Current Affairs : ScienceNTech
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  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted successful flight test of ABHYAS - High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) drone, from Interim Test Range (ITR) in Odisha’s Chandipur on 14th May.
  • “The flight test was tracked by various RADARS and Electro Optic Systems and proved its performance in fully autonomous way point navigation mode,” the DRDO said in a statement.
  • ABHYAS is drone involving designed for autonomous flight with the help of an autopilot. “The configuration of ABHYAS is designed on an in-line small gas turbine engine and uses indigenously developed MEMS based navigation system for its navigation and guidance.
  • The performance of the system was as per simulations carried out and demonstrated the capability of ABHYAS to meet the mission requirement for a cost effective HEAT,” DRDO said. The concept of ABHYAS was proved and pre-project details were completed on January 2013.
  • The first experimental launch (minus the engine) was conducted in 2012
  • The project was sanctioned with an initial funding of Rs 15 crore. The project picked up pace after three services floated a global tender for procurement of 225 HEAT drones.
  • The design of the fuselage is based is based on Lakshya, a high speed target drone system developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of DRDO.
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  • The latest dive reached 10,927m (35,849ft) beneath the waves making a new record.
  • An American explorer has found plastic waste on the seafloor while breaking the record for the deepest ever dive. Victor Vescovo descended nearly 11km to the deepest place in the ocean the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench.
  • He spent four hours exploring the bottom of the trench in his submersible, built to withstand the immense pressure of the deep.
  • He found sea creatures, but also found a plastic bag and sweet wrappers. It is the third time humans have reached the ocean's extreme depths.
  • The first dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench took place in 1960 by US Navy lieutenant Don Walsh and Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard in a vessel called the bathyscaphe Trieste.
  • Movie director James Cameron then made a solo plunge half a century later in 2012 in his bright green sub.
  • The latest descent, which reached 10,927m (35,849ft) beneath the waves, is now the deepest by 11m - making Victor Vescovo the new record holder.
  • In total, Mr Vescovo and his team made five dives to the bottom of the trench during the expedition. Robotic landers were also deployed to explore the remote terrain.
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  • In March, US President Donald Trump's administration moved the date for the next American lunar mission up by four years from its original goal of 2028 while pledging to get a female astronaut to the Moon's surface for the first time.
  • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters on 13th may the agency would need an additional USD 1.6 billion to pay for the new ground and space vehicles needed to meet the deadline.
  • "This additional investment, I want to be clear, is a downpayment on NASA's efforts to land humans on the Moon by 2024," he said.
  • Bridenstine said the mission was named Artemis after the Greek mythological goddess of the Moon and twin sister to Apollo, namesake of the program that sent 12 American astronauts to the Moon between 1969 and 1972.
  • NASA's total annual budget is approximately USD 21.5 billion, and in the 2019 fiscal year, the agency spent about USD 4.5 billion on developing the Orion spacecraft, the Space Launch System (SLS) heavy rocket and a new lunar orbital mini-station, three elements essential to the Artemis mission.
  • But many experts and lawmakers are concerned that NASA cannot meet the accelerated deadline, especially given the major delays in development of the SLS, which is being built by aerospace giant Boeing.
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  • Foldable phones have finally become a reality. Samsung, Huawei and Google are some of the top players who have embraced the foldable form factor.
  • Lenovo is now looking to bring the popular ‘foldable’ design to PC. The company on 13th May previewed what it calls the ‘world’s first foldable PC’.
  • Scheduled to launch in 2020, Lenovo’s foldable laptop will join the company’s premium ThinkPad X1 lineup.
  • The device features a 13.3-inch 4:3 OLED 2K display made by LG Display. It can be folded in half like a book and looks like a big tablet when opened up.
  • “Made for highly mobile, tech-savvy professionals who demand the best tools, the new foldable PC joins the premium ThinkPad X1 family, promising that the unprecedented portability will in no way compromise productivity and reliability.
  • This is not a phone, tablet, or familiar hybrid; this is a full-fledged laptop with a foldable screen,” said the company in a blog post.
  • The PC is powered by Intel processor and runs on Windows operating system. Lenovo hasn’t officially announced full specifications of its foldable PC yet.
  • The demo video, however, reveals the foldable device comes with side-mounted speaker grilles, USB port, front-facing camera, and usual storage slots. The PC has thicker bezels on the sides and rubber-like material at the hinge reminiscent to the company’s Yoga series.
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  • China, which is developing its navy at a feverish pace, has commissioned two more guided missile destroyers taking the total of such warships to 20 with more in the pipeline, state-media reported on 13th may.
  • Two Type 052D guided missile destroyers were launched last 10th May in Dalian, a coastal city, state-run Global Times reported.
  • Their commissioning marked the 19th and 20th of launches of their kind, the report said and quoted Chinese analysts as saying that plans are afoot to build more guided missile destroyers.
  • China now has 20 Type 052Ds either in active service or being fitted out for service soon, the report said.
  • Destroyers are fast, highly manoeuvrable long distance warships which are also used to accompany the aircraft carriers.
  • The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) last month celebrated its 70th anniversary in which Indian naval ships, including the indigenously developed missile destroyer, INS Kolkata along with tanker INS Shakti took part in the fleet review held at Qingdao.
  • The PLAN is currently regarded as the world’s fastest growing navy with new vessels being added to the fleet on a monthly basis.
  • While it has one aircraft carrier, the Liaoning which was commissioned in 2012, its second indigenously built aircraft carrier is currently undergoing trials and a third one is being built at a feverish pace. China plans to acquire about five to six aircraft carriers in the coming years, according to reports in the official media.
  • As part of the new military doctrine advocated by President Xi Jinping, the 2.3 million-strong Chinese military, the largest in the world, has cut down the size of its army by three lakhs in the last few years and expanded its navy and air force manifold to enhance its global influence.
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  • Trans fat, also called the worst form of fat in food, responsible for over 5,00,000 deaths globally from coronary heart disease each year, could be eliminated from the industrially produced global food supply by 2023 if the World Health Organization (WHO) has its way.
  • The WHO has welcomed its partnership with the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) to achieve this target. It said: “Eliminating industrially produced trans fat is one of the simplest and most effective ways to save lives and create a healthier food supply.”
  • WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a statement, said they had met the IFBA representatives, including chief executive officers from several of the 12 companies comprising the alliance on May 2 to discuss actions to eliminate industrial trans fats, and reduce salt, sugar and saturated fats in processed foods.
  • Regulatory action - The meeting also stressed the value of regulatory action on labelling, marketing and urged industry for full adherence to the WHO code of marketing of breast milk substitutes.
  • Dr. Ghebreyesus said, “The commitment made by the IFBA is in line with the WHO’s target to eliminate industrial trans fat from the global food supply by 2023. Of particular note was the decision by IFBA members to ensure that the amount of industrial trans fat in their products does not exceed 2 gram per 100 g fat/oil globally by 2023.”
  • Speaking about the relevance of this meeting and deadline for India, Medanta Hospital founder and heart surgeon Naresh Trehan said, “India has among the highest number of coronary heart disease cases in the world and we must try to beat this deadline.”
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  • The era of doctors prescribing patients powerful antibiotics while they wait for lab reports could soon be numbered, with a new device returning results within minutes instead of days.
  • It was invented by a team at Penn State university and described in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on 6th May.
  • Co-developed by Pak Kin Wong, a professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering, the device uses microtechnology to trap single bacteria cells that can then be viewed under an electron microscope.
  • The approach allows clinicians to determine in as little as 30 minutes whether bacteria is present and its susceptibility to drug treatment as opposed to the three-to-five days such lab work currently takes.
  • "However, over 75 per cent of urine specimens sent to a clinical microbiology laboratory are negative. Rapidly ruling out or confirming the presence of bacteria at a clinically relevant concentration will dramatically enhance patient care.
  • " He added that the team had applied for a provisional patent and could bring their device, which they hope to scale down in size so that it can be used in hospitals and doctors' offices, to market in three years' time.
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  • A devastating pest native to tropical and subtropical North America has been detected for the first time in northeastern states including Manipur, scientists from Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Manipur Centre have disclosed.
  • The insect called Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) which lays to waste crops like maize was detected in the maize research farm of ICAR, Manipur Centre in the outskirt of Imphal city and also at Chandonpokpi village farm in Chandel district.
  • “We have detected and started monitoring the new insect since last month and can now officially confirm its presence,” said scientist (Entomology) Dr Arati Ningombam of ICAR Manipur centre.It was also reported from Nagaland, Mizoram and Tripura this month.
  • In India, it was detected for the first time in Karnataka in May 2018 and rapidly spread to other parts of India including Chhattisgarh in January this year.
  • This pest was earlier confined to America until 2015 and by 2017 spread to some African countries, wreaking havoc in the continent.
  • On the rapid spread, Arati said, “These insects can fly more than 100 km a night. Besides being an exotic species, they have no natural enemies in the new environment which is similar to their native tropical and sub-tropical America.”
  • It is a pest that can feed on many host plants, she added. It can cause complete devastation of a field within short time if appropriate control measures are not taken. It has been reported to feed on rice, sorghum, sugarcane and many economically important vegetables.
  • Any invasion by a new, exotic insect is always a threat to the farmers and biodiversity of a place, another ICAR scientist (Agronomy) Dr MA Ansari said.
  • “This new invasion should be considered seriously and knowledge about this new insect is the only way to manage the insect pest rather that blindly using insecticides recommended by pesticide dealers to control it,” he said.
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  • Known as the Global Assessment, the report found that up to one million of Earth’s estimated eight million plant, insect and animal species is at risk of extinction, many within decades.
  • Relentless pursuit of economic growth, twinned with the impact of climate change, has put an ”unprecedented” one million species at risk of extinction, scientists said on 6th May in a landmark report on the damage done by modern civilisation to the natural world.
  • Only a wide-ranging transformation of the global economic and financial system could pull ecosystems that are vital to the future of human communities worldwide back from the brink of collapse, concluded the report, which was endorsed by 130 countries, including the U.S., Russia and China.
  • “The essential, interconnected web of life on Earth is getting smaller and increasingly frayed,” said Professor Josef Settele, who co-chaired the study, launched in Paris on 6th May by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
  • “This loss is a direct result of human activity and constitutes a direct threat to human well-being in all regions of the world.”
  • 145 authors, 50 countries -Compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries, the study is a cornerstone of an emerging body of research that suggests the world may need to embrace a new “post-growth” form of economics if it is to avert the existential risks posed by the mutually-reinforcing consequences of pollution, habitat destruction and carbon emissions.
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  • Researchers at TIFR say the chemical can impact the manner in which neurons grapple with stress and affect ageing In a surprising discovery, researchers at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) Mumbai have found a novel function for serotonin (a chemical that signals between neurons).
  • The recent discovery establishes that serotonin is involved in the generation of new mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell) in neurons, increased cellular respiration and fuel (ATP) in the cell.
  • Serotonin’s newly indentified function has been studied in mice and rats. If found to be true in humans, which is likely to be the case, it may have important medical implications.
  • “We cultured neurons and looked at the effects after adding serotonin, and found really unexpected results. We knew we had stumbled on something very interesting. These finds were confirmed and validated through extensive experiments,” Prof. Vaidya recalls.
  • The results of the study were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
  • Underlying mechanism - At the level of an organism, serotonin is known to be involved in coping with stress. However, the underlying mechanism of its neuro-protective role was unknown.
  • The team, jointly led by Vidita A. Vaidya and Ullas Kolthur-Seetharam from TIFR, in collaboration with Ashok Vaidya from KHS, provides insights into how serotonin generates more mitochondria thereby giving neurons the capacity to produce more energy and the ability to cope with stress better.
  • More than three decades ago researchers had speculated that serotonin could have antioxidant-like effects. But this was not experimentally proved.
  • “We found that serotonin reduces reactive oxygen species, thus providing neuroprotection against cellular stress. Serotonin can impact the manner in which neurons grapple with stress and affect the trajectory of ageing,” said Prof. Vaidya.
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  • A new technique the result of an international collaboration of scientists from Lehigh University, West Chester University, Osaka University and the University of Amsterdam could pave the way for colour tuning of a light bulb.
  • According to Volkmar Dierolf, Distinguished Professor and Chair of Lehigh's Department of Physics, who worked on the project says, "This work could make it possible to tune between bright white and more comfortable warmer colors in commercial LEDs."
  • The team demonstrated the possibility of color tuning Gallium Nitride (GaN)-based GaN LEDs simply by changing the time sequence at which the operation current is provided to the device.
  • Light-emitting diodes or LEDs are semiconductor devices that emit light when an electric current is passed through it.
  • The work is described in an article published online in ACS Photonics called "Color-Tunablility in GaN LEDs Based on Atomic Emission Manipulation under Current Injection.
  • "In today's active LED displays, different colors are produced by three to four individual LEDs that are placed close to each other and create the different fundamental colors needed to produce the full color spectrum.
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  • NASA, along with its international partners, is set to conduct a mock exercise that will play out a realistic but fictional scenario for an asteroid on an impact trajectory with Earth
  • The exercise will help the planetary defense community understand the important aspects of a possible disaster and identify issues for accomplishing a successful response.
  • The real work of preparing for the possibility of an impact of near-Earth objects (NEOs) such as asteroids or comets goes on mostly out of the public eye, NASA said in a statement.
  • In the spirit of better communication, next week at the 2019 Planetary Defense Conference, NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), and space science institutions, along with international partners, will participate in a 'tabletop exercise'.
  • A tabletop exercise of a simulated emergency is commonly used in disaster management planning to help inform involved players of important aspects of a possible disaster and identify issues for accomplishing a successful response.
  • Attendees at the conference will play out a fictional NEO impact scenario developed by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Center for NEO Studies (CNEOS).
  • These exercises are not tightly scripted. The point is to investigate how NEO observers, space agency officials, emergency managers, decision makers, and citizens might respond to an actual impact prediction and evolving information.
  • The exercise events will occur over the five days of the conference, with exercise leaders briefing participants on the status of the scenario at the end of each day and soliciting response ideas and feedback, based on the latest fictional data.
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  • Researchers in Munich have created transparent human organs using a new technology that could pave the way to print three-dimensional body parts such as kidneys for transplants.
  • Scientists led by Ali Erturk at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich have developed a technique that uses a solvent to make organs such as a human brain and kidneys transparent.
  • The organ is then scanned by lasers in a microscope that allows researchers to capture the entire structure, including the blood vessels and every single cell in its specific location.
  • Using this blueprint, researchers print out the scaffold of the organ and then load the 3D printer with stem cells which act as "ink" and are injected into the correct position making the organ functional.
  • While 3D printing is already used widely to produce spare parts for industry, Erturk said the development marks a step forward for 3D printing in the medical field.
  • Until now 3D-printed organs lacked detailed cellular structures because they were based on images from computer tomography or MRI machines, he said.
  • Erturk's team plan to start by creating a bioprinted pancreas over the next 2-3 years and also hope to develop a kidney within the next 5-6 years.
  • The researchers will first test to see whether animals can survive with the bioprinted organs and could start clinical trials within 5-10 years, he said.
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  • The world’s first malaria vaccine has been rolled out in Malawi to protect 360,000 children under two in Malawi, Kenya and Ghana in Sub-Saharan Africa from the mosquito-borne disease that causes 435,000 people global deaths each year.
  • The RTS,S/AS01 (trade name Mosquirix) is an injectible recombinant protein-based vaccine acts against P. falciparum, the most prevalent malaria strain in Africa.
  • The vaccine prevents four in 10 cases of malaria in children who received four doses over a four-year period, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). The WHO welcomed the pilot programme by the government of Malawi.
  • Children under five years are at the greatest risk of death, with at least 250,000 children dying of the disease in Africa each year.
  • With India reducing malaria cases by 24% in 2017 over the previous year using conventional methods, such as to “test-treat-track” all cases and distributing free insecticide-treated bed nets in endemic areas, the vaccine is unlikely to be made part of India’s public health programme, say experts.
  • In the sharpest global reduction in malaria in a year, cases India fell from 1,087,285 cases in 2016 to 844,558 in 2017, according to the World Malaria Report 2018.
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  • Egypt says archaeologists have uncovered an ancient tomb with mummies believed to date back about 2,000 years in the southern city of Aswan.
  • The Antiquities Ministry said in a statement on 23rd April that the tomb is from the Greco-Roman period, which began with Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.
  • It is located near one of Aswan’s landmarks, the Mausoleum of Aga Khan, who lobbied for Muslim rights in India and who was buried there after his death in 1957.
  • The statement said archaeologists found artifacts, including decorated masks, statuettes, vases, coffin fragments and cartonnages chunks of linen or papyrus glued together.
  • Egypt often announces new discoveries, hoping to spur the country’s tourism sector, which has suffered major setbacks during the turmoil following the 2011 uprising against autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
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  • Most of the Hope probe’s main parts are undergoing intensive testing with less than 500 days for the launch. Five environmental tests to be conducted from June to December.
  • The UAE Space Agency and Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre on 23rd April announced that 85% of the Hope Probe project has been completed. Hope Probe is an ambitious dream project of UAE to send a mission to Mars.
  • In a joint statement, the two organisations confirmed that most of the main parts of the project have been completed and are currently undergoing intensive testing to ensure every aspect of the Probe is ready for activation a few months before the launch date.
  • Several aspects related to the design, assembly, cameras and control have been verified. So far, the probe’s systems and components, as well as its ability to communicate with the ground station have been checked. The probe has cleared all the tests ahead of the five environmental tests to be conducted from June to December.
  • The scientific devices the probe will be using, including the Emirates eXploration imager (EXI), Emirates Mars Ultraviolet Spectrometer (EMUS), and the Emirates Mars Infrared Spectrometer (EMIRS), are ready.
  • The EMUS has been successfully mounted on the probe. Hope Probe is scheduled to be launched in July 2020 . It is planned to reach Mars by 2021 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the UAE.
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  • China’s Huawei Technologies launched on 22nd April what it said was the world’s first 5G communications hardware for the automotive industry, in a sign of its growing ambitions to become a key supplier to the sector for self-driving technology.
  • Huawei said in a statement that the so-called MH5000 module is based on the Balong 5000 5G chip which it launched in January. “Based on this chip, Huawei has developed the world’s first 5G car module with high speed and high quality,” it said.
  • It launched the module at the Shanghai Autoshow, which began last week and runs until 18April.
  • “As an important communication product for future intelligent car transportation, this 5G car module will promote the automotive industry to move towards the 5G era,” Huawei said.
  • It said the module will aid its plans to start commercialising 5G network technology for the automotive sector in the second half of this year.
  • Huawei has in recent years been testing technology for intelligent connected cars in Chinese cities such as Shanghai, Shenzhen and Wuxi and has signed cooperation deals with a swathe of car makers including FAW, Dongfeng and Changan.
  • The company, which is also the world’s biggest telecoms equipment maker, is striving to lead the global race for next-generation 5G networks but has come under increasing scrutiny from Washington which alleges that its equipment could be used for espionage. Huawei has repeatedly denied the allegations.
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  • Delegates from 130 nations meeting in Paris from April 29 will vet the executive summary line-by-line. Wording may change, but figures lifted from the underlying report cannot be altered.
  • Up to one million species face extinction due to human influence, according to a draft U.N. report obtained by AFP that painstakingly catalogues how humanity has undermined the natural resources upon which its very survival depends.
  • The accelerating loss of clean air, drinkable water, CO2-absorbing forests, pollinating insects, protein-rich fish and storm-blocking mangroves to name but a few of the dwindling services rendered by nature poses no less of a threat than climate change, says the report, set to be unveiled May 6.
  • Indeed, biodiversity loss and global warming are closely linked, according to the 44-page Summary for Policy Makers, which distils a 1,800-page U.N. assessment of scientific literature on the state of nature.
  • Delegates from 130 nations meeting in Paris from April 29 will vet the executive summary line-by-line. Wording may change, but figures lifted from the underlying report cannot be altered.
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  • Malawi will on 23rd April spearhead large scale pilot tests for the world's most advanced experimental malaria vaccine in a bid to prevent the disease that kills hundreds of thousands across Africa each year.
  • After more than three decades in development and almost $1 billion in investment, the cutting-edge trial will be rolled out in Malawi's capital Lilongwe this week and then in Kenya and Ghana next week.
  • It aims to immunise 120,000 children aged two years and under to assess the effectiveness of the pilot vaccine and whether the delivery process is feasible.
  • Four successive doses must be administered on a strict timetable for it to work.
  • Trade-named Mosquirix, the drug has been developed by British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in partnership with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative.
  • It passed previous scientific testing including five years of clinical trials on 15,000 people in seven countries and was approved for the pilot programme in 2015. Malaria episodes reduced by 40 per cent in the trials.
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  • NASA's airborne observatory has detected the first type of molecule ever formed in the universe.
  • This is the first time helium hydride has been found in the modern universe.
  • Scientists discovered the molecule in our own galaxy using NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), as the aircraft flew high above the Earth's surface and pointed its sensitive instruments out into the cosmos.
  • SOFIA is a Boeing 747SP jetliner modified to carry a 106-inch diameter telescope. It found modern helium hydride in a planetary nebula, a remnant of what was once a Sun-like star.
  • Located 3,000 light-years away near the constellation Cygnus, this planetary nebula, called NGC 7027, has conditions that allow this mystery molecule to form, NASA said in a statement.
  • The discovery serves as proof that helium hydride can, in fact, exist in space, said the scientists in a paper published in the journal Nature.
  • "This molecule was lurking out there, but we needed the right instruments making observations in the right position - and SOFIA was able to do that perfectly," said Harold Yorke, director of the SOFIA Science Centre in California's Silicon Valley.
  • Scientists believe that around 100,000 years after the big bang, helium and hydrogen combined to make a molecule called helium hydride for the first time.
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  • Gagandeep Kang, Manjul Bhargava and Akshay Venkatesh are among 51 scientists elected to the fellowship of The Royal Society of London
  • The Royal Society of London has announced a list of 51 eminent scientists elected to its fellowship in the year 2019. Among these are Gagandeep Kang, who is now with the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, Faridabad. Dr. Kang is the first Indian woman to be elected to the Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS).
  • Princeton professors Manjul Bhargava and Akshay Venkatesh have also been elected to the FRS.
  • Professor Venki Ramakrishnan, the president of The Royal Society, said through a media release, “over the course of The Royal Society’s vast history, it is our Fellowship that has remained a constant thread and the substance from which our purpose has been realised: to use science for the benefit of humanity.”
  • Manjul Bhargava is with Princeton University and was awarded the Fields Medal in 2014, and Akshay Venkatesh, who is now with the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton, won the honour in 2018.
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  • Yale University scientists have succeeded in restoring basic cellular activity in pigs’ brains hours after their deaths in a finding that may one day lead to advances in treating human stroke and brain injuries, researchers reported on 17th April.
  • The scientists emphasized that their work did not even come close to reawakening consciousness in the disembodied pig brains. In fact the experiment was specifically designed to avoid such an outcome, however improbable.
  • Still, the study raises a host of bioethical issues, including questions about the very definition of brain death and potential consequences for protocols related to organ donation.
  • The research grew out of efforts to enhance the study of brain development, disorders and evolution.
  • The main practical application is the prospect of allowing scientists to analyze whole brain specimens of large mammals in three dimensions, rather than through studies confined to small tissue samples, Yale said
  • The study, backed by the National Institutes of Health, offers no immediate clinical breakthrough for humans, according to the authors.
  • Results of the experiment, to be published on Thursday in the journal Nature, run contrary to long-accepted principles of brain death, which hold that vital cellular activity ceases irreversibly seconds or minutes after oxygen and blood flow are cut off.
  • The limited rejuvenation of circulatory function and cellular metabolism in pig brains, which were harvested from animals slaughtered at a meat-packing plant, was achieved four hours after death by infusing the brains with a special chemical solution designed to preserve the tissue.
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  • Nepals first satellite has been launched into space, which will soon start rotating around the Earths orbit to collect information about the countrys topography and Earths magnetic field, officials said here on 18th April.
  • The NepaliSat-1 was launched at 2.31 a.m. on 17th April from the Virginia-based station of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the US, according to authorities at the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).
  • The satellite, developed by two Nepalis Abhas Maskey and Hariram Shrestha at Japan's Kyushu Institute of Technology, bears the Nepal flag and the NAST logo. Similar satellites from Japan and Sri Lanka were also launched alongside NepaliSat-1, reports The Kathmandu Post.
  • According to the NAST, the satellite is equipped with a 5MP camera to capture Nepal's topography and a magnetometer to collect data related to the Earth's magnetic field.
  • "The satellite will first reach the International Space Station. It will then start rotating around the earth after a month," Suresh Kumar Dhungel, senior technical officer and NAST spokesperson, told The Kathmandu Post.
  • The images and data will be sent by the satellite to the ground station at NAST, which is currently under construction."The ground station will be ready before our satellite starts rotating," said Dhungel.
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  • Scientists have captured the deepest radio images of the Sun, an advance that may help reliably predict space weather and its possible effects on Earth.
  • The Sun is probably the most studied celestial object, but it still hosts mysteries that scientists have been trying to unravel for decades, for example, the origin of coronal mass ejections which can potentially affect the Earth.
  • A team of scientists at the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) in Pune, Maharashtra have been leading an international group of researchers to understand some of these mysteries.
  • "The sun is a surprisingly challenging radio source to study. Its emission can change within a second and can be very different, even across nearby frequencies," said Divya Oberoi, from NCRA, who led the study published in the Astrophysical Journal.
  • "In addition, the radiation due to the magnetic fields is so weak that it is like looking for the feeble light from a candle in the beam of a powerful headlight," Oberoi said in a statement.
  • "On top of this, seeing coronal emission at radio frequencies is a bit like looking through a frosted glass, which distorts and blurs the original image," he said. The Sun has some of the most powerful explosions in the solar system.
  • Their possible impacts on Earth include electric blackouts, satellite damage, disruption of GPS based navigation, and other sensitive systems. Hence, it is becoming increasingly important to understand and predict space weather reliably.
  • The magnetic fields in the sun's atmosphere, the corona, are the energy source for these massive explosions, and they are notoriously difficult to measure. Observations in radio wavelengths are best suited for this problem, but even there, this information is very hard to extract.
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  • Scientists have discovered a unique oil eating bacteria in the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the Earth’s oceans, a finding that may pave way for sustainable ways to clean up oils spills.
  • The Mariana Trench is located in the Western Pacific Ocean and reaches a depth of approximately 11,000 metres. By comparison, Mount Everest is 8,848 metres high.
  • “We know more about Mars than the deepest part of the ocean,” said Xiao-Hua Zhang of the Ocean University in China, who led the study.
  • To date, only a few expeditions have investigated the organisms inhabiting this ecosystem.
  • One of these expeditions was organised and led by noted marine explorer and Academy Award-winning film director James Cameron, who built a specialised submersible to collect samples in the trench.
  • “Our research team went down to collect samples of the microbial population at the deepest part of the Mariana Trench some 11,000 metres down. We studied the samples that were brought back and identified a new group of hydrocarbon degrading bacteria,” said Jonathan Todd, from the University of East Anglia in the UK.
  • “Hydrocarbons are organic compounds that are made of only hydrogen and carbon atoms, and they are found in many places, including crude oil and natural gas,” Todd said in a statement.
  • “So these types of microorganisms essentially eat compounds similar to those in oil and then use it for fuel. Similar microorganisms play a role in degrading oil spills in natural disasters such as BP’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico,” he said.
  • “We also found that this bacteria is really abundant at the bottom of the Mariana Trench,” he added.
  • In fact, the team found that the proportion of hydrocarbon degrading bacteria in the Trench is the highest on Earth.
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