Science & Technology Current
July 1st week 2015 current affairs
Category : Science & Technology Current
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1) NASA unveils prototype of plane to fly on Mars.

  • NASA has unveiled a boomerang-shaped aircraft that could be the first to take flight on Mars to look for potential landing sites for future manned mission to the red planet.
  • A prototype of the Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Land on Mars, or Prandtl-m, which is a flying wing aircraft with a twist, is planned to be ready for launch from a high altitude balloon later this year.
  • The Prandtl—m will be released at about at 100,000 feet altitude, which will simulate the flight conditions of the Martian atmosphere.
2) Army to launch automation software for records.
  • The Army will roll out a new software — Army Record Offices Process Automation (ARPAN) 3.0, for computerising personal records of the over 1.2 million jawans and Junior Commissioned Officers .
  • Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will launch the project to coincide with the ongoing National Digital India Week launched by the government.
  • A pilot project was carried out across seven centres and after satisfactory results a go-ahead was given for a pan-India roll-out to cover the 45 record offices.
3) Union Government launches App to know gram panchayats assets.
  • Union Government has launched mobile App to know gram panchayats assets. It was launched by Union Rural Development and Minister Ch Birender Singh.
  • It was launched on the occasion of Digital India Week in New Delhi. The main purpose of the app is to provide people with the information related to assets of the gram panchayats.
  • Citizens can use this mobile app to capture photographs and geographical coordinates of various public assets in gram panchayats, like schools and hospitals etc.
  • Besides providing information to the general public, the App will also be useful for planning purpose at the Panchayat and State level.
4) Union Government launches web portal for issuing green clearance Category B projects.
  • Union Government has launched a web portal for online submission of applications for environment clearance by State Environment Impact Assessment Authorities (SEIAA) for Category B projects.
  • It was launched by Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar in New Delhi on the occasion of Digital India Week.
  • Soon after the launch of the web portal, nineteen states instantly have joined it.

5) NASA successfully flight tested Prandtl-d, prototype of first Mars airplane.

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that it successfully flight tested Prandtl-d aircraft.
  • Prandtl stands for the Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Land on Mars and it was developed by NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Centre.
  • It is a prototype of the Prandtl-m aircraft, touted as the first airplane to be launched on Mars between 2020 and 2024.
Key features of Prandtl-m aircraft:
  1. It would be part of the ballast that would be ejected from the aeroshell that takes the Mars rover to the planet in the 2020.
  2. It will be able to fly in the Martian atmosphere and glide down and land besides identifying some of the proposed landing sites for a future astronaut mission.
  3. It will send back to the Earth very detailed high resolution photographic map images that could tell scientists about the suitability of landing sites.
  4. It would have a flight time of around 10 minutes and would be gliding for the last 2000 feet to the surface of Mars and have a range of about 20 miles.
5) Indian researchers identify a `blazar`.
  • For over a year, one of the brightest objects to be spotted in space by humankind remained a mystery.
  • It took an international group of astronomers - led by researchers from the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) - to identify it as a “blazar”.
  • A blazar is one of the most energetic phenomena known. It exists at the centre of a galaxy where a supermassive blackhole (which is millions of times larger in mass than the sun) has been formed.
  • On April 19, 2014, a hitherto-undetected object nearly 10 billion light years away (one light year is nearly 10 thousand billion km) suddenly emitted light.
  • The emission, observed only for few minutes, was calculated as being ten thousand times stronger than the light emitted by the entire Milky Way galaxy.
6) Nationwide Mobile Number Portability becomes operational.
  • Nationwide mobile number portability (MNP) has become operational.
  • It became operational after major private mobile operators like Vodafone, RCom, Airtel, Uninor and Idea Cellular along with state-run BSNL and MTNL issued statements to launch MNP.
  • The operationalisation of nationwide MNP will allow customers to keep their existing mobile phone numbers while shifting between States and circles by changing operators.
  • Prior to this, customers were only able to change their operator by retaining the same number only in the same state or telecom circle.

7) New rescue app for Kedarnath pilgrims.

  • Kedarnath yatra rescue Android App, which, according to the Rudraprayag District Magistrate Raghav Langer, is the “first online and offline integrated smart phone application” has now been launched.
  • The App can be used for sending “an emergency SMS” to the district administration during a disaster to inform the authorities about the location of the user for rescue and evacuation purposes.
8) Mumbai gets hooked to new book-sharing platform.
  • A new book-sharing platform is taking Mumbai by a storm on social media.
  • Called ClapShare, the website and android app is offering a free book to anyone who signs up, and relies on the age old barter system for book-sharing.
  • Started by three IIT-Bombay graduates in April this year, ClapShare is a peer-to-peer book sharing platform, available online and as an Android app that allows one to share dusted books in one’s personal library with others.
9) Philae comet may have alien life: Scientists.
  • Scientists have found some features of the comet landed upon by the European Space Agency`s spacecraft Philae that indicate an abundance of alien microbial life.
  • The organic-rich black crust of the comet named 67P/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko was likely caused by microorganisms living beneath an icy surface
10) Another arrow in the quiver of Coast Guard.
  • Inshore patrol vessel - Rani Durgavati - joined the Indian Coast Guard with its commissioning by Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command Vice Admiral Satish Soni in the presence of IG (Coast Guard) R.P. Sharma and HSL CMD Rear Admiral (Retd.) N.K. Mishra.
11) Mobile-based services to help farmers.
  • Mobile based services for farmers and other stakeholders being delivered through organisations, departments and offices of Central and State Governments down to the block level (including State Agriculture Universities, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Agro-Meteorological Field Units) have been brought together under a single umbrella, namely, mKisan portal of the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India.
  • The URL is to give support and service to the farmers.
12) MIT Scientists developed a Quantum Dot Spectrometer small enough to function within a smartphone.
  • The scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) created a Quantum Dot (QD) Spectrometer which is small enough to fit inside a smartphone camera. Spectrometers are the instruments that measure the properties of light.
  • The development was published in the journal Nature and the lead author of the study is Jie Bao, a former MIT postdoc.
  • QD spectrometer represents a new application for quantum dots, which have been used primarily for biological molecules and labeling cells, as well as in television screens and computers.
Characteristic features of the device:
  • It is portable and would enable the devices to diagnose diseases, especially skin conditions, or detect environmental pollutants.
  • It is about the size of a US quarter and deploys hundreds of quantum dot materials that each filters a specific set of wavelengths of light.
  • It is unique and advantageous in terms of flexibility, simplicity, and cost reduction.