Science & Technology Current Affairs 2018 - Current Affairs Today

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  • Smartworks introduced Smart Mitri, a female AI robot

    22 hours ago
    Smartworks, a leading workspaces player, introduced ‘Smart Mitri’, a female AI robot, which will be Smartworks’ in-house productivity mascot. It will play an influential role in handling the overall office management for the facility, ranging from the visitor system to being a counsellor eventually. Smartworks recently launched its flagship facility in Bengaluru. It is spread over 3 lakh sq ft with 6,000 seats. This facility is the firm’s largest centre. With 20 locations across nine cities, the firm caters to more than 500 organizations across large enterprises, SMEs and startups. Some of the clients are Tata Communications, Microsoft, ArcelorMittal, Amazon, Carrier, Otis, Daikin, Lenovo, Bacardi and OLX.

    NASA Voyager 2 becomes 2nd human-made object to exit Solar System

    24 hours ago
    Voyager 2 was launched on August 20, 1977, 16 days before the Voyager 1, which had entered interstellar space in 2012. Voyager 2 now crossed the outer edge of the heliosphere - called the heliopause - on Nov. 5 and was 11 billion miles from Earth. Voyager 2 explored the solar system's outer planets, returning stunning photos of Neptune.

    Indian Railways launched Rail Madad

    1 day ago
    Indian Railways (IR) launched ‘Rail Madad’, a mobile app which will help the passengers to register complaints through mobile phone/web. It will also enable them to communicate real-time feedback on the status of redressal of their complaints. The digital initiative integrates all the passenger complaints received from multiple modes on a single platform. The app has two modes of registration of complaints, web-based and mobile app-based. Web-based complaints can be registered through railmadad.in. For mobile-app based app, the app can be downloaded from Google Play Store or Apple IOS (iPhone) Store. An aggrieved passenger will get an instant ID through SMS on registration of complaint followed by a customized SMS communicating the action taken thereon by the railways.

    UP government to introduce a new software to curb cheating in UP board exams

    1 day ago
    The Uttar Pradesh State government has designed a new software and a four-step process initiated to check the menace of copying in the Uttar Pradesh Board exams. The aim is to curtail the use of unfair means by students while making efforts to improve the quality of education. This process will begin from 7th February 2019. Exam centres in the State, which reported maximum cases of cheating in the past, will be strictly monitored.  Owing to the efforts of the U.P. government, the use of unfair means has stopped, and the number of students studying in government schools has increased by 18-20%. Also, over 58 lakh students have registered for the board exam.

    India successfully test-fired nuclear-capable Agni-5 missile from Odisha coast

    1 day ago
    Indigenously-developed surface-to-surface missile Agni-5 has a strike range of 5,000 km. Agni-5 is a three-stage missile and is 17 metre tall and 2 metre wide. It is capable of carrying 1.5 tonne of nuclear warheads. The Agni-5 is the latest and most advanced variant in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine. India has in its armoury the Agni missile series -- Agni-1 with a range of 700 km, Agni-2 with a range of 2,000 km, Agni-3 and Agni-4 with 2,500 km to more than 3,500 km range.

    NASA's 'OSIRIS-REx' reached asteroid Bennu

    9 December 2018
    NASA’s ‘Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer’ (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft arrived at the asteroid named ‘Bennu’ on 3rd December 2018. The spacecraft’s mission involves a close-up survey of the asteroid Bennu. It is the part of NASA’s New Frontiers Programme. ‘OSIRIS-REx’ was launched in September 2016.

    Study says Cyberattacks cost big firms in India USD 10.3 mn on an average

    9 December 2018
    Frost and Sullivan study commissioned by Microsoft said that a large-sized organization in India incurs an average of $10.3 million in economic losses due to cyberattacks. It also said cyberattacks cost a mid-sized organisation an average of $11,000 in economic losses. Cybersecurity attacks have also resulted in job losses across different functions in more than three in five (64%) organisations that have experienced an incident during the survey period.

    IIT Delhi launched the Centre for Technology and Policing

    8 December 2018
    The Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology-Delhi (IIIT-D), New Delhi launched the Centre for Technology and Policing. It aimed at strengthening the Delhi Police by providing the latest technology in the field of crime prevention and control. Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi Anil Baijal inaugurated the Centre. The research activities at the Centre will help the police control criminal activities. It will assist the police in criminal identification, law and order management, cyber policing, traffic management, and combating terrorist activities using Artificial Intelligence, social media analysis, biometrics, image processing, big data, and network forensics. It also plans to train police personnel to acquire knowledge in using the latest tools and techniques to aid other aspects of policing such as traffic management, disaster management, urban crime, and terrorism.

    Scientists discovered over 100 new exoplanets using NASAs Kepler Space Telescope

    8 December 2018
    Using data from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope and the ground-based observatories, the NASA scientists have discovered a cache over 100 new exoplanets. The diverse planets are expected to play a large role in developing the research field of exoplanets and life in the Universe. Exoplanets revolve around stars other than the sun. They have been actively researched in recent years. One of the reasons is the success of the Kepler Space Telescope, which launched in 2009 to search for exoplanets. If a planet crosses in front of its parent star, then the observed brightness of the star drops by a small amount. The Kepler Space Telescope detected many exoplanets using this method.

    ISRO's heaviest satellite GSAT-11 launched, will increase internet speed

    6 December 2018
    France-based Arianespace successfully launched GSAT-11, the heaviest satellite built by ISRO from its port in French Guiana. Weighing 5,854 kg, the GSAT-11 will boost broadband speeds and provide high bandwidth connectivity with up to 14 gigabit per second  (GBPS) data transfer speed. The satellite’s designed lifetime is more than 15 years.

    Researchers found Microplastics in all sea turtle species

    6 December 2018
    Researchers from the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory, London working with the Greenpeace Research Laboratories conducted tests on over 100 sea turtles, spanning 3 oceans and all 7 species. The test revealed microplastics in the guts of every single turtle. Synthetic particles were found, the most common being fibres, which can come from clothing, tyres and cigarette filters, and equipment such as ropes and nets. Out of the studied 102 turtles, more than 800 synthetic particles were found. As the researchers only tested part of each animal’s gut, the total number of particles is estimated to be about 20 times higher. It is not known how synthetic particles are ingested by turtles, but the likely sources are polluted seawater and sediments and eating via prey or plants.

    SpaceX Launches 64 Satellites Aboard Reusable Rocket

    6 December 2018
    SpaceX successfully launched 64 small satellites, including India’s ExseedSAT-1 in the company’s largest-ever “rideshare” mission on a twice-reused Falcon 9 rocket that lifted off from a California launchpad.  This is a new USA record.

    First manned Soyuz mission to ISS was launched successfully

    4 December 2018
    After the October launch failure, a Soyuz rocket carrying Russian, American and Canadian astronauts took off from Kazakhstan and reached orbit on 3rd December in the first manned mission. Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency were launched off for a six-and-a-half month mission on the International Space Station (ISS).  After the rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Russian space agency Roscomos announced that the capsule was successfully launched into orbit.

    NASA to launch VISIONS 2 to image Earths leaky atmosphere

    3 December 2018
    NASA is set to launch VISIONS-2 rocket to get a closer look at the how the earth’s atmosphere is leaking into space. The VISIONS-2 mission, Visualizing Ion Outflow via Neutral Atom Sensing-2, is scheduled to be launched on December 4. Understanding atmospheric escape on earth has applications all over the Universe, from predicting which planets might be habitable, to piecing together how Mars became a desolate landscape.  A sounding rocket makes brief, targeted flights into space before falling back to Earth just a few minutes later. Sounding rockets are unique among scientific spacecraft for their superior dexterity. They can be carted to remote locations, where they are aimed and shot into short-lived events, like the sudden formation of the aurora borealis, at a moment’s notice. The aurora borealis is of keen interest to the VISIONS-2 team, but not just for its otherworldly glow. The aurora play are fundamental drivers in the process of atmospheric escape, whereby planets, including Earth, gradually leak their atmosphere into space.

    DRDO invites applications from military officers into DRDS

    3 December 2018
    The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) invited applications from serving officers of the three services already working with it for permanent absorption as civilian officials into its Defence Research and Development Cadre (DRDS).  The deadline for submitting applications is December 20, after which a committee would shortlist eligible officers based on their research experience to the equivalent ranks and research aptitude, among other criteria. The broad eligibility criteria are: the service officers on tenure should not be above the age of 50 years as on December 20, 2018, while there is no such stipulation for PS officers. Another important criterion is that the officers should not have been fully superseded in their parent organizations. Once absorbed, the officers will be treated as civilian scientists for pay and promotion.

    Global Water Monitor & Forecast Watch List released by IScience US based limited liability Corporation

    30 November 2018
    According to the latest edition of Global Water Monitor & Forecast Watch List (November 2018), released by IScience (US-based limited liability Corporation), Water deficits will increase and intensify in India in 2019. Exceptional water deficits occur throughout Gujarat in the west and severe to exceptional deficits from Madhya Pradesh through Karnataka, as well as in Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, and India’s far northeast. The forecast predicts severe to exceptional surplus water for regions including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Mizoram. Moderate to severe deficits were forecast for Bihar. The monsoon rain deficits, caused due to the effect of El Niño, have caused drought-like conditions in almost a third of Indian districts. The months of May through July (2019), indicates primarily moderate deficits in India and some surpluses in Jammu and Kashmir, northern Pakistan, along the Gandaki River in central Nepal, and pockets of Tamil Nadu.  

    ISRO launched HysIS into orbit

    30 November 2018
    Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the Hyper Spectral Imaging Satellite (HysIS),  being dubbed ‘Sharp Eye’, into space along with 30 other foreign satellites on board the workhorse PSLV rocket on 29th November. HysIS with a mission life of five years was placed in an orbit 636 km above the earth. It will travel over the poles and always face the son. While 23 satellites were from the US, the rest were from Australia, Canada, Columbia, Finland, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Spain. These satellites were commercially contracted for launch through Antrix Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of ISRO.

    Electric cars set to replace diesel, petrol vehicles in Telangana State offices

    29 November 2018
    The Telangana government offices are soon to make way for electric cars as the State aims at promoting non-polluting vehicles. The government has brought in the Electric Mobility Policy 2018-2023 to encourage the use of carbon-free cars. It has followed it up by signing with the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL). The EESL in principle has agreed to invest a whopping Rs.10,250 crore in the State to procure 1,00,000 cars. The State has sought support from two automobile companies, the Mahindra and the Tata and Sons, to provide 100 cars before the end of December. The two signature electric cars, the Mahindra Verito, and the Tata Tigor, can be charged for six hours with AC charger and 90 minutes with DC charger and can travel for 100-110 km. It is expected that the introduction of electric cars could provide smart solutions to the concerns over increasing carbon emissions and pave way for cleaner cities, apart from rising in fuel prices. It is estimated that 2.5 kg of carbon and 60 grams of nitrogen are emitted for every litre of diesel. There is a rise in the incidence of lung cancer and respiratory diseases.

    Researchers developed new method that uses sunlight to purify water

    28 November 2018
    Scientists from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) in Germany have developed a simple process that can remove persistent pollutants in water using mere sunlight under the most basic conditions.  The researchers rely on electrons moving freely in water, called hydrated electrons, to degrade dissolved pollutants. They conducted a field trial in a meadow and tested their new approach in water contaminated with chloroacetic acid. The pollutants were eliminated in a small sample of water even when there was only a moderate amount of sunshine. Follow-up studies will examine whether the method developed by the chemists in Halle can also be used for large-scale removal of pollutants.

    ISRO to launch HysIS on 29th November

    28 November 2018
    Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has planned to launch HysIS, the country's first hyperspectral imaging satellite for advanced earth observation, on 29th November from Sriharikota. A lowdown of the payload: ♦ PSLV-C43 mission will launch 31 satellite in total into 2 orbits ♦ Slated to last just under 2 hours, it will be ISRO's 3rd longest mission ♦ 30 co-passengers include a microsatellite (100-kg class) and 29 nanosatellites (under 10 kg). They are from United States of America (23), Australia, Canada, Columbia, Finland, Malaysia, Netherlands and Spain (one each satellite) ♦ The foreign satellites together weigh around 261 kg ♦ Their launches were booked with ISRO's arm Antrix Corporation

    WhatsApp Business Head Neeraj Arora Resigns

    27 November 2018
    WhatsApp’s Chief Business Officer Neeraj Arora has resigned from the post after 7-years in the company. His exit comes seven months after WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum left the company. Arora had been an integral part of WhatsApp since 2011 and played a vital role in the company’s acquisition by Facebook in 2014. Neeraj Arora was the front-runner for the post of the CEO at WhatsApp after the departure of Koum.

    NASA InSight Lands On Mars 7 Months After Launch

    27 November 2018
    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) InSight spacecraft landed on Mars after nearly a 7 months, 458-million-kilometer journey, and a 6.5-minute parachuted descent through the Red Planet’s atmosphere. The 360-kg lander also shared its first photo from Mars, showing an area called Elysium Planitia, where it will dig five meters below the surface.

    Neighbourly app launched in Bengaluru, Delhi to gather information about a neighbourhood: Google NBU

    25 November 2018
    Google’s Next Billion Users (NBU) team announced the national roll-out of its Neighbourly app in Delhi and Bangalore. The full-fledged app offers services in 8 vernacular languages and is a targeted app with a geographic radius between 1 to 5 km. The initial phase was tested in Mumbai, followed by Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Mysore, Vizag, Kochi and Coimbatore,

    Whatsapp appoints Abhijit Bose as India head, to set up team in Gurugram

    24 November 2018
    Facebook-owned Messaging Company WhatsApp appointed Abhijit Bose, co-founder, and CEO of Payment device maker Ezetap as the head of WhatsApp India. Abhijit Bose who has 17 years of experience in product management, product development and product marketing with expertise in software and mobile market will join WhatsApp in early 2019 and he is going to build WhatsApp biggest team outside the USA in Gurugram.

    Fish genes hold key to repairing damaged hearts

    24 November 2018
    Researchers at the University of Oxford have identified a gene behind the Mexican tetra fish has the ability to repair its damaged heart. This is expected to have an advance that may hold clues for future treatments in humans.  The study compared the genetic code of the river fish to that of the cavefish. Two genes, lrrc10, and caveolin were much more active in the river fish and could be key in allowing the river fish to repair their hearts. Researchers hope that by unlocking the secrets of these remarkable fish, we will one day be able to heal human hearts in much the same way.

    Kerala government alerted people on the spread of H1N1

    22 November 2018
    The Health Department of Kerala has issued an alert on H1N1, which has been showing a spike in the State since September. There have been 494 confirmed cases of H1N1 this year to date, including 24 deaths. People can avail Oseltamivir for free in all government hospitals. Cases are spread throughout districts, with 175 cases and nine deaths being reported in the month of November alone. As H1N1 has been on the rise in all south Indian States the Doctors should necessarily follow the ABC guidelines and standard treatment protocols for H1N1 when treating patients with cold and fever.

    UNESCO along with World Jewish congress launched Holocaust education website

    21 November 2018
    The U.N. culture and education agency has teamed up with the World Jewish Congress and launched “Facts about the Holocaust ” site at the cultural agency’s Paris headquarters. The "Fact about the Holocaust" site is a website to counter Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism.  The site features a trove of historical information about the Holocaust, including testimonies and it is linked to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Online Holocaust Encyclopedia. This move is to combat the increased hate and disinformation online on Jewish issues. It came five months after the organization launched the UN’s first educational guidelines on fighting anti-Semitism. The pro-Jewish initiatives inside UNESCO came as Israel was preparing its withdrawal from the agency amid accusations that it fosters anti-Jewish bias. Anti-semitism: Anti-semitism is hostility to, prejudice, or discrimination against Jews. A person who holds such positions is called an anti-semite. Anti-semitism is generally considered to be a form of racism.

    NASA picked ancient Martian river delta for Mars 2020 rover landing

    21 November 2018
    NASA has picked Jezero Crater, an ancient river delta, as the landing site for its Mars 2020 rover. The Mars 2020 mission is to hunt for evidence of past life on the earth’s neighboring planet. Even though the Red Planet is now cold and dry, the landing site was filled with a 500-meter deep lake that opened to a network of rivers some 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago. Mars 2020 has been designed to land inside the crater and collect samples that will eventually be returned to Earth for further analysis, perhaps by the later 2020s. The Mars 2020 will look at rocks on a finer scale to see what biosignatures are preserved.

    Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen in Fortune Business Person of the Year 2018 list

    21 November 2018
    The list ranks 20 business executives delivering on the bottom line and beyond.  Fifty-six-year-old Shantanu Narayen ranks 12th on the list. The list is topped by Tricia Griffith, CEO of insurance company Progressive.

    Definition of kilogram changed after 130 years

    20 November 2018
    The world's standard definition of the kilogram, the ampere, the kelvin and the mole has been changed, after representatives from 60 countries voted to redefine the International System of Units (SI) for weight, current, temperature and amount of chemical substance. The new definition of Kilogram will be replaced by the Planck constant. It will adopted on May 20, which is World Metrology Day. The new definition of kg involves accurate weighing machines called 'Kibble balance'.

    Ministry of Civil Aviation launched the upgraded version of AirSewa 2.0 web portal

    20 November 2018
    The Ministry of Civil Aviation launched the upgraded version of AirSewa 2.0 web portal and mobile app. It aims in providing superior user experience with enhanced functionalities to air travelers. The upgraded version operates through an interactive web portal as well as through a mobile app for both Android and iOS platforms.  Several features are added. Features such as secure sign-up and log-in with social media, chatbot for travelers support, and improved grievance management, including social media grievances and details of flight schedule.

    China builds an 'Artificial Sun' 6 times hotter than Sun's core

    17 November 2018
    Scientists at a Chinese institute announced that their nuclear fusion reactor dubbed 'artificial sun' reached 100 million°C, the temperature required to carry out fusion on Earth. The record-high temperature is six times the temperature of Sun's core of 15 million°C. The reactor is designed to mimic processes occurring at the Sun to turn hydrogen into cost-effective clean energy.

    Denmark signed MoU with CGIAR to establish an international research centre

    16 November 2018
    Denmark signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with CGIAR to establish an international research center. The MoU was signed by Danish Health Minister Ellen Trane Norby Denmark in Seattle, in the United States, with the international network of research centers CGIAR. Denmark has planned to create an international research center. The main focus of the center is to fight against resistance to antibiotics, a scourge affecting almost half a million people worldwide.  The center aims in leading future global work on finding new solutions for the serious challenges with antimicrobial resistance that the world is facing today. The International Centre for Interdisciplinary Solutions on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is being financed by Denmark and private investors. It is expected to be inaugurated in 2019 and is to employ up to 500 people.

    Astronomers found a 'cold super-Earth'

    16 November 2018
    The planet for Barnard’s star – 2nd closest star system to our sun – appears to be a cold super-Earth. The planet has been labeled Barnard's Star b (GJ 699 b). It orbits its red star every 233 days near the snow-line, a distance where water freezes. Barnard’s star is six light-years away from earth.

    NASA to put people in Mars within 25 years

    15 November 2018
    NASA officials said that it is planning to send people to Mars within 25 years. The deadly radiation from the cosmos, atrophying bones, and potential vision loss are just some of the challenges, the scientists need to overcome. NASA, the U.S. space agency, believes it can place humans on the Red Planet within 25 years, but the technological and medical hurdles are immense. With the current rocket technology, it would take an astronaut up to nine months to reach Mars. The physical toll of floating that long in zero gravity would be huge. It is now focusing on cutting down the travel time to Mars.  NASA has a new robotic lander called InSight moving towards Mars which is due to land on November 26, 2018. The $993 million project aims to expand human knowledge of interior conditions on Mars, inform efforts to send explorers there, and reveal how rocky planets like the earth formed billions of years ago.

    ISRO successfully launched GSAT 29

    15 November 2018
    The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched GSAT-29 on board its second heaviest developmental flight GSLV-MkIII D2 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) at Sriharikota.  The communication satellite is a multiband, multi-beam communication satellite. It intends to serve as a test bed for new and critical technologies. The satellite weighs around 3,423 kg.  It is also known that the first operational mission of the vehicle GSLV-Mk III will be the Chandrayaan-II mission which is to take place in January 2019. In addition to this, the vehicle has been planned to carry a human to space three years from now.

    Google to Implement a Transparency Policy For Buying Political Adverts Ahead of Indian Elections

    14 November 2018
    The company put in place a global framework and will also establish tools to stop the spread of fake news related to elections. Google brought its newly expanded Safety Centre to India. The Safety Centre, as its name suggests, is designed as a one-stop place from where you can access all the relevant resources to enhance their privacy and safety across all Google products and services.  

    UIDAI said biometrics cannot identify bodies

    13 November 2018
    The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) said to the Delhi High Court that identifying the unidentified body with the biometrics is technically not possible. The UIDAI submitted that matching of biometrics, including fingerprints and iris, is done on an 1:1 basis and Aadhaar number is required for it. This is after a petition filed by social activist Amit Sahni who sought direction to the Centre and the UIDAI to utilise Aadhaar biometrics to identify unidentified bodies.

    ISRO to launch modern communication satellite GSAT-29 onboard rocket GSLV-Mark-Three

    13 November 2018
    The flight would take place from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota at five in the evening tomorrow. This would be the second development flight of the heavier launch vehicle GSLV Mark-III.  It has the capacity to lift satellites of about four-tons into a geostationary transfer orbit.

    Ozone layer recovering at 1 to 3 per cent per decade: United Nations

    10 November 2018
    The ozone layer that shields life from cancer-causing solar rays is recovering at a rate of one to three percent per decade, reversing years of dangerous depletion caused by the release of harmful chemicals. The Antarctic ozone hole is recovering while continuing to occur every year.

    Novel 'bionic mushrooms' can produce electricity

    10 November 2018
    Scientists, including those of Indian origin, have created a bionic device that generates green power by 3D-printing clusters of cyanobacteria on an ordinary white button mushroom.  The researchers took an ordinary white button mushroom from a grocery store and made it bionic, supercharging it with clusters of cyanobacteria that create electricity and swirls of graphene nanoribbons that can collect the current.

    NASA's Ralph to explore Jupiter's Trojan asteroids in 2021

    10 November 2018
    Ralph - a space instrument that has travelled as far as Pluto — was first launched aboard the New Horizons spacecraft in 2006 and obtained stunning flyby images of Jupiter and its moons. In 2021, Ralph is set to journey with the Lucy mission to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids. The instrumet will fly by another Kuiper Belt object called 2014 MU69 — nicknamed Ultima Thule - in January 2019.

    World's first AI news anchor unveiled in China

    9 November 2018
    Chinese press agency Xinhua unveiled AI-based anchor that can read the news in English and Chinese, as naturally as a professional news anchor. The system, developed with Beijing-based search engine operator Sogou, produces realistic-looking speech, lip movements and facial expressions.

    Samsung unveiled its first-ever foldable smartphone prototype

    9 November 2018
    Samsung has unveiled its first-ever foldable smartphone prototype, which, when opened, transforms into a small pocket-sized tablet.  Samsung calls its foldable phone technology the 'Infinity Flex Display'. The device looks like a standard smartphone when closed. It opens like a book to reveal another 7.3-inch display, which would be one of the largest phone screens ever released.

    China unveiled 'Heavenly Palace' space station, as International Space Station retires in 2024

    8 November 2018
    With a lifespan of roughly 10 years, China's Tiangong space station, otherwise known as Heavenly Palace is set to become the replacement of the International Space Station, which is due to retire in 2024. Three astronauts will be permanently stationed in the 60-tonne orbiting lab, which will enable the crew to conduct biological and microgravity research. The International Space Station (ISS) - a collaboration between the United States, Russia, Canada, Europe and Japan - has been in operation since 1998, but is due to be retired in 2024. China will then have the only space station in orbit, though it will be much smaller than the ISS which weighs 400 tonnes and is as large as a football pitch.

    First 5G iPhone to hit the stores in 2020 - Intel to provide iPhone 5G modem

    6 November 2018
    The first 5G iPhone is likely to use an Intel modem, the 8161, and it could hit the stores in 2020, according to a report in the Fast Company. If everything goes as planned, Intel will be the sole provider of iPhone modems. To increase transistor density for more speed and efficiency, Intel is likely to fabricate the 8161 using its 10-nanometre process.

    GSAT 11 returned to Guiana space centre for December launch

    6 November 2018
    GSAT-11, the heaviest Indian communication satellite built to date is back at the Guiana Space Centre for an early December launch. The satellite is for faster Internet connectivity. It returns to the South American port for the second time in six months after it was taken back to Bengaluru in April for inspections.  K. Sivan, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Secretary, Department of Space said that the 5,700 kg spacecraft was shipped out of Bengaluru and has reached the European launch port.  GSAT-11 is built to provide superior communication and 12 GBPS connectivity with its multiple spot beams in Ka and Ku bands.

    Studies says loss of small RNA molecule is key to rice domestication

    6 November 2018
    The study carried out at the National Centre of Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru said that The domestication of rice can be tracked to the loss of a small RNA molecule (miR397). This can be used to improve crops. Indica rice, a subspecies of Oryza sativa, is domesticated from two wild species Oryza nivara and Oryza rufipogon. Studies found that the genomes did not show variation proportional to the changes in the phenotype. Researchers failed to identify genes responsible for the changes observed in domesticated Indica rice as compared to its wild relatives. The answer lay in regulatory molecules known as the small RNAs.

    World's largest supercomputer 'SpiNNaker' switched on for the first time

    5 November 2018
    The world's largest neuromorphic supercomputer SpiNNaker (‘Spiking Neural Network Architecture’ machine), which was designed and built to work like a human brain, has been switched on for the first time. Made up of one million processors, SpiNNaker can complete over 200 million-million actions per second. The supercomputer will help scientists better understand how neurological diseases like Parkinson's impact the brain.

    IAMAI Forms AR/VR Committee To Promote Technologies in India

    4 November 2018
    The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) formed a new industry expert committee to develop and promote an augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) ecosystem in India. The committee is chaired by Namrita Mahindra, Senior General Manager, digital transformation, Mahindra Group and co-chaired by Satyajeet Singh, Head –Strategic Product Partnership, India and South Asia, Facebook.

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