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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY - February 2021

Feb 2021

May 06, 2021

World's Largest Aeroplane

  • The world's largest aeroplane, designed to transport hypersonic vehicles and facilitate easy access to space, soared into clear skies over California's Mojave Desert. The company Stratolaunch designed it to transport hypersonic vehicles and facilitate easy access to space.
  • The aircraft named 'Roc' features a twin-fuselage design and the longest wingspan ever flown, at 385 feet (117 m), surpassing the Hughes H-4 Hercules flying boat of 321 feet (98 m). The Stratolaunch is intended to carry a 550,000-pound payload and will be able to launch rockets from high altitude.

World's First Artificial Intelligence Ship

  • Mayflower 400 is the world's first artificial intelligence ship.
  • It is 15 metres long and weighs nine tonnes. It is basically a trimaran.
  • It navigates with complete autonomy.
  • The ship is to study marine pollution and analyze plastics in water. The voyage is important because more than 80% of the underwater world remains unexplored.
  • Sophisticated cameras and radars will act as the eyes and ears of the ship. There are six cameras in the ship.
  • Till now, the ship is capable of handling waves that are fifty metres high.
  • The team is to monitor the ship twenty-four hours from England.
  • The ship is covered with solar panels.

Astronomars Discover 8 Milli Second Pulsars

  • A group of astronomars has discovered 8 milli seconds pulsars. These pulsars are located within the dense cluster of satrs called 'Globular Clusters'. The pulsars were discovered using the MeerKAT telescope located in South Africa.
  • The Milli second pulsars are the most compact stars known to mankind. They spin up to 700 times per second. They are much rarer than the slower spinning pulsars. The milli second pulsars are those pulsars whose rotational period is less than ten milli seconds.
  • The Mmlli second pulsars are made of neutrons.
  • They are the most extreme objects in the universe with a diameter of about 24 kilometres.
  • Their mass is hundreds of thousands of times the mass of the earth.
  • It is a Karoo Array telescope with sixty-four antennas. Also, it is a radio telescope. It is located in the Northern Cape of South Africa. It is soon to be expanded to MeerKAT+ by installing twenty more antennas.

SpaceX Starship Rocket Prototype Achieves First Safe Landing

  • SpaceX achieved the first successful touchdown of its prototype Starship rocket during the latest test flight of the next-generation launch vehicle in south Texas, after four previous landing attempts ended in explosions.
  • The feat marked a key milestone for the private rocket company of billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk in its development of a resusable heavy-lift launch vehicle to eventually carry astronauts and large cargo payloads to the moon and Mars.
  • The Starship SN15 blasted off from the SpaceX launch site in Boca Chica, Texas, along the Gulf Coast and reached its planned maximum altitude of 10 kilometers (6 miles), then hovered momentarily before flying nose-down under aerodynamic control back toward Earth.

May 04, 2021

Lightest Form of Uranium

  • The scientists have created the lightest form of Uranium. It is called the Uranium-214. The discovery reveals more information about an alpha particle. The alpha particles are those particles that get ejected from radioactive elements as they decay.
  • This isotope of Uranium has a greater number of neutrons than protons. The neutrons have mass. However, Uranium-214 found recently is much lighter than the other common Uranium isotopes. This includes Uranium-235 as well. Uranium-235 is the most commonly used isotope. It has 51 extra neutrons.
  • Uranium-214 was created at the Heavy Ion Research Facility in Lanzhou, China.
  • It had a half-life of just half a milli-second. The half life of a radioactive sample is the time taken for half of the radioactive sample to decay. The half life of Uranium-238 is 4.5 billion years. This is the almost equal to the age of the earth.

May 03, 2021

NASA's Crew-1 Astronauts Safely Splash Down

  • NASA's Space X Crew-1 astronauts truly deserve a big hand as after surviving 167 days in space, the longest duration mission for a U.S. spacecraft since the final Skylab mission in 1974, Dragon and the Crew-1 astronauts returned safely to Earth.
  • The four Crew-1 astronauts splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico right on schedule, returning to Earth after a six-month stay on the International Space Station.
  • The astronauts — three Americans and one from Japan — had undocked from the station, flew through the atmosphere and then touched down in the Gulf of Mexico under four massive parachutes.

Vodafone Joins Google Cloud on Data Analytics

  • Vodafone Group PLC and the cloud division of Alphabet Inc.'s Google are planning to jointly develop data services, citing interviews with representatives from both companies. As per reports, about 1,000 workers in the U.K., Spain and the U.S. will be asked to create "Nucleus," the new cloud-based storage and analytics portal, which will host Vodafone's data. Nucleus will be able to process around 50 terabytes of data a day within the cloud.
  • As part of the six-year agreement Vodafone will transfer data from its own servers to Google Cloud.
  • Vodafone and Google will also invent a system, called Dynamo, that will extract and transport data across different countries where the telecoms company operates.
  • The two companies will also in the future seek to sell consultancy services to other multinational businesses seeking to move huge amounts of data to the cloud.

May 01, 2021

NASA Astronaut Harvests Two Plants in Space

  • NASA's Expedition 64 crew member Michael Hopkins harvested two crops in space -- amara mustard, and a previously grown crop, extra dwarf pak choi.
  • They were grown for 64 days, the longest leafy greens have grown on station, the US space agency said. The pak choi grew for so long that it began to flower as part of its reproduction cycle. Hopkins' efforts in eclipsing the mark included using a small paintbrush to pollinate plant flowers. A VEG-05 experiment with dwarf tomatoes is planned for next year.

Apr 30, 2021

China Launches Robot Prototype Capable of Catching Space Debris

  • A Chinese space mining start-up launched into low Earth orbit a robot prototype that can scoop up debris left behind by other spacecraft with a big net.
  • The 30kg robot developed by Shenzhen-based Origin Space will pave the way for future technologies capable of mining on asteroids.
  • Since the establishment of the world's first asteroid mining company Planetary Resources in 2009, more than a dozen firms across the world have entered the fledging sector, including 3D Systems of the United States and Japan's Astroscale.
  • Unlike Astroscale's technology, which uses magnets to gather up space junk, NEO-01 will use a net to capture debris and then burn it with its electric propulsion system, according to a report on the company's website.
  • Thousands of satellites have been launched globally. As they outlive their use, many end up as junk, posing danger to other operating satellites.

OptraSCAN Unveils OS-Ultra 320, First-ever High-speed Scanner

  • OptraSCAN, the leading end-to-end digital pathology solution provider, launched OS-Ultra 320 the world's first-ever affordable high-speed digital pathology scanner. The OS-Ultra 320 scans tissues/cells of size 15x15 mm area at 40x magnification in less than 60 seconds and features no-touch continuous loading operation. The OS-Ultra 320 is designed to reduce workflow errors and scale-up pathology laboratory operations.
  • OS-Ultra 320 represents a significant development in reducing technician time while maintaining perfect image quality for the healthcare professionals.
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