Science & Technology - 2018 DECEMBER

December 1

Chinese firm unveils plans to provide free worldwide Wi-Fi with 272 satellite
A Chinese internet technology firm LinkSure Network is planning to launch a constellation of 272 satellites by 2026 with an aim to provide free Wi-Fi service worldwide and rival global tech giants like Google and SpaceX.
LinkSure Network, founded in Shanghai in 2013, markets itself as a global innovative mobile internet company specialising in free internet access, content and location-based services on its official website. It unveiled its first satellite in the constellation plan.
The satellite will be launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in Northwest China's Gansu province next year and by 2020 there will be 10 satellites in space.
The constellation will have 272 satellites by 2026.
People could use their mobile phones to search for internet services provided by the constellation and browse the internet, even in regions where telecom networks do not cover.

December 2

Digital Sky: Govt starts online portal for drone registration
Civil Aviation Ministry announced it has started the registration process for drone operators in the country, to be done through a portal called ‘Digital Sky’.
The government, in August, had put in place regulations for operations of remotely piloted aircraft, to come into effect from December 1.
Under these norms, drone users will be required to do one-time registration of their drones. They will also need to register the pilots of drones as well as their owners.
For drones of micro size and above categories, operators are required to register on the Digital Sky portal.

eDristi software launched to help Railways Minister keep track of punctuality of trains
Indian Railways unveiled ‘eDristi’ software that will help Union Railway Minister to keep track of punctuality of trains as well as freight and passenger earnings and much more from anywhere in the country.
The software has been developed by Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) to help Minister keep track of all information related to Indian Railways, one of the world’s largest rail networks.
Using this software, Railway Minister can track any information with just a click of mouse - whether from his office or while on the move.

December 3

India, US air forces to begin 12-day military drill
Air forces of India and the US will begin a 12-day military exercise in Kalaikunda and Panagarh air bases in West Bengal with an aim to enhance operational coordination.
The 'Ex Cope India-18' will be the fourth edition in the series of bilateral drills between the Indian Air Force and the US Air Force. This is for the first time, the exercise is being held at two air force bases.

Rajnath Singh announces special women-safety feature in pan-India emergency app
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh announces a pan India single mobile app “112 India” which is connected to the Emergency Response support system (ERSS) exclusively for women in emergency in Nagaland. A 'SHOUT' feature has been made available exclusively for women in the ‘112 India’ app.
Women in distress will able to seek immediate assistance from nearby registered volunteers as well as from the Emergency Response Centre (ERC) by using the ‘SHOUT’ feature.
With this Nagaland became the first state in the Northeast and second in the country after Himachal Pradesh to launch a pan-India single-number emergency mobile application which will have a special women safety feature for immediate assistance from police and volunteers.

December 4

Air Exercise SHINYUU Maitri-2018 With JASDF Commences in A F Station Agra
The Japanese Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) is in India for a bilateral air exercise SHINYUU Maitri-18 with Indian Air Force at A F Station Agra.
The theme of the exercise is joint Mobility/Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief (HADR) on Transport aircraft.
The JASDF C2 aircraft along with aircrew/observers are part of this first air exercise between the two Air Forces. IAF is participating with An-32 and C-17 aircraft with aircrew & observers.

Elon Musk-led SpaceX launches India's first privately built satellite, Exseed Sat-1
SpaceX founded by Elon Musk, launched India’s first privately built satellite ExseedSAT 1 along with 63 other satellite from 18 countries in the company’s largest-ever “rideshare” mission on a twice-reused Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg air force base in California, USA.
ExseedSAT 1 was built at a cost of Rs. 2 Crore by the Mumbai based Startup Exseedspace.
ExseedSAT 1 which weighs around 1 kg is an open radio transponder that works on ham frequencies.
It was also the second-biggest satellite rideshare mission in history after the Indian Space Research Organisation’s 104-satellite-mission in a single launch in February, 2017.

Soyuz Arrives At ISS On First Manned Mission Since October Failure
The first manned Soyuz spacecraft since the failure of 11th October launch which carries Russian, American and Canadian astronauts arrived at the International Space Station (ISS).
Three Astronaut Oleg Kononenko from Russia, Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency were part of this manned mission.
It was the first manned voyage for the soviet-era Soyuz since a launch failure in October which was caused due to a sensor damage during the assembly at Baikonur Cosmodrome.

December 5

India’s heaviest satellite GSAT-11 is aloft in space from Kourou
Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) heaviest and most-advanced high throughput communication satellite GSAT-11 was successfully launched from the Spaceport in French Guiana.
The launch vehicle Ariane 5 VA-246 lifted off from Kourou Launch Base, French Guiana carrying India’s GSAT-11 and South Korea’s GEO-KOMPSAT-2A satellites.
The 5,854 kg GSAT-11 will provide high data rate connectivity to users of Indian mainland and islands through 32 user beams in Ku-band and 8 hub beams in Ka-band.
Satellite is configured around ISRO’s I-6K Bus and has a designed lifetime of more than 15 years.

World’s first 3D-printed functional e-bike made in Germany by BigRep and NOWlab
German firm BigRep and NOWlab produced the world’s first fully functioning e-motorbike NERA using a 3D printer.
The bike was conceptualized and developed in 12 weeks and includes 15 parts excluding the electrical components.

1st synthetic material that gets thicker on stretching found
University of Leeds researchers led by Devesh Mistry have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker at the molecular level as it is stretched.
When we stretch conventional materials, such as steel bars and rubber bands they become thinner.
Auxetic materials get thicker.Potential applications of auxetics may include body armour and medical equipment.

December 6

NASA’s spacecraft OSIRIS-REx finds water on asteroid Bennu
In its first major scientific find, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has found water on asteroid Bennu.
The discovery was made via observations during OSIRIS-REx’s approach to the Near Earth Asteroid between mid-August and early-December 2018 and confirms previous thoughts that Bennu might be a place harboring water in the inner solar system.
The discovery also holds significant potential in terms of the material from Bennu OSIRIS-REx hopes to return to Earth early next decade.
The return of such water-bearing material could help solidify or distance scientists from a theory that asteroids seeded Earth billions of years ago with the water that now dominates our planet’s surface.

December 7

Indian Coast Guard conducts Exercise ‘Clean Sea-2018’ at sea off Port Blair
The Indian Coast Guard has conducted the Regional Level Marine Oil Pollution Response Exercise titled ‘Clean Sea - 2018’ at sea off Port Blair.
Coast Guard ships Viswasth, Vijith, Rajveer, Rajshri, 4 interceptor boats and its air assets Dornier and Chetak helicopters participated in the exercise.

December 8

Chang'e 4: In space first, China launches rover to far side of the moon
China launched the first-ever spacecraft, Chang'e 4, that will attempt landing on the far side of the Moon, which always shows the same face to Earth as it's close enough to be locked by the planet's gravitational field.
The Chang'e-4 mission will see a static lander and rover touch down in Von Karman crater, located on the side of the Moon which never faces Earth. The payload blasted off atop a Long March 3B rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

December 9

Govt notifies commonly used medical devices as drugs
Government has notified commonly used medical devices nebulizers, blood pressure monitors, digital thermometers and glucometers as drugs under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. It will enable the government to ensure their quality and performance.
The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) will regulate the import, manufacture and sale of these devices from January 2020.
The DTAB, the country's highest drug advisory body, had approved the proposal to include them under the purview of the Drug law. Currently, only 23 medical devices are monitored for quality by the country's drug regulator.

INDRA NAVY maritime exercise between India and Russia kick off Visakhapatnam coast
The tenth version of INDRA NAVY maritime exercise amongst India and Russia will be performed off Visakhapatnam coast, Andhra Pradesh from.
The intention of this physical exercise is to improve interoperability amongst the two navies, develop typical knowledge and procedures for maritime security operations.
It will be held in two phases viz. Harbour Phase and Sea Section. Harbour Phase will be held at Visakhapatnam and encompass scheduling conferences, specialist interactions, cultural visits, sporting activities fixtures and official calls amongst Flag Officers and senior officers of the collaborating navies.

December 10

India, Russia joint air force exercise 'Ex AVIAINDRA' at Jodhpur
A service-specific exercise between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Russian Federation Aerospace Force (RFSAF) will commence at Air Force Station, Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
The first phase of the joint exercise called 'Ex AVIAINDRA' between IAF and RFSAF was conducted in 2014. EX AVIAINDRA-2018 is the second in the series of bilateral joint exercise, which is planned in two phases between India and Russia. For the exercise, the foreign participant will not bring its air assets.

India test fires nuclear capable Agni-5 missile, 2nd test in six months
Indigenously developed surface-to-surface ballistic missile Agni-5 has been successfully test-fired from Dr Abdul Kalam Island off Odisha coast and 2nd test in six months.
The surface-to-surface missile having a strike range of 5,000 km was launched the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Bhadrak district. This is the seventh trial of the indigenously-developed surface-to-surface missile.
Once inducted in the military, India will join an exclusive club of countries like the US, Russia, China, France and Britain which have intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities.

Air Force Conducts Combined Guided Firing Of 4 Surface-To-Air Missiles
In a first-of-its-kind exercise code-named CROSS BOW-18, the Indian Air Force successfully conducted combined guided weapons firing of Surface-to-Air Missiles from the Air Force Station at Suryalanka in Andhra Pradesh.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, along with senior IAF officers, witnessed the exercise at Suryalanka for two days.
CROSS BOW-18 saw the successful firing of four different classes of missiles like Akash, Spyder, OSA-AK-M and IGLA.

December 11

7th Sino-India Joint Exercise Hand-in-Hand 2018 held at Chengdu, China
The opening ceremony for the 7th Sino-India joint exercise Hand-in-Hand 2018, was held at Chengdu, China. Company size contingents of 11 SIKHLI from Indian Army and a regiment from Tibetan Military District of People’s Liberation Army participated in the exercise.
The aimof the exercise is to build and promote close relations between armies of both the countries and toenhance ability of the joint exercise commander to take military contingents of both nations under command.

Agriculture ministry launches online portal Ensure to connect with direct benefit transfer
Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare ShriRadha Mohan Singh launched a portal ENSURE- National Livestock Mission-EDEG developed by NABARD and operated under the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries.
The NABARD developed an online portal “ENSURE” in order to make the process of DBT better, simpler and transparent, so that the information related to beneficiary and processing of the application can be made readily available.
Under the National Livestock Mission component called Entrepreneurship Development and Employment Generation (EDEG), subsidy payment for activities related to poultry, small ruminants, pigs, etc. goes directly to the beneficiary’s account through Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT).

Voyager 2 has officially reached interstellar space, confirms NASA
NASA’s Voyager 2 has become the second human-made object in history to reach the edge of our solar system, after the spacecraft exited the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by the Sun.
Its twin, Voyager 1, crossed this boundary in 2012, but Voyager 2 - launched 41 years ago - carries a working instrument that will provide first-of-its-kind observations of the nature of this gateway into interstellar space.Voyager 2 now is slightly more than 18 billion kilometres from Earth.
Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to have visited all four gas giant planets - Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and discovered 16 moons, as well as phenomena like Neptune’s mysterious transient Great Dark Spot, the cracks in Europa’s ice shell, and ring features at every planet.

December 12

Indian Ports Association launches 'PCS 1x' to increase ease of doing business
Port Community System ‘PCS 1x’, a cloud based new generation technology, with user-friendly interface to increase ease of doing business was launched by Indian Ports Association (IPA), under the mentorship of Ministry of Shipping in Mumbai.
Value added services such as notification engine, workflow, mobile application, track and trace, better user interface, better security features, improved inclusion by offering dashboard for those with no IT capability are the features offered by the PCS1x platform.
This feature alone will reduce 11/2 to 2 days in a life of transaction. The application will have a cascading effect in reducing dwell time and overall cost of transaction.

Indian Navy inducts deep sea submarine rescue system
The Indian Navy has formally inducted its first flyaway deep sea submarine rescue system at the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai, in the state of Maharashtra.
The deep sea submarine rescue system is intended to enhance the Indian Navy’s capability in deep submarine rescue. The system comprises a non-tethered deep submergence rescue vehicle (DSRV) and its associated equipment.
A DSRV can be deployed to carry out search-and-rescue operations at sea for a malfunctioning submarine.
Currently, the navy’s fleet of submarines includes the Sindhughosh, Shishumar and Kalvari classes, and nuclear-powered submarines.

December 13

Russia unveils world's first floating nuclear power plant, Akademik Lomonosov
Russian state-run atomic energy corporation Rosatom announced commencement of installation of Akademik Lomonosov, the world’s first “floating” nuclear power plant (FNPP). It has a capacity of 70 MW and is equipped with two reactors of 35 MW each.
The life span of the project is 40 years, with the possibility of being extended up to 50 years.
It will then replace the existing Bilibino Nuclear Power Plant and the Chaunskaya coal-fired power plant.

Kovind launched mobile app for farmers in Myanmar 
President Ram Nath Kovind is on a state visit to Myanmar. He dedicated - India assisted project 'Advanced Centre for Agricultural Research & Education' (ACARE) - to the people of Myanmar.
The project focuses on Genetics, Post Harvest Technology, Participatory Knowledge Management and capacity building for farmers in Myanmar.
President Ram Nath Kovind dedicated the Advanced Centre for Agricultural Research and Education to the people of Myanmar.
The President also dedicated the Rice Bio-Park to the people of Myanmar.
About Myanmar:
Capital: Naypyidaw,
Currency: Burmese kyat.
President: Win Myint

December 14

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft find evidence of water on asteroid Bennu
NASA’s (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft has found evidence of water on asteroid Bennu. Data obtained from the spacecraft’s two spectrometers OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emission Spectrometer (OTES) and OSIRIS-REx Visible and Infrared Spectrometer (OVIRS) reveal the presence of molecules that contain oxygen and hydrogen atoms bonded together, known as ''hydroxyls''.
Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft launched in September 2016. It had reached Bennu asteroid in December 2018. Samples will returned to Earth in 2023.
Bennu is near-Earth carbonaceous asteroid about the size of a small mountain in the Apollo group. It was discovered in September 1999 by the LINEAR Project.

December 15

Indian Coast Guard launches operation to safeguard turtles
The Coast Guard has launched an exercise along the serene sea waters of Gahirmatha marine sanctuary in Odisha to protect the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles during their mating season.
The Coast Guard has launched the 'Operation Oliva' exercise as part of its annual mission to ensure the safe mid-sea sojourn of breeding Olive Ridley sea turtles.

Ebola-fighting protein discovered in human cells
Researchers have discovered a human protein that helps fight the Ebola virus and could one day lead to an effective therapy against the deadly disease, according to a new study from Northwestern University, Georgia State University, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
The newly discovered ability of the human protein RBBP6 to interfere with Ebola virus replication suggests new ways to fight the infection. As viruses develop and evolve proteins to bypass the body’s immune defenses, human cells in turn develop defense mechanisms against those viruses - an evolutionary arms race that has been ongoing for millions of years. This particular defense mechanism has therapeutic potential.

Cyclone Phethai Winds towards Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and coastal area of India
As per India Meteorological Department (IMD), Coastal Andhra Pradesh and North Tamil Nadu are expected to receive heavy rainfall due to a severe cyclone Phethai which is heading towards coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
The Deep depression over southeast Bay of Bengal is moving northwestward and it could intensify and turn into a cyclonic storm.
Earlier Cyclone Gaza caused massive destruction in Tamil Nadu coastal areas. This is the forth cyclone to hit the eastern coast this season.

December 16

Mission timeline for Rocket Lab’s launch of NASA’s ELaNa-19 CubeSats
Rocket Lab’s light-class Electron launcher is set to take off on its fourth flight from New Zealand, aiming to deliver 13 CubeSats to orbit on the company’s first mission for NASA.
The two-stage, 55-foot-tall (17-meter) rocket could take off as soon as 11 p.m. EST on December 15 (0400 GMT on Dec. 16) from Rocket Lab’s commercial launch complex on Mahia Peninsula on New Zealand’s North Island.

Indonesia’s Soputan volcano erupts, ejecting thick ash
Central Indonesia’s Mount Sopurat Volcano erupted twice on Sulawesi Island sending ash about 7.5 km high in the sky. Mount Soputan was located on the northern part of Sulawesi island, Indonesia. Indonesia has around 129 active volcanoes and Mount Soputan is one of them.
Indonesia is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions due to its location on the Pacific ''Ring of Fire''.
The Ring of Fire is a major area in the Pacific Ocean, approx 25000 miles, where about 75% of the world’s volcanoes are located. The Ring-of-Fire is also called as the Circum-Pacific Belt.

December 17

World’s oldest known plant virus named Zea mays chrysovirus 1 (ZMCV1) discovered
World’s oldest plant virus dating back 1,000 years named Zea mays chrysovirus 1 (ZMCV1) has been discovered by scientist at a Native American archeological site.The previous oldest was found about 750 years ago.
This new plant virus has discovered when research team examined ancient plant material from Antelope House, an Ancestral Puebloan ruin located at Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona. Using carbon 14 dating, researchers confirmed that the age of the ancient samples was about 1,000 years old.

DoT to take call on more 5G spectrum auction after analysing TRAI report
The Telecom department will take a call on next round of auction of 5G spectrum identified by a high level committee after analysing recommendations made by sector regulator TRAI.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended auction of about 8,644 MHz of telecom frequencies at an estimated total base price of Rs 4.9 lakh crore, which includes radiowaves for 5G services.

In a first, India flies military aircraft using blended bio-jet fuel
The Air Force flew its first military flight, an AN-32 transporter aircraft, using blended bio-jet fuel in Bengaluru.
The Experimental Test Pilots and Test Engineer from Air Force's testing establishment (ASTE), flew the aircraft in a combined effort with DRDO, Directorate General Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA) and CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum.

India's IDRSS to be satellite communication hub in sky
As part of its proposed manned space mission, India will launch the Indian Data Relay Satellite System (IDRSS) to improve data relay and communication links with its remote sensing/ earth observation satellites.
The two-satellite IDRSS will maintain continuous communication link with India's remote sensing/ earth observation satellites and also with the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III) that would carry three Indian astronauts to the space in 2022.

December 18

'Farout' is the most-distant solar system object ever discovered
The most-distant object ever observed in our solar system known as 2018 VG18 and nicknamed ''Farout'', has been discovered by scientists Sheppard from Carnegie Institution for Science, David Tholen from University of Hawaii, and Chad Trujillo from Northern Arizona University in the US.
It is the first to be observed at a distance of more than 100 AU (astronomical units) which almost 120AU or 11 billion miles from the sun. ''1 AU is the distance between the Earth and the Sun''.
They had discovered another extremely distant object known as ''The Goblin''. It’s about 80 AU from the sun.
The second most distant observed solar system object is Eris about 96 AU from the sun. Pluto, a dwarf planet is currently at about 34 AU.

INS Sunayna makes another successful seizure off Somalia coast
An Indian Naval Ship recovered illegal arms and ammunition from a suspicious fishing vessel approximately 20 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia in the Horn of Africa. Within a span of two months, this is the third successful operation by INS Sunayna crew in this region.
Indian Naval Ship Sunayna, an Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) of the Southern Naval Command based at Kochi, while being mission deployed, carried out a Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) operation on sighting a suspicious fishing vessel approximately 20 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.

Tri-Services Cycling and Trekking Expedition for “Green Sikkim, Clean Sikkim”
The Indian Armed Forces inaugurated Tri Services Cycling and Trekking Expedition in Sikkim. Tri Services Adventure Expedition will be conducted from December 17, 2018 to January 05, 2019.
The expedition was undertaken by a Tri Services team comprising of three Officers, three warrant rank officers and thirteen soldiers from the Army, Navy and Air Force. The expedition is in three phases which includes cycling-cum-trekking, Para gliding and sea diving.

December 19

ISRO launches military communication satellite GSAT-7A from Sriharikota
ISRO launched its military communication satellite GSAT-7A from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The satellite GSAT-7A is the 35th Indian communication satellite weighing 2,250 kg.
The satellite is expected to add a new space-based dimension to the way Indian Air Force interlinks, operates and communicates with its aircraft as they fly and with command centers on ground.
GSAT-7A will be the first satellite built primarily for the IAF to qualitatively unify its assets and improve improves combined, common intelligence during operations.
ISRO Director: K. Sivan, Headquarters: Bengaluru.
The rocket, GSLV F 11 is the fourth generation launch vehicle with three stages.

Scientists find a way to make graphene from discarded dry cell batteries
Researchers at Nagpur-based Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology have developed a new technique to produce high value graphene from discarded dry cells batteries.
They have achieved 88% yield of graphene from a single graphite rod.
The research results have been published Journal of Hazardous Materials and Bulletin of Material Science.

Haryana govt. launches 'Shiksha Setu' app to ensure better connectivity with college students
Haryana government launched a mobile App ‘Shiksha Setu’ to provide students information on attendance, fee, online admission and scholarships of the government colleges of the state.
The App will provide instant updates of the important notices, circulars and other programmes to students and teachers.
The App will bring transparency in the department and college administration while ensuring better connectivity between students, parents, teachers and officials.

Tamil Nadu shermen get NavIC - powered ISRO Gadgets
The Tamil Nadu government has distributed 200 NavIC - powered satellite-enabled communication devices developed by ISRO to 80 fishing boat groups in Tamil Nadu.
These gadgets will help the Tamil Nadu fishermen to get cyclone and weather updates on a real time basis.
Tamil Nadu: CM: E. Palanisamy Governor: Banwarilal Purohit

December 20

‘GAS 2019’ Mobile app for global aviation summit launched
The Civil aviation ministry along with the Airport Authority of India (AAI) launched an app named ‘GAS 2019’.
This app will enable users to interact with the co-delegates and speakers besides providing a platform for networking through personal and group chats.
This was launched ahead of the global aviation summit to be held in Mumbai in January 2019.

December 21

Fifth Ship of Landing Craft Utility Mk-IV ‘IN LCU L55’ Commissioned in Port Blair
The Indian Navy inducted the IN LCU L55, the fifth ship of Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mk-IV class. The ship was commissioned into the Navy by Vice Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar.
It was designed and built by M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE). LCU Mk-IV is an amphibious ship with its primary role being transportation and deployment of Main Battle Tanks, Armoured Vehicles, troops and equipment from ship to shore.

NASA's 1st flight to moon, Apollo 8, marks 50th anniversary
NASA’s first flight to the moon Apollo 8 is marking its 50th anniversary. On Dec. 21st, 1968, three men flew to the moon for the first time in human history.
Apollo 8 commander Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders orbited the moon on Christmas Eve, reading from the Book of Genesis. The mission is considered NASA’s boldest and perhaps most dangerous undertaking ever. NASA whipped it together in four months, in order to beat the Soviets to the moon.

December 22

Scientists have discovered evidence of water in 17 asteroids
Japanese scientists have detected evidence of water in 17 asteroids for the first time using data from the infrared satellite AKARI. This discovery will contribute to the understanding of the distribution of water in the solar system, the evolution of asteroids, and the origin of water on Earth.
Researchers from Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and University of Tokyo found that water is retained in asteroids as hydrated minerals, which were produced by chemical reactions of water and anhydrous rocks that occurred inside the asteroids.
The Japanese infrared satellite AKARI, which was launched in February 2006 and ended operations in 2011, was equipped with the Infrared Camera (IRC) that allowed us to obtain spectra at near-infrared wavelengths from two to five micrometers.

CDSCO issues safety guidelines for Isotretinoin
The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) re-issued safety guidelines regarding the use of the oral drug, Isotretinoin.
This drug that is used to treat severe nodular acne in women may cause severe birth defects which is why CDSCO warned all the State and Union Territories’ drugs controllers
Drug Controller General Dr. S. Eswara Reddy directed all the drug controllers of the state and UTs to monitor the distribution of the drug. The directions were based on recommendations of the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) for Dermatology and Allergy, CDSCO.

December 23

Defence Minister inaugurates Indian Navy's Information Fusion Centre
Defence Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman launched the Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) at Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) Gurugram,Haryana.
The IFC-IOR is aimed to engage with partner nations to develop maritime domain awareness and share information on vessels of interest in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
It would also help enhance maritime security and safety.
The information exchange at the IFC-IOR would be initially undertaken by virtual means, using telephone calls, faxes, emails and video conferencing over internet.
Ministry of Defence:
Union Minister: Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman.
Minister of State: Shri. Subhash Bhamre.
Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO: Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy
Chief of Naval Staff of Indian Navy: Admiral Sunil Lanba

December 24

China launched its first satellite for space-based broadband internet
China launched its first communication satellite, from a Long March 11 carrier rocket, to provide broadband internet services worldwide to rival Google and other firms.
It is the first in the Hongyun project planned by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC).It weighs 247 kilogrammes and works in a sun-synchronous orbit about 1,100 kilometres above earth.
Powered by solar arrays, the satellite would verify basic designs of Hongyun satellite and demonstrating low-orbit broadband communications technologies with a life span of more than 1 year.

NASA's InSight Places First Instrument on Mars
US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that its InSight lander has deployed its first instrument Seismometer (SEIS) onto the surface of Mars, completing a major mission milestone that will allow scientists to peer into the Martian interior by studying ground motion also known as marsquakes.
The Insight will deploy two more instruments namely Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment (RISE) and Heat Probe (HP3) to study Mars’ deep interiors.

December 25

Shimmering 'super-Earth' in constellation Cassiopeia discovered
Researchers have discovered a new exotic planet outside our solar system in the constellation Cassiopeia.
Located 21 light years away from us, this planet, dubbed HD219134 b, has a mass almost five times that of Earth, which is considered a so-called "super-Earth".
Unlike the Earth, however, it most likely does not have a massive core of iron, but is rich in calcium and aluminium alongside magnesium and silicon.
It shimmers red to blue like rubies and sapphires, because these gemstones are aluminium oxides which are common on the exoplanet.

SpaceX launched of its first US military satellite
Elon Musk's SpaceX decided to end the year with the launch of its first US national security mission to date.
The private space agency successfully launched the United States Air Force's first Global Positioning System (GPS) III satellite, nicknamed Vespucci, marking the last satellite launch of the year.
The new-gen GPS satellites will provide three-time better accuracy than current systems and will be eight-times better at anti-jamming.

December 26

World's smallest tic-tac-toe game board made with DNA
Scientists have created the world's smallest tic-tac-toe board using dynamic DNA origami tiles -microscopic organic structures that can be programmed to transform into predesigned patterns.
The team from California Institute of Technology in the US had earlier used DNA origami to create tiles that could be designed to self-assemble into larger nanostructures that carry predesigned patterns.
They had chosen to make the world's smallest version of the Italian polymath Leonardo Da Vinci's iconic painting Mona Lisa. However, the technique had a limitation similar to that of Vinci's oil paints: Once the image was created, it could not easily be changed.
Using the technique they fashioned a microscopic game of tic-tac-toe in which players place their X's and O's by adding special DNA tiles to the board.

30-bedded 10th Naval Hospital Ship INHS Sandhani commissioned at Karanja Naval Station, Mumbai, Maharashtra
The Indian Navy commissioned its 10th Naval Hostipal Ship named ‘INHS Sandhani’ at the Naval station Karanja in Uran near Mumbai, Maharashtra.
The 30-bedded multi-speciality hospital was unveiled by Preeti Luthra, President of NWWA (Navy Wives Welfare Association), Western Region.
It has a team of specialists in the fields of medicine, surgery, gynaecology, paediatrics, anaesthesia and dental sciences.
About Indian Navy:
Chief of Naval Staff: Admiral Sunil Lanba.
Vice-Chief of Naval Staff: Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar.
Headquarters: New Delhi.

December 27

Turkmenistan launched first Messaging App
Turkmenistan has launched its first messaging app BizBarde. The privately developed BizBarde app will allow the exchange of messages, files, photos and videos, the state Yaslyk television station announced.
One of the world’s most isolated regimes, the ex-Soviet republic has blocked Western services including Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, and Viber, along with popular Russian networks Odnoklassniki and VKontakte.
Coast Guard deploys faster vessels for enhanced security in Sir Creek with Pakistan
Indian Coast Guard deployed two new hovercrafts which will be responsible for carrying out round the clock surveillance in the Sir Creek area with Pakistan. In addition to this three Interceptor Vessels are also located there for the operations.
Coast Guard Director General Rajendra Singh inaugurated a new hoverport at the Jakahu base which is responsible for providing security to the Sir Creek area.
The Sir Creek area in the Kutch district of Gujarat has been used by the infiltrators from Pakistan to enter the Indian Territory.
The hovercraft operate at high speeds between 30-40 knots (around 50-60 kilometres) per hour and can be highly useful in pursuit of any suspicious boat or individuals in the waters around there.

December 28

Railways Develops Robot USTAAD, To Check For Faults In Trains
The mechanical branch of Central Railway‘s Nagpur division has developed a new AI-powered robot named USTAAD (Undergear Surveillance through Artificial Intelligence Assisted Droid) which examines parts of the coach in real time with a HD camera and transmits them over Wi-Fi.
The new Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered robot will click photos and record videos of the train, under the gears and then transmits them over Wi-Fi to engineers for maintenance and repair.
Since USTAAD can watch and examine areas which cannot be seen and approached by humans usually, due to the narrow spaces between under-gear parts, it will reduce chances of human error while examining undergear equipment on Indian Railways trains.

Bahuda Rookery, Ganjam : Another Olive Ridley Nesting Site in Odisha
Gahirmatha marine sanctuary and Rushikulya rookery coast in Ganjam district are main Olive Ridley Nesting sites in Odisha.Of these sites, Gahirmatha marine sanctuary is largest rookery (mass nesting site) of Olive Ridley turtles.
A few hundred of endangered Olive Ridley turtles had nested at Bahuda River mouth coast in 2018.
Odisha is home to 50% of the total world’s population of Olive Ridleys and about 90% of Indian population of sea turtles.
Recently, Odisha forest department added another olive ridley mass nesting site Bahuda Rookery at beach on Bahuda river mouth in Ganjam district.
It is located around 20 km to south of Rushikulya rookery.

Railways introduces Automated Train Examination System (ATES) for enhancement of train safety
The mechanical branch of Central Railways’ Nagpur division has introduced a new state-of-the-art technology called Automated Train Examination System (ATES) for the enhancement of train safety.
The system, developed by Konkan Railway Corporation Limited, eliminates manual examination of trains and measures axle box temperature, wheel disc temperature and records the under-gear of rolling stock of running trains through infrared and other cameras.
ATES also checks every train passing through the track on which it is installed and immediately warns about hot axle and brake binding cases.

Fujitsu Plans to Support Professional Judges With Lidar and AI at Gymnastics Meets
Olympics 2020 will use a judging system developed by Japanese IT firm Fujitsu which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and LIDAR technology found in autonomous cars.
Fujitsu has developed a judging system that can objectively score a routine based on the angles of a gymnast's joints.
Perhaps more than any other sport, gymnastics is both an art and a science. As an athlete executes their carefully-rehearsed flips and leaps, judges look to award or deduct points based on the precise position of the gymnast’s body.
Japan: Capital - Tokyo

December 29

China successfully tests Russia’s S-400 missile air defence system
China successfully tested Russia’s S-400 missile air defence system.It received the last shipments of the weaponry from Russia in July under a USD 3 billion contract signed in 2015.
China was the first foreign buyer to seal a government-to-government deal with Russia in 2014 to procure the S-400 missile.It has a supersonic speed of 3 kilometre per second.

Russia hails ‘successful’ test of new hypersonic weapons system
Russian President Vladimir Putin over saw the successful test of a new hypersonic missile dubbed “Avangard,” with speeds of more than 30,000 kilometres per hour in Moscow. The system would be ready for use from 2019.
It has the ability to fly at 20 times the speed of sound and could manoeuvre up and down, meaning it could breach defence systems.

December 30

China’s BeiDou navigation satellite, rival to US GPS, starts global services
China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), touted as a rival to the widely-used American GPS, has started providing global services.
The positioning accuracy of the system has reached 10 metres globally and five metres in the Asia-Pacific region. Its velocity accuracy is 0.2 metres per second, while its timing accuracy stands at 20 nanoseconds.
Pakistan has become the first country to use the BeiDou system ending its reliance on the Global Positioning System (GPS).

December 31

China launched six Yunhai-2 satellites for atmospheric environment research
China successfully sent six Yunhai-2 atmospheric environment research satellites and a test communication satellite of Hongyan constellation into orbit.
They were launched by a Long March-2D rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. It was the 297th mission of the Long March rocket series.
The six Yunhai-2 satellites will study atmospheric environment, monitor space environment, prevent and reduce disasters and conduct scientific experiments.

VR model examines tumour in 3D, offers scope for cancer treatment
Cambridge scientists developed a virtual reality (VR) 3D model of cancer cell.
This virtual representation of cancer cell allows viewers to ‘fly’ through tumour cells and observe them from different angles.
It came from an original one-millimetre cubed piece of breast cancer tissue biopsy, containing around 100,000 cells, that was rebuilt using virtual reality (VR).

Australian Open developed new extreme heat policy
A new extreme heat policy that dictates when it is safe to play will be introduced at next month's Australian Open to better deal with frequent oven-like conditions on court.
The "Heat Stress Scale" will be used for the first time at a Grand Slam to help prevent players from fainting and suffering exhaustion, relying on more weather-measuring devices at Melbourne Park.



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