Science & Technology Current
Science & Technology Current Affairs July 3rd Week 2016
Category : Science & Technology Current
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1) Space X launched unmanned Dragon cargo capsule to International space station.

  • Space X launched its unmanned Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station, carrying a key piece of equipment that was lost in 2015 due to rocket explosion. The launch to the ISS is a resupply mission for NASA.
  • Dragon spaceship was packed with nearly 23000 kilograms of gear, including science experiments and equipment for the astronauts living in space.
  • After blasting off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the rocket separated after sending the cargo to orbit. Then the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket landed back on the solid ground in Cape Canaveral at the NASA facility.
  • As per the plan, the Dragon is expected to arrive at the space station early 20 July 2016.
  • With this, SpaceX now has five successful rocket landings to its name. The first occurred in December 2015, when a Falcon 9 first stage came back to Cape Canaveral during a commercial satellite launch.
  • The other three successful launches happened in April (one) and May (two), these launches were featured with sea landings, on a robotic ship named Of Course I Still Love You.

2) Rare `Marbled Map` butterfly sighted in Eastern Ghats.

  • Rare Marbled Map butterfly was sighted in Eastern Ghats near PM Kota village of Maredumilli mandal in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. This is the first time that the Marbled Map butterfly species, usually found in the north-east, was sighted in South India.
  • The butterfly was found by a group of green enthusiasts including N. Chandramohan Reddy, an Indian Forest Service officer, while they were exploring the thick forest of the Eastern Ghats of the region.
  • The Marbled Map is a species of nymphalid butterfly found in parts of Asia. This species is pale green with faint vertical lines and rounded wings.

3) NASA`s Next Mars Rover Progresses towards 2020 Launch.

  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is ready to proceed with the final design and construction of its next Mars rover, targeted to launch in the year 2020, which will probe for evidence of past life on the red planet and help prepare for future manned missions.
  • Set to arrive on the planet in February 2021, the rover will study a region of Mars where the ancient environment may have been favorable for microbial life.
  • It will collect samples of soil and rock and cache them on the surface for potential return to Earth by a future mission.
  • The mission is the first step in a potential multi ­mission campaign to return carefully selected and sealed samples of Martian rocks and soil to Earth.
  • It results important milestone in NASA’s Journey to Mars to find whether life has ever existed on Mars, and to advance our goal of sending humans to the Red Planet.

4) NASA announces discovery of 104 new planets outside solar system.

  • A team of researchers of NASA has announced the discovery of 104 new planets outside our solar system including four that could have Earth-like, rocky surfaces.
  • Scientists discovered the exoplanets in Hawaii using Kepler space telescope as well as ground observations by Earth-based telescopes, including four on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
  • The unmanned Kepler mission has been scanning 150,000 stars in the Cygnus constellation for signs of orbiting bodies, particularly those that might be able to support life.
  • The $600 million Kepler mission has allowed scientists to discover more than 4,600 planets 2,326 of them confirmed since it launched in 2009.


5) Glaciers melting at 5 to 20 metre rate annually.

  • Majority of glaciers in India including Gangotri are retreating (melting) at varying rates ranging from 5 to 20 meter per year due to global warming.
  • It was announced by Minister of State (independent charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Anil Madhav Dave in Lok Sabha.
  • The revelations were based on the studies carried out by ISRO, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIGH) Dehradun and other institutions.
  • Gangotri, one of the largest glaciers (30 km long) of Uttarkahand followed by Satopanth glacier (14 km) are retreating but not at an alarming rate.

6) Genes of 6000-year-old barley grains sequenced for first time.

  • Scientists for the first time succeeded in sequencing the genes in 6000-year-old barley seeds.
  • With this, the ancient barley has become the oldest plant genome to be reconstructed to date. Before this, only prehistoric corn was genetically reconstructed.
  • The 6000-year-old Chalcolithic barley grains were retrieved from Yoram Cave in Israel, close to the Dead Sea.
  • Genetically, the prehistoric barley is very similar to present-day barley grown in the Southern Levant.
  • It supports the existing hypothesis of barley domestication having occurred in the Upper Jordan Valley.
  • The analysed grains, together with tens of thousands of other plant remains, were retrieved during a systematic archaeological excavation headed by Uri Davidovich, from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Nimrod Marom, from University of Haifa in Israel.
  • In order to determine the age of the ancient seeds, the researchers split the grains and subjected half of them to radiocarbon dating. The other half of the grain was used to extract the ancient DNA.

7) Teal unveils world`s fastest production drone.

  • US-based startup, Teal has unveiled what it claims is the world`s fastest production drone.
  • It can fly at speeds up to 112 kmph, has a two-mile range and 20-minute flight time and can withstand winds traveling at 64 kmph.
  • The $1299-drone features a 13 MP 4K camera and offers built-in apps for controlled flying, racing and follow mode.

8) Face book’s Aquila Internet drone completes first test flight.

  • Facebook Inc announced the successful completion of test flight of a solar-powered drone named Aquila.
  • The social media giant believes that Aquila will help to extend Internet connectivity to every corner of the planet.
  • The company ultimately hopes to have a fleet of Aquilas that can fly for at least three months at a time at 60000 feet and communicate with each other to deliver internet access.

About Aquila:

  1. Aquila is a lightweight, high-altitude aircraft. It flew at a few thousand feet for 96 minutes in Yuma, Arizona.
  2. It has a wingspan wider than a Boeing 737. The body of the plane is made of a carbon fiber composite. It weighs less than 1000 pounds.
  3. The aircraft will use new laser-beam technology to deliver fast Internet to people in a 60-mile radius. It will transmit a signal that can be received by the antennas of small towers and dishes on the ground. The antennas will convert the signal into Wi-Fi or 4G networks.

9) New NASA institute to explore ways to protect astronauts.

  • In a wake to protect the astronauts from the casualties, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are joining with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
  • It will operate a new institute charged with researching and developing innovative approaches to reduce risks to humans on long-duration exploration missions, including NASA’s Journey to Mars.
  • Work under the Translational Research Institute Cooperative Agreement, overseen by NASA’s Human Research Program, begins in October. Translational research is an interdisciplinary model of research that focuses on translating fundamental research concepts into practice, with appreciable health outcomes.
  • The NASA Translational Research Institute (NTRI) will implement a ``bench-to-spaceflight`` model, moving results or methods from laboratory experiments or clinical trials to point-of-care astronaut health and performance applications.
  • The goal of the research is to produce promising new approaches, treatments, countermeasures or technologies that have practical application to spaceflight.

10) Brazilian scientists discover another type of Zika-transmitting mosquito.

  • Brazilian researchers announced that they have found another species of mosquito, which is able to transmit the Zika virus to humans.
  • The scientists found the presence of the Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito infected by the Zika virus in three out of 80 groups of mosquitoes analysed up.
  • The 80 groups were from the metropolitan area of Recife, Brazil.
  • Until now, transmission of the virus was only known through the Aedes aegypti mosquitos, which are also responsible for the spread of dengue and chikungunya.

11) CSIR-CMERI develops Solar Power Tree for generation of electricity.

  • Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, launched the Solar Power Tree in New Delhi.
  • The Solar Power Tree has been developed by the CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-CMERI), a constituent laboratory of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
  • The product harnesses solar energy for producing electricity with an innovative vertical arrangement of solar cells. Therefore, it reduces the requirement of land as compared to conventional Solar Photovoltaic layout.
  • As a future prospect, the Solar Power Tree will be developed in a rotatable module, which will have a motorized mechanism to align itself with the movement of the Sun during the day.

12) India, US to jointly develop resource mapping satellite for launch in 2021.

  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are jointly working on the development of a Dual Frequency (L&S band) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Imaging Satellite named as NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR).
  • The project is slated to be completed and launched by 2021.
  • ISRO will be responsible for design and development of S-band SAR, Spacecraft Bus, data transmission system, spacecraft integration and testing.
  • The radar will be launched using the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and ISRO will also be reponsible for the in-orbit operations.
  • The NASA laboratory will be responsible for design and development of L-band SAR, 12m unfurlable antenna and its deployment elements, global positioning system (GPS) and data recorder.