To make this compilation we have used the following sources –
- The Hindu
- Indian Express
- Economic Times
- Other References
So be assured about quality and authenticity and just focus on preparation.
In this article, we have shared Science and Tech current affairs notes which are helpful for UPSC Mains and UPSC Prelims. These notes are also available in the form of Book and ebook.
These current events are also useful and helpful for SSC, Banking and state level PCS examination, but we have specially crafted and edited the notes for UPSC Mains and UPSC prelims.
Here we have listed the 10 most important events of Science & Tech for the month of January 2016. You may also download the full magazine here.
Here is the quick list of science and tech events for the month of June 2016, scroll down for detailed news.
- MRSAM Successfully Test Fired
Juno enters Jupiter’s magnetic field
Maleness gene in malaria mosquitoes discovered
Ozone layer shows signs of healing
Tissue Culture Raised Plants (NCS-TCP)
New species of ‘ant-mimicking’ spider found
Supermassive black hole discovered
Juno successfully begins orbit of Jupiter
LHC data unveils new ‘exotic’ particles
Massive planet with three suns discovered
1. MRSAM Successfully Test Fired
The medium range missile (MR-SAM), a product of joint venture between India and Israel, was successfully test launched from a mobile launcher in the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur. The missile positioned at launch pad-3 of the ITR swung in to action after getting signal from the radars to intercept a moving aerial target supported by an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) ‘Banshee‘over the Bay of Bengal.
- Apart from the missile, the system includes a Multi-Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar (MF STAR) for detection, tracking and guidance of the missile.
- The missile along with MF-STAR will provide the users with the capability to neutralise any aerial threats.
- Indian Defence Research Development Laboratory (DRDL), a laboratory of DRDO based at Hyderabad, has jointly developed this missile in collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
2. Juno enters Jupiter’s magnetic field
NASA’s Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft has entered the planet’s magnetosphere, where the movement of particles in space is controlled by what is going on inside Jupiter. Juno is on course to swing into orbit around Jupiter onJuly 4. Science instruments on board detected changes in the particles and fields around the spacecraft as it passed from an environment dominated by the interplanetary solar wind into Jupiter’s magnetosphere. Data from Juno’s Waves investigation indicate the spacecraft’s crossing of the bow shock just outside the magnetosphere on June 24 and the transit into the lower density of the Jovian magnetosphere on June 25.
The obstacle is Jupiter’s magnetosphere, which is the largest structure in the solar system. If Jupiter’s magnetosphere glowed in visible light, it would be twice the size of the full moon as seen from Earth. And that is the shorter dimension of the teardrop-shaped structure; the dimension extending outward behind Jupiter has a length about five times the distance between Earth and the Sun. Out in the solar wind a few days ago, Juno was speeding through an environment that has about 16 particles per cubic inch. Once it crossed into the magnetosphere, the density was about a hundredfold less.
3. Maleness gene in malaria mosquitoes discovered
Scientists, led by Dr Jaroslaw Krzywinski, Head of the Vector Molecular Biology group at The Pirbright Institute have isolated a gene, which determines maleness in the species of mosquito that is responsible for transmitting malaria. The research, published in the journal Science, describes identification and characterisation of a gene, named Yob by the authors, which is the master regulator of the sex determination process in the African malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, and determines the male sex.
- In insects, sex is commonly determined by a primary genetic signal that during the first hours of life activates a short cascade of genes, whose sex-specific products ultimately control whether an individual will develop as male or female. The molecular mechanisms underlying these developmental processes are surprisingly extremely variable, and in particular the primary sex-determining genes drastically differ in their nature between different groups of insects. Similar to humans, many insects possess a pair of sex chromosomes, withfemales carrying identical XX chromosomes andmales XY chromosomes, the Y chromosome harbouring a dominant male-determining gene. The molecular identity of such maleness genes has remained enigmatic. Yob represents only the second known case in insects.
- To identify Yob, researchers from Pirbright, with support from colleagues from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, used high-throughput sequencing to sample all transcripts (genetic messages) produced in the Anopheles gambiae male and female embryos. After comparison of the sequencing data, they found, exclusively in males, fragments of transcripts corresponding to Yob. Further research showed that Yob is encoded on the Y chromosome, and that activity of Yob was limited to males and was necessary to generate male-specific products of the sex determination pathway genes.
4. Ozone layer shows signs of healing
Atmospheric scientists have seen signs of the mending of the ozone hole above the Antarctic. Susan Solomon and co-workers report, in an article published in Science, that this healing is a direct result of the curb on the release of chlorofluorocarbons following from the Montreal protocol of 1987.
- The ozone hole is a region of depleted layers of ozone above the Antarctic region, whose creation is linked to increased cases of skin cancer. Depletion of ozone is due to many factors, the most dominant of which is therelease of chlorine from CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) which destroys the ozone.
- CFCs are released by products such as hairsprays, old refrigerators etc, and the decision taken by all countries in the Montreal protocol to ban products that release CFCs has been effective.
- There are three stages in the ozone recovery process, as the researchers write in the Science paper: (a) reduced rate of decline (b) levelling off of the depletion and last (c) ozone increase linked to reduction of the levels of CFCs. And the scientists had observed the third stage of recovery.
5. Tissue Culture Raised Plants (NCS-TCP)
The Ministry of Science & Technology through its Department of Biotechnology, which is also the Certification Agency for Tissue Culture raised Plants, organized a stakeholder meet on the National Certification System for Tissue Culture Raised Plants (NCS-TCP), in New Delhi. The event was organized by Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL) to raise awareness about the opportunities under the NCS-TCP to ensure production and distribution of quality tissue culture planting materials.
- Realizing the potential of plant tissue culture to revolutionize the growth of agriculture in India, the Department of Biotechnology established the National Certification System for Tissue Culture Raised Plants (NCS-TCP) in2006 under the Seeds Act 1966 with the objective of mentoring the tissue culture companies for production and distribution of disease-free and high quality tissue culture plants.
- The NCS-TCP has made a substantial impact since its inception a decade ago. Since then, 96 companies have been recognized and 5 test laboratories and two referral centres have been accredited under this system.
- So far, around 80 million tissue culture plants have been certified through this system. It is important to note that there has been no major virus outbreak in the last 10 years since the inception of the NCP-TCS.
6. New species of ‘ant-mimicking’ spider found
A new species of spider, which mimics the characteristics of ants, has been discovered in the moist deciduous forest of the Wayanad wildlife sanctuary. This spider, which lives along with ants in the corrugated bark of large trees, is difficult to differentiate from ants. The lean male spider almost looks like slender ant (Tetraponera rufonigra), said A.V. Sudhikumar, head of Centre for Animal Taxonomy and Ecology (CATE) of Christ College, Irinjalakuda, near Thrissur, who led the team of researchers.
- The spider uses this (Batesian mimicry) to escape from predators. As found only with ants, it is very difficult to spot this spider in a group of ants. In case of disturbance, it hides itself in the crevices of tree bark,” he said. It feeds on minute insects present in the crevices of tree bark.
- This spider belongs to Aetius genus of the ant-mimicking spider family Corinidae.
- Even though there are more than 200 variety of ant-mimicking spiders, this is first time a spider, which is so much similar to an ant, is being discovered, according to researchers.
7. Supermassive black hole discovered
Scientists have discovered a jet of cool, dense gas – with an unusual, swirling structure – which indicates the presence of a growing supermassive black hole in the centre of a galaxy located 70 million light years from Earth. Astronomers used the Alma telescope (Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array) in Chile to observe a remarkable structure in the centre of the galaxy NGC 1377, located in the constellation Eridanus.
- The observations with Alma unveil a jet which is 500 light years long and less than 60 light years across, travelling at speeds of at least 800,000 kilometres per hour.
- Most galaxies have a supermassive black hole in their centres; these black holes can have masses of between a few million to a billion solar masses.
- A black hole’s presence can be seen indirectly by telescopes when matter is falling into it – a process which astronomers call “accretion.”
8. Juno successfully begins orbit of Jupiter
Juno, NASA’s spacecraft completed its five-year journey to Jupiter on 4 July 2016. The spacecraft was set to mission by NASA in August last year to explore the origins of Jupiter and its possible impact on the rise of life on Earth. Juno was fired for 35 minutes in order to be slowed down and to be captured by Jupiter’s gravity.
Once the spacecraft is in position, it will commence its 20-months long science mission. It will fly in the orbits for 14 days each to explore the core of the clouds and to map its magnetic field. Juno, which is only the second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter after NASA’s 1995-2003 Galileo mission, will also look for traces of water in the thick atmosphere of Jupiter and will also be a key factor in figuring out where exactly did the planet form. Jupiter is believed to have started forming somewhere else and migrated to its current position.
9. LHC data unveils new ‘exotic’ particles
Scientists have observed three new “exotic” particles and confirmed the existence of a fourth one, using data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider. These particles seem to be formed by four quarks – the fundamental constituent of the matter inside all the atoms of the universe: two quarks and two antiquarks. NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory spots spectacular jet in faraway galaxy NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory spots spectacular jet in faraway galaxy Second milder ‘Big Bang’ created massive dark matter: Physicists Second milder ‘Big Bang’ created massive dark matter:
- Ground-breaking find can challenge Big Bang theory, understand formation of universeGround-breaking find can challenge Big Bang theory, understand formation of universe
- Long-sought-after exotic particle ‘glueball’ discovered?Long-sought-after exotic particle ‘glueball’ discovered?
- Due to their non-standard quark content, the newly observed particles have been included in the broad category of so-called exotic particles, although their exact theoretical interpretation is still under study.
10. Massive planet with three suns discovered
Scientists have discovered a new planet – located 340 light years from Earth and four times the mass of Jupiter – that orbits three stars and witnesses triple sunrises and sunsets each day, depending on the seasons, which last longer than human lifetimes. Located about 340 light years from Earth in the constellation Centaurus, HD 131399Ab is about 16 million years old, making it one of the youngest exoplanets discovered to date, and one of very few directly imaged planets.
- With a temperature of about 580 degrees Celsius and weighing about four Jupiter masses, it is also one of the coldest and least massive directly imaged exoplanets.
- HD 131399Ab is one of the few exoplanets that have been directly imaged, and it’s the first one in such an interesting dynamical configuration.
- For about half of the planet’s orbit, which lasts 550 Earth-years, three stars are visible in the sky, the fainter two always much closer together, and changing in apparent separation from the brightest star throughout the year,” said Kevin Wagner, a first-year PhD student in Apai’s research group, who discoveredHD 131399Ab.