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March 21, 2017

Latest Science & Technology Current Affairs 2017

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PSLV-C37 carrying CARTOSAT-2 series earth observation satellite and 103 nano satellites have lifted off from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. PSLV-C37 successfully placed in orbit India's CARTOSAT-2 series satellite and two other satellites. 

Inventions / Discoveries

According to a new study conducted by scientists in collaboration with the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), two new groups of wheat rust have been identified that posed threat to wheat produced in Africa, Asia and Europe in 2016. 

Note : As per the data, the two new groups have been identified as yellow rust and stem rust. The finding calls for the need for early detection and rapid action to keep the fungus under control.

Examining a molecular cloud with enigmatic motion, a team led by researchers in Japan has found signs of stray black hole hiding in the Milky Way. Theoretical studies have predicted that 100 million to one billion black holes should exist in the Milky Way, although only 60 or so have been identified through observations to date.

Note : The researchers used the ASTE Telescope in Chile and the 45-m Radio Telescope at Nobeyama Radio Observatory both operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, to observe molecular clouds around the supernova remnant W44, located 10,000 light-years away from us.


Volcanic Activity

Scientists have uncovered evidence of at least two billion years of volcanic activity on Mars, after analysing a meteorite from the red planet. The finding confirms that some of the longest-lived volcanoes in the solar system may be found on the red planet.

Note : Shield volcanoes and lava plains formed from lava flowing over long distances found on the planet similar to the formation of the Hawaiian Islands.

The largest Martian volcano, Olympus Mons, is nearly 27.3 kilometres high. That is almost triple the height of Earth's tallest volcano, Mauna Kea, at 10 kilometres.

The meteorite, known as Northwest Africa 7635 and discovered in 2012, was found to be a type of volcanic rock called a shergottite. Eleven of these Martian meteorites, with similar chemical composition and ejection time, have been found.


Ice Volcanoes

A study says that the dwarf planet ceres may actually host many 'hidden' ice volcanoes, besides the only one recently discovered by a NASA spacecraft.

Scientists on 3rd Feb 2017 reported an innovative vaccine made from genetic material protected lab animals from the Zika virus in experiments, calling it a 'promising' lead in fighting the threat to humans. A single, low dose of the vaccine shielded mice exposed to Zika five months after the shot.

Note : Monkeys exposed five weeks after they were innoculated were also not affected by the virus. Zika erupted on a large scale in mid-2015 and more than 1.5 mil-lion people have been infected.

Smallest Pacemaker

The world's smallest pacemaker has been successfully implanted for the first time in a patient in the US. The pacemaker as big as a large vitamin capsule and provides the most advanced pacing technology.

Note : The pacemaker is for patients with bradycardia, a condition characterized by a slow heart rate, usually fewer than 60 beats per minute.

Scientists from Japan have developed tera-hertz (THz) transmitter technology, a next generation system which can transmit digital data over 10 times faster than 5G mobile networks.

Note : It will pave transmitting digital data at a rate exceeding 100 gigabits per second (gbps) over a single channel using the 300-gigahertz band.

The Union Government is targeting an investment of about Rs.2,200 crore in start-ups working on new technologies in the electron-ic sector under the Electronics Development Fund (EDF) by 2019.

Note : This investment aims at creating an eco-system to make India a global hub for electronics manufacturing.

Scientists from California National Primate Research Centre, US have successfully test-ed a new male contraceptive 'Vasalgel' that blocks sperm flow on monkeys.

Note : During the animal trials, the Vasalgel contraceptive provided effective birth con-trol in rhesus monkey groups for more than one year. Now it is waiting for human trials. It brings the prospect of an alterna-tive form of birth control for humans.

ISRO...

Indian Space Research Organization has stated that the indigenous development of Telemetry & Telecommand Processor (TTCP) has been realized and its production will be initiated with the help of Indian industry. This development was taken up by ISRO as part of 'Make in India' campaign, replaces expensive imported equipment.

Note : The interplanetary spacecraft use an international standard known as Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS), and presently equipment are being imported for telemetry reception and telecommand transmission requirements. It will be used in Integrated Spacecraft Testing of Low Earth Orbit, Geostationary Orbit and Interplanetary Spacecraft.

The US and Japanese military have success-fully tested the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile defence system by inter-cepting a medium-range ballistic missile tar-get in space for the first time. The missile was launched from a ship off the west coast of Hawaii, US. As per the US Missile Defence Agency, the defence system met each of its primary objectives.

AAD Missile...

India successfully test-fired its home-grown Advanced Air Defence (AAD) interceptor missile from launching complex-IV of Dhamara Abdul Kalam defence base off Odisha coast on 11th Feb, 2017. It is capable of destroying the incoming missile in the endo-atmospheric region at a low altitude of less than 30 kilometres.

Features : The interceptor is a 7.5-metre-long single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with a navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an elec-tro-mechanical activator would intercept a target, mimicking an incoming enemy mis-sile, mid-air.

PSLV-C37

The PSLV, in its 39th flight (PSLV-C37), will launch the 714 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation along with 103 co-passenger satellites, together weighing about 664 kg at lift-off. PSLVC37/ Cartosat-2 Series Satellite Mission is scheduled to be launched on February 15, 2017 at 9.28 hours 1ST from SDSC SHAR Sriharikota.

Note : The co-passenger satellites comprise 101 nano- satellites, one each from Israel, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and 96 from United States of America (USA), as well as two from India.

Scientific Events

Indian Navy's survey vessel INS Sarvekshak, based at the Southern Naval Command in Kochi became the first naval ship to go green by installing a solar power system on board. It has innovatively deployed the zero-mainte-nance solar power system, and is capable of generating 5.4 KW electricity and replacing the ship's traditional 4.4 KW emergency diesel alternator.

Note : The low cost system will slash a yearly carbon emission of 60,225 kg and save around 22,995 litres of diesel used to run the vessel's emergency diesel alterna-tor. *

China plans to launch its first cargo space-craft in April, 2017 taking a step towards its goal of establishing a permanently manned space station by 2022 to enhance national security and defence.  

Note: The Tianzhou-1 cargo resupply space-craft will be carried into space by a Long March-7 Y2 rocket launched from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in south China's island province of Nanhai.


NASA's historic moonshot pad is back in business. A SpaceX Falcon rocket blasted off 19th Feb, 2017 from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A. This is SpaceX's first launch from Florida since a rocket explosion last summer.

Russia has announced to start initial deliver-ies of military helicopters to India in 2018, with assembly and manufacturing to follow in Asia's fastest growing economy. India and Russia signed an agreement in October, 2016 to jointly manufacture 200 of the KA-226T helicopters for the Indian Armed Forces.

Note : Both countries have agreed to cooperate in energy and defence as India seeks to modernize its armed forces and build a nuclear industry and sanctions-hit Russia looks for investment and new markets.

NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft, which has been probing Jupiter since July 2016, will remain in its current 53 - day orbit around the gas giant planet for the remainder of its mission. This will allow Juno to accomplish its science goals, while avoiding the risk of a previously-planned engine firing that would have reduced the spacecraft's orbital period to 14 days.

Note : Juno has successfully orbited Jupiter four times since arriving at the giant planet, with the most recent orbit com-leted on February 2, 2017. Its next close flyby of Jupiter will be on March 27, 2017.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says more than 300 people were infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu in China in less than a month. In its latest report on outbreaks of bird flu in China, WHO. Note: As per the WHO, 144 of them were known to have been exposed to poultry or live poultry markets, while 11 had no clear exposure.

Astronomers of NASA have discovered seven Earth-sized planets less than 40 light-years away in constellation Aquarius, orbiting a star called TRAPPIST-1. Each planet orbits TRAPPIST-1 in the star's Goldilocks-like habitable zone - a region where there's enough starlight to permit the existence of liquid water. The three planets in the habitable zone, also known as the Goldilocks Zone, are called TRAPPIST-1 e, f, and g. Exoplanet 'e' is about the same size as Earth and even gets around the same amount of starlight as we do.

The government has sanctioned Rs.400 crore for the project this year for the first time, colleges and other research institutions can log in and harness its power to address problems, ranging from weather modeling to understanding how proteins fold. Most of the machine's computing power will help in monsoon forecasting, using a dynamical model. This requires simulating the weather for a given month - say March - and letting a custom-built model calculate how the actual weather will play out over June, July, August and September 2017.

Note : India has built supercomputers since the 1990s; it held a 'top 10' spot only once, in 2007.

Shared by Shravan Varma Gadhiraju
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