Science & Technology Current
July 2011 Science and Technology
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 July 2011

Gujarat would house the largest solar energy park in Asia in two years with a power production capacity of 500 Mw. This would be set up with an investment of around Rs 8,000 crore flowing from companies such as GMR and Lanco, which have been assigned generation capacities under the Gujarat Solar Mission. The park, on the lines of an industrial estate, is being developed by Gujarat Power Corporation Ltd (GCPL), as the sectoral nodal agency, on around 2,000 hectares of wasteland bordering the Rann of Kutch, in Patan district. When commissioned, the project would provide 800 million units of power. 

India on July 25 signed a civil nuclear cooperation deal with South Korea, allowing a framework for Korean companies to participate in atomic power plant projects in the country. The agreement was signed after a meeting between President Pratibha Patil with her South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-Bak. South Korea has become the ninth country, which had signed nuclear agreement with India after it got the waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) in 2008. 
India registered a 20 per cent increase in tiger population in 2010, according to a report released on 28 July 2011 by Ministry of Environment and Forests. The report stated that the estimated population of 1,706 individual tigers represents a 20 per cent increase from the last survey in 2006, which estimated a number of 1,411 tigers. The assessment of tigers included 17 States with tiger population. The increase in the numbers happened because of the tiger populations in Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka have shown an increase in their density. However, the report warned that tigers are still in danger due to an overall 12.6 per cent loss of habitat. 
The national green tribunal ordered Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd (HPPCL) to stop all construction work related to the Renuka Dam project. The dam on the Giri River will offer a storage capacity of 542 million cubic metres of water and an installed power capacity of 40 MW. The proposed Renuka Dam Project is one of the largest projects in the backward district of Sirmour in Himachal Pradesh. The state governments of Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 12 May, 1994 for the utilization and allocation of the waters of the Upper Yamuna . As a part of this agreement, a storage dam was to be constructed across Giri river, a tributary of the Yamuna, at Renukaji in Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh. The ministry of environment and forests canceled Forest clearance to the project in October 2010. The assessment report mentions that about 308 families will be displaced and about 37 villages will be impacted because of the Renuka Dam project. 

 A team of Scientists led by Paul Hartogh of Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research recently solved a 14-year mystery by discovering the source of the water in Saturn’s upper atmosphere. The scientists discovered that giant jets of vapour from the planet’s moon Enceladus is responsible for Saturn’s water. Enceladus is Saturn’s sixth largest moon and it is covered with ice and is providing water to Saturn. 

Construction work on two more units of 700 MW each at the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS) was inaugurated by Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Srikumar Banerjee. During the inauguration, Banerjee mentioned that exploratory works unveiled uranium deposits at another site, Tummalapalle spread over 35 km. At present, the country is estimated to have a total reserve of about 175000 tonnes of uranium. The findings are deemed as a major development. 
DRDO successfully flight tested its latest surface to surface Missile `PRAHAAR’ from Launch Complex III, off Chandipur Coast, ITR, Balasore, Orissa. The Missile has a range of 150 kms. The Missile is capable of carrying different types of warheads, operates as battlefield support system to the Indian Army. It is equipped with state of the art high accuracy navigation, guidance and electro mechanical actuation systems. The Missile system is developed to provide Indian Army a cost effective, quick reaction, all weather, all terrain, high accurate battlefield support tactical system. The development of Missile was carried out by the DRDO Scientists in a short span of less than two years. 
ITC’s luxury hotels was accorded the highest rating (Platinum Rating) of greenest luxury hotel chain in the World for their environment-friendly efforts. The rating was given by US Green Building Council (USGBC). ITC hotels are energy efficient and utilise renewable energy. 
The Oldest commissioned ship of the Indian navy, Sharabh was decommissioned on 14 July 2011 after 35 years of service. INS Sharabh was commissioned in January 1976 at Gdynia, Poland. 

 Neptune the eighth planet of the solar system completed its first orbit around the sun on 12 July 2011, 165 years after its discovery. Neptune is also the farthest planet from Sun. It was discovered by German astronomer Johann Galle on 23 September 1846. Neptune is blue-green in colour and it was named after Roman God of Sea. Neptune completes one revolution every 165 years. 

Doctors in Spain performed the world’s first double-leg transplant, giving two new legs to a man whose legs were severed in an accident. The man lost both of his legs above the knee in an accident and the attempts to fit him with artificial limbs were not successful. Pedro Cavadas of La Fe hospital in Valencia performed the operation. He is the first doctor in the world to successfully transplant a jaw and a new tongue while doing a face transplant. 
India on July 15 successfully launched its latest, 1410 kg communication satellite GSAT-12 onboard a powerful Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C17, from Sriharikota. It is the 18th successful mission in a row for ISRO. GSAT-12 was injected into an elliptical Transfer Orbit of 284 km perigee (closest point to Earth) and 21,000 km apogee (farthest point to Earth). Subsequently, the onboard Liquid Apogee Motor would be used to place the satellite in a circular orbit. GSAT-12, aimed at augmenting the capacity in the INSAT system for various communication services like tele-education, tele-medicine and Village Resource Centres, would be co-located with INSAT-2E and INSAT-4A satellites. This was the second time in its 19 flights that the PSLV has been used for launching a communication satellite after Kalpana-1 in 2002. 
Giant glider-like aircraft completed the first night flight propelled only by solar energy on July 7th.Solar Impulse, whose wingspan is the same as an Airbus A340, flew 26 hours and 9 minutes, powered only by solar energy stored during the day. It was also the longest and highest flight in the history of solar aviation. The plane, which has 12,000 solar cells built into its 64.3-metre wings, is a prototype for an aircraft that its creators hope will carry out its first circum-navigation of the globe from 2012.Bertrand Piccard, the Swiss president of the project, best known for completing the first round-the-world flight in a hot air balloon in 1999, said the success of the flight showed the potential of renewable energies and clean technology. 
The Union government unveiled a new remote sensing data policy called the Remote Sensing Data Policy 2011(RSDP2011) which allows all data of resolutions up to 1 metre to be distributed on a non-discriminatory basis. The new policy replaced the 2001 policy. Apart from opening up the remote sensing sector, the RSDP 2011 will remove restrictions to facilitate more users to get high resolution data for developmental activities. Restrictions as per the earlier 2001 policy, was removed. Now there is no bar on publishing of high resolution, remote sensing data of up to one metre resolution.
After 134 flights over three decades, The space shuttle Atlantis’ voyage will close when the final space fly to International Space Station(ISS) from Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre on July 8. The shuttle began its long-career in the 1970s as a successor to the Apollo moon craft and was designed to be the first reusable space craft. The maiden flight in April 1981 by astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen aboard shuttle Columbia formally ushered in the new era with a two-day, six-hour mission and 36 orbits of Earth. Since then, shuttles have flown more than 800 million kilometres -- more than the distance between Earth and Jupiter -- and brought more than 350 people into orbit, launched crucial satellites, ushered in a new era of cooperation in space and built the International Space Station.