Science & Technology Current
May 2011 Science & Technology Current Affairs
Category : Science & Technology Current
posted Date :
Total No.of views :
Total No.of Comments :
0 / 5 (0 votes)

India successfully test fired indigenously developed air-to-air Astra interceptor missile with an 80 km range from Chandipur in Orissa first on 20 May and then again on 21 May 2011. Astra is one of the smallest missiles developed by the DRDO in terms of size and weight. Developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Beyond-Visual-Range Air-to-Air missile was test-fired with an objective to study the modifications incorporated in its main frame and flight systems. The missile was test-fired to gauge performance of its motor, propulsion system and the configurations of the vehicle and aero-dynamics performance.            
Union Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh on 24 May 2011 launched an elephant conservation programme, Hathi Mere Sathi on lines of the National Tiger Conservation Authority. The objective of the programme is to protect elephants as the mining projects in Central India pose great threat to Elephant corridors especially in the states of Orissa, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand. The Government had in 2010 declared the Elephant as the National Heritage Animal of the country. There are over 26000 elephants in India, out which one third are held in captivity.

India`s advanced communication satellite GSAT-8 was successfully launched into its geosynchronous transfer orbit by Arianespace`s launch vehicle Ariane-5 from Kourou in French Guyana on 21 May 2011. India`s GSAT-8 which is the largest and heaviest satellite built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and its partners was one of the two satellites on the flight. The other, an even heavier satellite weighing five tonnes, was from Singapore and Taiwan. Weighing about 3100 Kg, GSAT-8 is configured to carry 24 high-power transponders and a two channel GPS-aided GEO Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) payload. India`s GSAT-8 is the 20th satellite designed and built indigenously by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to meet this country`s requirements for space capacity in communications and broadcasting.      
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) launched Space Shuttle, Endeavour on 16 May 2011 from the Kennedy Space Centre, Florida for its final mission. The Space Shuttle, Endeavour carried a particle physics experiment to the International Space Station. The particle physics experiment is worth of 2 billion dollars. Once the Endeavour will be set in its orbit, it will deploy its payload, the 7.5-ton Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS).
An engineer from the University of Missouri developed a flexible solar sheet that captures more than 90 percent of available light. Today’s solar planes only collect about 20 percent of available light. This new device was developed by using a thin mouldable sheet of small antennas called nantenna. It could harvest the heat from industrial processes and convert it into usable electricity. Within five years the new discovery could be incorporated into roof shingle products, or be custom-made to power vehicles.

Gujarat High Court ordered the release of 494 birds held captive in cages. Justice MR Shah passed the order in response to several petitions which raised the issue whether birds have a right to live freely or whether they can be kept in cages. The caged birds were confiscated by police under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and under section 12 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.The Gujarat high court in its judgment stated that it is the fundamental right of the bird to live freely in the open sky. To keep birds in cages is equal to illegal confinement of the birds.           
The researchers from the University of Toronto Mississauga discovered 47-million-year old fossil of a lizard called Cryptolacerta hassiaca provided the first anatomical evidence that the body shapes of snakes and limbless lizards evolved independently. The fossil of the lizard revealed that amphisbaenians are not closely related to snakes. Instead of they are related to lacertids, a group of limbed lizards from Europe, Asia and Africa. Discovery of this fossil deny the theory that snakes and other burrowing reptiles had a common ancestry. Actually, their body shapes evolved independently.            
Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh declared that the Union government had approved two more tiger reserves in Karnataka. Following the government’s approval, B.R. Hills in Chamarajanagar district and Kudremukh in Chikmagalur district became the 40th and 41st tiger reserves in the country. The minister also observed that shifting of the 700 families living in the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary was one of the most successful examples of relocation in the India.            
The expert group on strategies for low carbon growth submitted its report. The expert group was headed by Kirit Parikh. The expert group was set up in the aftermath of the December 2009 Copenhagen Summit with the objective of suggesting a low carbon growth strategy including sector-specific initiatives. The report by the expert group suggested a possibility of a higher range of emission intensity reduction up to 35% by 2020 over 2005 level. The Parikh expert group found that implementing the existing policies would make sure an emission intensity reduction of almost 25% at growth rate of 8% and a 24% reduction at 9% growth. The expert group further stated that fuel efficiency in transport sector, including the railways, emission cut in industries like steel, oil, cement and gas by adopting new technologies will be the part of a low carbon strategy.            
The Indian Union Ministry of Environment gave its approval to India’s first Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) specialising in infrastructure development in Himalayan region in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh. The IIT with 8000 students and 800 faculty members will be spread in an area of 500 hectares in Kamand region of the district. Of this land, 125 hectares will be forestland.

The Union Minister of Environment and forests, Jairam Ramesh stated on 6 May 2011 that it had cleared the 400 MW Maheshwar hydroelectric power project on the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh. The ministry had given stop-work order after it was discovered that the Shree Maheshwar Hydel Power Corporation had failed to implement its resettlement and resettlement programme meant for people living in villages whose homes will be destroyed because of the construction of dam. The Narmada Bachao Andolan had spearheaded the protest against the project.            
Pig-nosed Turtles are facing extinction threat because of large scale poaching. The demand for tortoise meat is high because people think that it has aphrodisiacal qualities. Pig-nosed turtle is listed on the IUCN red list of threatened species. It was added to the list in 1996.Pig-nosed Turtle weigh over 20 kg and grows to about 70 cm in shell length. The turtle is best adapted to an aquatic lifestyle with the exception of marine turtles.

Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) unveiled a supercomputer on 2 May 2011, which is to be India`s fastest supercomputer in terms of theoretical peak performance of 220 TeraFLOPS (220 Trillion Floating Point Operations per second). The supercomputing facility named as Satish Dhawan Supercomputing Facility is located at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram.The new Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) based supercomputer named SAGA-220 (Supercomputer for Aerospace with GPU Architecture-220 TeraFLOPS) is being used by space scientists for solving complex aerospace problems. The supercomputer SAGA-220 was inaugurated by Dr K Radhakrishnan, Chairman, ISRO at VSSC.SAGA-220 Supercomputer is fully designed and built by Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre using commercially available hardware, open source software components and in house developments.            
The first American in space, late Alan Shepard, was honoured with his own stamp on 4 May 2011 on the eve of the 50th anniversary of his flight. The success of Shepard`s flight had helped lead America to the moon. Shepard later became the fifth man to walk on the moon. He died in 1998 at age 74.The Postal Service dedicated the Forever stamp to commemorate Shepard`s suborbital flight on 5 May 1961. He is the first astronaut to be honoured, all by himself, on a stamp. Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first man to go to space and he had defeated Alan Shepard by one month.            
On 3 May 2011, the Department of the Environment and Forests of India declared of setting up a National Environmental Appraisal and Monitoring Authority (NEAMA) as a part of efforts to bring in institutional reforms and improve environmental governance. As a professional, science-based and autonomous entity tasked with environmental appraisals and monitoring of compliance, NEAMA is planned to mark a major improvement over the prevailing system of the institutional reforms and environmental governance.NEAMA is expected be more effective in addressing conflict of interest issues through separation of the processes of appraisal and approval. The appraised projects look for an approval of the Department of the Environment and Forests of India to ensure the principle of executive accountability.

First Ministerial Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Non-communicable Disease Control was organised in Moscow by World Health Organisation on 28 and 29 April 2011. At the conference mental disorders was included in the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) list at India’s insistence. India achieved a major success on the global platform by pushing for inclusion of mental health in the list of non-communicable diseases. Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad led the Indian delegation to Moscow.Mental health as a NCD was adopted in the Moscow Declaration on 29 April 2011. It was agreed that that NCDs such as mental disorders significantly contribute to the global disease burden.