Science & Technology - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   China is planning to send mini ecosystems to the moon containing which of these?
- Published on 21 Jun 17

a. potato seeds
b. Silkworm eggs
c. All of the above
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

Explanation:
In a first, China is planning to send mini-ecosystems - containing potato seeds and silkworm eggs - to the Moon next year, in an attempt to study how the organisms develop on the lunar surface.

The 3-kilogramme mini-ecosystem, developed by research teams led by Chongqing University in China, will be sent to the Moon by the Chang’e 4 scheduled to launch in 2018, authorities announced at the Global Space Exploration Conference.

An 18-centimetre-tall cylinder will carry potato seeds and silkworm eggs to be incubated.

The silkworms will hatch and create carbon dioxide, while the potato plants will generate oxygen, with the aim of the mission to prepare for future moon landings and possible human inhabitants.

China is planning a manned mission to the Moon, and officials have announced that the preliminary preparations for the lunar landing have begun.


2)   Official targets for which telescope include searching for icy moons, distant exoplanets and galaxy clusters?
- Published on 20 Jun 17

a. James Webb Space Telescope Mission
b. Charles Webb Space Telescope Mission
c. James Darwin Space Telescope Mission
d. Charles Darwin Space Telescope Mission
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: James Webb Space Telescope Mission

Explanation:
Mission officials for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) have announced the initial science targets for the James Webb Space Telescope.

The JWST has been scheduled to look at a large number of things in the universe including icy moons, distant exoplanets and galaxy clusters.

It will look at very first galaxies after the Big Bang, search for fingerprints of life on Enceladus, Europa, and exoplanets like TRAPPIST-1e etc.

As a part of the initial observations, 2100 observations has been planned for the JWST by the mission handlers.

JWST, being the most powerful telescope designed and built on Earth is scheduled to be launched in October 2018 on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana.

James Webb Space Telescope: Know More

  • JWST is a joint project of the NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore will conduct Webb science operations.
  • The JWST will be the successor of 26-year-old Hubble Space Telescope.
  • JWST is 100 times powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope and will be the largest telescope ever sent into space.
  • JWST will have a very large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror. Its sun shield is 22 metres which is roughly the size of a tennis court and has a mirror 6.5 metres which is over twice the size of the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • The JWST is named after the former NASA administrator, James Webb. JWST was formerly known as the “Next Generation Space Telescope” (NGST).
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had completed the construction of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) after more than 20 years of work.
  • Instruments of JWST include Cameras and spectrometers that are able to record extremely faint signals. NIRSpec having programmable micro-shutters for observation of up to 100 objects. Cryocooler for cooling the mid-infrared detectors.


3)   China launched its first _____ space telescope to study black holes, pulsars and gamma ray bursts.
- Published on 16 Jun 17

a. Gamma ray
b. UV ray
c. X-ray
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: X-ray

Explanation:
China has launched its first X-ray space telescope to study black holes, pulsars and gamma-ray bursts.

The telescope weighing 2.5 tonne was sent to the space using China’s Long March-4B rocket. The satellite was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

Black hole refers to the remains of a supergiant star that has collapsed into itself. It is so dense and has a gravitational field so intense, that light itself cannot escape from it.

Pulsars are highly magnetized, rotating neutron stars that emit a beam of electromagnetic radiation. They are spherical, compact objects that are about the size of a large city but contain more mass than that of the sun.

Scientists are using pulsars to study extreme states of matter, search for planets beyond Earth’s solar system and measure cosmic distance.

In recent times, China sees its multi-billion-dollar space programme as a symbol of its rise.

In April, China had launched its first cargo spacecraft and successfully docked it with an orbiting space lab. This launch was hailed as a key development toward China’s goal of having its own crewed space station by 2022.

Recently, China also opened a “Lunar Palace” laboratory on earth to simulate a moon-like environment.

In the lunar palace laboratory, China is conducting experiments by housing students for up to 200 days to prepare for its long-term goal of sending humans to the moon.

In 2016, China had also successfully launched experimental X-ray pulsar navigation satellite XPNAV-1, which was world’s first pulsar navigation satellite or spacecraft.

China's First X-ray Telescope

  • Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT), named Insight, will allow scientists from China to observe magnetic fields and the interiors of pulsars and understand the evolution of black holes.
  • The telescope is also expected to help scientists to search for gamma-ray bursts corresponding to gravitational waves.
  • It will also study how the pulsars can be used for spacecraft navigation.


4)   Anti tank missile ____ was test-fired in Rajasthan in June 2017.
- Published on 15 Jun 17

a. Nag
b. Agni
c. Trishul
d. Prithvi
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Nag

Explanation:
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully test fired anti-tank ‘Nag’ missile in Rajasthan.

The test was conducted by scientists of the Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Missile Complex at Hyderabad, Defence Laboratory at Jodhpur, High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) at Pune and Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) at Pune.

The anti-tank Nag missile is one of the five missile systems developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) under the integrated guided missile development programme (IGMDP).

The four other missiles developed under this programme include Agni, Akash, Trishul and Prithvi.

The Nag missile is a third generation anti-tank guided missile which works on “fire and forget” principle.

The anti-tank Nag missile has been equipped with the highly advanced Imaging Infrared Radar (IRR) seeker along with integrated avionics.

This technology is possessed by very few nations. It also possess advanced passive homing guidance system.

The missile has been designed mainly to destroy modern main battle tanks and other heavily armoured targets.

Nag can be launched from land and air-based platforms.

The helicopter launched version known as helicopter-launched NAG (HELINA) can be fired from Dhruv advanced light helicopter (ALH) and HAL Rudra attack helicopter.

The land-based version of the missile is at present available for integration on the Nag missile carrier (NAMICA).

DRDO: Know More

  • Founded: 1958
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Motto: "Strength's Origin is in Science" (Sanskrit)
  • Minister responsible: Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister of India
  • Agency executive: Dr.S.Christopher, Secretary, Department of Defence R&D;
  • Annual budget: 135.9 billion INR (US$2.0 billion, 2016–2017)


5)   Where was the first case of conjoined twin harbour porpoises discovered in June 2017?
- Published on 15 Jun 17

a. Netherlands
b. Australia
c. US
d. UK
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Netherlands

Explanation:
Fishers off the coast of the Netherlands got quite a shock when they caught what has now been confirmed as the first case of conjoined twin harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena).

With a single body and two fully grown heads, this is a case of partial twinning, or parapagus dicephalus.

The sighting is extremely rare: these male porpoises are only the 10th known case of conjoined twins in cetaceans, a group of animals that also includes whales and dolphins.

“The anatomy of cetaceans is strikingly different from terrestrial mammals with adaptations for living in the sea as a mammal. Much is unknown.

Adding any extra case to the known nine specimens brings more knowledge on this aspect.

The fishers who made the discovery returned the twins - which were probably already dead when caught - to the ocean.

They believed it would be illegal to keep such a specimen, but were able to produce a series of photographs useful for research.

The twins died shortly after birth, because their tail had not stiffened - which is necessary for newborn dolphins to be able to swim, says Kompanje.

Other signs of their age were a flat dorsal fin that should have become vertical soon after entering the ocean water, and hairs on the upper lip, which should fall out shortly after birth.

Partial twinning can happen in one of two ways: two initially separate embryonic discs can fuse together or the zygote can only partially split during the early development process.

This case concerns the second known case of twinning, the first case of conjoined twins in Phocoena phocoena, the fourth known case of parapagus dicephalus in a cetacean species and the tenth known case of conjoined twinning in a cetacean species.

Conjoined Twins: Know More

  • Not much is known about what causes conjoined twinning in cetaceans.
  • In humans, conjoined twins are identical twins that are physically attached to each other.
  • In healthy identical twins, an embryo splits into two after fertilization, but in conjoined twins, this process abruptly stops before the separation is complete.


6)   What is the name of the hottest giant planet discovered on June 5, 2017?
- Published on 08 Jun 17

a. KELT-9a
b. KELT-9b
c. KELT-9c
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: KELT-9b

Explanation:
Astronomers led by Ohio state university researchers discovered the hottest giant planet named KELT-9b.

This exoplanet is hotter than most stars - the finding was published on June 5, 2017

KELT 9b is regarded as a hybrid planet star - it has the mass of a planet and the atmosphere of a star.
KELT 9b was discovered in 2014 as astronomers spotted the shadow as it crossed the face of its host star 650 light years away from Earth in the constellation of Cygnus.

The planet was so close to the star that surface temperature reaches more than 4300C.
This makes it the hottest giant planet ever found.

Astronomers discovered this planet using two robotic telescopes Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope in Arizona and Sutherland to north of Cape Town in SA.

The twin telescopes focused on a star called Kelt-9 which at 10000 degrees C is nearly twice as hot as the sun. The observations revealed a regular dimming of starlight reaching Earth, the signature of a giant planet that was moving around it once every one-and-a-half days.

KELT 9b: Know More

  • KELT-9b is estimated to be roughly 3777 degrees Celsius on the dark side and 4327 degrees C on the star-exposed side.
  • This makes KELT-9b almost 20 per cent hotter than the next-most-boiling exoplanet WASP-33b. KELT-9b receives 700 times as much solar radiation as WASP-33b, which is similar to the glow of an entire K-type star, the second coolest type and is more than enough to break down molecules to their constituent atoms.
  • The new planet’s scorching temperature is due its parent star KELT-9 which falls in the A-type bracket of stars, the third-hottest category.
  • It is the seventh star of its classification to be found with an exoplanet and at roughly 300 million years old. KELT-9b is surprisingly puffy, given that its mass is almost three times Jupiter’s. KELT-9b is 2.8 times more massive than Jupiter, but only half as dense.
  • For reasons no one fully understands yet, the planet also orbits its star from pole to pole, rather than around the equator as would be expected.
  • The planet is tidally locked to its star as the moon is to Earth.
  • One side of the planet is always facing towards the star, and one side is in perpetual darkness. Molecules such as water, carbon dioxide and methane can’t form on the dayside of the planet as it is bombarded by too much ultraviolet radiation.
  • The discovery of KELT-9b might encourage more researchers to go into the depths of other planets on the opposite end of the typically researched spectrum.


7)   What is India's first all weather tracked chassis QR-SAM missile stand for?
- Published on 07 Jun 17

a. Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile
b. Quotient Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile
c. Quicker Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile

Explanation:
India on 4 June 2017 effectively test-fired indigenous first all weather tracked-chassis Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QR-SAM).

The QR-SAM was test-fired from a mobile launcher at Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Odisha at around 12:39 p.m. local time.

This test of the QR-SAM was the first test of the indigenously developed sophisticated high-speed missile that is capable of destroying aerial targets, tanks, bunkers and short range missiles.

Official sources said the test was carried out for validating various parameters of the sophisticated weapon system to further strengthen its air defence system.

QR-SAM: Know More

  • The QR-SAM was jointly developed by the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and Bharat Electronics Limited.
  • Reports suggest that this missile system has the potential to engage multiple targets within a range of approximate 30 kilometres, with the configuration of two vehicles for area air defence.
  • It is equipped for quick reaction and the system is all weather enabled, a network-centric one, which is also capable of search-on-the-move.
  • It is a truck-mounted missile and is 360 degree rotatable, electronic-mechanically operated, turret-based launch unit.
  • The missile, which is a highly mobile air defence system, can also deceive enemy radars making it to be detected.
  • It can also be used as an anti-sea skimmer from a ship against low flying attacking missiles.
  • It employs dual thrust propulsion stage using high-energy solid propellant.


8)   Which communication satellite was successfully launched by India on June 5, 2017?
- Published on 07 Jun 17

a. GSAT-19
b. GSAT-20
c. FAT Boy
d. Only a and c
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Only a and c

Explanation:
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 5 June 2017 successfully launched the communication satellite GSAT-19 into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

The communication satellite was lifted by an indigenously developed launch vehicle named Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk- III) D-1 from the second launch pad of the spaceport at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota at 5.28 pm.

The GSLV Mk-III is referred as FAT Boy of ISRO or India is ISRO’s its most powerful rocket.

The countdown to ISRO’s historic launch of GSLV Mark III D-1 was started on 4 June 2017 at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.

In a further advance of its space programme with this successful launch, India has managed to win a bigger share of the $300 billion global space industry.

This is the first ever developmental flight for the 4-ton class vehicle, powered by the indigenous cryogenic upper stage of 20 tonnes thrust.

In this test flight, the ISRO’s most powerful ever rocket is set to carry the satellite of 3136 kg lift off mass into space, the heaviest ever to be launched from Indian soil.

GSAT-19: Know More

  • At 3136 kgs (6914 lb) the GSAT-19 satellite will be the heaviest India has attempted to put in orbit.
  • The United States, Russia, China, Japan and European Space Agency have launched satellites weighing over three tonne.
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been promoting the home-grown space programme as a demonstration of low-cost technology and in February it launched 104 satellites in a single mission, most of them for foreign customers.
  • ISRO hopes that the launch will help it in attracting more foreign business in the heavier segment of the satellite business.
  • GSAT-19 satellite with a lift-off mass of 3136 kg is the communication satellite of India, configured around the ISRO’s standard I-3K bus.
  • The satellite carries Ka/Ku-band high throughput communication transponders. Besides, it carries a Geostationary Radiation Spectrometer (GRASP) payload to monitor and study the nature of charged particles and the influence of space radiation on satellites and their electronic components.
  • GSAT-19 also features certain advanced spacecraft technologies including miniaturised heat pipe, fibre optic gyro, Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) accelerometer, Ku-band TTC transponder, as well an indigenous Lithium-ion Battery.
  • GSAT-19 was powered by indigenously-made Lithium-ion batteries.
  • This was the first time when ISRO has powered a satellite for the first time with Lithium-ion batteries. Similar batteries will be used in future to power electric vehicles like cars and buses.


9)   Chinese archaeologists have discovered a 1000 year old Fugan temple in _____ province.
- Published on 07 Jun 17

a. Xinjiang
b. Urumqi
c. Chengdu
d. Sichuan
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Sichuan

Explanation:
Chinese archaeologists have discovered the Fugan Temple, which had been lost for almost 1000 years in China’s south-western Sichuan province.

The Temple, located in downtown Chengdu, was a famous one that lasted from the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317- 420) to the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279).

The archaeologists have unearthed more than 1,000 tablets inscribed with Buddhist scriptures and over 500 pieces of stone sculpture along with glazed tiles with inscriptions.

Besides this, the archaeologists have also discovered around 80 ancient tombs scattered near the temple, dating back to Shang and Zhou dynasties (1600-256 BC).

In the temple’s surroundings, they have unearthed large amounts of household tools and utensils and building materials dating back to various periods from the Song to Ming dynasties.

Chengdu became an economic and cultural centre in western China during the Sui and Tang dynasties.

A famous Tang Dynasty monk, Daoxuan, once wrote that an official rite to pray for rain to end a persistent drought was held in front of the temple and it rained as if the prayers had been heard in heaven.

The Story Behind Fugan Temple: Know More

  • The story is how the Fugan Temple got its name Fugan, as it means ‘perceive the blessing’.
  • The popular Tang Dynasty poet Liu Yuxi left a poem to commemorate the temple’s renovation, describing its heavenly appearance.
  • The poem further noted the temple’s significant role at that time. The building was, however, worn down during the later period of the Tang and Song dynasties, with all traces of the temple disappearing during wars.


10)   Which state government has launched the first rural LED lighting scheme in India?
- Published on 06 Jun 17

a. Arunachal Pradesh
b. Andhra Pradesh
c. Madhya Pradesh
d. Uttar Pradesh
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Andhra Pradesh

Explanation:
Government will retrofit 10 lakh conventional street lights with LED lights in Gram Panchayats of 7 districts in Andhra Pradesh.

The project will be carried out by the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) functioning under the Ministry of Power.

This project will be the first rural LED street lighting project under the Government of India’s Street Lighting National Project (SLNP).

It will help gram panchayats to cumulatively save approximately 147 million units of electricity in a year. It will lead to a reduction of approximately 12 crore tonnes of CO2.

The EESL will be made responsible for carrying out annual maintenance and warranty replacement exercises in these gram panchayats for a period of 10 years.

Andhra Pradesh became the first state to get assistance from EESL to replace conventional street lighting with LED lighting after cyclone Hudhud caused extensive damage in Visakhapatnam. Since then, EESL has installed an approximate 5,90,000 LED street lights in the State.

These lights has helped the state to reduce over 65,000 tonnes of CO2 every year. Across the country, more than 23 lakh conventional street lights have been replaced by LED street lights in 21 States.

100 Cities National Programme and SLNP: Know More

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched ‘100 cities National Programme‘ on January 5, 2015 to replace conventional domestic lights with energy efficient LED lights.
  • Similarly, Under the Street Light National Programme (SLNP), the government has set a target of replacing 1.34 crore conventional street lights with LED lights across the country.
  • LED bulbs have a very long life, almost 50 times more than ordinary bulbs, and 8 to 10 times that of CFLs, and therefore provide both energy and cost savings in the medium term.
  • The benefits of LED lights are: (i) Electricity savings (ii) Reduction of load (iii) Reduction of consumer bills (iv) Greenhouse gas emission reductions.


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