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Science & Technology Current Affairs May 3rd Week 2019

 1. New plastic that could be fully recycled created by Berkeley Lab

The scientists have created a next-generation plastic that can be fully recycled into new materials of any colour, shape, or form, without loss of performance or quality.
A team of researchers at the US Department of Energy`s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has designed a recyclable plastic that, like a Lego playset, can be disassembled into its constituent parts at the molecular level.
According to Peter Christensen, a postdoctoral researcher at Berkeley Lab, most plastics were never made to be recycled. 
But he said, they have discovered a new way to assemble plastics that takes recycling into consideration from a molecular perspective.
All plastics, from water bottles to automobile parts, are made up of large molecules called polymers, which are composed of repeating units of shorter carbon-containing compounds called monomers.
According to the researchers, the problem with many plastics is that the chemicals added to make them useful, such as fillers that make a plastic tough, or plasticisers that make a plastic flexible are tightly bound to the monomers and stay in the plastic even after it is been processed at a recycling plant.
According to the journal Nature Chemistry, unlike conventional plastics, the monomers of PDK plastic could be recovered and freed from any compounded additives simply by dunking the material in a highly acidic solution.
The acid helps to break the bonds between the monomers and separate them from the chemical additives that give plastic its look and feel.
After testing various formulations, the researchers demonstrated that not only does acid break down PDK polymers into monomers, but the process also allows the monomers to be separated from entwined additives.
2. LED lighting can damage eye`s retina
France government-run health watchdog has said, the blue light in LED lighting can damage the eye`s retina and disturb natural sleep rhythms. 
The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety has said, new findings confirm earlier concerns that exposure to an intense and powerful LED light is photo-toxic and can lead to irreversible loss of retinal cells and diminished sharpness of vision. 
The agency recommended in a report that the maximum limit for acute exposure be revised, even if such levels are rarely met in the home or work environments.
The report distinguished between acute exposure of high-intensity LED light, and chronic exposure to lower intensity sources.
Long-lasting, energy efficient and inexpensive, light-emitting diode (LED) technology has gobbled up half of the general lighting market in a decade and will top 60 per cent by the end of next year, according to industry projections.
LED uses only a fifth of the electricity needed for an incandescent bulb of comparable brightness. 

Science & Technology Current Affairs May 2nd Week 2019

 1. NASA’s first Planetary Defence Technology to collide with small moonlet in 2022

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will hit an asteroid named Didymoon or Didymos Bwith a spacecraft called Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) in 2022. 
This will be the first mission which demonstrates a planetary defence technique. The asteroid is 150 m tall which orbiting a larger body called Didymos A. 
This will help in understanding the state of the asteroid system.
The spacecraft Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will carry an optical navigation system which captures the images. 
This will help the spacecraft to reach its target successfully.
The DART spacecraft will use small hydrazine thrusters which utilise the electric propulsion system.
The spacecraft will collide with the asteroid at a speed of approximately 6 kmps (km per second) and this collision will change the speed of the asteroid in its orbit by fraction of 1%.
2. Chandrayaan-2 to be launched in July
India`s second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 will be launched on a day between 9 and 16 July this year. 
In a release, the Indian Space Research Organisation said, Chandrayaan-2’s lander will touch down near the Moon`s south pole on 6th September. 
The National space agency said, Chandrayaan-2 will have three modules in it, an orbiter, a lander named Vikram and a rover known as Pragyan.
Chandrayaan-2 will be launched using India`s most powerful rocket GSLV-Mark-3.
3. Amazon unveils space vision, moon lander
Jeff Bezos, who heads both Amazon and space company Blue Origin, unveiled a lunar lander that he said would be used to transport equipment, and possibly human beings, to the south pole of the moon by 2024.
Space agencies prepare to return humans to the moon and top engineers are racing to design a tunnel boring machine capable of digging underground colonies for the first lunar inhabitants.
Harsh conditions on the surface of the moon mean that, once up there, humans need to be shielded from radiation and freezing temperatures in structures which maintain atmospheric pressure in a vacuum.

Science & Technology Current Affairs May 1st Week 2019

 1. Scientists developed Ultrasensitive Quantum Thermometer

Researchers at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, have developed an ultrasensitive quantum thermometer by using graphene quantum dots. It can precisely measure a wide range of temperature from 27 degree C to –196 degree C.
It has high sensitivity in different temperatures and can measure every little (micro Kelvin) changes in temperature and has an extremely quick response time of just about 300 milliseconds.
The team led by Saikh S. Islam, Director of the Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology developed the thermometer.
The results of the study were published in the journal Nanoscale Advances.
The thermometer will be useful in the pharmaceutical industry, healthcare, and the automobile industry.
2.IIT Madras team develops easy OCR system for reading documents in Bharati script containing nine Indian languages
The research team from IIT Madras has used a multi-lingual Optical Character Recognition (OCR) scheme to develop a method for reading documents in Bharati script. The researchers have also developed a finger-spelling method that can be used by hearing-impaired persons to generate sign language, in collaboration with TCS Mumbai.
The Bharati script is a conglomeration of 9 Indian languages, namely, Devnagari, Bengali, Gurmukhi, Gujarati, Oriya, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Tamil. In the last 10 years, Professor V. Srinivasa Chakravarthy’s research team at IIT Madras has worked on developing this script.
The OCR scheme first segments the document into 2 parts, text and non-text. After this, the text is separated into paragraphs, sentences words and letters, where every letter is recognised as a character in ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) or Unicode. The letter again has several components, namely, the basic consonant, consonant modifiers, vowels.
The objective of this initiative was to introduce easy readability of the Indian languages. The scripts of the aforementioned Indian languages pose a hindrance for character recognition and this difficulty is removed in the Bharati script which can be easily read.
The future prospects of IIT Madras’ collaboration with Sunil Kopparappu of Innovation Labs, TCS, Mumbai lies in developing a new Braille system with the Bharati script for the visually and hearing-challenged population.
3. ISRO planning to send a probe to study sun early next year
Indian Space Research Organization is planning to send a probe to study the sun early next year. 
Talking to reporters in Nagercoil, ISRO chairman Dr K Sivan said, currently scientists are exploring possibilities to study more about Sun and the probe named Aditya-L1 will be sent to observe the solar corona, the outer layers of the Sun.
He said, the satellite would be ed in a halo orbit around the L1 (Lagrangian point 1) of the Sun-Earth system so that it has the advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation or eclipses. The L1 is 1.5 million kms from the Earth. Mr Sivan said, the mission to send Indian astronauts to space by 2022 is well on stream. 
On a question about tracking cyclone Fani, he said, with the details provided by ISRO, officials were able to forecast the landfall area and this helped in taking precautionary measures in advance. 
It may be recalled that ISRO is making all-out efforts to launch Chandrayaan-2 in the launch window between July 9 and 16, with the aim of its lander soft landing near the south pole of the moon by September 6th.
4.  Momo-3
A Japanese aerospace start-up Interstellar Technology Inc. has successfully launched a first privately developed rocket ‘Momo-3’ into space. The unmanned rocket launched from its test site in Taiki on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and it reached about 110 km in altitude before falling into the Pacific Ocean after 10 minutes of flight time.
The rocket is 10 meters in length, 50 centimeters in diameter and weighs about 1 ton. ‘Momo-3’ rocket has the capability of putting payloads into the orbit.
The company Interstellar Technology Inc. founded by former Livedoor Co. President Takafumi Horie in 2013. The objective is to develop low-cost commercial rockets to carry satellites into space.