Science & Technology - 2018 OCTOBER

October 1

2 new species of lizards discovered in Western Ghat
In yet another important discovery which proves that Western Ghats is indeed a biodiversity hotspot, scientists have discovered two new species of lizards belonging to two new genera.
A team from Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc, Bangalore, identified Montane forest lizard and Spiny-headed forest lizard during a revision of taxonomy of the lesser known agamid (lizard group having scaly bodies, well-developed legs, and a moderately long tail) of peninsular India. Their paper was published last week in Zootaxa - a peer-reviewed scientific mega journal for animal taxonomists.
The two reptiles had been wrongly identified under the genus Calotes (similar to the common garden lizards) for more than 150 years. Genus is a terms used for classifying species.
The scientists named the species Monilesaurus, which means lizards with a necklace, as the new genus has a distinct fold of skin across the neck resembling a necklace.

October 3

Development Trials of Astra BVR-AAM Completed Successfully
A series of flight trials of Astra beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVR-AAM) was conducted by Indian Air Force at Integrated Test Range (ITR), Balasore as part of final development trials of the missile.
The trials were a combination of complex tests for engagement of pilotless target in different modes of manoeuvring, off-boresight, medium and long ranges. The missiles were telemetered for evaluation of online performance of all sub-systems especially the datalink, RF seeker and proximity fuse for end-game performance. Astra has been tested six times under different launch conditions and ranges as part of the final development trial. The missile has engaged targets and all the mission objectives have been met.
With IAF's active participation, DRDO has developed the missile and integrated the weapon on Su-30 and other air platforms. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Nasik has been instrumental in the modification of a number of Su-30 aircrafts for Astra weapon integration and support during trials. More than 50 private and public sector industries are involved in the development and production of different sub-systems of the missile. The missile is expected to be inducted into IAF in 2019.

October 4

'First known exomoon may have been discovered'
Astronomers using Hubble and Kepler space telescopes have found compelling evidence for the existence of the first known moon outside our solar system, orbiting a gas-giant planet 8,000 light-years away.
The candidate exomoon - moons orbiting planets in other star systems - is unusual because of its large size, comparable to the diameter of Neptune.
Such gargantuan moons do not exist in our own solar system, where nearly 200 natural satellites have been catalogued.

October 5

Development Trials of Astra BVR-AAM Completed Successfully
A series of flight trials of Astra Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVR-AAM) was conducted by Indian Air Force at Integrated Test Range (ITR), Balasore as part of final development trials of the missile.
The trials were a combination of complex tests for engagement of pilotless target in different modes of manoeuvring, off-boresight, medium and long ranges.
The missiles were telemetered for evaluation of online performance of all sub-systems especially the datalink, RF seeker and proximity fuse for end-game performance.
Astra has been tested six times under different launch conditions and ranges as part of the final development trial.

October 6

The Japan space probe launches robot MASCOT, onto asteroid
The Japanese space probe has launched a new observation robot, towards an asteroid to throw light on the origin of the solar system.
As per the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the Hayabusa2 probe has launched the French-German mobile Asteroid surface scout, or MASCOT, towards the Ryugu asteroid's surface.
About the Robot
The duration of the robot's safe landing on the asteroid was not confirmed where it is expected to collect a wide range of data.
The MASCOT is box-shaped and weights 10 kilogrammes (22 pounds). It has landed with sensors; it can take images at multiple wavelengths, investigate minerals with a microscope, gauge surface temperatures and measure magnetic fields.

Coast Guards of India, Vietnam hold joint exercise off Chennai
The jount exercise was named as 'Sahyog HOP TAC-2018'.
The exercise was aimed at acquainting the coast guards of the two countries with each others' capabilities and strengthening the working level relationship to rescue lives at sea.
The highlight of the exercise was a scenario of hijacking an oil ship and subsequent rescue of its crew in the coordinated joint operation of both the countries.

Parker Solar Probe completes first Venus flyby: NASA
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe – mankind’s first mission to ‘touch’ the Sun – successfully completed a flyby of Venus at a distance of about 2,415 kilometres during its first gravity assist from the planet, according to the US space agency.
These gravity assists will help the spacecraft tighten its orbit closer to the Sun over the course of the mission.
Detailed data from the flyby will be assessed which allows the flight operations team to prepare for the remaining six Venus gravity assists which will occur over the course of the seven-year mission.
Parker Solar Probe was successfully launched on an unprecedented, seven-year long journey to unlock the mysteries of the Sun’s fiery outer atmosphere and its effects on space weather.
ISRO & ROSCOSMOS to work together for first Indian manned mission
The Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will be working together on the first manned space mission.
At end of delegation level talks between Prime Minister NarendraModi and Russian President Vladmir Putin, a MoU was inked between ISRO and the Federal Space Agency of Russia ‘ROSCOSMOS’ for joint activities in the field of Human Spaceflight Programme.
The Russian side has offered a ride to Indian astronaut a short visit to International Space Station (ISS) on board a Soyuz spacecraft for a short training mission in 2022. India hopes to send its first manned mission Gaganyaanin 2022.

October 7

Scientists create a new 'Sans Forgetica' font they say can could boost your memory
Researchers have developed a new font that they claim could help people better retain the information they read.
The font, dubbed Sans Forgetica, was created using research from both typography and psychology to optimize the way text is processed in the brain.
It relies on carefully crafted ‘obstructions’ that require the reader to put in a little more effort, helping them to remember what they read.

Prithvi-II missile night trial successful
India’s Strategic Forces Command successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile during night time as part of a user trial by the Army from a test range in Odisha.
The surface-to-surface missile, which has a strike range of 350 km, was launched from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near Balasore.
Prithvi-II was previously successfully test-fired during night time on February 21 this year from the ITR at Chandipur. The missile is capable of carrying 500 to 1,000 kg of warheads.

October 8

Tiny spheres to trap water contaminants developed
Scientists have created tiny spheres that can catch and destroy bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic chemical used to make plastics that often contaminates water.
BPA is commonly used to coat the insides of food cans, bottle tops and water supply lines, and was once a component of baby bottles.
While BPA that seeps into food and drink is considered safe in low doses, prolonged exposure is suspected of affecting the health of children and contributing to high blood pressure.

October 9

Japan military joins historic Philippine war games for the first time
Japan joined the joint exercise codenamed- ‘Kamandag’(venom) with US and Filipino troops in the Philippines for the first time since World War II.
This marked the first time Japanese armoured military vehicles were used on foreign soil since 1945.
This exercise consists of about 150 US, Filipino and Japanese troops participating in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training.

First full-scale Hyperloop passenger capsule unveiled.
Hyperloop is a technology that gained popularity after billionaire Elon Musk touted it in 2013, prompting several companies to join the race to build a high-speed transportation system.
The capsule, 105 feet (32 meters) long and weighing 5 tons, was shown in Spain and will be moved to Toulouse, France, for additional assembly before it’s used on one of the first commercial tracks, the California-based startup, known as HyperloopTT.

October 10

British scientists create 3D-printed meals
British scientists have created 3D-printed meals for a school in east London to inspire an interest in science subjects among young pupils.
Scientists from the annual Big Bang Fair, which promotes science, technology and maths (STEM) subjects, worked with St Helen's Primary School in Canning Town to create dishes such as geometric fish and chips, cauliflower cogs and a pie in the shape of the mathematical constant of 'Pi' as part of the project.

October 11

First bio-electronic medicine developed
Scientists have developed the first bioelectronic medicine - an implantable, biodegradable wireless device that speeds nerve regeneration and improves the healing of a damaged nerve.
Researchers at the Washington University in the US developed a device that delivers regular pulses of electricity to damaged peripheral nerves in rats after a surgical repair process, accelerating the regrowth of nerves in their legs and enhancing the ultimate recovery of muscle strength and control.
The size of a dime and the thickness of a sheet of paper,the wireless device operates for about two weeks before naturally absorbing into the body, according to the study published in the journal Nature Medicine.

China successfully launches two remote-sensing satellites for Pakistan
China successfully launched two remote sensing satellites for Pakistan, marking the first international commercial launch for the Long March-2C rocket in about 19 years.
The satellites PRSS-1 and PakTES-1A were launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China.
The PRSS-1 is China's first optical remote sensing satellite sold to Pakistan. It is the 17th satellite developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) for an overseas buyer.
A scientific experiment satellite, PakTES-1A, developed by Pakistan, was sent into orbit via the same rocket.
After entering orbit, the PRSS-1 is in good condition with its solar panels unfolded smoothly.

October 12

Launch of Aeroindia 2019 Website
India is hosting the 12th edition of “Aero India 2019” at Air Force Station, Yelahanka, Bengaluru, (Karnataka) from 20 to 24 February, 2019.
This five-day event will combine a major trade exhibition of the aerospace and defence industries with public air shows. Besides global leaders and big investors in aerospace industry, the show will also see participation by think-tanks from across the world. Aero India will provide an unique opportunity for exchange of information, ideas and new developments in the aviation industry. Besides giving a fillip to the domestic aviation industry it would further the cause of Make in India.
In Aero India, close to 500 companies both Indian and Foreign companies are expected to participate.

October 13

Soyuz crew survives emergency landing
The two-man crew of a Soyuz rocket made a successful emergency landing after an engine problem on lift-off to the International Space Station, in a major setback for the beleaguered Russian space industry. U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin were rescued without injuries in Kazakhstan.
The emergency rescue system worked, the vessel was able to land in Kazakhstan. the crew are alive.
Over the past few years the Russian space industry has suffered a series of problem, including the loss of a number of satellites and other spacecraft.

October 14

Punjab turns to technology to tackle crop burning, launches mobile apps to help farmers
Burning crop residue is common practice in Punjab. However, it causes immense damage not just to the environment but also to human health. Unable to tackle this practice, the state government of Punjab has turned to technology for help and introduced three mobile apps that will help the local farmers by creating awareness and eliminating the need to burn the crop residue.
The three mobile apps launched by the Punjab state government are- i-Khet Machine, e-PeHaL and e-Prevent. These apps have been developed by Punjab Remote Sensing Centre (PRSC) and can be accessed on Android operating system.
In terms of utility, while the i-Khet Machine app gives farmers the access to agricultural machinery that will enable them to manage crop residue, on the other hand, the e-PeHaL app enables them to monitor the tree plantations with ease. On the other hand, the e-Prevent app provides prompt and accurate information about the incidents of crop burning in the state.

NASA Voyager 2 could be nearing interstellar space
NASA's Voyager 2 probe, currently on a journey toward interstellar space, has detected an increase in cosmic rays that originate outside our solar system. Launched in 1977, Voyager 2 is a little less than 11 billion miles (about 17.7 billion kilometers) from Earth, or more than 118 times the distance from Earth to the Sun.
Since 2007 the probe has been traveling through the outermost layer of the heliosphere the vast bubble around the Sun and the planets dominated by solar material and magnetic fields.
Voyager scientists have been watching for the spacecraft to reach the outer boundary of the heliosphere, known as the heliopause. Once Voyager 2 exits the heliosphere, it will become the second human-made object, after Voyager 1, to enter interstellar space.

October 15

World’s fastest camera can ‘freeze time’, capture light in slow motion
Scientists have developed what may be the world’s fastest camera, which can capture 10 trillion frames per second – making it possible to ‘freeze time’ to see light in extremely slow motion.
The advance may offer insight into as-yet undetectable secrets of the interactions between light and matter, according to scientists from California Institute of Technology in the US.
However, harnessing the potential of these methods requires a way to record images in real time at a very short temporal resolution – in a single exposure.
Using current imaging techniques, measurements taken with ultrashort laser pulses must be repeated many times, which is appropriate for some types of inert samples, but impossible for other more fragile ones.

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) develops online portal for filing IEM & IL applications under Arms Act and Industries Act 1951.
(DIPP) has developed a new online portal for facilitating filing of online applications for Industrial Entrepreneurs' Memorandum (IEM) and Industrial Licence (IL) under Arms Act as well as Industries (Development & Regulation) [I(D&R)] Act, 1951.
This portal will be available for public with effect from October 16, 2018 for filing application and no applications shall be received through E-biz portal or in physical form either under I(D&R) Act or Arms Act 1959.

October 16

First Indo-US tri-services exercise likely to include Special Forces of both countries
The first Indo-US tri-services exercise is likely to take place next year and talks are on to include the Special Forces of two countries in the drill.
The three forces of India and the US already take part in bilateral exercises separately their armies participate in an annual drill called Yudh Abyaas, whose latest edition took place last month, the air forces take part in a bilateral drill called Cope India and the navies participate in an exercise in Malabar, involving Japan.

Ask Disha: IRCTC launches AI chatbot to answer user queries
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has launched Articial Intelligence (AI) powered chatbot– Ask Disha (Digital Interaction to Seek Help
Anytime) to help its users answer various queries.
The chatbot is special computer programme designed to simulate conversation with users, especially over the internet.
It has gone live on IRCTC’s next-gen e ticketing website and soon will be integrated on the IRCTC Rail Connect Android app.

October 17

India, France in talks to conduct tri-service exercise
India and France are in discussions for a bilateral tri-service military exercise to take forward the strategic cooperation while also exploring ways to operationalise the logistics agreement. These issues were discussed during the visit of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to Paris.
They have agreed on a bilateral tri-service exercise with France. The modalities are being worked out and it is likely to be held next year.
This will be India’s third such joint exercise. The first joint tri-service exercise was held with Russia in October last year and has finalised one with the U.S. to be held next year.
India and France currently hold bilateral exercises between individual services - Shakti, Varuna and Garuda respectively for the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Another NASA space telescope shuts down in orbit
Another NASA space telescope has shut down and halted science observations.
Less than a week after the Hubble Space Telescope went offline, the Chandra X-ray Observatory did the same thing. According to NASA ,Chandra's automatically went into so-called safe mode, possibly because of a gyroscope problem.
Hubble went into hibernation due to a gyroscope failure.
Both orbiting observatories are old and in well-extended missions: Hubble is 28, while Chandra is 19. Flight controllers are working to resume operations with both.

China launches two more satellites to beef up GPS-style system
China successfully launched twin BeiDou-3 navigation satellites into space to strengthen its satellite navigation network being built to rival the US' Global Positioning System (GPS).
The satellites were launched from a Long March-3B carrier rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan province.
The satellites entered their planned orbit after flying for over three hours, and will work with the 14 BeiDou-3 satellites already in orbit. The satellites are the 39th and 40th of the BeiDou navigation system, and the 15th and 16th of the BeiDou-3 family.

EC launches 'C-vigil' app to check electoral malpractices during upcoming Assembly polls
The Election Commission launched an Android-based mobile application named “cVigil” for citizens to share proof of malpractices by political parties, their candidates and activists when the Model Code of Conduct is in force.
The mobile application also facilitates sharing of geo-tagged photographic and video evidence without disclosing the identity of the sender.
The uploaded information will be transmitted to the control room, and from there the field units or flying squads, mapped on a Geographic Information System, will be immediately alerted for further action.

October 18

'World's first lab-grown oesophagus implanted in mice'
In a first, scientists have grown functional sections of oesophagus in the lab using stem cells and successfully transplanted them into mice.
The advance, published in the journal Nature Communications, offers a potential path towards developing treatments for children with oesophageal defects.
The study by researchers at the Francis Crick Institute in the UK and colleagues is the first of its kind for a complex multi-layered organ, overcoming a major challenge of regenerative medicine: different early-stage cells need different conditions to develop into the right cell type.

China develops nanogenerator to power wearable electronics
Chinese scientists have developed a new nanogenerator that can harvest energy from human motions to continuously power wearable electronic devices.
Scientists at Zhengzhou University have developed a washable and wearable nanogenerator based on hydrophobic nanofiber. It has a woven structure and can be attached to clothes to convert the mechanical energy generated by human activities into electrical energy.
This washable nanogenerator with its woven structure has provided new opportunities for the development of self-powered wearable electronics.

October 19

India-Japan military exercise Dharma Guardian-2018 begins in Mizoram
Armies of India and Japan began their first-ever joint military exercise at a jungle warfare school in Mizoram’s Vairengte with a focus on strengthening counter-terror cooperation.
The focus of the two-week-long exercise ‘Dharma Guardian-2018″ will be to enhance tactical skills against global terrorism and increase interoperability between the two forces.

CSIR develops affordable water disinfection system “OneerTM”
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR), Lucknow has developed an innovative technology for ‘Drinking Water Disinfection System’ with Trade name “OneerTM”.
It is useful for continuous treatment of water and eliminates all disease causing pathogens such as virus, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and cyst to provide safe drinking water to domestic and communities settings as per National and International standards prescribed for potable waterby Bureau of Indian Standards and World Health Organisation.

Scientists discover largest known structure of early universe, million, billion times massive than the Sun
Scientists at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have discovered a galaxy proto-supercluster named “Hyperion”, the largest and the most massive structure in the early universe known so far.
The discovery was made by astronomers led by Olga Cucciati of Bologna’s National Astrophysics Institute.
Hyperion was found using data from VIMOS Ultra-Deep Survey done by VIMOS instrumenton European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope in Chile.
VIMOS is an instrument that measures objects at a distance of billions of light years away. It enables scientist to see what the early universe was like.
Hyperion’s mass is estimated to be a million billion times that of our own Sun (nearly 1,048 Jupiters, or 333,000 Earths).

October 20

Europe, Japan send spacecraft on 7-year journey to Mercury
European and Japanese space agencies stated that an Ariane 5 rocket successfully lifted a spacecraft carrying two probes into orbit for a joint mission to Mercury, the closest planet to the sun.
The unmanned BepiColombo spacecraft successfully separated and was sent into orbit from French Guiana as planned to begin a seven-year journey to Mercury.

October 21

China - built world's largest amphibious plane completes maiden flight test
China’s indigenously designed and built Kunlong (Water Dragon) AG600 amphibious aircraft successfully conducted its first water takeoff and landing on the Zhanghe reservoir near Jingmen city in Hubei province.
The plane took off from the surface of a reservoir near Zhanghe Airport of Jingmen under the command of captain Zhao Sheng and his crew.
The seaplane’s first waterborne take-off follows the successfulcompletion of high-speed water taxiing trials on the Zhanghe reservoir in early October. Prior to that in August, the AG600 conducted a ground training flight from an airport in the city of Zhuhai in south China’s Guangdong province to an airport in Jingmen, a city in central China’s Hubei province.

China Successfully Tests World's Largest Unmanned Transport Drone
China has successfully tested the world's largest unmanned transport drone which can carry a payload of 1.5 tonnes.
A large commercial drone Feihong-98 (FH-98) developed and modified by the China Academy of Aerospace Electronics Technology made a successful test flight at Baotou test site in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region.
Feihong-98 (FH-98) is now the world's largest unmanned transport aircraft, with a maximum payload of up to 1.5 tonnes.
It was adapted from the prototype of the Shifei Y5B, a China-developed transport plane.

October 22

New material harvests Sun's heat for cheaper electricity
Scientists have developed a material that can be used to harvest electricity from the Sun's heat, paving the way for generating cheaper solar power on cloudy days and at nighttime.
The innovation is an important step for putting solar heat-to-electricity generation in direct cost competition with fossil fuels.
Storing solar energy as heat can already be cheaper than storing energy via batteries, so the next step is reducing the cost of generating electricity from the Sun's heat with the added benefit of zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Concentrated solar power plants convert solar energy into electricity by using mirrors or lenses to concentrate a lot of light onto a small area, which generates heat that is transferred to a molten salt.

The 27th Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2018) was held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat
The six-day event is organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) andhosted by Department ofAtomic Energy andGandhinagar-based Instituteof Plasma Research.
The aim for this Conference is Toprovide forum for discussionof key physics and technologyissues as well as innovativeconcepts of direct relevance to the use of nuclear fusion (reaction that powers Sun andstars) as a source of energy.

October 23

Russian forces arrive in Pakistan for third joint - military drill
A Russian Army contingent arrived in Pakistan to take part in the third edition of a joint bilateral military training exercise.
The two armies will be holding joint military drills in the mountains of northwestern Pakistan which will continue till November 4.
This will be the third joint military drill between Pakistan and Russia under the bilateral training cooperation agreement, according to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan Army.
Superflares from young stars may imperil planets: NASA
Violent flares from the host star may make planets orbiting it uninhabitable by affecting their atmospheres, scientists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have found.
Hubble is observing such stars through a large programme called HAZMAT - Habitable Zones and M dwarf Activity across Time.
“M dwarf” is the astronomical term for a red dwarf star the smallest, most abundant and longest-lived type of star in our galaxy.

US-based ride-hailing startup Uber is going to launch its drone-based food delivery service titled 'UberExpress' by 2021
US-based ride-hailing startup Uber is planning to launch its drone-based food delivery service by 2021.
The service has reportedly been named 'UberExpress' and will be a part of Uber Eats. The ride-hailing startup is looking to hire someone with "flight standards and training" experience.

October 24

UAE, US kick off two-week joint military exercise
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the US kicked off a two-week military exercise.
"Iron Magic 19" is part of a series of joint military exercises throughout the year between the UAE armed forces and the armed forces of other countries.
The exercise seeks to reinforce cooperation, joint actions and exchange of expertise in military areas.
This will contribute to maximizing the combat capabilities and increasing coordination between the UAE and the US armed forces.

This gel can protect farmers from toxic pesticides
Indian farmers usually do not wear any protective gear while spraying chemicals in fields. This exposes them to harmful toxics contained in pesticides, causing severe health impacts and even death in extreme cases. Indian scientists have now developed a protective gel to address this problem.
The gel can be applied on skin and can break down toxic chemicals in pesticides, insecticides and fungicides including the most hazardous and widely used organo phosphorous compounds.
The gel deactivates these chemicals, preventing them from going deep into the skin and organs like the brain and the lungs. It has been found to be effective in tests done in rats and researchers hope to soon test it in humans.

October 25

Union HRD Minister launches the web portal of the Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC) in New Delhi
The Minister of Human Resource Development, ShriPrakashJavadekar launched the web portal of the Scheme “Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC)” in New Delhi.
SPARC scheme aims at improving the research ecosystem of India’s higher educational institutions by facilitating academic and research collaborations between Indian Institutions and the best institutions in the world.
Under this Scheme, 600 joint research proposals will be awarded for 2 years to facilitate strong research collaboration between Indian research groups with the best in class faculty and renowned research groups in the leading universities of the world, in areas that are at the cutting edge of science or with direct social relevance to the mankind, specifically India.

PNB Metlife launches AI-powered customer service app
Life insurer PNB Metlife has unveiled an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered customer service app ‘Khushi’.
The app is designed to be a one-stop shop providing insurance-related information, anytime, anywhere, such as policy features, premium due details besides providing fund value and portfolio details. It has the ability to understand customer intent and provide tailored responses.
Khushi can interact with customers via text as well as speech. When requested, the app can also locate the nearest PNB MetLife branch, arrange a call back from call centre representatives, fix an appointment with an advisor and much more, according to the company.
The Sunil Mehta (Non-Executive Chairman of Punjab National Bank) Committee on restructuring stressed assets and creating more value for public sector banks had suggested the OC mechanism for all corporate borrowers that have taken loans and financial assistance for an amount of ₹50 crore or more under consortium lending/multiple banking arrangements.

PM NarendraModi appeals to 4 million IT professionals to join the cause of nation building
Prime Minister NarendraModi appealed to the four million employees of the Indian IT industry to contribute towards the cause of nation building.
Addressing a townhall of chiefs and employees of technology companies and start-ups, Modi launched an app and portal called Self4Society which is aimed at pooling the resources that corporates put in towards social causes and aligning them with the initiatives of the government such as Swatchh Bharat, Skill India etc.
The portal will also help the employees in identifying the volunteering opportunities for social causes and they can also collaborate with other employees on such projects.

North Central Railways launches apps for its employees, passengers
The North Central Railways (NCR) launched two mobile apps, 'NCR RASTA' and 'Yatri RASTA', for its employees and passengers, respectively, for locating assets and stations.
"NCR RASTA (Railway assets Summerised Tracking Application) and Yatri RASTA (Railway Approach to Station Tracking Application) were launched by NCR General Manager Rajiv Chaudhry.
The 'NCR RASTA' app is for the use of railway officers and staff and has exact mapping of all railway assets.

October 26

Russia launches first Soyuz rocket since failed space launch
Russia successfully launched a Soyuz rocket for the first time since the failure of a similar rocket aborted a manned take-off to the International Space Station (ISS). The satellite reached its orbit at the set time.
This is the first launch of a rocket from the Soyuz family since the October 11 accident.
It was the third launch of a Soyuz rocket from Russia's northern Plesetsk launch pad this year.
The satellite launch had originally been planned for October 19 but was postponed after the accident that saw two astronauts make an emergency landing minutes after blast-off from Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome.

Ministry of Railways rolls out All-India Unreserved Mobile Ticketing facility (UTS on Mobile)
Ministry of Railways has introduced Unreserved Mobile Ticketing with a view to promote three C’s- Cashless transactions (Digital payment), Contact less ticketing (no need to physically visit the point of sale) and Customer convenience and experience.
As a big leap, booking of unreserved tickets on all non-suburban sections across all Zonal Railways has been made available from 1st November to enable seamless booking of unreserved tickets all over Indian Railways which will obviate the need for passengers to wait in queues for purchasing the tickets.
A pilot project for booking of unreserved tickets through mobile phone was commenced in December, 2014 on select stations on Central Railway to provide customers the convenience of booking of unreserved tickets without having to stand in queues.
Gradually, unreserved Mobile ticketing was extended to all suburban sections in metropolitan cities of Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Secunderabad between 2015 and 2017 along with the facility of paperless ticketing.
The facility of booking unreserved tickets, including season tickets and also platform tickets is available through the ‘UTSONMOBILE’ app available for Android, IOS and Windows phones.

NASA names gamma-ray constellations after Godzilla, Hulk
NASA scientists have devised a new set of 21 modern gamma-ray constellations and named them after fictional characters such as the Hulk and Godzilla.
The constellations, constructed with sources visible through its gamma-ray telescope, were devised to celebrate the completion of 10 years of operations of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
The new constellations include a few characters from modern myths. Among them are the Little Prince, the time-warping TARDIS from ‘Doctor Who,’ Godzilla and his heat ray, the antimatter-powered U.S.S. Enterprise from ‘Star Trek: The Original Series’ and the Hulk, the product of a gamma-ray experiment gone awry.

Cell-sized robots can be used to detect diseases
MIT scientists have developed a method to mass produce robots no bigger than a cell that could be used to monitor conditions inside an oil or gas pipeline, or to search out disease while floating through the bloodstream.
The key to making such tiny devices, which the team calls “syncells” (short for synthetic cells), in large quantities lies in controlling the natural fracturing process of atomically-thin, brittle materials.
The process, called “autoperforation”, directs the fracture lines so that they produce miniscule pockets of a predictable size and shape. Embedded inside these pockets are electronic circuits and materials that can collect data.

Dating back 2,400 years, world’s oldest shipwreck found intact in Black Sea
An ancient Greek trading ship dating back more than 2,400 years has been found virtually intact at the bottom of the Black Sea, the world’s oldest known shipwreck.
The vessel is one of more than 60 shipwrecks identified by the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project including Roman ships and a 17th-century Cossack raiding fleet.
During the three-year project, researchers used specialist remote deep-water camera systems previously used in offshore oil and gas exploration to map the sea floor.
A small piece of the vessel has been carbon dated and it is confirmed as the oldest intact shipwreck known to mankind.

October 27

First indigenously overhauled Sukhoi Su-30MKI jet handed over to IAF
The 11 Base Repair Depot (BRD) of the Indian Air Force at Ojhar in Maharashtra’s Nashik district handed over its first indigenously overhauled Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jet to the IAF.
Sukhoi Su-30MKI is a twin-jet multi-role air superiority aircraft developed by Russia’s Sukhoiand built under licence by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).
The aircraft was handed over to the Operational Squadron of the IAF.
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Maintenance Command Air Marshal Hemant Sharma handed over the aircraft to Air Marshal H S Arora, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of South Western Air Command, at a ceremony held at the Air Force Station Ojhar, about 200km from Mumbai.

HRD Minister Javadekar launches web portals for research oriented schemes
Union HRD Minister PrakashJavadekar launched web portals for two schemes IMPRESS and SPARC with an aim to build an ecosystem of research in educational institutions.
A country achieves prosperity on a sustainable basis only through innovation which can happen only by good research and which is currently a major focus area of the government.
The objective of Impactful Policy Research in Social Sciences (IMPRESS) is to identify and fund research proposals in social sciences with maximum impact on governance and society.

World’s smallest optical gyroscope developed
Scientists have developed the world’s smallest optical gyroscope - a device that helps vehicles, drones and handheld electronic devices know their orientation in 3D space. The new gyroscope, described in Nature Photonics, is 500 times smaller than the current best device.
Originally, gyroscopes were sets of nested wheels, each spinning on a different axis, according to researchers from the California Institute of Technology in the U.S. However, today’s cellphones have microelectromechanical sensor, the modern-day equivalent, which measures changes in the forces acting on two identical masses that are oscillating and moving in opposite directions.

Aim, shoot for a citizen - science repository of Indian mammals
Mammals of India (MaOI), a citizen - science repository on Indian mammals, was launched in September 2018.
The website is available at: www.mammalsofindia.org. MaOI was developed by scientists from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) in Bangalore.
It is an online, peer-reviewed, freely - accessible portal. By October 25, 768 images, of 161 species of mammals, were uploaded.

October 28

Portal to promote Odia language, literature inaugurated
The Odisha government launched a new web portal to promote Odia language and literature.
Called Odia Virtual Academy, the portal www.ova.gov.in was inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the state secretariat.
The Odia Virtual Academy has taken the responsibility for promotion, preservation and digitisation of the Odia language and literature, the portal will be helpful for the promotion of Odia language at the international level, especially for the non resident Odias.
Three memorandums have been signed with University of Chicago Library, C-DAC and Centre for Internet and Society, Bengaluru, respectively to expedite digitisation of Odia literature and development of software.

First Pakistan astronaut will go into space in 2022 with China’s help
Pakistan would send a human to space for the first time in 2022 with China’s help, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced, ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s maiden visit to Beijing to further cement the all weather strategic cooperative partnership.
Pakistan’s first space mission has been planned for 2022 and the federal Cabinet meeting chaired by Khan approved the plan.
An agreement between Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and a Chinese company has already been signed.

October 29

Novel tool to monitor fake news on Facebook, Twitter
Scientists have developed a web-based tool to help monitor the prevalence of fake news on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Developed by researchers at the University of Michigan in the US, the tool uses a Platform Health Metric called the Iffy Quotient, which draws data from two external entities: NewsWhip and Media Bias/Fact Checker.
NewsWhip, a social media engagement tracking firm, collects URLs on hundreds of thousands of sites every day and then gathers information on which of those sites have engagements on Facebook and Twitter.

Navy successfully tests ballistic missile intercept system
The U.S. military successfully shot down a medium-range ballistic missile in a test of the ship-based missile defense system that it is developing with Japan.
Navy sailors on the USS John Finn, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, intercepted the test missile off the west coast of Hawaii using a Standard Missile-3 Block IIA, part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system.

ISRO successfully tests lander for soft landing on the moon
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully conducted crucial tests to ensure smooth and precise landing of Vikram, the lander aboard Chandrayaan 2.
The aim of the Lander Actuator Performance Test (LAPT) was to assess the performance of the navigational system onboard the lander for steering the module horizontally and vertically to reach a predefined target.
The test proved the navigation capability of Vikram. The test module had all the actual navigational system that will be sent to the moon on board. Only the mass had been reduced to 1/6th the actual lander.

Reliance Naval launches training ship for Indian Coast Guard
Anil Ambani-led shipbuilder Reliance Naval and Engineering (RNEL) launched a 3,000 tonne training ship for the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), which will be delivered in May next year.
The 105-metre long training vessel, the largest ship ever built for the ICG, at the cost of Rs 220 crore, is named 'ICGS Varuna', and was launched at the shipyard of RNEL at the Pipavav Port in Amreli district of Gujarat.

October 30

Researchers at the university of Michigan in the United States, have developed a web-based tool to monitor fake news on social media platform like Facebook and Twitter.
The tool uses a Platform health metric called the IFFY Quotient, which draws data from two external entities: NewsWhip and Media Bias/Fact Checker.
It collects URLs on various sites everyday and then gathers information on which sites have engagements on Facebook and Twitter.

KAU initiated a mission to rejuvenate hill garlic.
Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) initiated a study on the farming practices of garlic followed in hills of Kanthalloor and Vattavada areas of Idukki district of Kerala.
Hill garlic are known for its unique flavour, pungency ,taste , medicinal properties and longer shelf life ,that is 180 days.
About Kerala:
Capital: Thiruvananthapuram
CM: PinarayiVijayan
Governor: P. Sadasivam

October 31

CSIR developed less polluting fire crackers named SWAS, SAFAL and STAR.

The Council of Scientific and Research (CSIR) scientists has developed less polluting green fire crackers named SWAS, SAFAL and STAR.
Green crackers are so named because they do not contain harmful chemicals that would cause air pollution.

 'Train 18'- India's 1st Engineless Train.
 "Train 18", developed by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) and seen as a successor to the prestigious Shatabdi Express, was unveiled by Railway Board Chairman AshwaniLohani. 
The Rs. 100-crore train is the first long-distance train, without a separate locomotive (engine). It was flagged off at the ICF premises by Mr.Lohani.
 According to ICF, the train is capable of running at a speed of up to 160 kmph and the swanky 16-coach train will cut journey time by 15% compared to the 30-year old Shatabdi. 

IIT Guwahati uses aloe vera to remove oil from water
Researchers have for the first time used a naturally occurring material - aloe vera gel - which inherently has superior oil repelling (oleophobic) property to separate oil from water.
The team led by Dr. Uttam Manna from the Department of Chemistry at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).

Researchers at IIT-Madras designed and booted up India’s first indigenously developed Microprocessor
The researchers at IIT-Madras designed and booted up India’s first indigenously developed microprocessor that can be used in mobile computing devices, embedded low power wireless systems and networking systems besides reducing reliance on imported microprocessors in communications and defence sectors.
The ‘Shakti’ family of processors was fabricated at Semi-Conductor Laboratory (SCL) of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Chandigarh.
The SCL is an autonomous body engaged in research and development in microelectronics to meet strategic needs of the country.


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