Monthly Current Affairs January 2016 “SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY” key points to Remember.
Japanese recognized for discovering element 113
A Japanese team has received official credit for the discovery of element 113, making the group the first in Asia to have its accomplishments enshrined in the periodic table. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry certified Thursday that a team led by Kosuke Morita at government-affiliated research institute Riken discovered the element.The group first managed to synthesize it in July 2004 but could not conclusively demonstrate its existence until 2012.
World’s largest database for cancer drug discovery goes 3D
Scientists have revolutionised the world’s largest database for cancer drug discovery by adding 3D structures of faulty proteins and maps of cancer’s communication
networks, paving the way for more effective treatments. The new version of canSAR database uses artificial intelligence to identify nooks and crannies on the surface of faulty cancer—causing molecules, as a key step in designing new drugs to block them.
Five Minor planets named after Chinese scientists
A total of five minor planets have been named after top Chinese scientists,including the country’s first Nobel laureate scientist Tu Youyou. The naming was suggested by the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Minor Planet Center (MPC). Chinese vice premier Liu Yandong awarded scientists certificates at the ceremony.
Nissan successfully tested driverless car using at NASA Centre
Automaker Nissan has successfully testdriven its all-electric, driverless car at NASA’s Ames Research Centre in California. Nissan’s all-electric LEAF performed safe autonomous drives across the Ames centre. The Nissan LEAF vehicle is equipped with cameras, sensors and cellular data networking. It uses robotics software originally developed for Ames’ K-10 and K-REX planetary rovers to operate autonomously. Last year, the US space agency and the automaker Nissan announced a five-year partnership to build self-driving, zero-emission autonomous cars for earth- and eventually space. The partnership allows researchers to develop and test autonomy algorithms, concepts and integrated prototypes for a variety of vehicular transport applications. Nissan is already testing cars that can navigate urban environments on their own. The effort can develop technology that will be put to use in passenger vehicles here on Earth and rovers on planets.
Astronomers spot most massive galaxy cluster everAstronomers have detected a massive, sprawling, churning galaxy cluster – about 1,000 times more massive than our Milky Way galaxy – that formed only 3.8 billion years after the Big Bang. The early universe was a chaotic mess of gas and matter that only began to coalesce into distinct galaxies hundreds of millions of years after the Big Bang. It would take several billion more years for such galaxies to assemble into massive galaxy clusters. Astronomers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Missouri and the University of Florida have detected IDCS J1426.5+3508 (or IDCS 1426), the most massive cluster of galaxies yet discovered in the first 4 billion years after the Big Bang. Located 10 billion light years from Earth and potentially comprising thousands of individual galaxies, the mega structure is about 250 trillion times more massive than the Sun, or 1,000 times more massive than the Milky Way galaxy.
Scientists develop viruses to protect Muga silkworm
Scientists at the University of Leicester have developed viruses that could halt the decline of ‘Muga’ caterpillar in India which produces one of the finest silks in the
world. Muga caterpillars, which produce a highly valuable silk, are dying from bacterial infections, in Assam. Researchers claim that they have developed viruses that could protect the silkworms from disease and as a result could save the Muga silk industry. Muga silk is produced only in the North East India as the silkworms form their cocoons. The
caterpillars have been in decline over the last few years because they are eating infected leaves.
Aurobindo Pharma receives USFDA nod for generic drug
Drug firm Aurobindo Pharma has received approval from the US health regulator to manufacture and market generic Norethindrone Acetate tablets in received the final nod from the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) to manufacture and market Norethindrone Acetate tablets in the strength of 5 mg.
CIRB Hisar becomes second institute to clone buffalo in India
Scientists at Central Institute for Research on Buffaloes (CIRB) in Hisar claimed to have successfully produced a cloned buffalo offspring ‘Cirb Gaurav’. CIRB Director Dr Inderjeet Singh said that the cloned buffalo calf is distinct from the earlier clones produced in India. As this is produced from cells of ventral side of tail of superior bull buffalo, this part is least exposed to sunlight and may have less mutation rate, and can be good choice for isolation of donor cells to produce healthy clones.
China to land probe on dark side of moon in 2018
China has begun preparations for a new lunar mission in 2018. It has planned to send a probe to the dark side of the moon not explored by humans so far. The far side of the moon is never visible to Earth because of gravitational forces and has never been explored. The Chang’e-4 probe will be the first mission in human history to embark on this expedition.China already boasts mature science and technology for sending a probe to the far side of the moon, and is open to cooperation with international society.
NASA’s Juno became the farthest travelled solar powered spacecraft
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has declared that its spacecraft Juno has broken the Solar Power Distance Record. The solar powered spacecraft of NASA named Juno broke the previous record of travelling farthest distance set by Rosetta spacecraft of the European Space Agency. NASA’s Juno travelled 793 million kilometer to break this record on January 13, 2016.Before this, Rosetta spacecraft of the European Space Agency travelled till 792 million kilometers.
Zinnia : The first flower ever grown in space
The first flower has finally bloomed in outer space. Nasa astronaut Scott Kelly has tweeted a photo of the first ever flower (Zinnia) grown in space. The flower was grown as part of an experiment astronauts are conducting on how plants grow in microgravity. Besides the flower,the team also grew lettuce in space, after a failed first attempt. Despite fears of over-watering, the crew coaxed the zinnias into a burst of colour in their zerog vegetable garden. Zinnias are edible blooming plants that are usually on the easy ends in the spectrum to grow.
Chinese bioartificial liver set to save lives
Chinese scientists have developed a new bioartificial liver that they say will help people suffering from organ failure to live longer. Designed to be attached outside
the patient’s body, the device makes use of human liver cells. In its first clinical use last week, the device “saved a 61-year-old woman who was dying from acute liver
failure,” said Professor Ding Yitao, a member of the research team.
48-hour countdown for IRNSS-1E launch progressing smoothly: ISRO
Indian space agency ISRO is all set to make its first rocket launch of the year and the fifth satellite of India Regional Navigation Satellite System IRNSS-1E, on board PSLVC31
rocket from Sriharikota on January 20. According to ISRO, the 48-hour countdown for the launch scheduled at 9.31 AM from the second launch pad began on January 18 at the spaceport of Sriharikota, about 100 km and was progressing “smoothly”.
SpaceX Falcon rocket explodes on landing
An unmanned SpaceX Falcon rocket exploded on landing after successfully delivering an ocean monitoring satellite to orbit. The cause of the problem was that one of the rocket’s legs collapsed as it tried to land on a floating ocean barge. The rocket company had managed a historic first controlled return of an orbital stage last month. This footage of
the landing was posted online by SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk.
PSLV-C31 launched successfully from Sriharikota
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched PSLV-C31 rocket successfully. Launched from Sriharikota space centre, near Chennai, the rocket is carrying the fifth satellite of India Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), the IRNSS-1E. As scheduled, the rocket blasted off from the second launch pad at 9.31 am (January 20, 2016). This was the first rocket launch of 2016. The fifth navigation satellite in the IRNSS space system, a constellation of seven satellites, would be at par with US-based GPS once
the full complement of spacecraft is launched. The satellite’s life span is 12 years.
Global Ocean heat doubled in last two decades
According to a new study, half of the global ocean heat content increase since 1865 has occurred over the past two decades. In recent decades the ocean has continued to warm substantially, and with time the warming signal is reaching deeper into the ocean. The findings were published in the journal Nature Climate Change. Changes in ocean heat storage are important because the ocean absorbs more than 90 percent of the Earth’s excess heat increase that is associated with global warming.
Microsoft donates cloud computing ‘worth $1 billion’
Microsoft has announced that it will donate cloud computing resources worth $1 billion to global nonprofits over the next three years. The move is aimed at ensuring that benefits of technology were not limited to the wealthy. The U.S. tech giant, which stepped up its charity efforts under the banner of “Microsoft Philanthropies” last month, has been trying to aggressively expand its cloud computing services amid rising competition.
Titan launches JUXT smartwatch
World’s fifth largest watchmaker Titan Company Ltd, of the Tata Group has unveiled JUXT, a smartwatch in partnership with global technology giant HP Inc. The company said the watch is aimed at providing connectivity while staying true to the essence of classic watchmaking. The smartwatch is priced between Rs.15,995 and Rs.19,995 and is available in three variants — titanium, stainless steel and rose gold across select World of Titan, Helios and large format stores. The timepiece features a subtle honeycomb dial, 3D indices and a leather strap. This watch can be paired with smart phones having either Android 4.4 or iOS 8.1 and above operating system.
TranServ launches India’s first social digital wallet Udio
Digital payment startup TranServ has entered the mobile wallet segment with Udio. Known as the first Social Mobile Wallet, Udio waants to create a highly social, community-driven P2P digital transactions platform via its secure and seamless payment structureUdio is different from other mobile wallets such as Paytm, Oxigen or Citrus in a way that
while other mobile wallet players depend upon cashbacks and discounts to drive consumer adoption, TranServ’s Udio wallet brings the user experience.The wallet users can engage with each other through social transactions such as splitting bills, sending/requesting money, and group payments.
‘Ninth planet’ may exist in solar system:US scientists
The US scientists have announced that a previously unknown giant planet may have been discovered lurking in the outer reaches of our solar system. Nicknamed Planet Nine, the object has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and follows a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the distant solar system. It would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000
years to make just one full orbit around the Sun. The report was published in the Astronomical Journal. Researchers Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown say have not yet observed the object directly. Rather, they found it through mathematical modeling and computer simulations.
New tree frog genus named Frankixalus discovered in NE India
For more than a century, two mysterious tree frog specimens collected by a British naturalist in 1870 and housed at the Natural History Museum in London were assumed to be part of a vanished species, never again found in the wild. A group of scientists, led by renowned Indian biologist Sathyabhama Das Biju, has rediscovered the frogs and also identified them as part of a new genus – one step higher than a species on the taxonomic ranking.
Titan launches JUXT smartwatch
World’s fifth largest watchmaker Titan Company Ltd, of the Tata Group has unveiled JUXT, a smartwatch in partnership with global technology giant HP Inc. The company said the watch is aimed at providing connectivity while staying true to the essence of classic watchmaking.
TranServ launches India’s first social digital wallet Udio
Digital payment startup TranServ has entered the mobile wallet segment with Udio. Known as the first Social Mobile Wallet, Udio waants to create a highly social, community-driven P2P digital transactions platform via its secure and seamless payment structure.
Aurobindo Pharma gets USFDA nod for Fungal infection drug
Aurobindo Pharma has received US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approval to manufacture and market Voriconazole tablets (50 mg and 200 mg) that are used to treat fungal
infections. The company is expected to launch the product by March. The approved Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) is bio-equivalent and therapeutically equivalent to the reference listed drug product VFEND tablets of PF Prism C.V. For the 12 months ending November 2015, the product had an estimated market size of $103 million.
Astronomers discover largest solar system
Astronomers have discovered the largest known solar system, consisting of a large planet that takes nearly a million years to orbit its star. The gas giant is one trillion
kilometres away, making its orbit 140 times wider than Pluto’s path around our Sun. Only a handful of extremely wide pairs of this kind have been found in recent years. The planet, known as 2MASS J2126-8140, is between 12 and 15 times the mass of Jupiter. This system is nearly three times the size of the previous widest star-planet pair.
Stockholm to get World’s first 5G Network
Stockholm, the capital city of Sweden may soon become world’s first city to get the ultra high speed 5G mobile network by 2018. Swedish-Finnish telecom operator TeliaSonera, and Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson will jointly roll out 5G network at Stockholm and Tallinn, which is in Estonia.
Customs Department launches mobile app
A mobile-based application has been launched by the customs to inform people about all Indian customs rules including those related to import of pets and goods. The app–Indian CustomsGuide to Travellers– has been developed by IRS officer Sandeep Kumar Rawal, now posted as Joint Director, Regional Training Institute of National Academy of Customs
Excise and Narcotics(NACEN), Bhopal in coordination with Bengaluru customs.