Science and Technology Current Affairs September 2016
Solar Plane made History after Completing Round-the-World Trip
• Solar Impulse 2 completed the first round-the-world flight by a solar-powered aeroplane, after landing in Abu Dhabi on July 25, 2016.
• The plane, which has a wingspan wider than a Boeing 747 and carries more than 17000 solar cells on its wings, began the circumnavigation in March, 2015 in Abu Dhabi.
• It has since crossed both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans using no fossil fuel and has spent more than 23 days in the air.
Scientists Developed New Robot with Human-like Walk
• The scientists have developed a new robot (with human sized feet laced up in a pair of sneakers) that closely imitates the walking motion of humans, making it more energy-efficient and better at navigating uneven terrain on July 16, 2016.
• The humanoid robot DURUS was designed collaboratively by the research nonprofit SRI International and Georgia Tech’s Advanced Mechanical Bipedal Experimental Robotics (AMBER) Lab.
• The researchers designed a new algorithm that works to keep a robot upright and moving forward even if only parts of the foot are engaged.
Researchers Build Super-sensitive e-Nose
• The researchers from the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium built a sensitive electronic nose with Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) that can detect pesticides and nerve gas t in very low concentrations on July 4, 2016.
• The MOFs are like microscopic sponges. They can absorb quite a lot of gas into their minuscule pores.
• Using Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOF), researchers were able to build a very sensitive electronic nose that can measure even very low concentrations.
ECOLOGY & ENVIRONMENT CURRENT AFFAIRS
Solar Power Tree Developed for Generation of Electricity
• The Ministry of Science and Technology developed a ‘Solar Power Tree’, an innovative way to generate electricity using solar power in a limited space on July 22, 2016. It is developed by the Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMER1), Durgapur, a laboratory of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
• The Solar Power Tree model is actually designed like a tree with branches made of steel to hold the photovoltaic panel. It takes less land of only 4 sq ft for a 5 kW solar power tree as compared to 400 sq ft of land required in case of the conventional solar photovoltaic layout.
Kendrapada Sheep got Rare Status
• A threatened breed of sheep found only in coastal Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts of Odisha has been conferred ‘rare and singular species’ tag by the Central government on July 10, 2016.
• The National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) has accorded genetic recognition to the breed of sheep, locally called ‘kuji mendha’. It’s a typical breed of sheep, these sheep are fast breeders giving multiple birth while those in other parts of the State give single birth at a time.
• The rare genetic traits lead to the multiple birth syndrome in them. These animals are dwarf in built with the body covered with coarse hair.
Read Also – Person in News
Bornean orangutan Listed as Critically Endangered
• The Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) was this week listed as ‘critically endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature on its red list of threatened species on July 8, 2016.
• The International Union for Conservation of Nature (1UCN) estimates the number of Bornean orangutans has dropped by nearly two-thirds since the early 1970s and could further decline to 47000 animals by 2025.
• Major reasons that contributed to the sharp decline were habitat loss due to degradation and fragmentation of their habitat, and hunting. In addition, recurrent forest fires, especially in peat forests, had caused additional sharp declines about once every decade.
NASA’s Juno Successfully began Orbiting Jupiter
• The NASA celebrated a key triumph Juno spacecraft successfully slipped into orbit around Jupiter on a mission to probe the origin of the solar system on July 5, 2016.
• Juno launched five years ago from Cape Canaveral, Florida and has travelled 2.7 billion km since then. The spacecraft was traveling at a speed of more than 209200 km/h when it fired its engines to slow down enough to be captured into Jupiter’s orbit.
• Juno’s principal goal is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter. With its suite of nine science instruments, Juno will investigate the existence of a solid planetary core, map Jupiter’s intense magnetic field, measure the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere, and observe the planet’s auroras.
World’s Largest Radio Telescope Installed in China
• After more than five years of construction, the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) installed on July 3, 2016.
• FAST is capable of forming a parabolic mirror. That will allow researchers a greater degree of flexibility. Although, it’s 500 m wide, FAST effectively offers an 300 m dish that can be pointed anywhere ±40° from the zenith, with 10 times the sensitivity of Arecibo.
• FAST will begin listening to the universe this fall. It will be tasked with surveying neutral hydrogen in the milky way and other galaxies, detecting pulsars and gravitational waves and looking for signs of extra-terrestrial life.
• Earlier, the world’s largest radio telescope was Russia’s RATAN-600, which has a sparsely filled aperture.
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