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Science & Technology Current
Science & Technology Current Affairs January 3rd week 2016
Author : uppy
Category : Science & Technology Current
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Science & Technology Current Affairs January 3rd week 2016

1) IMD changed the languages and also redefined many of its terms.

  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has changed the languages and also redefined many of its terms to make the interface more audience friendly and fill the communication with civil administration.
  • An official notification has been issued by the India Meteorological Department which lists out some new terms and redefined others, thus, doing away with the outdated language.
  • The changes have been made in order to understand the upcoming weather events and reports of the department more appropriately.
Major changes introduced by the department :
Normal: ± 10 per cent of the long period average (lpa).
Below normal: Rainfall lower than 10 per cent below average of the lpa.
Above normal: Rainfall greater than 10 per cent above average of the lpa.
Deficient year: Rainfall deficit between 10 and 20 per cent up to 40 per cent of India’s spatial area.
Large deficient year: Rainfall deficit of over 10 per cent across more than 40 per cent of India’s area.
 
IMD’s new standardised key terms
 
Heat wave: Temperatures greater than 4.5 Degrees Celsius above usual temperatures for the region.
Severe heat wave: Temperatures greater than or equal to 47 Degrees Celsius.
Cold wave: Temperatures less than 4.5 Degrees Celsius below usual temperatures for the region.
Severe cold wave: Minimum temperature is 2 Degrees Celsius or lower.
 
India Meteorological Department
  • IMD is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India.
  • It is the principal agency in the country responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology.
  • Headquartered in New Delhi, the IMD operates hundreds of observation stations across India and Antarctica.
2) The Coast Guards of India and Japan conducted their 15th joint exercise off the coast of Chennai.
  • The Coast Guards of India and Japan conducted their 15th joint exercise off the coast of Chennai. India’s Coast Guard vessel Samudra Pehredar and the Japanese vessel Echigo were berthed at Chennai Port for the bilateral training called Sahyog-Kaijin 2016.
  • The highlight of the joint exercise was anti-piracy. However, search and rescue operations and interoperability between the two forces was also given emphasis.
  • The exercise also involved Indian coast guard ships like Rajkamal, Vishwast, Rajtarang, Hovercraft, C-415, C-417, one Dornier and one Chetak helicopter.
About Sahayog-Kaijin:
  • The Sahayog-Kaijin is a bilateral exercise, which is a part of the cooperative arrangements between two Coast Guards for the last 15 years.
  • The exercise is also a part of the Memorandum on Cooperation, which was signed between India and Japan in 2006.
  • It is a biennial bilateral exercise and the venue shifts in both countries on alternate occasions.
3) DRDO test fired its indigenously developed, fire-and-forget anti-tank missile, Nag.
  • DRDO has test fired its indigenously developed, fire-and-forget anti-tank missile, Nag. It successfully hit the target 4 km away during a night trial in the Mahajan Field Firing Range, Rajasthan.
  • DRDO used the Thermal Target System (TTS) developed by a defence laboratory at Jodhpur as target for the missile during the test fire of Nag anti-tank missile. Thermal Target System (TTS) imitated the target similar to operational tank. This was possible as thermal mapping from tank to TTS was carried out for generating thermal signature.
  • After this trial DRDO stated that Nag missile is now ready for final, pre-induction user trials.
  • This anti-tank missile Nag uses HEAT (High explosive anti-tank). It can destroy modern tanks with armoured protection by nullifying their ERA (explosive reactive armour).
NAG:
  • Nag is a third generation fire-and-forget, anti-tank missile developed in India.
  • It is one of five missile systems developed by the DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP).
  • This anti-tank missile, Nag is equipped with Imaging-Infrared seeker which will help in guiding the missile to its target after its launch.
  • The Nag is claimed to be the first anti-tank missile which has a complete fiberglass structure. It can engage targets in the range of 4–5 km.
About DRDO:
  • DRDO was formed in 1958.
  • It was formed by the merging of Technical Development Establishment (TDEs) of Indian Army and the Directorate of Technical Development and Production (DTDP) with the Defence Science Organisation (DSO).
  • Currently, DRDO is a network of more than 50 laboratories which are engaged in strengthening the technological aspect of Indian Armed Forces.
  •  
January 16
 
The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) successfully test-fired Nag anti-tank missile.
The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) successfully test-fired Nag anti-tank missile at the Mahajan Field Firing Range in Rajasthan.
The test was conducted during a night trial to validate the enhanced 4-km range capability of Imaging-Infrared seeker, which guides the missile to the target after its launch.
During the test, the Thermal Target System (TTS) was used as target for the missile. The TTS simulated a target similar to an operational tank as thermal mapping from tank to TTS was carried out for generating thermal signature.
Features of Nag missile
It is a third generation fire-and-forget and can be fired anti-tank missile. It can be fired during night and day as well.
It is equipped with top attack capability to nullify the explosive reactive armour (ERA) of a battle tank.
It weighs 42 kg having 1.90m length and can be fired against both moving and fixed targets.
Besides HeliNa, a helicopter versrion, it has land, air-launched and man portable (weighing 14 kg) versions.
It has been developed at a cost of 300 crore rupees by the DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
 
China has begun preparations for a new lunar mission in 2018.
China has begun preparations for a new lunar mission in 2018. It has planned to send a probe to the dark side of the moon not explored by humans so far. The far side of the moon is never visible to Earth because of gravitational forces and has never been explored.
The Chang’e-4 probe will be the first mission in human history to embark on this expedition. China already boasts mature science and technology for sending a probe to the far side of the moon, and is open to cooperation with international society.
China’s high-profile space programme attracted rare criticism from the country’s official media after NASA’s announcement of existence of flowing water on Mars last year.
Mangalyaan also stole a march over China in 2015, making India the first Asian country to orbit the red planet.
China has an advanced space programme with a first soft-landing on the moon with Chang’e-3 in December 2013, which is still sending messages back to Earth.
 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has declared that its spacecraft Juno has broken the Solar Power Distance Record.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has declared that its spacecraft Juno has broken the Solar Power Distance Record. The solar powered spacecraft of NASA named Juno broke the previous record of travelling farthest distance set by Rosetta spacecraft of the European Space Agency.
NASA’s Juno travelled 793 million kilometer to break this record on January 13, 2016. Before this, Rosetta spacecraft of the European Space Agency travelled till 792 million kilometers.
About Spacecraft Juno:
Juno was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (in USA) on August 5, 2011.
The Juno mission is being managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
Juno is carrying 9 meter long three solar arrays tying 18,698 individual solar cells. Total weight of Juno is about 4 tonne.
Juno has 28 percent conversion rate turning sunlight into power it can make energy with limited amount of sunlight.
Juno is a NASA’s New Frontiers mission to the planet Jupiter. It is scheduled to reach Jupiter on July 4, 2016.
 

 

4) A mosquito-borne virus called Zinka was found that the virus is spreading rapidly through the American continent.

  • A mosquito-borne virus called Zinka was found that the virus is spreading rapidly through the American continent. The first case was confirmed in Texas, USA in January 2016 when a traveler returning from Latin America.
  • The disease caused by this virus is not fatal and lasts up to a week, but it was identified that there is a possible link between the virus and a birth defect called microcephaly that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads and potential developmental problems.
About Zinka virus:
  • It is a virus that can make people sick with rash, fever, joint pain, and pinkeye, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
  • It is related to other mosquito-borne illnesses including Dengue and Chikungunya that are considered rising threats as global travel increases their reach.
  • It can be transmitted when someone with the virus is bitten by a mosquito and then that mosquito bites another human.
  • The virus can move to new areas when mosquitoes hitch a ride on travelers or cargo, or when infected patients travel to new territory and are bitten by mosquitoes there.
  • The Zika virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947.
  • For a long time it was an obscure disease with only occasional infections in humans.
  • According to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine in January 2015, it moved through Africa and Asia to Pacific islands.
5) Chinese scientists have developed a new bio-artificial liver.
  • Chinese scientists have developed a new bio-artificial liver that can help patients to survive from liver failure long enough for an organ transplant.
  • It has been developed by team of researchers from the Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences and doctors from Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital.
Key facts
  • The bio-artificial liver is based on human liver cells and has been designed to be attached outside a patient’s body.
  • This liver device is based on cells taken from human fat, skin or other tissues and is reprogrammed into liver cells.
  • It can help to prolong lives of patients with liver failure by recovering patients’ liver functions till suitable donor livers for a transplant is found.
6) NASA astronaut Scott Kelly has tweeted a photo of the first ever flower (Zinnia) grown in space.
  • The first flower has finally bloomed in outer space. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly has tweeted a photo of the first ever flower (Zinnia) grown in space.
  • The flower was grown as part of an experiment astronauts are conducting on how plants grow in microgravity. Besides the flower, the team also grew lettuce in space, after a failed first attempt.
  • Despite fears of over-watering, the crew coaxed the zinnias into a burst of colour in their zero-g vegetable garden. Zinnias are edible blooming plants that are usually on the easy ends in the spectrum to grow.
  • The flowers were grown inside the Veggie lab aboard International Space Station (ISS) which was installed in early May 2014. With the success of this experiment, Zinnia has become the first flowering plant grown outside Earth’s atmosphere.
  • The flowers appear similar to those grown on Earth, except for the curled edges of the petals, which could be due to the zero-gravity conditions.
7) An unmanned SpaceX Falcon rocket exploded on landing after successfully delivering an ocean monitoring satellite to orbit.
  • An unmanned SpaceX Falcon rocket exploded on landing after successfully delivering an ocean monitoring satellite to orbit. The cause of the problem was that one of the rocket’s legs collapsed as it tried to land on a floating ocean barge.
  • The rocket company had managed a historic first controlled return of an orbital stage last month. This footage of the landing was posted online by SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk.
  • Despite the explosive result, this is the closest the company has come to successfully landing a booster at sea. The rocket’s main mission, to launch the Jason-3 ocean monitoring satellite, was a resounding success.
About SpaceX:
  • Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) is an American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company with its headquarters in Hawthorne, California, USA.
  • It was founded in 2002 by formerPayPal entrepreneur and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk with the goal of creating the technologies to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars.
8) With Chinese nuclear and conventional submarine hunters regularly popping up in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
  • With Chinese nuclear and conventional submarine hunters regularly popping up in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), India now begun to deploy its latest long-range maritime patrol aircraft as well as spy drones at its forward military base in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • According to defence ministry two of the country’s most potent submarine hunters/killers, the naval Poseidon-8I aircraft, are just about to complete their first-ever two-week deployment to the strategically-located Andaman and Nicobar archipelago.
  • With an operating range of over 1,200 nautical miles and a maximum speed of 907 kmph, the radar-packed P-8Is are especially geared to gather intelligence and detect threats in the IOR as “intelligent hawk-eyes”.
  • P-8Is can operate from Port Blair (naval air station INS Utkrosh) to keep tabs on the entire region. But while this is a much-needed operational requirement, India’s first and only theatre command in the shape of Andaman & Nicobar Command (ANC) continues to suffer from relative neglect despite the Modi government making it a top priority.
9) YouTube Returns to Pakistan after Three-Year Ban.
  • After over three years of being told to ‘Surf safely’, Internet users in the country were able to access the popular video-sharing website, YouTube, following orders from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) that the website be unblocked.
  • However, digital rights groups and other stakeholders, who had originally opposed the blocking of the website, still have concerns over the deal struck between the government and Google which may empower the former to censor content on the website.
  • YouTube was blocked in September 2012, after a blasphemous film, ‘Innocence of Muslims’ triggered global protests.
  • About YouTube
  • Founded February 14, 2005
  • Headquarters: San Bruno, California, United States
  • Founder(s): Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, Jawed Karim
  • Slogan(s): Broadcast Yourself (2005–2012)

 

10) ISRO successfully launched the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) 1-E satellite.

  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully launched the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) 1-E satellite. The satellite will provide navigation, tracking and mapping services to the Indian sub continent.
  • The satellite is the fifth of the IRNSS constellation. It was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR), Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on-board the PSLV-C31.
  • The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)-C31 was the 32nd consecutively successful mission of the PSLV. The `XL` configuration of PSLV was used for this mission.
  • This is the eleventh time ‘XL’ configuration was flown, earlier ten being PSLV-C11/ Chandrayaan-1, PSLV-C17/ GSAT-12, PSLV-C19/ RISAT-1, PSLV-C22/ IRNSS-1A, PSLV-C25/ Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, PSLV-C24/ IRNSS-1B, PSLV-C26/ IRNSS-1C, PSLV-C27/ IRNSS-1D, PSLV-C28/ DMC-3 and PSLV-C30/ASTROSAT missions.
Features of IRNSS-1E:
  • IRNSS-1E, weighing 1425 kg, is the fifth of the seven satellites constituting the IRNSS.
  • IRNSS-1A, 1B and 1C and 1D, the first four satellites of the constellation, were successfully launched by PSLV in July 2013, April 2014, October 2014 and March 2015 respectively.
  • IRNSS -1E carries two types of payloads – navigation payload and ranging payload.
  • The navigation payload of IRNSS-1E will transmit navigation service signals to the users. This payload will be operating in L5-band and S-band.
  • A highly accurate Rubidium atomic clock is part of the navigation payload of the satellite.
  • The ranging payload of IRNSS-1E consists of a C-band transponder which facilitates accurate determination of the range of the satellite. IRNSS-1E also carries Corner Cube Retro Reflectors for laser ranging.
Features of IRNSS:
  • It consists of seven satellites to provide real-time data on the position of objects to aid road, air and maritime traffic apart from providing mapping and tracking services.
  • It is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland.
  • It would provide two types of services, namely, Standard Positioning Services (SPS), which will be provided to all users, and Restricted Services (RS) that will be provided to authorised users only.
  • Out of the seven satellites of the system, three are geostationary and four are non-geostationary.
  • The remaining satellites of this constellation, namely, IRNSS-1F and IRNSS-1G, are expected to be launched in February 2016 and March 2016 respectively.
  • By using the IRNSS as a platform, the Government of India is planning to launch its own Global Navigational Satellite Services, GINS (Global Indian Navigation Satellite) system. It is similar to the Global Positioning System (GPS) of the USA.
11) IBM signed a MoU with the NRSC to monitor the mining activities in the country through satellite technology.
  • Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) has signed a MoU with the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) to monitor the mining activities in the country through satellite technology.
  • As part of the MoU, IBM would set up an exclusive remote sensing cell under the technical guidance of the NRSC at its offices in Nagpur and Hyderabad.
Key facts:
  • The remote sensing cell will utilise web-based Bhuvan GIS (Geographic Information System) services for monitoring mining activities.
  • Initially pilot project will be undertaken to demonstrate the feasibility of using high resolution satellite imagery in monitoring the changes over a period of time in select group of mines.
  • MoU envisage to train IBM staff to use the modern technology in the course of time and would be extended to the State Governments.
About Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) :
  • IBM is a multi-disciplinary government organization under the aegis of Department of Mines, of Union Ministry of Mines.
  • It was established in 1948. It is engaged in promotion of scientific development of mineral resources, conservation and protection of environment in mines other than petroleum & natural gas, coal, atomic minerals and minor minerals.
12) Researchers have discovered a new genus of tree hole-breeding frogs named Frankixalus.
  • Researchers have discovered a new genus of tree hole-breeding frogs named Frankixalus in the forests of northeast India and bordering parts of China.
  • It was discovered by team of researchers led by Professor Sathyabhama Das Biju who is popularly known as the frogman of India.
Key facts:
  • The new genus has been named after Professor Franky Bossuyt of Brussel based Vrije Universiteit for his contribution in amphibian research.
  • Frog populations of this genus live in pools of water in the trunks of canopy trees especially in tree holes.
  • They live in low-resource environments which are common practice among frogs and tadpoles of these frogs eat their mother’s eggs for sustenance.
13) Hundreds of endangered Olive Ridley turtles, besides a bottlenose dolphin, were found dead on Puri beach in Odisha.
  • Hundreds of endangered Olive Ridley turtles, besides a bottlenose dolphin, were found dead on Puri beach in Odisha. The turtles were lying scattered stretching from Digabarini and Chakratirtha Road on the Puri beach.
  • Forest department officials revealed that the turtles may have been hit by trawlers fishing along the Puri beach in Orissa.
  • Local fishermen often flout the ban on fishing along the coast, disturbing the natural nesting space of turtles.
  • Olive ridley is one of the five species of marine turtles to mate and nest on India’s shores. The turtles come in “large numbers to Gahirmatha, mouth of rivers Devi and Rushikulya in Orissa coast, for annual nesting.
  • Tens of thousands of olive ridley turtles also come to the shores of southern India to lay eggs every year between January and April. 
14) Scientists have discovered a new bird species named Himalayan Forest Thrush in northeastern India.
  • Scientists have discovered a new bird species named Himalayan Forest Thrush in northeastern India and adjacent parts of China.
  • It has been given scientific name Zoothera salimalii after ornithologist and naturalist Salim Ali who has made significant contributions to ornithology in India.
Key facts:
  • Himalayan Forest Thrush bird was first noticed at different elevations with similarities to other bird species Plain-backed Thrush.
  • But both of them have two different song types. It has as a longer bill, shorter wings and shorter legs.
  • It is found in the rocky habitats above the tree-line in North eastern Himalayas. Background The Himalayan Forest Thrush is only the fourth new bird species to be discovered in India since Independence.
15) NASA announced that it had formalized its ongoing program for detecting and tracking NEOs.
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that it had formalized its ongoing program for detecting and tracking near-Earth objects (NEOs) as the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO).
  • It will remain within NASA`s Planetary Science Division under Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
Main functions of PDCO:
  • It will supervise all NASA-funded projects to find and characterize asteroids and comets that pass near the orbit of the Earth around the sun.
  • It will take a lead role in coordinating interagency and intergovernmental efforts in response to any potential hazards that impact Earth.
  • It will continue to assist to coordinate Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), other U.S. agencies and international counterparts to participate in the precautionary actions against an actual impact hazard.
  • NASA started discovering the NEOs in 1998 and since then 13500 NEOs were discovered with 1500 new addition every year.
  • It was engaged in worldwide planning for planetary defense for some time.
EU-sponsored NEOShield:
  • Other countries also are engaged in programs to deflect asteroid or comets that could hit the Earth.
  • For instance, European Union (EU) sponsored NEOShield programme wherein Russian scientists have been contracted to develop methods to use nuclear weapons to deflect or destroy asteroids or comets that have the potential to hit the Earth and wipe out life from the planet.
16) India and Oman will conduct 10th edition of bilateral maritime exercise ‘Naseem Al Bahr’.
  • India and Oman will conduct 10th edition of bilateral maritime exercise ‘Naseem Al Bahr’ in the Arabian Sea from January 22 to January 27, 2016. Two Oman Navy ships RNOV Al-Shamikh and RNOV Al-Seeb, which will also participate in IFR 2016, entered the port of Goa.
  • These ships are on their way to participate in the International Fleet Review scheduled at Visakhapatnam scheduled from February 4 to February 9, 2016.
  • According to Ministry of Defence, Naseem Al Bahr epitomises the strong long term strategic relationship between the two countries. Initiated in 1993, the exercise has matured over the years with increasing scope, complexity of operations and level of participation.
About Exercise:
  • During the exercise, the Indian Navy will be represented by INS Trikand and INS Trishul.
  • In addition, Fast Attack Craft, Maritime Patrol Aircraft and integral helicopters are scheduled to participate in the bilateral exercise.
  • The exercise will be progressed in two phases. First will be Harbour Phase which will be conducted from January 22 to January 24 at Goa and second will be Sea Phase which will be conducted from January 24 to 27, 2016 off the Goa coast.

 


 

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