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Elon Musk praises Indian talent after Parag Agrawal takes over as Twitter’s CEO

Washington [US]: Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently gave a shout out to Indian talent after Parag Agrawal replaced Jack Dorsey as Twitter’s new CEO. Musk replied to a tweet by Stripe CEO Patrick Collison, who congratulated Parag and highlighted that six US tech giants are now run by Indian-origin CEOs.“Google, Microsoft, Adobe, IBM, Palo Alto Networks, and now Twitter are run by CEOs who grew up in India. It is wonderful to watch the amazing success of Indians in the technology world; it is a good reminder of the opportunity America offers to immigrants. (Congrats, @paraga!),” Collison wrote. Musk responded to Collison’s post by saying, “USA benefits greatly from Indian talent!” 37-year old IIT-Bombay and Stanford University alumnus, Parag Agrawal, took over as the CEO of Twitter on Monday, after its co-founder Jack Dorsey stepped down at the helm of the San Francisco-headquartered microblogging…

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Astronomers team up to create new method to understand galaxy evolution

Washington [US]: A team of astronomers at The University of Toledo joined forces for the first time in their scientific careers during the pandemic to develop a new method to look back in time and change the way we understand the history of galaxies.The resulting breakthrough research published in the Astrophysical Journal outlines their new method to establish the star formation history of a post-starburst galaxy using its cluster population. The approach uses the age and mass estimates of stellar clusters to determine the strength and speed of the starburst that stopped more stars from forming in the galaxy. Until now forging parallel but separate careers while juggling home life and carpooling to cross country meets, Dr Rupali Chandar, professor of astronomy, and Dr J.D. Smith, director of the UToledo Ritter Astrophysical Research Center and professor of astronomy, merged their areas of expertise.Working along…

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Study finds anxiety cues in brain despite safe environment

Washington [US] : Researchers have used a virtual-reality environment to understand the impact of anxiety on the brain and how brain regions interact with one another to shape behaviour.The findings of the study were published in the journal ‘Communications Biology’. The researchers used a virtual-reality environment where volunteers were in a meadow picking flowers. They knew that some flowers are safe, while others have a bee inside that will sting them.“These findings tell us that anxiety disorders might be more than a lack of awareness of the environment or ignorance of safety, but rather that individuals suffering from an anxiety disorder cannot control their feelings and behaviour even if they wanted to,” said Benjamin Suarez-Jimenez, PhD, assistant professor in the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Rochester and first author of the study.“The patients with an anxiety disorder could rationally say…

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PIO Raja Chari led NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts headed to International Space Station

Washington [US] : NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 astronaut team led by PIO (Person of India Origin) Raja Chari are in orbit following their launch to the International Space Station on the third commercial crew rotation mission aboard the microgravity laboratory.The international crew of astronauts lifted off at 9:03 pm EST Wednesday from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket propelled the Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft with NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, PIO Raja Chari as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, into orbit to begin a six-month science mission on the space station.Chari is commander of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the Crew-3 mission. He is responsible for all phases of flight, from launch to re-entry. He also will serve as an Expedition 66 flight engineer aboard the station. This will be the…

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Lack of important molecule in red blood cells causes vascular damage in type 2 diabetes

Stockholm [Sweden] : Altered function of the red blood cells leads to vascular damage in type 2 diabetes. Results from a new study in cells from patients with type 2 diabetes and mice show that this effect is caused by low levels of an important molecule in the red blood cells.The study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has been published in the journal Diabetes. It is well known that patients with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Over time type 2 diabetes may damage blood vessels, which could lead to life-threatening complications such as heart attack and stroke. However, the disease mechanisms underlying cardiovascular injury in type 2 diabetes are largely unknown and there is currently a lack of treatments to prevent such injuries.In recent years, research has shown that the red blood cells, whose most important job…

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Four astronauts safely splash down in Gulf of Mexico

Washington [US]: Four astronauts from NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 have returned safely to Earth after 199 days of scientific research on the International Space Station.The astronauts splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida on Monday, completing the agency’s second long-duration commercial crew mission to the International Space Station. NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet returned to Earth in a parachute-assisted splashdown at 10:33 pm EST off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.Speaking about the splashdown, NASA administrator Bill Nelso said, “We’re happy to have Shane, Megan, Aki, and Thomas safely back on Earth after another successful, record-setting long-duration mission to the International Space Station. Congratulations to the teams at NASA and SpaceX who worked so hard to ensure their successful splashdown. NASA’s Commercial Crew…

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Small amounts of carbon monoxide may help protect vision in diabetes

Washington [US] : The Medical College of Georgia scientists have early evidence that HBI-002, a low-dose oral compound developed by Hillhurst Biopharmaceuticals and already in early-stage trials for sickle cell disease, can safely reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the retina, both early, major contributors to diabetic retinopathy.An ingested liquid that ultimately delivers a small dose of carbon monoxide to the eye appears to target key factors that damage or destroy vision in both type 1 and 2 diabetes, scientists say. “Inflammation and oxidative stress go hand in hand,” says Dr. Pamela Martin, cell biologist and biochemist in the MCG Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Vision Discovery Institute at Augusta University. “If you impact one, you generally impact the other.”At the right dose, carbon monoxide can impact both.While we likely think of chirping detectors in our homes, toxic fumes from cars and…

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Researchers detect SARS-CoV-2 variant in dogs, cats with suspected myocarditis

Washington [US] : A new study in the Veterinary Record reveals that pets can be infected with the alpha variant of SARS-CoV-2, which was first detected in southeast England and is commonly known as the UK variant or B.1.1.7.This variant rapidly outcompeted pre-existing variants in England due to its increased transmissibility and infectivity. The study describes the first identification of the SARS-CoV-2 alpha variant in domestic pets; two cats and one dog were positive on PCR test, while two additional cats and one dog displayed antibodies two to six weeks after they developed signs of cardiac disease. Many owners of these pets had developed respiratory symptoms several weeks before their pets became ill and had also tested positive for COVID-19.All of these pets had an acute onset of cardiac disease, including severe myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle).“Our study reports the first cases of…

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Gamma-ray Telescope selected by NASA to chart Milky Way evolution

Washington [US] : The US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected a new space telescope proposal to study the recent history of star birth, star death, and the formation of chemical elements in the Milky Way.For the unversed, in 2019, NASA’s Astrophysics Explorers Program received 18 telescope proposals and selected four for mission concept studies. After a detailed review, NASA selected the gamma-ray telescope, called the Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI), to continue into development. “For more than 60 years, NASA has provided opportunities for inventive, smaller-scale missions to fill knowledge gaps where we still seek answers.COSI will answer questions about the origin of the chemical elements in our own Milky Way galaxy, the very ingredients critical to the formation of Earth itself,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said.COSI, which is expected to…

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Japanese astronaut Wakata to fly to space on Crew Dragon mission in fall 2022

Tokyo [Japan]: Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata will join the fifth Crew Dragon space mission to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) next year, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said on Tuesday. “It has been decided that I will be boarding the SpaceX’s fifth Crew Dragon. I have been training for a long-duration mission aboard the ISS and it is an honor to board this new space vehicle for three consecutive years for JAXA Astronauts, succeeding Noguchi Soichi and Hoshide Akihiko,” Wakata was quoted as saying in a statement.The upcoming mission will also be his fifth space flight, the astronaut added, listing three US Space Shuttle flights in 1996, 2000, 2009, as well as a flight aboard Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft in 2013. The 2022 flight will see Wakata top the list of Japanese astronauts in terms of the number of space journeys. Along…

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Researchers conduct study to reduce tropical cyclone impacts

Berlin [Germany]: A new study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research found that increasing global warming from currently one to two degrees Celsius by mid-century might lead to about 25 per cent more people being put at risk by tropical cyclones.Currently, hurricanes and typhoons are among the most destructive natural disasters worldwide and potentially threaten about 150 million people each year. Adding to climate change, population growth further drives tropical cyclone exposure, especially in coastal areas of East African countries and the United States. Considering the joint impact of climate change and population growth provides an untapped potential to protect a changing world population.“If we add population growth to two degrees Celsius global warming, in 2050 we could even see an increase of ca. 40 per cent more people exposed to cyclones,” said Tobias Geiger, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for…

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NASA, Boeing helping Russia in trying to find cause of cracks on space station

Moscow [Russia]: Engineers from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are helping Russia in its investigation into the possible causes of cracks and air leaks at the International Space Station (ISS). Paul Hill, a member of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, said at a Sunday panel meeting that the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, the Langley Research Center, the panel itself and the Boeing company are all conducting engineering analyzes of the issue.According to Russian Rocket and Space Corporation Energia, persistent air leaks on the ISS could be the result of welding errors made inside the Zarya and Zvezda modules three decades ago. Energia’s First Deputy General Designer Vladimir Soloviev told Sputnik at the end of last month that Russian cosmonauts found cracks in the oldest module of the ISS, Zarya, and warned that the earlier discovery of through cracks in the…

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US, India launch task forces on Hydrogen, Biofuels to expand clean energy technologies use

Washington [US], September 25 : The US Department of Energy along with its Indian counterparts launched a new public-private Hydrogen Task Force as well as a Biofuels Task Force under the Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP).“Under the SCEP, the Department of Energy together with Indian counterparts launched a new public-private Hydrogen Task Force as well as a Biofuels Task Force. These groups will help expand the use of clean energy technologies to decarbonize the energy sector,” an official statement said on Friday (local time). The United States and India are both committed to promoting a successful outcome at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow later this year. Toward that end, the US communicated an enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52 per cent below 2005 levels in 2030.“The United States is actively working with India to…

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Russian space agency starts preparations for manned Moon flights

Moscow [Russia]: The Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos has launched a tender to study problematic issues related to organising manned Moon flights, requirements for space equipment for the manned missions should be developed, according to Roscosmos’ materials published on the state procurement website. “Objectives of the research work: development of proposals, recommendations and requirements for prospective technologies, elements and systems of rocket and space technology products that ensure reliable implementation of manned Moon flights and cosmonauts’ work in lunar orbit and on the Moon surface,” the document read.The contract value totals 1.7 billion rubles ($23.3 million). For the first time ever, Roscosmos indicated in an official document that the Angara rocket will be used for the first manned Moon flights. The document also provides for the development of requirements for a small lunar take-off and landing vehicle, for the design of a new spacesuit…

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SpaceX launches spaceship with first-ever fully civilian crew on board

Florida [US], September 16 : American aerospace manufacturer SpaceX on Thursday launched the Falcon 9 carrier rocket that placed the Crew Dragon spaceship into orbit. This was the first-ever fully civilian crew mission dubbed as Inspiration4. The launch took place at 00:03 GMT from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.“Dragon and the @inspiration4x astronauts are now officially in space! Dragon will conduct two phasing burns to reach its cruising orbit of 575km where the crew will spend the next three days orbiting planet Earth,” SpaceX tweeted later. This mission is the first orbital mission in the history of spaceflight to be staffed entirely by non-astronauts. This journey will see the quartet free-flying through Earth’s orbit. (ANI)

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Scientists find tiger sharks are social creatures

Washington [US], September 11 : The findings of a recent study suggest that tiger sharks, which are often considered a solitary aquatic nomadic species, are social creatures, having preferences for one another.A first of its kind, the study by the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (UM) and the Institute of Zoology at the Zoological Society London (ZSL) also evaluated if exposure of the tiger shark to baited dive tourism impacted their social behaviour. The study was conducted at a site named Tiger Beach, located off the northwest side of Little Bahama Bank in the Bahamas.The area is known for hosting shark diving encounters, where the sharks are attracted with chum and often fed in front of dive tourists.The research team tagged and tracked the movements of tiger sharks over the course of three years.They then applied a tool called…

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UN urges immediate climate action to cool ‘season of fire and floods’ worldwide

New York [US]: With extreme weather events increasingly impacting countries across the world, the United Nations (UN) on Monday underlined the importance of limiting temperature rise to the internationally agreed goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.The entire planet is going through a season of fire and floods, primarily hurting fragile and vulnerable populations in rich and poor countries alike, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told a high-level meeting on climate action. Speaking via video message to the Dialogue on Accelerating Adaptation Solutions Ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), the annual UN climate conference, which will take place in Glasgow in November, the deputy UN chief noted already-visible impacts with a 1.2-degree rise.“Countries and populations worldwide — particularly those most vulnerable and least responsible for the climate crisis — will experience even more devastating consequences,” she warned.“The effects will…

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Study reveals extreme sea levels to become much more common worldwide as Earth warms

Washington [US], September 1 : A new study has predicted that because of rising temperatures, extreme sea levels along coastlines the world over will become 100 times more frequent by the end of the century in about half of the 7,283 locations studied.The findings of the study were published in the journal ‘Nature Climate Change’. The news has been packed in recent months with severe climate and weather events — record-high temperatures from the Pacific Northwest to Sicily, flooding in Germany and the eastern United States, wildfires from Sacramento to Siberia to Greece. Events that seemed rare just a few decades ago are now commonplace.A new study looked specifically at extreme sea levels — the occurrence of exceptionally high seas due to the combination of tide, waves and storm surge.Because of rising temperatures, an extreme sea-level event that would have been expected to occur…

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ISRO conducts first hot test System D Model

New Delhi [India], August 28 (ANI): Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Saturday successfully conducted the first hot test of the System Demonstration Model (SDM) of the Gaganyaan Service Module Propulsion System at the test facility of ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) in Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu. The test was conducted for a duration of 450 seconds, as per an official statement from ISRO.They further informed that the system performance met the test objectives and there was a close match with the pre-test predictions. Further, a series of hot tests are planned to simulate various mission conditions as well as off-nominal conditions. The Service Module is part of the Gaganyaan Orbital module and is located below the crew module and remains connected to it until re-entry. The Service Module (SM) Propulsion System consists of a unified bipropellant system consisting of 5 numbers of 440 N…

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Researchers explain depletion in mesospheric ozone layer

Tokyo [Japan], August 23 : The same phenomenon that causes aurorae — the magical curtains of green light often visible from the polar regions of the Earth — causes mesospheric ozone layer depletion. This depletion could have significance for global climate change and therefore, understanding this phenomenon is important.Now, a group of scientists led by Prof. Yoshizumi Miyoshi from Nagoya University, Japan, has observed, analysed, and provided greater insight into this phenomenon. The findings are published in the journal Nature’s Scientific Reports. In the Earth’s magnetosphere — the region of the magnetic field around the Earth — electrons from the sun remain trapped. Interactions between electrons and plasma waves can cause the trapped electrons to escape and enter the Earth’s upper atmosphere (thermosphere).This phenomenon, called electron precipitation, is responsible for aurorae. But, recent studies show that this is also responsible for local ozone layer…

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‘Jupiter closest to earth, appears now brightest and biggest’ : PSI

Hyderabad, Aug 21: One of the exciting celestial phenomena of the year, “Jupiter coming close to earth’ occurred on Friday. Informing this Saturday, Planetary Society of India (PSI) Director N Sri Raghunandan Kumar said as a result of this, celestial phenomenon Planet Jupiter ( known as Bruhaspati/Guru ) is now closest to Earth. He said in view of Jupiter coming close to earth it is now brightest and appears biggest than anytime in entire year of 2021. Its known fact all Planets (including Earth, Jupiter etc) orbit Sun. During the course of their Journey around Sun the positions of Earth & Jupiter are such that now they will have face off which is known as ‘Jupiter Opposition with Sun’. In other words, due to this phenomenon of opposition Sun- Earth- Jupiter would be opposite to each other from our perspective on earth. And if…

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BRICS members to share data from Earth remote sensing satellites

New Delhi [India]: Under India’s BRICS Chairship, the BRICS Space Agencies Heads have signed an agreement on Wednesday for cooperation in remote sensing satellite data sharing.This comes after a videoconference meeting of the heads of BRICS space agencies was held today. “Under India’s BRICS Chairship, the BRICS Space Agencies Heads have signed an agreement for cooperation in remote sensing satellite data sharing on August 18 in the presence of Sanjay Bhattacharyya, Secretary (CPV&OIA) and India’s BRICS Sherpa, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and other officials from respective external/foreign affairs Ministries,” ISRO said in a statement.This agreement enables building a virtual constellation of specified remote sensing satellites of BRICS space agencies and their respective ground stations will receive the data, the statement said.This will contribute in strengthening multilateral cooperation among BRICS space agencies in meeting the challenges faced by mankind, such as global…

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ICRISAT identified the need to study all different types of millets

Telangana (India) : A study from ICRISAT identified a number of priority future research areas including the need to study all different types of millets, understand differences by variety alongside the different types of cooking and processing of millets and their impact on cardiovascular health. Given the positive indicators to date, more detailed analysis on the impact of millets on weight management is also recommended.All relevant parameters are also recommended to be assessed to gain a deeper understanding of the impacts millet consumption on hyperlipidemia and cardiovascular disease.Medical Doctor and co-author, Dr Raj Kumar Bhandari, noted that, “As a doctor I have seen first-hand a significant rise over the years of patients with serious coronary problems from high cholesterol and being overweight.Based on the evidence in this study we can help reduce hypertension and hardening and narrowing of arteries and manage weight with appropriate…

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Study finds new clues regarding the formation of the solar system

Washington [US], August 17 : A study of the Ophiuchus star-forming complex has offered new insights into the conditions in which our own solar system was born.The findings of the study were published in the journal ‘Nature Astronomy’. A region of active star formation in the constellation Ophiuchus is giving astronomers new insights into the conditions in which our own solar system was born.In particular, the study showed how our solar system may have become enriched with short-lived radioactive elements.Evidence of this enrichment process has been around since the 1970s when scientists studying certain mineral inclusions in meteorites concluded that they were pristine remnants of the infant solar system and contained the decay products of short-lived radionuclides.These radioactive elements could have been blown onto the nascent solar system by a nearby exploding star (a supernova) or by the strong stellar winds from a type…

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Tourism in Space: Virgin Galactic ticket sales beginning at $450,000, Know the details

By News Desk with Inputs from various agencies. Space tourism is now possible. Between 2005 and 2014, around 600 people had paid $200,000 to $250,000 for booking seats on Virgin’s spaceship. British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is restarting ticket sales beginning at $450,000 for space tourism. The company, to cash in on the success of last month’s fully-crewed test flight, has nearly doubled the amount paid by people previously. Between 2005 and 2014, around 600 people had paid $200,000 to $250,000 for booking seats on Virgin’s spaceship. “We are excited to announce the reopening of sales effective today,” said CEO Michael Colglazier in a statement, with first dibs going to people on a waiting list. “As we endeavor to bring the wonder of space to a broad global population, we are delighted to open the door to an entirely new industry and consumer experience.” Former chief executive officer of Virgin Galactic Holdings, George Whitesides, will fly…

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Senior planetarium official says Saturn to come closest to Earth at 11.30 am today

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India]: Saturn and Earth will be closest to each other in a year on August 2 at 11.30 am, said Dr Suvendu Pattnaik, Deputy Director of Pathani Samanta Planetarium.People across the world that will be in their nighttime, will be able to see a bright Saturn, he told ANI. “As per Indian Standard Time (IST) at 11.30 am, Saturn and Earth will be closest to each other. It will be daytime in India but wherever there is nighttime, people will see a bright Saturn,” said Dr Pattnaik.Earth takes about 365 days to orbit the sun while Saturn takes around 29.5 years for completing one full revolution of the sun, he informed.“Once every year, Earth and Saturn come close to each other while revolving in their orbital path. In a time span of 1 year and 13 days, they come closest to each…

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National Quantum Science And Technology Symposium organised by IIIT Hyderabad

Hyderabad: The National Quantum Science and Technology Symposium (NQSTS), organised by IIIT Hyderabad, Quantum Ecosystems Technology Council of India, IEEE Quantum Initiative, in association with PSA, Govt of India is being held online from 26 July – 3 August 2021. Through talks delivered by some of India’s best quantum experts from government, academia and industry, the symposium will cover diverse aspects of the field and provide an overview of the scope and impact of quantum computing in India. NQSTS launched the Quantum Ecosystems and Technology Council of India (QETCI), headed by Reena Dayal, which will work closely with various members of quantum ecosystems across government, academia, industry, startups and investors to accelerate the quantum ecosystem in India. The symposium features several eminent keynote speakers – Prof Vijay Raghavan, PSA to Govt of India; Prof K Sivan, Chairman ISRO; Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary MEITY; Dr…

Science

Research shows potential role of ‘junk DNA’ sequence in aging, cancer

New Delhi: Findings from a new study led by researchers at Washington State University have solved a small piece of that puzzle, bringing scientists one step closer to solving the mystery of aging. A research team headed by Jiyue Zhu, a professor in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, recently identified a DNA region known as VNTR2-1 that appears to drive the activity of the telomerase gene, which has been shown to prevent aging in certain types of cells. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The human body is essentially made up of trillions of living cells. It ages as its cells age, which happens when those cells eventually stop replicating and dividing. Scientists have long known that genes influence how cells age and how long humans live, but how that works exactly remains unclear.…

Science

Blushing plants reveal when fungi are growing in their roots, study finds

New Delhi: Almost all crop plants form associations with a particular type of fungi- called arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi- in the soil, which greatly expand their root surface area. This mutually beneficial interaction boosts the plant’s ability to take up nutrients that are vital for growth. In a study published in the journal PLOS Biology, researchers used the bright red pigments of beetroot — called betalains — to visually track soil fungi as they colonised plant roots in a living plant. The more nutrients plants obtain naturally, the less artificial fertilisers are needed. Understanding this natural process, as the first step towards potentially enhancing it, is an ongoing research challenge. Progress is likely to pay huge dividends for agricultural productivity. “We can now follow how the relationship between the fungi and plant root develops, in real-time, from the moment they come into contact. We previously had…

Science

NASA Perseverance Mars rover to acquire first sample of Martian rock

New Delhi: NASA is making final preparations for its Perseverance Mars rover to collect its first-ever sample of Martian rock, which future planned missions will transport to Earth. The six-wheeled geologist is searching for a scientifically interesting target in a part of Jezero Crater called the “Cratered Floor Fractured Rough.” This important mission milestone is expected to begin within the next two weeks. Perseverance landed in Jezero Crater on February 18, and NASA kicked off the rover mission’s science phase on June 1, exploring a 1.5-square-mile (4-square-kilometer) patch of crater floor that may contain Jezero’s deepest and most ancient layers of exposed bedrock. “When Neil Armstrong took the first sample from the Sea of Tranquility 52 years ago, he began a process that would rewrite what humanity knew about the Moon,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for science at NASA Headquarters. “I have every expectation…

Science

Enzyme-based plastic recycling is better for environment: Study

New Delhi: During a new study, researchers found that using enzymes as a more sustainable approach for recycling polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a common plastic in single-use beverage bottles, clothing, and food packaging that are becoming increasingly relevant in addressing the environmental challenge of plastic pollution. The study by researchers in the BOTTLE Consortium, including from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the University of Portsmouth, was published in the journal Joule. The analysis shows enzyme-recycled PET has potential improvement over conventional, fossil-based methods of PET production across a broad spectrum of energy, carbon, and socioeconomic impacts. The concept, if further developed and implemented at scale, could lead to new opportunities for PET recycling and create a mechanism for recycling textiles and other materials also made from PET that is traditionally not recycled today.PET ranks among the most abundantly produced…

Science Technology

Safer high-energy density batteries can be made by preventing oxygen release

New Delhi: To pave the way for more robust and safer high-energy-density batteries, during a recent study, researchers produced fresh insights about the release of oxygen in lithium-ion batteries. Next-generation batteries that store more energy are critical if societies are to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and realize carbon neutrality. However, the higher the energy density, the higher the likelihood of thermal runaway — the overheating of batteries that can sometimes result in a battery exploding. Oxygen released from cathode active material is a trigger for thermal runaway, yet knowledge of this process is insufficient. Researchers from Tohoku University and the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (JASRI) investigated the oxygen release behaviour and relating structural changes of cathode material for lithium-ion batteries LiNi1/3Co1/3Mn1/3O2 (NCM111). NCM111 acted as a model oxide-based battery material through coulometric titration and X-ray diffractions.The researchers discovered NCM111 accepts 5 mol…

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Melting ice sheets can be monitored using solar radio signals

New Delhi: A new method for seeing through ice sheets using radio signals from the sun that could enable cheap, low-power and widespread monitoring of ice sheet evolution and contribute to sea-level rise has been found by researchers at Stanford University. These findings have been published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The sun provides a daunting source of electromagnetic disarray chaotic, random energy emitted by the massive ball of gas that arrives on Earth in a wide spectrum of radio frequencies. But in that randomness, Stanford researchers have discovered the makings of a powerful tool for monitoring ice and polar changes on Earth and across the solar system. This technique could lead to cheaper, lower power and more pervasive alternative to current methods of collecting data, according to the researchers. The advance may offer large-scale, prolonged insight into melting ice sheets and glaciers, which…

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World’s First 3D-Printed Steel Bridge Open In Amsterdam

Dutch Queen Maxima teamed up with a small robot Thursday to unveil a steel 3D-printed pedestrian bridge over a canal in the heart of Amsterdam’s red-light district. Maxima pushed a green button that set the robot’s arm in motion to cut a ribbon across the bridge with a pair of scissors. The distinctive flowing lines of the 12-meter (40-foot) bridge were created using a 3D printing technique called wire and arc additive manufacturing that combines robotics with welding. Tim Geurtjens, of the company MX3D, said the bridge showcases the possibilities of the technology. “If you want to have a really highly decorated bridge or really aesthetic bridge, suddenly it becomes a good option to print it,” he said. “Because it’s not just about making things cheaper and more efficient for us, it’s about giving architects and designers a new tool — a new very…

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ISRO successfully test-fires liquid fuel engine for Gaganyaan rocket

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has moved further in pursuit of its first human space mission Gaganyaan by successfully conducting the third long-duration hot test of liquid fuel-powered Vikas Engine. According to ISRO, its third long-duration hot test of the liquid propellant Vikas Engine for the core L110 liquid stage (engine) of the human-rated Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk III (GSLV Mk III) was successful. The test is part of the engine qualification requirements for the Gaganyaan Programme. The engine was fired for a duration of 240 seconds at the engine test facility of ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu. The performance of the engine met the test objectives and the engine parameters were closely matching with the predictions during the entire duration of the test. ISRO plans to fly two human-rated unmanned GSLV-Mk III rockets before sending Indian astronauts in the…

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Elon Musk Congratulates Isro On Third Test Of Vikas Engine For Gaganyaan Programme

Elon Musk on Wednesday congratulated the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) for successfully conducting the third long-duration hot test on the Vikas Engine that would launch the ambitious Gaganyaan programme. Musk, the founder of aerospace manufacturing giant SpaceX, commented “Congratulations” on ISRO’s tweet. ISRO tested the liquid propellant Vikas Engine as part of the engine qualification requirements for the Gaganyaan programme, The test was conducted for the core L110 liquid stage of the human-rated GSLV MkIII vehicle, Isro said in a statement. The engine was fired for 240 seconds at the test facility of Isro Propulsion Complex (IPRC), Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu. As per the official statement released by ISRO, the engine’s performance met the test objectives and the parameters were closely matching with the predictions during the entire duration of the test. Four Indian astronaut candidates have already undergone generic space flight training in…

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‘Neuroprosthesis’ restores speech to a paralysis man. Technology could lead to more natural communication for people who have suffered speech loss

Researchers at UC San Francisco have successfully developed a “speech neuroprosthesis” that has enabled a man with severe paralysis to communicate in sentences, translating signals from his brain to the vocal tract directly into words that appear as text on a screen. The achievement, which was developed in collaboration with the first participant of a clinical research trial, builds on more than a decade of effort by UCSF neurosurgeon Edward Chang, MD, to develop a technology that allows people with paralysis to communicate even if they are unable to speak on their own. “To our knowledge, this is the first successful demonstration of direct decoding of full words from the brain activity of someone who is paralyzed and cannot speak,” said Chang, the Joan and Sanford Weill Chair of Neurological Surgery at UCSF, Jeanne Robertson Distinguished Professor, and senior author on the study. “It…

Science Technology

NASA, ESA form partnership to monitor climate change

Washington: NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) agreed to combine Earth observation data from multiple satellites into a single open-source format available to scientists, policymakers and the public in an attempt to help mitigate the impact of climate change, according to a joint statement signed on Tuesday. “Not only will NASA and ESA work together to deliver unparalleled Earth science observations, research, and applications, but all of our findings will also be free and open for the benefit of the entire world as we work together to combat and mitigate climate change,” NASA Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen said in a press release. The partnership was formalized through a joint statement of intent, which outlines how the agencies will collaborate to advance understanding of the Earth System and to promote open sharing of information, the release said. The two agencies have a…

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Single Dose Of Sputnik-V Vaccine Enough For Recovered Covid-19 Patients: Study

A day after scientists announced that mRNA vaccines are effective against the Delta variant of Covid-19, a single dose variant of Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccine has shown 94 per cent efficacy among those recovered Covid-19 patients. Scientists said that there is no evident benefit of using a second dose in previously infected individuals. However, they added, “the second dose further increases antibody and neutralizing capacity.” The study published in the journal Science Direct states that 21 days after receiving the first dose of vaccine, 94 per cent of participants developed spike-specific antibodies. The study was conducted among healthcare workers in Argentina. “A single Sputnik V dose elicits higher antibody levels and virus neutralizing capacity in previously infected individuals than in new ones receiving the full two-doses,” researchers said. Earlier, a study by Hyderabad’s AIG Hospitals had also claimed that a single dose of vaccine is sufficient for Covid-recovered patients…

Science Technology

Solar Storm Approaching Towards Earth Likely To Hit Today

A high-speed solar storm that is approaching the Earth at a speed of 1.6 million kilometres per hour, according to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), is expected to hit our planet’s magnetic field later today, affecting electricity supply and communication infrastructure around the world. The solar flare, flowing from an equatorial hole in the sun’s atmosphere that was first detected on July 3, can travel at a maximum speed of 500 km/second, according to spaceweather.com. Although full-fledged geomagnetic (magnetic field associated with Earth) storms are unlikely, lesser geomagnetic unrest could spark high-latitude auroras. The satellites in the Earth’s upper atmosphere are also expected to get impacted by the incoming flares. This will directly impact GPS navigation, mobile phone signal and satellite TV. Power grids can also be hit by the solar flares. According to the latest prediction of the Space Weather Prediction Centre…

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Branson vs Bezos: Two Billionaires Compete To Ride Their Own Rockets Into Space

Two billionaires are putting everything on the line this month to ride their own rockets into space. It’s intended to be a flashy confidence boost for customers seeking their own short joyrides. The lucrative, high-stakes chase for space tourists will unfold on the fringes of space — 88 kilometers to 106 kilometers up, pitting Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson against the world’s richest man, Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos. Branson is due to take off Sunday from New Mexico, launching with two pilots and three other employees aboard a rocket plane carried aloft by a double-fuselage aircraft. Bezos departs nine days later from West Texas, blasting off in a fully automated capsule with three guests: his brother, an 82-year-old female aviation pioneer who’s waited six decades for a shot at space and the winner of a $28 million charity auction. Branson’s flight will be longer, but…

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Meet Jellyfishbot, The Robotic Solution For Collecting Marine Waste

Tourists visiting the picturesque port at Cassis, southern France, often see an unedifying sight: plastic bags, discarded drinks bottles, and even used surgical masks, floating in the water among the boats in the marina. But the port has found a solution, in the shape of a bright yellow remote-controlled electric powered boat that weaves around the harbour sucking the trash into a net that it trails behind its twin hulls. The boat, called Jellyfishbot, is about the size of a suitcase and so can get into the corners and narrow spaces where rubbish tends to accumulate but which are difficult for cleaners with nets to reach.“It can go everywhere,” said Nicolas Carlesi, who has a PhD in undersea robotics and whose company, IADYS, created the boat. It is not the only device of its kind. San Diego non-profit Clear Blue Sea is developing a…

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R3 Strong Radio Blackout Occurs In Certain Regions Around The Atlantic Ocean

On July 3 around 8 pm IST, the sun emitted a large solar flare that was observed by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. Solar flares are magnetic storms launched from the sun, releasing energy equivalent to a few million hydrogen bombs exploding at the same time. During a solar flare, the highly energetic charged particles are expelled from the sun at speeds close to that of the speed of light. These rays can disturb the ionosphere region of the Earth, which plays an important role in radio communications. The US NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center tweeted that a strong radio blackout occurred in certain regions around the Atlantic Ocean on July 3. “When radiation, energetic particles and solar plasma material released during a solar flare interact with the Earth’s magnetosphere and ionosphere, it creates strong geomagnetic storms. This induces strong currents at ground levels which…

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China Launches New Meteorological Satellite To Improve Country’s Weather Forecasting Capacity

China on Monday successfully launched a new meteorological satellite with 11 remote sensing payloads, which besides enhancing the country’s weather forecasting capacity, will monitor global snow coverage and sea surface temperatures. The satellite was launched into planned orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Fengyun-3E(FY-3E) will be the world’s first meteorological satellite in early morning orbit for civil service, the report said. It is designed with a lifespan of eight years and will mainly obtain the atmospheric temperature, humidity and other meteorological parameters for numerical prediction applications, improving China’s weather forecast capacity. It will also monitor the global snow cover, sea surface temperature, natural disasters and ecology to better respond to climate change and prevent and mitigate meteorological disasters. In addition, the satellite will monitor solar and space environments and their effects, as well as ionospheric data to…

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UN Agency Confirms Record Heat Of 18.3 Degrees Celsius In Antarctica

The United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization, on July 1, recognised a new record high temperature for Antarctica. On February 6, 2020, the Esperanza station (the Argentine research station in Trinity Peninsula) experienced 18.3 degrees Celsius. “Verification of this maximum temperature record is important because it helps us to build up a picture of the weather and climate in one of Earth’s final frontiers. Even more so than the Arctic, the Antarctic is poorly covered in terms of continuous and sustained weather and climate observations and forecasts, even though both play an important role in driving climate and ocean patterns and in sea-level rise,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas in a statement. “The Antarctic Peninsula is among the fastest-warming regions of the planet, almost 3°C over the last 50 years. This new temperature record is therefore consistent with the climate change we are observing.”…

Science Technology

The Flying Car Completes Inter-City Test Flight

If you were fascinated by the flying time-machine cars in the Back to the future franchise or wanted a ride in Ron Weasley’s flying Ford, there’s good news. AirCar, a dual-mode car-aircraft vehicle, completed a historic 35-minute flight between two international airports in Slovakia on June 28. It had a maximum cruising speed of 190km/h. Developed by Klein Vision, the AirCar Prototype 1 has a 160HP BMW engine and takes a little over two minutes to transform from a car into aircraft. It has retractable wings, folding tail surfaces, and a parachute deployment system. Its creator, Professor Stefan Klein, said in a release that the car-aircraft can fly about 1,000 km at a height of 8,200 ft and had already clocked up to 40 hours in the air. “This flight starts a new era of dual transportation vehicles. It opens a new category of…

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Extreme’ White Dwarf Sets Cosmic Records For Small Size, Huge Mass

In their death throes, roughly 97 per cent of all stars become a smoldering stellar zombie called a white dwarf, one of the densest objects in the cosmos. A newly discovered white dwarf is being hailed as the most “extreme” one of these on record, cramming a frightful amount of mass into a surprisingly small package. Scientists said on Wednesday this highly magnetized and rapidly rotating white dwarf is 35 per cent more massive than our sun yet boasts a petite diameter only a bit larger than Earth’s moon. That means it has the greatest mass and, counterintuitively, littlest size of any known white dwarf, owing to its tremendous density. Only two other types of objects – black holes and neutron stars – are more compact than white dwarfs. The way this white dwarf, named ZTF J1901+1458, was born also is unusual. It apparently…

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Construction Of The World’s Largest Radio Telescope To Begin In July

In a major milestone, July 1 will mark the commencement of the construction of the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO), the proposed largest radio telescope in the world. The announcement was made on Tuesday by Prof Philip Diamond, director general, SKAO. Once fully operational by 2029, the SKAO — to be built across South Africa and Australia — will generate astronomical data measuring 700 Petabytes, annually. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, the SKAO will be an array of 197 dishes located in South Africa and 1,31,072 antennas in western Australia and operate in the 50 MegaHertz-15.3 GigaHertz frequency range. In February this year, the SKAO took shape as an Inter-Governmental Organisation and the telescope design and engineering works, carried out during the last seven years, was tabled. The decision to go ahead with the SKAO construction in July was finalised during the SKAO council…

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NASA Reveals How Mars Rover Perseverance Captured A Historic Selfie

NASA has shared a historic selfie taken aboard the Perseverance rover on April 6. The image was taken beside the Ingenuity copter on the Martian surface. A camera, called WATSON, was used at the end of its robotic arm to capture the image. Interestingly, the final image which was released by NASA, does not include the robotic arm in the snap. NASA has explained how the complex feat was achieved in detail. The space agency says that the rover took 62 individual images that were then stitched together into a single selfie. Additionally as the space agency used multiple images, they could exclude the robotic arm from the final snap. NASA studies the selfies to inspect on wear and tear on the rover. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has shared a video which shows the sequence in which Perseverance took the 62 individual images with…

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Scientists use NASA satellite data to track ocean microplastics from space

Scientists from the University of Michigan have developed an innovative way to use the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) satellite data to track the movement of tiny pieces of plastic in the ocean. Microplastics from when plastic trash in the ocean breaks down from the sun’s rays and the motion of ocean waves. These small flecks of plastic are harmful to marine organisms and ecosystems. Microplastics can be carried hundreds or thousands of miles away from the source by ocean currents, making it difficult to track and remove them. Currently, the main source of information about the location of microplastics comes from fisher boat trawlers that use nets to catch plankton- and, unintentionally, microplastics. The new technique relies on data from NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), a constellation of eight small satellites that measure wind speeds above Earth’s oceans and provides…

Science Technology

NASA sends squid from Hawaii into space for research

Dozens of baby squid from Hawaii are in space for study. The baby Hawaiian bobtail squid was raised at the University of Hawaii’s Kewalo Marine Laboratory and was blasted into space earlier this month on a SpaceX resupply mission to the International Space Station. Researcher Jamie Foster, who completed her doctorate at the University of Hawaii, is studying how spaceflight affects the squid in hopes of bolstering human health during long space missions, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday. The squid has a symbiotic relationship with natural bacteria that help regulate their bioluminescence. When astronauts are in low gravity their body’s relationship with microbes changes, said University of Hawaii professor Margaret McFall-Ngai, who Foster studied under in the 1990s. “We have found that the symbiosis of humans with their microbes is perturbed in microgravity, and Jamie has shown that is true in squid,” said McFall-Ngai.…

Science Technology

NASA announces two new robotic missions to Venus

NASA is returning to sizzling Venus, our closest yet perhaps most overlooked neighbor, after decades of exploring other worlds. The space agency’s new administrator, Bill Nelson, announced two new robotic missions to the solar system’s hottest planet, during his first major address to employees Wednesday. “These two sister missions both aim to understand how Venus became an inferno-like world capable of melting lead at the surface,” Nelson said. One mission named DaVinci Plus will analyse the thick, cloudy Venusian atmosphere in an attempt to determine whether the inferno planet ever had an ocean and was possibly habitable. A small craft will plunge through the atmosphere to measure the gases. It will be the first US-led mission to the Venusian atmosphere since 1978. The other mission, called Veritas, will seek a geologic history by mapping the rocky planet’s surface. “It is astounding how little we…

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Super Blood Moon on May 26: How to click pictures of the moon using your smartphone

A rare Super Blood Moon is all set to make its appearance in the night sky tomorrow, May 26, marking the second of three supermoons this year. Unlike solar eclipses, the Blood Moon 2021 can be viewed with naked eyes — without requiring any special gear. Super Blood Moon 2021: What is it?  A total lunar eclipse or Blood Moon occurs when the Moon’s surface turns reddish since the Earth completely blocks direct sunlight from reaching the Moon and only light reflected from the lunar surface is refracted by Earth’s atmosphere. The Full Moon will be closest to the Earth on May 26, so it may look larger in the sky. Super Blood Moon 2021: Will it be visible in India? In India, the blood moon eclipse will be visible only in the penumbral phase. The observers will be able to see the supermoon throughout…

Science Technology

COVID-19 Vaccine: Sputnik debuts on Cowin app at Rs 1250

Sputnik V, the Russian COVID-19 vaccine being produced in India by Dr Reddy’s Laboratory has made its debut on the CoWIN platform on May 18. Reportedly, it is available at a price of Rs 1250. Apollo Hospitals and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories on Monday said they are collaborating to initiate a COVID-19 vaccination programme in the country with Sputnik V. The official Twitter account of Sputnik V also shared a picture of the vaccination drive in India. “Start of #SputnikV vaccination at @HospitalsApollo  facility in #India’s Hyderabad,” the tweet read. The first phase of the programme kicks off with vaccinations in Hyderabad on Monday and in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday (May 18) at Apollo facilities. The vaccinations would follow the SOPs as recommended by the government including registration on CoWIN.   Apollo Hospitals’ Joint Managing Director Sangita Reddy said the healthcare major would receive 10 lakh doses of the COVID-19 vaccine…

Science Technology

Amazon Rainforest Emitted More CO2 Than It Absorbed Since 2010, Says Study

The Brazilian Amazon released nearly 20 per cent more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the last decade than it absorbed, according to a stunning report that shows humanity can no longer depend on the world’s largest tropical forest to help absorb manmade carbon pollution. From 2010 through 2019, Brazil’s Amazon basin gave off 16.6 billion tonnes of CO2, while drawing down only 13.9 billion tonnes, researchers reported Thursday in the journal Nature Climate Change. The study looked at the volume of CO2 absorbed and stored as the forest grows, versus the amounts released back into the atmosphere as it has been burned down or destroyed. “We half-expected it, but it is the first time that we have figures showing that the Brazilian Amazon has flipped, and is now a net emitter,” said co-author Jean-Pierre Wigneron, a scientist at France’s National Institute for Agronomic…

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