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Science & Technology Current
Science & Technology Current Affairs April 3rd Week 2016
Author : Sandhya
Category : Science & Technology Current
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Science & Technology Current Affairs April 3rd Week 2016

1) Trees trade carbon among each other.

  • A chance discovery in a mixed forest in Switzerland reveals that tree-to-tree interaction in forests goes beyond mere competition for resources.
  • Trees in temperate forests share carbon through their root systems, with up to 40 percent of the element in finer roots coming from their neighbors trees.
  • The finding may lead to better ways to protect forests or bolster the storage of soil carbon.
  • Human-driven activities have been releasing vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere since industrialisation began two hundred years ago.
  • Consequently, there is a lot of interest in understanding to what degree forests the largest terrestrial pool of biological carbon, are able to absorb this amount, thereby mitigating climate change.
  • The scientists strongly suspect that this interaction is mediated by networks of symbiotic fungi called mycorrhiza which connect the roots of different trees. 
2) Infosys co-founder launched app `Itihaasa` chronicling Indian IT journey.
  • S. `Kris` Gopalakrishnan, co-founder Infosys, announced the launch of itihaasa, a first-of-its-kind digital app that recounts the history of Indian IT since the 1950s.
  • The app `itihaasa` is one of the largest chronicles of its kind with 600 videos featuring 44 technology stalwarts.
  • The app follows the installation of the country’s first modern computer in 1955 to crystal gazing on Indian IT in 2040.
  • The app contains 600 short videos, over 37 hours of footage, 350 archived photographs and articles and easy browsing with 12,000 tags.
  • The app, which took about eight months to develop, will be maintained by a team sitting at IIIT-Bengaluru.
  • Using the app, they can find answers to questions like when was programming first taught in India or who were the earliest IT entrepreneurs. The app will be available for free on Apple and Android phones or tablets.
3) Malaria treatment will become more effective.
  • Scientists have found that resistance to a key anti-malarial drug cannot be passed on by mosquitoes, a breakthrough that could drastically improve the way we battle the disease.
  • Malaria treatment significantly more effective for the 3.2 billion people at risk.
  • The international research project was led by the University of Melbourne and focused on the drug atovaquone.
  • Atovaquone was introduced in 2000 and is safe for pregnant women and children, so it is one of the few anti-malarials that can be used in mass administration approaches.
  • Malaria parasites had developed a genetic mutation that protected them against the drug in early life, the mutation eventually killed the parasites by stopping production of an essential type of energy as they grew.
  • The researchers studied a model strain of rodent malaria and a deadly strain of human malaria to confirm the resistant parasites could not be spread by mosquitoes, thereby preventing the re-infection of humans. 

 

4) NASA missions measure solar flare from space.

  • Scientists, using NASA`s solar-watching missions, have captured the most comprehensive observations of an electromagnetic phenomenon called `current sheet (solar flares).
  • The strongest solar flares can impact Earths ionosphere and interfere with our communications systems, like radio and Global Positioning System (GPS), and also disrupt onboard satellite electronics.
  • Solar flares are intense bursts of light from the Sun, created when complicated magnetic fields suddenly rearrange themselves, converting magnetic energy into light through a process called magnetic reconnection.
  • Current sheets form when two oppositely-aligned magnetic fields come in close contact, creating very high magnetic pressure.
  • Electric current flowing through this high-pressure area is squeezed, compressing it down to a fast and thin sheet.
  • Scientists want to pin down the processes that create solar flares and even some day predict them before our communications can be interrupted.

5) ISRO Scientists made world’s lightest material `Silica Aerogel`.

  • Scientists from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have indigenously developed world’s lightest synthetic material called ‘silica aerogel’ or ‘blue air’.
  • Silica Aerogel is the lightest synthetic material ever made by man.
  • It was developed by the team of scientist from ISRO’s e Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.
  • The matrix of aerogel is made up of 99 per cent air. In its present development stage it is still very fragile and brittle.
  • The material is so light weight that it can be delicately placed on a flower head.
  • It has an excellent thermal resistance and if it is used as filler in soldiers` uniforms it can save many lives at the Siachen glacier.
  • The material can be used both in space and on Earth. Scientists also hope it can be used to insulate rocket engines. 

6) Pakistan to launch satellite to monitor China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects.

  • China and Pakistan have signed an agreement for the launch of a special satellite to monitor the development of the multi-billion dollars China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.
  • The two sides agreed for the development and launch of the `Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS-1) System` and in this regard launch a satellite in June 2018.
  • This agreement will also transfer space technology to Pakistan as the PRSS-1 is considered as yet another flagship project between China-Pakistan after CPEC.
  • The new project would also help Pakistan in national security arena by strengthening border security and surveillance apparatus.
7) Scientists modify gene to make humans immune to HIV.
  • Researchers from the Guangzhou Medical University , Beijing in China used a gene editing technique named CRISPR/ Cas to replace the CCR5 gen modify gene e in 26 human embryos with an HIV-resistant mutation.
  • The HIV resistant mutation could be introduced into early human embryos through the CRISPR system.
  • Using CRISPR/ Cas9, the researchers introduced HIV-resistance into the embryos, showcasing the tremendous potential for gene-editing.
  • The Chinese scientists modified a gene responsible for a fatal blood disorder, but the embryos were quickly destroyed after the experiment.
  • This technology ever reach the clinical stage, it could be used to eliminate all sorts of genetic diseases.
 
8) NASA Tests 3D-Printed Rocket Engine for Mars, Deep Space Missions.
  • NASA has successfully tested a 3D printed rocket engine fuel pump with liquid methane, an ideal propellant for engines needed to power spacecraft for future journey to Mars.
  • This is one of the most complex rocket parts NASA has ever tested with liquid methane, a propellant that would work well for fuelling Mars landers and other spacecraft.
  • These tests along with manufacturing and testing of injectors and other rocket engine parts are paving the way for advancements in 3D printing of complex rocket engines and more efficient production of future spacecraft.
  • 3D printing, made it possible to quickly design, build and test two turbopumps with identical designs that worked well with both liquid methane and liquid hydrogen propellant.
  • The higher temperature of liquid methane means it boils off more slowly and thus is easier to store for longer periods, a benefit for Mars missions.
 
9) Solar-powered plane completes journey across Pacific Ocean.
  • A solar-powered airplane on a journey around the world has landed in California, completing a risky, three-day flight across the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii.
  • Pilot Bertrand Piccard landed the Solar Impulse 2 in Mountain View, in the Silicon Valley south of San Francisco; following a 62-hour, nonstop solo flight without fuel.
  • The plane’s wings, which stretch wider than those of a Boeing 747, are equipped with 17,000 solar cells that power propellers and charge batteries. The plane runs on stored energy at night.
  • The carbon-fiber aircraft weighs more than 5,000 pounds, or about as much as a midsize truck.
  • The plane’s ideal flight speed is about 28 mph, though that can double during the day when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • The project, which began in 2002 and is estimated to cost more than $100 million, is meant to highlight the importance of renewable energy and the spirit of innovation. 

 

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