Science & Technology Current
January 1st week 2015 current affairs
Category : Science & Technology Current
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1) New planet, 200 times to Saturn discovered


  • Astronomers say they have discovered a planet with a gigantic ring system that is 200 times larger than that around Saturn. It is the first such structure detected around a planet beyond our Solar System. The researchers say there are probably more than 30 rings, each measuring tens of millions of kilometres in diameter. The findings by a Dutch-US team are to be published in the Astrophysical Journal.
  • Agni-v launched successfully
  •  India on 31st January morning successfully test-fired its most sophisticated and technologically advanced missile, the nuclear-capable Agni V, from a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) facility at Wheelers Island located off the coast of Dhamara in north Odisha`s Bhadrak district.
  • Agni V, which can hit a target more than 5,000 km away carrying both nuclear as well as conventional warheads of up to 1.5 tonne, had been tested test twice in April 2012 and September 2013. However, this is the first time the strategically important missile`s canister-based version was successfully test-launched.
  • After its successful blast-off, the 17-metre long and 2-metre wide missile’s 20-minute flight was monitored by DRDO radars and telemetry stations located at various places along the Odisha coastline till its touchdown at a pre-designated “target” deep inside the Indian Ocean. The missile’s final moments were also witnessed by two Indian Navy ships stationed near the spot.
  • Very few nations in the world, like the United States, China and Russia, have the capacity to fire a missile from a canister.Agni V, however, is yet to be inducted into the Indian armed forces. It will be commissioned after a few more successful test-firings.

2) Climate Change: PM for credit to green initiatives

  • Pitching for a paradigm shift in the global approach towards climate change, PM Narendra Modi on 19th January said instead of only focusing on emission cuts, due credit should be given to efforts made for clean energy generation and conservation.
  • Underlining that focus should shift from "carbon credit" towards "green credit", he singled out solar energy, saying it needs to be integrated with hybrid system of energy to make it useful.
  • He favoured setting up of a consortium of nations having potential in solar energy which could join hands with India in innovation and cutting-edge research that would reduce the cost of solar energy, making it more accessible to people.
  • Chairing the first meeting of the reconstituted `Prime Minister`s Council on Climate Change in New Delhi on 20th January, Modi said that "instead of focussing on emissions and cuts alone, focus should shift on what we have done for clean energy generation, energy conservation and energy efficiency, and what more can be done in these areas. He called for a careful evaluation of all the initiatives that have been taken by India in this regard.
  • These include initiatives in solar energy, wind energy, biomass energy, and transportation projects that have reduced distances or travel times.
  • Modi said India looks at the global concern and awareness on Climate Change, as a great opportunity for working towards improving the quality of life of its citizens, and making a positive contribution for mankind.
  • He also directed ministries to prepare a concept note on five uncovered areas -- health, urban waste management, coastal areas and wind energy -- while dealing with climate change as these are not covered under the ongoing missions.
  • Modi asked the ministries to ensure the existing eight missions run in a more focussed manner and deliver the results.
  • These include missions on solar energy, enhanced energy efficiency, sustainable habitat, water, sustaining the Himalayan ecosystem, green India, sustainable agriculture, Strategic Knowledge for climate change.


3) First public lighting system that runs on solar, wind energy

  • Spanish researchers have designed the first public lighting system that runs on solar and wind energy. The new system, developed after four years of research, is designed for inter-urban roads, motorways, urban parks and other public areas. It is unique and reduces the cost by 20 per cent compared with conventional public lighting systems, researchers said.
  • The system was developed by Ramon Bargallo, a researcher from the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Barcelona College of Industrial Engineering (EUETIB) of the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC), Spain, in collaboration with the company Eolgreen.
  • The prototype is 10 metres high and is fitted with a solar panel, a wind turbine and a battery. The turbine runs at a speed of 10 to 200 revolutions per minute (rpm) and has a maximum output of 400 watts (W). The researchers` aim is to make the lighting system even more environmentally efficient, so work is being done on a second prototype generator that runs at a lower speed (10 to 60 rpm) and has a lower output (100 W).