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Science & Technology Current
Science & Technology Current Affairs July 6th Week 2017
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Category : Science & Technology Current
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Science & Technology Current Affairs July 6th Week 2017

1. Factbox: Breakthrough Starshot successfully launch world’s smallest spacecrafts.

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Scientists have announced that the world’s smallest spacecrafts dubbed as Sprites ever launched are successfully travelling in low Earth orbit and communicating with systems on Earth.

The six prototypes of Sprites were launched in June 2017 as part of the Breakthrough Starshot project designed to test technologies that would eventually be used for interstellar missions. They are smallest spacecraft that have managed to establish contact with ground stations.

Sprites

Sprites have been developed by researchers at Cornell University. Each of the mini Sprite spacecrafts are built on a single 3.5*3.5 centimeter circuit board. They weigh just four grams each. They are equipped with tiny solar panels and two antennas, plus a tiny radio, computer, magnetometer (to orient to Earth’s magnetic field) and gyroscope (to move and stabilize the craft).

Mission Purpose

The mission was designed to test the performance of the Sprites’ electronics when in orbit. It will also demonstrates their novel radio communication architecture. It will also explore the concept of solar sail propulsion in which spacecraft can be powered using only the sun’s radiation. These tiny satellites also mark the next step in the field of spacecraft miniaturization that can contribute to the development of centimetre and gram-scale StarChips envisioned under the Breakthrough Starshot project.

About Breakthrough Starshot

Breakthrough Starshot is a comprehensive space program launched under the US $100 million Breakthrough Initiatives, announced by Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking to develop and launch practical interstellar space missions. The program aims to demonstrate proof of concept for light-propelled spacecraft that could fly at 20 per cent of light speed. Its main objective is to send one-gram chips to star systems beyond the solar system in search of extraterrestrial intelligence.
 
2. Scientists develop Bio-glue for wound healing.
 
Scientists develop Bio-glue for wound healing
 
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Scientists have developed a super strong, flexible Bio-glue for wound healing without causing toxicity. It has been inspired by an adhesive material (glue) secreted by slugs that sticks to biological tissues Slugs naturally secrete a special kind of mucus (adhesive material) in its place when threatened, making it difficult for a predator to pry it off its surface.

The bio-glue is double-layered hydrogel consisting of an alginate-polyacrylamide matrix supporting an adhesive layer that has positively-charged polymers protruding from its surface. It bonds to biological tissues via three mechanisms – electrostatic attraction to covalent bonds between neighbouring atoms, negatively charged cell surfaces and physical interpenetration.

This bond makes the adhesive super strong. It is the combination of a very strong adhesive force and has ability to transfer and dissipate stress. It can bind to tissues with strength comparable to the body’s own resilient cartilage.

Applications: The bio-glue has numerous potential applications in the medical field, either as a patch that can be cut to desired sizes and applied to tissue surfaces or can be also used as an injectable solution for deeper injuries.
 
3. IISER Scientists develop Gelator to remove oil from spills.
 
IISER Scientists develop Gelator to remove oil from spills
 
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Scientists from the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER), Thiruvananthapuram have developed gelator that can suck up oil and congeal it. The gelator is hydrophobic material that has property of oleilophilic (oil-loving) and takes up oil when it comes in contact with it. It can be used to recover marine oil spills with a simple, efficient and cost-effective method.

The gelator is developed using a cheap raw material mannitol and cellulose pulp through a one-step process. In this process the mannitol gets adsorbed on the cellulose fibre through hydrogen bonding. The adsorption process changes the cellulose matrix from being very hydrophilic (water-loving) to hydrophobic (water repelling).

The property of gelator to self-assemble to form micro fibres makes congealing of oil possible and the oil loses its fluidity and gets trapped within the entangled fibrous network to form a rigid gel. Gelation essentially turns the liquid oil into semi-solid and this allows congealed oil to be simply scooped out using a scoop or a sieve.

During the studies, it was found that the gelator was able to absorb and congeal 16 times its own weight of oil. Even, the absorbed oil can be recovered by applying pressure or fractionated by a simple distillation process.

Applications: Gelator can also serve as a more efficient, quick and cost-effective way for absorption of crude oil from the sea following marine spill. Unlike other alternatives, the gelator can be easily applied over oil-water mixture and no solvent is needed for spraying it thus making it environment friendly.


 

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