Science & Technology - Current Affairs for May, 2016

Science & Technology Current Affairs for May, 2016

Month wise coverage of Science & Technology Current Affairs helps you improve your general knowledge and prepare for all competitive exams like IBPS, Bank PO, SBI PO, RRB, RBI, LIC, Specialist Officer, Clerk, SSC, UPSC, Railway etc. This section is updated daily with the most important events.

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  • Month & Year   
▼ China launches satellites    [05-31-16]

China successfully launched a new civilian high-resolution mapping satellite along with two other foreign satellites on Monday, 30th May 2016. The Ziyuan III 02 satellite took off on the back of a Long March 4B rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in northern Shanxi Province.

  • It was the 228th flight mission by a Long March carrier rocket.
  • Also on board the rocket were two NewSat satellites developed by URUGUS S A, the Uruguayan subsidiary of Argentine company Satellogic, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

▼ Scientists synthesise new drug for treating melanoma   [05-31-16]

Scientists have synthesised a new drug that they say can treat melanoma, a highly aggressive form of skin cancer.

  • The drug, known as HA15, reduces the viability of melanoma cells without being toxic for normal cells.
  • Melanoma affects melanocytes, the cells responsible for the synthesis of melanin, which gives skin its colour. The tumour progresses in three stages: radial growth, in which the cells proliferate in a disordered manner in the epidermis; the vertical growth phase, which involves invasion of the dermis, and finally the metastatic phase, corresponding to the dissemination of the cancer cells in the peripheral tissues.

▼ Doctors transplant composite skull and scalp flap for the first time   [05-30-16]

In a first-of-its-kind procedure, doctors in the U.S. have successfully transplanted a “composite” skull and scalp flap, along with kidney and pancreas - all from the same donor - in a 55-year-old patient.

  • The patient was suffering from a non-healing scalp defect and declining organ kidney and pancreas function, researchers said.
  • The experience may open the way to further procedures combining “vascularised composite allotransplantation” (VCA) with organ transplants, in patients who have already accepted the need for lifelong immunosuppressive therapy.
  • VCA refers to transplant procedures combining different types of tissues, such as skin, muscle, blood vessels, nerves, and bone.
  • Examples of VCA include face and hand transplantation

▼ MRO scientists find ice age once existed in Mars   [05-30-16]

Using radar data from Nasa's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), scientists have found a record of the most recent Martian ice age recorded in the planet's north polar ice cap.

  • The new results agree with previous models that indicate a glacial period ended about 400,000 years ago as well as predictions about how much ice would have been accumulated at the poles since then.
  • The researchers identified a boundary in the ice that extends across the entire north polar cap. Above the boundary, the layers accumulated very quickly and uniformly, compared with the layers below them.

▼ First experimental quantum communication satellite launched by China    [05-30-16]

China will launch its first experimental quantum communication satellite in July, whose communications cannot be intercepted, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) indicated.

  • It will be the first quantum communication through a satellite in the world. Quantum communication boasts ultra-high security as a quantum photon can neither be separated nor duplicated.
  • It is hence impossible to wiretap, intercept or crack the information transmitted through it,
  • ▼ Researchers have discovered gene involved in deregulation of immune cells   [05-30-16]

    Researchers have discovered a gene involved in the deregulation of certain immune cells in neurological disease MS. Characterised by the onset of chronic, neurodegenerative damage of the CNS, this disabling disease disrupts flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body by attacking the protective sheet (myelin) covering nerve fibres.

    • Causes of MS are unknown though various self immune mechanisms are known to be involved
    • Researchers know genetic variants lead to changes in code of DNA component and to understand their biological effects, effect of expression of corresponding gene needs to be studied.
    • Research shows gene ANKRD55 produces three different transcripts of the messenger RNA and the genetic variant associated with MS greatly increases the production of these transcripts
    • It has also been discovered and proven that this occurs specifically in the case of certain category of immune cells called TCD4+ feels
    • ANKRD55 exerts significant biological function on these cells and now needs to be deciphered.

    ▼ New device to help patients with endoscopic proceeder and liver as well as gastro-pancreatic disorders   [05-30-16]

    A new device has become a major boon for liver and gastro-pancreas patients and in helping endoscopic procedures.

    • SpyGlass from the stable of US based Boston Scientific is offering quality view of bile ducts of liver and duct of pancreas thereby benefiting different sections of society
    • VG Mohanprasad of the hospital indicated the machine can be used to diagnose acute and chronic diseases both

    ▼ Official PMO website goes multilingual   [05-30-16]

    Going multilingual, the official website of PMO is now available in six major regional languages including Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali and Malayalam
    PMO website also highlighted numerous initiatives of the government available only in in English and Hindi.

    ▼ ISRO tests air breathing propulsion system based on atmospheric oxygen   [05-30-16]

    Following the successful testing of a reusable launch vehicle, ISRO has set up an air breathing propulsion system aiming to capitalise on oxygen in the atmosphere instead of liquified oxygen while in flight. This system will help in reducing the lift off mass of the vehicle since liquified oxygen need not be carried abroad the vehicle. This will increase the efficiency of the rocket and make it cost effective.

    • Fresh propulsion system once mastered will complement ISRO’s aim to develop a reusable launch vehicle which would have longer flight duration
    • System involves scramjet engine crucial while sending up the spacecraft
    • ISRO is now evolving and testing numerous technologies to bring down the cost of launch vehicles
    • The national space agency has developed rockets that can send multiple satellites in a single mission

    ▼ Scientists find evidence life’s building blocks may have come from outer space   [05-30-16]

    Scientists have found further evidence supporting the theory that building blocks of life may have come to earth from outer space

    • Instruments used abroad the European space probe Rosetta detected glycine and phosphorous in the dusty world around the comet
    • Glycine is an amino acid which is one of the molecules needed to make proteins while phosphorous is needed for DNA and cells
    • Presence in the coma enveloping comet 67P indicates that comets delivered key molecules for prebiotic chemistry through the solar system and in particular, to the early Earth
    • Scientists also said adding a high concentration of these molecules to bodies of water could have produced the primordial soup giving birth to life on the planet more than 4 billion years ago.

    ▼ ISRO has indicated launching record 22 satellites in a single mission   [05-30-16]

    ISRO has indicated that it will launch a record 22 satellites in a single mission in June and following the current reusable launch vehicle, the next experiment is what one had to focus on. ISRO workhorse Polar rocket PSLV C34 will be used for the launch and will have satellites from Indonesia, US, Canada and Germany as co-passengers

    • ISRO had earlier sent ten satellites into orbit in a single mission in 2008

    ▼ Indian Air Force test fires land attack version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile   [05-30-16]

    Indian Air Force on May 27, 2016 successfully test-fired the land attack version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile which was test fired from the defence base in the western sector in Pokhran in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

    • Flight conducted met its mission parameters in a copybook manner and the weapon hit and annihilated the designated target
    • Flight conducted met its mission parameters in a copybook manner and the weapon hit and annihilated the designated target
    • It was a maiden air launch from the fighter aircraft
    • The Indian Army and Navy have inducted the BrahMos missile system
    • Accuracy in mountain warfare mode of the missile system was re-established in an exercise conducted by Indian Army in the eastern sector in 2015
    • The test was conducted in April 2016
    • BrahMos is the fastest missile in the world which has a flight range of close to 290 kilometres and caries a conventional warhead of 200 kg to 300 kg

    ▼ Scientists discover gene mutation that can develop new treatment for cancer   [05-30-16]

    Scientists have discovered how a gene mutation found in several human cancers promotes the growth of aggressive tumours, a finding that may develop new treatment for the deadly disease.

    • The mechanism through which the mutation leads to the scrambling to the genome is when you really get massive tumours.
    • Research also suggests a possible way to kill these tumours by targeting important enzymes
    • Researchers studied mutations in a gene that codes for protein POT1. This protein forms a protective cap across the ends of the chromosomes called telomeres, stopping cell machinery from mistakenly dancing DNA and causing harmful mutations
    • POT1 is so critical that cells without functional POT1 would die rather than passing on POT1 mutations- stress in these cells leads to activation of an enzyme called ATR triggering programmed cell death
    • Scientists in recent years were surprised to find recurring mutations affecting POT1 in several human cancers including melanoma and leukaemia.
    • Those cells found a way to survive and thrive sometimes and scientists have discovered its mechanism.

    ▼ Ministry of power and USAID launched first integrated web portal for NZEB   [05-30-16]

    Ministry of Power and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched India’s first integrated web portal designed to promote and mainstream Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) in India. The portal ( was launched by Shri Pradeep Kumar Pujari, Secretary, Ministry of Power, and Ambassador Mr Jonathan Addleton, USAID Mission Director to India.

    • This portal provides complete information about Net Zero Genergy Buildings.
    • What are these? They are buildings that generate as much energy as they use

    ▼ Microsoft and Facebook join handset build subsea cable   [05-30-16]

    Microsoft and Facebook have joined hands to build a new, state of the art subsea cable across the Atlantic Ocean to help meet growing demand for high speed, reliable connections for online and cloud services.

    • The MAREA cable spanning 6600 km will be the highest capacity subsea cable to cover the Atlantic
    • 8 fibre pairs and an initial estimated design capacity of 160 tbps will be features of this cable, a company statement said
    • Construction of the cable will commence in August 2016 and expected to be completed in October 2017
    • Microsoft and Facebook are collaborating on this system which will be the first to connect the US to Southern EU to accelerate the development of a next generation of internet infrastructure and support the explosion of data consumption

    ▼ Scientists discover new way of triggering cell death, can be used for treating cancer and autoimmune diseases   [05-30-16]

    Scientists have discovered a new way of triggering cell death, a finding that may lead to drugs for treating cancer and autoimmune diseases

    • Programmed cell death, also called apoptosis is a natural process to remove unwanted cells from the human body
    • Failure of apoptosis allows cancer cells to grow unchecked or immune cells to incorrectly attack the body
    • Protein called Bak is central to apoptosis. Researchers from Australia’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research have discovered a novel way of activating Bak to trigger cell death
    • This can lead to development of drugs that trigger Bak activation to treat diseases such as cancer where apoptosis has gone awry
    • Researchers used information about Bak 3D structure to ascertain how the antibody activated Bak

    ▼ China is set to send lunar probe in 2017   [05-30-16]

    China will send lunar probe to Chang’e 5 to land on the moon and return with samples in the second half of 2017 according to officials

    • SASTIND or State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence has said this is the first time a Chinese probe will land on the moon, collect samples and return to earth
    • This marks the third stage of the lunar exploration endeavour by China
    • Beijing also aims to be the first to launch a probe on the far side of the moon
    • China will also unveil new generation of Long March 5 and 7 in 2016, along with other new satellites and space labs.

    ▼ Activity in brain for making coherent thoughts rises with difficult decision making:Scientists   [05-30-16]

    As the difficulty of making decisions rises, activity in the part of the brain critical to make coherent thoughts also rises. Researchers found a strong positive correlation between perceptual difficulties and activities in the part of the brain called the Insular cortex

    • This cortex is divided into anterior, middle and posterior insula
    • Perceptual decision making is the process in which sensory information is gathered and used to influence our behaviour
    • Study found that the activity of the anterior insulae can predict how sensory information is perceived or what the difficulty level of the perceptual task is
    • Research is vital because activity in the anterior insulae along with two nearby brain structures makes up the salience network
    • Impairments in this network could be linked to psychiatric illnesses and it is important to learn how the brain area will be functioning.

    ▼ Government signs MoU between ISRO and UAESA   [05-26-16]

    Government on 25th May gave a nod for signing an MoU between ISRO and UAE space agency which will lead to the setting up of a JWG for two agencies and help in cooperation in the exploration of outer space for peaceful purposes.

    • Decision to sign the memo was taken by the Union Cabinet chaired by PM Modi and will assist in the exploration of outer space for peaceful purposes
    • MoU will also result in setting up space cooperation and an 11th meeting of India-UAE Joint Commission for Economic and Technical Cooperation
    • ISRO has achieved success on MOM and UAE sought Indian cooperation for its first inter-planetary expedition

    ▼ Scientists find evidence of baby planets around a young star a million years old   [05-26-16]

    This discovery suggests planets may form in shorter timescales than previously thought. In Novemeber 2014, Atacama Large Millimetre/sub millimetre Array in Chile released an image of young star HL Tauri and its dusk disk

    • The image which is the sharpest for any kind of object shows numerous gaps in the dusk disk around the star
    • As the disks are sites of planet formation, dark gaps carved by infant planets in the disk sweep away dust along the orbits
    • HL Tauri is very young estimated to be only about a million years and classical studies suggest it takes tens of millions of years for planets to form from small dust
    • Some researchers also hold that the mechanisms can be used to form gaps: changes in dust size through coalescene or destruction of dust due to gas molecules freezing.

    ▼ Scientists discover young craters on the Moon   [05-26-16]

    Team of scientists have discovered two geologically young craters- one 16 million years old and the other between 75-420 million years in the darkest regions of the moon.

    • Young impact craters are located in the darkest regions of the moon
    • These craters are an exciting discovery according to senior research scientist D Kathleen Mandt from Southwest Research Institute in Texas
    • Finding geologically young craters and hone in on their age to understand the collision history in the solar system
    • Collision in space has played an important role in the formation of the solar system including the formation of the Moon.
    • Impact craters tell the history of collisions between objects in the solar system
    • As the moon is peppered with impacts, the surface serves as a record of the past

    ▼ Smartphones to be reassembled though project Ara   [05-25-16]

    Google has developed a smartphone which allows the consumer to slide out its parts like Lego blocks. The tech giant first introduced the project in 2013 and has been working on it ever since. The project is titled Ara.

    • The phone contains six modular slots and all of them are flexible.
    • Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects organisation used the next generation technology for different modular parts to be inflow with each other.
    • ATAP developed the wireless capacity pads with the help of which communication with the main board of the smartphone and interaction among the modules is possible
    • This modular smartphone will have small hardware components called modules which can be upgraded or replaced independently.

    ▼ Fountain of youth gene discovered   [05-25-16]

    A gene, thought to be inactive in adults, may actually play a vital role in preventing heart attacks and stroke . and could also delay some of the effects of ageing, scientists have found.

    • The gene, Oct4 , plays a key role in the development of all living organisms, but scientists have, until now, thought it was permanently inactivated after embryonic development.
    • Researchers have determined the gene plays a critical protective role during the formation of atherosclerotic plaques inside blood vessels.
    • The rupturing of these plaques is the underlying cause of many heart attacks and strokes.
    • The researchers found that Oct4 controls the movement of smooth muscle cells into protective fibrous "caps" inside the plaques — caps that make the plaques less likely to rupture.
    • They also have provided evidence that the gene promotes many changes in gene expression that are beneficial in stabilising the plaques.

    ▼ Scientists find faintest early universe galaxy   [05-25-16]

    An international team of scientists has detected and confirmed the faintest early-universe galaxy ever.

    • This finding that can help explain how the "cosmic dark ages" ended.
    • Using the WM Keck Observatory on the summit on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, the researchers detected the galaxy as it was 13 billion years ago.
    • According to Tommaso Treu, professor of physics and astronomy at UCLA, the discovery could be a step toward unraveling one of the biggest mysteries in astronomy -- how a period known as the "cosmic dark ages" ended.
    • Eventually, when there were enough stars, they might have been able to ionize all of the intergalactic hydrogen and create the universe as we see it now. That process, called cosmic reionization, happened about 13 billion years ago but scientists have so far been unable to determine whether there were enough stars to do it or whether more exotic sources, like gas falling onto supermassive black holes, might have been responsible.
    • Gravitational lensing was first predicted by famous theoretical physicist Albert Einstein.

    ▼ Twitter increases limit for photos, videos and other media   [05-25-16]

    Twitter is making changes in the context of 140 characters or less. Social media service indicate that in coming months, photos, videos and other media won’t count towards Twitter 140 character limit

    • More wordy tweets are on the way
    • The aim moves to attract new users

    ▼ Browsing redirect virus on the prowl   [05-25-16]

    When simple search on Google , Bing or Yahoo website is redirecting user to some unwanted website indicating system, it is infected by a 'browsing redirect' virus.

    • Browser hijacking is no longer a far-fetched scenario, cybercriminals across the world are increasingly using to it to target netizens.

    ▼ ISRO launches reusable satellite launch vehicle   [05-24-16]

    A milestone in indigenous satellite program, Indian Space Research Organisation ( ISRO ) successfully launched the Re-usable Satellite Launch Vehicle- Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) from Sriharikota.

    • It demonstrated the success of the hypersonic flight, re-entry aero thermodynamics, autonomous mission management and hot structures for thermal protection
    • Nearly 80% of the rocket cost is towards engines and structure. If the engines and the structure can be recovered and re-used, there could be substantial reduction in cost to launch payloads in space.
    • Further there will be tests on the RLV with Air breathing propulsion system (ABPS) which uses atmospheric air as oxidiser for combustion with vehicle fuel to propel the rocket and it can bring down space travel cost by minimum one tenth
    • It is developed relatively at a low cost compared to other countries. Current RLV-TD incurs a project cost of Rs 95 crore.

    ▼ Scientists discover new form of light to explain fundamental nature of light   [05-23-16]

    In a massive breakthrough, scientists have discovered a new form of light to impact its fundamental nature

    • A measurable characteristic of the beam of light is the angular momentum. Until now, it was thought that in all forms of light the angular momentum would be a multiple of Planck's constant, the physical constant that sets the scale of quantum effects
    • Researchers from Trinity College Dublin's School of Physics and CRANN Institute have demonstrated a new form of light where the angular momentum of each photon (a particle of visible light) takes only half of this value.
    • Areas such as secure optical communications,and physics and science will advance
    • In the 1830s, mathematician William Rowan Hamilton and physicist Humphrey Lloyd found that upon passing through certain crystals, a ray of light became a hollow cylinder.
    • The team used this phenomenon to generate beams of light with a screw-like structure.

    ▼ Google, Levi launch SmartJacket   [05-23-16]

    Google and denim jeans company Levi's have developed a new jacket that lets users interact with their smartphones by swiping at the garment in various ways. Called the 'Commuter Trucker Jacket', the garment is aimed at cyclists who may be too busy riding and concentrating on their surroundings to reach into their pockets and fiddle with their phones.

    ▼ Scientists create new material allowing control over local magnetic fields   [05-23-16]

    US Scientists have created a new material called “rewritable magnetic charge ice” that leads to increased control over local magnetic fields paving the way for new computing technologies.

    • Potential applications involving data storage, memory and logic devices as well as magnetic charge ice could lead to smaller and more compuerful computers or create rapid advances in quantum computing.
    • It will advance our knowledge about artificial spin ices, to discover new physics phenomena and to achieve desired functionalities for applications,
    • These artificial spin ices are called so as spins have a lattice structure that follows the proton positioning ordering found in water ice. They consider artificial spin ices to be scientific playgrounds, where the mysteries of magnetism might be explored and revealed.

    ▼ IOC, Mobile app launched and 4H model followed for Smart President’s Estate   [05-20-16]

    The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated an Intelligent Operations Centre (IOC) in Rashtrapati Bhavan and launched a Mobile App ‘Monitor’ for transformation of President’s Estate into a smart township at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan (May 19, 2016).

    • President’s Secretariat follows a value-oriented governance model that is based on the core civilizational values of compassion and service to others.
    • Smart President’s Estate will work around the ‘4H’ theme of a Humane, Hi-tech, Heritage and Happy Township.

    ▼ Scientists create novel composite fibres inspired by liquid wire technique in spider webs   [05-20-16]

    • Inspired by the liquid wire technique in spider webs, scientists have created novel composite fibres which extend like a solid and compress like a liquid.
    • Pulling on a sticky thread in a spider's web and letting it snap back shows that the thread never sags but always stays taut - even when stretched to many times its original length.. This is because any loose thread is immediately spooled inside the tiny droplets of watery glue that coat and surround the core gossamer fibres of the web's capture spiral.

    ▼ World’s largest single rooftop solar power plant inaugurated in Punjab   [05-20-16]

    World’s largest single rooftop solar power plant of 11.5 Mw capacity was inaugurated in Beas near Amritsar in Punjab.

    • Spread at a single rooftop stretch of 42 acre at Dera Baba Jaimal, the project was synchronised earlier this year.
    • In addition to single largest rooftop solar power plant, seven rooftop solar power plants of 8Mw capacity were also inaugurated in Beas Dera campus making this place the highest single campus generating solar power of 19.5 Mw at multiple rooftops in the country.

    ▼ New Cancer cases to rise by 2020 : ICMR    [05-20-16]

    New cancer cases or its incidence in India is estimated to grow by 25% by 2020, according to the cancer registry released by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

    • While new cases in Delhi have increased rapidly since 2008-09, the burden in northeastern states is also high. Cancer cases in India are expected to jump from around 14 lakh in 2016 to over 17.3 lakh by 2020.
    • Deaths due to cancer are projected to go up from 7.36 lakh to over 8.8 lakh in the next four years.
    • Breast, lung and cervical cancer have topped the list of new cases, the data show. Data also revealed that only 12.5% of patients come for treatment in their early stages.

    ▼ Prithvi-II successfully test fired by India   [05-20-16]

    India on May 18 successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile as part of a user trial by the army from a test range at Chandipur in Odisha. The trial of the surface-to-surface missile was carried out from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range at around 0940 hrs, defence sources said.

    • With a strike range of 350 km, the Prithvi-II is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1,000 kg of warheads and is thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engines.
    • It uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target.
    • Inducted into Indian armed forces in 2003, the nine-metre-tall, single-stage liquid-fuelled Prithvi-II is the first missile to be developed by the DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme, defence sources said.

    ▼ Fossils reveal two unusual horned dinosaurs : Scientists   [05-20-16]

    Fossils of dinosaur skulls unearthed in Midwestern United States have revealed two new species namely Machairoceratops cronusi, and Spiclypeus shipporum.

    • The latter also nicknamed Judith after the Montana Judith River geological formation is close to 76 million years old and was part of the Chasmosaurine family -- which includes the famous Triceratops -- and had "horns over the eyes, which stuck out sideways from the skull.
    • This is a new addition to the family of horned dinosaurs that roamed western North America between 85 and 66 million years ago. Spiclypeus, however, appears to be unique to Montana.
    • Its name is combination of two Latin words meaning "spiked shield," and shipporum is a nod to the man who found the fossil on his land, Bill Shipp.
    • Another horned dinosaur uncovered in the Wahweap Formation in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah was adorned with two spikes rising out of its neck shield.
    • This one, newly named Machairoceratops cronusi, lived around 77 million years ago and weighed one to two tons. Its skull features showed it was unlike any previously known centrosaurine, a subfamily of ceratopsids which were characterized by parrot-like beaks, facial horns and ornate neck shields.

    ▼ China launches remote sensing satellite   [05-18-16]

    China on 15 May 2016 launched the Yagoan-30 remote sensing satellite. It was placed in the sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) by using the Long March 2-D rocket.

    • The satellite was launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center located in Gobi desert in northwest China’s Gansu Province.
    • It will be used for scientific experiments, land survey, crop yield assessment and disaster monitoring.
    • The first satellite in the Yaogan series, Yaogan-1, was launched in 2006 and this was the 227th mission for the Long March rocket family.

    ▼ Scientists clone Zika virus strain   [05-18-16]

    In a pioneering effort, a team of researchers has genetically engineered a clone of the Zika virus strain . According to them, cloning the virus can help in the development of counter-measures and exploring how or whether the Zika virus has evolved to spread more quickly and cause more severe diseases in people.

    • The new clone is also a critical step in developing a vaccine and antiviral drug against Zika
    • In the study, the team first individually cloned five genome fragments and then assembled them together to form the Zika virus clone.
    • The researchers then used the Zika mouse model to demonstrate that the cloned virus infected

    ▼ Study published indicates glioblastoma cells act as tumour promoters   [05-17-16]

    In a study published in Neuro-Oncology’s recent issue, IISC ad NIMHANS scientists have found the answer to a puzzle surrounding the most common form of brain tumour- Glioblastoma.

    • Glioblastoma cells, IGFBP2 acts as a tumor promoter through a well known tumor promoting pathway, beta-catenin. Like insulin. this is a binding protein.
    • IGFBP2 is one of the proteins presented in extracellular or outside cell fluids. It was found higher IGFBP2 levels led to inactivation of another protein - GSK3. Inactivation of GSK3 impairs the degradation of beta catenin inside the cell.
    • Beta catenin can now easily transport to the nucleus and induce production of new proteins that instruct the tumor cells to proliferate faster than normal, and start invading other tissues.

    ▼ First scanning helium microscope developed by Aussie scientists   [05-17-16]

    The World-first scanning helium microscope has been built by Australian researchers who feel it could "open doors" for many new discoveries by allowing scientists to scrutinize materials without disturbing them.

    • Paul Dastoor of University of Newcastle who has been working on the scanning helium microscope (SHeM) for two decades
    • This will permit humans, animals and plant samples as well as computer chips and pharmaceutical drugs without any damage or change.
    • The scanning helium microscope means the samples will be analysed in their true state for the first time ever and every time a new microscope was developed there had been enormous scientific advances.
    • The scientist said SHeM could be useful in major industries such as solar energy, defence, explosives and information technology.

    ▼ US activates land based missile defence station in Romania   [05-16-16]

    The US has activated a land-based missile defence station in Romania, which will form part of a larger and controversial European shield.

    • The US says the Aegis system is a shield to protect Nato countries from short and medium-range missiles, particularly from the Middle East.
    • Russia sees it as a security threat – a claim denied by Nato.
    • The site hosts radar and SM-3 missile interceptors, and will be integrated into Nato’s missile shield when the bloc meets this summer.

    ▼ ADD missile launched from Abdul Kalam Island   [05-16-16]

    In its effort to have a full fledged multi-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system, India on May 15, successfully test-fired its indigenously developed supersonic interceptor missile, capable of destroying any incoming hostile ballistic missile, from a test range off Odisha coast.

    • The interceptor was engaged against a target which was a naval version of Prithvi missile launched from a ship anchored inside Bay of Bengal, taking up the trajectory of a hostile ballistic missile.
    • The target missile was launched at about 11.15 hours and the interceptor, Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile positioned at Abdul Kalam island (Wheeler Island) getting signals from tracking radars, roared through its trajectory to destroy the incoming hostile missile in mid-air, in an endo-atmospheric altitude
    • “The ‘kill’ effect of the interceptor was ascertained by analysing data from multiple tracking sources,” a DRDO scientist said.

    ▼ US Navy will take ownership of Zumwalt, largest destroyer   [05-16-16]

    The US Navy is ready to take ownership of the Zumwalt, its largest and most technologically sophisticated destroyer. The Zumbalt is the first new class of warship built at Bath Iron Works since the Arleigh Burke slid into the Kennebec River in 1989. The shipyard is expected to turn the destroyer over to the Navy this week.

    • The ship features an angular shape that makes it 50 times more difficult to detect on radar; it's powered by electricity produced by turbines similar to those in a Boeing 777; new guns are designed to pummel targets from nearly 100 miles away. It also has advanced automation.
    • The final cost of the Zumwalt is expected to be at least $4.4 billion.

    ▼ Genetic variants leading to PTSD identified   [05-16-16]

    Scientists have identified two statistically significant genetic variants that may lead to an increased risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    • Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition triggered by experiencing or seeing a terrifying event.
    • First genetic variant was in gene ANKRD55 on chromosome 5 and the other variant was found in 19.

    ▼ ISRO creates first Indian space shuttle   [05-16-16]

    For the very first time in its history, the Indian Space Research Organisation is proceeding on a never before space flight that would make history.

    • The Indian space agency is all set to undertake the maiden launch of its very own indigenously version of a 'space shuttle', a fully made-in-India effort.
    • India's frugal engineers believe the solution to reducing cost of launching satellites into orbit is to recycle the rocket or make it reusable.
    • Scientists believe that they could reduce the cost of launching stuff into space by as much as 10 times if reusable technology succeeds, bringing it down to $2,000 per kg.

    ▼ Astronomers discover Little Lion galaxy   [05-16-16]

    Astronomers have discovered a faint blue galaxy close to 30 million light years away from earth that could shed new light regarding the universe’s birth

    • Galaxy has been nicknamed Leoncino or Little Lion because it isolated in the constellation Leo Minor
    • The lowest level of heavy chemical elements or metals ever observed in a gravitationally bound system of stars was observed in Little Lion
    • Finding the most metal poor galaxy is exciting because it could contribute to a quantitative test of the Big Bang.
    • Leoncino is considered a member of the local universe, a region of space within 1 billion light years away from earth and containing several million galaxies of which only a small portion has been catalogued

    ▼ Scientists in the UK discover protein which helps embryos stick to the womb, prevent miscarriage   [05-16-16]

    UK scientists have discovered a protein which helps embryos to stick to the womb- this also improves treatment for recurrent miscarriage and pre-enclampsia characterised by high blood pressure

    • University of Sheffield researchers showed that a protein called Syncytin-1, the result of viral infection of primate ancestors 25 million years ago, secreted on the surface of the developing embryo before it implants within the womb
    • The protein plays a vital role in embryo attachment and placenta formation

    ▼ Bene Israel community have Jewish roots: Scientists   [05-13-16]

    In a new study published on PLOS ONE website, it has been revealed that the Bene Israel community in the western part of India carries genetic proof of the Jewish roots.

    • The community too has identified itself as Jewish. According to their oral history, the Bene Israel people descended from 14 Jewish survivors of a shipwreck on India's Konkan shore.
    • The exact timing of this event and the origin and identity of the Jewish visitors are unknown. Some date the event to around 2,000 years ago. Others estimate that it took place in 175 BC .But others still believe their Jewish ancestors arrived as early as the 8th century BC.

    ▼ Experimental vaccine found to protect people from malaria   [05-12-16]

    An experimental vaccine has been found to protect a small number of healthy people from infection for more than one year after immunisation.

    • Vaccine called PfSPZ is developed and produced by US based pharma company Sanaria.
    • This vaccine confers long term sterile protection in select participants which has not been achieved with current vaccine approaches.
    • The PfSPZ Vaccine is composed of live, but weakened P. falciparum sporozoites — the early developmental form of the parasite.

    ▼ Astronomers discover 1284 more planets beyond the solar system   [05-12-16]

    Astronomers have discovered 1284 more planets beyond our solar system, with nine possible in orbits suitable for surface water that could provide support for life.

    • Announcement brings total number of confirmed planets outside the solar system to 3264.
    • These are exoplanets detected by NASA”s Kepler space telescope while searching for habitable planets like earth.
    • New planets were identified during Kepler’s four year primary mission outside the solar system to 3264.
    • Of the planets nearly 550 could be rocky like earth- there are 21 total known planets which could harbour life.
    • Kepler also looked for changes in the amount of light from 150,000 target stars with some of the changes caused by orbiting planets across or transiting the face of their host stars, relative to the line of vision of Kepler.
    • Analysis technique has been developed by Princeton University astronomers Tim Morton and colleagues.

    ▼ New non invasive personalised 3D virtual heart assessment tool helps doctors   [05-12-16]

    A new non-invasive, personalised 3D virtual heart assessment tool is the new discovery to help doctors determine if a patient faces a risk of life-threatening arrhythmia.

    • Researchers formed its predictions by using the distinctive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) records of patients who had survived a heart attack but were left with damaged cardiac tissue that predisposes the heart to deadly arrhythmias.
    • If electrical waves run amok in arrhythmia, sudden death can occur, said researchers.
    • This machine can prevent sudden cardiac deaths.

    ▼ Australian scientists unearth a fragment of the world’s oldest ground edge axe   [05-12-16]

    Created up to 49,000 years ago, it marks the first time humans arrived in the continent.

    • The latest discovery was made by archeologists from Australian National University in Western Australia’s Kimberley region.
    • ANY archaeologist Sue O’Connor indicated the axe dates between 46 to 49,000 years around the first time people arrived on the continent.
    • In Japan such axes appeared 35,000 years ago. In most countries in the world, they arrived with agriculture around 10,000 years ago.

    ▼ Scientists create molecular motors   [05-11-16]

    A global team of scientists have created molecular motors that work well with and communicate as well as synchronise movements.

    • Scientists can control the coordinated motion of tiny machines at the nanoscale- research has implications for future development of technologies that can be used in computers, electronics and photonics as well as novel nanoscale devices
    • The goal is to mimic natural biological machines through creation of synthetic machines that can be controlled

    ▼ Younger earth had a thinner atmosphere   [05-11-16]

    Traditionally, it was believed that Earth had a thicker atmosphere but scientists have found air at the time exerted at almost half the pressure of today’s atmosphere. New finding reverses the idea that early earth had a thicker atmosphere to compensate for weaker sunlight.

    • Finding also has implications for studies associated with relating to gases in that atmosphere and how biology and climate worked on the early planet
    • Team used bubbles trapped in 2.7 billion year old year old rocks to arrive at that conclusion
    • The idea of using bubbles trapped in the cooling lava as a paleobazometer was proposed by study co-author Roger Buick

    ▼ Scientists develop new material that can tighten skin   [05-11-16]

    Scientists have developed a new material which can temporarily tighten skin, smoothen wrinkles and treat skin conditions like eczema. This second skin can reshape eye bags under the lower eyelids and enhance skin hydration.

    • It also provides long lasting UV protection
    • This invisible later can provide a barrier, cosmetic improvements and deliver drugs to areas which are being treated.
    • The researchers created a library of more than 100 possible polymers all of which contained a chemical structure called siloxane- a chain of alternating atoms of oxygen and silicon.

    ▼ Web based app IWMS launched   [05-10-16]

    The Government has launched a web-based application on Integrated Waste Management System (IWMS) – for better management of waste. App has been developed for following reasons:
    (1) Help people to apply and get online permissions for import and export of certain categories of waste, which is for reuse or recycling or recovery or co-processing and ultimately to conserve our primary resource.
    (2) Help authorities in web-based processing, generation and grant of various types of certification/ permissions to the entrepreneurs and industries.
    (3) Implement concept of paperless/ green office; the system has inbuilt arrangements for uploading the supporting documents / annexure, along with the online applications.
    (4) Provide an insight to the number of authorization/ certificates granted under consent to establish, or consent to operate, from time to time across the country and make available at any point the information regarding number authorizations / consent orders granted by the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs).
    (5) Enable user agencies to check the fate of their application any time through this web-based portal..
    (6) Generate database on waste generating/ processing industrial units under construction, or operation by consolidating the information regarding Consent to Establish, Consent to Operate and Authorization, import/export permission
    (7) Generate data base on different categories of wastes generated viz hazardous, biomedical, municipal, electronic, plastic waste etc.

    ▼ SOFIA detects atomic oxygen in mars   [05-10-16]

    Atomic Oxygen was detected in the upper layers of the Martian atmosphere known as Mesosphere. This presence of Atomic Oxygen for the first time since the last observation 40 years ago was detected by an instrument onboard the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).

    • Atomic oxygen affects how other gases escape Mars and therefore has a significant impact on the planet’s atmosphere.

    ▼ Scientists develop world’s first holographic flexible smartphone   [05-10-16]

    This smartphone lets users interact with 3D videos and images sans headgear or glasses. Device is called HoloFlex and is capable of rendering 3D images with motion parallax and stereroscopy to multiple users without head tracking or glasses

    • HoloFlex offers a completely new way of interacting with smartphones allowing for glass free interactions with 3D videos and images in ways that do not encumber users
    • HoloFlex offers a new way of interacting with the smartphone allowing for glass free interactions with 3D Videos and images in a way without encumbering the user
    • It features a 1920X1080 full high definition Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diode touchscreen display
    • It can also be used for holographic gaming

    ▼ Mercury transit seen as dot on solar disc in India   [05-10-16]

    In a rare astronomical phenomenon taking place 13 times in one century, planet Mercury will be seen as a dot on the solar disc from many parts of India

    • Phenomenon occurs when the planet is seen as a small black dot travelling from one end of the solar disc to another
    • This occurs when Sun, Mercury and Earth are lined up in one plane appearing as a dot on the disc as the angular size is small as against Sun when seen from Earth
    • In Delhi, the event will take place for 2 hours 20 minutes
    • Transit of Mercury will be visible from many parts of Asia EU Africa, Greenland, S America, US. North Atlantic and Pacific Ocean Area
    • Last transit of Mercury occurred on November 6, 2006.

    ▼ GEDA initiates solar power generation project   [05-10-16]

    In an attempt to scale up the present solar power generation in Gujarat, the state government is now all set to launch its much awaited project of grid-connected rooftop solar power units, wherein residential property owners will be encouraged to install this new system.

    • The Solar Rooftop project was initiated by Gujarat Energy Development Agency (GEDA), which is the state nodal agency to promote renewable energy.
    • In the current fiscal of 2016-17, GEDA has set a target of generating 50 megawatt (MW) of electricity by installing such rooftop solar photovoltaic (SPV) units across Gujarat.
    • This rooftop solar project is for residential consumers only

    ▼ Atopodentatus unicus, a plant eating ancient marine reptile discovered   [05-10-16]

    A crocodile sized hammerhead creature called Atopodentatus unicus which lived 242 million years ago in southern China is considered the earliest known example of a plant eating marine reptile

    • Fossil was discovered in 2014 and has a poorly preserved head with a flamingo like beak.
    • Atopodentatus unicus used its bizarre jaw to help it eat plants, researchers said.

    ▼ Scientists discover two new wasp species from India and South Africa   [05-10-16]

    One of these wasps has been named Conobregma bradpitti, belongs to a large worldwide group of wasps parasitising in moth or butterfly caterpillars.

    • Wasps lay eggs into a host which once parasitised starts hardening>
    • Wasp cocoon can safely develop and emerge from the mummified lava
    • It is the first from its subtribe spotted in the whole of India, while its closest 'relative' lives in Nepal.
    • Pitt’s flying namesake is a tiny creature measuring less than 2 mm.
    • It has a deep brown body and is black in colour while head antennae and legs are yellow brown

    ▼ Indigenously missiles fired by DRDO   [05-10-16]

    Recently, DRDO fired the following missiles:

    • Medium Range Surface to Air Missile, Akash with a range of 25 km and Multi target handling capability.
    • Supersonic Cruise Missile, BrahMos with a range of 290 km.
    • Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) with range of 70 km.
    • Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Air-to-Air Missile, Astra with a range of 75 km.

    ▼ Magnetically levitated train Maglev launched in Changsha   [05-9-16]

    A Chinese city, Changsha, launched the country's first locally made magnetically levitated (maglev) train on Friday. Another Chinese city, Changchun, is getting ready to set into motion China's first hybrid railway that can run on two or three different kinds of energy.

    • The maglev in Changsa city of China's Hunan province is a middle-to-low speed train that will connect the local railway station to the airport across 18.55 kms.
    • It will take 19 minutes and 30 seconds to cover the journey with just one stop in between.
    • The train can go up to a maximum speed of 100 kms an hour carrying 365 passengers.

    ▼ Scientists find black hole 660 million times the sun’s size   [05-9-16]

    These groundbreaking observations were made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile by an international team of scientists that includes Rutgers associate professor Andrew J. Baker.

    • ALMA, the world's largest astronomical project, is a telescope with 66 radio antennas about 16,400 feet above sea level.
    • To measure NGC 1332's central black hole, scientists tapped ALMA's high-resolution observations of carbon monoxide emissions from a giant disc of cold gas orbiting the hole. They also measured the speed of the gas.
    • They were able to determine the speed of a disk of cold molecular gas and dust orbiting the supermassive black hole at the heart of galaxy NGC 1332.
    • The researchers calculated the black hole’s mass to be 660 million times greater than that of the Sun.

    ▼ Scientists grow human embryo outside of the mother   [05-6-16]

    Scientists have grown human embryos outside of the mother for almost two full weeks into development, providing a glimpse of the mysterious stage of early human life.

    • Scientists have only been able to study human embryos before this as a culture in a lab dish until the 7th day of development when they had to implant them into the mother’s uterus to survive till now.
    • As well as advancing human biology expertise, the knowledge gained from studying these developments should help to improve in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments and further progress in the field of regenerative medicine, the researchers said.

    ▼ Mysterious ailment of solar kids baffles Pakistan   [05-6-16]

    Three brothers are normal during the day but become paralysed after the sun sets- this is a condition where the solar kids suffer from a rare medical condition called Masthenia Syndrome. Known as solar kids in their village, the children get back their energy and start moving around once the sun rises.

    • This could be a congenital disease called Masthenia Syndrome which is a rare illness with only 600 cases reported in the world so far

    ▼ India scientists win Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics   [05-5-16]

    PM Modi congratulated the Indian scientists who along with their team detected the gravitational waves for the first time, for being the recipients of the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

    • The US $3 million award will be shared between the three founders of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) who will share US $ 1 million amongst and the remaining US $2 million will be divided among 1012 contributors
    • Scientists belonging to 9 institutes in the country are among the recipients of the award namely Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune; International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bangalore; Chennai Mathematical Institute, Chennai,RRCAT, Indore; Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar Ahmedabad Gujarat; Institute for Plasma Research, Bhat, Gandhinagar; Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai; IISER-TVM, CET Campus, Trivandrum Kerala; IISER-Kolkata, Mohanpur, West Bengal

    ▼ Scientists discover nano engine   [05-5-16]

    Scientists have developed the world's tiniest engine -just a few billionths of a metre in size -which is powered by light

    • This may help develop nano-machines that can navigate in water, sense the environment around them, or even enter living cells to fight disease.
    • When the 'nano-engine' is heated to a certain temperature, it stores large amounts of elastic energy in a fraction of a second. Light can be used to power the piston of the nano engine.

    ▼ Transit of Mercury over the disc of the Sun taking place   [05-5-16]

    A transit of Mercury over the disc of the Sun will occur on May 9, 2016 in the afternoon (19 Vaishakha, 1938 Saka Era). This transit phenomenon will be visible from India.

    • This phenomenon takes place when the planet Mercury will be seen as a small black dot traveling from one limb of the solar disc to the other.
    • From the Earth this phenomenon is seen when the Mercury passes between the Sun and the Earth.
    • Transit will commence with Contact 1, followed by 2, 3 and 4
    • The phenomenon will be a rare one observed 13 to 14 times in the century
    • The interval between one transit and another for November is 7,13 and 33 years while it is 13 or 33 years for May transit

    ▼ Hubble Space Telescope located hidden LSB galaxy   [05-3-16]

    Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a galaxy hidden in the night sky located 110 million light years away in the constellation of Pisces (The Fish).

    • Galaxy UGC 477 is a low surface brightness galaxy
    • This LSB galaxy was first discovered in 1986 and proposed in 1976 by Mike Disney
    • MSB galaxies are more diffusely distributed than others like the Milky Way and Andromeda
    • Most of the matter present in the LSB galaxies is in the form of hydrogen gas rather than stars
    • These galaxies have surface brightness close to 250 times fainter than the night sky
    • Matter present in the LSB galaxies is in form of hydrogen gas rather than stars
    • Unlike normal spiral galaxies, the centres of LSB galaxies do not have large number of stars

    ▼ Scientists find three potentially habitable planets   [05-3-16]

    A global team of scientists discovered a trio of Earth like planets to find life outside the solar system most likely. The study published in the journal Nature found that the three planets orbiting the ultra cool dwarf star 39 light years away are comparable in size and temperature to Venus and Earth.

    • This marks the first time chemical traces of life have been found outside the solar system
    • The three planets had a winning combination of being similar in size to earth, easily habitable and close enough for their atmosphere to be analysed
    • Scientists calibrated a 60-centimetre telescope in Chile, known as TRAPPIST, to track several dozen dwarf stars that are neither big nor hot enough to be visible with optical telescopes.
    • They zeroed in on a particularly promising one — now known as TRAPPIST-1 — about one eighth the size of the Sun, and significantly cooler.
    • The innermost two circle their dwarf star every 1.5 and 2.4 days

    ▼ 22 degree circular halo sighted in Kolkota   [05-3-16]

    A red and blue ring around the sun, known as the 22 degree circular halo was seen on 30th April 2016 in the city.

    • This phenomenon was observed between 12:10 to 12:40 pm
    • The phenomenon commonly called the 22 degree circular halo of the sun or occasionally the Moon (also moon ring or winter halo) takes place when the rays of the sun or moon get deflected or refracted through hexagonal ice crystals present in cirrus clouds
    • These cirrus clouds are formed when water vapour freezes into ice crystals at altitudes 5 to 10 km above the surface of the earth
    • This phenomenon is common in cold countries but in India, the occurrence is rare and cannot be predicted
    • 22 degree halo was last observed on April 2013

    ▼ Tobago batsman Iraq Thomas creates new record   [05-2-16]

    Tobago bastman Iraq Thomas on 24th April 2016 created a record by scoring 21-ball century in the Tobago Cricket Association’s T20 tournament at Louis D'or.

    • The 23-year-old Thomas represented Scraborough/Mason Hall and remained not out on 131 rums off just 31 balls.
    • He helped his side to chase down Speyside's target of 152 runs in just eight overs.
    • West Indies’ destructive batsman Chris Gayle holds the record for the hitting the fastest T20 ton.
    • In one-day internationals, AB de Villiers of South Africa owns the record for the fastest ODI century from 31 balls.

    ▼ Scientists discover new reef system at Amazon River’s mouth   [05-2-16]

    • Scientists have discovered a new reef system at the mouth of the Amazon River, which is the largest river discharge of water anywhere in the world.
    • When large rivers empty into oceans in areas called plumes, they create gaps within the reef distribution which makes finding the reef in this river system an unexpected discovery.

    ▼ Scientists turn skin into brain and beating heart cells   [05-2-16]

    Using a technique similar to regeneration powers of animal like salamanders, scientists have turned skin into brain and beating heart cells.

    • The revolutionary method was a significant step to a point where coronary and Alzheimer’s patients would be treated with their own reprogrammed tissues.
    • Human skin cells were turned into steam cells which can firm any kind of tissue in the body.
    • Close to 97% of the cells were beating when they were transplanted, developing into healthy looking heart tissue.

    ▼ El Nino to be followed by La Nina: Scientists    [05-2-16]

    Withering drought and sizzling temperatures from El Nino have caused food and water shortages and ravaged farming across Asia, and experts warn of possible flooding from its sibling, La Nina.

    • The current El Nino which began last year has been one of the strongest ever, leaving the Mekong River at its lowest level in decades, causing food-related unrest in the Philippines, and smothering vast regions in a months-long heat wave often topping 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit)
    • That could bring heavy rain to an already flood-prone region, exacerbating agricultural damage and leaving crops vulnerable to disease and pests.
    • El Nino has already left 60 million people worldwide requiring "urgent assistance," particularly in Africa.

    ▼ Gene responsible for making people look older identified   [05-2-16]

    Scientists already know that the gene in question, known as MC1R, is responsible for producing red hair and pale skin, according to the report in the journal Current Biology.

    • But now they have identified a variation in this gene that seems to age people faster.
    • For the current study, scientists examined the genomes of more than 2,600 elderly Dutch Europeans "for DNA variants associated with differences in perceived facial age and wrinkling as estimated from digital facial images," the report said.
    • They found the influence of the MC1R gene variant was not swayed by age, sex, skin color, or sun damage.
    • MC1R is also known for its role in inflammation and DNA damage repair, processes that may influence how youthful a person appears, researchers said.