Science & Technology Current
December 2011 Science and Technology
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 December 2011

China launched a high-speed bullet train in Quingdao, Shandong province. Its speed can reach up to 500 kmph. The train was launched by China’s largest rail vehicle maker, CSR Corp. Ltd. China has the largest network of bullet-train track in the world, with 8000 miles of track. 

NASA`s Kepler mission on 20 December 2011 discovered the first Earth-size planets orbiting a sun-like star outside our solar system. The planets, called Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f, are too close to their star to be in the so-called habitable zone where liquid water could exist on a planet`s surface, but they are the smallest exoplanets ever confirmed around a star like our sun. The discovery marks the next important milestone in the ultimate search for planets like Earth. Both planets reside in a five-planet system called Kepler-20, approximately 1000 light-years away in the constellation Lyra.
The indigenously designed and developed Rustom-1 (medium altitude long endurance unmanned combat aerial vehicle) completed its 8th successful flight. It flew at an altitude of 6,000 ft and at a speed of 90 knots during its 30 minutes flight near Hosur, said a Defence Research and Development Organsiation release. Rustom-1 weighs 661 kg.
A team of researchers from NASA’s Kepler Mission discovered a habitable earth-like planet, called Kepler-22b. This newly discovered planet orbits around a sun-like star 600 light years away from the planet earth. The star is located near the constellations of Lyra and Cygnus. The planet is very much similar to earth in key aspects. It has a surface temperature of about 72 degrees Fahrenheit and it is likely to have water and land. 
The star was categorized as a G5 star. It has a mass and radius smaller than that that of the Sun. It makes the star 25 percent less luminous than the Sun. NASA`s Kepler mission confirmed its first planet in the habitable zone, the region where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface. The new exoplanet has the smallest radius amongst all the planets so far discovered. 

 The theme of World AIDS Day 2011 was Getting to Zero. Backed by the United Nations the Getting to Zero campaign will run until 2015. The Getting to Zero campaign draws heavily from successful 2010 World AIDS Day’s Light for Rights initiative encompassing a range of vital issues identified by key affected populations. In 2011 the global community committed to focusing on achieving 3 targets: Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination and Zero AIDS-related deaths.

Green Film Festival was held in Delhi from 6 December to 10 December 2011. Leading environment and wildlife films from across the world were screened as part of the CMS Vatavaran film festival. Biodiversity Conservation was the theme of the festival. 114 films were screened, taking viewers into the diverse geographical realms of planet Earth through the lens of the finest environment and wildlife film-makers. It was a summit for Asian film-makers, special programmes for children throughout the event and discussions on the environment with more than 50 speakers and 300 delegates from 15 different countries. 
India successfully test-fired its nuclear capable Agni-I strategic ballistic missile on 1 December 2011 from the test range at Wheeler Island off Odisha coast, as part of the Indian Army`s user trial. The trajectory of the missile, which had an operational strike range of 700 km, was tracked by sophisticated radars and electro-optic telemetry stations located along the sea coast and ships positioned near the impact point in the downrange area. Agni-I was developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), the premier missile development laboratory of the DRDO in collaboration with Defence Research Development Laboratory (DRDL) and Research Centre Imarat (RCI) and integrated by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), Hyderabad. Agni-I strategic ballistic missile is an indigenously developed surface-to-surface missile. Agni-I can carry payloads up to 1000 kg. It Weighed 12 tonnes.

 The first Eld’s deer was born via in vitro fertilization in Thailand. The researchers at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) collected eggs, inseminated in vitro with thawed semen to produce embryos and transferred the embryos to a surrogate mother. As a result, a fawn was born on 17 October 2011 at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand. Eld`s Deer is also known as the Thamin or Brow-antlered Deer. It is an endangered species of deer indigenous to southeastern Asia.