Science & Technology Current
March 3rd week current affairs
Category : Science & Technology Current
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1) Solar flight lands in Ahmadabad with a call for clean energy

  • Solar Impulse 2 (Si2), the world’s first solar flight circumventing the globe without a drop of fuel, landed Ahmadabad on 10th March
  • The Swiss aircraft touched down at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport. This is the airplane’s second stop. Solar Impulse 2 began its journey from Abu Dhabi on 9th March and made a stopover at the Muscat International Airport in Oman. It will be stationed here for two days for the pilots to hold meetings with government officials, stakeholders and civil society members. The Aditya Birla Group is the India host for Solar Impulse 2.
  • Mr. Piccard and Andre Boschberg, co-pilots and co-founders of the experimental aircraft, are taking turns to fly the single-seater, 2,300-kg aircraft in a journey around the world, spread over 25 flight days of five months and covering 35,000 km. The Oman-Ahmedabad trip was piloted by Mr. Piccard, one of the first balloonists to circle the earth. The initiative is aimed at spreading the importance of renewable energy and clean technologies.
  • Solar Impulse 2 took the two promoters 12 years to develop and carry out feasibility tests. The aircraft will head next for Varanasi, where it will make a pit stop. It is expected to land in Varanasi on the night of March 15 before leaving for Mandalay in Myanmar.

2) ISRO study on Sunderbans

  • The Indian Sunderbans has lost 3.71 per cent of its mangrove and other forest cover, while losing 9,990 hectares of its landmass to erosion in one decade, according to a satellite analysis conducted by the Indian Space Research Organization.
  • As much as 1,607 hectares of the eroded area had vegetation, says the study comparing satellite data from February of 2003 and 2014. During the 10 years, 216 hectares of landmass had been added, of which 121 hectares has green vegetation.
  • The Eastern Zone Bench of the National Green Tribunal, which is hearing a case of environmental violations in the Sunderbans, directed holding the study.
  • The study shows that about 95.14 per cent of the green cover has not undergone gone any change, while fresh vegetation has come up in 1.1 per cent of the entire area.
  • The satellite mapping, which has not gone into the details of the reason for loss of green cover, says the depletion may be due to natural and anthropogenic (human intervention) processes. The 9, Indian Sunderbans is highly susceptible to coastal erosion and coastal land dynamics. A recent World Bank report pointed out that the carrying capacity of the landmass had exceeded with the population density of over 1,000 a

3) Rota virus Vaccine Developed in India

  • Rotavac, a Rota virus vaccine was launched on 9th March. This was developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech. Billed as one of the first novel vaccines to be developed completely in the developing world, it is expected to help in significant reduction in infant deaths due to Rotavirus diarrhoea in India and other parts of the world.
  • The biotech company invested over Rs.400 crore towards product development, and another Rs.100 crore towards manufacturing facilities.
  • The facility in Genome Valley in Hyderabad has an installed manufacturing capacity of 300 million doses per year. It has taken 300 scientists and 15 years for successful for completion of the project, a partnership among the department of biotechnology, Bharat Biotech and several Indian and international organizations.
  • Foreign companies currently sell Rotavirus vaccines in India at Rs.1,100 per dose while Bharat Biotech proposed to sell Rotavac for Rs.63 per dose to the government of India and other low income countries. Rotavirus diarrhea causes annually over 450,000 deaths worldwide, including 110,000 deaths in India.

4) Rhino numbers rise in West Bengal

  • West Bengal is now home to the second highest population of the one-horned rhinoceros in the country after Assam, with the number growing to 250 in the State. A State Forest Department survey in January has revealed that the Jaldapara National Park in the State has nearly 200 of these endangered animals and the Gorumara National Park, 50. Jaldapara now has the second highest population of them after the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, which has over 2,000. Jaldapara recorded 186 in the previous survey in 2013 and Gorumara 46 in 2014, V.K. Sood, Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), North Bengal.