Science & Technology - Current Affairs for October, 2016

Science & Technology Current Affairs for October, 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   
▼ Lettuce planted on ISS!   [10-27-16]

NASA has planted lettuce on the International Space Station to learn how to grow fresh food in space- helping astronauts prepare for future manned mission to Mars

  • Farmers on Earth are planting leafy greens for the fall growing season with astronauts aboard the ISS are planting the third on-orbit crop of red romaine lettuce
  • NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough initiated the Veg-03 experiment, one of his first science assignments as a new crew member aboard the orbiting lab
  • The study is a validation of tools and procedures to grow plants and provide fresh food for astronauts
  • Members of the Veggie team examined the crops from the Experiment Monitoring Area located in Space Station Processing Facility at NASA Kennedy Space Centre in Florida
  • The scientists could remotely watch Kimbrough’s actions and ensure he did not encounter any challenges with activity or hardware
  • Plant pillows are small pouches containing a growth medium, fertiliser and seeds; for growing them, astronauts simply add a bit of water.
  • Astronauts on future long-duration space missions will be able to grow their own food to supplement their diets
  • The new Veg-3 crop will be the Veggie’s team’s first on-orbit attempt at a new, repetitive harvest technique termed Cut-And-Come-Again

▼ 2 new moons may be orbiting Uranus!   [10-26-16]

The planet Uranus has two previously undiscovered moons orbiting near two of the planet’s rings, researchers from NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft has found

  • The key patterns in the rings were found while examining the images taken by Voyager 2
  • He noticed the amount of ring material on the edge of the alpha ring varied periodically
  • This is one of the brightest rings of Uranus
  • Another similar pattern was observed in the adjoining beta ring
  • Researchers analysed radio occultations - made when Voyager 2 sent radio waves through the rings to be detected back on Earth - and stellar occultations, made when the spacecraft measured the light of background stars shining through the rings, which helps show how much material they contain.
  • They found the pattern in Uranus' rings was similar to moon-related structures in Saturn's rings called moonlet wakes.
  • The moonlets in the rings of this planet were 4-14 kms in diameter but smaller than known moons of the planet
  • The moons of this planet are hard to spot because their surface is covered in dark material
  • The moonlets if they are there may be acting s shepherd moons helping to keep the rings from spreading out
  • Two of the 27 known moons of Uranus are Ophelia and Cordelia which act as shepherds to the epsilon ring in Uranus.

▼ China’s desktop printer size microsatellite launched!   [10-26-16]

Tiangong-2 an experimental space laboratory of China on 23rd October 2016 launched the micro-satellite Banxing-2 which means Companion Satellite.

  • The micro-satellite is the size of a printer for PCs
  • Currently, the Tainggong-2 is orbiting the earth with two astronauts on board
  • With a weight of 47 kilograms, the micro satellite has numerous visible light cameras including 25 megapixel cameras and wide-angle imagers
  • The mission is to take photographs of Tiangong-2 and Shenzhou 11 spacecraft docked with the lab on 19th October 2016
  • The satellite has been named the Selfie Stick
  • It has an infrared camera that is temperature sensitive
  • With three solar panels, the satellite can generate enough power to adjust its orbit to shoot photos of the lab and spacecraft
  • The Shenzhou-11 spacecraft carried two astronauts into space on 17th October 2016

▼ Protein to help differentiate bacterial and non-bacterial infections!   [10-25-16]

A new tool which can differentiate between bacterial and non-bacterial infections is being showcased at a leading global competition called iGEM 2016

  • The device has the potential to be placed in GP surgeries or walk-in centres to enable patients with flu based symptoms to provide a small blood sample so that the nature of the infection can be discovered
  • The tool differentiates between bacterial and viral infection by detecting a protein called lipocalin
  • The protein is produced in high levels by the immune system in response to bacterial infections
  • The protein’s function is to bind small molecules which bacteria use to access iron to grow
  • The device has been discovered to enable genetically modified bacteria to mix with the blood sample of the patient and turn fluorescent when there are low levels of lipocalin protein indicating a viral, not bacterial infection

▼ First 3-D life-size model of hand!   [10-24-16]

An Indian American researcher and his team have created life-size 3D hand models complete with fingerprints, using a high resolution 3D printer that can create the same ridges and valleys as a real finger

  • Much like any optical device, fingerprint and hand scanners need to be calibrated, but currently there is no standard model for doing so
  • This marks the first time a whole hand 3D target has been created to calibrate fingerprint scanners, according to professor Anil Jain from MSU
  • The team was studying how to test and calibrate finger print scanners used across the globe at police departments, airport immigration counters, banks and amusement parks
  • For testing the scanners, life size 3D hand models were created along with 5 fingerprints
  • The study aimed to design and develop standard models and procedures for consistent and reliable evaluation of fingerprint readers funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

▼ Strange clouds over Bermuda Triangle responsible for vanished ships & planes?   [10-24-16]

The mystery of the Bermuda Triangle finally appears to have been solved

  • Strange clouds forming above the Bermuda Triangle explain why dozens of ships and planes have vanished in the notorious path of sea.
  • Clouds are linked to 170 mph air bombs capable of bringing down planes and ships
  • The mystery can be solved after meteorologists discovered bizarre hexagonal shaped clouds between 20-50 miles wide forming over a patch of water.
  • These types of hexagonal shapes in the ocean are in the essence air bombs– they are formed by microbursts and are blasts of air.
  • The blasts of air are so powerful that they can reach 170 mph in a hurricane like force capable of sinking ships and downing planes.
  • The notorious Bermuda Triangle located between Puerto Rico, Miami and Bermuda has been linked with unexplained disappearances of aircrafts and ships in water

▼ Your rice will be protein rich now!   [10-24-16]

Researchers of the Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalay/ IGKV in Raipur developed a protein enriched variety

  • The newly developed rice variety has over 10 percent protein content which is 3 percent more than what is found in any popular variety and has 30 PPM zinc content
  • Researchers said it would serve as a boon for malnourished people especially children in tribal dominated Chhattisgarh
  • The researchers worked for 7 years to develop a kind of rice that is rich in protein along with high zinc content
  • Rice variety will play a crucial role in fighting protein deficiencies
  • The rice variety will be sent to the state’s variety identification committee within six months for the final release following which it is probably going to be ready for cultivation next year.
  • As per a survey conducted in 2015, very high rate of malnutrition was found among pre-school children in tribal areas showing conditions such as being underweight and stunted growth which indicates a tough situation
  • Over 5 lakh children in Chhattisgarh are underweight, with tribal districts such as Bastar, Dantewada and Narayanpur.
  • These have higher rate of malnourishment than other districts
  • The Women and Child Development Department in Sept 2016 have informed that malnutrition rate in Chhattisgarh has declined to 29.8 percent from 47.1 percent registered in the National Family Health Survey 2005-2006

▼ H14PI : Most detailed map of Hydrogen atom   [10-21-16]

Using two of the world’s largest configurable telescopes, scientists have created the most detailed map of the hydrogen atoms in the Milky way

  • It is called HI4PI map; it was produced using data from the Max Planck radio telescope in Germany and the CSIRO radio telescope in Australia
  • The image was compiled by more than a million individual observations and 10 billion individual data points
  • Researchers looked at the neutral atomic hydrogen– the most abundant element in the cosmos and the main component of stars and galaxies.
  • Researchers have pointed out in their new study that the project improves the previous galactic map by a factor of two in terms of sensitivity and a factor of 4 in terms of resolution
  • Creating the map came with its challenges.
  • Radio “noise” caused by mobile phones and broadcast stations crept into the data, requiring the ICRAR researchers to develop a sophisticated computer algorithm that cleaned each individual data point.
  • The new map with a clearer picture of hydrogen will enable astronomers to understand the chemical makeup of the galaxy and answer how the galaxy receives gas to build new stars and where dwarf galaxies might exist in the immediate neighbourhood.

▼ Pune’s Giant Metre Wave Radio telescope tracks ESA Mars spacecraft   [10-21-16]

In a massive achievement, the Giant Metre wave Radio telescope in Pune’s Khodad area tracked the landing of the ESA spacecraft on a Mars mission
GMRT detected the weak signal from Schiaparelli EDM, all the way into the last phases of the descent of the module through the Martian atmosphere till 8.37 p.m. on Oct 19th

  • For monitoring the entry and descent module of this spacecraft during this crucial phase, NASA has assigned GMRT to act as a receiver station for the mission on behalf of the ExoMars Project
  • The EDM of the ExoMarch Project separated from the parent spacecraft, the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), on October 16 after a six-month journey from Earth.

▼ Innovation: World’s largest outdoor air purifier!   [10-21-16]

The world’s largest outdoor purifier has been launched by China to combat smog harming the capital city Beijing

  • The seven-meter-tall tower, brainchild of Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde, is undergoing last-minute checks in Beijing's 751 D Park art area.
  • Called the Smog Free tower it will soon be opened to the public
  • The tower can capture about 75 per cent of PM 2.5 and PM 10 tiny particles in its vicinity and then release purified air to create a "bubble" of fresh air around it.
  • The tower can also clean 30,000 cubic meters of air per hour through its patented ozone-free ion technology.
  • Beijing has been plagued with smog since October this year
  • Average PM2.5 density of the small polluted particles crossed over 300 here.

▼ Now iron fortified rice to combat anaemia!   [10-20-16]

To address the problem of anaemia in the country, scientists of the department of biotechnology have developed innovative ways to fortify rice with iron which can be mixed with normal rice and consumed without losing out on the flavour

  • Fortified rice using broken rice kernel through DBT technology matches the normal rice kernel in shape, size and sheen
  • It provides 50% of the recommended daily allowance of iron to children when mixed with the normal rice in the ratio of 1:100
  • Clinical studies substantiate that regular feeding for one year increases iron store and decreases anaemia in school going children according to DBT scientists in the note on rice fortification
  • The National Family Health Survey conducted in 2005-2006 found that prevalence of anaemia was there in 70 percent of the children of 6-59 months age group
  • Anaemia is a low haemoglobin condition that results on weakness, loss of energy and shortness of breath
  • It is mainly caused by iron deficiency
  • As the Indian population is primarily vegetarian, it is dependent on plant based sources which limits iron absorption in the body
  • This has led to iron deficiency in a massive section of the population
  • Rice fortification initiative was first launched in India by the UN World Food Program in Odisha where a pilot programme on iron fortified rice was served to children under the Midday meal program in Gajapati district earlier in 2016
  • DBT’s technology will enable the rice fortification model to move forward in other parts of the country where there is nutritional deficiency
  • As per the DBT technology, rice is fortified through a process known as extrusion in which dough made of rice flour, vitamin, mineral mix and water is passed through an extruder and cut into grain like structures that resemble rice grain
  • Department explained the appropriate quantities of iron, iodine, zinc, water soluble vitamins and fat soluble vitamins. Water soluble vitamins include folic acid, B1, B2, B6, B12 and Niacin
  • Fat soluble vitamins such as A and D are added to commonly consumed foods under this technology to bridge the gap between daily requirement and daily food intake

▼ Antarctica to be navigated for the first time!   [10-19-16]

More than 50 researchers from 30 nations will carry out full scientific circumnavigation of Antarctica to measure pollution and climate change. The global team will cruise on Russian research vessel Anaemic Treshnikov leaving Cape Town on December 20 and returning on March 18 next year, braving tough conditions to gain deeper understanding of mankind’s effect on the Southern Ocean

  • The Antarctic Circumpolar Expedition will be the first scientific mission to study major islands in the vast ocean as well as the Antarctic land mass
  • Adopted projects include mapping whales, penguins and albatrosses in the Southern Ocean measuring the effect of plastic pollution on the food change and logging the extent of phytoplankton – the base of the food chain– and its role in regulating climate
  • ACE is the first project of the newly created Swiss Polar Institute – a JV comprising numerous Swiss research and educational institutions that aim to enhance international research and collaborations between nations

▼ Qualcomm’s first 5G modem!   [10-19-16]

San Diego based mobile chip giant Qualcomm announced it will be launching the world’s first 5G modem called Snapdragon X50

  • The chip can support download speeds on the smartphone of up to 5GB per second
  • The average 4G download speed in the US is 9 megabits per second short of the global average of 13.5 Mbps
  • Once cellular networks start offering phones access to GB level download speeds, the devices will evolve in interesting manner
  • They may be able to access data in cloud more faster than retrieving data from the flash storage of the device
  • Qualcomm also indicated it will start sending samples to customers in the second half of 2017 and phones with the modem inside will start shipping in early 2018
  • South Korean carrier KT will be the first to launch the 5G network for the 2018 Winter Olympics in India
  • The LTE network might improve in time
  • The company will also launch the world’s first gigabit speed device for an LTE network
  • The LTE hotspot will provide users with download speeds of up to 1 Gbps
  • The next generation mobile network called 5G or fifth generation many years from becoming a reality

▼ Know all about India’s first indigenously constructed nuclear submarine!    [10-19-16]

India on 18th Oct 2016 completed its nuclear triad by inducting the nation’s first indigenously constructed nuclear submarine INS Arihant into service

  • This submarine was formally commissioned by Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba in August 2016
  • This is the lead ship of India’s Arihant class of nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines
  • The 6000 tonne vessel is created under the Advanced Technology Vessel project at the Ship Building Centre in the port city of Vizag
  • It was launched on 26th July 2009 the anniversary of Kargil War Victory Day/Vijay Diwas by the PM of India at that time, Manmohan Singh
  • After fitting out and extensive sea trials on 23rd February 2016, Arihant was confirmed as ready for operations and was commissioned in August 2016
  • it is the first of the expected five in the class of submarines designed and constricted as part of the Indian Naval ATV project
  • A nuclear triad is the nuclear weapons delivery of a strategic nuclear arsenal consisting of three components: strategic bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine launched ballistic missiles
  • Having a three pronged nuclear capability reduces the chance that the enemy could destroy nuclear forces of the nation in a first strike attack
  • This trial ensures a credible threat of the second strike, increasing the nuclear deterrence of the nation

▼ India’s first electric bus launched!   [10-19-16]

Ashok Leyland Ltd on 17th Oct 2016 launched its Circuit Series electric bus marking India’s first such indigenously made vehicle.

  • Buses are designed and engineered in India
  • They are specifically developed for Indian road conditions
  • The zero emission vehicle will be offered on multiple platforms enjoying a subsidy under FAME or Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles scheme
  • It can travel 150 km on a single charge
  • Union Government has launched the FAME-India scheme on April 1, 2015
  • Scheme was launched with an aim to boost sales of eco-friendly vehicles within the country
  • It is part of the National Mission for Electric Mobility
  • Scheme envisages providing 795 crore rupees worth of support till 2020 for the manufacturing and sale of electric and hybrid vehicles
  • Ashok Leyland is headquartered in Chennai, India
  • The company was founded in 1948
  • This is the 2nd largest commercial vehicle manufacturer in India
  • It is the 4th largest manufacturer of buses in the world
  • It is the 16th largest manufacturer of trucks internationally.
  • Ashok Leyland is the second largest vehicle company in India in the medium and heavy commercial vehicle segment

▼ A robotic arm that can feel sensation!   [10-17-16]

A 28-year-old man left paralysed by a car accident has been able to feel a sensation for the first time, after a robotic arm was directly connected to his brain in the world’s first breakthrough.

  • Nathan Copeland has been able to feel using a robotic arm as it is connected to micro electrodes about half the size of a shirt button that were surgically implanted in his brain
  • Prior to the operation, imaging techniques were first used to identify the places in in the fingers and palms which correspond to feelings
  • Discovery that people can regain some sensations using a so-called computer brain interface could revolutionise the treatment of paralysis
  • This development was part of the Walk Again Project in Brazil will left people paralysed by severe spinal cord injuries could recover the ability to move their legs after the exoskeleton was trained linked to the brain
  • Project aimed at enabling people to walk by controlling the exoskeleton with their minds
  • The ultimate goal is to create a system which moves and feels like a natural arm would

▼ New dwarf planet discovered in the solar system!   [10-17-16]

A new dwarf planet has been added to the family portrait of the solar system.

  • Scientists have discovered a new dwarf planet looping around the sun in the region beyond Pluto
  • The dwarf planet known as 2014 UZ224 measures 330 miles across and is located above 8.5 billion miles from the sun
  • It was found on Oct 11
  • In comparison, Pluto’a largest moon Charon is around 750 miles or 1,200km in diameter and a maximum distance of 4.5 billion miles from the sun
  • David Gerdes, a professor of astronomy at the Michigan University also revealed that the new dwarf planet was discovered through the DECam or Dark Energy Camera.
  • The universe is not only expanding but accelerating in the expansion; dark energy is the name given to the mechanism powering the expansion
  • DECam was created to study the movement of supernovas and galaxies as they move from earth
  • The goal is to find out what dark energy is and where it comes from
  • Dark Energy Survey was used to create a map of the universe relevant to the study of this form of energy
  • The DES maps have already been used to study dark matter
  • The dark energy constitutes 80% of the mass in the universe, but its exact nature is a mystery
  • Scientists also aim to find previously unidentified objects

▼ Innovation - Solar cell cathodes made of human hair!   [10-17-16]

Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Kolkata have found a fresh way to produce cathode for solar cells.

  • IISER researchers use human hair to produce effective, metal-free cathodes for use in solar cells
  • This is the first time that a bio-waste derived electrode has been used as a cathode na quantum dot sensitised solar cell device
  • The graphitic porous carbon cathode shows an excellent performance to ensure visible sunlight is converted to electricity, which is higher than commercially activated carbon cathodes
  • This offers higher efficiency for converting visible sunlight to electricity
  • The cathode was found to generate high open-circuit voltage at par with conventional platinum and activated carbon cathodes
  • Producing graphitic porous carbon cathode using human hair is simple, quick and affordable
  • Unlike the other synthetic porous carbons, no physical or chemical activation process or templates were required to produce the pores of 2-50 nanometres diameter
  • The porosity along with the high surface area to volume ratio plays an important role in adsorption-desorption of electrolyte
  • Cleaned and dried human hair was first treated with sulphuric acid at 165 degrees C for 25 minutes to attain pre-carbonisation
  • It is then heated to different temperatures in the presence of inert gas for 6 hours to carbonise and ensure better electrical conductivity for efficient charge transfer.

▼ Earth’s interior swallowed up half the original mass of India and Eurasia: Scientists rewrite Geology   [10-13-16]

Half the original mass of India and Eurasia was swallowed up by the Earth’s interior 60 million years ago, before the two landmasses commenced their slow motion collision.

  • Study conducted by University of Chicago researchers has important implications for understanding how the contents grew to their present size and the chemistry of earth’s interior has evolved
  • The collision of Eurasia and India which commenced 60 million years ago created the Himalayas; it is still in slow progress
  • The scientists computed the amount of landmass or continental crust prior to and after the collision
  • They found half of the mass that was there 60 million years ago is missing from the surface of the earth today.
  • Researchers concluded that this mass discrepancy could only be explained if the missing chunk had gone back down to the earth’s mantle- scientists considered this impossible on such a scale before
  • According to plate tectonic theory, the earth’s surface comprises a mosaic of rigid plates in relative motion
  • Plates move atop the upper mantle and plates topped with thicker, buoyant continental crusts ride higher than those topped with thinner oceanic crusts
  • Oceanic crust can dip and slid into the mantle which mixes together with the mantle material.
  • Continental crust like the one involving the Eurasia-Indian collision is less dense and geologists have believed that when the mantle is touched by t, it pushes up back, never mixing back in
  • But now, researchers have found out that significant amounts of crust have disappeared and the only place it could go into is the mantle
  • Earlier the scientists used to think that the mantle and the crust interacted only in a minor way
  • Computing the crust before was a problem involving careful dating of the strata and reconstruction of the past plate positions
  • Scientists concluded the based on precise calculation that amount of mass before and after the collision and careful accounting of the same, the earth’s crust was absorbed by the mantle

▼ Longer yawns a sign of bigger brain size?   [10-12-16]

Scientists have found that a longer yawn may correlate to a bigger brain size as per a new study which found animals with bigger brains are more variable in terms of the length of their yawns

  • Researchers from New York State University in the US observed 29 mammals yawning to calculate the average length of their yawns
  • Animals then had their brain weight documented
  • When the numbers were put together, researchers realised that brain weight and the number of neutrons in the outer layer of the brain called the cortex can reliably predict yawn length
  • Studies showed that gorillas, horses, walruses and African elephants may have huge sizes, but the have shorter yawns as the size of their brains is smaller than that of humans.
  • The research team also found that animals with bigger brains were more variable in the length of their yawns
  • More intelligent animals have different types of yawn in response to different stimuli while less intelligent ones have only one type of yawn.
  • Mean and variance in yawn duration are strong predictors of mammalian brain weight and cortical neuron number.

▼ NASA develops electric bandage that heals wounds   [10-12-16]

NASA has developed a new high-tech material that employs electricity to promote healing of injured woulds.

  • Where there is non-Earth gravity, human blood displays behaviour quite differently from earth
  • Wounds heal more slowly and considering the costly space missions and survival risks, healing of wounds as fast as possible is crucial
  • The new material generates a small amount of electricity while interacting with another surface including human skin
  • Material called polyvinylidene fluoride has numerous possible applications including wound healing
  • Wounds tend to heal more quickly if small amounts of electricity are applied to the surrounding tissue
  • The gauze pattern is also essential to the healing process
  • If the PVDF fibres are aligned correctly, cells on a wound use it as a scaffold, helping faster healing of the wound
  • The easiest way to align the fibres is to make gauze which creates an additional layer of protection against infection
  • The invention is a simple and inexpensive means of producing fibres and mats of controlled fibre diameter, thickness and porosity.
  • The device can be used by military personnel in the field, those undergoing surgery or those with serious injuries

▼ Great Balls of Fire detected by NASA   [10-12-16]

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in the first week of Oct 2016 detected the Great Balls of Fire.

  • These superheat blobs of gas, twice as large as planet Mars were being ejected near a dying star
  • These plasma balls were moving so fast through space it would take only 30 minutes for them to travel from Earth to the moon
  • Observations indicated that these balls of fire have been appearing every 8.5 years for at least part four centuries
  • Gas balls were observed near a red giant called V Hydra about 1200 light years away from earth
  • If scientists can find out where these balls are coming from, it could explain weird shapes seen in clouds of gas around the dying stars, which have been difficult for scientists to explain
  • The Hubble Space Telescope is a space telescope launched into low Earth orbit in the 1990s – it remains in operation and could last till 2030-2040
  • This is one of the largest and most versatile vital research tools and a public relations boon for astronomy
  • It is named after astronomer Edwin Hubble and is one of NASA’s Great Observatories along with the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, the Chandra X-ray observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope
  • With a 2.4m mirror, it has 4 main instruments observed in the near ultraviolet, visible and near infrared spectra
  • It was built by US space agency NASA with contribution from the ESA
  • Space Telescope Science Institute selects Hubble’s targets and processes the resulting data while the Goddard Space Flight Centre controls the spacecraft
  • It is the only telescope designed to be serviced by astronauts in space
  • Scientific successor to the Hubble, the James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled for launch in 2018

▼ Apes think just like humans!   [10-10-16]

A new study has found that apes possess the human ability to guess what others are thinking, even when someone holds a mistaken belief.

  • The study was led by comparative psychologists at the Kyoto University
  • Apes were found to show they could think like humans
  • While watching videos, the apes correctly anticipated when errors in thinking would be made
  • Scientists demonstrated this using eye tracking technology to show the apes correctly tested when the wrong option would be made
  • This finding has been replicated in chimpanzees. orang-utans and bonobos.
  • The scientists demonstrate that apes can predict the beliefs of others, even when the presumption is known to be false
  • In the experiment, apes would be able to anticipate someone would look for a hidden item in a certain location even though the apes know it was not there
  • The ability to predict someone holds a mistaken belief, which according to psychologists is the theory of the mind, and is a cognitive development children reach by age 5, was also held by the apes.

▼ Dying star and hot gas emissions around in emerging from somewhere else: A cosmic puzzle   [10-10-16]

Through NASA’s Hubble space telescope data, scientists including those of Indian-origin have detected super-hot blobs of gas, each twice as massive as Mars, being ejected bear the dying star

  • Plasma balls are zooming at such a massive speed that it only takes 30 minutes for them to travel to the Earth from the moon
  • Stellar cannon fire has continued once every 8.5 years for the past 4 centuries
  • This object has a high-speed outflow from the previous data, yet this is the first time this is being seen in action
  • Fireballs present a mystery to astronomers, as the ejected material could not have been shot out by the host star, referred to as V Hydrae
  • The star is a bloated red giant, residing 1,200 light years away and has shed at least half of its mass into space at the time of death
  • Red giants are dying stars in the final stage of life that are exhausting their nuclear fuel that makes them shine
  • They have expanded in size and are shedding outer layers into space
  • Best explanation suggests plasma balls were launched by an unseen companion star
  • Scientists have theorised that the companion would have been in elliptical orbit carrying it close to the red giant’s puffed up atmosphere every 8.5 years
  • As the companion enters the bloated star’s outer atmosphere, it swallows material which then settles into a disk around a companion and serves as a launching pad for blobs of plasma travelling at half a million mph
  • The star system could be an archetype explain the dazzling variety of glowing shapes uncovered by Hubble that are seen around dying stars called planetary nebulae
  • A planetary nebulae is an expanding shell of glowing gas expelled by a star late in its life.
  • These gaseous blobs produced during the late phase of the star’s life help make the structures seen in the planetary nebulae
  • STIS or Hubble’s Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph was used to study V Hydrae and the surrounding region over a period of 11 years
  • Spectroscopy decodes light from an object, revealing information regarding its velocity, temperature, location and motion.

▼ World’s largest dinosaur discovered in Brazil   [10-7-16]

Brazilian scientists have announced the discovery of Austroposeidon magnificus, a 25 m long dinosaur

  • This species belongs to the titanosaur group which is herbivorous and well developed with a long neck and small skills
  • These dinosaurs lived on earth during the Cretaceous period (145-66 million years back)
  • These species were located in Africa, S America, Antarctica and Oceania.
  • Fossilised vertebrae of the dinosaur was found in the 1950s by Brazilian palaeontologist Llewellyn Ivor Price, who died in 1980 without being acknowledged for this discovery.
  • The discovery was studied and analysed to arrive at results on 5th Oct

▼ Rainbow tree frog with orange hands and feet!   [10-7-16]

Scientists have discovered a new species of the green tree frog in Australia

  • It has a distinctive set of purple inner things and orange hands and feet
  • Called Liotria Bella or Cape York Graceful Tree Frog, this amazing animal was earlier mistaken for Litoria gracilenta or Graceful Tree Frog.
  • The species is thought to occur all the way from NE New South Wales to Northern Cape New York Peninsula in Queensland
  • Subtle differences between Cape York frogs and their southern counterparts were however noted
  • Through examination and comparison of the frog’s colour, body measurements, DNA sequences and calls, the scientists discovered that the frogs on the northern Cape York Peninsula were a distinct species and acquired the name of the Cape York Graceful Tree frog on this account
  • The new species of frogs is more closely related to similar frogs in the New Guinea region
  • This tree frog is known to exist from Moa Island in the Torres Strait in the north to 20 km south of Coen on the Cape York Peninsula in the south
  • Southernmost location of the new species is separated by 220 km from the most northern record of the Graceful Tree frog in the Endeavour Valley near Cooktown
  • The frogs have a near-immaculate green dorsum, bright orange digits, bluish purple thighs and white bones and measure 4 cm in length
  • Scientific name of the species means beautiful (Bella)
  • 31 percent of the frogs are currently threatened with extinction

▼ India’s latest communication satellite GSAT-18 launched   [10-7-16]

India has launched its latest communication satellite GSAT-18 on Oct 6th, 2016. The satellite was successfully launched by a heavy duty rocket of Arianespace from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana.

  • Launch was deferred by 24 hour owing to unfavourable wind conditions
  • Kourou is a French territory located in NE coast of South America
  • GSAT-18 was built by ISRO and aims to strengthen its current fleet of 14 operational telecommunication satellites.
  • European rocket launcher Ariane-5 VA-231 operated at 2 am IST, injecting the GSAT-18 after orbiting the co-passenger Sky Muster II satellite for Australian National Broadband Network
  • GSAT-18 will work towards providing telecommunication services for the country by strengthening the current fleet of 14 operational telecom satellites launched into the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit
  • GSAT is the 20th ISRO satellite launched by ESA
  • It is the 280th for the Arianespace launcher family
  • ISRO has been dependant on Ariane-5 rocket for carrying heavier satellites
  • It has developed GSLV Mk III for this purpose.
  • Weighing 3404 kg at lift off, GSAT-18 has carried 48 communication transponders to provide services in Normal C band, Upper Extended C-band and Ku-Bands of the frequency spectrum

▼ Breakthrough in controlling a major disease of cotton plants   [10-5-16]

China is the largest cotton producer in the world. Using gene technology, it has made a breakthrough in the control of a major disease of cotton plants

  • Chinese scientists found gene-interference technology can prevent the spread of pathogenic fungus which causes verticillium dahliae wilt, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
  • Verticillium Dahliae is a vascular fungal pathogen responsible for devastating many crops
  • Led by Guo Huishan, the research group has discovered the manner in which fungus infects cotton
  • The have developed a new strain of fungus resistance cotton with increase of 22.25 percent in resistance
  • Anti pathogenic fungus cotton will also increase agricultural incomes

▼ New species of extinct prehistoric predator shark discovered   [10-4-16]

This shark is related to the 60 feet Megalodon

  • Researchers found teeth fossils up to 1.8 inches in length
  • These fossils belonging to a new species of shark were found in three countries
  • The shark lived in early Miocene epoch 20 million years ago
  • There is a 45 million year gap between this shark and its relative
  • The newly-discovered species of shark, named Megalolamna paradoxodon, belongs to a group called Lamniformes.
  • The name 'paradoxodon,' or paradoxical teeth, comes from the fact that the shark appears to emerge suddenly in the geologic record.
  • The fossils were found in California, North Carolina, Peru, and Japan.
  • The 13 feet long shark lived in shallow-water, shelf-type, coastal environments.
  • The species had grasping-type front teeth and cutting-type rear teeth (up to 1.8 inches tall) likely

▼ Japanese scientist Yoshinori Ohsumi wins the Nobel Medicine Prize   [10-4-16]

Yoshinori Ohsumi of Japan on 3rd Oct won the Nobel Medicine Prize for his work on autophagy– a process by which cells eat themselves which can lead to Parkinson’s and diabetes
Autophagy is a fundamental process in cell physiology with implications for human health and disease

  • Process is vital for the orderly degradation and recycling of damaged cell parts; its failure leads to ageing and cell damage
  • Researchers first observed that cells could destroy their own content by wrapping up in membranes and transferring them to recycling compartment called lysosome in the 1960s
  • Oshumi used baker’s yeast to identify genes essential for autophagy showing the underlying mechanisms for autophagy in yeast and similar sophisticated machinery in human cells
  • Mutations in autophagy can cause disease like cancer and neurological disorders
  • In 2015, William Campbell of the US, Satoshi Omura of Japan and China's Tu Youyou won the prestigious award for their discoveries of treatments against parasites.

▼ New species of mammal Pika in Sikkim   [10-4-16]

Scientists at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bengaluru have identified a new species of pika called Ochotona sikimaria found in the Sikkim Himalayas.

  • The findings reveal a cryptic Pika lineage
  • The researchers problem the genetic origin of the little mammal Pika to discover an entirely new species with an interesting evolutionary past
  • Genetic tools were used to understand the origin and evolution of Pika species found in the Sikkim Himalayas and obtained DNA samples
  • They found that the Sikkim Pika newly discovered is close to its relatives in China
  • This Pika species was found to be distinct and not a subspecies of the Moupin Pika.
  • Pikas are members of the rabbit family living high in the mountain and they are cold adapted
  • Majority of the Pika species are of Asian Origin
  • They are considered indicators of climate change
  • Pika do not hibernate in winter but prepare food piles to sustain themselves in the cold weather, unlike other mammalian species.

▼ Why birds never crash into each other?   [10-3-16]

Research may have discovered why birds never seem to crash into one another - they appear to always veer to the right.

  • Just like cars drive on the right of the road to avoid collisions, avian creatures were found to turn the same way when they find they are on a collision course.
  • Discovering the "basic rules" of safe flying that have evolved in birds over millions of years could help program drones to avoid collisions as the skies become more crowded.
  • The scientific modelling has shown that birds always veer right - and sometimes they change their altitude as well, according to some pre-set preference. As air traffic becomes increasing busy, there is a pressing need for robust automatic systems for manned and unmanned aircraft, so there are real lessons to be learned from nature.
  • 2 budgies were released at opposite ends of a tunnel and their flight path was filmed by a high-speed camera.
  • In more than 100 flights by 10 different birds, there was not a single crash.
  • Another finding was that birds would rarely fly at the same height, and this raises the question of whether individual birds have a specific preference for flying higher or lower
  • Same strategy can be used for drones and autopilots.

▼ World’s first video sunglasses   [10-3-16]

Snapchat announced a new pair of camera sunglasses called “Spectacles” which have a small camera at the edge of the frame

  • The company also announced that it is changing its name to Snap Inc
  • This is how the spectacles work: You tap the rim of the frame, and a flashing ring singles the camera begins recording
  • One tap gets you 10 seconds of video while three taps gets the maximum i.e 30 seconds
  • Once the video is taken, it is stored on a device that can be shared via Snapchat
  • Snapchat is renaming its corporate self to Snap Inc, and launching its $130 Spectacles this fall in limited release.
  • They’re one-size-fits all in black, teal, or coral colours. s, with a light on the front alerting people you’re recording.
  • The video is captured with an 115-degree wide view lens in a circular format that can be watched full-screen on a smartphone in any orientation
  • The video is stored on the device and can be wirelessly offloaded to a phone over Wifi or Bluetooth so users can edit and share via Snapchat later.

▼ Giant footprint of Titanosaur found in Gobi Desert   [10-3-16]

One of the largest dinosaur footprints recorded has been unearthed in the Gobi Desert providing researchers clues about these massive creatures.

  • A joint Japanese Mongolian team found the giant print
  • The perfectly preserved print, one of the few of its kind, measures 106cm in length and 77cm in width
  • The huge fossil was discovered in a geological layer formed 70-90 million years ago
  • It was naturally cast, as sand flowed into the dents left by the creature stepping on muddy ground
  • Foot print belongs to the long necked dinosaur Titanosaur, which according to some estimatlswas 20m tall and 30m long
  • This rare, well deserved fossil footprint is greater than a metre in length and bears the imprint of the claws
  • The plant eating Sauropod made the footprint, which is not an indention, but cast
  • Similar footprints have been discovered in Morocco and France; but this is the clearest print ever and can help scientists understand how dinosaurs walked.

Chronology of events
World Space Week is from 4 October to 10 October 2016 and is observed by UNGA resolution; the 2016 World Space Week is being observed with theme Remote Sensing: Enabling our Future.
Researchers engineered a material leading to a new generation of computing devices, packing in more computing power while consuming nearly 100 times less energy called as a magnetoelectric multiferroic material combining electrical and magnetic properties at room temperature and relies on a phenomenon called "planar rumpling".
As per a directive passed on Oct 10, 2016, screening of oral and cervix cancer will be mandatory from November 2016
Facebook Inc launched a workplace version of its mobile app and website on Oct 10, marking the social networking company's first foray into the hotly competitive and crowded enterprise software; Workplace by Facebook is designed for workplace communication and collaboration.
Stem cells grown from a single monkey's skin cells revitalised the damaged hearts of five sick macaques, scientists reported on Oct 10, marking a step forward for organ regeneration.
Study has found gene, called PGC1 - alpha, may prevent the formation of a protein called amyloid-beta peptide in cells in the lab which is the main component of amyloid plaques, the sticky clumps of protein found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease to trigger the death of brain cells.
Swiss power company ABB has drawn up plans for India to become a fully electric vehicle nation by 2030, including an offer to supply electric buses that can be charged within 15 sec.
China on 17th Oct launched its longest ever manned space mission, the Shenzhou-11 (heavenly vessel) spacecraft at 7:30 am local time (5 am IST) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre near the Gobi Desert in northern China.
Little Bee is a square shaped probe placed atop China’s second space lab orbiting the earth in search of gamma ray bursts which are the strongest explosions in the universe.