of India under section 3 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997. It is the regulator of the telecommunications sector in India. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has mooted a concept of open architecture-based public Wi-Fi grid to bring down the cost of internet by 90 per cent. This will allow small entrepreneurs like tea stalls, grocery shops and vendors to set up and maintain access points. Device manufacturers, payment companies, ISPs/telcos and consumer internet companies can provide the remaining pieces to set up public data offices (PDOs). The regulator's concept involves PDOs much like PCOs of yesteryears that galvanised connectivity. The PDOs will be companies, or even small merchants, interested in providing Wi-Fi hotspots to public either free or on payment model. According to the report submitted to telecom ministry, the products available for consumption should begin from sachet sized, that is, low denomination, as low as ₹2. It said users should be able to easily discover the network, do one-click authentication and payment and connect their devices in Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Eel

    Eel is any of more than 800 species of teleost fishes characterized by elongate wormlike bodies. Researchers have discovered three new kinds of species of eel along the northern Bay of Bengal. Describing the species, Anil Mohapatra, the scientist at Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) said, Dark brown with white dots on the dorsal side known as Gymnothorax pseudotile was discovered at the Digha coast of the Bay of Bengal. The other two species, Gymnothorax visakhaensis (uniformly brown) and Enchelycore propinqua (reddish brown body mottled with irregular creamy white spots), were discovered from the Visakhapatnam coast of the Bay of Bengal. While Gymnothorax pseudotile is about 1 feet to 1.5 feet long, Gymnothorax visakhaensis is about a foot long. Enchelycore propinqua is the smallest of them measuring less than a foot. A description of all the three new species was published in the journal Zootaxa.

  • World's smallest satellite - Japan successfully launched on the world's smallest satellite-carrying rocket following a failed attempt in January last year. According to a release from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, 'The rocket about the size of a utility pole, measuring 10 meters in length and 50 centimeters in diameter, lifted off from the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture and delivered its payload to its intended orbit'. The No. 5 vehicle of the SS-520 series carried a microsatellite weighing about 3 kilograms developed by the University of Tokyo to collect imagery of the Earth's surface. The launch was aimed at verifying JAXA's technology used to launch small rockets made with commercially available components at lower cost amid growing global demand for microsatellites. The agency used components found in home electronics and smartphones for the rocket. JAXA launched the No. 4 vehicle on Jan. 15 last year, but terminated its flight shortly after liftoff due to a communications problem. The agency found that vibrations during liftoff caused a short circuit, leading to a loss of power in the data transmitter. For Saturday's launch, the agency made more than 40 improvements to prevent a recurrence.

Science & Technology 2014

  • Indian Spacecraft Orbiter Halfway To Mars

    India's maiden mission to Mars is on course, with its spacecraft Orbiter crossing the halfway mark on its voyage to the red planet, four months after it left Earth Dec 1.

    "The spacecraft Wednesday at 9.50 a.m. crossed the halfway mark of its journey to Mars along the designated helio (sun)-centric trajectory in the solar orbit," the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a statement here.

  • Indian Navigation Satellite's Orbit Raised

    The Indian space agency Saturday raised further the orbit of its second navigation satellite by around 4,200 km by firing the space craft's onboard motor for around seven minutes, said a senior official.

    "The satellite's motor was fired for around seven minutes today (Saturday) evening. Post raising the satellite's elliptical orbit is 292.7 x 24,830 km," an official of the space agency told IANS preferring anonymity.

Current Affairs [April 2014]

Science & Technology 2013

Current Affairs [November 2013]
  • 'India Must Be Part Of Global Mega-Science Projects'

    Stressing on the importance of critical research relevant to the country, eminent physicist and principal scientific advisor to the Indian government R. Chidambaram Friday said the nation needs to be a part of global mega-science projects.

    Speaking at Calcutta University's annual convocation here, Chidambaram referred to the studies regarding the recent path-breaking discovery of the Higgs Boson, and advocated India's participation in projects relating to origins of the universe.

  • India to sling Mars craft into Sun orbit Sunday

    ndia's maiden Mars craft will sling into Sun orbit early Sunday for a 280-day long voyage to reach the red planet Sep 24, 2014.

    "The Orbiter entered the final orbit of earth early Wednesday for its trans-injection into the Sun orbit Sunday at 00.49 a.m. for a nine-month journey to Mars through the interplanetary space, a senior space agency official said here.

  • India Leaps Into Interplanetary Space With Mars Mission

    India will be the first Asian country and the fourth entity in the world to leap into interplanetary space Tuesday with an exploratory mission to Mars, about 400 million km from planet Earth.

    "So far, only Russia, the US and the European Space Agency (ESA) have undertaken such missions to Mars. India will be the fourth and first in Asia," a top space agency official told IANS ahead of the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) launch from Sriharikota spaceport, about 80km northeast of Chennai.

Current Affairs [October 2013]
  • India's Mars Mission To Blast Off On November 5

    India's ambitious Rs.450 crore space mission to Mars has now been fixed for blast-off Nov 5, said a top Indian space agency official Tuesday.

    "The Mars mission has been fixed for Nov 5. The heat shield of the rocket (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-PSLV) has been closed and the final electrical checks will be carried out Wednesday," K.Radhakrishnan, chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told.

  • High Speed Rail Corporation of India launched

    Railways Minister Mallikarjun Kharge Tuesday launched the High Speed Rail Corporation of India Ltd (HSRC), a subsidiary of Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd. (RVNL) and tasked to develop High Speed Rail (HSR) Corridors in India to run passenger trains at speeds up to 350 km per hour.

    Inaugurated a two-day international technical conference on "High Speed Rail Travel; Low Cost Solution" here, the minister also unveiled the logo of HSRC that has been designed by National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.

Current Affairs [September 2013]
  • Indian Nuclear Plants Notch Top Performance In 2012

    The performance of Indian nuclear power plants as well as several fuel cycle facilities reached their highest levels last year, a top official said Wednesday.

  • Indian Satellite's Transponders Switched On

    All the 11 transponders of India's advanced multiband communication satellite (GSAT-7) have been switched on and are performing well, the space agency said late Wednesday.

  • Indian 'military' satellite put into earth's orbit

    India's first 'military' satellite was Wednesday put into the geosynchronous orbit, about 36,000 km above the earth, five days after it was launched Aug 30 on board an European rocket from Kourou in French Guiana off the Pacific coast.

Current Affairs [August 2013]
  • Eastern India to get its first bio-bank by 2016

    Eastern India's first biobank, aimed at storing cancer tissues for further research and analysis, is slated to come up here by 2016, an official said Saturday.

    The Tata Translational Cancer Research Centre (TTCRC) will come up on a two-acre plot near the existing Tata Medical Centre-Cancer Hospital in New Town, Rajarhat, on the north-eastern fringes of the Bengal capital.

  • India gets its own national media centre

    A state-of-the art National Media Centre comparable to those in capitals across the world was inaugurated Saturday, with an impressive conference hall, workplace for the media, a library, cafeteria and high-speed internet.

    The four-storied Rs.60 crore facility, built over three years, is located at the heart of the capital, on Raisina Road – with many important government buildings a stone's throw away and in the vicinity of the Parliament House and Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Current Affairs [June 2013]
  • Genetic Engineering Approval Committee Gave Approval for Field Trials of 5 GM Crops

    The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) permitted certain companies as well as the research institutes for conducting the field trials of 5 GM (genetically modified) crops. The trials for development of genetically modified cotton, maize, castor, wheat and rice were permitted.

    The specialty of GM crops is that they are formulated for getting protection against the insects. Also, these crops are resistant to salinity and water. Also, they are more resistance to the use of nitrogen which is required by them for growing efficiently.

  • Early Tsunami Warning System installed in Rangachang

    Chief Scientist of the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Vinith Kumar on 11 June 2013 announced that the Early Tsunami Warning System (ETWS) installed at Rangachang in Andaman and Nicobar Islands can predict a tsunami immediately after an earthquake. Vinith Kumar claimed that the new technology installed can predict the Tsunami within 3 minutes after the initial tremors are felt and can send alerts.

Current Affairs [May 2013]
  • US Scientists created first Cloned Human Embryo

    A group of US Scientists in second week of May 2013 declared that they have succeeded in creating a cloned human embryo using the technique that helped in developing the cloned sheep in 1996. The scientists took fifteen years to create the cloned embryo.

    The team of scientists developed the embryo using skin samples of a woman's egg to develop an early cloned human embryo. Aim of this research is development of a source of stem cells not a baby. These can be helpful in repair of damage created after heart attack or brains of patients of Parkinson's disease.

  • Superbug H041 can be more deadly than AIDS

    Doctors have warned that the new sexually transmitted Sex-Superbug named H041 can be much more deadly than the AIDS virus. Recently, two cases of the sex-superbug were confirmed in Hawaii. Doctors have claimed that the superbug is the antibiotic resistant strain of gonorrhea.

    In 2011, the superbug was discovered for the first time in Japan and then it spread to Hawaii and now visible in Norway and California. As per Doctors, the H041 bacteria can be much more deadly than the AIDS Virus because the bacteria is more aggressive and will affect more people quickly and effect is more direct.

Current Affairs [April 2013]
  • Scientists developed Device to detect Gastro-Intestinal Cancers

    Scientists developed a prototype of an advanced multi-bending cholangioscope to detect and cure Gastro-Intestinal Cancers. Earlier, most patients used to visit a physician when the disease was in an advanced stage. This new equipment has a video camera and can bend easily. It could detect cancers of bile duct, liver and pancreas. It will help in detecting the disease in early stage.

    The multi-bending peroral direct cholangioscope (PDCS) cannot be inserted free-hand into the bile duct. But a high success rate of direct insertion will be achieved if the endoscope is passed over a guide-wire and an anchoring balloon. In fact, pancreatic cancer is the third most prevalent gastro-intestinal cancer in India whereas liver cancer is the most common.

  • Union Government Approved Project for National Optical Fibre Network Creation in Gram Panchayats

    The Government of India approved the project for creation of National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) connecting all the 250000 Gram Panchayats (GPs) in the country through Optical Cable (OFC). The Union Government decided to fund the project through Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).

    The State Government on the other hand, will have the role of providing free Right of Way (RoW) for laying OFC. The project envisaged signing a tripartite MoU for free Right of Way (RoW) among the Union Government, State Government and Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL).

    16 States/UTs signed the MoUs on 26 October 2012. These states and UTs were Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Manipur, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and 3 Union Territories viz. Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu and Puducherry. Under the MoUs, 140727 GPs will be facilitated with Optical Fibre Network in these States and UTs.

Current Affairs [March 2013]
  • Astronomers Discovered Six Speeding Stars Racing Through Milky Way

    Astronomers in the third week of January 2013 discovered six speeding stars which were racing through the space at a speed of 3.2 million kilometers per hour. These stars were ejected from the huge black hole which sits in the middle of Earth's galaxy, Milky Way.

    These stars represented the first-known hypervelocity stars that have mass just like that of Earth's Sun. The discovery is said to be very important because it would reveal how stars were formed in the dust-cloaked core of Milky Way.

  • First Complete Bionic Man of the World Unveiled at London's Science Museum

    First bionic man of the world called Rex was unveiled on 7 February 2013 at London's Science Museum. The bionic man was created using 1 million US dollar limbs as well as organs.

    Prosthetic legs and ankle came from MIT, synthetic blood from Sheffield University, spleens, pancreas and artificial kidneys from University College London, retinas from Oxford University and artificial lungs came from Swansea.

Current Affairs [Febraury 2013]
  • Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Sanctioned Remote Village Electrification for 6033 Villages

    Remote Village Electrification (RVE) for a total of 6033 villages as well as hamlets was sanctioned during 11th Plan by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Additionally, work on 5211 villages as well as hamlets, was in its completion stage in various states such as Odisha and Tamil Nadu.

    Two proposals of 61 hamlets as well as 161 hamlets of UP along with one proposal of 14 villages of Rajasthan and one proposal of 24 villages and 274 hamlets of Jammu & Kashmir, were in all received and were under initial stage of appraisal. It is important to note that the Remote Village Electrification (RVE) programme as well as projects is usually sanctioned on the case-to-case basis after these proposals are submitted by the state notified implementing agencies according to the guidelines of this scheme.

  • Indian-origin science writer wins British Physics journalism prize

    Washington, Mar 1 (IANS) Anil Ananthaswamy, a London based Indian origin writer, has won the inaugural Physics Journalism Prize sponsored by the Institute of Physics (IOP) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

    The prize is designed to inspire the next generation of physicists by encouraging journalists to grapple with often complex topics and help spread excitement about the subject, according to an IOP release forwarded by the American Astronomical Society.

Science & Technology 2012

Current Affairs [September 2012]
  • Infosys Ltd made some news by announcing the 'Cloud Ecosystm Hub’ platform which will allow large companies to manage all their IT resources and supplementary cloud services from a single platform. They are charged fee on a usage basis.

    The medical and health science fraternity watched in excitement a noble Bluetooth technology enabled instrument was unveiled in Texas. Called the Diabetois, this instrument is capable of transferring glucose level readings from any ordinary gluco-meter into a special Android application. Then, the readings can be easily analyzed using the app, and can be mailed to a doctor as well. Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of deaths in the world, and this invention will surely interest patients of Diabetes.

    Apple's CEO Tim Cook issued an apology to the customers of the newly launched iPhone 5. Customers have been reporting frustrations with the erroneous operation of the new Maps service. In a startling statement, Tim Cook directed users towards services from rivals, notably Google's Maps service. Cook also convinced Apple customers that the company was desperately trying to the set the issues right.

  • A court in the United States gave some respite to Korean electronics manufacturing heavyweight Samsung by ordering a lower court to reconsider the sales ban slapped on Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 after arch rival Apple Inc. won a patent dispute against them.
  • The Guinness World Record for the lowest roadworthy car was made by ‘Mirai’, which translates into ‘future’ in Japanese. Faculty and students from Automobile Engineering Course of Okayama Sanyo High School created ‘Mirai’, which measures just 17.79 inches in height.
  • Investors had to rethink their estimates about RIM’s prospects in the highly competitive smartphones’ market with RIM recording highly stable financial position and quarterly results better than anticipations. The company is now expected to invest heavily in producing and marketing the next line of smartphones.
Current Affairs [February 2010] Our Milky Way in Midst of life crisis
  • Planetary scientist say that our Milky way is in its mid life crisis as a result of which it will slow down its process of production of stars in the next billion years. As per the aeronautics the galaxies are classified under two categories namely- energetic blue galaxies and the lethargic red galaxies. The blue galaxies produce stars at a massive rate while the other one are slowly dying. But a team of scientist from the Swinburne University of Technology says that our Milky Way falls into neither of the two categories. It is in fact a green valley galaxy that lays half way between the blue galaxy and the red galaxy.
  • This is the first time ever that scientists have compared both the galaxies with our Milky Way as the Astrophysical Journal reported. Though we are in our own galaxy and to determine its state was a tough job to accomplish was reported by the Astrophysical Journal.
Indian communication satellite GSAT-8 successfully launched
  • India’s communication satellite GSAT-8 was launched successfully. The satellite was launched by Arianespace from Kourou in French Guiana. The satellite was launched to enable powerful services direct to our home. The satellite weighs 3100kg and is one the heaviest and high powered satellite developed by the Indian Scientist at the Bangalore- headquarters ISRO. The ISRO team that launched the satellite showed extreme pleasure at the successful launch of the satellite.
  • "I am extremely delighted and happy to announce that ISRO successfully launched the satellite and we are happy to confirm that we have taken the charge of the satellite immediately after its injection into the orbit” ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said.

Science & Technology 2010

Current Affairs [February 2010]
  • USA Space agency NASA launched Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) to discover the causes of extreme solar activity such as sun spots and solar winds & flares.
  • ‘GANGES’- Global Advisory Network Group on environmental sciences. It was created by Govt for environment research work.
  • Agni-III ballistic missile with a range of 3500 Km was successfully launched from Wheeler Island, Orissa.
  • Ht Cotton – Herbicide Tolerant Cotton. The variety of Ht Cotton in MON 1445. The variety can withstand herbicides (weed killers) for better productivity and is under trail.
  • Cervical cancer is caused by HPV- Human Papilloma Virus.
  • South Korea has world’s highest average connection speed at 14.6 Mbpd in Internet links. Japan has 2nd highest average speed.
  • Scientist deciphered the genetic blueprint of South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Titu.
Current Affairs [January 2010]
  • 97th Indian Science Congress held at Tiruvananthapuram in Jan 2010. The theme of this year congress was ‘ Science & Technology of 21st Century- National Perspective’.
  • The longest annular solar eclipse on the third millennium occur on 15 Jan 2010. The next annular solar eclipse will be visible in year 3043. Annular eclipse is occurred when the sun is visible like a ring of fire, with the moon darkening its centre. The last annular solar eclipse visible from India was occurred in 1976. In July 2010 also, a total solar eclipse will be occurred.
  • There are three strains of wild Polio virus namely P1, P2 & P3. Type 2 wild Polio virus (P2) was eliminated from the world in 1999.
  • First public hearing on the introduction of Bt Brinjal (First Genetically Modified Food Crop in India) was held in Kolkatta. Seven such public hearing are being organized by Centre for Environment Education, for opinion of public in respect of introduction of Bt Brinjal. 2nd hearing was held at Hyderabad.
  • 50th anniversary of creation of LASER is being celebrated in 2010. Theodore Maiman constructed the first LASER in May 1960. LASER stands for Light Amplification for Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Charles H Townes was father of MASER.