Science & Technology - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   Indian Institute of Technology is the first academic institution to get ______________.
- Published on 23 Mar 17

a. Supercomputing facility
b. Computational support to carry out research and teaching in high performance computing
c. Both a and b
d. Neither a nor b
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

Explanation:
The Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur is the first academic institution to get supercomputing facility under the National Supercomputing Mission.

This will provide large computational support to users to carry out both research and teaching activities that involve state-of-the-art High Performance Computing (HPC).

It will usher in a new age in research and innovation in the country.

The Peta-Flop new system with both CPU and CPU-GPU based servers along with the already existing HPC equipment will provide about 1.5 Peta-Flop capacity support to several areas where the researchers of IIT-KGP are actively involved.

The Institute is setting up a new Centre for Computational and Data Sciences (CCDS) around such a supercomputing platform to build, manage and operate the HPC facility.

The institution is engaged in research in several areas of national importance requiring large computational (both hardware and software) support.

"The facility will cover cutting-edge research scope in different inter-disciplinary areas like bio molecular simulations, drug design and bio-informatics.

Also on the anvil are climate change and digital earth, geo-scientific exploration, infrastructure design and sustainable cities.

CCDS will also focus on education and capacity building. IIT-KGP is the nodal centre for HPC-related educational activities by NSM.

NSM: Know More

  • The objective of NSM is to achieve a self-reliant supercomputing platform in the country and to develop and expand the scope of using HPC systems to solve complex problems of national importance in different fields of science and technology.
  • The initiative is supported by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
  • The mission envisages building supercomputing capacity and capability in the country.
  • It has an estimated budget of INR 4,500 crore over a period of seven years.


2)   Where will NASA send its next-generation atomic clock in 2017?
- Published on 23 Mar 17

a. Mars
b. Moon
c. North Pole
d. Space
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Space

Explanation:
In a key advance for safely navigating future human exploration of the solar system, NASA is set to send its next-generation atomic clock to space in late 2017.

This clock will be smaller, lighter and magnitudes more precise than any atomic clock flown in space before.

Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California have completed integration of the instrument, the Deep Space Atomic Clock, with the spacecraft that will take it into orbit later in 2017.

Timekeeping plays a critical role in spacecraft navigation and will be especially important for future deep space missions.

Most spacecraft are tracked using "two-way" methods -- the ground-based antenna 'pings' the spacecraft and waits for the signal to return.

By measuring how long the signal takes to travel, the distance to the spacecraft can be calculated.

A navigation team then processes this information to determine the spacecraft's flight path and also determine if any course corrections are required.

The next-generation atomic clock developed by NASA enables "one-way" tracking, where the spacecraft does not need to send the signal back to Earth.

The tracking measurements could be taken onboard and processed with a spacecraft-based navigation system to determine the path and whether any manoeuvre are needed to stay on course.

This will be a key advance for safely navigating future human exploration of the solar system by providing astronauts with their position and velocity when they need it.

It will lighten the load on the antennas in NASA's Deep Space Network, allowing more spacecraft to be tracked with a single antenna.

The Deep Space Atomic Clock would also improve the precision and quantity of the radio data used by scientists for determining a planet's gravity field and probing its atmosphere, NASA said

NASA: Know More

  • Formed: July 29, 1958
  • Preceding agency: NACA (1915–1958)[2]
  • Jurisdiction: United States government
  • Headquarters: Washington, D.C.


3)   Where is the world's third largest hypersonic wind tunnel?
- Published on 23 Mar 17

a. Thrissur
b. Trichi
c. Thiruvananthapuram
d. Travancore
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Thiruvananthapuram

Explanation:
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) created history by commissioning the world’s third largest hypersonic wind tunnel at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram.

A wind tunnel is used to study the effects of air flowing past a solid object - in ISRO’s case, space vehicles.

With the space agency lining up big missions like the ‘Reusable Launch Vehicle’ (RLV), ‘Two Stage to Orbit’ (TSTO) rockets, air breathing propulsion systems, and the human space flight programme for the future, the aero-thermodynamic modelling of these in a hypersonic environment is vital for optimal designs.

These facilities, indigenously designed, developed and ‘Made in India’ with the support of Indian industries, are the third largest in terms of size and simulation capability in the world.

A few critical technologies, which are under embargo, have been jointly developed by Isro and industries for realisation of these facilities.

There is no replacement for wind tunnel testing for aerodynamic characterisation.


4)   What is the moss piglet's secret for survival?
- Published on 22 Mar 17

a. TDP or tardigrade specific intrinsically disordered proteins
b. ATP or adenosine triphosphate
c. DNA or Deoxyribonucleic acid
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: TDP or tardigrade specific intrinsically disordered proteins

Explanation:
They are considered the world's toughest animals, capable of living anywhere from the bottom of the ocean to 5,500 metres up a Himalayan mountain.

They can be boiled at temperatures of up to 150 degrees Celsius or frozen to near absolute zero, but still tardigrades, tiny, Muppet-like creatures also known as water bears or moss piglets, just will not die.

They have even been found on the outside of the International Space Station, where the lack of pressure would kill a human in minutes at most.

The big takeaway from the study is that tardigrades have evolved unique genes that allow them to survive drying out.

In addition, the proteins that these genes encode can be used to protect other biological material like bacteria, yeast, and certain enzymes - from desiccation.

These proteins have been named TDPs or 'tardigrade-specific intrinsically disordered proteins' in honour of the 1mm-long creatures who evolved to have them.

Previously it had been thought that a type of sugar called trehelose, which is found in other organisms including brine shrimp, was the secret behind the tardigrade's ability to return from the dead after being dried out for up to 10 years.

Following the discovery, reported in the journal Molecular Cell, the scientist put the genes into yeast and bacteria, which then gained the same properties as the tardigrades.

TDPs could be used to protect crops from drought and to preserve medicines without using a refrigerator.

Moss Piglet: Know More

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • (unranked): Tactopoda
  • Phylum: Tardigrades
  • Classes: Eutardigrada, Heterotardigrada, Mesotardigrada


5)   What would be the Dubai Airports fastest free Wi-Fi services across terminals called?
- Published on 20 Mar 17

a. WOW-Fi
b. NOW-Fi
c. SHOW-Fi
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: WOW-Fi

Explanation:
Dubai Airports has announced the world's fastest free Wi-Fi services across terminals to provide millions of passengers super fast internet access while flights are forthcoming.

Aptly titled WOW-Fi, the service offers a top speed of 100 megabits per second, about 10 times faster than what many internet users would achieve at home in the UAE.

The service provides internet connection surpassing all other airports, according to statements issued by the Dubai Airports.

The launch of the service follows Dubai Airport's launch of an upgraded free, unlimited high speed Wi-Fi connection across Dubai International and Dubai World Central in December 2016.

Unlimited free Wi-Fi at the DXB connects with a single click and offers fresh benchmarks for airports internationally.

For ensuring speed and reliability, Dubai Airports has invested in more than 6,000 new Wi-Fi access points to upgrade the entire wireless network infrastructure across airports.

As the biggest international airport in the world, Dubai Airport offers unlimited free Wi-Fi of the fastest speed across airports.

The service has been enjoyed by an average of 100,000 unique users per dy. This is called WOW-Fi experience and aims to impress 89 million passengers expected in 2017.

Dubai Airport: Know More

  • Address: Dubai - United Arab Emirates
  • Code: DXB
  • Elevation: 19 m


6)   Scientists have discovered a new wireless internet based on _______.
- Published on 20 Mar 17

a. Harmless infrared rays
b. X-rays
c. UV rays
d. Gamma rays
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Harmless infrared rays

Explanation:
Scientists have developed a new wireless internet based on harmless infrared rays.

This is 100 times faster than existing wi-fi network and has the capacity to support more devices without getting congested.

Slow Wi-Fi is a source of irritation that nearly everyone experiences.

Wireless devices in the home consume ever more data, and it is only growing, and congesting the wi-fi network, researchers said.

The wireless network developed by researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands not only has a huge capacity - more than 40 Gigabits per second (Gbit/s) - but also there is no need to share since every device gets its own ray of light.

The system is simple and cheap to set up.

The wireless data comes from a few central 'light antennas', for instance mounted on the ceiling, which are able to very precisely direct the rays of light supplied by an optical fibre.

The antennas contain a pair of gratings that radiate light rays of different wavelengths at different angles ('passive diffraction gratings').

Changing the light wavelengths also changes the direction of the ray of light. Since a safe infrared wavelength is used that does not reach the vulnerable retina in your eye, this technique is harmless.

As a user, if the smartphone or tablet moves out of the light antenna's line of sight, then another light antenna takes over.

The network tracks the precise location of every wireless device using its radio signal transmitted in the return direction, they said.

It is a simple matter to add devices: they are assigned different wavelengths by the same light antenna and so do not have to share capacity.

Moreover, there is no longer any interference from a neighbouring wi-fi network.

Current wi-fi uses radio signals with a frequency of 2.5 or five gigahertz.

The new system uses infrared light with wavelengths of 1,500 nanometres and higher.

This light has frequencies that are thousands of times higher, some 200 terahertz, which makes the data capacity of the light rays much larger.

Researchers managed to achieve a speed of 42.8 Gbit/s over a distance of 2.5 metres.

The system has so far used the light rays only to download; uploads are still done using radio signals since in most applications much less capacity is needed for uploading.

Gigahertz: Know More

  • The gigahertz, abbreviated GHz, is a unit of alternating current (AC) or electromagnetic (EM) wave frequency equal to one thousand million hertz (1,000,000,000 Hz).
  • The gigahertz is used as an indicator of the frequency of ultra-high-frequency (UHF) and microwave EM signals.
  • It is also used, in some computers, to express microprocessor clock speed.


7)   North Korea has conducted a new test of a high thrust rocket engine at which site?
- Published on 20 Mar 17

a. Sohae
b. Kaesong
c. Hamhung
d. Pyongyang
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Sohae

Explanation:
North Korea has conducted a ground test of a new type of high-thrust rocket engine that leader Kim Jong Un is a revolutionary breakthrough for the country's space programme.

Kim attended the test at Sohae launch site. The test was intended to confirm a new type engine thrust power and gauge the reliability of the control system and structural safety.

The test has great significance for the country's indigenous rocket industry.

The report indicated the engine is to be used for North Korea's space and satellite launching programme.

North Korea is banned from conducting long-range missile tests by the UN.

Under the 5 year plan, North Korea intends to launch more earth observation satellites in what would be the country's first geostationary communication's satellite.

North Korea is trying to create a viable space programme including a moon launch within the next ten years.

North Korea launched its latest satellite Kwangmyongsong 4, or Brilliant Star 4 into orbit on Feb 7, 2016 after conducting the first hydrogen-bomb test.

The first satellite in orbit was put in 2012.


8)   The students of MIT-Pune and IBM have developed which robot to assist senior citizens in everyday tasks?
- Published on 17 Mar 17

a. Chintu
b. Mintu
c. Chintan
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Chintu

Explanation:
Maharashtra Institute of Technology-Pune and technology giant IBM have developed a robot Chintu.

This will assist senior citizens in everyday tasks.

Chintu is a 2 feet tall robot developed by MIT Pune in collaboration with IBM after an INR 10 lakh grant last year.

It is powered by the US-based company's cognitive assistant, IBM Watson.

Chintu can move his hands and read books to an audience.

Drawing from Watson's domain knowledge, Chintu will assist senior citizens in conducting everyday tasks such as reading the newspaper/book and generate reminders on their daily medication.

IBM: Know More

  • Headquarters: Armonk, North Castle, New York, United States
  • Founder: Charles Ranlett Flint
  • Founded: 16 June 1911, New York City, New York, United States
  • Revenue: 79.92 billion USD (2016)
  • Number of employees: 386,558


9)   A banana research center is being established in which district of Bihar?
- Published on 17 Mar 17

a. Vaishali
b. Ara
c. Muzzafarpur
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Vaishali

Explanation:
The Union government has established banana research centre at Goraul in Vaishali district of Bihar.

It will function under Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University (RPCAU) at Pusa in Samastipur.

It is second such in the country after the National Research Centre for Banana at Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu.

The centre will focus on the reasons for less production of banana and will work on expansion of its cultivation, plant protection, suitable utilisation of various parts of it such as pulp and fibre, marketing, processing, and value addition etc.

Maharashtra is the largest banana producing state in the country with productivity of 65.7 tonnes per hectare.

Overall the banana production in India stands at 142 lakh tonnes per year.


10)   AIADMK announced which first of a kind women safety app in TN?
- Published on 15 Mar 17

a. Ammavin Jagran
b. Ammavin Aran
c. Ammavin Sharan
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Ammavin Aran

Explanation:
AIADMK IT Wing has launched the first-of-its-kind women safety application in Tamil Nadu.

The app is called 'Ammavin Aran' which stands for 'mother's fortress'.

The app will give the user details about the nearest police station and hospital along with map details and phone number.

There is an in-built whistle, which can manipulate the phone speaker to create a loud noise when pressed by anyone in distress.

Also, the app carries an in-built call recorder and and 'Tips' icon to provide life saving information.

The app was launched as a part of Women's Day celebration and is named after Jayalalalitha.

The women safety app was officially launched by the party's Deputy General Secretary TTV Dhinakaran.

AIADMK: Know More

  • Leader: Jayalalithaa
  • Founder: M. G. Ramachandran
  • Founded: 17 October 1972
  • Ideology: Populism, Social democracy
  • Political position: Centrism


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