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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY - October 2021

Oct 2021

Apr 17, 2024

Astronomers Discover Largest Black Hole in Milky Way

  • Astronomers identified the largest stellar black hole yet discovered in the Milky Way, with a mass 33 times that of the Sun.
  • The black hole, named Gaia BH3, was discovered by chance from data collected by the European Space Agency's Gaia mission. Gaia, which is dedicated to mapping the Milky Way galaxy, is located BH3 2,000 light years away from Earth in the Aquila constellation.

Apr 15, 2024

Russia's Successful Angara-A5 Rocket Test Launch

  • Russia successfully tested its Angara-A5 space rocket for the first time, 2024. The test launch was conducted from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Far East of Russia. In fact, rocket test launches on April 9 and 10 were cancelled due to a malfunction in the pressurisation system and a problem with the engine launch-control system.
  • Two previous launch attempts were cancelled due to technical issues.
  • The Angara-A5 is designed to replace Russia's Proton launcher and maintain Russia's access to space after the expiration of the lease on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in 2050.
  • President Vladimir Putin has touted the Angara's role in national security, although the project has faced significant delays and technical setbacks.
  • Russia hopes to use the Angara's cargo capabilities to deliver modules to a rival space station that it plans to build in the coming years.

Apr 13, 2024

Gopi Thotakura, Indian Pilot Set to Fly to Space as a Tourist

  • Pilot Gopichand Thotakura is set to become the first Indian to travel into space as a tourist. He will travel to space as part of the crew for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' space company Blue Origin's New Shephard-25 (NS-25) mission. The flight date has not yet been announced.
  • Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, a former Indian Air Force pilot, was the first Indian to travel into space in 1984.
  • Gopi is a pilot and aviator who learned how to fly before he could drive. Gopi pilots bush, aerobatic, and seaplanes, as well as gliders and hot air balloons, and has served as an international medical jet pilot.

Apr 11, 2024

NASA Captures Mysterious 'Surfboard-shaped' Object Orbiting Moon

  • NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a spacecraft circling and studying the Moon for 15 years, captured a "surfboard-shaped" object orbiting the celestial body. Expectedly, after making its way onto social media, the image sparked conversations about its mysteriousness. 
  • A few also compared the object with the surfboard carried by the fictional character Silver Surfer. Any guesses what the object really is? According to NASA, it is Korea Aerospace Research Institute's Danuri lunar orbiter. LRO captured the image while zipping past Danuri in opposite directions.

Japanese Astronaut to be First Non-American to Set Foot on Moon

  • A lucky Japanese astronaut will become the first non-American to set foot on the Moon during one of NASA's upcoming Artemis missions, US President Joe Biden announced Wednesday.
  • The offer to Japan an opportunity many nations have long dreamed of came as part of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's state visit, and as Washington seeks to strengthen ties with its key Asian ally.
  • "Two Japanese astronauts will join future American missions, and one will become the first non-American ever to land on the Moon," Biden said in a press conference with Kishida.

Indian-origin Expert Ashwini Joins Britain's Research Team on Dementia

  • Dr. Ashwini Keshavan, an Indian-origin neurologist, was selected to be a part of a world-class research team in the UK. This prestigious team has been entrusted with the crucial task of conducting research to detect dementia through blood tests and gathering more evidence to support this approach.
  • The research team's findings are expected to have a wide-ranging impact in the coming five years, as the potential to diagnose dementia through a simple blood test could revolutionize the way the condition is detected and managed.
  • Dr. Ashwini Keshavan is part of a team that is focusing on p-tau217, a promising biomarker for Alzheimer's disease. This means that her research is aimed at examining the potential of this specific protein as an indicator of Alzheimer's, one of the most common forms of dementia.

Apr 09, 2024

Tata's Military-grade Satellite Successfully Placed into Orbit

  • India's first military grade geospatial satellite manufactured in the private sector was successfully launched and placed in orbit, with full functionality expected to be achieved within a few months.
  • Built by Tata Advanced Systems Ltd. (TASL) at its Vemagal facility in Karnataka, the TSAT-1A was onboard the Bandwagon-1 mission launched by SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket in Florida.
  • The satellite will provide military grade imagery with high resolution of less than one metre per pixel that will be downloaded and processed at a ground centre in India that is being built by TASL.
  • While India has a few military spy satellites built by ISRO, this if the first such initiative in the private sector.
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