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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY - May 2020

May 2020

Jul 24, 2021

Scientists Map the Mysterious Interior of Mars for the First Time Ever

  • Like a bruised peach sliced apart to reveal an enormous yellow pit, Mars shares its inner mysteries in the first-ever map of an alien planet's interior — released as part of three new studies published July 22 in the journal Science.
  • This premiere look at the Martian interior is the culmination of two years of research (and decades of planning) with NASA's InSight lander — a stationary science robot deployed to Mars in 2018 with the sole mission of studying the Red Planet's unseen innards. About a month after landing on the flat, smooth plain known as Elysium Planitia, InSight used its robotic arm to install a tiny seismometer on the nearby Martian surface, and began listening for marsquakes — seismic vibrations within the planet, similar to earthquakes on Earth.
  • According to NASA researchers, unlike Earth, Mars has no tectonic plates; its crust is instead like one giant plate. But faults, or rock fractures, still form in the Martian crust due to stresses caused by the slight shrinking of the planet as it continues to cool.

Scientists Map the Mysterious Interior of Mars for the First Time Ever

  • Like a bruised peach sliced apart to reveal an enormous yellow pit, Mars shares its inner mysteries in the first-ever map of an alien planet's interior — released as part of three new studies published July 22 in the journal Science.
  • This premiere look at the Martian interior is the culmination of two years of research (and decades of planning) with NASA's InSight lander — a stationary science robot deployed to Mars in 2018 with the sole mission of studying the Red Planet's unseen innards. About a month after landing on the flat, smooth plain known as Elysium Planitia, InSight used its robotic arm to install a tiny seismometer on the nearby Martian surface, and began listening for marsquakes — seismic vibrations within the planet, similar to earthquakes on Earth.
  • According to NASA researchers, unlike Earth, Mars has no tectonic plates; its crust is instead like one giant plate. But faults, or rock fractures, still form in the Martian crust due to stresses caused by the slight shrinking of the planet as it continues to cool.

Jul 23, 2021

NEA Scout: NASA's New Spacecraft

  • NASA has announced that its new spacecraft, NEA Scout, has successfully undergone all the required tests and has now been safely tucked inside the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.
  • NEA Scout is among one of several payloads that will hitch a ride on Artemis I, which is expected to be launched in November. Near-Earth Asteroid Scout (NEA Scout) is a small spacecraft which is not bigger than a big shoebox. NEA Scout's primary mission is to collect data from a near-Earth asteroid. This will be America's first interplanetary mission that will be using special solar sail propulsion. This spacecraft has been made using stainless steel alloy booms and will deploy an aluminium-coated sail which is of 925 square feet. This spacecraft will take around two years to reach the targeted asteroid and will nearly 93 million miles away from the Earth during its encounter with the asteroid.
  • The spacecraft is equipped with high-grade scientific special cameras that can take pictures from ranges of 10 cm/pixels to 50 cm/pixels. Post taking the images it can also process them and reduce their file sizes before using its medium-gain antenna to send them to the earth-based Deep Space Network.

Jul 22, 2021

Russia is Launching a New Module for the International Space Station

  • Russia is launching a new module for the International Space Station (ISS), after more than a decade of delays. The Nauka module is set to lift off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on top of a Proton-M rocket, along with a new robotic arm for the station created by the European Space Agency.
  • The ISS is composed of modules and equipment from different space agencies including Europe, Japan and Canada, but the bulk of the station is composed of two main sections, a Russian segment and a US segment. At 13 metres long and weighing more than 20 tonnes, Nauka, also called the Multipurpose Laboratory Module, will be among the largest in Russia's half.

Jul 21, 2021

IIT-Ropar Develops First-of-its-kind Oxygen Rationing Device

  • Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Ropar have developed a first-of-its-kind device that can regulate the flow of medical oxygen from cylinder during inhalation and exhalation by a patient, thereby reducing wastage. The device supplies a required volume of oxygen to a patient during inhalation and trips when the patient exhales, thereby saving the flow of oxygen at that time.
  • AMLEX is a system developed specifically for oxygen cylinders. It synchronises the flow of oxygen with inhalation and exhalation of a patient. This conserves a large amount of oxygen in the reservoir.
  • The device can operate on both portable power supply (battery) as well as line supply 220V-50Hz.
  • The device can be easily connected between the oxygen supply line and the mask worn by a patient. It uses a sensor which senses and successfully detects inhalation and exhalation of the user in any environmental condition.

Maharashtra to Issue Certificates Using Blockchain TechnologyMaharashtra to Issue Certificates Us...

  • Maharashtra will be the first state in the country to issue educational documents using blockchain technology. Forgery of documents is a serious concern for various educational and other institutions. Many steps are being taken to avoid forgery along with verification of documents. Maharashtra State Board of Skill Development has decided to issue blockchain-based certificates to students.
  • Around 10 lakh digital certificates will be issued to diploma holders of eight educational years. Mr. Malik said that Singapore, Malta and Bahrain are the only countries using this technology. Maharashtra will be the 1st Indian state and the world's largest user of Blockchain for educational certificates.
  • Each student will receive a "certficate_LegitDoc.zip" digital file containing the original PDF diploma certificate and its corresponding blockchain proof file. It can be verified within 10 seconds from anywhere around the world and does not require human intervention.

Fujitsu Forays into India's Consumer PC Market

  • Japanese PC maker Fujitsu announced its return to the India's consumer PC market with the launch of the Fujitsu UH-X and Fujitsu UH-X 2-in-1 convertible laptops. Both the laptops will be available on Amazon India during Prime Day sale, which is starting from July 26. According to Fujitsu Client Computing Limited (FCCL), the laptops with come with two years' warranty on parts, and one year on the battery. The company has partnered with Flex for after sales services -- carry in and pick up and drop service coverage across India, toll-free call, and email support.
  • Priced Rs. 86,990 onwards, the UH-X 2-in-1 is a convertible laptop with 360-degree rotating screen. The laptop boasts a lightweight build of 997g, making it the lightest convertible laptop in the 13.3-inch consumer notebook space. The laptop is powered by 11th Gen Intel Core processors, up to Core i7.
  • Priced Rs. 80,990 onwards, the UH-X is a thin-and-light notebook (878g). It sports a 13.3-inch FHD anti-glare IGZO panel display of 100 per cent sRGB coverage and up to 400nits of peak brightness. The laptop boasts webcam camera shutter, fingerprint sensor, noise-canceling microphone, and box speakers with Dirac Panorama Sound.

Jul 20, 2021

Indian Federal Bank Releases Feddy Virtual Assistant

  • The Federal Bank in India officially launched a virtual assistant accessible by voice through both Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant.
  • The AI, known as Feddy, is part of a growing trend of banking-focused virtual assistants, a trend that accelerated in the wake of COVID-19 and the limitations put on in-person banking.
  • Feddy serves to answer questions for banking customers who want to know the basics like the nearest branch for the bank, how to open accounts, or how to receive statements at any time, regardless of whether the bank is open. What makes the virtual assistant stand out is that it's not limited to a website text interface. Alexa and Google Assistant can both be used as intermediaries, answering the questions when the right voice app is installed.

AI Tool Developed to Study Cancer-causing Mutations

  • Researchers at IIT Madras have developed an AI tool called NBDriver (neighbourhood driver) for use in analysing cancer-causing mutations in cells. By looking at the neighbourhood, or context, of a mutation in the genome, it can look at harmful "driver" mutations and distinguish them from neutral "passenger" mutations.
  • This technique of looking at the genomic neighbourhood to make out the nature of the mutation is a novel and largely unexplored one. In a paper published in the journal Cancers, the researchers explain that the nature of the mutation depends on the neighbourhood, and how this tool may be used to draw the line between driver and passenger mutations.
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