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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY - February 2022

Feb 2022

Aug 15, 2022

Neptune-Sized Exoplanet Found Orbiting A-Type Star HD 56414

  • With an effective temperature of 8,500 K, the A-type star HD 56414 is one of the hottest stars known to host a planet smaller than Jupiter.
  • HD 56414 is located approximately 873 light-years away in the constellation of Volans.
  • Also known as TOI-1228, TIC 300038935 or SAO 249773, the star is roughly 420 million years old, much younger than our Sun's 4.5-billion-year age.
  • The newly-found exoplanet orbits HD 56414 every 29 days at a distance equal to about one-quarter the distance between Earth and the Sun.
  • The alien world has a radius 3.7 times that of Earth and belongs to the class of warm Neptunes.
  • Named HD 56414b (TOI-1228b), it was detected by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) as it transited its parent A-type star.

NASA's InSight Mission Finds Martian Equator Contains Little or No Ice

  • Martian equator contains little or no ice, according to a new analysis of seismic data from NASA's Mars InSight mission.
  • The findings describe the dry conditions in the top 300 metres of the subsurface beneath the landing site near the Martian equator.
  • These findings don't preclude that there could be grains of ice or small balls of ice that are not cementing other minerals together.
  • Further, a team found that the red planet may have harboured oceans of water early in its history.

Aug 12, 2022

ISRO Successfully Tests Gaganyaan Low Altitude Escape Motor from Andhra

  • In another important milestone in the Gaganyaan project, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully carried out the test-firing of the Low Altitude Escape Motor (LEM) of Crew Escape System, from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
  • The Crew Escape System (CES) takes away the Crew module of the Gaganyaan mission in case of any eventuality and rescues the astronauts. In case of mission-abort during the initial phase of flight, LEM provides required thrust to CES, to take away Crew Module from the launch vehicle.

Aug 11, 2022

Old Astronomical Observatory in Bihar Not Put on UNESCO List: World Body

  • UNESCO said a 106-year-old astronomical observatory at a college in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district was not inscribed on its list of endangered heritage.
  • The clarification from the world body came in the wake of several media houses reporting that it was included in the list of endangered heritage observatories of the world.
  • The observatory, the first of its kind in eastern India, was established in the Langat Singh College in 1916 to impart astronomical knowledge to the students in detail.
  • As a first step for a site to be inscribed to the World Heritage list, the Government of India should include it in its Tentative List (which is currently not the case for this astronomical observatory), said UNESCO.

Aug 10, 2022

Russia Launches Iranian Satellite into Orbit from Southern Kazakhstan

  • Russia launched an Iranian satellite into orbit from southern Kazakhstan, just three weeks after President Vladimir Putin and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pledged to work together against the West.
  • The remote Khayyam sensing satellite, named after the 11th century Persian poet and philosopher Omar Khayyam, was launched by a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and entered orbit successfully.
  • Tehran rejected claims the satellite could be used by Moscow to boost its intelligence capabilities in Ukraine, saying that Iran will have full control and operation over it from day one.
  • As per reports, the satellite is designed for scientific research including radiation and environmental monitoring for agricultural purposes.

Aug 09, 2022

The Length of Earth's Days Mysteriously Increasing

  • Atomic clocks, combined with precise astronomical measurements, have revealed that the length of a day is suddenly getting longer, and scientists don't know why.
  • This has critical impacts not just on our timekeeping, but also things like GPS and other technologies that govern our modern life.
  • Over the past few decades, Earth's rotation around its axis – which determines how long a day is – has been speeding up. This trend has been making our days shorter; in fact, in June 2022 we set a record for the shortest day over the past half a century or so.
  • But despite this record, since 2020 that steady speedup has curiously switched to a slowdown – days are getting longer again, and the reason is so far a mystery.
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