Science & Technology Current
Science & Technology Current Affairs February 2nd Week 2016
Category : Science & Technology Current
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1) NASA’s New Horizons mission spotted floating hills on Pluto.
  • NASA’s New Horizons mission spotted the nitrogen ice glaciers on Pluto appeared to carry numerous isolated hills which are likely to be the fragments of water ice, as per the press release of NASA.
  • As the nitrogen-dominated ice is dense than water ice, it is believed that newly found water ice hills are floating in a sea of frozen nitrogen and resembles icebergs in Earth’s Arctic Ocean.
  • These hills individually measure one to several miles or kilometers across.
  • These hills are another example of Pluto’s fascinating and abundant geological activity and are likely to be fragments of the rugged uplands and smaller versions of the large and jumbled mountains on Sputnik Planum’s western border.
  • The convective motions of the nitrogen ice and are pushed to the edges of the cells where the hills cluster in groups reaching up to 12 miles across.
  • At the northern end of the image, the feature informally named Challenger Colles.
  • The image was obtained by New Horizons’ Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) instrument and it measures a little over 500 kilometers long and about 340 kilometers wide.
2) Paper waste turned into non-toxic green Aerogel for first time.
  • For the first time, scientists from National University of Singapore (NUS) have successfully converted paper waste into green nontoxic cellulose aerogels.
  • Aerogels are among the lightest solid materials in the world and are also one of the finest insulation materials available.
  • Green Aerogels are ultra-light, non-toxic, extremely strong, flexible and water repellent. It is obtained by converting paper waste into biodegradable Aerogels which is a simple, cost-effective and fast method.
Characteristic Features :
  1. It has low thermal conductivity.
  2. It super high oil absorption capacity i.e. 4 times higher than commercial sorbents.
  3. Its fabrication process uses 70 per cent less energy and produces fewer polluting emissions into the air and water.
  4. It should be noted that traditional aerogels are mainly made of silica which is not environment-friendly process of manufacturing it.
3) North Korea launches long range rocket.
  • North Korea launched a long-range rocket carrying what it has called a satellite, but its neighbours and Washington denounced the launch as a missile test, conducted in defiance of UN sanctions and just weeks after a nuclear bomb test.
  • North Korea said the launch of its satellite Kwangmyongsong-4, named after late leader Kim Jong Il, was a "complete success" and that it was making a polar orbit of the earth every 94 minutes.
  • The launch prompted South Korea and the United States to announce that they would explore the feasibility of deploying an advanced missile defence system in South Korea, which China and Russia both oppose, ``at the earliest possible date``.
  • North Korea’s National Aerospace Development Administration called the launch.
  • “An epochal event in developing the country’s science, technology, economy and defence capability by legitimately exercising the right to use space for independent and peaceful purposes”. 
4) Delhi police to use space tech for crime control.
  • The Delhi Police will soon start using space technology for live crime mapping and adopting a "predictive policing" mechanism being developed in partnership with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • "The Crime Mapping, Analytics and Predictive System (CMAPS) is being operationalised by Delhi Police in partnership with ISRO.
  • The system would help in crime control and law and order and security management through analysis of relevant data and patterns, leading to the optimisation of available resources.
  • The system will be complete with police officials being equipped with Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) devices connected to a central processor.
  • The PDA stores records of more than two lakh criminals.
  • Essentially, through this system police will be able to identify areas which has mass gathering, chain snatching, etc, using coordinates and GPS information.
5) India-Nepal Combined Military Exercise Surya Kiran IX.
  • The 9th edition of India-Nepal Combined Military Exercise Surya Kiran IX has commenced at Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand.
  • The 14-day-long combined battalion Level exercise is being conducted under the aegis of Panchshul Brigade of Central Command.
Key facts:
  1. Indian Army is being represented by Infantry Battalion while from Nepalese Army, officers and troops of the elite Shree Rudra Dhoj Battalion are participating.
  2. During Surya Kiran IX, both armies will focus on upgradation of practical and tactical skills by sharing each other’s experiences.
  3. They will also focus on enhancing interoperability in Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare operations in mountain terrain.
6) New species of Hydroid discovered in Red Sea.
  • An international team of biologists have discovered a new species of hydroid polyps emitting green fluorescence in the Red Sea.
  • These species were found during the investigations of the biodiversity of coral reefs of the archipelago Farasan south of the Red Sea near Saudi Arabia.
  • Researchers observed marine life under the ultraviolet (UV) light with yellow filters.
Key points:
  1. These hydroid polyps (also called hydrozoas) are presumably a new species of the genus Cytaeis whose body length reaches 1.5 mm.
  2. They were found to be emitting green light in association with the gastropod Nassarius margaritifer in the night.
  3. The new species are living in colonies as garlands of ‘fluorescent lanterns’ and emitting a green glow around the mouth of polyps may attract prey. 

7) Alcohol allows bacteria to infiltrate into liver.

  • Alcohol allows gut bacteria to migrate to the liver, promoting alcohol-induced liver disease, a new study has warned.
  • Researchers from University of California (UC), San Diego in US conduced the study in mice and in laboratory samples.
  • chronic alcohol consumption is associated with lower intestinal levels of REG3 lectins, which are naturally occurring antimicrobials.
  • In the new study, researchers discovered that REG3G deficiency promotes progression of alcohol-induced liver disease.
  • Mice engineered to lack REG3G and fed alcohol for eight weeks were more susceptible to bacterial migration from the gut to the liver than normal mice who received the same amount of alcohol.
8) Three IT enabled Applications for railways launched.
  • On the sidelines of the Digital India initiative, the Union Ministry of Railways launched three Information Technology (IT) enabled applications to bring transparency in the Indian Railways.
  • Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu launched these app projects.
Three IT enabled apps are:
(1) Hand Held Terminals for TTEs: It is pilot project of Northern Railway that will help in updating status of passenger list of the whole train.
Based on the list food-chart/ occupancy chart will be manually prepared.
(2) Paperless unreserved ticketing mobile application: It can be used for booking unreserved tickets on many suburban and some long distance routes.
(3) E-booking of disposable linen on trains: Allows passengers to avail bedroll kits through online booking and from IRCTC set up select outlets on the station.
9) Neem extract may help treat Pancreatic Cancer: Study.
  • A natural extract derived from the neem tree, commonly found in India, could potentially be used to treat pancreatic cancer without harming normal, healthy cells, a new study has claimed.
  • The study was conducted by scientists from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso).
  • Scientists have tested nimbolide, a compound found in neem leaves against pancreatic cancer in cell lines and mice.
  • The results have showed that this natural compound can stop pancreatic cancer’s growth and metastasis without harming healthy, normal cells in vitro and in vivo experiments.
  • In the tests, it was also observed that nimbolide was able to reduce the migration and invasion capabilities of pancreatic cancer cells by 70 per cent.
  • It was also found that after Nimbolide was induced cancer cells, it reduced the size and number of pancreatic cancer cell colonies by 80 per cent.