Science & Technology Current
Science & Technology Current Affairs June 3rd Week 2016
Category : Science & Technology Current
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1) Russia launches most powerful nuclear icebreaker Arktika.

  • Russia`s new Project 22220 nuclear-powered icebreaker dubbed Arktika was launched from the Baltic Shipyard in Russia`s second largest city of St. Petersburg.
  • It is the first Russian nuclear icebreaker to be fully built in modern-day Russia.
  • Arktika is powered by two next generation RITM-200 nuclear-reactors. These reactors will be supplied with nuclear be produced by the TVEL fuel company.
  • It has dual-draft design which makes it possible to use it in Arctic waters and in estuaries of polar rivers.
  • It can break through 13 feet (3 metres) thick ice. It has displacement capacity of 33540 metric tons.
2) Scientists for the first time grow living bone in lab.
  • In a first, scientists have grown a living bone in the lab to repair large defects in the head and face of patient, taking a step forward in improving treatments for people with craniofacial defects.
  • This medical breakthrough was achieved by a new technique developed by Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, professor at Columbia University.
  • The new technique uses autologous stem cells derived from a small sample of the recipient’s fat and precisely replicates the original anatomical structure of the bone.
  • Using it, scientists were able to show that in a clinical-size porcine model of jaw repair, the bone grown in vitro and then implanted can regenerate a large defect and also mechanical function.
  • Researchers are now including a cartilage layer in the bio-engineered living bone tissue to study bone regeneration in complex defects of the head and face.
3) IRCTC Air Mobile App Now Allows to Book Cheaper Flight Tickets.
  • Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has developed an app that makes booking of flight tickets simpler, speedier and with the lowest fare too.
  • Flyers have to download the IRCTC Android-based mobile app - IRCTC Air - from Google Playstore, and they have to just SWIPE and SHUFFLE, SELECT and BOOK.
  • It is also, a passenger`s existing IRCTC`s login credentials are applicable on this app too, and there is no need to create a separate user name and password.
  • The new app has been developed in-house, which enables booking of air tickets for travel within India and abroad at lowest prices. A maximum of nine passengers can be booked on one PNR through net banking, for only Rs. 10 per PNR.
  • The IRCTC app provides the lowest fare available and it does not charge convenience/ processing fee. Air travel websites charge around Rs. 150-250 per passenger per sector. Cancellation charges of IRCTC are also very low.
4) New ``GreenWeb`` Tools Aim to Create an Energy-Efficient Web.
  • US-based researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a set of open-source web programming language extensions, called GreenWeb, that allows people to save battery power while browsing on mobile devices.
  • The team integrated GreenWeb into Google Chrome and reported energy savings of 30% to 66% over Android`s default mode.
  • The GreenWeb framework also assists developers in turning their web pages energy-friendly.
  • GreenWeb more efficiently guides the web browser engine to save processor energy without sacrificing user experience.
  • The language extensions, implemented as CSS style rules, allow developers to express hints to the browser, which in turn conserves power when excessive computational horsepower is not necessary.

5) Small asteroid discovered orbiting Earth for nearly century.

  • NASA scientists have discovered an asteroid, named 2016 HO3, orbiting the sun that also appears to circle around Earth.
  • The small asteroid has a slightly tilted orbit, bouncing up and down through Earth’s orbital plane once a year.
  • Over decades, as it scuttles along its path around the solar system, it twists back and forth.
  • Astronomers on Haleakala, Hawaii, estimate that it is larger than 120 ft (40m) but smaller than 300 ft (100m).
  • The asteroid has been declared a ``quasi-satellite``, too distant to qualify as an actual satellite but cinched by gravity into a relatively close orbit around the sun.
6) SpaceX launched two satellites into orbit.
  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully placed two all-electric commercial telecommunications satellites into geostationary transfer orbit viz. EUTELSAT 117 West B and ABS-2A.
  • SpaceX’s reusable Falcon 9 rocket which had lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, US. This mission was SpaceX’s second dual-satellite launch.
  • These two commercial satellites are operated by Eutelsat and ABS companies respectively.
  • They are geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) satellites that seek to provide global communications services to their users.
  • The reusable rocket was lost before it could land on a drone ship platform in the Atlantic Ocean.
7) NASA reveals experimental electric X-plane.
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) unveiled the iconic X-57 Hybrid Electric Research Plane nicknamed as Maxwell.
  • The plan is to develop technologies that improve fuel use and emissions and reduce noise, while also potentially paving the way to faster and more efficient small aircraft.
  • The plane is fixed with 14 electric motors turning propellers and all of them are integrated into a uniquely-designed wing.
  • The Maxwell, which is named after 19th century Scottish physicist Jams Clerk Maxwell, will be built by the Scalable Convergent Electric Propulsion Technology Operations Research (Sceptor) project.
  • Maxwell will be powered only by batteries, eliminating carbon emissions and demonstrating how demand would shrink for lead-based aviation fuel still in use by general aviation.
8) Microsoft to design app for HRD Ministry’s SWAYAM platform.
  • The technology giant Microsoft is going to design mobile application for Union Human Resources Development (HRD) Ministry’s SWAYAM platform.
  • Together they will the launch 2000 Massive Open Online Courses for over three crore students in 2016.
  • Microsoft signed a deal of 38 crore rupees with AICTE (All India Council of Technical Education) to build and run the app for three years, which afterwards will be taken over by AICTE.
  • Microsoft will be deploying the team of professionals to set up the state of the art mobile application.
  • SWAYAM: It stands for Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds.
9) International Space Station(ISS) astronauts return to Earth after six months.
  • Three astronauts landed back on Earth after completing a six-month mission on the International Space Station (ISS).
  • Tim Peake, the first British astronaut on the ISS, Russia`s Yury Malenchenko and American Tim Kopra parachuted down to the Kazakh steppe in Kazakhstan with Soyuz capsule after spending 186 days in orbit.
  • Peake, Malenchenko and Kopra had blasted off into space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
  • Peake’s mission, called Principia after Isaac Newton’s seminal work, included a number of scientific experiments, such as testing the use of nitric oxide gas as a tool to monitor lung inflammation.
10) India`s Homemade Trainer Aircraft HTT-40 Makes Inaugural Flight.
  • Public-sector aerospace and defence major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has inaugurated indigenous Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA) HTT-40 in the presence of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
  • Commercial production of the trainer aircraft can generate nearly Rs. 3,000-4,000 crore.
  • While the IAF will procure 70 HTT-40, it may also go up to 200, based on demand.
  • It only took one year for the company to fly the first prototype after launching the detailed design of the aircraft by earmarking internal resources only in August 2013 and completing the detailed design phase by May 2015.
  • HTT-40 has been designed to meet the current requirement of the IAF with the provision for role expansion to attach weapons to the trainer aircraft.
11) Snapchat to launch tech-based digital magazin.
  • Snapchat is launching a digital magazine, which will feature essays, narratives on living with technology. The magazine called `Real Life`.
  • It makes perfect sense, considering that users view more videos per day inside Snapchat than on other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
  • The social network currently boasts 150 million active users per day, more than twitter, but much less than facebook.
  • Snapchat employee and social theorist Nathan Jurgenson, who will be serving as Real Life’s Editor-in-chief.
12) Experimental Zika vaccine approved for human trials.
  • Scientists expect to test the first experimental Zika vaccine on humans.
  • The vaccine, named GLS-5700, is being developed by Inovio Pharmaceuticals and GeneOne Life Science.
  • GLS-5700 will be tested first on 40 healthy subjects, to assess the vaccine’s safety, to measure its ability to evoke an immune response (known as immunogenicity), and to determine the most effective dosage.
  • The vaccine triggered a ``robust`` antibody response in animal testing.
  • The virus has rapidly spread throughout Central and South America and has now been linked to another rare, potentially life-threatening disease Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).

13) China’s Sunway TaihuLight declared world’s fastest supercomputer.


  • The 2016 edition of Top500 list of supercomputers has revealed that China’s Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer is the world’s most powerful supercomputer system.
  • Sunway-TaihuLight can perform calculations with processing speed of 124.5 petaflops per second (Pflops). It is world’s first system to surpass 100 petaflops.
  • It was developed by the National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology (NRCPC) and installed at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi.
  • It displaced the Tianhe-2, an Intel-based Chinese supercomputer that has claimed the top spot on the previous six TOP500 lists.
  • Sunway TaihuLight includes 10649600 computing cores comprising 40960 nodes, is twice as fast and three times as efficient as Tianhe-2.
  • It is intended for use in research and engineering including climate, weather, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and data analytics.
14) NASA discovers K2-33b, youngest exoplanet around a young star.
  • Using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope and its extended K2 mission, astronomers have discovered newborn fully-formed exoplanet planets that orbit stars beyond our Sun ever detected around a young star.
  • The newfound planet named K2-33b is a bit larger than Neptune and whips tightly around its star every five days.
  • K2-33b is just 5 to 10 million years old compared to Earth which is about 4.5 billion years old.
  • It is little larger than Neptune and is about 10 times closer than Mercury is to the sun.
  • The newborn planet K2-33b will help astronomers to better understand how planets form. It will also help in better understanding the processes that led to the formation of Earth.
15) ISRO launches record 20 satellites in a mission.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched a record 20 satellites in a single mission from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
  • They include two student satellites from Indian universities and 17 of four foreign countries.
  • These satellites including India’s latest earth observation satellite Cartosat-2 were launched using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-34.
  • With this successful launch, ISRO surpassed its previous record of placing 10 satellites into orbit in a single mission in 2008.
  • The record for the most number of satellites launched in a single mission belongs to Russia, which sent up 37 satellites in 2014.
  • Launching several satellites in a single mission reduces cost and India has been positioning itself as a key player in the lucrative international commercial space market as an effective but low cost operator.
16) Sphero`s New SPRK+ Robot Will Teach Kids To Code.
  • Sphero launched its new robot `SPARK+`, priced at $130, that teaches basic principles of coding to the kids.
  • Sphero Spark+, which has a tougher, scratch-resistant skin. It also has a more advanced version of Bluetooth, meant to make it easier to pair the bots with multiple devices in a classroom setting.
  • The new Spark unit is basically identical to its predecessor in size, price, battery life, and capability. It works with the Lightning Lab app, which is meant to teach coding through play.
  • The Lightning Lab lets users program sequences of action with drag-and-drop commands. Kids who want to learn more can peek under the hood at the actual code.
  • Creations made with the robot can also be shared with a community through the app.
17) World’s first 1000 processor microchip `Kilo-core` developed by Scientists.
  • The US scientists unveiled a microchip, named KiloCore, containing 1000 independent programmable processors.
  • It is capable of processing up to 1.78 trillion instructions every second.
  • The chip has been designed by a team at the University of California, Davis, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  • The 1000 core processor is unequivocally lightning fast and it is able to achieve this speed because its cores can independently run programs.
  • This way, every application is broken down into tiny bits and these bits are run parallel on different processors. This enables higher output while consuming lower levels of energy.
18) CRISPR gene-editing approved for cancer treatment trial.
  • A federal advisory committee of US National Institutes of Health has approved a proposal for using the CRISPR CAS-9 genome editing tool in clinical trials on humans.
  • The proposal is to test the treatment of cancer by picking out T-cells, which are a special type of immune cells found in the body, from patients with cancer and to modify the T-cells and use them to target the cancer cells.
  • The proposed study is led by Edward Stadtmauer, a physician at University of Pennsylvania.
  • As per the proposal, the university will manufacture the edited cells and recruit patients for the trial.