Science & Technology Current
August 2nd week 2015 current affairs
Category : Science & Technology Current
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1) DRDO developed medicine to treat leucoderma.

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a poly-herbal medicine by the trade name of Lukoskin for the treatment of Leucoderma.
  • It was announced by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.
  • The medicine was developed by Haldwani (Uttarakhand) based scientists of Defence Bio-Energy Research (DIBER), which is a laboratory of DRDO under the aegis of the Union Defence Ministry.
  • Lukoskin is an ointment which has seven ingredients of plants having properties such as anti-blister, skin photo sensitizer, anti-irritation, wound healing, anti-septic and copper supplementing properties.
  • DRDO has transferred technology of the herbal product to private firm AIMIL Pharmaceutical Private Limited for commercial production and marketing
2) NASA drones to explore Moon and Mars.
  • NASA engineers are developing drones that can fly to areas which are inaccessible to rovers such as the shaded region of a crater on Mars, asteroids and Moon to gather samples.
  • The flying robotic vehicles similar to quad-copters but designed for the thin atmosphere of Mars and the airless voids of asteroids and the Moon would use a lander as a base to replenish batteries and propellants between flights.
  • The machines being built fall under the name Extreme Access Flyers, and their designers intend to create vehicles that can travel into the shaded regions of a crater and pull out small amounts of soil to see whether it holds the water-ice promised by readings from orbiting spacecraft. 

3) ISRO commissions Titanium Sponge Plant in Kerala.

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has fully commissioned and started commercial production at the first indigenous Titanium Sponge Plant at Chavara in Kerala.
  • The initiative was taken by ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre to establish Titanium Sponge Plant (TSP) a dedicated 500 MT per annum plant at M/s Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML), Chavara in Kollam district, Kerala.
  • This plant has commercially started producing Titanium Sponge which is exclusively applicable in space programme and strategic areas.
About Titanium Sponge:
  1. It is a Titanium (Ti) alloy products produced by conversion of raw titanium through Kroll process which is subjected to leaching or heated vacuum distillation to remove impurities and gaining the purest form (99.7 per cent) of Titanium Sponge.
  2. It is extensively applicable in aerospace and defence areas due to its high strength to weight ratio and excellent corrosion resistance.
  3. India has become the seventh country in the world producing Titanium sponge commercially. 
4) Google unveils restructuring under new parent company Alphabet Inc.
  • Search engine giant Google Inc has announced formation of a new holding or parent company called Alphabet Inc to encompass its search engine unit and all other subsidiaries.
  • The new parent company was formed as part of Google’s new organisational structure which will help the company to keep tremendous focus on the extraordinary opportunities and products.
  • Now Google will be replaced by Alphabet Inc as the publicly-traded entity and all its shares will automatically converted into the of shares of new parent entity with same rights.
  • Under the new structural arrangement all subsidiaries of Google will be brought under the control of Alphabet Inc which will come into effect later 2015.
  • Chennai born Sundar Pichai has been appointed of as CEO of new Google (subsidiary of Alphabet).

5) Facebook awarded $21 million to Indian app developers under FbStart initiative.

  • Social network giant Facebook doled out 21 million US dollar to Indian app developers under its FbStart initiative.
  • With an aim to attract next billion Internet users towards social networking, last year Facebook launched FbStart an initiative to promote and help new mobile app developers around the world.
  • The two Indian entrants Hyderabad-based Samosa and Delhi’s Cardback received the 21 billion US dollars under this initiative.
About Samosa & Cardback:
  1. Hyderabad-based Samosa had developed an app that offers a curated collection of clips from popular movies that people can share with friends.
  2. Delhi- based Cardback developed an app that helps cardholders and wallet users identify the best ways to pay and maximise their rewards and savings for every transaction they make. 
6) Bacteria that can help degrade plastic isolated.
  • In a promising development that could provide a solution to the menace posed by plastic waste, a scientist attached to the Malabar Botanical Garden and Institute for Plant Sciences (MBGIPS) in Kozhikode has isolated six strains of bacteria capable of breaking down plastic into biodegradable polymers.
  • The new strains were identified by the scientist R.B. Smitha from soil samples collected from a plastic recycling unit at West Hill, Kozhikode. The bacteria were found to produce polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), a class of biodegradable polymers that could substitute synthetic plastics.
  • In the presence of high carbon sources or nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, sulphur, oxygen, and magnesium, PHAs are synthesized by the bacteria as intracellular carbon and accumulate as granules in the cytoplasm, the jellylike material lining the inside of a cell.
About the six Strains:
  1. The six strains, namely Cronobacter muytjensii mbg5, C muytjensii mbg6, C sakazakii mbg1, C sakazakii mbg3, Enterobacter clocae mbg2 and Ohrobactrum intermedium mbg4, were submitted to the GenBank database on organisms and have been allotted accession numbers.
  2. With properties similar to polyethylene and polypropylene, PHAs have emerged as an environment-friendly alternative to petrochemical-based plastic.
7) A `young Jupiter` exoplanet discovered.
  • The Gemini Planet Imager imaging instrument perched atop Chile’s Gemini South Telescope has for the first time discovered an exoplanet which is Jupiter-like within a young system.
  • In all likelihood, the exoplanet - 51 Eridani b - may be the lowest-mass one ever directly imaged with a space telescope instrument.
About :

  1. Besides being the lowest-mass planet ever imaged, it is also far colder than other exoplanets - 650-750 degree Fahrenheit. Yet, this temperature is more than sufficient to melt lead. It is hotter than Jupiter because it is so young and glows with energy released from its formation.
  2. 51 Eridani b also shows the “strongest methane signature ever detected in the atmosphere of an alien planet,” notes a University of Arizona release. Methane is an important molecule in Jupiter’s atmosphere.
  3. The exoplanet orbits the star 51 Eridani, which is just 20 million years old. The young age of the star - born 20 million years ago - is what helped in the direct detection of the exoplanet.