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Science and Technology - Current Affairs( Sep, Oct and Nov-2016)

Science and Technology - Current Affairs( Sep, Oct and Nov-2016)

1. Abhishek Swarnkar from Pune's Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) has produced a stable, high­efficiency, allinorganic perovskite nanocrystal solar cells.
  • New inorganic perovskite nanocrystal material has 10.77% efficiency to convert sunlight to electricity. It used cesium to produce the material of cesium lead iodide.
  • The nanocrystals of cesium lead iodide were reduced to nanometre range. It allowed the material to absorb visible sunlight till 700  nm at ambient temperature.
  • These nanocrystals converted sunlight to electricity by producing a high voltage of 1.23 volts.

2. A panel of British scientists approved introduceing three­parent baby fertility treatments or mitochondrial gene therapy (MGT)
procedures, to prevent certain genetic diseases from being passed on to future generations.
  • In February 2016, Britain became first in world to legalise creation of In­Vitro Fertilisation babies with DNA from three people.
  • World's first three­parent baby boy was born in Mexico in April 2016 to a Jordanian couple.
  • MGT (Mitochondrial donation) ­ It is a medical technique in which defective mitochondria carried by a woman is replaced with the
  • healthy mitochondria of a donor.

3. According to recent study by Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), global wildlife populations have fallen by 58% since 1970 and if trend continues then two­thirds of wild animals may go extinct by 2020.

4. According to study at University of Idaho (USA), Uranus has two tiny, previously undiscovered moons orbiting near two of the planet's rings.

5. According to the scientists and wildlife conservationists, Gangetic river dolphins (National Aquatic Animal of India) are at threat with
decvelopment of National Waterways.
  • River dolphins are found in Ganga and Brahmaputra and its tributaries. 
  • It has been declared endangered species and is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Fresh water dolphins rely on bio­sonar method to move around as they are alomst blind.

6. Biggest and Brightest Supermoon ever observed, while moon being closest to Earth at 3.56 lakh km.
  • Last time, moon came closer to earth on 26 January 1948. Next time, supermoon will be observed on 25 November 2034 (even closer than this year)
  • During Supermoon, moon appears approx 30% larger in area and 30% brighter than normal full moons.

7. CSIR­CEERI launched Handheld GPS­Enabled Ksheer Tester Tool on occasion of its 64th Foundation Day. 
  • It will enable people to tackle a national level health hazard due to adulteration in milk.

8. Facebook's Connectivity Lab has set a world record transmitting at 20 Gbps for 13.2 kilometers using Milli Meter Wave (MMW)
technology, in a test from Malibu, California to a building rooftop in Woodland Hills.
  • With this, Facebook broke previous record set in May 2016 by German scientists of 6 Gbps data transmission over 37 km using MMW. 
  • In February 2016, Japanese researchers had hit 100 Gbps by batching multiple 10 Gbps signals but not in MMW spectrum.
  • Millimeter waves (MMW) is electromagnetic waves with wavelength 1 to 10 millimeters. 
  • These waves share features of microwaves and far infrared waves since its wavelength ranges between these two.

9. Hinduja Group's Ashok Leyland launched India's first electric bus which are non­polluting and have zero­emissions, under National
Electric Mobility Plan that aims at a 20% penetration of electric/hybrid (eco­friendly) vehicles by 2020.  
  • They have been given subsidy under Central government's Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme.

10. Human Resource Development Minister Praksh Javadekar launched PARAM­ISHAN supercomputer at IIT Guwahati. 
  • It is fastest and most powerful computer in northeastern, eastern and southern regions.

11. ISRO successfully Launched advanced weather satellite SCATSAT­1 and 7 other co­passenger satellites on board the PSLV C35.
  • 371­kg SCATSAT­1 meant for ocean and weather related studies. 
  • This was placed into a 730­km polar sun synchronous orbit.
  • Other seven satellites, including 3 from Algeria and 1 each from the US and Canada.
  • It was ISRO's longest mission spread over 2 hours and 15 minutes.

12. Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL) launched CYSVAX, world's first vaccine for Taenia solium Tapeworms in pigs
  • The vaccine has significant potential benefit to reduce incidence of epilepsy in humans.

13. Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT­B) students created Pratham, a 10 KG microsatellite aimed at total electron count of the
ionosphere. 
  • It will be launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

14. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch 83 satellites in one go in January 2017, weighing over 500 kg.
  • 80 satellites are foreign, belonging to five countries ­ Israel, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Switzerland and the U.S.
  • Three Indian satellites are Cartosat­2 series weighing 730 kg as primary payload, INS­IA and INS­1B, totally weighing 30 kg.

15. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully launched advanced weather satellite INSAT­3DR, on board of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV­F05). 
  • It was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
  • It was seventh successful mission this year, including IRNSS series and scramjet propulsion mission.
  • INSAT­3DR weighs 2,211­kg and will supplement services of INSAT­3D launched from French Guiana in July 2013. 
  • It has designed mission life of ten years.
  • It will provide service continuity to earlier meteorological missions and further augment the capability to provide various meteorological, search and rescue services.
  • Other satellittes Include Pratham ­ 10­kg satellite developed by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay. 
  • It will be used to study the total electron count in space with a resolution of 1km x 1km location grid.

16. Indian researchers made major discovery by understanding mechanisms by which premature births (between 28 and 32 weeks of
gestation) occur (Normally a pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks).
  • India with 35% accounts for the highest burden of preterm births in the world.
  • Indian researchers have found that gram­positive Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria that produce small balloons called membrane vesicles. 
  • These small balloons contain toxins that kill both foetal and maternal cells and destroy the collagen that binds the cells together and call for a preterm birth.

17. India's first LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational­Wave Observatory) laboratory will be set up in Aundh in Hingoli district of
Maharashtra. 
  • It will be 3rd such laboratory in world and first outside USA . 
  • The existing two laboratories are located in Hanford, Washington and in Livingston, Louisiana.

18. India's first eco­friendly liquefied natural gas (LNG)­driven bus launched in Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) as a joint effort of Petronet
LNG Limited, Indian Oil Corporation and Tata Motors.

19. India's largest pharmaceutical company Sun Pharma signed deal with International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) for clinical development Cissampelos pariera (Cipa), India's first vaccine (drug) for treatment of dengue.

20. India's latest communication satellite, GSAT­18 launched by Ariane 5 VA­231 launch vehicle from Kourou (France).
  • It weighed 3,404 kg at lift­off.

21. NASA developed a new high­tech electroactive bandage that uses electricity to significantly promote healing of injured wounds, especially in space. 
  • The electroactive bandage uses a new material called polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) which can be stimulated by pressure of cell growth and body heat.

22. NASA's Cassini spacecraft entered in the final year of its voyage to saturn, beginning November 30, 2016 Cassini will make the closest­ever observations of Saturn.
  • Cassini spacecraft has been studying Saturn, its rings and moons for over 12 years.

23. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST) detected Great Balls of Fire (GBF), a mysterious super­hot blobs of gas seen near a dying star.

24. NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission has set Guinness world record for highest altitude fix of a Global Positioning System (GPS) signal.
  • 4 MMS satellites operating in a highly elliptical orbit around Earth has set the record at 70,006.4 kilometres above Earth.
  • NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) Mission is an unmanned space mission to study the Earth's magnetosphere, using four identical satellites flying in a tetrahedral or pyramid formation. 
  • Launched in March 2015, it aims to map magnetic reconnection, a process that occurs as sun and Earth's magnetic fields interact.

25. New species of a lizard discovered in Maharashtra, named as Cyrtodactylus Varadgirii or Giri's Geckoella after a Bengaluru­based
scientist Varad Giri. 
  • It has been discovered 130 years after last such gecko was discovered.

26. New termite species Glyptotermes Chiraharitae discovered at Kakkayam in Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary (Kerala)
  • It has been named Chiraharitae after tropical evergreen forests of the Western Ghats, where it was spotted.
  • Termites are of three types ­ damp wood, dry wood and subterranean. 
  • Glyptotermes Chiraharitae species are of the damp wood category.

27. Private aerospace Firm TeamIndus is planning to send a spacecraft to moon on December 28, 2017, aboard an Indian Space Research Organisation Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)
  • It will also travel at least 500 metres and beam high­ definition images, video and data back to the earth.

28. Researchers from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Thiruvananthapuram developed a compound named
gelator to scoop out marine oil spills, using glucose as a starting material.
  • Gelator molecule is partly hydrophilic and partly hydrophobic. Hydrophilic part helps in self­assembling to form gelator fibres, while the hydrophobic part is responsible for its diffusion into oil layer.
  • Since outer part of fibre is hydrophobic, oil tends to gets into spongy network made of fibres. 
  • Once inside fibre network, oil loses fluidity and becomes a gel.

29. Scientists detected presence of water on Psyche, largest metallic asteroid in our solar system, based on observations from NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) in Hawaii. 
  • The telescope observations show evidence of water or hydroxyl on its surface.

30. Scientists discovered a new species of Pika (a mammal belonging to the rabbit and hare family) in Himalayas in Sikkim. 
  • It has been identified as 'Ochotona sikimaria'.

31. Scientists from Brno University of Technology (Czech Republic) developed a model of a functioning human lung using 3D printing and other technologies. 
  • It has received three patents for its modeling. It can be used to simulate problems like asthma or other chronic diseases and their treatments.

32. Scientists from Delhi's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have developed a way of producing electricity from water hydroelectric cell at room temperature without using any power or chemicals. 
  • In this new method, scientist had used zinc and silver as electrodes to make a cell that produces electricity.

33. Scientists from Technion­Israel Institute of Technology created world's first 'water­wave laser' that emits a beam through interaction of light and water waves.
  • A laser is created when electrons in atoms become excited by energy absorbed from outside source, causing them to emit radiation in form of laser light. 
  • However, water­wave laser for first time showed that water wave oscillations within a liquid device can also generate laser radiation.  
  • It also demonstrated nonlinear optics and water waves, two areas that were previously considered unrelated.

34. Scientists from University of Sydney (Australia) found that mother's milk from marsupials (Tasmanian devils) could help to deadly
superbugs which resist antibiotics.

35. USA's National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched unmanned OSIRIS­REx 
  • spacecraft to collect samples from an asteroid 101955 Bennu and return to Earth in 2023, with atleast 60 grams of debris and dirt from asteroid 101955 Bennu.
  • OSIRIS­Rex stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security­Regolith Explorer. 
  • NASA scientists feel that the Bennu asteroid hold clues to the origin of the solar system and the source of water and organic molecules found on Earth.

36. World's first hydrogen­powered and zero­emission passenger train ­ Coradia iLint has been unveiled in Germany, developed by French rail company Alstom.
  • Coradia iLint only emits excess steam and condensed water into the atmosphere.
  • Coradia iLint is powered by a hydrogen fuel tank fitted on its roof. 
  • The fuel cell is supplied with hydrogen and oxygen from air. 
  • The fuel cell converts hydrogen and oxygen into electric power. Excess electric is stored with onboard lithium batteries.


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