Science & Technology Current
Science & Technology Current Affairs May 3rd Week 2016
Category : Science & Technology Current
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1) World-first scanning helium microscope built in Australia.
  • Australian researchers built the world’s first scanning helium microscope (SHeM).
  • It was made by the scientists belonging to the University of Newcastle.
  • The new microscope will enable scientists to study human, animal and plant samples, as well as computer chips and pharmaceutical drugs, without damaging or changing them.
  • It will be useful in major industries such as solar energy, defence, explosives and information technology.
  • SHeM could help with the clean-up of toxic or even radioactive spills, without harming the surrounding flora or fauna.
2) Nasa launches near-space monitoring super pressure balloon from New Zealand.
  • NASA successfully launched a super pressure balloon from New Zealand`s South Island Wanaka Airport.
  • The launch marks the fifth attempt to get the massive balloon airborne, with previous bids thwarted by bad weather.
  • The balloon is 532,000 cubic metres and aims to remain airborne for more than 100 days.
  • Long-duration balloon flights at constant altitudes play an important role in providing inexpensive access to the near-space environment for science and technology.
  • It is expected to circumnavigate the globe in the mid-latitudes of southern hemisphere once every one to three weeks, depending on wind speeds in the stratosphere.
  • The balloon`s operational float altitude is 33.5 kms (20.8 miles) and it will be visible from the ground, particularly at sunrise and sunset, in the southern hemisphere`s mid-latitudes.
  • Its flight operations throughout the mission will be controlled by NASA’s balloon experts at Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility and NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.
3) India successfully test fires `nuclear capable` Prithvi-II missile from Chandipur.
  • Prithvi-II surface-to-surface missile was successfully test-fired from a test range at Chandipur in Odisha.
  • It was carried out by Strategic Force Command (SFC) from a mobile launcher at launch complex-3 from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Odisha.
  • Prithvi-II is a tactical short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) developed by indigenously by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • It is the first missile indigenously developed by DRDO under India’s prestigious Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP).
About Prithivi- II :
  1. The twin-engine Prithvi-II is 8.56 metre in length, 1.1 metre in width and weighs 4,600 kg.
  2. It has the ability to dodge enemy missiles and uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target.
  3. Capable of carrying 500 kg to 1,000 kg of nuclear as well as conventional warheads.
4) Scientists develop world’s first Zika virus clone.
  • A multidisciplinary research team from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) have developed world’s first genetically engineered clone of the Zika virus strain.
  • The development of complementary DNA (cDNA) clone, as it is called, is expected to speed up many aspects of Zika research, including vaccine and therapeutic development.
  • The clone comprises of five fragments of complete zika viral genome which were individually cloned and assembled into the full-length Zika virus clone.
  • It will help scientists to quickly develop countermeasures and also to explore evolution of Zika virus.
  • It will also help to find how the Zika virus has evolved to spread more quickly and cause more severe diseases in people.
  • This biological breakthrough will also aid the development of vaccine and therapies against the infection of vector borne Zika virus which has been linked to serious birth defects.
5) Hypersonic superjet technology successfully tested in Australia.
  • A joint US-Australian military research team successfully tested a hypersonic technology in the Australian desert.
  • The team was running a series of 10 trials of the hypersonic technology at the world’s largest land testing range located at Woomera in Australia and at Norway’s Andoya Rocket Range.
  • Scramjet attached to a rocket booster was successfully sent to an altitude of 278 km at Mach 7.5 (seven times the speed of sound).
  • Scramjet is a supersonic combustion engine that uses oxygen from the atmosphere for fuel. It is lighter and faster than fuel-carrying rockets and is suitable for flying at hypersonic (Mach 5 and above) speed.
  • Hypersonic flight involves travelling at more than 5 times the speed of sound (Mach 5).
  • It is a game-changing technology that could revolutionise global air travel, and also provide cost-effective access to space.
  • It can be very useful as an alternative to a rocket for putting satellites into space. 
6) Consure Medical launches fecal management system `Qora`.
  • The indigenously developed fecal incontinence management system ‘Qora‘was launched by Minister of State for Science & Technology Y.S. Chowdary in New Delhi.
  • The FIMS-Qora was developed under the Union Ministry of Science & Technology’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT) Bio design Programme by M/s. Consure Medical, New Delhi.
  • It is aimed to train the next generation of medical technology innovators in India to develop innovative and affordable medical devices to augment unmet clinical needs of India.
  • FIMS-Qora help in reducing skill level required to use a device, and introducing a new level of care for patients outside the ICU.
  • This affordable novel technology will help to address the clinical and economic implications of FI by expanding indications for use.
About Fecal incontinence (FI) :
  1. Fecal incontinence (FI) is a medical condition marked by inability to control one’s bowel movements. It causes feces (stool) to leak unexpectedly from the rectum.
  2. This medical condition worldwide affects nearly 100 million bed ridden patients. Furthermore, about 50% of the psychiatric ward patients due to long-term neurological diseases have FI.
7) Three Indian Navy Ships Visit Oman.
  • Three Indian naval ships arrived at Port Sultan Qaboos (PSQ) on a four-day visit.
  • The ships INS Deepak, INS Tarkash and INS Delhi, arrived under the command of Rear Admiral Ravneet Singh, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet.
  • During the visit, the crew of IN ships will undertake professional interactions with the Royal Navy of Oman pertaining to nuances of maritime operations, including means of combating maritime terrorism and piracy.
  • In addition, calls on senior Government and military authorities, sporting and cultural interactions and sharing of best practices, aimed at enhancing cooperation, strengthening ties and mutual understanding between the two navies.
  • Bilateral relations between India and Oman have been historically strong based on deep cultural affinity and vibrant economic linkages.
  • Since then, naval cooperation between the countries has progressed steadily with increased port visits by naval ships and training of RNO personnel by the Indian Navy in hydrography, diving, training, logistics and dockyard management. 
8) Researchers Generate Electricity Using Seawater and Sunlight.
  • Scientists have used sunlight to efficiently turn seawater into hydrogen peroxide, which can then be used in fuel cells to generate electricity.
  • It is the first photo-catalytic method of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production that achieves a high enough efficiency so that the H2O2 can be used in a fuel cell.
  • The most earth-abundant resource, seawater, is utilised to produce a solar fuel that is H2O2.
  • Researchers developed a new photo-electrochemical cell, which is basically a solar cell that produces H2O2.
  • When sunlight illuminates the photocatalyst, it absorbs photons and uses the energy to initiate chemical reactions seawater oxidation and the reduction of O2 in a way that ultimately produces H2O2.
  • The researchers expect that the efficiency can be improved in the future by using better materials in the photo-electrochemical cell, and they also plan to find methods to reduce the cost of production.
9) Indigenous technology demonstrator of reusable launch vehicle tested successfully.
  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully launched its maiden indigenous winged Reusable Launch Vehicle - Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) from Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh.
  • It was carried up on a solid rocket motor (SRM). The 9 ton SRM was designed to burn slowly to accommodate the vertical lifting of winged body.
  • The launch was part of a series of technology demonstration missions, which is considered as a first step towards realising a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) fully re-usable vehicle.
  • After launch RLV-TD glided back onto a virtual runway in Bay of Bengal and re-entered the atmosphere after reaching a height of over 70 km.
About RLV-TD:
  1. RLV-TD is winged body aerospace vehicle that operated in hypersonic flight regime.
  2. It is capable of launching satellites into orbit around earth and then re-enter the atmosphere.
  3. The RLV-TD was 6.5 meter long and has aeroplane like structure. It weighs about 1.75 tonnes and is very similar to the retired US space shuttle.
10) INS Tarmugli joins Eastern Fleet.
  • The Indian Navy has commissioned indigenously built highly maneuverable Fast Attack Craft INS Tarmugli at the commissioning ceremony held in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
  • It would be deployed for coastal patrol and surveillance operations along the East Coast of India.
  • INS Tarmugli is indigenously conceived, designed and built by M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE).
  • INS Tarmugli weighs 320-tonne and is 48 meters in length. It can achieve speeds in excess of 30 knots.
  • It is capable of operating in shallow waters at high speeds and is equipped with enhanced fire power.
  • It is equipped with of a 30 mm CRN 91 gun, an electronic day-night fire control system namely Stabilised Optronic Pedestal (SOP), two 12.7 mm heavy machine guns (HMG) and multiple medium machine guns.