Current Affairs Science & Technology

  France will train Indian flight surgeons for the ambitious human space mission Gaganyaan. The training is a critical aspect of the Gaganyaan project that is aimed at sending three Indians to space by 2022. The flight surgeons, who will be Indian Air Force doctors specialising in aviation medicines and responsible for the health of astronauts before, during and after the flight. France has a well-established mechanism for space medicine. It also has the MEDES space clinic, a subsidiary of CNES, where space surgeons undergo training. The four shortlisted astronauts all test pilots from the Indian Air Force are currently in Russia for an 11-month training programme.

  ISRO will launch GSAT-30 satellite onboard Ariane-5 launch vehicle (VA 251) from French Guiana on January 17, 2020. GSAT-30 is a communication satellite of India which is configured on ISRO’s enhanced I-3K Bus structure to provide communication services from Geostationary orbit in C and Ku bands. The satellite derives its heritage from ISRO’s earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series. The Weighing 3357 kg, GSAT-30 is to serve as a replacement to INSAT-4A spacecraft services with enhanced coverage. The satellite provides Indian mainland and islands coverage in Ku-band and extended coverage in C-band covering Gulf countries, a large number of Asian countries and Australia.

  On January 6, 2020, the ISRO proposed 2,700 crores of infrastructure plan to construct Human Space Flight Infrastructure Centre. The facility is to be set up at Challakere, Chitradurga district of Karnataka and is expected to become operational in three years.
  • Highlights
The Centre is to be located in the NH-4 Bengaluru-Pune Highway. ISRO aims to establish a self-contained training facility here. At present, astronauts part of Gaganyaan Mission, the Human Spaceflight Programme of ISRO are trained in Russia. The centre aims at bringing in all the features that are provided by Russia and begin training astronauts within the country. Also, the centre aims to integrate the works of Human Spaceflight Programme that are currently spread across various centres such as UR Rao Satellite Centre, Bengaluru, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram and Institute of Aerospace Medicine of Air Force. If successful in the Gaganyaan mission, India will become the fourth country after US, Russia and China to send humans to space. In order to achieve this, India is also working on preparing ready to eat foods at DFRL (Defence Food Research Laboratory).
  • Challakere-The Science City
The city is located at 400 km from Bengaluru. It is called the science city as it accommodated facilities of ISRO. Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, DRDO’s Advanced Aeronautical Test Range and Indian institute of Science.

  An international team of astronomers funded in part by NASA has found the farthest galaxy group identified as “EGS77“. EGS77, the trio of galaxies dates to a time when the universe was only 680 million years old, or less than 5% of its current age of 13.8 billion years. EGS77 is the farthest group of galaxies to have ever been sighted. EGS77 was discovered as part of the Cosmic Deep And Wide Narrowband (Cosmic DAWN) survey. The team of astronomers was led by an Indian-origin Goa-born scientist, Vithal Tilvi. Vithal Tilvi is currently a visiting researcher at the School of Earth & Space Exploration, at the Arizona State University, US.
Source: The Economic Times

 The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and National Physical Laboratory (NPL) developed an ink to combat the problem of fake printing of passports and counterfeiting of currency notes. The ink has a new security feature o protecting itself against duplicity
Key facts of the discovery The ink was produced based on single excitable dual emissive luminescent pigment. It was developed based on the concept of fluorescence and phosphorescence phenomena. Currently, the currency notes display only one color with the emission of wavelength. However, in the ink developed by the scientists features changes in pigment color after the notes are printed. In ambient light the ink shows white color. When the ink is exposed to UV light, it turns red and when the UV source is switched OFF it turns green.
Why the new ink? According to the annual report of RBI (2018-19), the risk of duplication of Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes are higher. The report says that recently launched 500 rupees notes are accounted to 121% of duplication and Rs 2000 notes are accounted to 21.9% duplication.  
Fluorescence and Phosphorescence Both in phosphorescence and fluorescence the radiation is electromagnetic and is spontaneous. In case of fluorescence, the radiation stops after the source is switched off. On the other hand, in phosphorescence, the glow continues for few hours.

 The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that for the 1st time it had approved a “biosimilar” medicine of Trastuzumab named “Ontruzant” to make cheaper breast cancer treatment at an affordable rate to women globally. The medicine is derived from living sources rather than chemicals. The biosimilar medicine of the Trastuzumab drug was supplied by Samsung Bioepis co Ltd.
Source: The WHO

 Ethiopia launched its first satellite, ‘Ethiopian Remote Sensing Satellite’ (ETRSS) from China. ERSS is a remote-sensing microsatellite, that was launched in order to help African country’s research into climate change. It was sent into space together with 8 other satellites by a Long March-4B carrier rocket from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center (TSLC) in Shanxi Province of north China.
About Ethiopian Remote Sensing Satellite (ETRSS) This wide-range multispectral remote-sensing microsatellite weighs about 65 kg and has a design life of 2 years. It can obtain remote-sensing data for agriculture, forestry, water conservation, as well as disaster prevention and mitigation. The satellite was donated to Ethiopia by China and this microsatellite program has helped establish strong collaboration between Ethiopia and China. The satellite was designed by Chinese and Ethiopian engineers and Chinese government paid about $6m of more than $7m manufacturing costs.
  • Application: The satellite data will be used for monitoring and analysis of agriculture, environment, drought, natural disasters, mineral exploration, weather forecasts and climate change.
  • NOTE: This launch makes Ethiopia the 11th African country to put a satellite into space and Egypt was the first in 1998.

  The International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced the names of the newly discovered stars and planets, where the name “Sharjah” was chosen for a star with “Barjeel” being the name of one of its planets.
Source: The News on AIR

  The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will launch rover ‘Mars 2020’ in 2020. The rover has been build and managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “Mars 2020” will explore a landscape shaped by water which is the ‘Jezero Crater’, the site of an ancient delta. ‘Mars 2020’s arm has the same reach as ‘Curiosity’s arm. ‘Mars 2020’s’ turret weighs 99 pounds (45 kilograms) more than Curiosity’s because it carries larger instruments and a larger drill for coring and have many other changes in the physical design.
Source: The Times Of India

 The Indian Space Research Organization is gearing to launch RISAT-2BR1 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on December 11, 2019. It is the second satellite in the RISAT series. The first satellite RISAT-2B was launched earlier this year.
  • Highlights of the launch
The launch is the 50th mission of ISRO’s PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle). Along with the RISAT-2BR1, it will also carry 9 commercial satellites. They are 6 from the US, and each from Italy, Israel and Japan. The RISAT-2BR1 is a spy satellite that is launched to boost Indian military’s Earth surveillance.
RISAT are Indian radar imaging reconnaissance satellites built by ISRO. These satellites provide all weather earth observations. So far, ISRO has put 310 foreign satellites into orbit.
  • Satellite Launch Market
So far India has launched satellites for 19 countries. Broadly, the US shares 40% of global launching services market. Following the US, European Union holds the second place. Though China plays a major role, it is not a consistent player and is not popular among the satellite customers namely USA and European Union. India has been launching satellites for foreign clients for 15 years now.

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