Science & Technology - 2018 SEPTEMBER

September 4

Google's new tactic to fight child sexual abuse: AI
US tech giant Google announced that it is employing a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to combat online spreading of contents involving child sexual abuse.
Google’s cutting-edge AI technology uses deep neural networks for image processing to help discover and detect Child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online.
The new tool based on the deep neural networks will be made available for free to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other "industry partners'', including other technology companies, via a new Content Safety API service that could be offered upon request.
The new AI technology will significantly help service providers, NGOs and other tech firms to improve the efficiency of CSAM detection and reduce human reviewers' exposure to the content.

September 5

IAF carries out first ever mid-air refuelling of Tejas combat jet
The Indian Air Force has successfully carried out the first ever mid air refuelling of the indigenously developed Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA), a major milestone in its development cycle.
A Russian-built IL-78 MKI tanker transferred fuel to a Tejas MK I aircraft.
The mid-air refueling of Tejas came three months after it successfully fired an air-to-air beyond visual (BVR) range missile.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) had ordered 40 Tejas Mark-1 version and a request for proposal (RFP) was issued to HAL by the IAF in December for procurement of another batch of 83 Tejas at a cost of around Rs 50,000 crore.

Japan to test mini ‘space elevator’
A Japanese team has developed a “space elevator” and will conduct a first trial this month, blasting off a miniature version on satellites to test the technology.
The test equipment, produced by researchers at Shizuoka University, will hitch a ride on an H-2B rocket being launched by Japan’s space agency from southern island of Tanegashima next week.
The test involves a miniature elevator stand-in - a box just 6 cm long, 3 cm wide, and 3 cm high.
If all goes well, it will provide proof of concept by moving along a 10-metre cable suspended in space between two mini satellites that will keep it taut.

September 6

India, France to collaborate on human space mission
India and France announced a working group for Gaganyaan, ISRO's first manned mission announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Independence Day.
The announcement was made at the sixth edition of Bengaluru Space Expo by French space agency President Jean-Yves Le Gall.
India plans to send three humans to space before 2022.
The Indian Space Research Organization’s mission is significant as it would make India one of the four countries in the world after Russia, US and China to launch a manned space flight.
ISRO and CNES, the French space agency, will be combining their expertise in fields of space medicine, astronaut health monitoring, life support, radiation protection, space debris protection and personal hygiene systems.

Google launches new search engine for scientific community
Google launched a new search engine for the scientific community that will help them make sense of millions of datasets present online. The service, called Dataset Search, will help scientists, data journalists and geeks find the data required for their work and their stories - or simply to satisfy their intellectual curiosity.
The new search engine will work like Google Scholar, the company’s popular search engine for academic studies and reports.

September 7

NASA Set to Reveal New Discovery on Mars by Curiosity Rover
NASA's Curiosity rover has found new science "results" on Mars and the agency will disclose the findings at a press conference that starts at 11.30 p.m. India time.
NASA earlier this week announced that the Curiosity rover had started analysing drilled samples on Mars in one of its onboard labs for the first time in more than a year. It had to stop analysing samples on the Red Planet after a mechanical problem took the rover drill offline in December 2016.
It successfully tested a new drilling method on the Red Planet, making a 50-millimetre deep hole in a target called "Duluth". Launched in 2011, Curiosity was designed to assess whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms called microbes.

China launches new marine satellite HY-1C on Long March-2C rocket
China launched a marine satellite to help improve understanding of maritime waters and climate change.
A Long March-2C rocket carrying the HY-1C satellite took off at 11.15 a.m. from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in Shanxi province.
The satellite will help monitor ocean colour and water temperatures, providing basic data for research on the global oceanic environment, according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence.
Its data will also be used in the survey of the resources and environment of China’s offshore waters, islands and coastal zones, marine disaster relief and the sustainable utilisation of ocean resources.

ISRO displays space suit, crew model for 2022 mission
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) displayed a space suit developed by the agency. The suit was displayed at the launch of the sixth edition of Bengaluru Space Expo. The orange-coloured prototype space suit was developed over the past two years at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram.
The suit can hold one oxygen cylinder, allowing an astronaut to breathe in space for 60 minutes.
ISRO has developed two suits and will create one more suit as three astronauts will be part of mission to send Indians into space on an Indian spacecraft by 2022.
The space research body also displayed the crew model and the crew escape model. A prototype crew model has already been tested by the ISRO.
In the crew model capsule, the three astronauts will be living for five to seven days in a 400-km orbit from the Earth's surface. The capsule will have a thermal shield and it will turn into a ball of flame travelling towards the Earth when they re-enter the atmosphere.

September 13

INMAS develops India’s first indigenous anti-nuclear medical kit
In a major shot in the arm for paramilitary and police forces, scientists at a central research institute claim to have developed India’s first indigenous medical kit that may ensure protection from serious injuries and faster healing of wounds resulting from nuclear warfare or radioactive leakage.
The kit, developed after two decades of work by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), has over 25 items, including radio-protectors that provide 80-90 per cent protection against radiation and nerve gas agents, bandages that absorb radiation as well as tablets and ointments.
Developed in India for the first time, it’s a potent alternative to similar kits that were till now being procured from strategically advanced nations such as the US and Russia at much higher prices.
The contents include an advanced form of Prussian blue tablets, highly effective in incorporating Radio Cesium (Cs-137) and Radio Thallium, among the most feared radioisotopes in nuclear bombs that destroy human body cells.

September 14

Coast Guard commissions patrol vessel Vijaya
Indian Coast Guard Ship Vijaya, the second in the series of 98 m offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), was commissioned by Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra in the presence of Rajendra Singh, Director-General, Indian Coast Guard, in Chennai.
Designed and built indigenously by Larsen & Toubro, the OPV is fitted with advanced technology navigation and communication equipment and sensors. It is fitted with a 30 mm gun and will be fitted with a 12.7 mm gun with fire control system.
On joining the Coast Guard fleet, the ship will be based at Paradip. She will be deployed extensively for Exclusive Economic Zone surveillance and other duties as enshrined in the Coast Guard charter.
The commissioning of Vijaya will enhance the Indian Coast Guard’s operational capability to discharge its multifarious maritime tasks. The induction of this patrol vessel will give a fillip to the maritime protection of the Eastern seaboard in general and the maritime states of Odisha and West Bengal in particular.

September 15

NASA launches satellite ICESat-2 to measure Earth's sea ice, glaciers and oceans
NASA's most advanced space satellite designed to precisely measure changes in Earth's ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice and vegetation around the world was launched from Vandenberg Air Force base in California.
The USD 1 billion, half-ton ICESat-2 launched aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force base at 6:02 am (local time).
ICESat-2 is short for Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2
ICESat-2 will orbit Earth carrying a photon-counting laser altimeter, ATLAS (Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System).
This instrument will measure height by determining how long it takes photons to travel from the spacecraft to Earth and back.
Each pulse will release about 20 trillion photons.

September 16

Kochi start-up makes India's first commercial underwater drone for DRDO Lab
Kochi-based start-up IROV Technologies Pvt Ltd (EyeROV) is launching commercial underwater drones by handing over the first vehicle to Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), a laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The company, backed by Kerala Start-Up Mission, oil and gas firm BPCL and the Department of Science and Technology, claims the product is the first indigenously-developed commercial underwater drone in the country.
The EyeROV TUNA is a smart micro-ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) or underwater drone, at par with global standards, and with operational capabilities in harsh and mission-critical underwater environment. EyeROV is designed to perform visual inspection and surveys of submerged structures as a cost-effective underwater rover that works up to a depth of 100 metres. It can be e-controlled using a laptop or a joystick. A camera fitted on to the underwater drone, gives a live video feed of the submarine environment. The product is equipped to perform a variety of functions, including inspection of ship hulls, fish farms, dams and port structure and bridge foundations.

ISRO unveils Polarimetry Doppler Weather Radar at Sriharikota spaceport
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) inaugurated the Polarimetry Doppler Weather Radar at Sriharikota spaceport near Chennai.
The S–Band Polarimetry Doppler Weather Radar facility was launched at Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
The radar has been developed by Bharat Electronics Ltd, Bengaluru under ToT (Training of Trainers) from ISRO.
The Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) provides advanced information, enhances the lead-time essential for saving lives and property in the event of a natural disaster associated with severe weather.

India, France plan to launch 8-10 satellites for maritime surveillance, says French space agency chief
India and France have planned 8-10 satellites as part of a “constellation” for maritime surveillance.
This will be India’s largest space cooperation with any country.
They added that the launch of 8-10 maritime surveillance satellites will focus on the Indian Ocean, a region that has been witnessing increasing Chinese presence.
France will also share its expertise with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on inter-planetary missions to Mars and Venus, the Indian space agency’s two major missions.
The purpose of the constellation is monitoring sea traffic management.
India and France unveiled a joint vision for space, resolving to strengthen cooperation between ISRO and CNES.

DRDO successfully tests anti-tank missile
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully tested a low-weight indigenously developed man-portable anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM) at its Ahmednagar range.
It was the second MPATGM test, the DRDO. It was the second MPATGM test, the DRDO, adding that the first was tested.

September 17

PSLV-C42 puts 2 UK satellites into orbit
India has launched 239 foreign satellites of 28 nations so far, as it marches on with improvements in launch of vehicle technology and position itself in the commercial business space.
The launch of two satellites of the United Kingdom - NovaSAR and S1-4 from Sriharikota Space Port night by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) through the trusted PSLV demonstrated a technology upgrades.
It was not just a unique and first night flight launch, but the 44th flight of PSLV again proved the ability to put into orbit smaller payload using the Core Alone version.
The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C42) lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota. Both satellites were injected into the Sun Synchronous Orbit, about 17 minutes later, at an altitude of 583 km.
The satellites belong to the UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), which has a contract with Antrix Corporation Ltd, the commercial arm of ISRO.
NovaSAR carries S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and an Automatic Identification Receiver payload. The satellite applications include forestry mapping, land use and ice cover monitoring, flood and disaster monitoring and maritime missions.

September 19

To the moon and back: Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa will be Elon Musk's first private tourist
A Japanese billionaire and online fashion tycoon, Yusaku Maezawa, will be the first man to fly on a monster SpaceX rocket around the Moon as early as 2023, and he plans to bring six to eight artists along.
Maezawa, 42, will be the first lunar traveler since the last US Apollo mission in 1972. He paid an unspecified amount of money for the privilege.
Maezawa is chief executive of Japan's largest online fashion mall, and is the 18th richest person in Japan with a fortune of $3 billion, according to the business magazine Forbes.

September 20

Prahaar missile test fired successfully: Know what’s special about this indigenously developed weapon
India successfully test-fired its indigenously developed surface-to-surface short-range tactical ballistic missile ‘Prahaar’ from the Odisha coast amid heavy rains.
‘Prahar’, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is capable of filling the gap between the multi-barrel rocket system ‘Pinaka’ and medium-range ballistic missile ‘Prithvi’. It can also engage multiple targets in different directions.
The test launch was successful as the missile travelled a range of 200 km before zeroing in on the target, achieving all mission objectives.
The sophisticated missile was test-launched from launch pad-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR). It was launched from a mobile launcher.
It is a solid-fuelled short-range missile fitted with inertial navigation system.
The missile is equipped with state-of-the-art navigation, guidance and electromechanical actuation systems with advanced on board computer.

NASA telescope discovers two new planets five months after launch
A planet-hunting orbital telescope designed to detect worlds beyond our solar system discovered two distant planets five months after its launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, better known as TESS, made an early discovery of “super-Earth” and “hot Earth” planets in solar systems at least 49 light-years away, marking the satellite’s first discovery since its launch. TESS is on a two-year, $337 million mission to expand astronomers’ known catalog of so-called exoplanets, worlds circling distant stars.
While the two planets are too hot to support life, TESS Deputy Science Director Sara Seager expects many more such discoveries.
NASA expects to pinpoint thousands more previously unknown worlds, perhaps hundreds of them Earth-sized or “super-Earth” sized - no larger than twice as big as our home planet.

September 21

ISRO setting up launch pad for Gaganyaan mission
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is setting up a third launch pad at Sriharikota to undertake the Gaganyaan manned space flight programme. In addition, ISRO is scouting for a location on the western sea coast near Gujarat to set up another launch pad for Small Satellite Launch Vehicles (SSLV).
Third launch pad
In the Independence Day address this year from the Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that an Indian will go to space by 2022.
Following this, ISRO has announced an ambitious roadmap to put a three-man Indian crew in a low earth orbit for 5-7 days by the 75th Independence Day.
ISRO has begun work on the manned mission in 2004, and that many of the critical technologies required for human spaceflight have already been validated through various tests - Space Capsule Recovery Experiment, Crew Module Atmospheric Re-Entry Experiment and Pad Abort Test.
ISRO will use its GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle, which can carry the heavier payload of the Gaganyaan, and this will take off from the new launch pad.
In addition to the third launch pad at Sriharikota, ISRO is also scouting for a new location near Gujarat for the SSLV.

September 23

Miniature human Oesophagus grown in lab
In a first, scientists have successfully grown oesophageal organoids - miniature, functional versions of the human food pipe - using stem cells, paving the way for new ways to study and test drugs against gut disorders. The research, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, shows how human oesophageal tissue was grown entirely from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), which can form any tissue type in the body.
The work by researchers at the Cincinnati Children's Center for Stem Cell and Organoid Medicine (CuSTOM) in the US may lead to personalized diagnostic methods and focused in part on developing regenerative tissue therapies to treat or cure GI disorders.
The oesophagus is a muscular tube that actively passes food from the mouth to the stomach. The organ can be affected by congenital diseases, such as oesophageal atresia - a narrowing or malformation of the oesophagus caused by genetic mutations.
There are several diseases that can afflict people later in life. Some include oesophageal cancer, Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or a rare ailment called achalasia - a disease affecting the muscles of the lower oesophagus that prevents contraction of the organ and the passage of food.

India conducts successful interceptor missile test at night
India successfully conducted an interceptor missile test off the Odisha coast, achieving a major milestone in developing a two-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system.
The interceptor was launched from Abdul Kalam Island, earlier known as Wheeler Island of the Integrated Test Range (ITR).
This Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) mission is for engaging the targets in the exo-atmosphere region at an altitude above 50 km of the earth's atmosphere.
In an automated operation, radar-based detection and tracking system detected and tracked the enemy's ballistic missile.
The computer network with the help of data received from radars predicted the trajectory of the incoming ballistic missile. The PDV that was kept fully ready took off once the computer system gave the command for lift-off.

September 25

Japan world’s first to land rovers MINERVA-II1 on asteroid Ryugu
The small compact MINERVA-II1 rovers separated from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft. The MINERVA-II1 consists of two rovers, Rover-1A and Rover-1B.
Analysis of this information confirmed that at least one of the rovers is moving on the asteroid surface.
MINERVA-II1 is the world's first rover to land on the surface of an asteroid. This is also the first time for autonomous movement and picture capture on an asteroid surface.

September 27

IAF successfully test fires air-to-air Astra missile
The Indian Air Force successfully test fired the indigenously developed Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile Astra from a Su-30 aircraft.
The missile, tested at the Kalaikunda Air Force Station, successfully engaged a manoeuvring target with high precision.
In the series of trials held till date, Astra has been launched in the complete Su-30 flight envelope.
The flight test assumes significance as it was part of the series of final pre-induction trials. Astra, deemed to be the best in class weapon system, has undergone more than 20 developmental trials.

September 28

Japan’s Minerva-II-1 rovers send back first video from asteroid Ryugu 280 million km away
Two Japanese robots have sent back their first video images from the surface of a moving asteroid as part of an unprecedented mission aimed at shedding light on the origins of the solar system.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa) released the 15-frame clip along with new photographs days after the unmanned spacecraft Hayabusa2 deployed the rovers on to the asteroid’s surface after a three-and-a-half year journey.

September 29

China launches Centispace-1-s1 satellite on low-cost solid-fuel rocket
China launched its Centispace-1-s1 satellite on a Kuaizhou-1A low-cost solid-fuel carrier rocket.
It was launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China. This is the second commercial launch by the Kuaizhou-1A rocket, a low-cost solid-fuel carrier rocket with high reliability and a short preparation period, designed to launch low-orbit satellites weighing under 300 kgs.
The first launch in 2017 sent three satellites into space. The Kuaizhou-1A was developed by a rocket technology company under the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC).
The Centispace-1-s1 was developed by Innovation Academy for Microsatellites of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It is a technology experiment satellite for the low-orbit navigation enhancement system being developed by Beijing Future Navigation Technology Co.