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[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P.


Dr Ravi Agraharis

C l a s s e s
Best Faculty in India for GS-III Module

Science & Tech. Current Affairs


UPSC and Other state PCS

EXAM 2016-2017


Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari

(Scientist in IIT Delhi)

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)

[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

1. Neutrinos
The neutrino was postulated first by Wolfgang Pauli in 1930 to explain how beta decay could
conserve energy, momentum, and angular momentum (spin).
The word "neutrino" entered the international vocabulary through Enrico Fermi, who used it during a
conference in Paris in July 1932 and at the Solvay Conference in October 1933, where also Pauli
employed it. The name (the Italian equivalent of "little neutral one") was jokingly coined by Edoardo
Amaldi during a conversation with Fermi at the Institute of physics of via Panisperna in Rome, in
order to distinguish this light neutral particle from Chadwick's neutron.
Neutrinos are so abundant among us that every second, there are more than 100 trillion of them
passing right through each of us we never even notice them. This is the reason why INO needs to
be built deep into the earth 1,300 meters into the earth. At this depth, it would be able to keep
itself away from all the trillions of neutrinos produced in the atmosphere and which would otherwise
choke an over-the-ground neutrino detector. Neutrinos have been in the universe literally since
forever, being almost 14 billion years old as much as the universe itself.
Neutrinos occur in three different types, ve, v, and v. These are separated in terms of different
masses. From experiments so far, we know that neutrinos have a tiny mass, but the ordering of the
neutrino mass states is not known and is one of the key questions that remain unanswered till
today. This is a major challenge INO will set to resolve, thus completing our picture of the neutrino.
Neutrinos are very important for our scientific progress and technological growth for three reasons.
First, they are abundant. Second, they have very feeble mass and no charge and hence can travel
through planets, stars, rocks and human bodies without any interaction. In fact, a beam of trillions
of neutrinos can travel thousands of kilometers through a rock before an interaction with a single
atom of the rock and the neutrino occurs. Third, they hide within them a vast pool of knowledge and
could open up new vistas in the fields of astronomy and astrophysics, communication and even in
medical imaging.
Further, they have much more significance such as- First, neutrinos may have a role to play in nuclear
non-proliferation through the remote monitoring of nuclear reactors. The plutonium-239 which is
made via nuclear transmutation in the reactor from uranium-238 can potentially be used in nuclear
devices by terrorist groups. Using appropriate neutrino detectors, the plutonium content can be
monitored remotely and used to detect any pilferage. Neutrino research can be our answer to ensure
that no terror group ever acquires nuclear weapons.
Second, understanding neutrinos can help us detect mineral and oil deposits deep in the earth.
Neutrinos tend to change their flavor depending on how far they have travelled and how much
matter they have passed through in the way. Far more importantly, we believe that this same
property might help us detect early geological defects deep within the earth, and thereby might be
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)

[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

our answer to an early warning system against earthquakes. This is where an area of Geoneutrinos is
applicable. First found in 2005, they are produced by the radioactive decay of uranium, thorium and
potassium in the Earths crust and just below it. Rapid analysis of these Geoneutrinos by neutrino
monitoring stations a process called Neutrino Tomography could provide us vitally seismological
data which can detect early disturbances and vibrations produced by earthquakes. Third, as we now
know, neutrinos can pass right through the earth. They may open up a faster way to send data than
the current around the earth model, using towers, cables or satellites. Such a communication
system using neutrinos will be free of transmission losses as neutrinos rarely react with the atoms in
their path. This can open up new vistas for telecom and Internet services. Some scientists further
believe that if there is any extraterrestrial form of life, neutrinos will also be the fastest and most
trusted way to communicate with them.
Fourth, neutrinos are the information bearers of the universe which are almost never lost in their
path. Indias effort in studying neutrinos at INO may help us unravel the deepest mystery of the
universe why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe. Some scientists believe that
formidable neutrino research can help us understand dark matter. Dark matter and dark energy
make up 95 percent of the universe, far more predominant than ordinary matter in the universe
but we hardly understand it. Neutrinos are the only way to detect this great mystery which may
completely alter our understanding of the universe and physics. Searches for this dark matter can
only be carried out in INO.
This is the reason why our scientists believe that the neutrino is our mode of access to some of the
most unimaginable technologies, and therefore, with INO, India is poised to take its rightful place at
the helm of neutrino research.

2. Nobel Prize 2015 in medicine

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2015 was divided, one-half jointly to William C. Campbell
and Satoshi mura "for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by the
roundworm parasites" and the other half to Youyou Tu "for her discoveries concerning a novel
therapy against Malaria".
William C. Campbell, Prize share: Prize motivation: "for their discoveries concerning a novel
therapy against infections caused by the roundworm parasites" Satoshi mura, Prize share: Prize
motivation: "for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by
roundworm parasites"
Youyou Tu, Prize share: , Prize motivation: "for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)

[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

For Prelims Exam facts (Nobel Prizes 2015)

1. The Nobel Prize in Physics 2015

Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald
"for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass"
2. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015
Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar
"for mechanistic studies of DNA repair"
3. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2015
William C. Campbell and Satoshi mura
"for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm
Youyou Tu
"for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria"

3. Elephants rarely get cancer

Why elephants rarely get cancer is a mystery that has stumped scientists for decades. A study led by
researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah and Arizona State University,
and including researchers from the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation may have found
the answer.
According to the results, it is found that elephants have 38 additional modified copies (alleles) of a
gene that encodes p53, a well-defined tumor suppressor, as compared to humans, who have only
two. Further, elephants may have a more robust mechanism for killing damaged cells that are at risk
for becoming cancerous. In isolated elephant cells, this activity is doubled compared to healthy
human cells, and five times that of cells from patients with Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, who have only
one working copy of p53 and more than a 90 percent lifetime cancer risk in children and adults. The
results suggest extra p53 could explain elephants enhanced resistance to cancer.
Nature has already figured out how to prevent cancer. Its up to us to learn how different animals
tackle the problem so we can adapt those strategies to prevent cancer in people. So elephants have
long been considered a walking conundrum. Because they have 100 times as many cells as people,
they should be 100 times more likely to have a cell slip into a cancerous state and trigger the disease
over their long life span of 50 to 70 years. And yet its believed that elephants get cancer less often, a
theory confirmed in this study. Analysis of a large database of elephant deaths estimates a cancer
mortality rate of less than 5 percent compared to 11 to 25 percent of people.
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)

[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

4. Stem cells and its potential benefits

Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during
early life and growth. In addition, in many tissues they serve as a sort of internal repair system,
dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive.
When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or become
another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain
Stem cells are distinguished from other cell types by two important characteristics. First, they are
unspecialized cells capable of renewing themselves through cell division, sometimes after long
periods of inactivity. Second, under certain physiologic or experimental conditions, they can be
induced to become tissue- or organ-specific cells with special functions. In some organs, such as the
gut and bone marrow, stem cells regularly divide to repair and replace worn out or damaged tissues.
In other organs, however, such as the pancreas and the heart, stem cells only divide under special
Until recently, scientists primarily worked with two kinds of stem cells from animals and
humans: embryonic stem cells and non-embryonic "somatic" or "adult" stem cells.
Scientists discovered ways to derive embryonic stem cells from early mouse embryos more than 30
years ago, in 1981. The detailed study of the biology of mouse stem cells led to the discovery, in
1998, of a method to derive stem cells from human embryos and grow the cells in the laboratory.
These cells are called human embryonic stem cells. The embryos used in these studies were created
for reproductive purposes through in vitro fertilization procedures. When they were no longer
needed for that purpose, they were donated for research with the informed consent of the donor. In
2006, researchers made another breakthrough by identifying conditions that would allow some
specialized adult cells to be "reprogrammed" genetically to assume a stem cell-like state. This new
type of stem cell, called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).
Stem cells are important for living organisms for many reasons. In the 3- to 5-day-old embryo, called
a blastocyst, the inner cells give rise to the entire body of the organism, including all of the many
specialized cell types and organs such as the heart, lungs, skin, sperm, eggs and other tissues. In some
adult tissues, such as bone marrow, muscle and brain, discrete populations of adult stem cells
generate replacements for cells that are lost through normal wear and tear, injury, or disease.
Given their unique regenerative abilities, stem cells offer new potentials for treating diseases such as
diabetes, and heart disease. However, much work remains to be done in the laboratory and the clinic
to understand how to use these cells for cell-based therapies to treat disease, which is also referred
to as regenerative or reparative medicine.

5. Alzheimer disease
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)

[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and
behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to
interfere with daily tasks.
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other
intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60 to
80 percent of dementia cases.
Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging, although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age,
and the majority of people with Alzheimer's are 65 and older. But Alzheimer's is not just a disease of
old age. Up to 5 percent of people with the disease have early onset Alzheimer's (also known as
younger-onset), which often appears when someone is in their 40s or 50s.
Alzheimer's worsens over time. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms
gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage
Alzheimer's, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment.
Alzheimer's has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research
continues. Although current Alzheimer's treatments cannot stop Alzheimer's from progressing, they
can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with
Alzheimer's and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to
treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.
As, this disease cannot be treated completely, but can temporarily slow worsening of its symptoms,
but for this we need to detect this disease the early stage and recently scientists have found that a
Blood test can detect Alzheimer the early stage. Researchers are inching closer to a blood test that
can accurately detect the presence of Alzheimers disease, which would give physicians an
opportunity to intervene at the earliest, most treatable stage of the disease.
Robert Nagele from the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine in the US is focusing on
utilizing auto-antibodies as blood-based biomarkers to accurately detect the presence of myriad
diseases and pinpoint the stage to which a disease has progressed. The blood test may also be able to
detect other diseases, including Parkinsons, multiple sclerosis and breast cancer.
By detecting Alzheimers disease long before symptoms emerge, it hopes those with disease-related
autoantibody biomarkers will be encouraged to make beneficial lifestyle changes that may help to
slow development of the disease.
There are significant benefits to early disease detection because we now know that many of the
same conditions that lead to vascular disease are also significant risk factors for Alzheimers.

6. Genetic data helps in identifying new species

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)

[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

By taking bits of a single gene, scientists are using DNA Barcoding to identify new species. Discovery
of new species is reason enough for a biologists enthusiasm. But something which is seen as far
more momentous a technology called DNA barcoding that made these discoveries possible in the
first place, and that promises to revolutionize the otherwise daunting process of identifying the
millions of species on the planet, many yet unknown and unnamed.
The term Bar-coding is actually an analogy. Much the same way that a small universal product
barcode allows a retailers scanner to distinguish a box of tissues from a can of green beans, DNA Barcoding technology allows scientists to use data from a tiny snippet of a single gene to distinguish one
species from the next. Although not perfect, proponents say it is highly accurate in distinguishing
almost all species of animals, with a promising variation under development for plants. At a few
dollars per species, it is also remarkably cheap and, compared to traditional DNA analysis, lightning
Eventually, it might even be possible to embed the technology into an inexpensive handheld device.
When that happens, it will do for biodiversity what the printing press did for literacy. a gadget is
envisioned straight out of Star Trek, an electronic reader of the catalogue of life on the planet that
would enable anyone school teacher, farmer, curious child to identify what bit of biodiversity
is biting them, appealing to them, worrying them in an instant.
For now, DNA bar-coding technology is limited to scientists with access to a few large labs with the
right equipment.

7. Intestinal worms boost immunity

Researchers have discovered how intestinal worms cross-talk with gut bacteria to help boost the
immune system.
Intestinal worms infect over two billion people across the world, mostly children, in areas with poor
sanitation. But despite causing serious health problems, worms can actually help the immune system
of its host as an indirect way of protecting themselves.
Intestinal worms belong to a larger family of helminths, which are large multi-cellular parasites that
can cause chronic infections in their hosts. Because of their long co-evolution with mammals,
helminths have developed a close relationship with their hosts immune systems, to the point that
they can regulate the hosts immune system in beneficial ways.
For example, helminths can ameliorate diseases such as allergic asthma. However, very little is known
about how helminths modulate the immune system. Researchers have now shown that the antiDr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)

[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

inflammatory the activity of intestinal helminths involves cross-talk with an unexpected agent: the
guts bacteria, also known as the microbiome.
In this study, the researchers looked at the effects of helminths that infect pigs.

8. Evidence showing acid fog on mars

During a recent discovery, it appears to have discovered evidence of acidic fog altering the surface of
Mars. The discovery was made via an analysis of data collected by NASA's Spirit rover over the course
of its exploration of the Red Planet.
Spirit landed on Mars in January 2004, and, prior to becoming embedded in soft soil, made numerous
breakthroughs that revolutionized our understanding of Mars. Eventually, the rover stopped
transmitting, with the last communication with the robotic pioneer taking place on March 22, 2010.
As is so often the case with NASA's flagship missions, Spirit is living up to its name, and continuing to
provide insights into the Martian environment long after falling into its perennial slumber.
The researcher analyzed data collected by Spirit from a dozen locations in the Cumberland Ridge and
the Husband Hill summit focusing on "watchtower class" rocky outcrops. It was discovered that the
formations exhibited notable abnormalities that hinted at a strangely Earth-like process occurring on
the Red Planet.
It is believed that a chemical reaction between volcanically induced acidic water vapor, otherwise
known as vog, and the watchtower class outcrops could account for the abnormalities. The
phenomenon is similar to instances of vog occurring on Earth created by the Kilauea volcano in
When the vapor landed on the rocks, it is possible that it had the effect of oxidizing the iron present
in the watchtowers, causing the mineral deposits to lose their shape, and take on a gel-like
Once the water from the vog evaporates, the gel essentially becomes a cementing agent, hardening
to form unusual patterns on the rock surface. According to researcher the process happened
incrementally over prolonged periods of time.
Variations in the level of iron oxidization in the distinctive rocks could be the result of differing
exposure to the elements. For example, rocks that are more exposed to sunlight, the gel evaporates
faster, allowing for less oxidization.

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)

[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

9. Ebola
We are surrounded by natural hazards, and a zoonotic disease of epidemic potential is only one in a
list that includes earthquakes, landslides, tsunami, and hurricanes. When hazards like these collide
with poverty and human indifference, disaster normally ensues. The eruption of the Ebola virus from
the jungles of Kenema in early 2014 was no different. Here was a naturally occurring biological hazard
which superstition, fear, fragile health systems, poor leadership, and dysfunctional management
spent much of 2014 turning into a global crisis. It did not have to be like this.
At the end of 2012, a comprehensive multistakeholder "lessons learned" report was put together by
the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and published by the Sierra Leone Ministry
of Health. It used the evidence of that years cholera epidemic to outline actions to take to integrate
"outbreaks of communicable disease of epidemic potential" into national risk reduction strategies.
During the last week of July and the first week of August 2014, DFID-Sierra Leone used this report and
what was then known of the Ebola outbreak to point out to the President, the Minister of Health,
WHOs country representative, the donor community, international non-governmental organizations,
and the UN Country Team what they felt to be shortcomings in the Ebola response. At these
meetings, DFID made it clear that, in their view, this was no ordinary outbreak; that it was unlikely to
be contained as previous Ebola outbreaks in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo had
been; and that it should be seen for what it was, a large-scale, slow-onset natural disaster requiring
an international multispectral response at levels similar to those mobilized for the earthquake in Haiti
in 2010 and for Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013. It was even pointed out that this was not a
question of political, but of national, survival.
Therefore, the epidemic was to be treated or prevented as other natural disasters are treated.

The BrahMos is a short range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines,
ships, aircraft or land. It is a joint venture between the Russian Federation's NPO Mashinostroeyenia
and India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) who have together formed
BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited. The name BrahMos is a portmanteau formed from the names of
two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.
It is the world's fastest cruise missile in operation. The missile travels at speeds of Mach 2.8 to 3.0.
The land-launched and ship-launched versions are already in service, with the air and submarinelaunched versions currently in the testing phase. An air-launched variant of BrahMos is planned
which came out in 2012. A hypersonic version of the missile, BrahMos-II, is also presently under

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)

[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

development with speed of Mach 7 to boost aerial fast strike capability. It is expected to be ready for
testing by 2017.
BRAHMOS is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine as its first stage which brings
it to supersonic speed and then gets separated. The liquid ramjet or the second stage then takes the
missile closer to 3 Mach speed in cruise phase. Stealth technology and guidance system with
advanced embedded software provides the missile with special features.
The missile has flight range of up to 290-km with supersonic speed all through the flight, leading to
shorter flight time, consequently ensuring lower dispersion of targets, quicker engagement time and
non-interception by any known weapon system in the world.
It operates on Fire and Forget Principle, adopting varieties of flights on its way to the target. Its
destructive power is enhanced due to large kinetic energy on impact. Its cruising altitude could be up
to 15 km and terminal altitude is as low as 10 meters. It carries a conventional warhead weighing 200
to 300 kgs.
Compared to existing state-of-the-art subsonic cruise missiles, BRAHMOS has:

3 times more velocity

2.5 to 3 times more flight range
3 to 4 times more seeker range
9 times more kinetic energy

Special Features

Universal for multiple platforms

Fire and Forget principle of operation
High supersonic speed all through the flight
Long flight range with varieties of flight trajectories
Low radar signature
Shorter flight times leading to lower target dispersion and quicker engagement
Pinpoint accuracy with high lethal power aided by large kinetic energy on impact.

11. H1N1
Influenza A (H1N1) virus is the subtype of influenza the virus that was the most common cause of
human influenza (flu) in 2009, and is associated with the 1918 outbreak known as the Spanish Flu.

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

It is an orthomyxovirus that contains the glycoprotein hemagglutinin and neuraminidase. For this
reason, they are described as H1N1, H1N2 etc. depending on the type of H or N antigens they express
with metabolic synergy. Haemagglutinin causes red blood cells to clump together and binds the virus
to the infected cell. Neuraminidase is a type of glycoside hydrolase enzyme which helps to move the
virus particles through the infected cell and assist in budding from the host cells.
Some strains of H1N1 are endemic in humans and cause a small fraction of all influenza-like illness
and a small fraction of all seasonal influenza.
Since the outbreak of the H1N1 virus, governments have emphasized the need to take precautions to
reduce swine flu cases.
Hand-washing: Washing hands regularly is a simple and basic task. This is actually an important
preventive measure but sometimes neglected by some. Health workers are advised to wash their
hands before and after having contact with patients. Body fluids and blood are considered to be
common carriers of viruses and them should be treated as contaminants
Protective Gear: The use of disposable and gloves and face masks bring added protection against
swine flu. Not only are health workers doing this but also ordinary citizens living in threatened areas.
When going out to work or riding in public transportation, people were advised to wear face masks to
avoid inhaling contaminated air particles. Remember that swine flu can easily be passed along
through the air. Wearing protective masks in high-risk areas is a good way to prevent swine flu
Getting Vaccination: Since the swine flu pandemic that swept the globe in 2009, calls for better H1N1
treatment and vaccination have been made. Special H1N1 vaccines contain antibodies that help fight
foreign contaminants that enter the body.

12. LR-SAM for the internal security of India

There are plans for longer range versions of missiles, moving in stages to 120 and 350 km. A joint
venture similar to the stalled MRSAM is going ahead full-steam- to create a long-range surface-to-air
missile (LRSAM) for the Navy. That project is at an advanced stage and government has shown no
inclination to stall that JV. Barak-8/NG, MRSAM and LRSAM are one and the same missile with
different names.
Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO) has undertaken joint development of
missiles viz. Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) for Indian Navy and Medium Range Surface
to Air Missile (MRSAM) for Indian Air Force with M/s Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), Israel. Long
Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) is a joint development program of DRDO, Indian Navy and IAI,
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

Israel. It has a range of 70 km using dual pulse rocket motor and active radar seeker in terminal
phase and inertial / mid-course update for guidance. The new missile, which is based on the
original Barak, features a more advanced seeker, alongside range extensions (up to 70 km) that
move it closer to medium range naval systems like the RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow or even the
SM-2 Standard. The Navy wants the LR-SAM for its four new Kolkata-class destroyers, seven
proposed Project 17A frigates, and the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC).
India has successfully test-fired a long-range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM) system designed to
protect ships from aircraft, missile and rocket attacks, which it developed jointly with Israel, the
Indian Defense Ministry said 30 November 2015. The LRSAM destroyed aerial targets at extended
ranges, making a 'quantum jump in air defense capability' of the joint Indian-Israeli effort, the
ministry noted. The system dubbed Barak 8 completed three readiness tests.

13. New way of determining the age of galaxy using the brightness of it
Offering a new way of determining a galaxys age, astronomers have detected thousands of stellar
pulses regular up-and-down changes in brightness in a distant galaxy.
The team studied the elliptical galaxy M87, located 53-million light years from Earth in the
constellation Virgo. Researchers said they tend to think of galaxies as steady beacons in the sky, but
they are actually shimmering due to all the giant, pulsating stars in them. Near the end of their
lifetime, stars begin to pulsate, increasing and decreasing their brightness by a large amount every
few hundred days.
In our own Milky Way galaxy, many stars are known to be in this stage of life.
It is the first time scientists have measured the effect that pulsating, older red stars have in the light
of their surrounding galaxy. In distant galaxies, the light of each pulsating star is mixed in with the
light of many more stars that are not varying in brightness.
The team focused on the galaxy M87 and examined a unique series of images taken with the Hubble
space telescope over the course of three months in 2006. Analysis of the Hubble data showed that
the average pixel varies on a timescale of approximately 270 days.
The regular up-and-down changes in brightness are reminiscent of a heartbeat, the study said.
It is as if we are taking the pulse of the galaxy. Their discovery offers a new way of measuring the
age of a galaxy.

14. New material for cooling surfaces

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

Stanford University engineers have invented an ultrathin multilayered material which can reflect
sunlight from, say, buildings and thereby lower the temperature of the building.
Though the technology is still young, the inventors believe that this can provide a solution to air
conditioning rooms, which now costs a lot of energy.
At a thickness of about 1.8 microns, the material is thinner than an aluminum foil. It is made up of
seven layers of hafnium oxide and silicon dioxide, each of differing thicknesses, on top of a thin layer
of silver.
It is designed to reflect both infrared light (which cannot be seen) and visible sunlight.
What is special is that the material reflects light at the frequency which is not absorbed by
atmospheric gasses. This is known as the atmospheric window.
When light with a frequency between 8 and 13 microns is beamed into the atmosphere, it goes
unabsorbed and escapes into outer space. This is the frequency window at which the material
reflects the infrared and visible light which strikes it. By this method, the material can cool the
interior by almost 5 degrees Celsius.
Though radioactive cooling happens in the 8-13 micron window, atmospheric gasses do absorb
radiation at about 10 microns. Since absorption at 10-micron band can also warm up the
atmosphere, of what advantage is this process? It is from the perspective of the radioactive surface
(the radioactive cooler) that there is a benefit due to this process.
Certainly most surfaces exposed to the sky radiate their heat out as thermal radiation one could
also call [it] thermal light since this is the heat all objects emit away as light at wavelengths that
correspond to the objects temperature. The entire goal of our work is to harness this effect on the
surface, specifically during the day, and not to cool the atmosphere itself in any way.

15. Solar energy in India

With about 300 clear, sunny days in a year, India's theoretically calculated solar energy incidence on
its land area alone, is about 5,000 trillion kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year (or 5 EWh/yr). The solar
energy available in a year exceeds the possible energy output of all fossil fuel energy reserves in
India. The daily average solar power plant generation capacity over India is 0.25 kWh per m2 of used
land area, which is equivalent to about 1,5002,000 peak (rated) capacity operating hours in a year
with the available commercially-proven technologies.

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

On 16 May 2011, Indias first 5 MW of installed capacity solar power project was registered under the
Clean Development Mechanism. The project is in Sivagangai Village, Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu. In
January 2015, the Indian government significantly expanded its solar plans, targeting US$100 billion
of investment and 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022.
Government-funded solar electricity in India was approximately 6.4 MW per year as of 2005. India is
ranked number one in terms of solar electricity production per watt installed, with an isolation of
1,700 to 1,900 kilowatt hours per kilowatt peak (kWh/KWp). 25.1 MW was added in 2010 and
468.3 MW in 2011. As of 31 August 2015, the installed grid connected solar power capacity is
4,229.36 MW, and India expects to install an additional 10,000 MW by 2017, and a total of
100,000 MW by 2022.
Applications: Rural electrification, Solar lamps and lighting, Agricultural support, Solar water heaters,
Power grid stabilization.

16. Process of birth and death of a new star

All stars are born from collapsing clouds of gas and dust, often called nebulae or molecular clouds.
Over the course of millions of years, these protostars settle down into a state of equilibrium,
becoming what is known as a main-sequence star.
Nuclear fusion powers a star for most of its life. Initially the energy is generated by the fusion of
hydrogen atoms at the core of the main-sequence star. Later, as the preponderance of atoms at the
core becomes helium, stars like the Sun begin to fuse hydrogen along a spherical shell surrounding
the core. This process causes the star to gradually grow in size, passing through the subgiant stage
until it reaches the red giant phase. Stars with at least half the mass of the Sun can also begin to
generate energy through the fusion of helium at their core, whereas more-massive stars can fuse
heavier elements along a series of concentric shells. Once a star like the Sun has exhausted its nuclear
fuel, its core collapses into a dense white dwarf and the outer layers are expelled as a planetary
nebula. Stars with around ten or more times the mass of the Sun can explode in a supernova as their
inert iron cores collapse into an extremely dense neutron star or black hole. Although the universe is
not old enough for any of the smallest red dwarfs to have reached the end of their lives, stellar
models suggest they will slowly become brighter and hotter before running out of hydrogen fuel and
becoming low-mass white dwarfs.

17. "Opportunistic Pathogens and the effects of Klebsiella pathogen on


Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

Opportunistic pathogens are an organism that exists harmlessly as part of the normal human body
environment and does not become a health threat until the body's immune system fails.
Klebsiella causes urinary tract infections, ventilator-acquired pneumonias and blood stream
infections (sepsis) among other conditions and is proving to be fatal in 30 to 40 percent of the
patients who have contracted it usually during a long stay in the hospital, particularly in the
intensive care unit. A bug that doctors until about three years ago treated with moderate-class
antibiotics is now causing worry in intensive care units of hospitals across the country. Doctors the
report that third-generation antibiotics carbapanem are failing to treat the Klebsiella pathogen,
leading to higher mortality in patients and peg the resistance at up to 50 percent. Colistin is the last
antibiotic available in the world for infections that the strongest antibiotics fail to treat.

18. Proton Therapy

Proton therapy, also called proton beam therapy, is a type of radiation treatment that uses protons
rather than x-rays to treat cancer. A proton is a positively charged particle. At high energy, protons
can destroy cancer cells. Doctors may use proton therapy alone, or they may combine it with
standard radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, and/or immunotherapy.
Like standard x-ray radiation therapy, proton therapy is a type of external-beam radiation therapy. It
painlessly delivers radiation through the skin from a machine outside the body.
How does it work
Essentially, protons are a superior form of radiation therapy. Fundamentally, all tissues are made up
of molecules with atoms as their building blocks. In the center of every atom is the nucleus. Orbiting
the nucleus of the atom are negatively charged electrons. When energized charged particles, such as
protons or other forms of radiation, pass near orbiting electrons, the positive charge of the protons
attracts the negatively charged electrons, pulling them out of their orbits. This is called ionization; it
changes the characteristics of the atom and consequentially the character of the molecule within
which the atom resides. This crucial change is the basis for the beneficial aspects of all forms of
radiation therapy. Because of ionization, the radiation damages molecules within the cells, especially
the DNA or genetic material. Damaging the DNA destroys specific cell functions, particularly the
ability to divide or proliferate. Enzymes develop with the cells and attempt to rebuild the injured
areas of the DNA; however, if damage from the radiation is too extensive, the enzymes fail to
adequately repair the injury. While both normal and cancerous cells go through this repair process, a
cancer cell's ability to repair molecular injury is frequently inferior. As a result, cancer cells sustain
more permanent damage and subsequent cell death than occurs in the normal cell population. This
permits selective destruction of bad cells growing among good cells. A machine called a synchrotron
or cyclotron speeds up the protons. The speed of the protons reflects their high energy. The protons
travel to a specific depth in the body based on their energy. After the protons reach the desired place
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

in the body, they deposit the specified radiation dose in the tumor. With proton therapy, there is no
radiation dose beyond the tumor. In contrast, x-rays continue to deposit radiation doses as they exit
the patient's body. This means that radiation is also damaging nearby healthy tissues, potentially
causing side effects.
Advantages and Disadvantages:
Compared with standard radiation treatment, proton therapy has several benefits:

Up to 60% less radiation generally can be delivered to the normal tissues around the
tumor, which lowers the risk of radiation damage to healthy tissues.
It may allow for a higher radiation dose to the tumor, which increases the chances that all
of the tumor cells in the tumor targeted by the proton radiation will be destroyed.
It may result in fewer and less severe side effects such as low blood counts, fatigue, and
nausea during and after treatment.


Because proton therapy requires highly specialized, expensive equipment, it is available at

just a few medical centers.

It may cost more than conventional radiation therapy. Insurance provider rules vary about
which diagnoses are covered and how much patients need to pay. Talk with your insurance
provider to learn more.

Not all cancers can be treated with proton therapy.

Cancers that can be treated with Proton Therapy:

Proton therapy is useful for treating tumors that have not spread and for tumors near important
parts of the body, such as near the eye, the brain, and the spinal cord. It is also used for treating
children because it lessens the chance of harming healthy, developing tissue. Children may receive
proton therapy for cancers of the brain and spinal cord and the eye, such as retinoblastoma and
orbital rhabdomyosarcoma.
Proton therapy also may be used to treat these cancers:

Central nervous system cancers, including chordoma, chondrosarcoma, and malignant


Eye cancer, including uveal melanoma or choroidal melanoma

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

Head and neck cancers, including nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer and some
nasopharyngeal cancers

Lung cancer

Liver cancer

Prostate cancer

Spinal and pelvic sarcomas, which are cancers that occur in the soft-tissue and bone

Noncancerous brain tumors

19. Polyhouse Cropping

Polyhouse farming is an alternative new technique in agriculture gaining foothold in rural India. It
reduces dependency on rainfall and makes the optimum use of land and water resources. Polyhouses
are structures utilized as microclimate environment to make the plants grow well in unfavourable
when plants, in particular period of the year, cannot be grown in open country or in areas where the
climate never guarantees a good quality crop.
The creation of a special environment for the enhancement of plant growth, outside the normal
growing season, dates back to 500 B.C. In India use of polyhouse technology started only
during 1980s and it was mainly used for research activities. This may be because of our emphasis, so
far had been on achieving self-sufficiency in food grain production. However, in recent years in view
tremendous boost and fillip that is being given for export of agricultural produce, there has been a
spurt in the demand for polyhouse technology.
Features of a Polyhouse:
Polyhouses are structures utilized as microclimate environment to make the plants grow well in
unfavorable climate. Polyhouses are essentially microcosms aimed at providing physical
environments suitable for the survival and growth of plants. Polyhouses are covered with a
transparent material in which crops are grown under controlled environment conditions. The primary
environmental parameter traditionally controlled is temperature, usually providing heat to overcome
extreme cold conditions. However, environmental control can also include cooling to mitigate
excessive temperatures, light control either shading or adding supplemental light, carbon dioxide
levels, relative humidity, water, plant nutrients and pest control. So, Polyhouse technology is the
technique of providing favourable environment condition to the plants. This is possible by erecting a
polyhouse where the environmental conditions are so modified that one can grow any plant in any
place at any time by providing suitable environmental conditions with minimum labor.
Controllable Factors in a Polyhouse:
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

Control may be imposed on:
1. Air and Root temperatures,
2. Light
3. Water
4. Humidity
5. Carbon dioxide and
6. Plant nutrition.
1. In Polyhouse farming, we can protect our crops from any adverse environment such as
high humidity or high temperature.
2. There will be an increase in the production of vegetables, fruits or flowers in
Polyhouse farming without losing their color and quality.
3. Polyhouse can protect the crops by preventing the entry of animals and birds into the
farm. When we cultivate in normal farm, nearly 1/3rd of the crops may be lost due to
the attack of insects and worms, whereas in Polyhouse farming, we can harvest the
crops about 3 to 5 times more without much damage or loss.
4. We can farm any crop in Polyhouse regardless of season or place which grows like
tulips, strawberries, alpines etc.
5. Polyhouse is a solution for lack of agricultural lands. We can get more crops from less
space in Polyhouse farming.
6. The Polyhouse is made in such a way that it can provide water and fertilizers in
required amounts in a controlled manner which can result in high yields.

17. India-Japan Nuclear Deal

India was largely excluded from international trade in nuclear plant and materials for over three
decades because of its position outside the comprehensive safeguards regime of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Special agreements ended its isolation in 2009 and the country may now engage
in nuclear trade with those countries with which it has since signed cooperation agreements:
Australia, Canada, France, Kazakhstan, Russia, the UK and the USA. Foreign technology and fuel are
expected to boost India's nuclear power plans considerably.
Negotiations between the two countries for a civil nuclear deal began in 2010. However, those talks
were suspended after the March 2011 accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant. During a May
2013 meeting by Abe and India's then-prime minister Manmohan Singh, the two leaders said that
negotiations had resumed.
The Deal:
The signing of such an accord would enable India to import Japanese nuclear technology and
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

This will clear the way for American firms which source key equipment in Japan to sell
nuclear reactors to India.
Commerce aside, this agreement is also symbolically important because Japan was one of
India's most vocal critics after New Delhi's 1998 nuclear tests.
This is part of India's decade-long process of progressive nuclear rehabilitation.

The deal will enable India to strengthen its nuclear program as Japan is one of the leading producers
of nuclear energy in the world. At present India produces somewhere around 3% of its energy using
nuclear resources.

18. Genome Sequencing

Whole genome sequencing (also known as WGS, full genome sequencing, complete genome
sequencing, or entire genome sequencing) is a laboratory process that determines the complete DNA
sequence of an organism's genome at a single time. This entails sequencing all of an organism's
chromosomal DNA as well as DNA contained in the mitochondria and, for plants, in the chloroplast.
Whole genome sequencing should not be confused with DNA profiling. which only determines
the likelihood that genetic material came from a particular individual or group, and does not
contain additional information on genetic relationships, origin or susceptibility to specific
High-throughput genome sequencing technologies have largely been used as a research tool
and are currently being introduced in the clinics. In the future of personalized medicine, whole
genome sequence data will be an important tool to guide therapeutic intervention.

19. Gene Editing

Scientists at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, developed a new gene editing technology
known as the CRISPR/Cas9 system.
CRISPR/Cas9 is a bacteria-derived system that uses RNA molecules that recognize specific human
DNA sequences. The RNAs act as guides, matching the nuclease to corresponding locations in the
human genome. CRISPR/Cas9 is the simplest genome-editing tool to work with because it relies on
RNADNA base pairing, rather than the engineering of proteins that bind particular DNA sequences.
The technology is relatively inexpensive, accessible, effective and easy to use.
Advantages of Gene Editing:
1. It becomes possible to correct genetic diseases and subsequently their passage to
future generations.

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

2. It may also be possible to install genes that provide lifelong protection against
Issues related to gene sequencing:
1. Altering one gene could have unforeseen and widespread effects on other part of the
genome, which would then be passed down to future generations.
2. Genome alteration is considered to be unethical, advocating that we should let nature run its
3. Additionally, genetic modifications initially directed at curing diseases could eventually
become a tool for selecting for desired characteristics such as intelligence and attractiveness.
Laws related to Gene Editing:
In India, there is no law stopping research laboratories and private companies from using the
technology to experiment on embryos. However, the Drug Controller General of India is trying to use
interpretations of existing laws on drugs to clamp down on improper use. The guidelines listed by
the Indian Council of Medical Research clearly state that germline editing is forbidden.
USA has banned Gene editing while UK has allowed it for research purposes.
The recently held International Summit on Human Gene Editing announced that it would be
irresponsible to proceed with any clinical use of genome editing until the relevant safety and
efficiency issues were resolved.

ILTEO stands for Indian Long-term ecological observatories. India is all set to open eight more longterm ecological observatories (LTEO) to study the effects of climate change. The program was
launched at the climate conference CoP21 by Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar on December
7, 2015.
"India will be putting up 8 new observatories in eight different biomes. We fortunately have a
tremendous diversity in India. We have 17 percent of world's population, 17 percent of cattle
population but we have only 2.5 percent of world's landmass but still we have eight percent of
biodiversity in India",
As per the reports, these new observatories will be set up in Himalayas, Western Ghats, from central
India to sunder bans and from Jammu and Kashmir to Rajasthan and Gujarat. The setting up of these
observatories will enable Indian scientists to join international initiatives on the subject. The program
will also enable the scientists to provide empirical data on the effects of climate change in various
parts of the country.

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

The focus of LTEO would be to pick up signals and patterns of how changes in climate are affecting
natural and closely associated human systems of agriculture and pastoralist.
Officials have pointed out that India has been doing long-term ecological monitoring only at one
place in the country - a 50 hectare plot at Mudumalai which has been monitored for over 30 years by
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

21. NASAs Cargo mission

Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) are a series of contracts awarded by NASA from 20082016 for
delivery of cargo and supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) on commercially operated
spacecraft. The first CRS contracts were signed in 2008 and awarded $1.6 billion to Space for 12 cargo
transport missions and $1.9 billion to Orbital Sciences for 8 missions, covering deliveries to 2016. In
2015, NASA extended the Phase 1 contracts by ordering an additional three resupply flights
from Space and one from Orbital Sciences. The second phase of contracts solicited and proposed in
2014, known as CRS2 will cover transport flights from 2019 until 2024.
Space began flying resupply missions in 2012, using Dragon cargo spacecraft launched on Falcon
9 rockets from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Cape Canaveral,
Florida. Orbital Sciences began deliveries in 2013 using Cygnus spacecraft launched on
the Antares rocket from Launch Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), Wallops
Island, Virginia.
Phase 2 (CRS2) contracts were awarded in January 2016 to Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation,
and Space, for cargo transport flights beginning in 2019 and expected to last through 2024.

22. " Albicetus "

Researchers have identified a new species of whale that they are naming after the mythic beast of
Herman Melvilles Moby-Dick.
A lead researcher corrected a 90-year-old error and created a new branch of the sperm whale family
tree for the fossil. She and co-author, the Smithsonians curator of marine mammal fossils, named
the genus albicetus, meaning white whale.
The fossil of the 15 million-year-old, newly named whale was pulled from the storage shelves at the
Smithsonian Museum of Natural History for the first dedicated study since 1925 when a naturalist
named Remington Kellogg put the bones with a bunch of extinct walruses.

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

This fossil is kind of this ashen white color, which is kind of unusual for fossils, To have a big white
sperm whale fossil it just seemed appropriate. They describe an ancestor of Ishmaels whales that
looked very little like the sperm whales that range oceans today, whose brows hold the largest brains
on earth.
To start, the six-meter albicetus was smaller than its modern cousin, which can grow to over 18
meters long. It also had a smaller version of the sperm whales signature feature, the block-shaped
head that cradles a spermaceti organ.
But probably the biggest difference would be this really big, gnarly jaw full of these huge teeth, The
teeth are roughly the same size as modern on sperm whales, who only have teeth on their bottom
jaw, meaning that proportional to the smaller albicetus, they were kind of comically huge in both
their upper and lower jaws.

23. Cislunar space and NASA's active human exploration program in this
Cislunar space is the area of space surrounding the moon.
As all good things must come to an end. NASAs long stint in space with the International Space
Station (ISS) in low-Earth orbit will also touch the finish line in a decade from now.
The U.S. space agency will move up to the cislunar space the area of space surrounding the moon
for an ambitious human exploration program.
NASA is going to get out of ISS as quickly as they can. Whether it gets filled in by the private sector or
not, NASAs vision is theyre trying to move out.
while addressing an advisory council meeting recently, announced that they will be moving out of the
ISS in low-Earth orbit and pursue cislunar space.
Increasing costs
The orbiting international laboratory, a research ground for many innovating tests and some key
science experiments, on astronauts in a the zero-gravity atmosphere that has repercussions for the
Earth is reported to become inoperative in either 2024 or if given another extension till 2028 at
the latest.
The programs budget, about $3 billion annually, is projected to rise to nearly $4 billion by 2020.

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

NASA cannot afford both a robust space station program and an active human exploration program
in cislunar space,
According to NASA, it would like to see the private space industry take over the low-Earth orbit.
The ISS orbits Earth at about eight km per second. When decommissioned, NASA will likely deorbit
the spacecraft and Earths gravitational pull and atmosphere will break it apart.
Whatever is left over will likely fall into the Pacific Ocean. ,
Human ingenuity
The ISS, which U.S. President Barack Obama has extended through 2024, is a testament to the
ingenuity and boundless imagination of the human spirit. For 15 years, humanitys reach has
extended beyond the Earths atmosphere.
Since 2000, human beings have been living continuously aboard the space station, where they have
been working offtheEarth for the benefit of Earth, advancing scientific knowledge,
demonstrating new technologies and making research breakthroughs.

24. Potential adverse impacts of GM Crops

Genetically modified crops have the potential to eliminate hunger and starvation in millions of
people, especially in developing countries because the genetic modification can produce large
amounts of foods that are more nutritious. Large quantities are produced because genetically
modified crops are more resistant to pests and drought. They also contain greater amounts of
nutrients, such as proteins and vitamins.
However, there are concerns about the safety of genetically modified crops. The concerns are
that they may contain allergenic substances due to the introduction of new genes into crops. Another
concern is that genetic engineering often involves the use of antibiotic-resistance genes as
"selectable markers" and this could lead to the production of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains that
are resistant to available antibiotics. This would create a serious public health problem. The
genetically modified crops might contain other toxic substances (such as enhanced amounts of heavy
metals) and the crops might not be "substantially equivalent" to genome, proteome, and
metabolome compared with unmodified crops.
Another concern is that genetically modified crops may be less nutritious; for example, they
might contain lower amounts of phytoestrogens, which protect against heart disease and cancer. The
review of available literature indicates that the genetically modified crops available in the market
that is intended for human consumption are generally safe; their consumption is not associated with
serious health problems. However, because of potential for exposure of a large segment of human
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

population to genetically modified foods, more research is needed to ensure that the genetically
modified foods are safe for human consumption.

25. Side effects of colistin on human health

In recent years, antimicrobial (drug) resistance has become an increasingly important health issue,
forcing healthcare providers to rely on a dwindling selection of drugs to fight infection among
patients. Gram-negative bacteria, which include Escherichia coli, Acinetobacter baumanni,
Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumonia, and Enterobacter sp., are an especially dangerous
group of pathogens, because they are difficult to treat and have become increasingly resistant to
currently available antimicrobial drugs.
In situations where commonly used antibiotics are no longer effective, healthcare providers are
turning to some older antibiotics to treat drug-resistant bacterial infections. Colistin, an antibiotic
approved in the late 1950s for the treatment of acute and chronic infections caused by certain
sensitive strains of Gram-negative bacteria, is one of these older antibiotics that is getting a second
Side Effects
Stomach upset and itching may occur. If either of these effects persists or worsens, tell your doctor or
pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the
benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have
serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: numbness/tingling
(especially of the arms/legs, around the mouth/tongue), strange feeling on the skin of the arms/legs,
mental/mood changes (such as confusion, psychosis, seizures), difficulty walking, unsteadiness,
slow/shallow/troubled breathing, dizziness/feeling of spinning, unexplained fever, slurred speech,
muscle weakness, change in the amount of urine, red/pink urine.

26. Japan's asteroid probe.

A Japanese space probe successfully entered "target orbit" and is on its way to rendezvousing with a
far away asteroid, in a quest to study the origin of the solar system.
Earlier in December 2015, the unmanned explorer, Hayabusa 2, passed by Earth to harness the
planet's gravitational pull in a bid to switch its orbital path to continue toward tiny Ryugu asteroid.
"The Hayabusa 2 entered the target orbit to travel to the asteroid.,"
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

Hayabusa 2 was launched a year ago aboard Japan's main H-IIA rocket from Tanegashima Space
Center for its six-year mission to bring back mineral samples from the asteroid.
It is expected to reach Ryugu, named after a mythical castle in a Japanese folk tale, in mid-2018 and
spend around 18 months in the area.
It will also drop rover robots and a "landing package" that includes equipment for surface
If all goes well, soil samples will be returned to Earth in late 2020.
Analyzing the extra-terrestrial materials could help shed light on the birth of the solar system 4.6
billion years ago and offer clues about what gave rise to life on Earth.

27. Nuclear deal with Japan

The inking of a Memorandum of the Understanding between India and Japan on civil nuclear energy
is significant. Its significance goes beyond India-Japan bilateral relations, as do its implications, not
least of which is the mobilization of the much-vaunted United States-India Nuclear Cooperation
Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act.
The MoU signed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe
was positioned as being about more than just commerce Japanese private investments are also
rising sharply and clean energy; but also a sign of mutual confidence and partnership for a secure
With this signing of a MoU on civil the nuclear energy between Modi and Abe, two bottlenecks could
swiftly be removed.
First, India no longer has to choose between slightly obsolete Russian nuclear technology
and expensive European Pressurized Reactors from French manufacturer Areva. The added option of
American nuclear technology manufacturers and indeed Japanese ones will mean competitivelypriced nuclear reactors for India. With Indias growing energy demand and drive towards green
energy, nuclear power will play a huge role in the years to come.
Secondly, Tokyos signing of a nuclear agreement with New Delhi also sends out the message that
Japan backs Indias membership in the dual-use technology denial regimes the Missile Technology
Control Regime, the Wassenaar Arrangement, the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Australia Group.
Membership of these groups, something India has been chasing for a while, has clear benefits: Access
to uranium for starters; decision-making power on issues of export control and non-proliferation; and
a boost to Indias hopes of permanent membership in the UN Security Council.
However, there is another factor that must be borne in mind, and that is the Japanese pro-nuclear
lobby. After four years of intense protests in the wake of the Fukushima reactor disaster, the reactor
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

was finally restarted in August this year. The lobby is clearly powerful, but despite a bullish pledge
earlier this year that 2015 would be the year reactors across the country are restarted, Abe knows
that the Japanese public at large will not stand for this.
Ultimately, the notion that the signing of the India-Japan nuclear deal is strongly linked to keeping
Japans nuclear manufacturers afloat is hard to shake. So too is the idea that Tokyos concerns about
a nuclear deal with New Delhi liability, tracking etc. Have been outweighed by its own economic
For better or worse, the deal has been signed.

28. Hubble telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is space a telescope that was launched into low Earth orbit in
1990, and remains in operation. With a 2.4-meter (7.9 ft) mirror, Hubble's four main instruments
observe in the near ultraviolet, visible, and near infrared spectra. The telescope is named after
the astronomer Edwin Hubble.
Hubble's orbit outside the distortion of Earth's atmosphere allows it to take extremely highresolution images with negligible background light. Hubble has recorded some of the most
detailed visible-light images ever, allowing a deep view into space and time. Many Hubble
observations have led to breakthroughs in astrophysics, such as accurately determining the rate of
expansion of the universe.
Although not the first space telescope, Hubble is one of the largest and most versatile, and is well
known as both a vital research tool and a public relations boon for astronomy. The HST was built by
the United States space agency NASA, with contributions from the European Space Agency, and is
operated by the Space Telescope Science Institute.
The telescope is still operating as of 2016 and may last until 20302040.
Recently, The Hubble Space Telescope has captured the image of the first-ever predicted supernova
explosion that offers a unique opportunity for astronomers to test how mass especially that of
mysterious dark matter is distributed within a galaxy cluster.
Many stars end their lives with a bang, but only a few of these stellar explosions have been caught in
the act.
When they are, spotting them successfully has been down to pure luck until now.
Recently, astronomers not only imaged a supernova in action, but saw it when and where they had
predicted it would be.

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

29. Defense deal with Russia

After being in the dark for several years on Indias geopolitical canvas, Russia is making an emphatic
comeback as Indias trusted and strategic partner and is on course to reclaiming the position as the
top supplier of defense hardware.
This visit bridges the widening gulf between the two sides in recent times and plays a role in
reaffirming ties with Indias oldest strategic partner.
While both sides concluded 16 agreements across sectors, the most visible indicators of the renewed
vigor in the partnership are in the defense sector. Russia still accounts for 70 percent of Indian
arsenal, but has in recent years been overtaken by Israel and the U.S. as the biggest hardware
suppliers on an annual basis. Russia, however, still is the largest supplier due to spares and support
for hardware in the inventory and the committed liabilities for programs under way.
It is no coincidence that the countrys first major project under the governments ambitious Make in
India will be the production of Kamov-226T utility helicopters in India. Under the agreement, 200 Ka226T helicopters will be built in India for which Russian helicopters will partner with Indias Reliance
group to execute the program.
The Inter-Governmental Agreement on manufacture of Kamov 226 helicopter in India is the first
project for a major defense platform under the Make in India mission. It is right with our most
important defense partner, and this deal was the need of the hour because India needed defense
deal to fulfill its defense demand and also this make in India initiative will bring technology in India.

30. Genome sequencing

Genome sequencing is figuring out the order of DNA nucleotides, or bases, in a genomethe order
of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts that make up an organism's DNA. The human genome is made up of over 3
billion of these genetic letters.
Today, DNA sequencing on a large scalethe scale necessary for ambitious projects such as
sequencing an entire genomeis mostly done by high-tech machines. Much as your eye scans a
sequence of letters to read a sentence, these machines "read" a sequence of DNA bases.
Sequencing the genome is an important step towards understanding it.

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

At the very least, the genome sequence will represent a valuable shortcut, helping scientists find
genes much more easily and quickly. A genome sequence does contain some clues about where
genes are, even though scientists are just learning to interpret these clues.
Scientists also hope that being able to study the entire genome sequence will help them understand
how the genome as whole workshow genes work together to direct the growth, development and
maintenance of an entire organism.
Finally, genes account for less than 25 percent of the DNA in the genome, and so knowing the entire
genome sequence will help scientists study the parts of the genome outside the genes. This includes
the regulatory regions that control how genes are turned on and off, as well as long stretches of
"nonsense" or "junk" DNAso called because we don't yet know what, if anything, it does.

31. ISRO's 2016 heavy missions

The year 2016 is set to see the national space program slowly shift gears towards large satellites, a
heavy-lift launcher and improved Earth observation capabilities.
The ten-odd planned missions will be mostly bread-and-butter types with no major explorations
before Chandrayaan-2, now slated for 2017.
The Space agency will complete on priority the seven-satellite regional navigation loop, IRNSS, in the
first three months.
On the target later in the year is GSAT-11, which would be the heaviest Indian satellite at four to five
tones and packing many more transponders than normal; the biggest so far was about 3.1 tones. Also
planned to be tested is a matching launcher to lift spacecraft like it to space: the GSLV-Mark III heavylifter with a limited version satellite.
Earth observation
After a gap of about three years, a host of functional Earth observation (EO or remote-sensing)
satellites is lined up. They include new ones with improved views of Earth as well as those to replace
older ones that are in orbit.
Of these Cartosat-2C would sharpen the present imagery resolution from 0.8 meters to 0.6 meters
and is aimed for the first half.
A new EO version called Scats at is planned, besides continuity missions Resourcesat-2A, Oceansat-3
series; and Insat-3DR (on a GSLV), a replacement Met sat.

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

The old Cartosat-1 series satellites would be replaced.
About the navigation constellation IRNSS, Immediately over the next three months ISRO will launch
the three navigational satellites IRNSS-1E, 1F and 1G. They come up consecutively in January,
February and March.
Over the next two years, the ISRO planned to do eight to nine missions a year with six PSLV and two
GSLV launches. Additionally, there could be at least one fully commercial PSLV launch meant only for
foreign satellites; this year, it did two fully commercial launches - in July and December.
Heavier the communication satellites, GSAT-17 and 18 were planned to be flown separately on
procured Arianespace launchers.

32. National policy for IPR

India needs to fashion a policy that will be in tune with global standards and at the same time protect
special Indian strengths. India should align its IPR laws with global standards. We need an integrated
policy, taking a balanced the approach, the existing laws that seek to protect the rights and
incentives of innovators on the one hand and public interest on the other should remain. However it
should also ensure legislative changes to keep pace with economic and technological developments.
It is going to be an extremely challenging task to stick to that position. Of special concern have been
the developments in the pharma industry where India is facing maximum pressures from extremely
well funded lobbies set up by big pharma from the U.S. and other developed countries (although it
must be reiterated that pharma is not the only area).
IPR challenges have to be met increasingly through political action and diplomacy. The government
needs to strengthen its decision-making process and boost the skills of its negotiators. In this
connection an important initiative of the NDA government has been the setting up of an IPR think
tank which among other tasks, will help in the formulation of a National Intellectual Property Rights
policy for the first. The draft paper is the first step.
To reiterate, the main challenge is to eradicate even the faintest of suspicions that the government is
acting under external pressure. India does not have an IPR policy but it has a strong legal foundation.
Important precedents have been set especially in pharma-related matters. Besides, there is a well
functioning Patents office with sufficient experience to grant patents and uphold consumer interests.
From here a new, well balanced policy should not be too difficult. Resisting the big lobbies which
have the support of the political establishments of developed countries is an entirely different
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

33. Natgrid
The National Intelligence Grid or NATGRID is the integrated intelligence grid connecting databases of
core security agencies of the Government of India to collect comprehensive patterns of intelligence
that can be readily accessed by intelligence agencies. It was first proposed in the aftermath of
the terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008 and it is yet to establish.
The 26/11 attacks on Mumbai led to the exposure of several weaknesses in India's intelligence
gathering and action networks. NATGRID is part of the radical overhaul of the security and
intelligence apparatuses of India that was mooted by the then Home Minister P. Chidambaram.
The National Investigating Agency and the National Counter Terrorism Centre are two organizations
established in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks of 2008. Before the attacks, the American
Lashkar operative David Coleman Headley had visited India several times and done a recce of the
places that came under attack on 26/11. Despite having travelled to India several times and having
returned to the US through Pakistan or West Asia, his trips failed to raise the suspicion of Indian
agencies as they lacked a system that could reveal a pattern in his unusual travel itineraries and trips
to the country. It is argued that had a system like the NATGRID been in place, Headley would have
been apprehended well before the attacks.
NATGRID is an intelligence sharing network that collates data from the standalone databases of the
various agencies and ministries of the Indian government. It is a counter terrorism measure that
collects and collates a host of information from government databases including tax and bank
account details, credit card transactions, visa and immigration records and itineraries of rail and air
travel. This combined data will be made available to 11 central agencies, which are: Research and
Analysis Wing, the Intelligence Bureau, Central Bureau of Investigation, Financial intelligence
unit, Central Board of Direct Taxes, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Enforcement
Directorate, Narcotics Control Bureau, Central Board of Excise and Customs and the Directorate
General of Central Excise Intelligence.
Unlike the NCTC and the NIA which are central organizations, the NATGRID is essentially a tool that
enables security agencies to locate and obtain relevant information on terror suspects from pooled
data of various organizations and services in the country. It will help identify, capture and prosecute
terrorists and help preempt terrorist plots.
NATGRID faced opposition on charges of possible violations of privacy and leakage of confidential
personal information. Its efficacy in preventing terror has also been questioned given that no state
agency or police force has access to its database thus reducing chances of immediate, effective
action. NATGRID claims to be protected by several structural and procedural safeguards and
oversight mechanisms including that of external audits and technology safeguards.

34. "ISRO conceiving two national parks is a signal for increased

privatization of the nations space program
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

Two space industry enclaves or parks that have been conceived one for launchers at Sriharikota
and a smaller one at an existing Bangalore spacecraft campus signal increased privatization of the
nations space program over the next five years.
For now, the facilities will be captive to drive the future missions of the Indian Space Research
First, ISRO wants to groom and engage domestic industry in the launch vehicles area from integrating
sub-systems up to assembling, and even launching the PSLV.
Eventually the future consortium will be fully responsible for building and launching the light-lift PSLV
As part of Make in India initiative, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has decided to open a
100 acre Space Park in Bangalore where private industries would be allowed to take up
manufacturing of space system related components.
The Space Park spread in 100 acres of Whitefield area is expected to cater to increasing demand for
components and other parts for satellites as India aims to launch more satellites for various
observational services in future. India plans to launch 12 satellites in 2016 for remote sensing and
M.Annadurai (ISRO satellite centre director) said that the Space Park will also contribute to the
governments Make in India initiative as the private industry and HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd)
have been helping us in making rockets and satellites over the years.
M.Annadurai also talked about progress so far in the second lunar mission Chandrayaan 2 and solar
mission Aditya.
India will be the first country to have a high altitude polar landing of Chandrayaan 2 and it will have
three components orbiter, Lander and rover to study the lunar surface. The mission is scheduled
to be launched 2017-18.
Chandrayaan 2 has a capability to soft land at a specified lunar site and carries in-situ chemical
analysis of the lunar surface and will have Orbiter Craft and Lander craft.

35. Crab Pulsar

What is a Pulsar? A pulsar (short for pulsating radio star) is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star
that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation. This radiation can be observed only when the beam
of emission is pointing toward Earth, and is responsible for the pulsed appearance of emission.
Neutron stars are very dense, and have short, regular rotational periods. This produces a very precise

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

interval between pulses that range roughly from milliseconds to seconds for an individual pulsar.
Pulsars are believed to be one of the candidates of high and ultra-high energy astro particles.
Recent Finding:
Scientists have discovered the most energetic light ever detected in the universe from the centre of
a supernova known as Crab pulsar which is situated 6,500 light years away from Earth.
The Crab pulsar is the corpse left over when the star that created the Crab nebula exploded as a
It has a mass of 1.5 times the mass of the Sun, concentrated in about a 10 km diameter object,
rotating 30 times per second.
It is surrounded by a region of intense magnetic field 10 thousand billion times stronger than that of
the Sun.
The pulses were found by researchers working with the Major Atmospheric Gamma-ray Imaging
Cherenkov (Magic) observatory in the Canary Islands, Spain.
The Crab pulsar, created in a supernova explosion that occurred in 1054 A.D., is located at the centre
of a magnetised nebula visible in the Taurus constellation.
The Crab is the most powerful pulsar in our galaxy and it is one of only a few pulsars detected across
all wavelengths, from radio up to gamma rays.
In its rotating magnetic field, electrons and positrons are accelerated up to relativistic energies and
emit radiation that arrives to our telescopes in the form of pulses every 33 millisecond, each time the
neutron star rotates and meets our telescopic sight.
Before the MAGIC measurement, this radiation was believed to stop abruptly when the photons
reach an energy few billion times larger than visible light.
The new discovery challenges current theories about how neutron stars operate, the authors of the
study noted in a paper that appeared in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics .

36. Cloud Computing and Big Data

What is Big Data?
Big data is a term that describes the large volume of data both structured and unstructured
beyond the ability of commonly used software tools to capture, curate, manage, and process data
within a tolerable elapsed time. Its what organizations do with the data that matters. Big data can
be analyzed for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves.
Where can Big Data be used?
Businesses and Industry: Companies use big data to better understand and target customers
by bringing together data from their own transactions as well as social media data and even
weather predictions. Businesses optimize their processes by tracking and analyzing their
supply chain delivery routes and combine that data this with live traffic updates. Others use
machine data to optimize the service cycles of their equipment and predict potential faults.
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

Healthcare: Big Data is used in healthcare to find new cures for cancer, to optimize treatment
and even predict diseases before any physical symptoms appear.
Sports: Big Data is used to analyze and improve the performance of individuals (at sports, at
home or work) where data from sensors in equipment and wearable devices can be combined
with video analytics to get insights that traditionally were impossible to see.
Security: Police forces and security agencies use big data to prevent cyber-attacks, detect
credit card fraud, foil terrorism and even predict criminal activity.
Smart Living: Big Data is used to improve our homes, cities and countries by e.g. optimizing
the heating or lighting in our homes, the traffic flow in our cities, or the energy grit across the

Cloud computing s role in handling Big Data:

Cloud computing is a technique in which the data is stored at a remote location i.e. far from the
workstations (computers) and is accessible from the workstation anytime.
Therefore cloud computing becomes viable in storing the data primarily and then ensuring access to
it secondarily to use the data optimally. The technique is cost effective too.

37. Freebasics and TRAI

What is freebasics?
Free Basics by Facebook provides people with access to useful services on their mobile phones in
markets where internet access may be less affordable. The websites are available for free without
data charges, and include content on things like news, employment, health, education and local
information. By introducing people to the benefits of the internet through these websites, we hope
to bring more people online and help improve their lives.
But the problem is that, contrary to what it claims, it doesnt offer equal and unbiased access to all
services. Facebook is partnering with ISPs to provide preferential and selective access to a set of app
developers and services. This is the main criticism of those opposed to Free Basics; they argue that
the internet should be free and equal for all users. This is also the cornerstone of net neutrality.
Facebook launched the initiative in India in February by partnering with Reliance Communications.
RCom offers the Free Basics service under a Freenet button on mobile phones. It started with free
access to select 33 websites across Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu,
Kerala and Goa. This was subsequently increased to 80 websites.

38. Whats net neutrality?

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

Net neutrality means access to free and unbiased internet for all. To put it in simple terms, anyone
from anywhere around the world should be able to access or provide services and content on the
internet without any discrimination.
Since Facebook had already been at the receiving end from net neutrality supporters, especially the
Save the Internet crusaders, it launched Send a Mail to Trai to Save Free Basics campaign asking
users to send signed emails to the Trai in support of the campaign. Facebook claims already 3.2
million of its 130 million users in India have sent the mail.
What is the telecom regulators role in all this?
The Times of India newspaper reported that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has
asked Reliance
Communications to
The Trai had issued a consultation paper on differential pricing for data services, where it had asked
if telecom operators should be allowed to have different pricing for accessing different websites,
applications and platforms. Trai said some service providers were offering differential data tariff with
free or discounted tariffs to certain contents of certain websites, applications or platforms. Trai has
invited comments till December 31.

39. Nag missile

Nag is a third generation "fire-and-forget" anti-tank missile developed in India. It is one of five missile
systems developed by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) under the
Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP). Nag has been developed at a cost of 3
billion (US$44.2 million).
As originally conceived, the Nag would have been available with three different types of guidance, a
wire guided version, an infra-red version and a mill metric wave (mmw) active radar homing
version. DRDO failed to develop a wire guidance system leading to plans for this being dropped.
Currently, guidance is based on an imaging infrared (IIR) passive seeker that ensures high-hit accuracy
in both top- and front-attack modes.
The mmW seeker, on the other hand, is intended to operate as an optional system that can replace
the IIR passive seeker as a module. Also incorporated into the guidance system, is a CCD camera. The
advantage of this optical seeker is that it is less prone to jamming. The missile has a weight of 42 kg
and can engage targets at ranges 45 km. The Nag is claimed to be first anti-tank missile which has
a complete fiberglass structure.
The Nag has a flight speed of 230 meters per second, is armed with an 8 kg tandem shaped-charge
warhead, has a rocket motor using nitramine-based smokeless extruded double base sustainer
propellant, has a single-shot hit probability of 0.77 and a CEP of 0.9 meters, and has a 10-year
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

maintenance-free shelf-life. it was tested from Shamirpet in Hyderabad on 13 June 2010.
The missile tested during the summer in Rajasthan failed to achieve its objective of hitting the target
at the intended 4 km range. The scientists found the fault with the heat seeker unable to distinguish
the heat signature of the target and the surrounding during extreme temperate at great distance.
This led to the development of a better seeker with higher resolution and sensitivity by Research
Centre Imarat (RCI) that can track and distinguish targets at long distances .The first seeker trials
were carried out on 29 July 2013 in the hot desert conditions in Rajasthan. The evaluation trials
carried out in September/August 2013 with the improved seeker provided fairly accurate results. The
actual trials are expected to begin in early 2014. In Jan 2016 successfully hit the target 4 km away
during a night trial in the Mahajan Field Firing Range.
Indian army: 450 Nag missiles along with 13 NaMiCA (Nag Missile carriers) carriers were to be
inducted into the Army's arsenal by 2011 with the successful completion of final validation trials in
Rajasthan; however, this may now take some more time after the missile's failure in the user
validation trials. The Army also projected in their perspective plan the need for 7000 Nag missiles and
around 200 NAMICAs.

40. Ebola epidemics

An observational study done roughly 29 months after the outbreak on survivors of the 2007
Bundibugyo Ebola virus outbreak in Uganda found that long-term sequelae (consequences) persisted
for more than two years after Ebola virus disease. Symptoms included eye pain, blurred vision,
hearing loss, difficulty swallowing, difficulty sleeping, arthralgias, memory loss or confusion, and
"various constitutional symptoms controlling for age and sex".
From August through December 2014, a total of 10 patients with Ebola were treated in U.S. hospitals;
of these patients, 8 survived. In March 2015, the U.S. CDC interviewed the survivors; they all reported
having had at least one adverse symptom during their recovery period. The symptoms ranged from
mild (for instance hair loss) to more severe complications requiring rehospitalization or treatment.
The most frequently reported symptoms were lethargy or fatigue, joint pain, and hair loss. Sixtythree percent reported having eye problems including two who were diagnosed with verities, 75%
reported psychological or cognitive symptoms, and 38% reported neural difficulties. Although most
symptoms resolved or improved over time, only one survivor reported complete resolution of all
A study published in May 2015 discussed the case of Ian Crozier, a Zimbabwe-born physician and
American citizen who became infected with Ebola while he was working at an Ebola treatment center
in Sierra Leone. He was transported to the US and was successfully treated at Emory University
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

Hospital. However, after discharge Crozier began to experience symptoms including low back pain,
bilateral enthesitis of the Achilles tendon, paresthesias involving his lower legs, and eye pain, which
was diagnosed as uveitis. His eye condition worsened and a specimen of aqueous humor was
obtained from his eye which tested positive for Ebola. The authors of the study concluded "Further
studies to investigate the mechanisms responsible for the ocular persistence of Ebola and the
possible presence of the virus in other immune-privileged sites (e.g., in the central nervous system,
gonads, and articular cartilage) are warranted." The authors also noted that 40% of participants in a
survey of 85 Ebola survivors in Sierra Leone reported having "eye problems", though the incidence of
actual uveitis was unknown.
Another study which was released in August 2015 looked at the health difficulties that have been
reported by survivors. Calling the set of symptoms "post-Ebola virus disease syndrome (PEVDS)", the
research found symptoms which included "chronic joint and muscle pain, fatigue, anorexia, hearing
loss, blurred vision, headache, sleep disturbances, low mood and short-term memory problems." The
research suggests that "implementation of specialized health services to treat and follow-up
survivors" is needed.
In early December, the WHO reported that at a national level there were a sufficient number of beds
in treatment facilities to treat and isolate all reported Ebola cases, although the uneven distribution
of cases was resulting in serious shortfalls in some areas. Similarly, all affected countries had
sufficient and widespread capacity to bury all reported deaths; however, because not all deaths are
reported, it was possible that some areas still had insufficient burial capacity. They reported that
every district now had access to a laboratory to confirm cases of Ebola within 24 hours from sample
collection, and that all three countries had reported that more than 80% of registered contacts
associated with known cases of EVD were being traced, although contact tracing was still a challenge
in areas of intense transmission and in areas of community resistance.
A number of Ebola Treatment Centers were set up in the area, supported by international aid
organizations and staffed by a combination of local and international staff. Each treatment centre is
divided into a number of distinct and rigorously separate areas. For patients, there is a triage area,
and low- and high-risk care wards. For staff, there are areas for preparation and decontamination. An
important part of each centre is an arrangement for safe burial or cremation of bodies, required to
prevent further infection. In January 2015, a new treatment and research center was built by Rusal
and Russia in the city of Kindia in Guinea. It is one of the most modern medical centers in Guinea.
Also in January, MSF admitted its first patients to a new treatment centre in Kissy, an Ebola hotspot
on the outskirts of Freetown, Sierra Leone. The center has a maternity unit for pregnant women with
the virus.

41. Antimicrobial resistance

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

Antibiotic resistance in microorganisms, especially in bacterial species, has become an eminent and
serious concern in the field of healthcare and medicine. Decrease in new antibiotic research
permitted a rise in bacterial drug resistance. Antibiotic resistant bacteria have been found in the
initial stages of antibiotic use, but over the time, they have become resistant to more than one
antibiotic, termed as multidrug resistant organisms (also called superbugs). Bacteria now are
frequently resistant to many if not all of the antibiotics. Inappropriate use and misuse of antibiotics
are significant factors for the increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria and thus evoked counter attack.
Hence, we are now experiencing a rapid increase in the number of alternative approaches to combat
these antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Antibiotic Resistance and its Current Aspects: Antibiotic resistance has become a major concern in
the present-day world. Most of the antibiotic resistant bacteria may have attained resistance to the
first-line antibiotics. This has necessitated the development of second-line antibiotics. With a
slowdown in the development of antibiotics in the past decade, the resistance level of bacteria has
increased many folds, which demand the development of new drugs. Currently, newer classes of
compounds, including antimicrobial peptides, bacterial biosynthetic inhibitors, etc., have given an
upper hand against antibiotic resistance. The recently developed carbapenem family of betalactum
antibiotics exhibit broad-spectrum activity. A number of next-generation fluoroquinolones currently
are in developmental stages. Moreover, the use of lytic bacteriophages to manage bacterial
infections is accelerating the current research developments. However, just like a bacteria,
bacteriophages can also acquire resistance to phages that attack them. Thus, phages can evolve
resistance and adapt to resistant bacteria. Looking at the current situation, there does seem to be a
necessity to identify and develop compounds that can address the problem of antibiotic resistance.
The threat of resistant bacteria is a critical public health issue that requires a coordinated and
multifaceted response.
New and Alternative Approaches: Prevention is (always) better than cure. Avoiding infections will
reduce the use of antibiotics, further inhibiting the incidence of resistance development in bacteria. A
closer look at antibiotic resistant infections and the causes and analyzing them will help the scientific
community to develop new and specific strategies to prevent them. Avoiding inappropriate use and
misuse of antibiotics would slow down the spread of resistant bacteria. As bacteria always evolve and
can develop more and more resistance, new antibiotics are needed to fight against them. WHO
recommends guidelines and some global strategies to fight and overcome this serious issue? Latest
strategies and approaches to tackle antibiotic resistant bacteria are described in the following

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT): PDT uses the interaction of light with a photosensitize to
inactivate bacteria. Photosensitize binds to the target cell and is activated by irradiation with a

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

light of suitable wavelength. During this process, reactive oxygen species are generated that
will produce bactericidal effect by damaging multiple cellular structures. It has been found
that anaerobic bacteria that lead to periodontal diseases can be suppressed using PDT. In a
research by Minnock et al. it was concluded that chlorine e6 and BLC 1010 is able to suppress
periodontopathogenic bacteria. The efficiency of PDT can be improved by chemical
derivatisation or conjugation of photosensitizes; e.g., introduction of side chains into the dye
molecule ethylene blue and porphirins has shown optimized results. Although there are some
adverse effects such as impairment of benign oral flora that may further develop to a single
resistant species, scar formation and phototoxic effects, PDT has a great benefit when the
resistance against antibiotics become worse.

Antimicrobial Peptides (AMPs): Recent findings suggest that AMPs could be used as a
therapeutic model for designing new class of antibiotics. AMPs are basically small peptides
produced as part of non-specific immune response in many organisms of both animal and
plant kingdom. Study of AMPs as novel therapeutic agents is in experimental stages.
Hypotheses have been made regarding whether these peptides can interfere with DNA as
well, but this is yet to be evaluated for confirmation. McGrath et al. synthesized a low-toxicity
Lys-Leu or kloth (KL) peptide called (KLAKLAK)2 toward mammalian cells. A variant of
(KLAKLAK) 2known as D(KLAKLAK) 2has been studied for antimicrobial activity. The study
successfully showed the inhibition of several gram-negative bacteria. In another experiment,
Barbu et al.showed that D(KLAKLAK) 2 induced apoptosis in mucor. The molecule was also
shown to inhibit germination and reduce hyphal activity, yielding a fungicidal effect. With
technological advancements, some of the limitations like toxicity, stability, drug delivery
mechanism, etc., can be resolved, and then this new class of antibiotics could be a promising
antimicrobial in the market.

42. IRENA's report on renewable energy

This paper builds on the results of the study Macroeconomic Effects of the Energy Transition in
Germany conducted by Prognos/EWI/GWS for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and
Energy. The goal was to analyze the effects of the German energy transition on the economy, energy
system and emissions. Two scenarios have been defined. The Counter-Factual scenario describes the
development without the energy transition and is based on the assumptions of the reference
scenario given in the Energy Scenarios 2010. The Energy Transition scenario reflects historical
developments up to 2013 and the expected development up to 2020 is based on the Energy
Reference Forecast. The main differences between the two scenarios are the expansion of renewable
energy in gross electricity production and the improvements in energy efficiency. The model PANTA
RHEI shows the interrelations between the economy, energy system and environment. The economic
core of the model consists of input-output tables, system of national accounts and the labor market.
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

The economic module is extended by an environmental module. That includes i. a. energy balances
and energy prices. Both modules are linked in a consistent way. The Counter-Factual and Energy
Transition scenario have been implemented in the model. The results show that the investments in
renewable energy and energy efficiency have a positive effect on GDP and employment. EEG
surcharge leads to increased electricity prices for most consumer groups except the electricityintensive industries. As a consequence the price index rises. In combination with decreasing
investments in the electricity market from 2013 onwards, employment and GDP effects become
lower over time.
Recent IRENA's report on renewable energy:

Renewable energy jobs reached an estimated 7.7 million in 2014, excluding large
Jobs in the sector increased 18% from the estimate reported last year and the regional shifts
towards Asia continued, especially in manufacturing.
The 10 countries with the largest renewable energy employment were China, Brazil, the
United States, India, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, France, Bangladesh and Colombia.
In 2014, the solar PV sector accounted for 2.5 million jobs, of which two-thirds were in China.
Solar PV jobs also grew in Japan, while decreasing in the European Union.
Bio-fuels (1.8 million), biomass (822,000) and biogas (381,000) are also major employers, with
jobs concentrated in the feedstock supply. While Brazil and the United States continued to
dominate, Southeast Asia saw growth in bio-fuel jobs, reflecting measures to support
Wind employment crossed the 1 million mark, with China accounting for half of these jobs.
The United States, Brazil and the European Union also saw gains.
Solar water heating and cooling employed 764,000 people, more than three quarters of them
in China. Other significant markets are India, Brazil and the European Union.
Small hydropower employed about 209,000 people, more than half in China, followed by the
European Union, Brazil and India.
Large hydropower was estimated to support another 1.5 million direct jobs, mostly in China
and largely in construction and installation.
An array of industrial and trade a policy continues to shape employment, with stable and
predictable policies favoring job creation.

43. Vegetation in space

Lettuce, peas and radishes are just a few vegetables that are found in a summer garden. But did you
know these same vegetables also can be grown in space? Crew members aboard the International
Space Station have been growing such plants and vegetables for years in their "space garden."
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Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


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"Growing food to supplement and minimize the food that must be carried to space will be
increasingly important on long-duration missions," said Shane Topham, an engineer with Space
Dynamics Laboratory at Utah State University in Logan. "We also are learning about the psychological
benefits of growing plants in space -- something that will become more important as crews travel
farther from Earth."
The experiment has four major objectives: to find out if the produce grown in space can be
consumed safely; what types of microorganisms might grow on the plants and what can be done to
reduce the threat of microorganisms in the hardware prior to launch; what can be done to clean or
sanitize the produce after it has been harvested; and how to optimize production compared to the
resources required to grow it.
Since 2002, the Lada greenhouse has been used to perform almost continuous plant growth
experiments on the station. Fifteen modules containing root media, or root modules, have been
launched to the station and 20 separate plant growth experiments have been performed.
I dont see future space crews leaving the Earth for long durations without having the ability to grow
their own food," said Topham. "The knowledge that we are gaining is enabling us to extend our
exploration and future colonization of space."

44. Contribution of Marvin Minsky in pioneering artificial intelligence

Marvin Lee Minsky (August 9, 1927 January 24, 2016) was an American cognitive scientist in the
field of artificial intelligence (AI), co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AI
laboratory, and author of several texts on AI and philosophy.
Marvin Lee Minsky was born in New York City to an eye surgeon father, Henry, and to a Jewish
mother, Fannie, who was an activist in Zionist affairs, where he attended The Field ston School and
the Bronx High School of Science. He later attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He
then served in the US Navy from 1944 to 1945. He held a BA in mathematics from Harvard (1950) and
a PhD in mathematics from Princeton (1954). He was on the MIT faculty from 1958 to his death. In
1959 he and John McCarthy founded what is now known as the MIT Computer Science and Artificial
Intelligence Laboratory. At the time of his death, he was the Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and
Sciences, and professor of electrical engineering and computer science.
Marvin Minsky, father of artificial intelligence,

Marvin Minsky, a mathematician, computer scientist, and pioneer in the field of artificial
intelligence, died at Bostons Brigham and Womens Hospital on Sunday, Jan. 24, of a cerebral
hemorrhage. He was 88.

Minsky, a professor emeritus at the MIT Media Lab, was a pioneering thinker and the
foremost expert on the theory of artificial intelligence. His 1985 book The Society of Mind is
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considered a seminal exploration of intellectual structure and function, advancing
understanding of the diversity of mechanisms interacting in intelligence and thought.
Minskys last book, The Emotion Machine: Commonsense Thinking, Artificial Intelligence, and
the Future of the Human Mind, was published in 2006.
Minsky viewed the brain as a machine whose functioning can be studied and replicated in a
computer which would teach us, in turn, to better understand the human brain and higherlevel mental functions: How might we endow machines with common sense the knowledge
humans acquire every day through experience? How, for example, do we teach a
sophisticated computer that to drag an object on a string, you need to pull, not push a
concept easily mastered by a two-year-old child.
"Very few people produce seminal work in more than one field; Marvin Minksy was that
caliber of genius," MIT President L. Rafael Reif says. "Subtract his contributions from MIT
alone and the intellectual landscape would be unrecognizable: without CSAIL, without the
Media Lab, without the study of artificial intelligence and without generations of his
extraordinarily creative students and protgs. His curiosity was ravenous. His creativity was
beyond measuring. We can only be grateful that he made his intellectual home at MIT.
A native New Yorker, Minsky was born on Aug. 9, 1927, and entered Harvard University
after returning from service in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After graduating from
Harvard with honors in 1950, he attended Princeton University, receiving his PhD in
mathematics in 1954. In 1951, his first year at Princeton, he built the first neural network
Minsky joined the faculty of MITs Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer
Science in 1958, and co-founded the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (now the Computer
Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) the following year. At the AI Lab, he aimed to
explore how to endow machines with human-like perception and intelligence. He created
robotic hands that can manipulate objects, developed new programming frameworks, and
wrote extensively about philosophical issues in artificial intelligence.
Marvin Minsky helped create the vision of artificial intelligence as we know it today, says
CSAIL Director Daniela Rus, the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor in MITs Department of
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The challenges he defined are still driving our
quest for intelligent machines and inspiring researchers to push the boundaries in computer
Minsky was convinced that humans will one day develop machines that rival our own
intelligence. But frustrated by a shortage of both researchers and funding in recent years, he
cautioned, How long this takes will depend on how many people we have working on the
right problems.
In 1985, Minsky became a founding member of the MIT Media Lab, where he was named
the Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, and where he continued to teach and
mentor until recently.

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Professor Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder and chairman emeritus of the Media Lab, says:
Marvin talked in riddles that made perfect sense, were always profound and often so funny
that you would find yourself laughing days later. His genius was so self-evident that it defined
awesome. The Lab bathed in his reflected light.
In addition to his renown in artificial intelligence, Minsky was a gifted pianist one of only
a handful of people in the world who could improvise fugues, the polyphonic counterpoint
that distinguish Western classical music. His influential 1981 paper Music, Mind and
Meaning illuminated the connections between music, psychology, and the mind.
Other achievements include Minskys role as the inventor of the earliest co focal scanning
microscope. He was also involved in the inventions of the first turtle, or cursor, for the
LOGO programming language, with Seymour Paper, and the Muse synthesizer for musical
variations, with Ed Fredkin.
Minsky received the worlds top honors for his pioneering work and mentoring role in the
field of artificial intelligence, including the A.M. Turing Award the highest honor in
computer science in 1969.
In addition to the Turing Award, Minsky received honors over the years including the Japan
Prize; the Royal Society of Medicines Rank Prize (for Optoelectronics); the Optical Society of
Americas R.W. Wood Prize; MITs James R. Killian Jr. Faculty Achievement Award; the
Computer Pioneer Award from IEEE Computer Society; the Benjamin Franklin Medal; and, in
2014, the Dan David Foundation Prize for the Future of Time Dimension titled Artificial
Intelligence: The Digital Mind, and the BBVA Groups BBVA Foundation Frontiers of
Knowledge Lifetime Achievement Award.
In addition to the Turing Award, Minsky received honors over the years including the Japan
Prize; the Royal Society of Medicines Rank Prize (for Optoelectronics); the Optical Society of
Americas R.W. Wood Prize; MITs James R. Killian Jr. Faculty Achievement Award; the
Computer Pioneer Award from IEEE Computer Society; the Benjamin Franklin Medal; and, in
2014, the Dan David Foundation Prize for the Future of Time Dimension titled Artificial
Intelligence: The Digital Mind, and the BBVA Groups BBVA Foundation Frontiers of
Knowledge Lifetime Achievement Award.

45. Zika Virus


It was first identified in monkeys in Uganda in 1947.

The first human case was detected in Nigeria in 1954 and there have been further outbreaks in
Africa, South East Asia and the Pacific Islands.
Countries Affected
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In May 2015, it was reported in Brazil and has spread rapidly.

It has since also been reported in: Barbados, Bolivia, Colombia, the Dominican Republic,
Ecuador, EI Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique,
Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname and Venezuela.

Recently, few cases of Zika Virus has been confirmed in Texas, USA.

Cycle of Spread

It is spread by Aedes mosquitoes. They are found throughout the Americas except for
Canada and Chile where it is too cold for them to survive.


If mosquitoes drink the blood of an infected person they can then infect subsequent people they

Unlike the mosquitoes that spread malaria, they are mostly active during the day, so bed nets
offer limited protection

Most virus carriers are symptomless.

It is a silent infection in a group of highly vulnerable individuals - pregnant women which in

turn is associated with a horrible outcome for their babies.
Vaccines developed so far:
A U.S.-Brazilian team of scientists reported that two distinct vaccine candidates
conferred powerful protection from Zika infection when each was delivered by intramuscular injection to mice.
Scientists at Bharat Biotech International Ltd. , Hyderabad claim to have developed a
Zika virus vaccine for humans and have patented it too. It is a big breakthrough by the
Indian scientists to control the epidemic affecting the Americas. Trials are going on.


Aim of Technology Vision Document 2035:
The Aim of this Technology Vision Document 2035' is to ensure the Security, Enhancing of
Prosperity, and Enhancing Identity of every Indian.
It also identifies twelve (12) prerogatives- (six for meeting individual needs and six for the collective
needs) that should be available to each and every Indian. These are:
It categorizes technologies into a six-fold classification from an Indian perspective which is as follows:

Technology Leadership - niche technologies in which we have core competencies, skilled

manpower, infrastructure and a traditional knowledge base eg., Nuclear Energy, Space Science, form
of medicines like ayurveda, etc

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Technology Independence - strategic technologies that we would have to develop on our own
as they may not be obtainable from elsewhere eg. Defence sector.

Technology Innovation - linking disparate technologies together or making a breakthrough in

one technology and applying it to another eg. solar cells patterned on chlorophyll based synthetic
pathway are a potent future source of renewable energy.

Technology Adoption - obtain technologies from elsewhere, modify them according to local
needs and reduce dependence on other sources eg., foreign collaboration in the sectors of rainwater
harvesting, agri-biotech, desalination, energy efficient buildings.

Technology Constraints - areas where technology is threatening and problematic i.e. having a
negative social or environmental impact because of serious legal and ethical issues eg., Genetically
Modified(GM) Crops.
The Vision Document gives a 'Call to Action' to all the key stakeholders

Technical Education Institutions engage in advanced research on a large scale leading to pathbreaking innovations.

Government enhances financial support from current 1% to long-envisaged 2% of the GDP.

Full-time equivalent Scientists in the core research sector should increase.

Private Sector Participation and Investment in evolving technologies that is readily deployable
and is translatable from lab to field thereby increasing efficiency in terms of technology and economic

Academia-lntelligentsia-lndustry connect is established via idea exchange, innovative curricula

design, based on the needs of the industry, industry-sponsored student internships and research

Creation of a Research Ecosystem to achieve translation of research to technology

product/process integrating students, researchers and entrepreneurs.


The 23rd National Children Science Congress was held in Chandigarh University, Mohali.
The event was conducted by Department of Science & Technology, GOI. More than 1400 children
from all over the country participated in the event along with 300 scientists. The students presented
projects under various categories depicting the problems faced by world due to climate change or
possible solutions.
The theme for this years event was Understanding Weather and Climate.
1. Forum for young scientists to pursue their natural curiosity and use their creativity by
experimenting on open-ended problems.
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2. To make children feel that science is all around and you can gain knowledge as well as solve
many problems.
3. To encourage children to visualize future of the nation and help build generation of sensitive,
responsible citizens.


HVDC stands for High Voltage Direct Current. It is a technology used in power transmission
especially for long distance transmission.
Why HVDC & How does it work?
The power generated in power stations is Alternating Current and when it is transmitted, it oscillates
with 50-60 cycles per second. This oscillation causes losses which we call transmission losses. India
being a power deficit country cannot afford losses in the already less power produced. Therefore the
government has decided to adopt HVDC technology.
In this technology power is transmitted as Direct Current (DC) and that too at very high voltage since
there is no oscillation in DC, there are no or minimal losses. At the source, power is converted to DC
by using an AC to DC converter, then the power is transmitted via HVDC lines. When the power
reaches the destination, it is re converted in AC by using a DC to AC converter. In this way
transmission losses are minimised.

1. Power loss is reduced.
2. Environmental benefits as electricity losses are reduced.
3. Less land is required for transmission as it requires fewer transmission lines.
1. Cost of the equipments- AC to DC & DC to AC converters is too high.
2. Viable only for long distances.

HVDC Line in India:

Indias first high-voltage, direct-current (HVDC) transmission line was built by the state-owned
PowerGrid connecting the northern states with the north-eastern ones.
The HVDC corridor would facilitate transfer of 24,000 Mw from future power generation projects in
the northeastern region and Bhutan.


Endemic: A disease that exists permanently in a particular region or population.

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For example: Malaria is a constant worry in parts of Africa.
Epidemic: An outbreak of disease that attacks many peoples at about the same time and
may spread through one or several communities.
For example: Ebola virus in Africa.
Pandemic: When an epidemic spreads throughout the world.
For example: Small pox and polio that were pandemic at one point of time.


In August 2006 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) downgraded the status of Pluto to that of
"dwarf planet."
What is a Dwarf Planet?
A dwarf planet, as defined by the IAU, is a celestial body in direct orbit of the Sun that is massive
enough that its shape is controlled by gravitational forces rather than mechanical forces (and is thus
ellipsoid in shape), but has not cleared its neighbouring region of other objects.
So, the three criteria of the IAU for a full-sized planet are:
1. It is in orbit around the Sun.
2. It has sufficient mass to assume hydrostatic equilibrium (a nearly round shape).
3. It has "cleared the neighbourhood" around its orbit.
Pluto meets only two of these criteria, losing out on the third. In all the billions of years it has lived
there, it has not managed to clear its neighbourhood i.e. it did not become gravitationally dominant.
Two professors from USA published a paper in The Astronomical Journal in January arguing that they
have discovered a 9th planet and it is not Pluto. The planet is comparable to the size of Earth and is
much far away than Pluto. They have also estimated that the planet will take at least 10000 years to
orbit round the sun because its perigee is around 20000 bn miles and apogee could be around 100 bn
miles. Plutos distance from the sun is 4.6 bn miles.


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is caused by a type of staph bacteria
that's become resistant to many of the antibiotics used to treat ordinary staph infections.
Types of MRSA:
1. Most MRSA infections occur in people who've been in hospitals or other health care settings,
such as nursing homes and dialysis centers. When it occurs in these settings, it's known as
health care-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA). HA-MRSA infections typically are associated with
invasive procedures or devices, such as surgeries, intravenous tubing or artificial joints.

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2. Another type of MRSA infection has occurred in the wider community among healthy
people. This form, community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA), often begins as a painful skin
boil. It's spread by skin-to-skin contact. At-risk populations include groups such as high school
wrestlers, child care workers and people who live in crowded conditions.

Staph skin infections, including MRSA, generally start as swollen, painful red bumps that might
resemble pimples or spider bites. The affected area might be:
Warm to the touch
Full of pus or other drainage
Accompanied by a fever
These can quickly turn into deep, painful abscesses that require surgical draining. Sometimes
the bacteria remain confined to the skin. But they can also burrow deep into the body,
causing potentially life-threatening infections in bones, joints, surgical wounds, the
bloodstream, heart valves and lungs.
Different varieties of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, commonly called "staph," exist. Staph
bacteria are normally found on the skin or in the nose of about one-third of the population.
The bacteria are generally harmless unless they enter the body through a cut or other wound,
and even then they usually cause only minor skin problems in healthy people.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 2 percent of the
population chronically carries the type of staph bacteria known as MRSA.
Antibiotic resistance
MRSA is the result of decades of often unnecessary antibiotic use. For years, antibiotics have
been prescribed for colds, flu and other viral infections that don't respond to these drugs.
Even when antibiotics are used appropriately, they contribute to the rise of drug-resistant
bacteria because they don't destroy every germ they target. Bacteria live on an evolutionary
fast track, so germs that survive treatment with one antibiotic soon learn to resist others. This
makes them a superbug.


What are they?
Gravitational waves are distortions or 'ripples' in the fabric of space-time caused by some of the most
violent and energetic processes in the Universe. The effect is very weak, however, and only the
biggest masses, moving under the greatest accelerations, are expected to warp their surroundings to
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any appreciable degree. Put in this category the explosion of giant stars, the collision of ultra-dense
dead ones, and the coming together of black holes. All these events should radiate gravitational energy
at the speed of light. Gravitational waves have never been detected before, though indirectly they have
Gravitational waves have been discovered by the U.S.-based LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational
Wave Observatory). The Advanced LIGO laboratories in the US states of Washington and Louisiana
have traced the warping of space from the merger of two black holes about 1.3 billion light-years from
Earth. India is an important partner in the LIGO project and the announcement was simultaneously
made at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) in Pune.
India-LIGO project will be a replica of the two LIGO detectors and would be stationed at a
perpendicular direction to the detectors in USA. LIGO-India project is piloted by Department of
Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Science and Technology (DST).
The LIGO-India project will be jointly coordinated and executed by three Indian research institutions:
1. The Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune
2. Institute for Plasma Research (IPR), Gandhinagar and
3. The Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), Indore.
It will enrich technological areas like precision metrology, photonics and control systems.

Benefits of LIGO to the world:

1. Timely detection of cosmic waves.
2. Timely tracking of supernovas as gravitational waves will reach the Earth faster than light
3. Measure the frequency of major cosmic phenomena.


Also known as API, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients are portions of any drug, which are active.
Thus, depending on the drugs administered dosage, the reactions and results differ. Certain drugs are
comprised of more than one kind of API.
Components of a drug
Any drug is composed of two components or aspects. The first is the actual API or Active
Pharmaceutical Ingredients, which is the central ingredient. The second is known as an excipient.
This refers to the substance inside the drug or tablet. If it is in syrup form, then the excipient will be
the liquid that has been used. Thus, excipients are the inactive or inert substances present inside a drug
while the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients is the chemically active substance, which is meant to
produce the desired effect in the body.
Complementary substances for added benefit
Certain Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients are unknown and hence require additional substances,
which can work in conjunction with the API to produce the required medicinal effect. For example, in
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the case of herbal medicines, the API is usually a combination of several mixtures and substances,
which when used together become active and act on the body. Thus, in such situations, the Active
Pharmaceutical Ingredients are not singular substances but the culmination of several herbs and
Strength of API
Manufacturers usually use certain standards and benchmarks of calculation in order to determine the
relative strength of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients inside a medicine or drug. However, the
methods of standardizing the strengths of APIs within a medicine differ from one brand to another.
While one manufacturer may use a certain standard for evaluating the strength of Active
Pharmaceutical Ingredients, another manufacturer may use a different standard altogether.


The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010 fixes liability for nuclear damage and
specifies procedures for compensating victims.

The Bill fixes no-fault liability on operators and gives them a right of recourse against certain
persons. It caps the liability of the operator at Rs 500 crore. For damage exceeding this
amount, and up to 300 million SDR, the central government will be liable.

All operators (except the central government) need to take insurance or provide financial
security to cover their liability.

For facilities owned by the government, the entire liability up to 300 million SDR will be borne
by the government.

The Bill specifies who can claim compensation and the authorities who will assess and award
compensation for nuclear damage.

Those not complying with the provisions of the Bill can be penalised.

Key Issues and Analysis

The liability cap on the operator (a) may be inadequate to compensate victims in the event of a
major nuclear disaster; (b) may block Indias access to an international pool of funds; (c) is low
compared to some other countries.

The cap on the operators liability is not required if all plants are owned by the government. It
is not clear if the government intends to allow private operators to operate nuclear power

The extent of environmental damage and consequent economic loss will be notified by the
government. This might create a conflict of interest in cases where the government is also the
party liable to pay compensation.

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The right of recourse against the supplier provided in the Bill is not compliant with
international agreements India may wish to sign.

The time-limit of ten years for claiming compensation may be inadequate for those suffering
from nuclear damage.

Though the Bill allows operators and suppliers to be liable under other laws, it is not clear
which other laws will be applicable. Different interpretations by courts may constrict or
unduly expand the scope of such a provision.


What is a geographical indication?
A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and
possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a sign must
identify a product as originating in a given place. In addition, the qualities, characteristics or reputation
of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin. Since the qualities depend on the
geographical place of production, there is a clear link between the product and its original place of
What rights does a geographical indication provide?
A geographical indication right enables those who have the right to use the indication to prevent its use
by a third party whose product does not conform to the applicable standards. For example, in the
jurisdictions in which the Darjeeling geographical indication is protected, producers of Darjeeling tea
can exclude use of the term Darjeeling for tea not grown in their tea gardens or not produced
according to the standards set out in the code of practice for the geographical indication.
However, a protected geographical indication does not enable the holder to prevent someone from
making a product using the same techniques as those set out in the standards for that indication.
Protection for a geographical indication is usually obtained by acquiring a right over the sign that
constitutes the indication.
For what type of products can geographical indications be used?
Geographical indications are typically used for agricultural products, foodstuffs, wine and spirit drinks,
handicrafts, and industrial products.
How are geographical indications protected?
There are three main ways to protect a geographical indication:
so-called sui generis systems (i.e. special regimes of protection);

using collective or certification marks; and

methods focusing on business practices, including administrative product approval schemes.

These approaches involve differences with respect to important questions, such as the conditions for
protection or the scope of protection. On the other hand, two of the modes of protection namely sui
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generis systems and collective or certification mark systems share some common features, such as
the fact that they set up rights for collective use by those who comply with defined standards. Broadly
speaking geographical indications are protected in different countries and regional systems through a
wide variety of approaches and often using a combination of two or more of the approaches outlined
above. These approaches have been developed in accordance with different legal traditions and within
a framework of individual historical and economic conditions.
Here is the exhaustive list if Indian GIs

Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce
heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Normal body temperature is around 98.6 F (37 C).
Hypothermia (hi-poe-THUR-me-uh) occurs as your body temperature passes below 95 F (35 C).
When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system and other organs can't work normally.
Left untreated, hypothermia can eventually lead to complete failure of your heart and respiratory
system and to death.
Hypothermia is most often caused by exposure to cold weather or immersion in a cold body of water.
Primary treatments for hypothermia are methods to warm the body back to a normal temperature.

Shivering is likely the first thing you'll notice as the temperature starts to drop because it's your body's
automatic defense against cold temperature an attempt to warm itself.
Mild hypothermia
Signs and symptoms of mild hypothermia include:




Faster breathing

Trouble speaking

Slight confusion

Lack of coordination


Increased heart rate

Moderate to severe hypothermia

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As your body temperature drops, signs and symptoms of moderate to severe hypothermia include:
Shivering, although as hypothermia worsens, shivering stops

Clumsiness or lack of coordination

Slurred speech or mumbling

Confusion and poor decision-making, such as trying to remove warm clothes

Drowsiness or very low energy

Lack of concern about one's condition

Progressive loss of consciousness

Weak pulse

Slow, shallow breathing

Someone with hypothermia usually isn't aware of his or her condition because the symptoms often
begin gradually. Also, the confused thinking associated with hypothermia prevents self-awareness. The
confused thinking can also lead to risk-taking behavior.
Hypothermia in infants
Typical signs of hypothermia in an infant include:
Bright red, cold skin

Very low energy

A weak cry

Hypothermia not necessarily related to the outdoors

Hypothermia isn't always the result of exposure to extremely cold outdoor temperatures. An older
person may develop mild hypothermia after prolonged exposure to indoor temperatures that would
generally be fine for a younger or healthier adult. This can occur in a poorly heated home or in an airconditioned home. Signs and symptoms of this type of hypothermia may not be as obvious.
How your body loses heat
The mechanisms of heat loss from your body include the following:
Radiated heat. Most heat loss is due to heat radiated from unprotected surfaces of your body.

Direct contact. If you're in direct contact with something very cold, such as cold water or the
cold ground, heat is conducted away from your body. Because water is very good at
transferring heat from your body, body heat is lost much faster in cold water than in cold air.
Similarly, heat loss from your body is much faster if your clothes are wet, as when you're
caught out in the rain.

Wind. Wind removes body heat by carrying away the thin layer of warm air at the surface of
your skin. A wind chill factor is important in causing heat loss.

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The new IPR Policy of India aims to strike a balance by promoting new inventions on one hand and
protecting public interest on the other hand. It is necessary to strike a balance because if a new
invention benefits the masses, it should be economically accessible. For example a cure to a deadly
disease has been discovered and that disease is prevalent among the poor, then access to the cure
should be feasible. The new invention should not be economically unviable.
The policy aims to:
Promote innovation.
Promote IPRs as marketable financial assets.
Safeguard public interest and ensure availability of crucial drugs at affordable prices.
1. To strengthen enforcement of IPR laws.
2. To develop a legal and legislative framework for IPR laws in such a way that innovation is
promoted on one hand and on the other public interest is not compromised.
3. To create value for IPRs through commercialization.
4. To build human resources and institutions for IPR training & research.
Salient Features:
IPR friendly loans to less empowered group like artisans, weavers etc.
Removing inconsistencies like amendment of Indian Cinematography Act.
Fast examination and granting of IPR.
Motivating industries to use CSR fund to support IP development.
Why a new IPR Policy?

Consistent pressure from USTR and several restrictions on Indian generic drugs.
To promote innovation especially by using traditional knowledge.
To meet the challenges from the mega regional trade pacts like TPP.
To formulate incentives for greater R&D in India.
To support Make in India, Digital India and Start Up India schemes.


Open science is the movement to make scientific research, data and dissemination accessible to all
levels of an inquiring society, amateur or professional. It encompasses practices such as
publishing open research, campaigning for open access, encouraging scientists to practice open
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notebook science, and generally making it easier to publish and communicate scientific knowledge.
The European-funded project Facilitate Open Science Training for European Research
(FOSTER) has developed an open science taxonomy as an attempt to map the open science field.
Open science began in the 17th century with the advent of the academic journal, when the societal
demand for access to scientific knowledge reached a point where it became necessary for groups of
scientists to share resources with each other so that they could collectively do their work. In modern
times there is debate about the extent to which scientific information should be shared. The conflict is
between the desire of scientists to have access to shared resources versus the desire of individual
entities to profit when other entities partake of their resources.
Before the advent of scientific journals, scientists had little to gain and much to lose by publicizing
scientific discoveries. Many scientists, including Galileo, Kepler, Isaac Newton, Christiaan Huygens,
and Robert Hooke, made claim to their discoveries by describing them in papers coded in anagrams or
cyphers and then distributing the coded text. Their intent was to develop their discovery into
something off which they could profit, then reveal their discovery to prove ownership when they were
prepared to make a claim on it.
The system of not publicizing discoveries caused problems because discoveries were not shared
quickly and because it sometimes was difficult for the discoverer to prove priority. Newton
and Gottfried Leibniz both claimed priority in discovering calculus. Newton said that he wrote
about calculus in the 1660s and 1670, but did not publish until 1693. Leibniz published a treatise on
calculus in 1684. Debates over priority are inherent in systems where science is not published openly,
and this was problematic for scientists who wanted to benefit from priority.
These cases are representative of a system of aristocratic patronage in which scientists received
funding to develop either immediately useful things or to entertain. In this sense, funding of science
gave prestige to the patron in the same way that funding of artists, writers, architects, and philosophers
did. Because of this, scientists were under pressure to satisfy the desires of their patrons, and
discouraged from being open with research which would bring prestige to persons other than their
Emergence of academies and journals
Eventually the individual patronage system ceased to provide the scientific output which society began
to demand. Single patrons could not sufficiently fund scientists, who had unstable careers and needed
consistent funding. The development which changed this was a trend to pool research by multiple
scientists into an academy funded by multiple patrons. In 1660 England established the Royal
Society and in 1666 the French established the French Academy of Sciences. Between the 1660s and
1793, governments gave official recognition to 70 other scientific organizations modeled after those
two academies. In 1665, Henry Oldenburg became the editor of Philosophical Transactions of the
Royal Society, the first academic journal devoted to science, and the foundation for the growth of
scientific publishing. By 1699 there were 30 scientific journals; by 1790 there were 1052. Since then
publishing has expanded at even greater rates.
Principles of Open Science:
1. Open Data.
2. Open Source.
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Open methodology.
Open peer review.
Open access.
Open educational resources.

Arguments For Open Science:

1. Open access publication of research reports and data allows for rigorous peer-review
2. Science is publicly funded so all results of the research should be publicly available
3. Open Science will make science more reproducible and transparent

Arguments Against Open Science:

1. Too much unsorted information overwhelms scientists.
2. Science will be used for bad things.
3. The public will misunderstand science data.
4. Increasing the scale of science will make verification of any discovery more difficult.

Light Fidelity (Li-Fi) is
a bidirectional,
fully networked wireless
communication technology similar to Wi-Fi. The term was coined by Harald Haas and is a form
of visible light communication and a subset of optical wireless communications (OWC) and could be a
complement to Radio Frequency communication (Wi-Fi or cellular networks), or even a replacement
in contexts of data broadcasting.
It is wireless and uses visible-light communication or infrared and near-ultraviolet instead of radiofrequency spectrum, part of optical wireless communications technology, which carries much more
information, and has been proposed as a solution to the RF-bandwidth limitations.

How does it work?

This OWC technology uses light from light-emitting diodes (LEDs) as a medium to deliver networked,
mobile, high-speed communication in a similar manner to Wi-Fi.
Visible light communications (VLC) works by switching the current to the LEDs off and on at a very
high rate, too quick to be noticed by the human eye. Although Li-Fi LEDs would have to be kept on to
transmit data, they could be dimmed to below human visibility while still emitting enough light to
carry data. The light waves cannot penetrate walls which makes a much shorter range, though more
secure from hacking, relative to Wi-Fi. Direct line of sight is not necessary for Li-Fi to transmit a
signal; light reflected off the walls can achieve 70 Mbit/s.
1. Useful in electromagnetic sensitive areas such as in aircraft cabins, hospitals and
nuclear power plants without causing electromagnetic interference.

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2. Li-Fi has almost no limitations on capacity. The visible light spectrum is 10,000 times
larger than the entire radio frequency spectrum.
3. Researchers have reached data rates of over 10 Gbit/s, which is much faster than
typical fast broadband.
4. Li-Fi is expected to be ten times cheaper than Wi-Fi.
1. Short range
2. Low reliability and
3. High installation costs


The immune system is the bodys defense against infection and cancer. It is made up of billions of
cells that are divided into several different types.
Lymphocytes, a subtype of white blood cells, comprise a major portion of the immune system. There
are three types of lymphocytes
B lymphocytes (B cells) make antibodies to fight infection

T lymphocytes (T cells) and natural killer (NK) cells directly kill infected or cancerous cells
and also talk to other cells of the immune system using chemicals known as cytokines.

Is a type of treatment that utilizes the bodys own immune system to fight cancer

Improves the bodys ability to detect and kill cancer cells

Is based on the concept that immune cells or antibodies can recognize and kill cancer cells.

Immune cells or antibodies can be produced in the laboratory under tightly controlled conditions and
then given to patients to treat cancer. Several types of immunotherapy are either approved for use or
are under study in clinical trials to determine their effectiveness in treating various types of cancer.
What is T cell therapy and how it works?
T cells are collected from a patient. T cells are collected via apheresis, a process that withdraws
blood from the body and removes one or more blood components (such as plasma, platelets or white
blood cells). The remaining blood is then returned back into the body.
T cells are reengineered in a laboratory. The T cells are sent to a laboratory or a drug manufacturing
facility where they are genetically engineered to produce chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) on their
After this reengineering, the T cells are known as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) Tcells. CARs are proteins that allow the T cells to recognize an antigen on targeted tumor cells.
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The reengineered CAR T cells are then multiplied. The number of the patients genetically
modified T cells is expanded by growing cells in the laboratory until there are many millions of
them. These CAR T cells are frozen and, when there are enough of them, they are sent to the hospital
or center where the patient is being treated.
At the hospital or treatment center, the CAR T cells are then infused into the patient. Many
patients are given a brief course of one or more chemotherapy agents before they receive the infusion
of CAR T cells. CAR T cells that have been returned to the patients bloodstream multiply in number.
These are the attacker cells that will recognize, and kill, cancerous cells that have the
targeted antigen on their surface.
The CAR T cells guard against recurrence. CAR T cells may remain in the body long after the
infusion has been completed. They guard against cancer recurrence, so the therapy frequently results in
long-term remissions.
However, there are a few side effects of this therapy.

The 20 metre long, 7 metre wide boat, with a maximum cruising speed of 7.5 knots, is to be deployed
in the backwaters of Alappuzha by the Kerala State Water Transport Department.
The boat is being built by NavAlt, a Kochi-based joint venture, in collaboration with a French
Key Features:
1. It is 20 metre long, 7 metre wide boat, with a maximum cruising speed of 7.5 knots.
2. The cost incurred in making the boat is Rs.1.7-crore.
3. It is a 75 seater boat.
4. The solar boat will also be eligible for subsidy from the Union Ministry of New and Renewable
5. The boat will be capable of plying the waters for 5-6 hours on normal sunny days. It will have
an alternative power system to meet emergencies.
6. Its battery will be charged by plugging on to the normal electric circuit at the end of the
days journey.
The KSWTD plans to operate the boat in the 2.5 km-long Vaikkom-Thavanakkadavu


Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

Astronomers have, for the first time, detected repeating short bursts of mysterious and powerful
radio waves from an enigmatic source that is likely located well beyond the edge of the Milky Way
The findings indicate that these fast radio bursts come from an extremely powerful object, which
occasionally produces multiple bursts in under a minute, researchers said.
History of receiving radio waves:
Earlier too the scientists have received radio waves from the space but this is the first time they have
received continuous signal. The previous signals have involved cataclysmic incidents that destroy
their source a star exploding in a supernova, for example, or a neutron star collapsing into a black
The new finding, however, shows that at least some Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) may have other origins.
The FRBs, which last just a few thousandths of a second, have puzzled scientists since they were first
reported nearly a decade ago.

Where, How and Who detected these FRBs/ SOS?

McGill University Ph.D student Paul Scholz was sifting through results from observations performed
with the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico the worlds largest radio telescope.
The new data run through a supercomputer showed several bursts with properties consistent with
those of an FRB detected in 2012.
The repeat signals were surprising and very exciting, Mr. Scholz said. I knew immediately that
the discovery would be extremely important in the study of FRBs.
He pored over the remaining output from specialised software used to search for pulsars and radio
bursts. He found that there were a total of 10 new bursts.
The finding suggests that these bursts must have come from an object, such as a rotating neutron
star having unprecedented power that enables the emission of extremely bright pulses.
Not only did these bursts repeat, but their brightness and spectra also differ from those of other


Name: Curious Marie.
Who has discovered it?
Scientists from University of Chicago
Where did the discover it?

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The team found evidence of curium in an unusual ceramic inclusion they called Curious Marie,
taken from a carbonaceous meteorite.
What is a carbonaceous meteorite?
Carbonaceous meteorites are primitive and undifferentiated meteorites that formed in oxygen-rich
regions of the early solar system so that most of the metal is not found in its free form but as
silicates, oxides, or sulfides. They are important because of the insights they provide into the early
history of the solar system.
Curious Marie is named after Marie Curie whose pioneering work laid the foundation of the theory of
radioactivity. This finding ends a 35-year-old debate on the possible presence of curium in the early
solar system and plays a crucial role in reassessing models of stellar evolution and synthesis of
elements in stars.
About the Element:
Curium is an elusive element. It is one of the heaviest-known elements, yet it does not occur
naturally because all of its isotopes are radioactive and decay rapidly on a geological time scale.
Curium became incorporated into the inclusion when it condensed from the gaseous cloud that
formed the sun early in the history of the solar system.
On Earth, curium exists only when manufactured in laboratories or as a byproduct of nuclear


Mercury, the inner most planet is dark. It is no less than an irony that the planet closest to the sun is
not the brightest.
Why is Mercury dark?
Mercury appears to be dark due to the abundance of carbon that originated deep below the surface
of our solar systems innermost planet, a new study has found.
Where did the carbon come from?
The carbon most likely originated deep below the surface in the form of a now-disrupted and buried
ancient graphite-rich crust, some of which was later brought to the surface by impact processes after
most of Mercurys current crust had formed.
It is also speculated that when Mercury was very young, much of the planet was likely so hot that
there was a global ocean of molten magma.
Scientists have suggested that as this magma ocean cooled, most minerals that solidified sank, except
graphite, which would have been buoyant and floated to form the original crust of Mercury.
What is the source of this information?
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

The researchers obtained data from NASAs MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment,
GEochemistry, and Ranging) spacecraft, the first space mission designed to orbit Mercury.
MESSENGER obtained its data via many orbits on which the spacecraft passed lower than 100 km
above the surface of the planet during its last year of operation.


The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System or IRNSS is an indigenously developed Navigation
Satellite System that is used to provide accurate real-time positioning and timing services over India
and region extending to 1500 km around India. The fully deployed IRNSS system consists of 3
satellites in GEO orbit and 4 satellites in GSO orbit, approximately 36,000 km altitude above earth
surface. However, the full system comprises nine satellites, including two on the ground as stand-by.
The need of IRNSS:
The requirement of such a navigation system is driven because access to foreign governmentcontrolled global navigation satellite systems is not guaranteed in hostile situations, as happened to
the Indian military depending on American GPS during the Kargil War.
Services provided by IRNSS
The IRNSS would provide two services:
1. Standard Positioning Service open for civilian use, and
2. The Restricted Service (an encrypted one) for authorized users (including the military).
IRNSS-1A was the first navigational satellite in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System
series of satellites to be placed in geosynchronous orbit. It was built at ISRO Satellite Centre,
Bangalore, costing Rs. 125 crore. It has a lift-off mass of 1380 kg, and carries a navigation
payload and a C-band ranging transponder, which operates in L5 band (1176.45 MHz) and S
band (2492.028 MHz). An optimised I-1K bus structure with a power handling capability of
around 1600 watts is used and is designed for a ten-year mission. The satellite was launched
on-board PSLV-C22 on 1 July 2013 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.
IRNSS-1B is the second out of seven in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System. It was
very precisely and successfully placed in its orbit through PSLV-C24 rocket on 4 April 2014.
Main article: IRNSS-1C
IRNSS-1C is the third out of seven in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System series of
satellites. The satellite was successfully launched using India's PSLV-C26 from the Satish
Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on 16 October 2014 at 1:32 am.
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IRNSS-1D is the fourth out of seven in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System series of
satellites system. It was successfully launched using India's PSLV-C27 on 28 March 2015 at
5:19 pm.
IRNSS-1E is the fifth out of seven in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System series of
satellites system. It was successfully launched on 20 January 2016 using India's PSLV-C31 at
9:31 am.
IRNSS-1F is the sixth out of seven in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System series of
satellites system. It was successfully launched on 10 March 2016 using India's PSLV-C32 at
4:01 pm.
IRNSS-1G is the seventh out of seven in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System series
of satellites system. It is targeted for launch on April 28 2016 using India's PSLV.

Some applications of IRNSS are:

Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation
Disaster Management
Vehicle tracking and fleet management
Integration with mobile phones
Precise Timing
Mapping and Geodetic data capture
Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers.
Visual and voice navigation for drivers.


In a breakthrough for energy-efficient computing, researchers have shown for the first time that
magnetic chips can operate with the lowest fundamental level of energy dissipation possible under
the laws of thermodynamics.
What does the finding mean?
The findings mean that dramatic reductions in power consumption are possible - as much as onemillionth the amount of energy per operation used by transistors in modern computers.
This is critical for mobile devices, which demand powerful processors that can run for a day or more
on small, lightweight batteries, they said.
How will it work?
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[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

Magnetic computing emerged as a promising candidate because the magnetic bits can be
differentiated by direction, and it takes just as much energy to get the magnet to point left as it does
to point right.
It is based on the second law of thermodynamics, which states that as any physical system is
transformed, going from a state of higher concentration to lower concentration, it gets increasingly
disordered. That loss of order is called entropy, and it comes off as waste heat.


Researchers J. Craig Venter and Clyde Hutchinson and colleagues at the Venter Institute, California,
report the making of a living, replicating and stable cell that uses the minimum number of genes
473 to be considered biologically alive. In the natural world, no living organism is ever known to
possess fewer than 1000 genes.
The knowledge gained from this creation may be foundational to understand how organisms can be
created from scratch.
The efforts dovetail with the fundamental question of whether there is a minimum number of genes
without which a cell would be dead. That question is also of immense practical interest as there is an
entire subfield called synthetic biology thats modifying bacteria and other microorganisms at
the level of genes to make organic machines that can be employed to, for instance, clear oil spills and
industrial enzymes.


The Medical Council of India (MCI) is a statutory body for establishing uniform and high standards
of medical education in India. The Council grants recognition of medical qualifications,
gives accreditation to medical schools, grants registration to medical practitioners, and
monitors medical practice in India.
The Medical Council of India was first established in 1934 under the Indian Medical Council Act,
1933. The Council was later reconstituted under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 that replaced
the earlier Act.
Following this, the Council was superseded by the President of India and its functions entrusted to a
Board of Governors. The present Board of Governors was notified on 13 May 2011.
Functions of MCI:
The main functions of the Medical Council of India are the following:
Establishment and maintenance of uniform standards for undergraduate medical education.

Regulation of postgraduate medical education in medical colleges accredited by it.

(The National Board of Examinations is another statutory body for postgraduate medical
education in India).

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[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

Recognition of medical qualifications granted by medical institutions in India.

Recognition of foreign medical qualifications in India.

Accreditation of medical colleges.

Registration of doctors with recognized medical qualifications.

Keeping a directory of all registered doctors (called the Indian Medical Register).

Registration of doctors and their qualifications is usually done by state medical councils.
Shortcomings of the Council:
The MCI, which is supposed to regulate and monitor the medical profession from granting approval
for setting up a medical college to allocating seats and later monitoring the conduct of doctors has
failed in its duties in setting up high standards of health care.
Massive money changes hand in granting approval for setting up a medical college and also in the
inspection of functioning of these institutions which thrive on mammoth of capitation fee up to Rs 50
lakh a seat in MBBS.
All these gory details are listed in a report of a 31-member Department-related Parliamentary Standing
Committee on Health and Family Welfare led by Prof Ram Gopal Yadav. The report is already before
Rajya Sabha but the government is yet to take a call on it.
If the committee finds MCI hugely responsible for the prevailing pathetic state of health care and low
standard of conduct among a large section of medical practitioners and hospitals, it also takes the
government to task for being indifferent to the dire need for putting in place an appropriate law that
should have put regulated the working of MCI, which hitherto is an unregulated body.
The composition of MCI at present doesnt represent professional excellence nor follows medical
The current composition of the Council reflects that more than half of the members are either from
corporate hospitals or in private practice where unethical medical practices are followed.
Exemption of doctors from Ethics panel!
It is also astonishing that government succumbed meekly to an amendment in the regulations
introduced by MCI in February last deleting the words and professional association of doctors", thus
exempting professional association of doctors from the ambit of MCI Code of Ethics Regulations,
2002. This amendment encouraged corruption among organised medical professionals. The committee
says, Exempting professional association of doctors from the ambit of Ethics Regulations is nothing
short of legitimizing doctors associations indulging in unethical and corrupt practices by way of
receiving gifts in cash or kind under any pretext from the pharmaceutical industry or allied health
MCI has become an exclusive club of medical doctors as it comprises selectively chosen doctors by
ignoring the legitimate expectation of diversity.
Recommendations by the committee:

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[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

1. The committee favours bifurcation of the functions of MCI and recommends that different
structures be created for discharging different functions.
2. An in-depth probe may be conducted into the arbitrary appointment of inspectors in 2014
and an action taken report within three months.
3. Implementation of the report by Prof Ranjit Roy Chaudhury committee which was set up by NDA
government in July, 2014 that suggested reforms in the regulatory framework of medical
4. It is imperative that a National Medical Commission (NMC) through a new Act is constituted to do
away with MCI. There is need for formation of a National Advisory Council consisting of members
from the State Governments, Union Territories, State Medical Councils, Medical Universities and
members of NMC.


In essence, under a compulsory license, an individual or company seeking to use another's intellectual
property can do so without seeking the rights holder's consent, and pays the rights holder a set fee for
the license.
The Indian scenario and Compulsory License:
Patents in India are granted to encourage inventions and to secure that it is worked on a commercial
scale. The Indian Patent Act ensures that it is worked on a commercial scale. The act ensures that the
patentee should not be able to enjoy a monopoly for the importation of the patented article.
The act provides measures by way of compulsory licensing (CL) to ensure that the patents do not
impede the protection of public health and nutrition and the patent rights are not abused by the
The CL therefore serves to strike a balance between two disparate objectives- rewarding patentees for
their inventions and making the patented products (particularly pharmaceutical products) available to
large population in developing and under developed countries at a cheaper and affordable price.
Can India afford to disturb the balance?
Being affirmative, India should not tilt itself towards any side viz. Promote innovation and ignore
public interests or Value public interest more and ignore innovation.
In the first case, it would be novice of a government to ignore the huge population that is reeling under
poverty and ill health just for the benefit of a few innovators.
The second case also would be no less than a blunder (if committed) because it will not encourage new
innovations. Also it will also not send a good signal to Multinationals which are big employment
generators and a source of FDI and technology in India.


KELT-4Ab is an extra solar planet that orbits the star KELT-4A, in the star system KELT-4.
The planet is approximately 685 light years away in the constellation of Leo. The planet was
discovered by the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT).
The team, led by Dr. Jason Eastman from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, found
that the planet has a mass of 0.9 Jupiter and a diameter of 1.7 Jupiter.
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[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

KELT-4A is second brightest host of all these systems, the brightest host of a hot Jupiter, and therefore
a valuable find for extensive follow-up of inflated planets, hierarchical architectures, and hot Jupiter
The triple-star system KELT-4 also includes two fainter stars: KELT-4B and KELT-4C, collectively
known as KELT-4BC.
The twin stars KELT-4B and KELT-4C orbit one another every 29 years. The pair then orbit KELT4A once every 3,780 years.
KELT-4Abs existence within a hierarchical triple and its proximity to Earth provide a unique
opportunity for dynamical studies with continued monitoring with high resolution imaging and
precision radial velocities.


Astronomers have discovered the largest and most luminous black hole ever seen an ancient
monster with a mass about 12 billion times that of the sun that dates back to when the universe was
less than 1 billion years old.
What is a Black Hole?
A black hole is a region of spacetime exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing
including particles andelectromagnetic radiation such as lightcan escape from inside it. In many
ways a black hole acts like an ideal black body, as it reflects no light.
On 11 February 2016, the LIGO collaboration announced the first observation of gravitational waves;
because these waves were generated from a black hole merger it was the first ever direct detection of a
binary black hole merger. On 15 June 2016, a second detection of a gravitational wave event from
colliding black holes was announced.
It remains a mystery how black holes could have grown so huge in such a relatively brief time after the
dawn of the universe, researchers say.
Supermassive black holes are thought to lurk in the hearts of most, if not all, large galaxies. The largest
black holes found so far in the nearby universe have masses more than 10 billion times that of the sun.
In comparison, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way is thought to have a mass only 4 million
to 5 million times that of the sun.
Quasars and Black Holes:
Astronomers suspect that quasars, the brightest objects in the universe, contain supermassive black
holes that release extraordinarily large amounts of light as they rip apart stars.
Discoveries so far:
So far, astronomers have discovered 40 quasars each with a black hole about 1 billion times the
mass of the sun dating back to when the universe was less than 1 billion years old. Now, scientists
report the discovery of a supermassive black hole 12 billion times the mass of the sun about 12.8
billion light-years from Earth that dates back to when the universe was only about 875 million years

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[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

This black hole technically known as SDSS J010013.02+280225.8, or J0100+2802 for short is
not only the most massive quasar ever seen in the early universe but also the most luminous. It is about
429 trillion times brighter than the sun and seven times brighter than the most distant quasar known.
This black hole dates back to a little more than 6 percent of the universe's current age of 13.8 billion

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, better known as SpaceX, is an American aerospace
manufacturer and space transport services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California, USA. It
was founded in 2002 by former PayPal entrepreneur and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk with the goal
of creating the technologies to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of
Recent Achievement:
SpaceX successfully landed a reusable Falcon 9 rocket booster the second such landing for the
company, and the first successful touchdown on a ship.
It carried SpaceX's robotic Dragon cargo spacecraft, which is now on its way to the International
Space Station, carrying crew supplies, station hardware and science experiments.
It will reduce the cost of space programmes dramatically as the launch vehicles, which were earlier
destroyed during the launch of the rocket will now be restored and can be reused.


History of antibiotics:
The management of microbial infections in ancient Egypt, Greece, and China is well-documented. The
modern era of antibiotics started with the discovery of penicillin by Sir Alexander Fleming in
1928. Since then, antibiotics have transformed modern medicine and saved millions of
lives. Antibiotics were first prescribed to treat serious infections in the 1940s. Penicillin was successful
in controlling bacterial infections among World War II soldiers.
Benefits of Antibiotics
Antibiotics have not only saved patients lives, they have played a pivotal role in achieving major
advances in medicine and surgery. They have successfully prevented or treated infections that can
occur in patients who are receiving chemotherapy treatments; who have chronic diseases such as
diabetes, end-stage renal disease, or rheumatoid arthritis; or who have had complex surgeries such as
organ transplants, joint replacements, or cardiac surgery. Antibiotics have also helped to extend
expected life spans by changing the outcome of bacterial infections.
What is anti microbial resistance?
It is a condition when the infecting bacteria becomes resistant to the antibiotics. In normal condition,
antibiotics attack the pathogenic bacteria and kills it. But due to certain factors, the pathogenic bacteria
stops responding to the antibiotics.
Causes of microbial resistance:
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[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

1. Overuse: The overuse of antibiotics clearly drives the evolution of resistance. Epidemiological
studies have demonstrated a direct relationship between antibiotic consumption and the
emergence and dissemination of resistant bacteria strains.
2. Inappropriate Prescribing

Incorrectly prescribed antibiotics also contribute to the promotion of resistant bacteria. Studies
have shown that treatment indication, choice of agent, or duration of antibiotic therapy is
incorrect in 30% to 50% of cases
3. Extensive Agricultural Use

In both the developed and developing world, antibiotics are widely used as growth supplements
in livestock. Treating livestock with antimicrobials is said to improve the overall health of the
animals, producing larger yields and a higher-quality product.15
The antibiotics used in livestock are ingested by humans when they consume food.1 The transfer
of resistant bacteria to humans by farm animals was first noted more than 35 years ago, when
high rates of antibiotic resistance were found in the intestinal flora of both farm animals and
4. Regulatory Barriers
Even for those companies that are optimistic about pursuing the discovery of new antibiotics,
obtaining regulatory approval is often an obstacle. Between 1983 and 2007, a substantial reduction
occurred in the number of new antibiotic approvals. Difficulties in pursuing regulatory approval that
have been noted include: bureaucracy, absence of clarity, differences in clinical trial requirements
among countries, changes in regulatory and licensing rules, and ineffective channels of


Panama disease is a plant disease of the roots of banana plants. It is a type of Fusarium wilt, caused
by the fungal pathogen Fusarium oxysporum. The pathogen is resistant to fungicide and cannot be
controlled chemically. During the 1950s, Panama disease wiped out the Gros Michel
banana everywhere except Asia.
Where in India it is prevalent?
The Panama disease caused by a soil-borne fungus is threatening banana crops across Kerala, posing a
potential crisis for farmers, even as global efforts to control the disease gain momentum.
What does the fungus do to the plant?
The fungus enters the plant through the soil and goes on to colonise the plant through vascular system
blocking the flow of water and nutrients.
1. Leaf Yellowing.
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

2. Wilted Leaf.
3. Stem splitting.


Now the time is between 5 and 7 years for the first examination of patent applications. The target is to
bring it down to 18 months, which is the benchmark in the U.S. for the first examination after the
applications are filed. That is the target we have set for ourselves by March 2018.
The examination time will gradually come down as the government will be setting a monthly,
quarterly, half-yearly and an annual benchmark. In addition to the existing strength of 130 examiners
of patents and designs, the government recently hired 458 new examiners. An additional 263
examiners will soon be recruited on a contract basis.
Benefits of expediting patent approvals:
1. Expediting it will encourage innovation.
2. It will encourage foreign investments.
3. It will benefit people by unlocking the unused new patents.
4. It will be a potent diplomacy tool with countries like USA and multilateral bodies like WTO
& TPP.


In a major step in regenerative medicine, scientists in the US turned skin cells into heart and brain
cells by using a cocktail of chemicals. The two studies which were published in Science and Cell Stem
Cell journals, are especially remarkable as the scientists did not add any external genes to the cells, a
usual requirement.
Benefits of the invention:
1. The research could be the base for one day being able to regenerate lost or damaged cells
with pharmaceutical drugs.
2. The research could be used to treat diseases like Parkinsons disease where the damaged cells
can be regenerated.
This process is much closer to the natural regeneration.

Cartosat-2C is an Earth observation satellite in a sun-synchronous orbit and is a fifth flight unit
of Cartosat series of satellites. The satellite is built at space application centre Ahmedabad, launched
and maintained by the Indian Space Research Organisation. It was launched on June 22 2016.

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

The satellite carries a panchromatic (PAN) camera capable of taking black-and-white pictures in the
visible region of electromagnetic spectrum. It also carries a High-Resolution Multi-Spectral which is a
type of optical imager. The satellite would have spatial resolution of 0.6 metres.
The Launch:
It was launched on June 22 2016 from the second pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
The minisatellites LAPAN-A3, BIROS, and SkySat Gen2-1, microsatellites GHGSat-D, and M3MSat,
and nanosatellites Swayam, and SathyabamaSat, and 12 Flock-2P Dove nanosatellites were launched
along with CartoSat-2C.

77. Middle East respiratory syndrome - coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

Key facts

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory disease caused by a novel
coronavirus (MERSCoV) that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the
common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Typical MERS symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Pneumonia is
common, but not always present. Gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhoea, have also been
Approximately 36% of reported patients with MERS have died.
Although the majority of human cases of MERS have been attributed to human-to-human
infections, camels are likely to be a major reservoir host for MERS-CoV and an animal source of
MERS infection in humans. However, the exact role of camels in transmission of the virus and the
exact route(s) of transmission are unknown.
The virus does not seem to pass easily from person to person unless there is close contact,
such as occurs when providing unprotected care to a patient.
The clinical spectrum of MERS-CoV infection ranges from no symptoms (asymptomatic) or mild
respiratory symptoms to severe acute respiratory disease and death. A typical presentation of
MERS-CoV disease is fever, cough and shortness of breath. Pneumonia is a common finding, but
not always present. Gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhoea, have also been reported.
Severe illness can cause respiratory failure that requires mechanical ventilation and support in an
intensive care unit. Approximately 36% of reported patients with MERS-CoV have died. The virus
appears to cause more severe disease in older people, people with weakened immune systems,
and those with chronic diseases such as cancer, chronic lung disease and diabetes.
Source of the virus

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Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

MERS-CoV is a zoonotic virus that is transmitted from animals to humans. The origins of the virus
are not fully understood but, according to the analysis of different virus genomes, it is believed
that it originated in bats and was transmitted to camels sometime in the distant past.
Non-human to human transmission: The route of transmission from animals to humans is not
fully understood, but camels are likely to be a major reservoir host for MERS-CoV and an animal
source of infection in humans. Strains of MERS-CoV that are identical to human strains have been
isolated from camels in several countries, including Egypt, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
Human-to-human transmission: The virus does not appear to pass easily from person to person
unless there is close contact, such as providing unprotected care to an infected patient. There
have been clusters of cases in healthcare facilities, where human-to-human transmission appears
to be more probable, especially when infection prevention and control practices are inadequate.
Thus far, no sustained community transmission has been documented.
The virus appears to be circulating throughout the Arabian Peninsula, primarily in Saudi Arabia,
where the majority of cases (>85%) have been reported since 2012. Several cases have been
reported outside the Middle East. Most of these infections are believed to have been acquired in
the Middle East, and then exported outside the region. The ongoing outbreak in the Republic of
Korea is the largest outbreak outside of the Middle East, and while concerning, there is no
evidence of sustained human to human transmission in the Republic of Korea. For all other
exported cases, no secondary or limited secondary transmission has been reported in countries
with exported cases.
Prevention and treatment
No vaccine or specific treatment is currently available. Treatment is supportive and based on the
patients clinical condition.
As a general precaution, anyone visiting farms, markets, barns, or other places where camels and
other animals are present should practice general hygiene measures, including regular hand
washing before and after touching animals, and should avoid contact with sick animals.
The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products, including milk and meat, carries a high
risk of infection from a variety of organisms that might cause disease in humans. Animal products
that are processed appropriately through cooking or pasteurization are safe for consumption, but
should also be handled with care to avoid cross contamination with uncooked foods. Camel meat
and camel milk are nutritious products that can continue to be consumed after pasteurization,
cooking, or other heat treatments.
Until more is understood about MERS-CoV, people with diabetes, renal failure, chronic lung
disease, and immunocompromised persons are considered to be at high risk of severe disease

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

from MERS-CoV infection. These people should avoid contact with camels, drinking raw camel
milk or camel urine, or eating meat that has not been properly cooked.
Health-care facilities
Transmission of the virus has occurred in healthcare facilities in several countries, including from
patients to healthcare providers and between patients in a health care setting before MERS-CoV
was diagnosed. It is not always possible to identify patients with MERSCoV early or without
testing because symptoms and other clinical features may be nonspecific.
Infection prevention and control measures are critical to prevent the possible spread of MERSCoV
in healthcare facilities. Facilities that provide care for patients suspected or confirmed to be
infected with MERSCoV should take appropriate measures to decrease the risk of transmission of
the virus from an infected patient to other patients, healthcare workers, or visitors. Healthcare
workers should be educated and trained in infection prevention and control and should refresh
these skills regularly.
WHO does not recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions or entry screening
related to MERS-CoV.
WHO response
WHO is working with clinicians and scientists in affected countries and internationally to gather
and share scientific evidence to better understand the virus and the disease it causes, and to
determine outbreak response priorities, treatment strategies, and clinical management
approaches. The Organization is also working with countries to develop public health prevention
strategies to combat the virus.
Together with affected countries and international technical partners and networks, WHO is
coordinating the global health response to MERS, including: the provision of updated information
on the situation; conducting risk assessments and joint investigations with national authorities;
convening scientific meetings; and developing guidance and training for health authorities and
technical health agencies on interim surveillance recommendations, laboratory testing of cases,
infection prevention and control, and clinical management.
The DirectorGeneral has convened an Emergency Committee under the International Health
Regulations (2005) to advise her as to whether this event constitutes a Public Health Emergency of
International Concern (PHEIC) and on the public health measures that should be taken. The
Committee has met a number of times since the disease was first identified. WHO encourages all
Member States to enhance their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to
carefully review any unusual patterns of SARI or pneumonia cases.
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

Countries, whether or not MERS cases have been reported in them, should maintain a high level of
vigilance, especially those with large numbers of travellers or migrant workers returning from the
Middle East. Surveillance should continue to be enhanced in these countries according to WHO
guidelines, along with infection prevention and control procedures in health-care facilities. WHO
continues to request that Member States report to WHO all confirmed and probable cases of
infection with MERS-CoV together with information about their exposure, testing, and clinical
course to inform the most effective international preparedness and response.

78. INDIAN MISSILE CHART (Last Updated on June 1, 2016)

Below is a list of Indias major missile systems either in operation or under development.






Inducted? NuclearCapable



150 km


800 kg*

May 2007




350 km


500-1,000 kg

May 2016*



350 km


500 kg

April 2015*




700 km


1,000 kg*

March 2016*




2,000 km


1 ton




3,500 km


1.5 tons

April 2015*




4,000 km


1,000 kg*





+5,000 km


1,000 kg*

February 2015 N



150 km


200 kg

July 2011




Ballistic* 60 km - 170


200 kg

Not Tested



K-15 (aka


750 km*


1,000 kg*

January 2013




3,500 km*








290 km

Two/Solid and

200-300 kg

May 2016

(f)N-I: Y

B-I: Y


1,000 km

Two/solid and

450 kg*




Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

a. Due to the secrecy surrounding missile programs, not all the information in this chart is available
from official open sources. Some data come from reliable secondary sources. These data are
indicated by an asterisk(*).
b. The Prithvi-I will reportedly be withdrawn from service and upgraded.
c. Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile.
d. The K-4 was reportedly tested twice in March 2016. The first test was on March 7, and the second
on March 31. The March 31 test was the first conducted from the INS Arihant ballistic missile
submarine (SSBN).
e. The boost phase is solid-fueled while the cruise phase is powered by a liquid ramjet engine.
f. The BrahMos is deployed on multiple platforms. Each deployment has its own designation. N-I
refers to deployments on surface naval vessels. Blocks (B) I-III refer to deployments with the Indian
Army. ALCM refers to Air-Launched Cruise Missiles and SLCM refers to Submarine-Launched Cruise
g. The boost phase is solid-fueled while the cruise phase is powered by a liquid turbofan engine.
h. This test was not successful.
Missile Name





Astra Missile


Air-to-Air Missiles

60 80 km

Mach 4 +


Russia &

Medium Range air-to-air missile

300400 km

Mach 3.3

Akash Missile


Medium-range surface-to-air missile


Mach 2.5
to 3.5

Barak 8


Long Range surface to air Missile

100 km

Mach 2


Exo-atmospheric Anti-ballistic missile


Endoatmospheric Anti-ballistic missile Altitude- 30km Mach 4.5


Exo-atmospheric Anti-ballistic missile

Prithvi Air Defence (PAD)

Advanced Air Defence
Prithvi Defence Vehicle



Russia &

Altitude- 80km Mach 5+


Subsonic cruise missile(Ship, submarine,
1,000 -1500 km Mach 0.8
aircraft and land)
Supersonic cruise missile(Ship,

290 km

Mach 2.8

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

BrahMos II


submarine, aircraft and land)


Hypersonic cruise missile(Ship,

submarine, aircraft and land)

to 3 Mach

Mach 7



Medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) 700-1250 km



Intermediate-range ballistic


Mach 12



Intermediate-range ballistic

3,500 km
5,000 km

56 km/s



Intermediate-range ballistic



Prithvi I
Prithvi II


Short Range Ballistic Missile(Tactical) 150 km

Short Range Ballistic Missile(Tactical) 350 km



Short Range Ballistic Missile(Tactical) 350 600 km



Short Range Ballistic Missile(Tactical) 150 km



Sagarika (K-15)

3,000 4,000
Intercontinental ballistic missile(ICBM)

Medium-Range Ballistic Missile


750 to 1,900


Ballistic Missile
700 1900Km



Ballistic Missile




Ballistic Missile

6,000 km



Anti-Tank Guided Missile

Helina (HELIcopter
launched NAg)


Anti-Tank Guided Missile


Mach 7.5

Mach 7
Mach 24

Mach 7.5
Mach 7+
Mach 7+

230 m/s


79. Medium range surface-to-air missile developed by India, Israel

successfully test-fired
The medium range surface-to-air missile missile (MR-SAM) developed jointly by India and Israel was
successfully test-fired. During the test, the missile was launched from a mobile launcher in the
Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Odisha. After getting signal from the radars, the missile
successfully intercepted a moving aerial target supported by unmanned air vehicle (UAV) Banshee.
Key Facts The MR-SAM has been developed jointly by Defence Research and Development
Laboratory (DRDL), a laboratory of the DRDO in collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
The missile consists of Multi-Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar (MF-STAR) system for
detection, tracking and guidance. The MR-SAM has strike ranges from 50 to 70 km. Once inducted
into Indian Armed forces, it will provide the users capability to neutralise any aerial threats. Earlier in
Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

December 2015, Indian Navy had successfully test launched the long range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM), also developed with Israels assistance. The test was undertaken on the Western Seaboard by
INS Kolkata.

80. Anti-submarine torpedo Varunastra inducted in Indian Navy

Indigenously-built heavyweight anti-submarine torpedo Varunastra has been successfully inducted in
the Indian Navy.
With this India becomes one of the eight countries in the world to have the capability to design and
build such anti-submarine torpedo system.
Key Facts The Varunastra torpedo has been developed by Naval Science and Technological
Laboratory (NSTL), a premier laboratory of DRDO.
It weighs around 1.25 tonnes and carries about 250 kg of explosives at a speed of around 40 nautical
miles an hour. It has almost 95% indigenous content.
It is capable of targeting stealthy and quiet submarines, both in deep and littoral waters in intense
counter-measure environment.
It has advanced autonomous guidance algorithms with low drift navigational aids, insensitive
warhead which can operate in various combat scenarios.
It has integrated instrumentation system for recording its all the dynamic parameters in case of
emergency shut down or malfunction.
It has a GPS-based locating aid which is a unique feature in contemporary torpedoes in the world.
The torpedo can be launched from Delhi, Kolkata, Teg, Talwar and Kamorta classes of warships.
Torpedo: It is a self-propelled weapon with an explosive warhead. It is launched above or below the
water surface and propelled underwater towards a target. It is designed to detonate either on
contact with its target or in proximity to it.

81. India becomes 35th member of Missile Technology Control Regime

India became the 35th full member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). It would be
mutually beneficial in the furtherance of international non-proliferation objectives.
In this regard, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar signed the instrument of accession to MTCR in New
Delhi. It marks Indias first entry into any multilateral export control regime.

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

Indias accession to the regime was conveyed by the MTCR Point of Contact in Paris through the
French Embassy in New Delhi as well as Embassies of The Netherlands and Luxembourg.
India was able to successfully enter this multilateral export control regime with the unopposed
support of all 34 MTCR Partners.
Earlier in 2015, Indias bid for the membership to the group had failed after it was blocked by Italy.
Implications By becoming MTCR member, India will now be able to buy high-end missile technology
and also can enhance its defence joint ventures with Russia. Indias inclusion to the MTCR will also
strengthen its own export controls, which will in turn help it to justify transferring sensitive
technology in front of other MTCR members.
Further, it will pave way for Indias bid to become the member of Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG),
Wassenaar Arrangement (dealing with conventional arms, dual-use goods and technologies) and
Australia Group (dealing with chemical weapons).

Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR): MTCR was established by G-7 countries in 1987.
The aim of the MTCR is to restrict the proliferation of missiles, unmanned air vehicles (UAVs),
complete rocket systems and related technology for those systems capable of carrying a 500
kilogram payload for at least 300 kms, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of
mass destruction (WMDs).

82. Key Notes on Missiles of India (Important list of Indian Missiles)

Akash : Surface to air missile.

Nag : Anti tank missile.
Amogha missile: Anti tank missile.(under development)
Prithvi-I (SS-150) : surface to surface Ballistic Missile.
Prithvi-II (SS-250) : surface to surface Ballistic Missile.

Prithvi-III (SS-350) : surface to surface Ballistic Missile.

Agni-I MRBM : surface to surface medium-range ballistic missile.
Agni-II MRBM : surface to surface medium-range ballistic missile.
Agni-III IRBM : surface to surface intermediate-range ballistic missile.
Agni-IV IRBM : surface to surface intermediate-range ballistic missile

Agni-V ICBM : surface to surface intercontinental ballistic missile.

Agni-VI : Four-stage Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.[2] (under development)

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Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

Dhanush (missile) : Ship launched surface to surface Ballistic Missile.

K 15 : Submarine launched Ballistic Missile.

K 4 : Submarine launched Ballistic Missile. (Undergoing trials)
K 5 : Submarine launched Ballistic Missile. (under development)
Shaurya : surface to surface hypersonic tactical missile.
BrahMos : Fastest Supersonic cruise missile in the world.
BrahMos-A : Air launched Cruise Missile.
Surya-ICBM : surface to surface intercontinental ballistic missile.
BrahMos-NG : Mini version based on BrahMos (missile). (under development)
BrahMos-II : Hypersonic missile.(under development)

Astra BVRAAM : Active radar homing Beyond-visual-range Air to Air Missile.

DRDO Anti-Radiation Missile : state-of-the-art Air-to-surface anti-radiation missile.
(under development)
Nirbhay : Long Range subsonic cruise missile. (under development)
Prahaar : Tactical short range Ballistic Missile.
Helina : Air launched anti tank missile. (under development)
Barak 8 : Long range surface to air missile.
Pradyumna Ballistic Missile Interceptor : Ballistic Missile interceptor, surface to air
Ashwin Ballistic Missile Interceptor : Ballistic Missile interceptor / anti aircraft missile.
Trishul (missile) : Surface to air missile.
Prithvi Air Defence : Exo-atmospheric Anti-ballistic missile.
Advanced Air Defence : Endoatmospheric Anti-ballistic missile.


1. GSAT-6 is the twenty fifth geostationary communication satellite of India built by ISRO and
twelfth in the GSAT series. Five of GSAT-6's predecessors were launched by GSLV during 2001,
2003, 2004, 2007 and 2014 respectively. After its commissioning, GSAT-6 has joined the group
of India's other operational geostationary satellites.

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Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

2. GSAT-6 Satellite provides communication through five spot beams in S-band and a national
beam in C-band for strategic users. The cuboid shaped GSAT-6 has a lift-off mass of 2117 kg.
Of this, propellants weigh 1132 kg and the dry mass of the satellite is 985 kg.
3. One of the advanced features of GSAT-6 satellite is its S-Band Unfurlable Antenna of 6 m
diameter. This is the largest satellite antenna realised by ISRO. This antenna is utilised for five
spot beams over the Indian main land. The spot beams exploit the frequency reuse scheme to
increase frequency spectrum utilisation efficiency. The other advanced feature of the satellite
is the 70 V bus, which is flying first time in an Indian communication satellite
4. After its injection into GTO by GSLV-D6, ISRO's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan takes
control of GSAT-6 and performs the initial orbit raising manoeuvres by repeatedly firing the
Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) on-board the satellite, finally placing it in the circular
Geostationary Orbit. After this, deployment of the antenna and three axis stabilisation of the
satellite will be performed. GSAT-6 has been positioned at 83 deg East longitude.
(b) GSAT-15
GSAT-15, Indias latest Communication Satellite is a high power satellite being inducted into the
INSAT/GSAT system. Weighing 3164 kg at lift-off, GSAT-15 carries a total of 24 communication
transponders in Ku-band as well as a GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) payload
operating in L1 and L5 bands. GSAT-15 was the third satellite to carry GAGAN payload after GAST-8
and GSAT-10, which are already providing navigation services from orbit. GSAT-15, carries a Ku-band
beacon as well to help in accurately pointing ground antennas towards the satellite.
GSAT-15 was launched by Ariane-5 VA-227 launch vehicle from Kourou, French Guiana on early
morning of November 11, 2015

Communication and Satellite Navigation


3164 kg (Mass at Lift off)

1440 kg (Dry Mass)


Solar array providing 6200 Watts and Three 100 AH Lithium-Ion



Bi- propellant System

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)


[Science & Technology: Current corner by Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari]

Launch date

November 11, 2015

Launch site

Kourou, French Guiana

Launch vehicle

Ariane-5 VA-227


Geostationary (93.5 East longitude)

Co-located with INSAT-3A and INSAT-4B

Mission life

12 Years

2. List of Earth Observation Satellies

Cartosat-2 Series Satellite
The Cartosat-2 series satellite is the primary satellite carried by PSLV-C34. This satellite is similar to
the earlier Cartosat-2, 2A and 2B. After its injection into a 505 km polar Sun Synchronous Orbit by
PSLV-C34, the satellite was brought to operational configuration following which it will begin
providing regular remote sensing services using Panchromatic and Multi-spectral cameras.
The imagery of Cartosat-2 series satellite will be useful cartographic applications, urban and rural
applications, coastal land use and regulation, utility management like road network monitoring, water
distribution, creation of land use maps, precision study, change detection to bring out geographical and
manmade features and various other Land Information System (LIS) and Geographical Information
System (GIS) applications.
Launch of PSLV-C34/Cartosat-2 Series Satellite Mission took place on June 22, 2016 at 09:26 hrs
(IST) from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota.
Launch Mass: 727.5 kg
Launch Date: Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Power: 986 W
Launch Vehicle: PSLV-C34 / Cartosat-2 series satellite
Type of Satellite: Earth Observation
Manufacturer: ISRO
Owner: ISRO
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Application: Earth Observation
Orbit Type: SSPO (Sun Synchronous Polar Orbit)

3. Space Science & Exploration

Indian space programme encompasses research in areas like astronomy, astrophysics, planetary and
earth sciences, atmospheric sciences and theoretical physics. Balloons, sounding rockets, space
platforms and ground-based facilities support these research efforts. A series of sounding rockets are
available for atmospheric experiments. Several scientific instruments have been flown on satellites
especially to direct celestial X-ray and gamma-ray bursts.
(a) AstroSat
AstroSat is the first dedicated Indian astronomy mission aimed at studying celestial sources in X-ray,
optical and UV spectral bands simultaneously. The payloads cover the energy bands of Ultraviolet,
limited optical and X-ray regime. One of the unique features of AstroSat mission is that it enables the
simultaneous multi-wavelength observations of various astronomical objects with a single satellite.
AstroSat with a lift-off mass of 1515 kg was launched on September 28, 2015 into a 650 km orbit
inclined at an angle of 6 deg to the equator by PSLV-C30 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre,
Sriharikota. The minimum useful life of the AstroSat mission is expected to be 5 years.
After injection into Orbit, the two solar panels of AstroSat were automatically deployed in quick
succession. The spacecraft control centre at Mission Operations Complex (MOX) of ISRO Telemetry,
Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC), Bengaluru manages the satellite during its entire mission
The science data gathered by five payloads of AstroSat are telemetered to the ground station at MOX.
The data is then processed, archived and distributed by Indian Space Science Data Centre (ISSDC)
located at Bylalu, near Bengaluru.
The scientific objectives of AstroSat mission are:
To understand high energy processes in binary star systems containing neutron stars and black
Estimate magnetic fields of neutron stars;
Study star birth regions and high energy processes in star systems lying beyond our galaxy;
Detect new briefly bright X-ray sources in the sky;
Perform a limited deep field survey of the Universe in the Ultraviolet region.
At present, all the payloads are operational and are observing the cosmic sources. The spacecraft and
payloads are healthy. The first six months was dedicated for performance verification and calibration
of payloads .After that, the science observations by the payloads began.
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(b) Mars Orbiter Mission
Mars Orbiter Mission is ISROs first interplanetary mission to planet Mars with an orbiter craft
designed to orbit Mars in an elliptical orbit of 372 km by 80,000 km. Mars Orbiter mission can be
termed as a challenging technological mission and a science mission considering the critical mission
operations and stringent requirements on propulsion, communications and other bus systems of the
spacecraft. The primary driving technological objective of the mission is to design and realize a
spacecraft with a capability to perform Earth Bound Manoeuvre (EBM), Martian Transfer Trajectory
(MTT) and Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) phases and the related deep space mission planning and
communication management at a distance of nearly 400 million Km. Autonomous fault detection and
recovery also becomes vital for the mission.
(c) Chandrayaan-1
Chandrayaan-1, India's first mission to Moon, was launched successfully on October 22, 2008 from
SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota. The spacecraft was orbiting around the Moon at a height of 100 km from
the lunar surface for chemical, mineralogical and photo-geologic mapping of the Moon. The spacecraft
carried 11 scientific instruments built in India, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden and Bulgaria.
(d) Chandrayaan-2
Chandrayaan-2 will be an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 mission to
Moon.Chandrayaan-2 is configured as a two module system comprising of an Orbiter Craft module
(OC) and a Lander Craft module (LC) carrying the Rover developed by ISRO.


(Sept 2015 to June 2016)


Launch Date

Launcher Type


PSLV-C34 / Cartosat-2 series satellite

Jun 22, 2016




Apr 28, 2016



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Mar 10, 2016




Jan 20, 2016



PSLV-C29 / TeLEOS-1 Mission

Dec 16, 2015




Sep 28, 2015




Indias Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its thirty first flight (PSLV-C30), is scheduled to launch
1513 kg Astrosat into a 650 km orbit of 6 deg inclination to the equator. Along with Astrosat, six
satellites from international customers viz., 76 kg LAPAN-A2 of Indonesia, 14 kg NLS-14 (Ev9) of
Canada and four identical LEMUR satellites of USA together weighing about 28 kg will be launched
in this PSLV flight.
PSLV-C30 successfully launched from First Launch Pad (FLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Centre
(SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota. PSLV-C30 is the tenth flight of PSLV in its 'XL' Configuration. The
earlier nine flights of PSLV-XL were PSLV-C11/Chandrayaan-1, PSLV-C17/GSAT-12, PSLVC19/RISAT-1, PSLV-C22/IRNSS-1A, PSLV-C25/Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, PSLV-C24/IRNSS-1B
and PSLV-C26/IRNSS-1C, PSLV-C27/IRNSS-1D, PSLV-C28/DMC3 missions. The total payload
weight of PSLV-C30 is 1631 kg.
International customer satellites of PSLV-C30
LAPAN-A2 is a Microsatellite from National Institute of Aeronautics and Space-LAPAN, Indonesia.
LAPAN-A2 is meant for providing maritime surveillance using Automatic Identification System
(AIS), supporting Indonesian radio amateur communities for disaster mitigation and carrying out Earth
surveillance using video and digital camera.
NLS-14 (Ev9), a Nanosatellite from Space Flight Laboratory, University of Toronto Institute for
Advanced Studies (SFL, UTIAS), Canada. It is a maritime monitoring Nanosatellite using the next
generation Automatic Identification System (AIS).
Four LEMUR nano satellites from Spire Global, Inc. (San Francisco, CA), USA, are non-visual
remote sensing satellites, focusing primarily on global maritime intelligence through vessel tracking
via the Automatic Identification System (AIS), and high fidelity weather forecasting using GPS Radio
Occultation technology.

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(b) PSLV-C29 / TeLEOS-1 Mission
India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its thirty-second flight (PSLV-C29), will launch six satellites
of Singapore into a 550 km circular orbit inclined at 15 degrees to the equator. Of these six satellites,
TeLEOS-1 is the primary satellite weighing 400 kg whereas the other five are co-passenger satellites
which include two micro-satellites and three nano-satellites. PSLV-C29 will be launched from the First
Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota. This is the eleventh flight of
PSLV in 'core-alone' configuration (without the use of solid strap-on motors).
Along with TeLEOS-1, the five co-passenger satellites launched are VELOX-CI (123 kg) microsatellite; VELOX-II (13 kg) 6U-Cubesat technology demonstrator; Athenoxat-1, a technology
demonstrator nano-satellite; Kent Ridge-1 (78 kg), a micro-satellite; and Galassia (3.4 kg ) 2UCubesat.
"PSLV-C29 Successfully Launches all the Six Satellites from Singapore from Satish Dhawan Space
Centre (SDSC), SHAR, Sriharikota on December 16, 2015"
Antrix Corporation Limited (ACL) has entered into the Launch Services Agreement with ST
Electronics (Satcom & Sensor Systems), Singapore during February 2014, for launch of TeLEOS-1, an
earth observation satellite of ST Electronics along with five co-passenger satellites from Singapore

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its 33rd flight (PSLV-C31), launches IRNSS-1E, the fifth satellite of
the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS). The launch took place from the Second
Launch Pad (SLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota on January 20,2016 at
09:31 Hrs (IST). As in the previous four launches of IRNSS satellites, PSLV-C31 uses XL version
of PSLV. This is the eleventh time XL configuration was flown, earlier ten being PSLVC11/Chandrayaan-1, PSLV-C17/GSAT-12, PSLV-C19/RISAT-1, PSLV-C22/IRNSS-1A, PSLVC25/Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, PSLV-C24/IRNSS-1B, PSLV-C26/IRNSS-1C, PSLV-C27/IRNSS-1D,
PSLV-C28/DMC-3 and PSLV-C30/ASTROSAT missions.
IRNSS-1E is the fifth navigation satellite of the seven satellites constituting the IRNSS space segment.
Its predecessors, IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C and 1D were launched by PSLV-C22, PSLV-C24, PSLV-C26 and
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PSLV-C27 in July 2013, April 2014, October 2014 and March 2015 respectively. IRNSS-1E has a liftoff mass of 1425 kg. The configuration of IRNSS-1E is similar to that of IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C and 1D.
IRNSS -1E carries two types of payloads navigation payload and ranging payload. The navigation
payload of IRNSS-1E will transmit navigation service signals to the users. This payload will be
operating in L5-band and S-band. A highly accurate Rubidium atomic clock is part of the navigation
payload of the satellite. The ranging payload of IRNSS-1E consists of a C-band transponder which
facilitates accurate determination of the range of the satellite. IRNSS-1E also carries Corner Cube
Retro Reflectors for laser ranging.
PSLV-C31 Successfully launches IRNSS-1E on January 20, 2016 at 09:31 Hrs (IST) from Satish
Dhawan Space Centre SHAR (SDSC SHAR), Sriharikota, the spaceport of India.
Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its thirty fourth flight (PSLV-C32), launches IRNSS-1F, the sixth
satellite of the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS). The launch took place from the
Second Launch Pad (SLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota. This is the
thirty third consecutively successful mission of PSLV and the twelfth in its 'XL' configuration, earlier
eleventh being PSLV-C11/Chandrayan-1, PSLV-C17/GSAT-12, PSLV-C19/RISAT-1, PSLVC22/IRNSS-1A, PSLV-C25/Mars Orbiter Spacecraft, PSLV-C24/IRNSS-1B, PSLV-C26/IRNSS-1C,
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in its thirty-fifth flight (PSLV-C33), launches IRNSS-1G, the
seventh satellite of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) into a SubGeosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO). The launch took place from the First Launch Pad (FLP)
of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota on April 28, 2016. As in the previous six
launches of IRNSS satellites, PSLV-C33 uses XL version of PSLV equipped with six strap-ons, each
carrying 12 tons of propellant.
The 'XL' configuration of PSLV is used for the thirteenth time. Besides launching six IRNSS satellites,
PSLV-XL has also launched many other spacecraft including Indias Mars Orbiter spacecraft, the
multi-wavelength observatory ASTROSAT, Radar Imaging satellite RISAT-1 and the Communication
satellite GSAT-12. This apart, PSLV-XL has successfully placed five satellites from United Kingdom
into orbit in a single commercial mission.
This is the thirty-fourth consecutively successful mission of PSLV, repeatedly proving its reliability
and versatility.

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(F) PSLV-C34 / Cartosat-2 series satellite
In its thirty sixth flight (PSLV-C34), ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle successfully launched the
727.5 kg Cartosat-2 Series Satellite along with 19 co-passenger satellites today morning (June 22,
2016) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. This is the thirty fifth consecutively
successful mission of PSLV and the fourteenth in its 'XL' configuration. The total weight of all the 20
satellites carried on-board PSLV-C34 was 1288 kg.
After PSLV-C34 lift-off at 0926 hrs (9:26 am) IST from the Second Launch Pad with the ignition of
the first stage, the subsequent important flight events, namely, strap-on ignitions and separations, first
stage separation, second stage ignition, heat-shield separation, second stage separation, third stage
ignition and separation, fourth stage ignition and cut-off, took place as planned. After a flight of 16
minutes 30 seconds, the satellites achieved a polar Sun Synchronous Orbit of 508 km inclined at an
angle of 97.5 degree to the equator (very close to the intended orbit) and in the succeeding
minutes, all the 20 satellites successfully separated from the PSLV fourth stage in a predetermined
After separation, the two solar arrays of Cartosat-2 series satellite were deployed automatically and
ISRO's Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bangalore took over the control of
the satellite. In the coming days, the satellite will be brought to its final operational configuration
following which it will begin to provide remote sensing services using its panchromatic (black and
white) and multispectral (colour) cameras.
The imagery sent by the Cartosat-2 series satellite will be useful for cartographic applications, urban
and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, utility management like road network
monitoring, water distribution, creation of land use maps, precision study, change detection to bring
out geographical and manmade features and various other Land Information System (LIS) and
Geographical Information System (GIS) applications.
Of the 19 co-passenger satellites carried by PSLV-C34, two SATHYABAMASAT weighing 1.5 kg
and SWAYAM weighing 1 kg are University/Academic institute satellites and were built with the
involvement of students from Sathyabama University, Chennai and College Of Engineering, Pune,
The remaining 17 co-passenger satellites were international customer satellites from Canada (2),
Germany (1), Indonesia (1) and the United States (13).
With todays successful launch, the total number of satellites launched by Indias workhorse launch
vehicle PSLV has reached 113, of which 39 are Indian and the remaining 74 from abroad.
List of some important satellite launched by PSLV C34:
LAPAN A3 (Indonesia) Mass: 120 kg
M3MSat (Canada) Mass: 85 kg
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GHGSat-D (Canada) Mass: 25.5
BIROS (Germany) Mass: 130 kg
Skysat Gen2-1 (USA) Mass: 110 kg
Dove Satellite (USA) Mass: 4.7 kg each
Sathyabamasat (India) Mass: 1.5 kg
Swayam (India) Mass: 1 kg

GSLV-D6 is the ninth flight of India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). It is also the
fifth developmental flight of GSLV. This is the third time the indigenously developed Cryogenic
Upper Stage (CUS) is being carried on-board during a GSLV flight. GSLV-D6 flight is significant
since it intends to continue the testing of CUS. GSLV is designed to inject 2 ton class of
communication satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
GSLV-D6 will be launched from the Second Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR
(SDSC SHAR), Sriharikota.
GSLV-D6 will launch 2117 kg GSAT-6, an advanced communication satellite, into a GTO. GSAT-6
will provide S-band communication services in the country. After reaching GTO, GSAT-6 will use its
own propulsion system to reach its final geostationary orbital home and will be stationed 0 at 83 East
GSLV-D6 vehicle is configured with all its three stages including the CUS similar to the ones
successfully flown during the previous GSLV-D5 mission in January 2014. GSLV-D5 successfully
placed GSAT-14 satellite carried on-board in the intended GTO very accurately.
The metallic payload fairing of GSLV-D6 has a diameter of 3.4 m. The overall length of GSLV-D6 is
49.1 m with a lift-off mass of 416 t.
The Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) being flown in GSLV-D6 is designated as CUS-06. A Cryogenic
rocket stage is more efficient and provides more thrust for every kilogram of propellant it burns
compared to solid and earth-storable liquid propellant rocket stages.
The cryogenic stage is technically a very complex system compared to solid or earth-storable liquid
propellant stages due to its use of propellants at extremely low temperatures and the associated thermal
and structural challenges. Oxygen liquifies at -183 deg C and Hydrogen at -253 deg C. The
propellants, at these low temperatures, are to be pumped using turbo pumps running at around 40,000
The main engine and two smaller steering engines of CUS together develop a nominal thrust of 73.55
kN in vacuum. During the flight, CUS fires for a nominal duration of 720 seconds.

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
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S-band telemetry and C-band transponders enable GSLV-D6 performance monitoring, tracking, range
safety/flight safety and Preliminary Orbit Determination (POD).

3. LVM3
LVM3 is a very heavy launch capability launcher being developed by ISRO. It will allow India to
achieve complete self reliance in launching satellites as it will be capable of placing 4 tonne class
Geosynchronous satellite into orbit. The LVM3 will have an India built cryogenic stage with higher
capacity than GSLV. The first experimental flight of LVM3, the LVM3-X/CARE mission lifted off
from Sriharikota on December 18, 2014 and successfully tested the atmospheric phase of flight. Crew
module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment (CARE) was also carried out in this flight. The module
reentered, deployed its parachutes as planned and splashed down in the Bay of Bengal.

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PULKIT GARG Rank - 27 (CSE-2015)

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Charchit Gaur Rank-96 (CSE-2015)

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Gurleen Kaur Rank 146 (CSE-2015)

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Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
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Dr. Ravi Agrahari (Scientist in IIT Delhi

with the association of DST)

Dr. Ravi P. Agrahari (PhD IIT Delhi) working as a scientist in IIT Delhi with the association of
Department of Science & Technology (GOI)