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Science & Technology Current
Science & Technology Current Affairs July 4th Week 2017
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Science & Technology Current Affairs July 4th Week 2017

 1. Scientists develop super-flexible and strong artificial silk.

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Scientists from the University of Cambridge have developed super-stretchy and strong artificial (synthetic) spider silk, almost entirely composed of water. The synthetic spider silk mimics properties of spider silk, one of nature’s strongest materials for a range of applications such as making eco-friendly textiles and sensors.

The fibres of the synthetic spider silk are spun from hydrogel, a soupy material which is 98% water. The remaining 2% of the hydrogel is made of naturally available silica and cellulose. These materials are held together in a network by barrel-shaped molecular “handcuffs” known as cucurbiturils. The chemical interactions between the different components enable to pull long fibres from the gel. The water from hydrogel evaporates after it is stretched for 30 seconds, leaving a strong fibre which is both strong and stretchy.

The fibres of the synthetic spider silk are extremely thin threads and are of few millionths of a metre in diameter. They resemble miniature bungee cords and can absorb large amounts of energy. They are sustainable, non-toxic, less energy-intensive and can be made at room temperature.

The fibres are capable of self-assembly at room temperature, and are held together by supramolecular host, where atoms share electrons. They can support stresses in the range of 100 to 150 megapascals, which is similar to other synthetic and natural silks.

2. GSI discovers millions of tonnes of precious metals and minerals in Indian waters.

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Scientists from the Geological Survey of India (GSI) have discovered the presence of millions of tonnes of precious metals and minerals deep under the waters within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of peninsular India.

They have confirmed the presence large amount of lime mud, phosphate-rich and calcareous sediments, hydrocarbons, metalliferous deposits and micronodules. They believe that deeper and more extensive exploration could lead to a larger treasure trove. The presence of lime mud, phosphate-rich sediments was discovered off Karwar, Mangaluru and Chennai coasts, gas hydrate in the channel-levee system of Mannar Basin off the Tamil Nadu coast, icro-manganese nodules around Lakshadweep Sea and cobalt-bearing ferro-manganese crust from the Andaman Sea.

2. Astrosat, Chandra and Hubble jointly detect massive cosmic explosion on Proxima Centauri.

astrosat, chandra and hubble jointly detect massive cosmic explosion on proxima centauri

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India’s first dedicated space observatory AstroSat along with other space and earth-based observatories have detected a massive coronal explosion on Proxima Centauri, sun’s closest star neighbour.

The explosion was detected as part of joint multi-wavelength simultaneous observational campaign undertaken by three space-based observatories, Astrosat, Chandra and Hubble Space Telescope and the ground-based High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) observatory.

It is group of stars which hosts an Earth-like habitable planet — Proxima Centaur b — orbiting within (Proxima Centauri) its habitable zone. It is a cool dwarf star located around 4.25 light years away from the Earth. It was discovered in 2016.

The massive coronal explosion has sent out powerful solar flare having energy of 10-raised-to-30 ergs, about 100 times a typical solar flare. Such powerful flaring may have produced large radiations and particles which may significantly influence the atmosphere of the Proxima Centauri b and affect its habitability.

The habitability of Proxima Centauri especially its ability to sustain its atmosphere and in particular to sustain water in liquid form may get affected due to abnormal planetary atmosphere heating due absorption of  the high-energy photons like the ultraviolet (UV) and X-ray photons released by the coronal explosion.

If such a massive flare occurs in our Sun, it might have a devastating effect on power grids, interrupt broadcasts and electricity, affect electronic instruments, and cause excess UV radiation in space.

Coronal explosion: is an unusually large release of plasma and magnetic field from the solar corona. They often follow solar flares and are normally present during a solar prominence eruption. The plasma is released into the solar wind, and can be observed in coronagraph imagery.


 

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