Science & Technology - 2017 June

June 1

NASA's Parker Solar Probe to "touch" sun's atmosphere in 2018.
NASA's Parker Solar Probe will be launched in the summer of 2018 to explore the sun's atmosphere.
The purpose of the launch will be to study sun's outer atmosphere and to understand how sun works.
The name of the probe initially called the Solar Probe Plus has been renamed as the Parker Solar Probe in honor of astrophysicist Eugene Parker. This is the first time NASA has named a spacecraft after a living person.
Astrophysicist Eugene Parker published a research paper predicting the existence of solar wind in 1958. At that time, it was thought that the space between planets was a vacuum. Parker’s theory of solar wind was later on confirmed by satellite observations.

June 2

Japan launches satellite for high-precision positioning system to complement GPS.
Japan launched a satellite to help build a high-precision geolocation system that will complement the US-operated GPS.
An 'H-IIA' rocket blasted off from the Tanegashima space center in southern Japan carrying the 'Michibiki' No. 2 satellite.
The Michibiki system is capable of covering the Asia-Oceania region and works with the US-operated Global Positioning System (GPS).
Michibiki, meaning guidance in Japanese, is intended for civilian use, with a claimed positioning accuracy down to mere centimeters (inches). Though GPS is widely used in Japan, having supplementary satellites is important in a country where mountainous terrain and high buildings may interfere with GPS signals.

June 3

Nuclear-capable Prithvi-II missile successfully test-fired.
The land version of the short range surface–to–surface ballistic missile Prithvi-II was successfully test-fired from a defence base off Odisha coast.
The test was conducted by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Indian Army with logistics support from DRDO. The test was part of the user training exercise. The missile carrying a dummy payload was mounted on a Mobile Tatra transporter-erector Launcher (MTL).
About PRITHVI-II Missile:
The Prithvi-II missile is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1,000 kg of warheads and is thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engines.
It uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory to hit its target with precision and accuracy.
It is surface-to-surface missile, which has a strike range of 350 km.
The technological program was monitored by the scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of a training exercise.

NASA to Launch First-Ever Neutron-Star Mission.
NASA is set to launch the world's first mission devoted to studying rapidly spinning neutron stars, the densest objects in the universe.
The US space agency plans to launch the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer, or NICER, aboard SpaceX CRS-11, a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station, aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.
The NICER will be installed aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as an external attached payload. About a week after its installation, the NICER will begin observing neutron stars.

June 4

NASA sounding rocket to release radiant artificial clouds.
NASA will launch the Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket into the space that will release blue-green and red artificial clouds.
The launch is expected to support space studies, the ground stations will require clear skies to clearly view blue-green and red artificial clouds that will be produced as part of the test. These artificial clouds will be visible from New York to North Carolina.
The rocket will eject vapour canisters between 10 to 20 km from the rocket's main payload these canisters will release the vapour after launch. Ground cameras will be stationed to view the vapour tracers. The vapour tracers will be formed due to the interaction of barium, strontium and cupric-oxide.
The multi-canister or ampule ejection system will facilitate the scientists to gather information over a much larger area. The total flight time of the mission will be around 8 minutes.

June 5

India successfully test-fires 1st all weather tracked-chassis QR-SAM.
India successfully test-fired its 1th all weather tracked-chassis Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QR-SAM) from a mobile launcher at Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Odisha.
This test of the QR-SAM was the first test of the indigenously developed sophisticated high-speed missile that is capable of destroying aerial targets, tanks, bunkers and short range missiles
The test was carried out for validating various parameters of the sophisticated weapon system to further strengthen its air defence system.
The Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QR-SAM) was jointly developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Bharat Electronics Limited.

June 6

National Board of Wildlife Clears Rutland Island for DRDO's Missile Testing Project.
The Standing Committee of the National Board of Wildlife has approved Rutland Island (South Andaman) site for the country's long-range missile test facility.
Since 2012, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been seeking the approval for the test facility.
The proposal involves diversion of 49.978 acres forest of which 0.84 falls in the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park and 49.138 reserve forest within 10 km of the Eco Sensitive Zone.
National Board for Wild Life is a 'Statutory Organization' constituted under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
The board is 'advisory' in nature and advises the Central Government on framing policies and measures for conservation of wildlife in the country.

June 7

World's first hybrid 'aeroboat' made by Indo-Russian JV unveiled.
The world's first hybrid 'aeroboat' which has been built by an Indo-Russian joint venture has been unveiled at a start-ups event organized by Russia's state-run Skolkovo Foundation.
The aeroboat is capable of travelling on land, water, snow and sand. It has been designed to access difficult terrain, such as flooded or marshy areas in which the regular boats cannot ply because of shallow water, patches of dry land or by marine vegetation.
The aeroboats can handle steep slopes and embankments with out the requirement of marine infrastructure such as jetties. The aeroboat will have a room for 10 passengers and one crew member.
Aeroboats are much faster and robust when compared to hovercrafts. They are capable of moving at the speed of around 150 kmph or more on water, while hovercrafts can move at around 45-50 kmph or more
In India, these aeroboats will be helpful for disaster management authorities. It would be helpful especially to save hundreds of lives during the monsoon season.

June 8

Scientists have found the hottest planet in the universe.
Scientists have discovered the hottest known exoplanet, designated KELT-9b which is warmer than most stars in the universe. The study has been published in the journal Nature.
Exoplanet is a planet that does not orbit the Sun and instead orbits a different star, stellar remnant, or brown dwarf. They are also called as extrasolar planet.
The Jupiter-like planet orbits a massive star KELT-9 every day and a half. The planet's day-side temperature is 4,326 degree Celsius and is only 926 degree Celsius cooler than the Sun. The planet is located 650 light years from Earth and sports a giant, glowing gas tail like a comet.
The ultraviolet radiation experienced by the planet from its star KELT-9 is so fierce that the planet may be evaporating producing a glowing gas tail.
Due to extreme radiation from its host star the atmosphere of the planet has puffed up like a balloon. It has been classified as a planet by considering its mass but its atmosphere is not similar to any other known planet.
Due to the bombardment of stellar radiation, the planet is very hot so much so that the molecules such as water, carbon dioxide and methane cannot form there.

June 9

Scientists WHO revises antibiotics protocol.
The WHO has now recommended that antibiotics in the 'access' group, including amoxicillin, be available at all times as treatment for a wide range of common infections.
In an effort to curb antibiotic resistance, the World Health Organization (WHO) has divided the drugs into three categories - access, watch and reserve - specifying which are to be used for common ailments and which are to be kept for complicated diseases.
Commonly used antibiotics will be under the 'access' category; the second line of antibiotics, slightly more potent, have been categorised under ''watch'' and potent drugs to be used only as a ''last resort'' fall under the 'reserve' category. This is the biggest revision of the antibiotics section in the 40-year history of the essential medicines list (EML).
WHO recommends that these drugs be used only when all other alternatives failed such as life-threatening infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria.

June 11

China launches record-breaking drone swarm.
China has launched a record breaking swarm of 119 fixed wing unmanned aerial vehicles.
According to The China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) the feat broke the previous record of a swarm of 67 drones.
According to the CETC, ''swarm intelligence'' is regarded as the core of artificial intelligence of unmanned systems and the future of intelligent unmanned systems.
The 119 drones performed catapult assisted take­offs and formations in the sky.
Chinese military is also testing to launch mass armed drones as a new technique in battle conditions. China is currently the largest maker of drones.

June 13

World's smallest & cheapest private jet 'Vision Jet' launched in USA.
US-based aviation company Cirrus Aircraft has launched the world's smallest and most affordable private jet called 'Vision Jet' for Rs. 12.62 crore.
The jet which had been in making for a decade has only one engine and can cruise at 555 kmph. It has a maximum operating altitude of 28,000 feet, and takes off from just 620 meters of runway.
It is the first Private Jet with a single engine and can be conveniently operated by a single pilot, thus keeping production and maintenance costs low for the users. The jet can fly at a speed of 345mph and has an operating altitude of 28,000 feet.
The cabin is highly spacious for up to five adults and two children, includes USB charging ports for every seat, an in-flight entertainment system, and mood lighting.

June 14

India-Australia naval exercise 'AUSINDEX - 17' begins.
Indian warships have reached Australia's port city of Freemantle to take part in naval exercise off the Western Australian coast.
Exercise Australia - India (AUSINDEX) was first conducted off the East Coast of India in 2015. AUSINDEX - 17 will be the second overall bilateral drill between Indian Navy and Royal Australian Navy.
AUSINDEX bilateral exercise aims to enhance interoperability and professional interaction between two navies.
Politically, the joint exercise assumes significance as India is yet to take a final decision to accommodate Australia's request to participate in the Indian-led Malabar naval exercise. Malabar naval exercise involves the navies of India, Japan, and the United States.
Indian warships INS Kamorta, the INS Shivalik (first stealth warship built in India), and oiler INS Jyoti, will take part in the exercise.
Australian warships which will take part in the exercise includes missile frigate HMAS Newcastle; diesel-electric submarine HMAS Waller; special operations unit, Clearance Diving Team Four; and P3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force.

June 15

DRDO successfully test fires third generation anti-tank 'Nag' missile in Rajasthan.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully test fired anti-tank 'Nag' missile in Rajasthan. The test was conducted by Scientists of the Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Missile Complex at Hyderabad, Defence Laboratory at Jodhpur, High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) at Pune and Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) at Pune.
The anti-tank Nag missile is one of the five missile systems developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) under the integrated guided missile development programme (IGMDP). The four other missiles developed under this programme include Agni, Akash, Trishul and Prithvi.
The Nag missile is a third generation anti-tank guided missile which works on ''fire and forget'' principle. The anti-tank Nag missile has been equipped with the highly advanced Imaging Infrared Radar (IRR) seeker along with integrated avionics. This technology is possessed by very few nations. It also possesses advanced passive homing guidance system. The missile has been designed mainly to destroy modern main battle tanks and other heavily armoured targets.
Nag can be launched from land and air-based platforms. The helicopter launched version known as helicopter-launched NAG (HELINA) can be fired from Dhruv advanced light helicopter (ALH) and HAL Rudra attack helicopter. The land-based version of the missile is at present available for integration on the Nag missile carrier (NAMICA).

June 16

China launches first X-ray space telescope.
China successfully launched its first X-ray space telescope to help scientists study the evolution of black holes, strong magnetic fields and gamma-ray bursts.
The 2.5-tonne Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT), dubbed 'Insight', via a long March-4B rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gobi Desert, was launched into an orbit of 550 kilometres above the earth.
It will also help scientists to search for gamma-ray bursts corresponding to gravitational waves and study how to pulsars can be used for spacecraft navigation.
Insight is more capable of finding black holes and neutron stars that emit bright X-rays than other space telescopes as it has a larger detection area and a broader energy range which makes it easier to scan the galaxy.
The HXMT carries three X-ray telescopes observing at energies ranging from 20 to 200 kiloelectron volts as well as an instrument to monitor the space environment.
While orbiting 550 kilometres above the planet over an expected operating lifetime of 4 years, the HXMT will perform an all-sky survey that is expected to discover a thousand X-ray sources.
The HMXT Insight is the last of the cluster of four space science missions covered under China's 12th 5-year plan that were developed by the National Space Science Centre (NSSC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

June 17

NASA records May 2017 as second - hottest month in 137 years.
According to NASA, May 2017 was the second hottest month in a span of 137 years when modern record - keeping of average global temperatures had commenced.
The temperature of May 2017 was 0.88 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean May temperature from 1951-1980.
May 2016 is the hottest on record with 0.93 degrees Celsius warmer than the May mean temperature.
May 2017 temperature was 0.05 degrees Celcius cooler than the temperature recorded in May 2016. It was only 0.01 degrees Celsius warmer than the third warmest May, which occurred in 2014.
The monthly analysis by scientists at Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) is assembled from publicly available data acquired by about 6,300 meteorological stations around the world, ship- and buoy-based instruments measuring sea surface temperature, and Antarctic research stations.