Science & Technology Current
April 3rd week 2015 current affairs
Category : Science & Technology Current
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1) NASA ended operations of MESSENGER Mission to Mercury


  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on 30 April 2015 ended the operations of MESSENGER Mission. MESSENGER stands for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging. It was launched on 3 August 2004 to study Mercury’s atmosphere. The journey of the spacecraft came to an end with Expected Impact (EI) on Mercury’s surface. It plunged to the Mercury’s surface at around 14000 kmph, creating a crater up to 52 feet wide.

2) India has 988 species on IUCN ‘Red List’


  • India has added 15 more species to the “Red List” of threatened species published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2014, but the country has climbed down a spot to the seventh position.
  • By the year-end, India had 988 threatened species on the list, which lists critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable species. In 2013, the number was 973. With 659 species in 2008, the increase over seven years is 50 per cent, in part due to better research identifying more threatened species and deforestation. By adding 37 species, China seemed to have helped India improve its rank. A recent World Bank mapping of endangered mammals shows India as having the fourth largest number of threatened species in the world, 31 of them endemic to the region.


3) Invisible dark matter mapped at cosmic scale


  • In a first, cosmologists have generated an enormous map of the distribution of dark matter in our universe, tracing the invisible substance by monitoring its gravitational effects on light. The picture maps clumps and voids of dark matter in a patch of sky covering around two million galaxies and showing features hundreds of millions of light years across
  • The observations fit the standard picture of cosmology strikingly well, as dark matter is thought to be the main driver in the formation of large-scale cosmic structures. Using a 570-megapixel camera at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, the researchers photographed about two million galaxies.

4) India successfully test-fires nuclear-capable Agni-III missile


  • India on 16th April successfully test-fired nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-III off Odisha coast. The 3,000 km range indigenously developed surface-to-Surface missile, protected by a carbon all-composite heat shield, blasted off at 9.55 this morning from a mobile launcher at Integrated Test Range in Wheeler Island of Dhamra.
  • The missile has two stages which are powered by solid propellants and can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads weighing up to 1.5 tonnes and target parts of China. The launch operation was carried out by strategic forces command of the Indian army with logistic support from Defense Research and Development Organization. Agni-III has a length of 17 meters and launch weight of around 48 tonnes. Agni-II has already been inducted in the armed forces since June 2011.

5) NASA probe captures first color image of Pluto


  • NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has sent back its first color image of the dwarf planet Pluto and its largest moon Charon, after more than nine years of traveling through the solar system.
  • The new photo, taken on April 9 from a distance of about 115 million kilometers, is already providing insights about Pluto and Charon, as well as suggestions of the science to come when New Horizons flies by the Pluto system on July 14, NASA said.

6) SpaceX cargo ship reaches ISS


  • SpaceX’s unmanned Dragon cargo ship arrived on 17th April at the International Space Station. European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti grappled the capsule with the space station’s robotic arm at 6:55 am local time as the space station flew to the east of Japan, NASA said. Its contents include an espresso machine, ready-made food packets, and a host of science experiments.